Mel Gibson: Hollywood Is ‘Den Of Parasites’ Who ‘Feast On Blood Of Kids’
Hollywood studios are “drenched in the blood of innocent children” according to Mel Gibson who claims the consumption of “baby blood is so popular in Hollywood that it basically operates as a currency of its own.”
Mel Gibson making sequel to ‘Passion Of The Christ’ and why Jews should be worried
The Jewish Daily Forward
It was a cultural phenomenon that raked in $600 million at the box office and is still the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. Years later people are still questioning just how anti-Semitic “The Passion Of the Christ” really was. Mel Gibson, the star vehicle driving the movie to its bloody, sadomasochistic conclusion, famously refused to hire any Jewish consultants to oversee the film. The Jews in “The Passion Of The Christ” relish their cruelty, kicking Jesus when he is down, while the Romans of the film are shown occasionally behaving with compassion towards Jesus. There was concern about how this would affect inter-faith relations, dismay that the film perpetuated the anti-Semitic idea that the Jews killed Jesus, and a entire ADL Q&A page about it.
Now, Mel Gibson is planning to do it again. Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in the first film, confirmed to USA Today that he would be reprising his role in the sequel. “There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” he said. “It’s great. Stay tuned.” In a November 2016 interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Gibson reported that he already begun to work on “The Resurrection,” as he was calling the sequel.
Mel Gibson’s never been the biggest fan of the Jewish people. “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!” he shouted during a 2006 DUI arrest. In 2011, he pled no contest to battery charges against his girlfriend. On his TV apology tour, he confessed that “Lebanon and Israel had been at it that day,” and that “the Jews were not blameless.”
Mel Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, is an outspoken Holocaust denier. In 2003, he told the New York Times to “Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body. It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, 6 million?” Mel Gibson has never denounced, or acknowledged, his father’s words.
Is the world ready for a “Passion of The Christ” sequel? The polarized political landscape of 2018 is very different from the environment the 2004 blockbuster was created in. Can a movie like this, propelled by the star power of a man known for his anti-Semitic views, ever achieve the same level of worldwide acclaim as its predecessor?
“I don’t understand why after 10 years it’s any kind of issue,” Gibson complained to Variety recently. “I’ve also been around long enough to recognize that Hollywood will welcome back just about anyone that might bring in a dollar,” Joshua Malina, West Wing actor and one of Gibson’s most outspoken critics, told the Post.
“The Passion Of The Christ” established that there was a market, both American and international, for religious oriented films. It practically created that market when it received a slew of endorsements from a who’s who of American Christians, including a disputed one from the Vatican.
Will Gibson market his films at evangelical Christians, newly empowered in the Trump presidency, and run the risk of alienating more moderate and liberal viewers? And more importantly, in this era of increasing anti-Semitism and hostility towards Jews, does the world need “The Resurrection” at all?
Oscars 2017: Hollywood Forgave Mel Gibson Too Quickly
Sabba – This film critic is so great that after reading his review, he provides us with all the reasons in the world to go and watch Mel Gibson’s new movie!
HAARETZ – Circumstances prevented me from seeing and writing a review of “Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson’s fifth foray into directing, which has been playing in Israeli cinemas for the past three months. Even if this is indicative of a lack of professionalism on my part, perhaps I am using the word “circumstances” as an excuse in order to say that I have an aversion to Gibson’s films – even if more than 10 years have elapsed since that ugly incident in the summer of 2006 when he was arrested for DUI.
During the course of the arrest, he assailed the policemen who had stopped him with anti-Semitic and sexist slurs. In the end, however, I caved – because how could I, a professional film critic, ignore a movie that is a candidate for six Academy Awards, including best motion picture and best achievement in directing?
And even if it is a fairly safe bet that neither Gibson nor his film will win Oscars in these categories on Sunday night, the very fact that the film is a candidate for six awards – and, moreover, in such important categories – says that a decade was enough for Hollywood to forgive Gibson his trespasses. An Oscar nomination is the most vivid symbol of generosity and forgiveness that Hollywood can bestow on a prodigal son, who ostensibly has repented – that is, regretted his words and deeds, and gave up alcohol.
In the decade of punishment and drought in Gibson’s career, only Jodie Foster gave him a significant leading role, in her film “The Beaver” (2011), in which he played the psychologically unhinged father of a family. But if we needed conclusive proof that now, at 61, he has been forgiven, The Hollywood Reporter recently informed its readers that Warner Bros. is “courting” Gibson to direct a sequel to “Suicide Squad” (which was released last year and slammed by the critics, but still raked in $745 million worldwide).
This, despite the fact that Gibson, on top of everything else, aired grossly homophobic positions to the Spanish El Pais already 1991.
And so Gibson is back, not only as a respected director but also as a busy actor. In the 19th-century drama “The Professor and the Madman,” which has already been filmed, he stars alongside Sean Penn and Natalie Dormer. He is also slated to play a grandfather in the comedy “Daddy’s Home 2,” while in “Dragged Across Concrete” he will play a veteran cop who partners a wilder, rookie cop played by Vince Vaughn. This last film is likely to remind Gibson’s fans of one of the high points of his career as a movie star: the “Lethal Weapon” series, in which he played the maverick young cop alongside Danny Glover as the veteran.
Gibson’s return to the bosom of the Hollywood establishment isn’t news that fills me with joy. I haven’t missed him – not only because of his private conduct, but also because Gibson was never one of my favorite actors or directors. As a filmmaker, the only movie of his I warmed to was the first (and now somewhat forgotten) film, “The Man Without a Face” (1993). That film depicted the burgeoning relationship between an adolescent boy and a teacher (played by Gibson) who shut himself away after half his face was disfigured in a fire and he acquired the reputation in the neighborhood of being a monster.
There was something delicate about the film – and delicacy has not characterized any of Gibson’s subsequent work, even if I did discern in it a hint of perversion through the depiction of the developing love between the teacher and boy. (Were I to suggest this to Gibson in an interview, I’m sure this would elicit an unfriendly response.)
His most lavishly praised film, “Braveheart” (1995) – which won five Oscars, including for best film and best director – still seems to me like one of least deserving films in the history of the Academy Awards. The film, in which Gibson plays the legendary Scottish hero William Wallace, who led his nation in revolt against the English at the start of the 14th century, testified to Gibson’s skills as a director – mainly of battle scenes. But the skill was devoid of real inspiration and yielded a work with all the depth of a historical yarn aimed at teenagers.
