Seyeda Zeinab, Syria - During a meeting at the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus the other morning, this observer was briefed by ‘Abu Modar,” a reputedly battle-honed field commander of the “Death Brigade,” a unit based in the northern Syria Eskanderoun region, north of Latakia. Abu Modar explained that he personally had chosen the rather peculiar name for his outfit to symbolize the willingness of its members to die for their cause—protecting Syria.
“Before each battle or each mission I ask my God to let me die defending Syria”, he explained. “If we are involved with a joint operation with Hezbollah, who are much admired because of their honesty and trustworthiness, I lead my men to the front line and ahead of Hezbollah troops out of respect for them and because we Syrians believe that as their grateful hosts we have this duty.”
The gentleman began explaining the history of his militia, one of thousands (both pro-and anti-government) operating in Syria these troubled days. It is a history that included some of his predecessors fighting with the PLO in Beirut during the summer of 1982, but as he was relating all this, his phone rang. The conversation was not long. The caller, he informed this observer upon ringing off, was his “contact,” advising him that certain intelligence sources had received information overnight that an individual had been observed in the vicinity of Zeinab’s shrine placing a parcel of explosives into a vehicle, presumably with the intention to detonate it near her resting place. This riveted my attention, in part because this observer was scheduled by chance to join an army escort the next day and visit the historic site, located about 40 minutes south of Damascus. Nearly two months ago the government regained control of the area, but there are still some snipers around, I had been apprised by friends. Abu Modar’s specific mission was to take some of his commandos and kick in the door of the suspect’s house sometime during the night, arrest him, and turn him over to someone for interrogation. His mission struck me as simple enough and he was matter of fact in outlining his plan.
“We do this sort of mission often. This is part of our expertise, and we do it whenever we are asked by Resistance friends and Syrian authorities. It spares the army for their normal work on battlefields, and our unit is specialized, and from long experience we have acquired certain useful skills.”
I demurred when he invited me to join him, explaining I was a bit out of shape and did not want to get in the way of his men’s work or potentially hamper their operation. But he insisted, saying that I could stay in his jeep and just observe, and he doubted that I would be in any serious danger. I was tempted to accept his invitation, and agreed to his proposal to meet after lunch to finalize our plans for that night’s outing. At this point, however, I called a trusted and knowledgeable Syrian friend, who knows a lot about these matters, and she seemed exasperated I would even consider tagging along with the Death Brigade.
“Absolutely not Franklin! Khalas! (finish!) You are visiting Seyeda Zeinab bokra with the army and you are not going with anyone else!”
Frankly, I was a bit relieved by my friend’s unequivocal counsel, and my new pal from the “Death” militia (who is acquainted with her) sportively understood. An interesting anecdote was at this point related by my interpreter: that Abu Modor had laughed and claimed a badge of honor upon recently being shown YouTube videos regarding his macho, George-Patton-style exploits in Qusayr, and in villages around Qalamoun, and rebel claims that he and his brigade were “the number one pro-regime murderers in Syria.” I might also mention that the “Death” unit is part of the not-well-known-in-the-West Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskanderun (PFLI), currently fighting rebels north of Latakia, in the mountains bordering Turkey, and whose forces have also periodically spent time guarding the resting place of Zeinab.
The geographical place name “Seyeda Zeinab” can be confusing for an untutored foreigner, the reason being that it may refer to a group of five small cities in the governorate of Damascus—Al Zeyabeya, Hujayr, Husseiniya, Akraba and Babila—or, alternately, to the sacred burial place and shrine for Zeinab bint Ali, the daughter of Ali, the first Shia Imam, and his first wife Fatima. Zeinab was also the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the sister of Husayn and Hassan. Her shrine and pilgrimage destination are located in the small town of Seyeda (Lady) Zeinab, but given its fame, the name also refers to a wider area. As a holy shrine and place of prayer and scholarship, one imagines this place to be in the category of perhaps Qoms in Iran, and Najaf in Iraq. All three attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists, and since the area surrounding Seyeda Zeinab was liberated and essentially pacified by the Syrian Army recently, visitors are again arriving daily from countries including Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan and Lebanon, among others.
The Mayor of Seyeda Zeinab, this observer’s gracious host, is Mohammad Barakat, a Sunni engineer from Homs, roughly in his early 50’s. His staff is of mixed religious backgrounds, and, as with most Syrian citizens I have met over the past three years, was essentially blind to and uninterested in sectarian differences in existence before the current crisis. All the mayor’s staff members are working long hours these days, responding to numerous requests for post-liberation help, appeals which they try their best to accommodate with their limited available resources. My three-hour discussion with Mayor Barakat was interrupted perhaps as many as a couple of dozen times by the appearance of an aid often seeking his signature or mayoral stamp on citizen petitions covering anything from requests for food stuffs, problems with housing, or attempts to find employment with a municipal project now getting started.
In his bee hive of an office, the mayor used a pointer to highlight locations on a large wall map hanging next to his desk, the map illustrating areas where repair and construction projects are being readied. Mr. Barakat enthusiastically proclaimed, “2014 is the year we intend to start and finish area restoration work, and we take pride in the prospect that what we achieve here in Seyeda Zeinab can be a model for restoration work all over Syria that hopefully can begin soon.”
The Mayor of Seyeda Zeinab and staff members in front of the wall may illustrating plans to complete reconstruction of the area by the end of 2014 Photo: 2/25/14)
Barakat and three of his staff members accompanied this observer on an informative and inspiring tour of the Mosque and Shrine of Saeyda Zeinab. The shrine, our hosts informed us, is an example of Shia architecture, and the dome is made of pure gold. The grave of Zeinab is enclosed within a raised, crypt-like structure centered directly beneath the massive golden dome. The doors of the shrine are apparently also made of pure gold, with mirror works on the roof and walls. The minarets and the entrance gate of the holy shrine are covered with Iranian moarrahg tile designed by the famous Iranian architect and tile artist Ali Panjehpour. My colleague from the mayor’s office allowed me to finger one and explained that each 4 x 4 inch tile, of which there were hundreds of thousands in the complex, cost more than $100 USD. There is also a large mosque adjoining the shrine which this observer was advised can accommodate more than 1,300 people and a further 150 in the attached courtyards. The two tall minarets, one of which was damaged by a rebel mortar, dominate the architecture of the mosque as well as a large souk on the other side of a newly-built security wall.
In the cavernous nave of the Seyeda Zeinab, just next to the beautifully inlaid, elevated crypt holding her remains, approximately 50 men were performing mid-day Salat al Duhr prayers. Some were in camouflage uniforms and appeared to be on military leave or from the security units guarding the inside and perimeter of Zeinab’s Shrine.
This observer did not want to awkwardly press his hosts for details regarding the identities of the armed men guarding Seyeda Zeinab or where they are from. Some Western media sources have speculated that Shia fighters from Iraq and Lebanon came to Syria to protect Seyeda Zeinab following the desecration in Iraq of the tomb of Hajar Bin Aday. Several sites on the Internet published reports claiming that a takfiri group exhumed the tomb of Bin Aday, who was one of the most prominent Muslim leaders at the time of the Prophet Muhammad and who was loyal to Imam Ali bin Abi Talib. Bin Aday’s remains were reportedly taken to an unknown location. This observer infers that Hezbollah is currently a prominent presence guarding Seyeda Zeinab, and my Syrian companion noted Lebanese accents in the guard station at the entrance.
At the entrance to the women’s area, several women were praying and others appeared to be part of the shrine’s Women’s Auxiliary, or Guild, as they directed visitors while graciously assisting and providing female visitors with black chadors upon entering the sanctuary. One charming middle age woman, who appeared to be Iranian, smiled knowingly at me, and with a twinkle in her eyes jokingly offered this visiting American a chador as “a gift and souvenir from our Holy Shrine and from our community—to take back to your country, in appreciation of you not bombing us…yet!” And she laughed at her own joke, as did all who heard it, including the mayor, some nearby soldiers, and teen-aged visiting students.
Photo 2/25/14 shows the Gold Dome and the column that was damaged by a mortar round and the new security wall in the background.
Update on the capture of the bad person sought by Abu Modar
Well, did Abu Modar and his “Death Brigade” get their man?
They did indeed, and it was the night before this observer’s arrival at Seyeda Zeinab. Abu Modar detailed to this observer and a few of his militia guys the evening’s events as we made plans to leave the next morning for the Iskandroun region and an interview the PFLI President, Ali Kyali. The capture, it seems, came about not by kicking in the alleged bad guy’s door, American SWAT team-style. Rather, the suspect was stealthily followed and, during the early morning of 2/25/14, apprehended at one of the Syrian army checkpoints that surround the village of Seyeda Zeinab.
Such incidents make it clear that Seyeda Zeinab is still a target of some jihadist types given its great importance to Syria, the region, and among Muslims globally. Yet across sectarian divides here there are growing signs of the great majority of the exhausted populations being ready, to a degree, to forgive and forget at least some of the events of the past nearly 36 months.
Visiting Seyeda Zeinab is a wonderful, solemn, exhilarating and inspiring ecumenical experience—one highly recommended to all tourists planning to come to the Syrian Arab Republic as improving security conditions begin to allow for the return of international visitors.
May the Sainted Martyr, Zeinab bint Ali, whose life was devoted to charity and to nursing others, and who is a model for all humanity of resistance and defiance against oppression and all forms of injustice, forever rest in peace.
The ”responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine invoked to legitimize the 2011 war on Libya has just transmogrified into ”responsibility to attack” (R2A) Syria. Just because the Obama administration says so.
On Sunday, the White House said it had ”very little doubt” that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry ramped it up to ”undeniable” – and accused Assad of ”moral obscenity”.
So when the US bombed Fallujah with white phosphorus in late 2004 it was just taking the moral high ground. And when the US helped Saddam Hussein to gas Iranians in 1988 it was also taking the moral high ground.
The Obama administration has ruled that Assad allowed UN chemical weapons inspectors into Syria, and to celebrate their arrival unleashed a chemical weapons attack mostly against women and children only 15 kilometers away from the inspectors’ hotel. If you don’t believe it, you subscribe to a conspiracy theory.
Evidence? Who cares about evidence? Assad’s offer of access for the inspectors came ”too late”. Anyway, the UN team is only mandated to determine whether chemical weapons were deployed – but not by who, according to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman.
As far as the Obama administration and UK Prime Minister David ”of Arabia” Cameron are concerned – supported by a barrage of corporate media missiles – that’s irrelevant; Obama’s ”red line” has been crossed by Assad, period. Washington and London are in no-holds-barred mode to dismiss any facts contradicting the decision. Newspeak – of the R2A kind – rules. If this all looks like Iraq 2.0 that’s because it is. Time to fix the facts around the policy – all over again. Time for weapons of mass deception – all over again.
The Saudi-Israeli axis of fun
The window of opportunity for war is now. Assad’s forces were winning from Qusayr to Homs; pounding ”rebel” remnants out of the periphery of Damascus; deploying around Der’ah to counterpunch CIA-trained ”rebels” with advanced weapons crossing the Syrian-Jordanian border; and organizing a push to expel ”rebels” and jihadis from suburbs of Aleppo.
Now, Israel and Saudi Arabia are oh so excited because they are getting exactly what they dream just by good ol’ Wag the Dog methods. Tel Aviv has even telegraphed how it wants it: this Monday, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper headlined with ”On the Way to Attack” and even printed the ideal Order of Battle. (see photo)
Months ago, even AMAN, the Intelligence Directorate of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) concluded that Assad was not a fool to cross Obama’s chemical weapon ”red line”. So they came up with the concept of ”two entwined red lines”, the second line being the Syrian government ”losing control of its chemical weapons depots and production sites”. AMAN then proposed different strategies to Washington, from a no-fly zone to actually seizing the weapons (implying a ground attack).