I will say nothing more here about his next two films, “The Passion of the Christ” (2004) and “Apocalypto (2006), because enough has already been said about them – especially the one about Jesus. (Gibson is extremely devout; he once declared that there is no redemption for anyone who leaves the church.) However, with regard to “Apocalypto,” which depicted the waning of Mayan culture in a sensational and blood-soaked way, I will note that a racist’s attraction to the exotic is not surprising – see Leni Riefenstahl, for example.
Before I discuss “Hacksaw Ridge,” first a brief look at Gibson’s career as an actor. He was born in Peekskill, New York, the sixth of 11 children. At the end of the 1960s, the family immigrated to Australia. He became famous following his 1979 appearance in the first of the “Mad Max” movies, directed by George Miller. The first chapter in Gibson’s acting career, even it didn’t include any major hits, was his best. In his early series of films – like Michael Pate’s ‘Tim” (1979); Peter Weir’s fine “Gallipoli” (1981) and “The Year of Living Dangerously” (1982); and Gillian Armstrong’s “Mrs. Soffel” (1984) – Gibson, whose abilities as an actor I don’t doubt, demonstrated a measure of restraint and youthful vulnerability that disappeared when he became a Hollywood superstar.
A review of his other starring roles fails to find anything that can hold a candle to the films listed above. And even though his decision to play the title role in Franco Zeffirelli’s “Hamlet” (1990) was considered a bold move, it doesn’t compare to other cinematic versions of the Shakespearean tragedy. Moreover, despite Gibson’s courageous decision to appear in Wim Wenders’ “The Million Dollar Hotel” (2000) and in Keith Gordon’s film version of Dennis Potter’s brilliant television series “The Singing Detective” (2003), his work didn’t yield the desired results: Wenders’ film is one of his most peculiar efforts, while Gordon’s film couldn’t compete with the original.
Among the Hollywood studio films in which Gibson stars, I have a special fondness for Richard Donner’s “Conspiracy Theory” (1997), in which Gibson played a paranoid man who proved that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. Perhaps because of its bizarreness, the film wasn’t a hit – despite Gibson’s performance alongside Julia Roberts, who was still at the height of her box-office powers then. I also have a special antipathy toward the romantic comedy “What Women Want” (2000), which even if it was directed by a woman, Nancy Meyers, was downright sexist – and a big hit.
Meyers’ film chiefly exposed the trait of fraudulence that gradually emerged in Gibson’s acting, in which the restraint and vulnerability of the past was replaced by harshness; this made his performances unpleasant to watch. Gibson’s presence as an actor should have reinforced his status as a star. But even this has a limit, and the 10 years Gibson spent exiled in a kind of cinematic Siberia testify to this.
But the prodigal son has now returned thanks to his fifth film, “Hacksaw Ridge.” To my mind, the inclusion of this movie on the list of nine candidates for the best motion picture Oscar is inherently perverse.
The film is based on an internal contradiction that is so fundamental from a human perspective that the aversion I felt toward watching it was translated into an even stronger aversion when I eventually did view it.
Gibson’s film tells the true story of Desmond T. Doss (British actor Andrew Garfield, who has also been nominated for an Academy Award), who insists on enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II even though he is a pacifist and refuses to touch a weapon. The first, most effective part of the film depicts his struggle to overcome the obstacles the army puts in his way, and to translate his pacifist positions into becoming someone who saves human lives by being a military medic.
However, the second half of the film – which takes place during the battle against the Japanese in Okinawa, in which Doss’ actions earned him the Medal of Honor – provides Gibson with the opportunity to place his pacifist protagonist at the center of a pornographic orgy of carnage. Heads explode amid the flames and the smoke, and limbs scatter in all directions. Gibson’s fondness for this sort of thing, and his evident delight in depicting it, are so obvious here that I was glad Doss, who died in 2006 at age 87, did not get to see it.
This orgy could indeed testify to skill, but this is merely skill in the crudest and most exploitative sense. Quite possibly, it suggests that Gibson’s destiny as a director lies in the field of summer action flicks. If he is indeed chosen to direct the sequel to the DC Comics hit, he and “Suicide Squad” will assuredly deserve each other.
Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has called for Robert Mueller to be investigated for alleged destruction of evidence – the latest effort from the White House to undermine the special counsel’s probe of the 2016 election.
As Washington readies itself for the anticipated completion of Mr Mueller’s report into Russia’s alleged interference in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign – some believe it will come in February – the White House has stepped up its attempts to discredit any findings.
In his latest barracking of Mr Mueller, Mr Giuliani said he should himself be investigated for the alleged destruction of evidence. He said that Mr Mueller should be probed for permitting text messages between ex-FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – former members of the special counsel’s team who were fired after the publication the texts revealed possible anti-Trump messages – to be erased.
The Hillsaid a report by the department of justice’s inspector general found large gaps in the preservation of Mr Strzok and Ms Page, who were present in the early part of the investigation and who were involved in a relationship. The report said a technical glitch was to blame for the FBI’s failure to save those text messages but was able to recover more than 19,000 from the early part of the Russia probe before Mr Mueller was named special prosecutor in the age of Mr Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey.
Mr Giuliani told the outlet that Mr Mueller needed to be probed himself.
“Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe,” Mr Giuliani said. “That should be investigated, damn it, that should be investigated fully. You want a special counsel, get one for that.”
Asked if he felt the erasure of the messages was deliberate, Mr Giuliani referred to the destruction of a Watergate-era recording by Richard Nixon’s loyal secretary.
“It’s actually worse than Rose Mary Woods,” he explained. “She erased less than 19 minutes of conversation, but the FBI got rid of more than 19,000 messages [and the messages from the time Strzok and Page worked for Mueller are lost forever].”
Mr Trump has also been scornful of Mr Strzok and Ms Page.
In an interview with The Hill in September, Mr Trump said the behaviour of the agents was “very, very sad for our country”.
“We have tremendous support by the way, to expose something that is truly a cancer in our country,” Mr Trump added. “When you look at the FBI, you know you have eight people or so fired now.
Mr Giuliani said prosecutors should be investigated for using the Christopher Steele dossier, which he termed a “piece of garbage”, to justify a search warrant on a Trump advisor without telling the court it was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The dossier was actually the result of opposition research work initially paid for by conservative donor Peter Singer, owner of the Washington Free Beacon. The Clinton campaign picked up the tab after Mr Trump won the Republican nomination.
While Mr Trump recently provided Mr Mueller’s team written answers to a series of questions, CNN said the special prosecutor was still interested in an in-person interview.
Mr Giuliani told Fox News: “Yeah, good luck, good luck – after what they did to [Michael] Flynn, the way they trapped him into perjury, and no sentence for him.”
He added: “Over my dead body. But you know, I could be dead.”
Mr Giuliani also attacked Mr Mueller’s investigation, saying the probe was a “joke”.
“I am disgusted with the tactics they have used in this case,” he said. “What they did to Gen Flynn should result in discipline. They’re the ones who violated the law. They’re looking at a non-crime, collusion.”
Earlier this month, Mr Mueller’s team recommended Michael Flynn, a 60-year-old former general, who last year pleaded guilty to one charge of lying to the FBI over his contacts with Russian officials, among them Russia’s former US ambassador Sergey Kislyak, had been so cooperative he should not go to jail. His sentencing has been postponed until 2019.
To date, Mueller’s team has charged four Americans once affiliated with Trump’s campaign or administration – Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos. Also, 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian intelligence officers, three Russian companies, and two other people have also been charged. Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer, was recently sentenced to three years in jail for making hush money payments to two women on behalf of Mr Trump on the eve of the election.
While Cohen was charged by prosecutors separate to the Mueller team, he spent more 70 hours cooperating and providing witness testimony to the special counsel.
US cyber-security experts have blamed Russia for meddling in American elections since 2016. Now it has emerged that authors of a Senate report on ‘Russian’ meddling actually ran a “false flag” meddling operation themselves.
A week before Christmas, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report accusing Russia of depressing Democrat voter turnout by targeting African-Americans on social media. Its authors, New Knowledge, quickly became a household name.
Described by the New York Times as a group of “tech specialists who lean Democratic,” New Knowledge has ties to both the US military and intelligence agencies. Its CEO and co-founder Jonathon Morgan previously worked for DARPA, the US military’s advanced research agency. His partner, Ryan Fox, is a 15-year veteran of the National Security Agency who also worked as a computer analyst for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Their unique skill sets have managed to attract the eye of investors, who pumped $11 million into the company in 2018 alone.
Morgan and Fox have struck gold in the “Russiagate” racket, which sprung into being after Hillary Clinton blamed Moscow for Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016. Morgan, for example, is one of the developers of the Hamilton 68 Dashboard, the online tool that purports to monitor and expose narratives being pushed by the Kremlin on Twitter. The dashboard is bankrolled by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy – a collection of Democrats and neoconservatives funded in part by NATO and USAID.
Comment: Some background on that sordid little operation:
It is worth noting that the 600 “Russia-linked” Twitter accounts monitored by the dashboard are not disclosed to the public, making it impossible to verify its claims. This inconvenience has not stopped Hamilton 68 from becoming a go-to source for hysteria-hungry journalists, however.
New Knowledge’s victory lap was short-lived. On December 19, a New York Timesstory revealed that Morgan and his crew had created a fake army of Russian bots, as well as fake Facebook groups, in order to discredit Republican candidate Roy Moore in Alabama’s 2017 special election for the US Senate.
Working on behalf of the Democrats, Morgan and his crew created an estimated 1,000 fake Twitter accounts with Russian names, and had them follow Moore. They also operated several Facebook pages where they posed as Alabama conservatives who wanted like-minded voters to support a write-in candidate instead.
In an internal memo, New Knowledge boasted that it had “orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.”
It worked. The botnet claim made a splash on social media and was further amplified by Mother Jones, which based its story on expert opinion from Morgan’s other dubious creation, Hamilton 68.
Ultimately, Moore ended up losing the race by a miniscule 1.5 percentage points – making his opponent Doug Jones the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the US Senate in over 25 years.
Money trail and weak apologies
Things got even weirder when it turned out that Scott Shane, the author of theTimespiece,had known about the meddling for months,because he spoke at an event where the organizers boasted about it!
Shane was one of the speakers at a meeting in September, organized by American Engagement Technologies, a group run by Mikey Dickerson, President Barack Obama’s former tech czar. Dickerson explained how AET spent $100,000 on New Knowledge’s campaign to suppress Republican votes, “enrage” Democrats to boost turnout, and execute a “false flag” to hurt Moore. He dubbed it “Project Birmingham.”
The money for the venture came from a $750,000 contribution to AET by Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn and a big Democrat donor. Once that emerged, Hoffman offered a public apology for his connection to the shady operation, but insisted that he didn’t know what his money was going towards.
“I find the tactics that have been recently reported highly disturbing,” Hoffman said in a statement.
“For that reason, I am embarrassed by my failure to track AET – the organization I did support – more diligently as it made its own decisions to perhaps fund projects that I would reject.”
As for Shane, he told BuzzFeed that he was “shocked” by the revelations, but had signed a nondisclosure agreement at the request of AET, so he could not talk about it further.
Shane’s spin on the tale was that New Knowledge “imitated Russian tactics” as part of an “experiment” that had a budget of “only” $100,000 and had no effect on the election. Yet these tactics are only considered “Russian” because New Knowledge and similar outfits said so! Moreover, New Knowledge’s budget in Alabama was greater than the reported amount spent by“Russians”on the 2016 US presidential election, yet Moscow’s alleged meddling was supposed to be decisive, while New Knowledge’s failed?
New Knowledge responded to the Times story by insisting that the “false flag” operation was actually a benign research project. In a statement posted on Twitter, the company’s CEO claimed that its activities during the Alabama Senate race were conducted in order to “better understand and report on the tactics and effects of social media disinformation.”
Morgan emphasized that he in no way took part in an influence campaign, and warned people not to mischaracterize his “research.”
While the New York Times seemed satisfied with his explanation, others pointed out that Morgan had used the Hamilton 68 dashboard to give his“false flag”more credibility – misleading the public about a“Russian”influence campaign that he knew was fake.