It’s now back to the number one option – air strikes on the chemical weapons depots. As if the US – and Israel – had up-to-the-minute intelligence on exactly where they are.
The House of Saud had also telegraphed its wishes – after Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, was appointed by King Abdullah as head of Saudi General Intelligence. Abdullah’s hard on is explained by his mother and two of his wives coming from an influential, ultra-conservative Sunni tribe in Syria. As for Bandar Bush, he has more longevity than Rambo or the Terminator; he’s back in the same role he played in the 1980s Afghan jihad, when he was the go-to guy helping the CIA to weaponize president president Ronald Reagan’s ”freedom fighters”.
Jordan – a fiction of a country totally dependent on the Saudis – was easily manipulated into becoming a ”secret” war operation center. And who’s in charge? No less than Bandar’s younger half-brother, and deputy national security adviser, Salman bin Sultan, also known as ”mini-Bandar”. Talk about an Arab version of Dr Evil and Mini Me.
Still, there are more CIA assets than Saudis in the Jordanian front.
The importance of this report cannot be overstated enough. It was initially leaked to Lebanon’s Al-Safir newspaper. Here’s Bandar’s whole strategy, unveiled in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, already reported by Asia Times Online. After trying – for four hours – to convince Putin to drop Syria, Bandar is adamant: ”There is no escape from the military option.”
Mix Kosovo with Libya and voila!
Former president Bill Clinton resurfaced with perfect timing to compare Obama’s options in Syria to Reagan’s jihad in Afghanistan. Bubba was right in terms of positioning Bandar’s role. But he must have inhaled something if he was thinking in terms of consequences – which include everything from the Taliban to that mythical entity, ”al-Qaeda”. Well, at least al-Qaeda is already active in Syria; they don’t need to invent it.
As for that bunch of amateurs surrounding Obama – including R2P groupies such as Susan Rice and new Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, all of them liberal hawks – they are all suckers for Kosovo. Kosovo – with a Libya add-on – is being spun as the ideal model for Syria; R2P via (illegal) air strikes. Right on cue, the New York Times is already frantically parroting the idea.
Facts are, of course, absent from the narrative – including the blowing up of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade (a remix in Syria with the Russian embassy?) and getting to the brink of a war with Russia.
Syria has nothing to do with the Balkans. This is a civil war. Arguably the bulk of the Syrian urban population, not the country bumpkins, support Damascus – based on despicable ”rebel” behavior in places they control; and the absolute majority wants a political solution, as in the now near-totally torpedoed Geneva II conference.
The Jordanian scheme – inundating southern Syria with heavily weaponized mercenaries – is a remix of what the CIA and the Saudis did to AfPak; and the only winner will be Jabhat al-Nusra jihadis. As for the Israeli solution for Obama – indiscriminate bombing of chemical weapons depots – it will certainly result in horrendous collateral damage, as in R2A killing even more civilians.
The prospects remain grim. Damn another coalition of the willing; Washington already has the British and French poodles in the bag, and full support – in air-con safety – from the democratic Gulf Cooperation Council petro-monarchies, minion Jordan and nuclear power Israel. This is what passes for ”international community” in the newspeak age.
The Brits are already heavily spinning that no UN Security Council resolution is needed; who cares if we do Iraq 2.0? For the War Party, the fact that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said Syrian ”rebels” could not promote US interests seems to be irrelevant.
Washington already has what it takes for the Holy Tomahawks to start flying; 384 of them are already positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean. B-1 bombers can be deployed from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. And bunker-busting bombs will certainly be part of the picture.
What happens next requires concentric crystal balls – from Tomahawks to a barrage of air strikes to Special Ops commandos on the ground to a sustained air campaign lasting months. In his long interview to Izvestia, Assad gives the impression he thinks Obama is bluffing.
What’s certain is that Syria won’t be a ”piece of cake” like Libya; even depleted on all fronts, Gaddafi resisted for eight long months after NATO started its humanitarian bombing. Syria has a weary but still strong army of 200,000; loads of Soviet and Russian weapons; very good antiaircraft systems; and full support from asymmetrical warfare experts Iran and Hezbollah. Not to mention Russia, which just needs to forward a few S-300 air defense batteries and relay solid intelligence.
So get used to how international relations work in the age of newspeak. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s army in Egypt can kill hundreds of his own people who were protesting against a military coup. Washington couldn’t care less – as in the coup that is not a coup and the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath.
No one knows for sure what exactly happened in the chemical weapons saga near Damascus. But that’s the pretext for yet another American war – just a few days before a Group of 20 summit hosted by Putin in St Petersburg. Holy Tomahawk! R2A, here we go.
Source: Pepe Escobar | Asia Times
In 1964, the U.S. had for years been involved in covert operations in Vietnam designed to destabilize the North Vietnamese leadership and goad them into attacking American and South Vietnamese targets. On August 4th, U.S. naval authorities reported one of two recent “torpedo attacks” in the Gulf of Tonkin, torpedo attacks which were later admitted to be entirely faked in order to provide pretext for an open American invasion.
While Lyndon Johnson was declaring a “police action” in the region (essentially a war declared without the authority of Congress) CIA Station Chief Peer DeSilva was organizing Vietnam operations around a new strategy called “counter-terrorism”. This strategy held that terrorism, used in the hands of “the good-guys”, was not only acceptable, but necessary in order to undermine the support structures of the enemy. CIA counter-terror units were formed using mostly South Vietnamese nationals as well as men from surrounding countries. These hit teams, called Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU’s) were coordinated and led by U.S. special operations officers and CIA liaisons under the umbrella of ICEX – the Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation Program, meant to create perfect information sharing and centralization between various teams. The entire horrifying edifice would eventually be called “The Phoenix Program”:
The Phoenix Program is defended to this day by the CIA as nothing more than a practical counter-insurgency methodology meant to win the war faster, and with fewer casualties:
In fact, some in the mainstream still argue that Phoenix tactics should be used in Afghanistan and Iraq:
But Phoenix went far beyond aspirations of “winning” in Vietnam. The program utilized a “by any means necessary” strategy to warfare that included the use of random assassination and the FABRICATION of enemy atrocities in order to rally the civilian population around U.S. forces. PRU operators routinely targeted the backwater villages of Vietnam, killing at least 20,000 civilians as later admitted by CIA Director William Colby, and 40,000 civilians as estimated by the South Vietnamese Government. The slaughter of villages was frequently blamed on the Vietcong, while PRU’s ran rampant in the jungles, physically mutilating victims in order to draw greater emotional reactions from Southern citizens as well as oblivious Americans back home.
All of this took place under the close supervision of the CIA. Torture was often applied in CIA substations with high tech security. CIA officers carefully selected PRU troops, specifically seeking out ARVN deserters, VC traitors, and South Vietnamese criminals looking for a reduction in their prison sentences. The CIA planned and mapped operations, including death squad operations. They created teams of monsters and unleashed them upon Vietnam, not just to win against the North, but to create the illusion that the U.S. military presence was justified.
Skip ahead about 20 years…
The same exact theater was used in the 1980′s by the CIA in El Salvador. Militants and fascist political leaders, including El Salvadorian dictator-by-election-fraud Roberto D’Aubuission,trained at the Fort Benning, Georgia’s “School of the Americas” (also known as the School of the Assassins) where they learned the same “counter-terror” methods used during the Phoenix Program. This resulted in the formation of the Mano Blanco (the White Hand), a network of ruthless death squads utilized against Salvadorian citizens, killing tens of thousands in a bloodbath that was covertly endorsed by the U.S. government.
Skip ahead another 30 years…
The techniques and technology have become more sophisticated, but the general strategy remains identical.
The Syria crisis is swiftly escalating with the advent of yet another unverified chemical weapons attack on the civilian population that is being used as a broad permit for the Obama Administration to enter into open operations against the Assad government. A previous chemical attack at the beginning of this summer was left unverified, though the establishment went to great lengths to convince the American public that the Assad government was responsible. It certainly didn’t help that the UN was relying purely on “samples” from a French evening newspaper called Le Monde rather than an officially sanctioned source, and that the UN was forced to acknowledge that the Syrian insurgents may have been involved.
Today, the mainstream media and the U.S. government references “strong indications that Syria’s government used chemical weapons in attacks that opposition groups claimed killed more than 1,100 people” as if their version of events is already considered concrete reality:
But where are these “strong indications”? Where is this unassailable evidence of Assad’s involvement? The American public hasn’t been given a scrap of verifiable data concerning the attack and its origin. Once again, we are being asked to accept on simple “faith” that our government is telling us the truth and that military intervention must be supported.
Here is what we DO know for a fact…
The Syrian insurgency is made up primarily of Al Qaeda operatives (terrorists and criminals).
The CIA trained and supported these operatives using Bengahzi as a base for at least a year before the Bengahzi attacks.
Syrian insurgents have been caught on numerous occasions committing startling crimes, including the torture and murder of civilians, and the mutilation of prisoners and even their corpses. Captured Syrian soldiers are commonly executed.
The U.S. government continues to support the insurgents despite their death squad mentality, supplying heavy weapons including anti-aircraft missiles.
Syrian insurgents impose their own fanatical system of theological governance in regions where they have total control. Anyone remotely suspected of being an Assad supporter is tortured, and the civilian population is carefully vetted.
Clearly, Phoenix Program methods are being used by the CIA in Syria. The only difference in Syria is that the establishment has chosen to use the faction in rebellion as a tool for destabilization and war rather than a prevailing puppet government. Reports are now beginning to surface in the mainstream exposing direct U.S. and Israeli involvement on the ground in the Syrian theatre:
“According to our information, the regime’s opponents, supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos moving towards Damascus since mid-August. This attack could explain the possible use of the Syrian president to chemical weapons.
According to information obtained by Le Figaro , the first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid-August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa. A first group of 300 men, probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos, as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17. A second would have joined the 19. According to military sources, the Americans, who do not want to put troops on the Syrian soil or arming rebels in part controlled by radical Islamists form quietly for several months in a training camp set up at the border Jordanian- Syrian fighters ASL, the Free Syrian Army, handpicked.
According to this expert on the region, the idea proposed by Washington would be the possible establishment of a buffer zone from the south of Syria, or even a no-fly zone, which would cause opponents safely until the balance of power changes. This is the reason why the United States has deployed Patriot batteries and F16 in late June Jordan.”
This report from Le Figaro has not yet been confirmed by a secondary source, but it fits perfectly with the Phoenix paradigm. The so called “rebels” have been trained by CIA operatives and U.S. interests. The rebels are armed and funded by the U.S. government. The rebels are vicious and amoral in their tactics, frequently targeting innocent civilians in death squad fashion. And finally, the rebels, it appears, are being directed on the ground by U.S. assets. The natural next step in this process would be a false flag, and what better way than to use chemical weapons against non-combatants; a “red line” which Barack Obama previously stated “cannot be crossed”?
As I have pointed out in numerous articles dealing with engineered disaster events, if you aren’t examining who benefits, you aren’t seeing the big picture.
Who REALLY benefits from the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria? Assad, already nearing victory against the insurgents, gains absolutely nothing from killing hundreds if not thousands of his own people with Sarin gas on the same exact day that a UN inspections team arrives in the country. However, the insurgents gain immense military support from the West if Assad is successfully labeled a war criminal. The establishment gains a pretext for air strikes, no-fly zones, and eventually a physical invasion of the region, which is something they have obviously wanted for quite some time given the fact that they have manipulated the Syrian revolution from its very inception.