New Knowledge’s protestations apparently didn’t convince Facebook, which announced last week that five accounts linked to New Knowledge – including Morgan’s – had been suspended for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
The final nail in the coffin of Morgan’s story came on Thursday, when the leaked secret after-action report from “Project Birmingham” was published online, showing that those behind the Alabama campaign knew perfectly well what they were doing and why.
So, it turns out there really was meddling in American democracy by “Russian bots.” Except they weren’t run from Moscow or St. Petersburg, but from the offices of Democrat operatives chiefly responsible for creating and amplifying the“Russiagate“hysteria over the past two years in a textbook case of psychological projection.
Comment: Looks like Roy Moore has some serious ammunition for his inquiry.
The walls are closing in on Trump—and he’s starting to lose it.
Over the last two years, there has been a near-constant watch for the thing that will finally doom Trump. Sexual assault allegations, mob ties, racial housing discrimination, the birther crap, “Mexicans are rapists,” “John McCain isn’t a war hero,” Trump University, the Trump Foundation charity scam, “blood coming out of her wherever,” the Muslim ban, “Miss Piggy,” the Access Hollywood tape, and, perhaps most important of all, his campaign’s extensive and highly questionable ties to Russia—all have been floated, at one time or another, as being potential causes of Trump’s undoing. And yet, with the exception of Russia, which continues to undermine his presidency, Trump has weathered every storm. The same 24-hour news cycle that makes these scandals quickly moves on and Trump, though more battered than before, does as well.
The firing of James Comey, though, might be different. The appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel means that the Comey scandal will persist, likely for the rest of Trump’s first term. Given the shady dealings of Trump, his family members, and their associates over the years, it’s likely that Mueller’s investigation will uncover some damaging details, even if it does not ultimately show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Comey’s firing has unleashed a non-stop amount of blowback. Just this week, we learned that Trump discussed highly classified information with two Russian officials, jeopardizing America’s relationship with Israel and other allies. We learned that Comey kept records of his meetings with Trump, which appear to show the president trying to influence the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn. A few minutes before Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein announced that Mueller would be appointed special counsel, The Washington Post reported that during the 2016 election House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had joked that Vladimir Putin pays Trump.
It is too soon to talk about impeachment. Republicans, whatever they are saying in private, are still only making tepid criticisms publicly. But the Comey fever has lasted for ten days now and it shows no sign of abating. Between Mueller’s appointment and the flood of leaks, it has already done colossal and irreparable damage to Trump’s presidency.
Turkish president was shocked that Trump went along with demand for Syrian withdrawal.
The Associated Press is reportingthat President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria crystallized during a December 14 phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the news agency, the decision was “made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.”
One of the surprising details of the report is that Erdogan himself was taken aback at how successful he was in convincing Trump on the Syrian matter. Before the phone call, the consensus position that the Trump administration had reached, backed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, was that Trump would tell Erdogan to back off from his threats to attack Kurdish forces in Syria.
But during the phone conversation, Trump threw away the script and agreed with his Turkish counterpart. As AP relates, Trump started by reiterating the message of backing off. But then a change occurred:
Erdogan, though, quickly put Trump on the defensive, reminding him that he had repeatedly said the only reason for U.S. troops to be in Syria was to defeat the Islamic State and that the group had been 99 percent defeated. “Why are you still there?” the second official said Erdogan asked Trump, telling him that the Turks could deal with the remaining IS militants.
Trump then posed Erdogan’s question to his National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was participating in the phone call. Bolton admitted that the Islamic State had indeed lost 99 per cent of its territory but said that it was in America’s interest to make sure the group did not enjoy a resurgence.
Trump was not dissuaded, according to the officials, who said the president quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.
Caught off guard, Erdogan cautioned Trump against a hasty withdrawal, according to one official. While Turkey has made incursions into Syria in the past, it does not have the necessary forces mobilized on the border to move in and hold the large swaths of northeastern Syria where U.S. troops are positioned, the official said.
From this reporting, it seems likely that it was never Erdogan’s intention to get the United States to withdraw. Rather he made the demand as a bargaining move, to get other, lesser goals. Trump, displaying his mastery of the art of the deal, gave in to Erdogan’s maximum position.
The White House denies the accuracy of AP’s account.
Looming government shutdown is the “last gasp” of the Freedom Caucus.
According to Politico, the driving cause of the looming partial government shutdown is the Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right Republicans in the House who convinced President Donald Trump to buck GOP leadership by taking a hardline position on funding the border wall.
On Thursday, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows phoned the president. At that point, Trump was unhappy with the compromise Republican leaders had agreed to but was willing to go along with it, despite criticism from the right-wing media. “Meadows, who is close with the president and was recently in the running to be his next chief of staff, urged Trump to make a stand now before Democrats took the House in January — just as he had the night before and multiple times earlier in the week,” Politico reports. “Stick to your guns, the North Carolina Republican told the president, according to a source familiar with the conversation. We conservatives will have your back. And now is the last best chance to fight.”
The shutdown can be seen as the latest in a string of battles between the Freedom Caucus and GOP leaders that have hamstrung Washington over the last few years. These clashes have made it impossible to reach compromises on issues like immigration, and have hobbled the last two Republican House speakers, John Boehner and Paul Ryan.
Outgoing Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo summed up the situation by telling Politico, “Our Freedom Caucus colleagues, they probably know that their relevance is going to be completely diminished next Congress, so this is kind of like a last gasp, but we know how this ends.” Politico itself sums up the situation thus: “House Republicans as of Thursday night were embracing the chaos.”
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model gaining veto authority over other nations economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position
It’s hard to read this passage as anything other than a repudiation of Trump’s foreign policy.
You think this is “fake news”? Well let’s go right to the top and check the facts.
The UN has been criticised for not acting swiftly enough on the issue of abuse (AFP)
Earlier this month, UN Secretary General António Guterres in releasing the 2016 UN annual reviewsaid that there were 145 cases of sexual exploitation and abuse involving troops and civilians across all UN peace missions in 2016 alone.
The United Nations Secretary General is talking about his own organisation.
These 145 cases involved 311 victims and even the UN recognises that this is the tip of the iceberg. Many of the victims, by the UN’s own admission, are children.