It’s all happened before, with different players, different faces, and different ideologies, but always the same winner – the global elites. Call it the “Phoenix Program”, call it the “School Of The Americas”, call it the “Arab Spring”; it doesn’t really matter. The endgame is predictable. Unilateral war without the approval of the American people or even Congress. Collapse of a nation or multiple nations resulting in the deaths of tens of thousand, hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions. Severe economic and social implications reverberating throughout the rest of the world. And American culture takes several steps closer to a totalitarian hell on Earth
I have been predicting the use of Syria as a catalyst for wider war for years:
And in recent months, I reiterated my concerns and predictions, many of which are coming true as you read this:
I do believe that the Obama Administration is going to steamroll forward with overt U.S. action in Syria, Iran, and likely Egypt. I do believe that the consequences economically and politically in America will be catastrophic. I believe that if extended U.S. or Israeli strikes occur in Syria, they will be accompanied by subsequent attacks here at home (false flag or otherwise). I believe that a Syrian strike should be considered a Red Alert event for those in the Liberty Movement preparing for the worst. We may not be able to stop the landslide of devastation that will be triggered in coming months, but we can still decide the outcome. Make yourselves ready now, and do not waver.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Why Washington and Tel Aviv Want Hezbollah to Keep Fighting in al-Qusayr…
Homs Province, Syria…
During a tour of some of the neighborhoods in Homs, Syria’s third largest city after Aleppo and Damascus, with a pre-conflict population of approximately 800,000 (nearly half Homs residents have fled over the past two years) located maybe about 22 miles NE of the current hot-spot of al-Qusayr, this observer engaged is a few interesting conversations. More accurately labeled diatribes–with some long bearded Sunni fundamentalists who claimed they came from Jabhat al Nusra, aka Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahl ash-Shām, “Front of Defense for the People of Greater Syria”), and were preparing to return to al Qusayr to fight “the deniers of Allah”!
It is the strategic crossroads town of al-Qusayr, and its environs, which whoever controls, can block supplies and reinforcements to and from Damascus and locations north and east. For those seeking the ouster of Syria’s government, including NATO countries led by Washington, were their “allies” to lose control of al-Qusayr it would mean the cutting off of supplies from along the Lebanese border, from which most of the local opposition’s weapons flow and fighters have been smuggled over the past 26 months. If the Assad regime forces regain control of the city, Washington believes they will move north and conquer current opposition positions in Homs and Rastan, both areas being dependent on support from Lebanon and al-Qusayr. Some analysts are saying this morning, with perhaps a bit of hyperbole that as al-Qusayr goes so goes Syria and the National Lebanese Resistance, led by Hezbollah.
If government forces can retake the city it will put an end to the Saudi-Qatari green light, in exchange for controlling al-Qusayr, of the setting up a Salafist emirate in the area which would constitute a threat to the nearly two dozen Shia Lebanese inhabited villages of the Hermel region. If the Syrian army re-takes al-Qusayr, it would also avoid the likelihood of a full-fledged sectarian war on both sides of the border.
Meeting with a few self-proclaimed al Nusra Front militiaman last week, in Homs, one who spoke excellent British English they had plenty to say to this observer about current events in al Qusayr to which they planned to return the next day to fight enemies “by all means Allah gives us”. One added, when asked if they had confronted Hezbollah: “Of course but Hezbollah can’t defeat us. Eventually they will withdraw from Syria on orders from Tehran. But first enshallah we will bleed Hezbollah with thousands of cut throats”, he boasted raucously as nearby kids cheered and gave V for victory signs, smiles, giggles and cackling all around.
Such Jihadist rants are music to more than a few US congressional and White House ears these days, as once more in this region, a major US-Israeli carefully calibrated regime change project, appears to be falling short.
This week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition with a recommendation to “provide defense articles, defense services, and military training” directly to the opposition throughout Syria, who naturally, will “have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States”. History teaches that the vetting part would not happen if the scheme is implemented, despite only a few in Congress objecting.
Perhaps lacking some of his father Ron Paul’s insights into US hegemonic plans for this region, Senator Rand Paul did object to the measure and he fumed at his colleagues: ”This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”
According to the Hill Rag weekly, veteran war-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, flashed a knowing smile but gave no rebuttal, perhaps realizing that Senator Paul is a bit untutored on the reality of current Obama Administration policy in Syria generally, and for al-Qusayr, in particular.
Contrary to the shock and anger expressed by Senator Paul, American policy in Syria is to de facto assist allies of al Qaeda including the US “Terrorist-listed” Al-
Their victory according to US Senate sources would be a severe blow and challenge to Iran’s rising influence in the region and Iran’s leadership of the increasing regional and global resistance to the Zionist occupiers of Palestine in favor of the full right to return of every ethnically cleansed Palestinian refugee.
While Congress was considering what else to do to help the “rebels”, on 5/22/13, no fewer than 11 so-called “World powers” foreign ministers, including Turkey and Jordan, met in Amman to condem, with straight faces, even, tongues in cheek, the “flagrant intervention” in Syria by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters.” They urged their immediate withdrawal from the war-torn country. In a joint statement, the “Friends of Syria” group called “for the immediate withdrawal of Hezbollah and Iranian fighters, and other regime allied foreign fighters from Syrian territory.”
Not one peep of course, about the Salafist-Jihadist-Takfuri fighters from more than 30 countries now ravaging Syria’s population. The truth of the matter is that the governments represented by their foreign ministers this week in Amman, will follow the US lead which means they will assist, despite some cautionary public words, virtually any ally of al-Qaeda whose fighting in Syria may be seen as weakening the Assad government and its supporters in Iran and Lebanon.
According to one long-term Congressional aide to a prominent Democratic Senator from the West Coast, while the Amman gathering described Hezbollah’s armed presence in Syria as “a threat to regional stability”, the White House could not be more pleased that Hezbollah is in al-Qusayr.” When pressed via email for elaboration, the Middle East specialist offered the view that the White House agrees with Israel that al-Qusayr may become Hezbollah’s Dien Bein Phu and the Syrian conflict could well turn into Iran’s “Vietnam”. ..Quite a few folks around here (Capitol Hill) think al-Qusayr will remove Hezbollah from the list of current threats to Israel. And the longer they keep themselves bogged down in quick-sand over there the better for Washington and Tel Aviv. Hopefully they will remain in al-Qusayr for a long hot summer and gut their ranks in South Lebanon via battle field attrition and Israel can make its move and administer a coup de grace.”
The staffer followed up with another email with only one short sentence and a smiley face:
“Of course the White House and its concrete wall-solid ally might be wrong!”
The dangers for Hezbollah are obvious – that it may be drawn ever deeper into a bottomless pit of conflict in Syria that could leave it severely depleted and prey to a hoped for death-blow from Israel.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and other party officials have dismissed that possibility.
The next few weeks may tell.
Last week, two nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers flew non-stop from America to South Korea, and then home. These ‘invisible’ aircraft can carry the GBU-43/B MOAB 13,600kg bomb that is said to be able to blast through 70 meters of reinforced concrete, putting North Korea’s underground nuclear facilities and its leadership’s command bunkers under dire threat.
Earlier this month, US B-52’s heavy bombers staged mock attack runs over South Korea – within minutes flying time of the North – rekindling memories of the massive US carpet bombing raids that devastated North Korea during the 1950’s Korean War. US-South Korean-Australian war games in March were designed to train for war with the North. The US media ignored these provocative exercises, but, as usual, North Korea went ballistic, foolishly threatening to attack the US with long-ranged missiles it does not yet possess.
We have grown jaded over the years by North Korea’s threats and chest-beating. But its recent successful nuclear test and work on a long-ranged missile have begun to add muscle to Pyongyang’s threats. No sooner was the new young North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, in power than the US, South Korea and Japan began testing him.
More important, the US-South Korea defense treaty calls on Washington to militarily intervene if war erupts between North and South Korea. Given present tensions, a border fight on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), commando raids by North Korea’s 110,000-man special forces, air or naval clashes could quickly lead to full war.
North Korea has repeatedly threatened to flatten parts of South Korea’s capitol, Seoul, using 11,000 heavy guns and rocket batteries hidden in caves along the DMZ. North Korean commandos and missile batteries are tasked with attacking all US airbases and command headquarters in South Korea. The 28,500 US troops based in South Korea will also be a primary target.
North Korea’s medium ranged missiles are aimed at US bases on mainland Japan, Okinawa and Guam. North Korea’s tough 1.1-million man army is poised to attack south. Massive US airpower would eventually blunt such an advance, but that would mean moving US warplanes from the Gulf and Afghanistan. The US Air Force’s stocks of bombs and missiles are perilously low and its equipment showing heavy wear and tear.
The US has become accustomed to waging war against small nations whose ‘threat’ has been wildly overblown: Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Libya. The last real war fought by the US, against Vietnam, was an epic defeat for American arms. North Korea is not an Iraq or Libya.
North Korea’s air force and navy would be quickly destroyed by US and South Korean air power within days of war. But taking on North Korea’s hard as nails army will be a serious challenge if it fights on the defensive. Pentagon studies show that invading North Korea could cost the US up to 250,000 casualties. So the US would be clearly tempted to use tactical nuclear weapons. But North Korea vows to nuke Japan if the US goes nuclear. And there is the threat of Chinese intervention.
The US would be wise to back off from this confrontation and lower tensions with North Korea. America’s empty Treasury can’t afford yet another war, having already blown $2 trillion on the lost wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. America’s armed forces, bogged down in the Mideast and Afghanistan, are in no shape to fight a real war in Korea. Just moving heavy armor and guns there would take months.
Now might be a good time for Washington to ease rather than keep tightening sanctions on North Korea. Pyongyang’s real objectives are to gain a non-aggression treaty with the US and direct, normal relations. Washington won’t hear of this, though it deals with other repellant regimes. American neocons are determined to overthrow North Korea’s regime, fearing it will send advanced arms to Israel’s Mideast foes.
Military forces on the Korean Peninsula are on hair-trigger alert. Flying B-2’s near the North is almost daring it to attack. Diplomats, not air force generals, should be running this largely manufactured crisis.
The early 21st century is addicted to war porn, a prime spectator sport consumed by global couch and digital potatoes. War porn took the limelight on the evening of September 11, 2001, when the George W Bush administration launched the “war on terror” – which was interpreted by many of its practitioners as a subtle legitimization of United States state terror against, predominantly, Muslims.
This was also a war OF terror – as in a manifestation of state terror pitting urban high-tech might against basically rural, low-tech cunning. The US did not exercise this monopoly; Beijing practiced it in Xinjiang, its far west, and Russia practiced it in Chechnya.
Like porn, war porn cannot exist without being based on a lie – a crude representation. But unlike porn, war porn is the real thing; unlike crude, cheap snuff movies, people in war porn actually die – in droves.
The lie to finish all lies at the center of this representation was definitely established with the leak of the 2005 Downing Street memo, in which the head of the British MI6 confirmed that the Bush administration wanted to take out Iraq’s Saddam Hussein by linking Islamic terrorism with (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD). So, as the memo put it, “The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
In the end, George “you’re either with us or against us” Bush did star in his own, larger-than-life snuff movie – that happened to double as the invasion and destruction of the eastern flank of the Arab nation.
The New Guernica
Iraq may indeed be seen as the Star Wars of war porn – an apotheosis of sequels. Take the (second) Fallujah offensive in late 2004. At the time I described it as the new Guernica. I also took the liberty of paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre, writing about the Algerian War; after Fallujah no two Americans shall meet without a corpse lying between them. To quote Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, there were bodies, bodies everywhere.
The Francisco Franco in Fallujah was Iyad Allawi, the US-installed interim premier. It was Allawi who “asked” the Pentagon to bomb Fallujah. In Guernica – as in Fallujah – there was no distinction between civilians and guerrillas: it was the rule of “Viva la muerte!”