But is the UN repeating the mistakes of the Catholic Church by obfuscation and minimisation of the problem, not talking it head on and stamping it out?
The UN’s language is interesting here. It is wishy-washy as if child rape were a problem that needed to be minimised, not wiped out.
“I fully recognise that no magic wand exists to end the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse,” Guterres said. “Nevertheless, I believe that we can dramatically improve how the United Nations addresses this scourge.”
“Dramatically improve” the situation? He is kidding right? What about wiping it out?
The Secretary General proposed a four-part strategy: putting “the rights and dignity for victims at the forefront of UN efforts”; working “relentlessly” to end impunity for those guilty of sexual abuse and exploitation; building a network to support UN efforts including civil society, external experts and organisations; and raising worldwide awareness of the problem to address the stigma victims face.
I have a much better idea. Let’s start with the language that is used here. Let us not hide behind large concepts. Let me be blunter.
What is a better term than “sexual abuse” of the 14-year-old child, together with her 18-year-old friend, set upon by UN peacekeepers near Bambari airport in Central African Republic late in 2015?
This is not “sexual abuse”. This is the gang rape of a child. It is neither “sexual abuse” nor an “indiscretion”. It is not something to be “minimised”. It is something to be wiped out with brutal efficiency.
If this is not shocking enough, the 14-year-old child became pregnant (as many others who are abused do) and her rape was paid for and facilitated by you, the reader. You paid for this gang rape through your taxpayer funds to the UN.
Trump Compares United Nations to ‘Country Club’
Have you ever wondered why countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan send so many peacekeeping soldiers? It is because the UN pays for these countries to send soldiers. It is a huge export earner for their militaries and it is paid for by the net contributing countries like the UK, the US and Australia.
And this is not a surprise or unknown. Google “food for sex” and “UN sexual abuse” and see just how much comes up and for how long it comes up. See for how long Kofi Anan, Ban Ki Moon and now António Guterres have been saying “something must be done”.
I am not a right wing UN basher – I used to work for the UN. As my close friends will tell you, one of the reasons I left the UN is because I call them the second largest harbourer of paedophiles behind only the Catholic Church. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the UN is worse.
How bad could this problem be?
Well, the UN has well in excess of 100,000 staff and Peacekeepers at any given time. Often the number is higher. Approximately two-thirds are male – at least 66,000. The National Crime Agency in Britain estimates one in 35 (almost three per cent) of the male population have paedophilia tendencies.
On 1 September 2008, the European Union decided that meetings with Russia about a new partnership agreement would be postponed until the latter ended its military occupation of Georgia. In contrast, on 16 June 2008 the 27-member EU decided to “upgrade” its relations with Israel. This has now been put into effect by a decision of the EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels on 8 December.Was this in recognition of Israeli adherence to previous agreements with the EU, or progress in the peace process with the Palestinians? On the contrary, by the EU’s very own standards it appears to have been a reward for Israel’s military occupation of the territory of several countries, and gross violations of human rights and international law, as well as specific commitments made to the EU. If the conditions applied to Russia today were applied to Israel, the EU would immediately terminate its partnership agreements with Israel.
In 2004, Israel became an EU partner within the framework of the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), which encompasses both the EU’s Mediterranean and eastern European neighbors. Under the ENP, according to the policy stated on its Web site, the EU’s relations with other states are “a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development).” Moreover, the ENP offers “a deeper political relationship and economic integration.” However, this is not unconditional, as “the level of ambition of the relationship will depend on the extent to which these values are shared.”
Yet, despite Israel’s manifest failure to meet its obligations under earlier agreements with the EU, Israel was in the first group of seven states with which the EU agreed ENP “action plans” in December 2004. The “action plan” was based on a 2004 European Commission report which openly states that Israel has systematically discriminated against its Palestinian minority throughout its existence and that human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, are a continuous feature of Israel’s actions in the occupied territories. One might have thought that a state which indulged in “religious discrimination” and “extrajudicial killings” would be deemed unfit by the EU for an ENP relationship built on common values. However, the EU turned a blind eye to these violations and granted Israel an ENP partnership.
In April 2008, the European Commission, the EU’s secretariat, published a progress report on Israel’s implementation. It concluded that there had been “little concrete progress” on the issues cited in the 2004 action plan. Yet, just months after it reported this lack of “concrete progress,” the EU took its decision to further “upgrade” its relations with Israel.
The Barcelona Declaration
The EU’s disregard of Israel’s violations has a long pedigree. Israel became a partner of the EU in November 1995 with the signing of the Barcelona Declaration, which established the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This Partnership encompassed 15 EU states plus 11 states in the Mediterranean region (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey) and the Palestinian Authority. Signatories to the Barcelona Declaration agreed to behave according to international norms in their relations with other states, promising to “act in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other obligations under international law.”
The signatories also entered into a number of specific obligations in respect of their “partners” in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This included:
(1) Refrain, in accordance with the rules of international law, from any direct or indirect intervention in the internal affairs of another partner;(2) Respect the territorial integrity and unity of each of the other partners;
(3) Settle their disputes by peaceful means, call upon all participants to renounce recourse to the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of another participant, including the acquisition of territory by force, and reaffirm the right to fully exercise sovereignty by legitimate means in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.
In 1995, when Israel signed the Barcelona Declaration and undertook to abide by these principles, it was occupying southern Lebanon and had annexed the Syrian Golan Heights. By no stretch of the imagination could it be said that Israel was refraining from intervention in the internal affairs of its Lebanese and Syrian partners, or respecting their territorial integrity, or settling disputes with them by peaceful means. Manifestly, when it signed the Barcelona Declaration, Israel was openly contravening the agreement’s three core obligations.
At that time, Israel was also in breach of the general obligation in the Barcelona Declaration to “act in accordance with the United Nations Charter.” As an occupying power in the West Bank and Gaza, it remains in violation of Articles 2.4 of the UN Charter. It is also in violation of the requirement in Article 25 that UNmember states “accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.” Indeed, by 1995, Israel was in violation of some 25 Security Council resolutions requiring action by it and it alone. These included demands to: cease the building of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, reverse its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA).