United States Marine Corps commanders said on the record that Fallujah was the house of Satan. Franco denied the massacre in Guernica and blamed the local population – just as Allawi and the Pentagon denied any civilian deaths and insisted “insurgents” were guilty.
Fallujah was reduced to rubble, at least 200,000 residents became refugees, and thousands of civilians were killed, in order to “save it” (echoes of Vietnam). No one in Western corporate media had the guts to say that in fact Fallujah was the American Halabja.
Fifteen years before Fallujah, in Halabja, Washington was a very enthusiastic supplier of chemical weapons to Saddam, who used them to gas thousands of Kurds. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at the time said it was not Saddam; it was Khomeinist Iran. Yet Saddam did it, and did it deliberately, just like the US in Fallujah.
Fallujah doctors identified swollen and yellowish corpses without any injuries, as well as “melted bodies” – victims of napalm, the cocktail of polystyrene and jet fuel. Residents who managed to escape told of bombing by “poisonous gases” and “weird bombs that smoke like a mushroom cloud … and then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them. The pieces of these strange bombs explode into large fires that burn the skin even when you throw water over them.”
That’s exactly what happens to people bombed with napalm or white phosphorus. The United Nations banned the bombing of civilians with napalm in 1980. The US is the only country in the world still using napalm.
Fallujah also provided a mini-snuff movie hit; the summary execution of a wounded, defenseless Iraqi man inside a mosque by a US Marine. The execution, caught on tape, and watched by millions on YouTube, graphically spelled out the “special” rules of engagement. US Marine commanders at the time were telling their soldiers to “shoot everything that moves and everything that doesn’t move”; to fire “two bullets in every body”; in case of seeing any military-aged men in the streets of Fallujah, to “drop ‘em”; and to spray every home with machine-gun and tank fire before entering them.
The rules of engagement in Iraq were codified in a 182-page field manual distributed to each and every soldier and issued in October 2004 by the Pentagon. This counter-insurgency manual stressed five rules; “protect the population; establish local political institutions; reinforce local governments; eliminate insurgent capabilities; and exploit information from local sources.”
Now back to reality. Fallujah’s population was not protected: it was bombed out of the city and turned into a mass of thousands of refugees. Political institutions were already in place: the Fallujah Shura was running the city. No local government can possibly run a pile of rubble to be recovered by seething citizens, not to mention be “reinforced”. “Insurgent capabilities” were not eliminated; the resistance dispersed around the 22 other cities out of control by the US occupation, and spread up north all the way to Mosul; and the Americans remained without intelligence “from local sources” because they antagonized every possible heart and mind.
Meanwhile, in the US, most of the population was already immune to war porn. When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke out in the spring of 2004, I was driving through Texas, exploring Bushland. Virtually everybody I spoke to either attributed the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners to “a few bad apples”, or defended it on patriotic grounds (“we must teach a lesson to “terrorists”).
I Love A Man In Uniform
In thesis, there is an approved mechanism in the 21st century to defend civilians from war porn. It’s the R2P – “responsibility to protect” doctrine. This was an idea floated already in 2001 – a few weeks after the war on terror was unleashed, in fact – by the Canadian government and a few foundations. The idea was that the concert of nations had a “moral duty” to deploy a humanitarian intervention in cases such as Halabja, not to mention the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the mid-1970s or the genocide in Rwanda in the mid-1990s.
In 2004, a panel at the UN codified the idea – crucially with the Security Council being able to authorize a “military intervention” only “as a last resort”. Then, in 2005, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution supporting R2P, and in 2006 the UN Security Council passed resolution 1674 about “the protection of civilians in armed conflict”; they should be protected against “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.
Now fast-forward to the end of 2008, early 2009, when Israel – using American fighter jets to raise hell – unleashed a large-scale attack on the civilian population of the Gaza strip.
Look at the official US reaction; “Israel has obviously decided to protect herself and her people,” said then-president Bush. The US Congress voted by a staggering 390-to-5 to recognize “Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza”. The incoming Barack Obama administration was thunderously silent. Only future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We support Israel’s right to self-defense.”
At least 1,300 civilians – including scores of women and children – were killed by state terror in Gaza. Nobody invoked R2P. Nobody pointed to Israel’s graphic failure in its “responsibility to protect” Palestinians. Nobody called for a “humanitarian intervention” targeting Israel.
The mere notion that a superpower – and other lesser powers – make their foreign policy decisions based on humanitarian grounds, such as protecting people under siege, is an absolute joke. So already at the time we learned how R2P was to be instrumentalized. It did not apply to the US in Iraq or Afghanistan. It did not apply to Israel in Palestine. It would eventually apply only to frame “rogue” rulers that are not “our bastards” – as in Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. “Humanitarian” intervention, yes; but only to get rid of “the bad guys.”
And the beauty of R2P was that it could be turned upside down anytime. Bush pleaded for the “liberation” of suffering Afghans – and especially burqa-clad Afghan women – from the “evil” Taliban, in fact configuring Afghanistan as a humanitarian intervention.
And when the bogus links between al-Qaeda and the non-existent WMDs were debunked, Washington began to justify the invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq via … R2P; “responsibility to protect” Iraqis from Saddam, and then to protect Iraqis from themselves.
The Killer Awoke Before Dawn
The most recent installment in serial episodes of war porn is the Kandahar massacre, when, according to the official Pentagon version (or cover up) an American army sergeant, a sniper and Iraqi war veteran – a highly trained assassin – shot 17 Afghan civilians, including nine women and four children, in two villages two miles apart, and burned some of their bodies.
Like with Abu Ghraib, there was the usual torrent of denials from the Pentagon – as in “this is not us” or “we don’t do things these way”; not to mention a tsunami of stories in US corporate media humanizing the hero-turned-mass killer, as in “he’s such a good guy, a family man”. In contrast, not a single word about The Other – the Afghan victims. They are faceless; and nobody knows their names.
A – serious – Afghan enquiry established that some 20 soldiers may have been part of the massacre – as in My Lai in Vietnam; and that included the rape of two of the women. It does make sense. War porn is a lethal, group subculture – complete with targeted assassinations, revenge killings, desecration of bodies, harvesting of trophies (severed fingers or ears), burning of Korans and pissing on dead bodies. It’s essentially a collective sport.
US “kill teams” have deliberately executed random, innocent Afghan civilians, mostly teenagers, for sport, planted weapons on their bodies, and then posed with their corpses as trophies. Not by accident they had been operating out of a base in the same area of the Kandahar massacre.
And we should not forget former top US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who in April 10, 2010, admitted, bluntly, “We’ve shot an amazing number of people” who were not a threat to the US or Western civilization.
The Pentagon spins and sells in Afghanistan what it sold in Iraq (and even way back in Vietnam for that matter); the idea that this is a “population-centric counter-insurgency” – or COIN, to “win hearts and minds”, and part of a great nation building project.
This is a monumental lie. The Obama surge in Afghanistan – based on COIN – was a total failure. What replaced it was hardcore, covert, dark war, led by “kill teams” of Special Forces. That implies an inflation of air strikes and night raids. No to mention drone strikes, both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas, whose favorite targets seem to be Pashtun wedding parties.
Incidentally, the CIA claims that since May 2010, ultra-smart drones have killed more than 600 “carefully selected” human targets – and, miraculously, not a single civilian.
Expect to see this war porn extravaganza celebrated in an orgy of upcoming, joint Pentagon-Hollywood blockbusters. In real life, this is spun by people such as John Nagl, who was on General David Petraeus’ staff in Iraq and now runs the pro-Pentagon think-tank Center for New American Security.
The new stellar macho, macho men may be the commandos under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). But this a Pentagon production, which has created, according to Nagl, an “industrial strength counter-terrorism killing machine”.
Reality, though, is much more prosaic. COIN techniques, applied by McChrystal, relied on only three components; 24-hour surveillance by drones; monitoring of mobile phones; and pinpointing the physical location of the phones from their signals.
This implies that anyone in an area under a drone watch using a cell phone was branded as a “terrorist”, or at least “terrorist sympathizer”. And then the focus of the night raids in Afghanistan shifted from “high value targets” – high-level and mid-level al-Qaeda and Taliban – to anyone who was branded as helping the Taliban.
In May 2009, before McChrystal arrived, US Special Forces were carrying 20 raids a month. By November, they were 90 a month. By the spring of 2010, they were 250 a month. When McChrystal was fired – because of a story in Rolling Stone (he was competing with Lady Gaga for the cover; Lady Gaga won) – and Obama replaced him with Petraeus in the summer of 2010, there were 600 a month. By April 2011, they were more than 1,000 a month.
So this is how it works. Don’t even think of using a cell phone in Kandahar and other Afghan provinces. Otherwise, the “eyes in the sky” are going to get you. At the very least you will be sent to jail, along with thousands of other civilians branded as “terrorist sympathizers”; and intelligence analysts will use your data to compile their “kill/capture list” and catch even more civilians in their net.
As for the civilian “collateral damage” of the night raids, they were always presented by the Pentagon as “terrorists”. Example; in a raid in Gardez on February 12, 2010, two men were killed; a local government prosecutor and an Afghan intelligence official, as well as three women (two of them pregnant). The killers told the US-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command in Kabul that the two men were “terrorists” and the women had been found tied up and gagged. Then the actual target of the raid turned himself in for questioning a few days later, and was released without any charges.
That’s just the beginning. Targeted assassination – as practiced in Afghanistan – will be the Pentagon’s tactic of choice in all future US wars.
Pass The Condom, Darling
Libya was a major war porn atrocity exhibition – complete with a nifty Roman touch of the defeated “barbarian” chief sodomized in the streets and then executed, straight on YouTube.
This, by the way, is exactly what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a lightning visit to Tripoli, had announced less than 48 hours before the fact. Gaddafi should be “captured or killed”. When she watched it in the screen of her BlackBerry she could only react with the semantic earthquake “Wow!”
From the minute a UN resolution imposed a no-fly zone over Libya under the cover of R2P, it became a green card to regime change. Plan A was always to capture and kill Gaddafi – as in an Afghan-style targeted assassination. That was the Obama administration official policy. There was no plan B.
Obama said the death of Gaddafi meant, “the strength of American leadership across the world”. That was as “We got him” (echoes of Saddam captured by the Bush administration) as one could possibly expect.
With an extra bonus. Even though Washington paid no less than 80% of the operating costs of those dimwits at NATO (roughly $2 billion), it was still pocket money. Anyway, it was still awkward to say, “We did it”, because the White House always said this was not a war; it was a “kinetic” something. And they were not in charge.
Only the hopelessly naïve may have swallowed the propaganda of NATO’s “humanitarian” 40,000-plus bombing which devastated Libya’s infrastructure back to the Stone Age as a Shock and Awe in slow motion. This never had anything to do with R2P.
This was R2P as safe sex – and the “international community” was the condom. The “international community”, as everyone knows, is composed of Washington, a few washed-up NATO members, and the democratic Persian Gulf powerhouses of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), plus the House of Saud in the shade. The EU, which up to extra time was caressing the helm of Gaddafi’s gowns, took no time to fall over themselves in editorials about the 42-year reign of a “buffoon”.
As for the concept of international law, it was left lying in a drain as filthy as the one Gaddafi was holed up in. Saddam at least got a fake trial in a kangaroo court before meeting the executioner (he ended up on YouTube as well). Osama bin Laden was simply snuffed out, assassination-style, after a territorial invasion of Pakistan (no YouTube – so many don’t believe it). Gaddafi went one up, snuffed out with a mix of air war and assassination. They are The Three Graceful Scalps of War Porn.
Syria is yet another declination of war porn narrative. If you can’t R2P it, fake it.