The EU’s double standards do not only target Russia. In the Barcelona Declaration, Israel also agreed to pursue “a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.” In addition, it agreed to work to “prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as excessive accumulation of conventional arms.”
Israel is the only state in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons. So, its disarmament of these weapons is a necessary, and probably a sufficient, condition for bringing about a “Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction,” as required by the Barcelona Declaration. However, progress in bringing this about has been noticeable by its absence since Israel signed up to “pursue” this objective in 1995.
There has been no progress either on the Security Council’s Resolution 487 that calls upon “Israel [to] urgently … place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.” Passed on 19 June 1981, Israel has yet to open its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection, nor is there any noticeable pressure from the EU to make it do so, let alone disarm in order to produce a nuclear free zone in the Middle East, which parties to the Barcelona Declaration are supposed to “pursue.”
By contrast, Iran’s nuclear facilities, including its uranium enrichment facilities, are open to IAEA inspection. It is worth noting that, after extensive inspection in Iran, the IAEA has found no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, or ever had one. By contrast, Israel has possessed nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them for around 40 years. It is estimated that today Israel has around 200 nuclear warheads and various delivery systems, including by submarine-launched missiles. Israel is capable of wiping Iran, and every Arab state, off the map at the touch of a button. Despite the European Neighborhood Policy requirement regarding weapons of mass destruction, the EU is actively pressuring Iran about its nuclear activities, but not Israel.
Rewarding Israel’s “collective punishment” of Gaza
In November 1995, Israel signed an Association Agreement with the EU under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Commonly known as the Euro-Med Agreement, it gave Israel privileged access to the EU market from 2000. The Euro-Med Agreement also contains human rights obligations, in particular “respect for human rights and democratic principles.” Compliance with these provisions is an “essential element” of the agreement.
Israel has continuously failed to live up to these obligations, the most recent example being its economic strangulation of the Gaza Strip over the past 19 months. John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, explained to the Security Council on 26 February 2008 that “the effective Israeli isolation of Gaza is not justified, given Israel’s continuing obligations to the people of Gaza. It amounts to collective punishment and is contrary to international humanitarian law.”
Moreover, the EU itself has described the economic strangulation of Gaza as “collective punishment.” The EU’s External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated on 21 January 2008 that “I am against this collective punishment of the people of Gaza. I urge the Israeli authorities to restart fuel supplies and open the crossings for the passage of humanitarian and commercial supplies.”
So, the UN and the EU are of the firm opinion that, by its economic strangulation of Gaza, Israel has violated international humanitarian law. Moreover, this policy of collective punishment has been openly acknowledged by the Israeli government for at least two years. Famously, when Israel limited commercial shipments of food into Gaza in 2006, Dov Weissglas, an adviser to then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, explained that “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger.”
In spite of these repeated violations of its human rights obligations, the EU continues to turn a blind eye to Israel’s actions. Indeed, there seems to be no violation Israel can commit that will persuade the EU to halt its favorable treatment, let alone downgrade its relations.
David Morrison is a political officer for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The above is based on “The European Union’s Blind Eye: How the EU ignores Israel’s failure to fulfill its obligations under EUagreements,” which was published by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign in October 2008 and can be downloaded here [PDF].
Bill Gates and Harvard are funding geoengineering with one hand, while buying up farmland in CA and WA with the other. Farmers and food distributors are struggling with rising theft as food prices increase.
Banking giant HSBC is divesting from the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems following a grassroots campaign.
“HSBC has taken a positive first step in divesting from Elbit Systems, the notorious manufacturer of drones, chemical weapons, cluster bomb artillery systems and other technology used in attacks against Palestinian civilians, and to militarize walls and borders around the world,” Ryvka Barnard of War on Want said on Thursday.
The campaign group said that HSBC confirmed its decision in an email to War on Want and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign last week.
“Doing business with companies like Elbit means profiting from violence and human rights violation, which is both immoral and a contravention of international law,” Barnard added.
Elbit Systems has already been excluded from pension and investment funds around the world over its involvement in supplying surveillance systems and other technology to Israel’s separation wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank.
A 2017 report by War on Want revealed how HSBC and other UK financial institutions are complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people by financing arms deals and owning shares in arms makers.
For more than a year, UK campaigners have held pickets at HSBC branches, dubbing it “the world’s lethal bank” – a play on an HSBC ad campaign marketing the global behemoth as “the world’s local bank.”
Despite HSBC’s move, Elbit, one of Israel’s biggest arms manufacturers, remains a favorite of governments that purport to champion human rights.
In 2014, the Obama administration awarded Elbit a lucrative contract to provide surveillance equipment as part of US efforts to militarize its border with Mexico.
And the European Union has plowed millions of dollars of “research” funds into Elbit, despite the revelation of how the company manufactures banned cluster weapon systems.
Last year, Australia’s famous Royal Flying Doctor Service pulled out of a joint venture with Elbit, a move Palestine solidarity campaigners celebrated as a victory.
Now campaigners are seeing HSBC’s move as an important milestone towards holding Israel accountable.
Ben Jamal, director of the UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign, called HSBC’s decision “proof positive that collective campaigning works.” He noted that people all over the UK “were involved in pushing HSBC to divest from Elbit through pickets, email campaigns and other actions designed to pressure the company.”
“HSBC’s announcement demonstrates the effectiveness of boycott, divestment and sanctions as a tactic against Israel’s continued flouting of international law and human rights,” Jamal added.
War on Want is demanding that HSBC follow up by divesting from other war industry firms including Caterpillar, which makes militarized bulldozers Israel uses to demolish Palestinian homes, and BAE Systems, “whose weapons are used in war crimes by Israel, Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes.”
I can still remember the sense of panic at our school on 27 December 2008.
Suddenly, we heard a series of loud explosions. Everyone started to cry, scream, call their parents or run towards the exit, hoping they could get home before things got worse.
I lived close to school, so I hurried home. When I left the classroom, it felt like I was entering hell.
There was smoke everywhere. The main sound I could hear was that of sirens from ambulances. People were running in the streets.
Operation Cast Lead – Israel’s attack on Gaza 10 years ago – was a horrific time.
I was in my final year of high school. And I did my best not to let fear defeat me or affect my future. Amid all the destruction, I set myself the challenge of getting top grades in my exams.