And to think that all this was codified such a long time ago. Already in 1997, the US Army War College Quarterly was defining what they called “the future of warfare”. They framed it as “the conflict between information masters and information victims”.
They were sure “we are already masters of information warfare … Hollywood is ‘preparing the battlefield’ … Information destroys traditional jobs and traditional cultures; it seduces, betrays, yet remains invulnerable … Our sophistication in handling it will enable us to outlast and outperform all hierarchical cultures … Societies that fear or otherwise cannot manage the flow of information simply will not be competitive. They might master the technological wherewithal to watch the videos, but we will be writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties. Our creativity is devastating.”
Post-everything information warfare has nothing to do with geopolitics. Just like the proverbial Hollywood product, it is to be “spawned” out of raw emotions; “hatred, jealousy, and greed – emotions, rather than strategy”.
In Syria this is exactly how Western corporate media has scripted the whole movie; the War College “information warfare” tactics in practice. The Syrian government never had much of a chance against those “writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties”.
For example, the armed opposition, the so-called Free Syrian Army (a nasty cocktail of defectors, opportunists, jihadis and foreign mercenaries) brought Western journalists to Homs and then insisted to extract them, in extremely dangerous condition, and with people being killed, via Lebanon, rather than through the Red Crescent. They were nothing else than writing the script for a foreign-imposed “humanitarian corridor” to be opened to Homs. This was pure theater – or war porn packaged as a Hollywood drama.
The problem is Western public opinion is now hostage to this brand of information warfare. Forget about even the possibility of peaceful negotiations among adult parties. What’s left is a binary good guys versus bad guys plot, where the Big Bad Guy must be destroyed at all costs (and on top of it his wife is a snob bitch who loves shopping!)
Only the terminally naïve may believe that jihadis – including Libya’s NATO rebels – financed by the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, also know as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are a bunch of democratic reformists burning with good intentions. Even Human Rights Watch was finally forced to acknowledge that these armed “activists” were responsible for “kidnapping, detention, and torture”, after receiving reports of “executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians”.
What this (soft and hard) war porn narrative veils, in the end, is the real Syrian tragedy; the impossibility for the much-lauded “Syrian people” to get rid of all these crooks – the Assad system, the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Syrian National Council, and the mercenary-infested Free Syrian Army.
Listen To The Sound of Chaos
This – very partial – catalogue of sorrows inevitably brings us to the current supreme war porn blockbuster – the Iran psychodrama.
2012 is the new 2002; Iran is the new Iraq; and whatever the highway, to evoke the neo-con motto, real men go to Tehran via Damascus, or real men go to Tehran non-stop.
Perhaps only underwater in the Arctic we would be able to escape the cacophonous cortege of American right-wingers – and their respective European poodles – salivating for blood and deploying the usual festival of fallacies like “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”, “diplomacy has run its course”, “the sanctions are too late”, or “Iran is within a year, six months, a week, a day, or a minute of assembling a bomb”. Of course these dogs of war would never bother to follow what the International Atomic Energy Agency is actually doing, not to mention the National Intelligence Estimates released by the 17 US intelligence agencies.
Because they, to a great extent, are “writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties” in terms of corporate media, they can get away with an astonishingly toxic fusion of arrogance and ignorance – about the Middle East, about Persian culture, about Asian integration, about the nuclear issue, about the oil industry, about the global economy, about “the Rest” as compared to “the West”.
Just like with Iraq in 2002, Iran is always dehumanized. The relentless, totally hysterical, fear-inducing “narrative” of “should we bomb now or should we bomb later” is always about oh so very smart bunker buster bombs and precision missiles that will accomplish an ultra clean large-scale devastation job without producing a single “collateral damage”. Just like safe sex.
And even when the voice of the establishment itself – the New York Times – admits that neither US nor Israeli intelligence believe Iran has decided to build a bomb (a 5-year-old could reach the same conclusion), the hysteria remains inter-galactic.
Meanwhile, while it gets ready – “all options are on the table”, Obama himself keeps repeating – for yet another war in what it used to call “arc of instability”, the Pentagon also found time to repackage war porn. It took only a 60-second video now on YouTube, titled Toward the Sound of Chaos, released only a few days after the Kandahar massacre. Just look at its key target audience: the very large market of poor, unemployed and politically very naïve young Americans.
Let’s listen to the mini-movie voice over: “Where chaos looms, the Few emerge. Marines move toward the sounds of tyranny, injustice and despair – with the courage and resolve to silence them. By ending conflict, instilling order and helping those who can’t help themselves, Marines face down the threats of our time.”
Maybe, in this Orwellian universe, we should ask the dead Afghans urinated upon by US Marines, or the thousands of dead in Fallujah, to write a movie review. Well, dead men don’t write. Maybe we could think about the day NATO enforces a no-fly one over Saudi Arabia to protect the Shi’ites in the eastern province, while Pentagon drones launch a carpet of Hellfire missiles over those thousands of arrogant, medieval, corrupt House of Saud princes. No, it’s not going to happen.
Over a decade after the beginning of the war on terror, this is what the world is coming to; a lazy, virtually worldwide audience, jaded, dazed and distracted from distraction by distraction, helplessly hooked on the shabby atrocity exhibition of war porn.
Source: Asia Times
I wrote that last year in two exposés: “The Selling of the WWC” and “The WWC Desecrates its Namesake’s Legacy”. They revealed that the Washington, DC-based Wilson Center is violating its Congressional mandate and is up to its neck in tainted corporate cash.
A leading Congressman, a Wilson family descendant, citizens’ groups, and many others agreed. One prominent journalist called the WWC “a global joke.”
Several months ago, this Congressionally-created, multi-million dollar think tank, funded partly by taxpayers, made another colossal blunder. It hired former eight-term Congresswoman Jane Harman (D–CA) to be its president, replacing Lee Hamilton, also a former Congressman.
Harman, like Hamilton, is not only part of the good-old-boy (and girl) network of which the WWC is so fond. Among her other baggage, charges of illegal conduct in a spy scandal involving AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) have shadowed Harman for years.
Let’s take a closer look at Harman and the Wilson Center to see why they’re the marriage from hell.
Harman’s spy scandal
Two top AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, were indicted on spy charges in 2005 for passing classified documents to Israel.
Citing confidential sources, Time magazine, in 2006, and Congressional Quarterly, two years ago, reported that the Feds had wiretapped Cong. Jane Harman and a “suspected Israeli agent” agreeing to this deal: Harman would persuade the Justice Department to reduce the charges against Rosen and Weissman; in exchange, AIPAC and its influential supporters would persuade then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to reappoint the unpopular Harman as top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
The Justice Department and CIA wanted to prosecute Harman. But Alberto Gonzales, President Bush’s Attorney General, reportedly refused because – ironically – he “needed Jane” to support the government’s ongoing warrantless wiretapping program.
Shockingly, charges against Rosen and Weissman were dropped in 2009 because a judge put constraints on Federal prosecutors. Larry Franklin, the Defense Department official who passed the classified documents to the two AIPAC officials, wasn’t so lucky. He pled guilty three years earlier and went to prison.
Harman has long denied any wrongdoing. She has never, however, given a full account of her conversations regarding Rosen and Weissman. Full accounts, as we shall see, are not one of Harman’s virtues.
Harman’s genocide flip-flop
While co-sponsoring Congressional resolution HR 106 on the Armenian genocide committed by Turkey, Cong. Harman went behind the backs of her constituents in October of 2007 by asking then-Foreign Relations Chair Tom Lantos (D-CA) to bury the resolution. Only after her constituents discovered this through other sources did she admit to it.
But the explanations for her flip-flop made little sense. “This is the wrong time” for the resolution, wrote Harman. But she couldn’t cite anything relevant in 2007 that had changed regarding Turkey, Armenia, or the Middle East since she signed onto the resolution a few years earlier.
Harman claimed that a genocide resolution would “embarrass or isolate the Turkish leadership.” This claim came suspiciously soon after she met with Turkey’s threatening Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan. Apparently, recognizing a genocide requires an OK from the perpetrating country’s leader.
But Harman reached truly ridiculous heights by claiming– again, this was in 2007 – that it was “obvious” that Turkey’s “leadership” was needed for “resolving the Israel-Palestine issue.” Turkey had never, of course, played a significant role in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians. What really caused Harman’s genocide flip-flop?
Jewish groups and Turkey
AIPAC was (and is) one of several major Jewish American organizations that have colluded with Turkey to, among other things, defeat Armenian genocide resolutions. Israel, Turkey, and Jewish groups formed their ménage-à-trois in the 1990’s.
Yola Johnston, Community Outreach Director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has admitted that AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, her own organization, and “the Jewish lobby” have “quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”
AIPAC, reported the Washington Times last year, had “lit up the phones” against the genocide resolution when “the Turks” asked a “senior researcher” at AIPAC to do so. That “senior researcher” and “architect of the Jewish community’s support for Turkey” was none other than AIPAC’s notorious Keith Weissman. So the Harman-AIPAC-Weissman threesome was at the center of not only a spy scandal but also a genocide cover-up.
And there’s more. Yet another scandal may have induced Harman’s genocide duplicity.
Anti-Defamation League scandal
Harman wrote her genocide flip-flop letter to Chairman Lantos just as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was taking a beating in the U.S. and internationally for denying the Armenian genocide and helping Turkey lobby against Armenian genocide recognition. Human rights activists, principled Jews, and Armenian Americans had just months earlier launched a campaign (see NoPlaceForDenial.com) that was to result in more than a dozen Massachusetts cities’ evicting the ADL’s so-called “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program.
The Turkish government was furious that the embarrassing arrangement among it, Jewish groups, and Israel was being splashed across the headlines.
Did Harman, who was certainly aware of this uproar, panic at the prospect of a further deterioration in the already strained relations between Israel and Turkey? Did she ask Lantos to kill the genocide resolution because Turkey would blame Israel, AIPAC, the ADL, and even Harman herself if the resolution succeeded?
Considering the timing, Harman’s relationship to Israel and the genocide-denying AIPAC, and the illogical explanations for her flip-flop, it seems probable. Though the House Committee narrowing passed the resolution, Harman had to be pleased that it did not make it any further. Her appeasement of Turkey, however, proved to be in vain:
- Erdogan was soon calling Shimon Peres a mass murderer (January 2009) for Israel’s offensive against Gaza.
- Israel scolded and humiliated Turkey’s ambassador (January 2010) in response to Turkish criticism and an anti-Israeli TV show.
- Israeli commandos shot nine Turks to death on a ship that had tried to break the Gaza blockade (May 2010).
- Erdogan has expelled the Israeli ambassador, cut defense ties with Tel Aviv, and threatened military retaliation unless Israeli apologizes and pays compensation for the flotilla killings.
But when, like Harman, one has few firm principles and has fooled herself into believing that a country such as Turkey is a friend, she inevitably winds up with yogurt on her face.
No self-respecting institution would have considered hiring anyone with Harman’s background. That may explain why the Wilson Center hired her. It has little respect for its mission or the American people.
The Wilson Center flouts Congress
The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Act of 1968 was crystal clear: The WWC must commemorate Wilson’s “ideals and concerns” and memorialize “his accomplishments.” Yet it has ignored large swaths of the Wilson administration’s record on the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), Turkey, and the Middle East.
The WWC isn’t just thumbing its nose at Congress and taxpayers. It has closed its eyes to a wealth of political knowledge about a region in which the U.S. has enormous interests. The Caucasus, for example, is a major locus for producing and transporting oil and gas. It’s also ground-zero in the new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, particularly since the Russian-Georgian war of 2008.
Donald Wilson Bush, President of the Woodrow Wilson Legacy Foundation and a Wilson family descendant, has rightly accused the WWC of “violating [its] very own mission and purpose.”
Wilson and the State Department’s record on the region from the WW 1 era is extensive. Though the U.S. did not formally declare war against Turkey in WW1, Turkey was the main ally of Germany, America’s enemy. Wilson condemned, in the strongest terms, Turkey’s genocide of Armenians and was a fervent advocate of Armenian independence. By the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres – a product of the Paris Peace Conference in 1920 – the U.S. formally delineated the borders of that part of Armenia and Kurdistan that now lies within Turkey’s eastern regions. Turkey later reneged on the Treaty.
Yet, despite the clear stipulation of Congress, Wilson’s record has been almost totally ignored by the WWC. Indeed, three years ago, historian and legal scholar Ara Papian, a Canadian resident and former Armenian Ambassador to Canada, applied for a WWC Fellowship to do ground-breaking research on the U.S. archival record regarding Turkey and the Caucasus – a proposal the WWC should have jumped at. Papian was rejected without explanation. Ironically, several months ago Lee Hamilton told the American Historical Association that U.S. foreign policy officials need the views of “historians.” Yet as WWC president, he all but ignored the history of Wilson’s Caucasus policies.
Tainted corporate cash
The WWC has been corrupted by its gluttony for corporate cash. Case in point: it acknowledged that money was the main reason it journeyed to Turkey in 2010 to honor a Turkish billionaire whose Dogus Holding conglomerate is a WWC donor, and to give a much-criticized award to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Cong. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, blasted Lee Hamilton for honoring Davutoglu. Ackerman cited Turkey’s military occupation of Cyprus, closure of the border with Armenia, and denial of the Armenian genocide. Honoring Davutoglu was “absolutely inconsistent with the mission of the WWC and the ideals that animated President Wilson’s administration and foreign policy.”
The Wilson Center, added Donald Wilson Bush, had engaged in “Turkish diplomatic appeasement.” It had “sacrificed its legitimacy as a ‘neutral forum for open, serious, and informed dialogue.’”
“Why,” asked Claudia Rosett, “should Congress keep fueling this morally blank, misleading and venal exercise [the WWC] with millions of American tax dollars?” Good question.
Part of why the WWC has all but ignored Wilson’s record on Turkey and the Caucasus is undoubtedly that many major donors (present and past members of its elite “Wilson Alliance”) have lobbied for, or been members of trade organizations that have lobbied for, Turkey and against the Armenian resolution. These include Alcoa, BAE Systems, Bechtel, Boeing, Bombardier, Chevron, Coca Cola, Exxon-Mobil and Honeywell.
In fact, Harman’s predecessor, Lee Hamilton, engaged in a clear conflict of interest during his tenure by sitting on the board of BAE Systems, a defense giant which does lots of business with Turkey. Last year a Federal judge slapped BAE’s parent corporation with a $400 million criminal fine for “deception, duplicity and knowing violations of law … on an enormous scale.” Too bad the judge didn’t also look into the Wilson Center.
Hamilton also sat on the board of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “global strategy firm” headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Hamilton’s WWC bio, incredibly, was dead silent about his corporate affiliations. This same Lee Hamilton co-chaired the official National Commission on the 9/11 attacks, whose report has been widely criticized as incomplete and biased. Hamilton and Harman, you see, can be counted on not to rock the corporate establishment’s boat.
The WWC is rife with other questionable characters, including those with deep ties to Turkey, such as former board member and present Wilson Council member Ignacio Sanchez, a lobbyist employed by DLA Piper, which is a registered foreign agent for Turkey. And former “Wilson Public Policy Scholar” Marc Grossman, ex-US ambassador to Turkey and DLA Piper bigwig. “Coincidentally,” Sanchez and Grossman were both on the WWC Search Committee that hired Harman.
Made for each other
If ever there was a marriage made in hell, therefore, Jane Harman and the Wilson Center are it:
- The WWC receives millions in “donations” from the military-industrial complex, which influences the Center’s agenda and policies. Similarly, Harman – a former Defense Department lawyer – has received large campaign contributions from defense and aerospace firms’ Political Action Committees and employees, including those in El Segundo, a key military–industrial center located in her former Congressional district.
“Coincidentally,” major Wilson Center donors BAE Systems (Lee Hamilton’s comrade-in-arms), Boeing, and Chevron have offices in El Segundo. Indeed, BAE, Boeing, and Chevron were her “constituents” (and American Turkish Council members) not only when she was in Congress. Those corporations – another “coincidence” – are her “constituents” again, at the WWC. Might the WWC have hired Harman for her expertise in raking in military-industrial “donations”?
- The WWC has ingratiated itself with Turkey. It has given awards to its Foreign Minister and a major Turkish corporate donor, and virtually ignored Wilson’s policies regarding Turkey and the Caucasus. Harman, too, has ingratiated herself with Turkey. She reversed her stance on the Congress’s Armenian genocide resolution (and gave absurd reasons for doing so).
- And just as the Wilson Center has gotten away (so far, anyway) with violating its Congressional mandate, Jane Harman has escaped prosecution (so far, anyway) for her dealings with a “foreign agent” in the AIPAC espionage scandal.
No, there’s no prospect that Harman will lead the WWC to adhere to the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Act of 1968, fulfill its pledge to be a “neutral forum for open, serious, and informed dialogue,” and release the grip that mega-corporations have on it.
If Congress of its own volition will not bring the Wilson Center to its senses, then Congress must be pushed by the American people to do so. Other possibilities are investigations and legal action by third parties.
Just don’t count on Jane Harman’s cooperation.
Israeli Police is now arresting leading Rabbis for endorsing and supporting ‘Torat Hamelech’ (The King’s Torah), the Jewish religious book that justifies the killing of Gentiles.
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, was questioned Sunday morning on suspicion of incitement to racism and violence following his endorsement of the religious tract which preaches Goy hatred.
Kiryat Harav’s Chief Rabbi Dov Lior was also detained a few days ago for his endorsement of the same racist text.
The arrest of the Rabbis sparked violent protest across Israel. It also raised harsh criticism against the police and state prosecution by right-wing elements.
I guess that one may be puzzled by the whole saga and wonder how come the Jewish State, a state that legally discriminates people on racial grounds, a state that institutionally abuses its non-Jewish population, an entity that terrorises and starves the indigenous people of the land and often enough kills them en masse, is so concerned with a few Rabbis who endorse the Halacha interpretations that actually justify such lethal barbarian policies and practices.
The answer is pretty interesting. Zionism was initially an attempt to erect a Jewish civil society- a Jewish homeland where Jews could be subject to newly formed Jewish civil law instead of religious law. As much as this idea appealed to some assimilated Jews at the time and a few new Israelis later, Rabbinical Judaism has never approved of the revolutionary innovative move. In fact, Rabbinical Judaism defies the notion of Jewish civil law. For Israeli Rabbis, it is clear beyond doubt that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish state, it better be driven legally and spiritually by Halacha Laws.
The current debate in Israel is not new. It is as old as the Jewish State, yet there is an intellectually intriguing element in that ideological battle. Following the last Rabbi arrest, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, issued a statement backing the law-enforcement system. However, Netanyahu is not exactly a leading humanist dove. It is his government that keeps Gaza in a brutal siege and other Palestinians in open air prisons. It was his Government which unleashed Israeli Commandos to commit their deadly crime against the human aid flotilla in high seas last year. Netanyahu’s hands are soaking with the blood of innocent Goyim. On the face of it, there is an apparent continuum between the Halacha anti Gentile teaching and Israeli murderous policies and practices.
So here is the question, how come Netanyahu’s government arrests Rabbis who preach for lethal acts which Israeli Government happens to perform ? The answer may be devastatingly simple. Those Rabbis are arrested in Israel because they actually support the accusation that Goyim killing may be inherent to the Jewish Halacha law (or at least inherent to some interpretations of the Halacha). While Israel insists to present itself as a peace seeking nation arguing that the killing of Palestinians is no more than unfortunate incidents, by endorsing ‘Torat Hamelech’ some Rabbis actually confirm that killing non- Jews is justified as far as Judaism is concerned.
It is obvious that the Jewish state seems to be pretty confused by the notion of Jewishness. As much as it yearns to celebrate an imaginary phantasmic notion of Jewish heritage, it invests a lot of effort to conceal the real meaning of what Jewish heritage is in reality.
The Israelis are preparing themselves for another massacre on the high seas.
This should not take us by surprise: after all, people who are detached from a true notion of history, and driven by a continuous fantasy of destruction, would be the last to draw a lesson from their past.
Earlier today I learned that The Israeli Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry held a simulation practice, ahead of the Gaza flotilla: in the course of the exercise, Minister Yuly Edelstein formed a ‘special situation room’ that is designated to disseminate ‘public diplomacy’ on the internet ,via messages, photos, video clips and additional materials, with emphasis on Diaspora communities, Jewish organisations, and friends of Israel around the world.
Just in case you weren’t sure what the expected role of Diaspora Jews is, I guess that by now Minister Edelstein has provided the answer.
However, the most interesting part of the story is the detailed description of the flotilla simulation itself: the imaginary scenarios depicted by Minister Edelstein and the IDF provide a glimpse into Israeli collective psychosis.
“The exercise was based on a scenario in which approximately 500 activists on approximately ten ships reached Israel’s territorial waters at 10:00,” says the Israeli document. ”Despite having been warned by the IDF, the ships continued on their way. At 10:30, the Israel Navy began approaching the ships. Stun grenades were thrown at the IDF soldiers, as well as one live grenade that caused a number of casualties to our forces.”
But what are we to make of such an absurd supposition in Edelstein’s exercise, that the flotilla volunteers ( many of whom are women and elderly ) will be armed and dangerous, and intent of attacking the IDF? We have seen repeated statements from the Flotilla organisers reassuring the Israelis that the Flotilla is a peaceful humanitarian mission that has no combative intentions, and the media have been invited to visit the boats to verify the innocent nature of the Gaza bound cargo.
What is it then? Why are these Israelis preparing for a war? The answer is clear and simple: as I have explored in the past, Jewish identity politics is shaped by a totally unique psychological disorder. I call it Pre Traumatic Stress Syndrome (as opposed to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). Jewish reality is shaped by an imaginary fictional future threat. To repeat the 19Th century Yiddish joke. “A Jewish telegram: get worried, details to follow.” Yet, the lack of capacity to differentiate between reality and imagination leads to the inevitable emergence of the most tragic possible scenarios. Time after time, the Israeli collective easily buys into any given tragic fictional and imaginary treat, and would approve any ‘counter’ measures.
The end result is known to us all: an endless chain of colossal Israeli war crimes, that are committed in the name of the Jewish people.
The Israeli simulation scenario continues, with an inevitable body count: “At 11:00, the order was given for IDF units to physically seize control of the ships on which there was resistance. Our forces were attacked with live – and other – weapons and were obliged to neutralise the assailants. The results, by 11:45, were ten IDF soldiers wounded (one critically, four severely and the rest lightly). Among the flotilla participants, there were two dead and 14 wounded, including two severely.”
Brilliant isn’t it? The peace activists (most of whom, remember, are women and elderly) ‘opened fire,’ seeking a battle with the best and most lethal Israeli commando unit. How realistic is that ?
Then, as the imagined scenario unfolds, a fierce battle develops, in which just fourteen activists are wounded, and only one dies. At this point, for those who fail to remember what really happened last time around, here is video footage of Israeli commandos executing peace activists on the Mavi Marmara.
But Minister Edelstein is far from being worried: after all, the Israelis have friends around the world. “As the events were taking place,” the scenario continues, “the media – with emphasis on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter – were flooded with mendacious reports (by private users, Hamas and others among Israel’s enemies). The situation room, in coordination with the IDF Spokesperson and the National Information Directorate, began to disseminate credible messages to Jewish communities and friends of Israel around the world. Those in the situation room responsible for new media began to update messages on the social networks, Facebook and Twitter.”