I was lucky. None of my relatives was killed or injured. Our home was not damaged.
Many others were far less fortunate.
Hanaa Irouq still has the shirt she had bought for her son Hassan on 27 December 2008.
She was due to visit a friend later that day. It had been agreed that Hassan would accompany her and propose marriage to her friend’s daughter.
“That morning I went to the market while Hassan was at work,” Hanaa, a resident of Jabaliya refugee camp, said. “I bought him a new shirt so that he could wear it for our appointment. But he never came home.”
Hassan – aged 22 – was killed on the first day of Operation Cast Lead. He was a police officer, based at a station near the Palestinian Legislative Council’s headquarters in Gaza City.
His uncle Mahmoud Irouq was also working at the same station.
Mahmoud was training a group of 52 officers in the station’s yard in the late morning. He had told the officers to take a break. Just as he was calling on them to resume training, Mahmoud felt himself being pushed backwards by the force of an explosion.
“After that, I wasn’t able to hear anything or move,” he said. “I only saw black smoke and smelled blood.”
Mahmoud was in hospital for the next three days. It would take a few months before his hearing was fully restored.
Now aged 42, Mahmoud has paid tribute to his late nephew by naming one of his own sons Hassan.
“Even though 10 years have passed, I can still remember every moment of that attack,” Mahmoud said.
The Irouq family has shown a determination to be resilient. Five days after Hassan was killed, his father Maher tried to cheer up the family. He organized a large wedding party for Hassan’s brother Midhat.
But Hanaa – the boys’ mother – was unable to hide her sorrow. As soon as she saw the bride and groom at the ceremony, Hanaa burst into tears. She felt that Hassan should have been the one getting married.
“Unfortunately, life in Gaza never gives you what you want,” she said.
Israel attacked numerous police stations in the opening stages of Cast Lead. In total, 248 members of the police were killed during the three-week operation. According to a UN team which investigated Cast Lead, more than one out of every six people killed during the offensive was a police officer.
Under international law, police officers are regarded as civilians.
Approximately 1,400 Palestinians were killed during Operation Cast Lead.
Waiting to say goodbye
Ahmad Saad al-Din was killed, too, on the first day of the attack. Aged 24, he was working in the media relations department at the Muntada building in Gaza City. The Muntada was one of the key buildings for the police administration.
His family’s pain at losing Ahmad was worsened by their inability to find his body. Each time there was a temporary ceasefire, his father Abd al-Latif looked for the body at the Muntada site.
“I looked for my son in all hospitals and I searched under the [police station] rubble around 20 times,” said Abd al-Latif. “But every time I came back empty-handed.”
Operation Cast Lead ended on 18 January 2009. One day later, Abd al-Latif received a phone call from a paramedic, informing him that a body had been recovered under the Muntada station and brought to al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital.
Abd al-Latif rushed to the hospital. “When I reached the mortuary, I found that Ahmad’s body was torn apart,” he said. “I was only able to recognize him from the watch on his wrist. I had given it to him as a wedding present.”
“It never occurred to me that I would be happy to see the body of my own son,” Abd al-Latif added. “But I was happy when they found the body – after all the suffering we had gone through during the war. We had waited a long time to say goodbye to Ahmad.”
Abd al-Rahman Odeh, a police officer, survived the attack on the Muntada station. He had left the station a few minutes before the bombing occurred, with the intention of buying a gift for his wife to mark their second wedding anniversary.
“I was only a couple of meters away from the building,” he said. “The bomb threw me in the air. When I looked behind me, I saw the site destroyed. There was smoke everywhere.”
Odeh quickly realized that a number of his friends and colleagues had been killed. He called an ambulance, sitting down near the station until it arrived.
Now aged 35, Odeh has resumed working in the Muntada station, which has been rebuilt. He has stopped celebrating his wedding anniversary because the 27 December date has become synonymous with the pain of losing friends.
“He died in front of me”
Imad al-Khaldi and his brother Bahaa started off 27 December 2008 by having breakfast with their father. Once they had eaten, the two young men left for the police station near the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Both were taking part in a training session when “day turned to night,” said Imad.
“When I realized that it was a bomb, I started screaming for my brother but I didn’t get an answer,” he said. “I wasn’t able to stand on my legs, so I started crawling towards my brother. When I reached Bahaa, he was taking his last few breaths. I tried to rescue him by doing artificial respiration. But I was very exhausted and I fainted, falling on his chest.”
Imad, who had incurred a serious leg injury, remained in a coma for the next week. “I didn’t rescue my brother and I didn’t even say goodbye,” Imad said. “He died in front of me. I can’t describe how I feel about that.”
At 24, Bahaa was three years younger than Imad. They were very close, to the point that they often shared each other’s clothes.
Following the attack, Imad received treatment in Saudi Arabia. His medical team was able to save his leg.
Each December, Imad returns to the site where Bahaa was killed. Imad reflects on his loss, then goes back home.
A decade later, the pain caused by Cast Lead remains raw.
Sarah Algherbawi is a freelance writer and translator from Gaza.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic will always stand by Palestinian people and support their cause.
Zarif made the remarks in a meeting with Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement Ziad al-Nakhala in Tehran on Saturday.
The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that supporting Palestine was a fundamental principle of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy.
Back in May, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Palestine would finally be freed from the clutches of enemies and that Jerusalem al-Quds would be the capital of Palestinian state despite US attempts to distort this reality.
“God willing, Palestine will be liberated from the grip of enemies and America and its stooges will not be able to a damn thing vis-à-vis truth and the divine tradition,” the Leader said.
In a meeting with a Palestinian parliamentary delegation led by senior Palestinian lawmaker Mahmoud al-Zahar in Tehran last week, Zarif once again reiterated the Islamic Republic’s principled policy to support Palestine, urging all countries in the Muslim world to boost their unity to defend the Palestinian cause.
“We hope that some Muslim countries that have pinned their hopes on the support of the Zionists and the US will return to the Muslim world and realize that the Zionists are not a trustworthy friend or partner for anybody,” Zarif said.
Palestinians firm to continue struggle until complete victory
Nakhala, for his part, said some Arab and Western countries were making efforts to defeat the Palestinian resistance, but reiterated that Palestinians were determined to continue their struggle until complete victory.