For those of us who still fail to recognise the shifts and changes that have taken place within Zionism, Edelstein makes it clear: whilst Zionism was initially a plan to re-settle the Jews in Zion, nowadays, to be a Zionist means to stay in the Diaspora, and to ‘tweet for Israel’. The role of American, French and British Jews, according to Edelstein, is to coordinate with Israel, and to join the Hasbara war: ”Given the provocation by the flotilla,” says Diaspora Minister Edelstein, “we established a special situation room that will ensure coordination between Government officials, Diaspora Jewish communities and friends of Israel around the world.. I am certain that alongside us will stand significant force multipliers in the form of thousands of activists from Jewish communities around the world.”
I do not have any doubt that many Jews around the world want nothing to do with Minister Edelstein and his Hasbara initiative. They are clearly going to ignore his call. I also feel sure that many Jews feel sickened and ashamed to wake up, all too often, into yet another atrocious Israeli war crime.
Yet, if the Israelis themselves clearly regard Diaspora Jews as their ‘foreign brigades’, surely we should also be allowed to look into the issue, and examine the lethal continuum between the Jewish State and its vile supporters around the world.
The Zionists wield their influence by winning the ongoing propaganda war: Stuart Littlewood…
Stuart Littlewood is a British writer and photographer. He is the co-author of the book “Radio Free Palestine” in which he has elaborately described the plight of the Palestinian nation under the Israeli occupation. Littlewood’s articles on the cause of the Palestinian nation have been published on a variety of websites, newspapers and online magazines including Intifada Palestine, Veterans Today, Palestine Chronicle, Dissident Voice, Ramallah Online and Voltaire Net. In a 2009 interview with Media Review, Littlewood described his contributions to raising the public awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ignorance of the British people concerning the suffering of the Palestinian nation.
Stuart joined me in an in-depth interview to discuss the ongoing anguish of the people of Palestine, the situation of Gaza Strip and West Bank, the influence of Israeli lobby over the mass media in the West and the international isolation of Iran due to its unconditional support for the Palestinian people.
Kourosh Ziabari: Zionists have always claimed that the Land of Israel historically belongs to them and this verdict is clearly emphasized in the Hebrew Bible. They say that according to the Book of Genesis, the land was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. So, what’s your response to them? Do they have the right to cite claims over what is called the Land of Israel? Is there any historical evidence to demonstrate that Palestinians are the true possessors of this land?
Stuart Littlewood: Using mythical scripture to make out that God is a racist who favors one tribe above all others, is bizarre to say the least. Some Zionists don’t believe it, so why should anyone else? In a booklet called “Zionism: A Jewish Communal Response” recently launched by The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Rabbi Tony Bayfield writes: “I am horrified by some strands of Zionism which treat the Bible as an exclusive title deed written by God. I do not regard the Torah as an extra-historical document written by the Divine hand… It is not Judaism’s title deed to the land.”
But it provides cover for the Zionists’ criminal scheme to dispossess the Palestinians-Arabs and Christians – so its importance is pumped up to bursting point. But why any non-Jews should take it seriously is beyond me.
The Jews were expelled by the Roman occupation. These days the right of return must be exercised as soon as the reason for expulsion, for example, foreign occupation, ceases. The Jews had their chance when the Roman Empire collapsed. They didn’t take it. It’s ridiculous to lay claim 16 centuries later at gun-point and eject the people whose homeland it now is. Most of today’s Jews, I’m told, have no ancestral links to the Holy Land anyway.
The Jerusalem Declaration of 2006 by the Latin Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches sums it up for me: “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation… We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war…”
As for Jerusalem itself, it was already 2000 years old and belonged to the Canaanites when King David captured it. Historians say that before the present-day conflict the Jews controlled Jerusalem for some 500 years, whereas it was subsequently ruled by Muslims for more than twice that long. And for nearly 90 years it was a Christian kingdom. Lots of people, besides the Jews, conquered Jerusalem, so there are many competing claims, which is probably why the UN declared it should be independently administered as an international city.
Matters weren’t helped when Obama opened his big mouth and declared to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Jerusalem “will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided”. Realizing it was a stupid thing to say, he added: “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations… And I think that it is smart for us to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem, but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.” A legitimate claim? As everyone knows, the Old City officially belongs to Palestinian East Jerusalem.
I don’t think it’s a question of the Palestinians proving ownership, though I imagine most families can produce Ottoman-era land deeds – if the Israelis haven’t confiscated and forged them.
Hamas chief Khalid Misha’al has said: “We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem.” That doesn’t sound unreasonable.
KZ: As you mentioned in one of your recent articles, the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has categorically condemned the atrocities committed by the regime of Moammar Gaddafi and the mass killing of Libyan citizens by his mercenaries. The UK government revoked Gaddafi’s and his family members’ political immunity in an action aimed at threatening the interests of the Libyan dictator worldwide; however, we haven’t seen any action against or condemnation of the brutal massacre of the defenseless Palestinians by the Israeli regime in the December 2008 and January 2009. What does this exercise of double standards imply? Is it possible to justify it?
SL: It’s no use looking to the British government for fair play. The political scene here is heavily infiltrated by the pro-Israel lobby, and money talks. The Friends of Israel movement claims 80 per cent of Conservative Party MPs including of course its leader, David Cameron. Membership, I hear, is a necessary stepping stone to high office. Cameron calls himself a Zionist and our foreign secretary, William Hague, has been a Friend of Israel since his schooldays. His side-kick, Liam Fox, the defense secretary, thinks that “we must remember that in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided”. The minister for Middle East affairs was an officer of Conservative Friends of Israel. It’s all sewn up.
David Cameron recently told Jewish dinner guests: “With me you have a prime minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible… I will always be a strong defender of the Jewish people. I will always be an advocate for the State of Israel.” Cameron, and Brown and Blair before him, are patrons of the Jewish National Fund. Quite simply, Israel is never punished. It is allowed to get away scot-free.
A body called the Committee on Standards in Public Life is supposed to call to account MPs who place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties, but it too has been infiltrated.
It’s interesting to see how the British Government rushed to press for a UN mandate to take whatever steps might be necessary to protect Libyan civilians from their bully-boy dictator and wasted no time establishing a no-fly zone and annihilating Qaddafi’s air defenses. But it stood idly by and watched the Israeli slaughter of Gazan civilians and showed no sign of wanting it stopped.
Headlines this week quoted Hague saying, “There can be no hiding place for tyrants”, referring to Qaddafi, but he’s leading the rush to change our Universal Jurisdiction laws to protect Israel’s war crimes suspects from arrest. These double standards are the hallmark of a corrupted political class. It can never be justified, but for the moment we’re stuck with these people.
Hague condemned the recent Jerusalem bomb blast as “a callous and disgusting act of terrorism” but he’s careful not to condemn the almost daily air-strikes by Israel on Gaza’s civilians. I’m reading a report now on just one day’s horror inflicted by the Zionist military on the Occupied Territories that says:
24 hours to 8 am, 23 March 2011
3 air strikes – 7 attacks – 28 raids including home invasions – 8 dead – 15 injured – 1 curfew – 15 taken prisoner – 14 detained – 79 restrictions of movement
Child, teenager and 3 adults killed in Israeli shelling – homes damaged
Injury and 4 deaths in Israeli air strikes
Agricultural sabotage: farms and homes under Israeli fire in 3 Gaza areas – crops bulldozed
Israeli Navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats
Zionist mob smashes on-duty ambulance windscreen
Zionist militants cut down Palestinian olive trees
Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 8 towns and villages
[Source of statistics: Palestinian Monitoring Group]
The Fourth Geneva Convention puts Contracting Parties under a solemn obligation to act. They don’t seem to have grasped that.
KZ: It’s widely believed that the Zionist lobby has an enormous influence over the mass media in the U.S. and European countries. AIPAC and other influential Zionist circles usually block the publication of materials critical of Israel and its policies, and vilify as anti-Semitist whoever dares question the barbaric conducts of this illegitimate regime. What’s your idea about the dominance of Zionist lobby over the mainstream media in the West?
SL: You are right to focus on this question. The Zionists wield their influence by winning the ongoing propaganda war. The Arabs, after being on the losing end for decades, still haven’t learned how to fight it and don’t show any sign of wishing to. I have put forward proposals for media skills training but it’s hopeless. Even allowing for the PA being dominated by Israel’s stooges their failure to address this is not only ignorant but a major strategic blunder.
Last year The Israel Project, a US media advocacy group, produced a revised training manual to help the worldwide Zionist movement maintain its control over the propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are not only necessary but conform to “shared values” between Israel and the civilized West.
It’s a clever document. It teaches how to ‘justify’ the slaughter, the ethnic cleansing, the land-grabbing, the cruelty and the blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and give it a sweeter smell. It is designed to have us gullible Americans and Europeans believing that we actually share values with the psychopaths of Israel’s racist regime and that their abominable behavior deserves our support.
The strategy from the start is to isolate Hamas and rob the resistance movement and the Palestinian population of their human rights…. It drums into them nonsense like, “The language of Israel is the language of America: ‘democracy,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘security,’ and ‘peace.’ These four words are at the core of the American political, economic, social, and cultural systems, and they should be repeated as often as possible because they resonate with virtually every American.”
Most mainstream media in the UK are under pro-Israel influence, if not Zionist ownership. The BBC also is heavily biassed and too often broadcasts Israel’s definition of the situation. However, a small number of outlets, such as Channel 4 News, take an independent line.
Then there’s the over-representation of Jews in Parliament. If Muslims were over-represented to the same extent they’d have 200 MPs. And there’d be a big fuss.
These are not the only issues. It has to be admitted that Israel’s propaganda people do a good job of cultivating the news media, providing timely briefings and making sure spokesmen with good English are available whenever needed. The Palestinians on the other hand are lazy, disorganised and their embassy here in London is worse than useless. They fail to take media relations seriously so they and their countrymen pay a heavy price.
Nor is it enough to be the crushed victim. Having labels like “extremist”, “militant” and “terrorist” pinned on them, no matter how unjustly, is deeply damaging. The Palestinians must shake off these slurs, but before they can do so Hamas must re-write its objectionable charter and ‘re-brand’ itself.
Hamas and Hezbollah are only regarded as terrorists by the White House and Tel Aviv and by US-Israeli stooges and flag-wavers at Westminster and elsewhere. The definition they use describes the antics of the US and Israel perfectly, and the whole situation needs reframing to reflect this.
The resistance movements have work to do on this. The propaganda battle can’t be won without a properly planned communications strategy skillfully executed.
KZ: The 13 May 2010 incursion of IDF commandos into the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was followed by the astounding silence of the international community, United Nations and the United States. No credible investigation was carried out to shed a light on the atrocious attack of Israel on the international peace activists and Tel Aviv never heeded the call of Turkey to officially apologize for its criminal action against the peace activist. Let’s imagine that a third country, for example Iran, had attacked the flotilla of Israeli activists in the international waters, killing 9 and injuring tens of others. What would the reaction of international community, UN and the U.S. have been? Would they assume the same passive stance and remain silent deafeningly?
SL: Former British MP George Galloway, a mainspring behind the Free Gaza movement, called the assault “a murderous act of piracy” on innocent humanitarian aid workers and demanded a wholesale review of the international community’s relationship with “the criminal pirate state of Israel”.
But Israel’s Mark Regev told BBC TV. “We did everything we could to avoid violence. They [the aid workers] chose the path of confrontation… This is elementary, we have to defend ourselves.” He claimed the Israeli boarding party was attacked! The BBC failed to question Israel’s act of piracy in international waters and its blatant violation of maritime law.