He added that the resistance front had currently high capacity and capabilities to confront aggressors.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Palestine would “lodge an application to gain full state membership at the United Nations” in January.
Speaking in an interview with Ramallah-based Voice of Palestine radio station, Maliki said he would file the application upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ instructions in a bid to upgrade Palestine’s status from an observer state to a full-member state to the UN Security Council, when he visits New York next month.
If your people had bombs thrown in every day and neighbours that hated them, apartheid might seem like a good option. Hate will only make things worse
Johngestern um 09:53
Iran supports above issue in her interest.
Hamidkhan> Johngestern um 11:33
Iran, Algeria and Lybia: 3 Muslim countries: supported ANC against apparteid. Where was the hypocrite west if not profitting from that heinous situation. By the way that is where the zionist little satan developed and tested its A bomb.
King Java> Hamidkhanvor 19 Stunden
“By the way that is where the zionist little satan developed and tested its A bomb” name the place & date. Thanks.
Men-In-Israel-All-Beat-Their-Wives> Johngestern um 12:41
Iran is a Nation of People with Morals, that Believe in God, and what’s Right, and Wrong, I know you being a Zionist from Apartheid Israel find that hard to understand, but you know
we’re not all Evil like you Zionists in Apartheid Israel are.
Iran says it has hosted a delegation from Taliban to discuss possible ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran on Monday that the extensive meetings between Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and the group on Sunday were coordinated with the government of Afghanistan.
“Since the Taliban are in control of more than 50 percent of Afghanistan, and given the insecurity, instability and other issues that the country is dealing with, they [the Taliban] were interested in talks with Iran,” Qassemi said.
He said Iran has long borders with Afghanistan and always sought a constructive role to maintain peace in the region.
The Tehran meetings came days after it was confirmed that Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), had traveled to the war-torn country for initial talks.
Most analysts believe that Iran’s effort to get the Taliban to accept peace with the Afghan government is aimed at preventing further growth of Takfiri terrorist groups, especially Daesh, in the war-ravaged country.
Following its defeat in Iraq and Syria, Daesh terrorists have been shifting attention to Afghanistan during past month, making the country a new center of their atrocious acts of terrorism in a bid to sow more insecurity across the whole region.
More than 17 years of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan at the top of a military coalition has brought nothing but chaos and insecurity to the country as a result of which all forms of organized crime, especially production of illicit drugs, have been skyrocketing. The country has also turned into a hotbed of violent acts by major terror outfits, especially Daesh.
US should leave Iraq, Syria
Qassemi then pointed to Trump’s recent trip to Iraq and his decision earlier this month to end the US military presence in Syria, saying Washington “should go back home.”
Trump’s unexpected announcement was met with criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, prompting Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign. The decision also led Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the so-called anti-Daesh coalition in Syria and Iraq, to quit.
But Trump doubled down on his policy by also announcing that he would cut in half the roughly 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of the US president, said Sunday that Trump had agreed to reevaluate the evacuation plan, meaning that the process was now in a “pause condition.”
Qassemi said: “What we are clearly witnessing today is that America cannot have a presence in the region.”
Pointing to the trillions of dollars that Washington had spent on its Middle East wars, Qassemi said Trump’s unannounced visit to Iraq on Christmas amounted to a “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and an insult to the people of Iraq.”
Iran rejects reports of EU conditions to save JCPOA
Elsewhere, Qassemi dismissed as “substantially false” reports that the European Union has set conditions for establishing a special payment channel that is supposed to secure its trade commitments under the 2015 nuclear with Tehran.
“Today, no country in the world is unmindful of Iran’s characteristics and everyone knows that Iran won’t allow others to set conditions for it,” Qassemi said.
Iran and the EU have been working on the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for a few months now, following US President Donald Trump’s decision in May to abandon the Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).
Since then, the Trump administration has targeted Iran’s oil and other key economic industries by introducing a series of economic sanctions, threatening other JCPOA signatories – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany– to end business with Iran or face penalties.
China and Russia have already expressed their commitments to the deal. The SPV is designed to protect European businesses from US financial punishments but progress has been slower than expected.
Qassemi said the hurdles that the SPV was faced with stemmed from “Europe’s inability to cope with the immense US pressure” and ultimately “the complex nature” of the mechanism that makes the process time consuming.
“We think Europe is largely incapable of withstanding the US and its pressure and lack the required ability to defend its European identity as well as its financial and economic institutions,” he said.
The spokesman stressed that Iran was not relying solely on the SPV and had quietly sought alternative plans with other countries such as China, Russia, India and Turkey.
“Although it has so far failed to meet the deadlines on the SPV, we hope that Europe can keep moving on this path and stay true to its commitments,” he added.
Men-In-Israel-All-Beat-Their-Wivesvor 35 Minuten
You have to keep the channels of communication open, saves innocent Lives.
Talk-for-Peacevor 37 Minuten
The Afghan nation needs to be prepared for the impending chaos when the defeated NATO occupying forces make a run for it. The Taliban and the ad hoc government jointly can secure the their motherland with the help of friendly neighbours without vested interests!
With the resignation of U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently announced, the mercenary group Blackwater USA has declared their return as President Donald Trump reduces the number of troops in Afghanistan and Syria. Blackwater announced their return in a full-page ad in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil,” while another Blackwater contractor was recently found guilty of first-degree murder for his role in the Nisour Square massacre.
At approximately noon on September 16, 2007, a Blackwater convoy codenamed Raven 23disobeyed orders from U.S. Embassy officials to remain in the Green Zone and instead established a blockade at Nisour Square in Baghdad. While driving his mother to an appointment, Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y stopped his white Kia sedan at the checkpoint and waited for the Blackwater mercenaries to let them pass. Hiding inside the convoy’s command vehicle, Nicholas Slatten aimed his SR-25 sniper rifle through a gun portal and fired a round at Ahmed.
As Ahmed’s head exploded, his car slipped into neutral and slowly began to approach the Blackwater convoy. While attempting to stop the car, Iraqi police officer Ali Khalaf Salman raised his left arm signaling the shooters to stop firing. Inside the sedan, Ahmed’s mother, Mahassin Mohssen Kadhum Al-Khazali, clutched his bleeding head screaming, “My son! My son! Help me, help me!”