As it turns out, the Israelis did themselves immense damage by attacking the Mavi. They were too stupid to understand how it would be seen as an ‘own goal’.
It’s funny how HMS Cumberland and York magically appeared in the Mediterranean when Hague or prime minister David Cameron snapped their fingers during the Libyan crisis. Where were these ships when British nationals on the Mavi Marmara and the Dignity and other vessels were being assaulted in international waters and terrorized by Israeli pirates, abducted and thrown in their stinking jails? Why weren’t they bringing life-saving aid to innocent Palestinians after Israel’s indiscriminate ‘Cast Lead’ blitzkrieg?
Our ships have been protecting victims of Qaddafi, and HMS York unloaded tons of medical supplies and other humanitarian aid for the Benghazi Medical Centre. Israel is still bombing and strafing Palestinian civilians in Gaza with impunity on a daily basis, so when the Libyan crisis dies down I see no reason why York shouldn’t be loaded up with more supplies and sail for Gaza, along with the rest of the NATO fleet, where the humanitarian crisis continues unabated.
On the Libya situation Hague has been sounding off with loud threats of retribution. “Crimes will not go unpunished and will not be forgotten; there will be a day of reckoning and the reach of international justice is long,” he says.
Let’s not imagine Iran attacking the humanitarian flotilla. If Britain and the so-called civilized countries of the West won’t call Israel’s bluff and break the blockade let’s imagine Iran doing so.
KZ: In its resolutions, the United Nations Security Council has always called Israel the occupying power, implicitly attesting to the occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli regime; however, no practical steps were ever taken to end the occupation of Palestinian lands by Tel Aviv. Do you know of any effective solution to bring an end to this occupation and hold Israel accountable for the crimes it has committed against the Palestinian nation?
SL: Israel is violating over 30 Security Council resolutions that require action by it and it alone. If any other state in the world were to defy the will of the international community so persistently, it would be subjected to economic and/or military sanctions.
UN resolutions must be implemented and international law enforced. If the international community won’t act to rein in the delinquent all hopes of global peace will remain in shreds. UN Security Council Resolution 242 (fully binding) affirms among other things the necessity for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area. The blockade must be broken, if necessary by vessels with an armed escort.
The Israeli regime relies heavily on the EU for its exports and enjoys preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement of 1995. An obvious part of the solution would be the suspension of this agreement. Its terms require compliance with the principles of the United Nations Charter placing emphasis on peace, security and regional co-operation, and on the need to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean region and promote understanding and tolerance.
Article 2 says that “respect for human rights and democratic principle constitute an essential element of this agreement”. Israel has never complied but continues to reap the benefits. In April 2002 the European parliament, with a large majority, requested the European Commission and the Council of Europe to suspend the agreement, without success. The EU has all the leverage needed but is afraid to use it.
We are maybe halfway through the process of educating and informing Western citizens. There will come a point, I feel sure, when civil societies will be savvi enough to clean up their Zionist-infested politics and force the necessary action. In the meantime the Palestinians need to be heard in Western Europe and the United States. A proper on-the-ball communications and media centre and a radio station should have been established years ago. Iran too needs to improve its image to counter the barrage of smears.
Israel is always trying to upgrade its image, but no amount of marketing gloss can hide the evil beneath.
KZ: What’s in your view, the reason behind the unconditional support of Israel by the United States? Why does the White House endanger its interests to pay for the atrocities and brutalities of Tel Aviv? Why does it distort its global image in compensation for the suicidal mistakes of Israel?
SL: The ignorance of your average American citizen plus Jewish domination of major business, media and financial institutions and the whole political fabric.
Another reason why Americans are soft in the head about Israel is the Scofield Bible, which became the standard fodder of fervent Christians. Cyrus Scofield, a sleazy character and convicted criminal, was commissioned to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes. The aim was to change the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity. The Oxford University Press used Scofield as the editor, and the Scofield Reference Bible, as it was called, has been a best-seller in America for over 90 years.
It introduced a new worship icon, the modern State of Israel, which did not exist at the time but was already on the drawing board of World Zionist movement.
KZ: A report which is attributed to CIA indicates that the political entity of Israel will decline within 20 years. Do you agree with this prediction? Will Israel survive, should the United States lift its support and backing for it? Is Israel capable of standing on its own feet without the assistance and endorsement of the United States?
SL: Israel has an attitude problem. I suppose it might survive without US support if it mended its manners drastically. But I doubt if it will ever be able to throw off its pariah status or stop shooting itself in the foot. It will become isolated and slowly crumble. Thanks to its selfish fanaticism and unhinged leadership it will do a great deal of damage in the process.
Fortunately, a good many Jews across the world are not Zionists and are disgusted by Israel’s conduct, and their number seems to be growing.
And the worldwide boycott and disinvestment movement is making good progress and the effect is hurting Tel Aviv.
So the tide is turning.
US government aid to Israel runs at around $3 billion annually and Israel is not required to account for how it is spent. The money helps pay for Israel’s costly occupation and the high-tech paraphernalia of military oppression. Most of it violates the US’s own laws, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the brainwashed Washington administration. Israel usually gets another $2 to 3 billion in indirect aid – military support, loan write-offs and special grants. The US has also been paying Egypt and Jordan to buy their co-operation with Israel.
If Americans wake up to what’s going on and aid is withheld until Israel complied with UN resolutions and international law there would probably be peace. But hostilities would soon flare up again if aid resumed. The tap has to be turned off permanently.
KZ: Israel‘s illegal nuclear activities are almost known to everyone. Under the pretext of not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has deposited more than 200 atomic warheads in its arsenal and the Federation of American Scientists has admitted that Israel is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. However, in violation of the UNSC resolutions that demand Israel to bring its nuclear program under the safeguards of IAEA, Tel Aviv is secretly continuing to develop atomic bombs. How should this concern be tackled? Who is responsible for disarming Israel?
SL: The responsibility is America’s, because it has encouraged Israel to duck its international obligations. In October 2009 the Washington Times ran a report, by Eli Lake, that Obama had agreed to keep Israel’s nukes secret by reaffirming a decades-old understanding that allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections. Under this understanding the US has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.
Israel is never required to honor what it signs up to. Back in 1995 it agreed, with the other parties to the Barcelona Declaration, to “pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems” and “consider practical steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as excessive accumulation of conventional arms.”
There has been no progress, either, on the Security Council’s demand in resolution 487, passed in 1981, that “Israel urgently … place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards”.
Considering the Zionist regime’s notorious lack of restraint, it is obvious that Israel’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads pose a massive threat not only to the Middle East but the rest of the world.
As you say, it is the only state in the region that possesses nuclear weapons (and probably the only one that possesses chemical and biological weapons) while not being a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. Why not? Because being a menace is necessary to its ambitions.
Israel is capable of wiping Iran, and every Arab state, off the map at the touch of a button. Its warheads can also be targeted on European cities and, some say, already are.
Despite all this, in the words of Israel’s chief spin-doctor Mark Regev, “Israel is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. And for good reason. Iran’s President openly talks about wiping Israel off the map. We see them racing ahead on nuclear enrichment so they can have enough fissile material to build a bomb. We see them working on their ballistic missiles… The Iranian nuclear program is a threat, not just to my country, but to the entire region. And it’s incumbent upon us all to do what needs to be done to keep from proliferating.”
Iran’s nuclear facilities, including its uranium enrichment facilities, are under IAEA supervision. Strange, isn’t it, that the West is putting such immense pressure on Iran about its nuclear activities, but not Israel.
KZ: As you may acknowledge, Iran is at the forefront of ideological battle with Israel. Tehran has already paid the price for its confrontation with Tel Aviv and championing the cause of the Palestinian people: diplomatic isolation and financial sanctions. What’s your viewpoint regarding the role of Iran in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
SL: Here’s what Israel’s infamous propaganda handbook says: “The force undermining peace is Iran and their proxies Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. You must not call Hamas just Hamas. Call them what they are: Iran-backed Hamas. Indeed, when they know that Iran is behind Hamas and Hezbollah, they are much more supportive of Israel.”
That’s the sort of poison being pumped out to demonize Iran. The point for the West to remember, I think, is that Iran as a member of the region is entitled to be involved in its affairs. The US, an outsider, isn’t.
Back in the 1920s the US State Department described the oil deposits in the Middle East as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history”. Since then, its designs on Iraq and Iran have been plain to see.
Nobody has forgotten how the US and Britain schemed to snuff out Dr. Mossadeq’s first steps towards democracy in the 1950s and reinstated the hated Shah.
The West has betrayed the Palestinians for nearly 100 years and immediately strangled their fledgling democracy when they made an ‘inconvenient’ choice in the 2006 election.
Democracy is not what they want to see in the Middle East. It’s too uncontrollable.
In the turmoil following Iran’s presidential election, the country’s Supreme Leader denounced Britain as the “most treacherous” of Iran’s enemies. Western diplomats, he said, “are displaying their enmity against the Islamic state, and the most evil of them is the British government”.
I seem to remember from my own business experience with Tehran that relations between Iran and Britain remained surprisingly good up to the Iran-Iraq war when the UK government pulled the plug on trade. “Her Majesty’s Government does not encourage trade with, or investment in, Iran,” says the government’s trade website now. “Nor do we offer any commercial services for companies wanting to do business with Iran. We do not give financial support for trade promotion activities and we do not organize trade missions.”
Turn to Israel and it says: “Israel is a remarkable success story for British exporters… Bilateral trade has consistently been in excess of £2 billion over the last 10 years and should reach £3 billion by 2015. Companies who dismiss Israel as too small without exploring its potential are overlooking a serious market of solid and regular opportunity. Israel can be seen as the land of opportunity especially in all high tech sectors.” Words supplied by Tel Aviv’s scriptwriters, I imagine.
Iran clearly needs more friends in the West. A good move would be to re-establish business links and forge new friendships regardless of silly ministerial hostility.
Kenneth O’Keefe is a world citizen. As an anti-war activist and social entrepreneur, he renounced his U.S. citizenship on March 1, 2001 and burned his American passport on January 7, 2004 in protest to the United States’ Imperialism and called for the immediate withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. O’Keefe is a former U.S. Marine who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequently revealed the use of depleted uranium by the United States as a crime against humanity.
O’Keefe has taken part in a number of substantial anti-war movements and served as the director of Human Shield Action to Iraq. He founded a group of activists who traveled to Iraq to act as human shields to prevent the U.S.-led coalition troops from bombing certain locations during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In 2004 O’Keefe established an association known as the “P10K Force,” a group of 10,000 Westerners intended to act as international observers in the occupied Palestinian territories and help bring peace with Israel
In the fall of 2008, he served as a Captain and 1st Mate with the Free Gaza Movement, a direct action in which 46 people successfully challenged the Israeli siege of Gaza
O’Keefe was one of the international peace activists onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was intended to end the Israeli siege of Gaza Strip.
Kenneth O’Keefe joined me in an in-depth interview to answer my questions on his anti-imperialistic viewpoints, the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the continued international controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, the chronic hostility between the United States and Iran and his experiences in the Freedom Flotilla mission.
Kourosh Ziabari: as an anti-imperialist activist, what’s in your view, the source of America’s enormous imperialistic power? America is a country with less than 400 years of history; however, it has successfully transformed the international order, dominated the less powerful countries around the world and revolutionized the global political equations. How is it possible for the United States to do so?
Kenneth O’Keefe: The world is full of illusions that are used by the rich and powerful to manipulate and control the people. The greatest illusion, and the one with the most devastating consequences, is that the American people and the Israeli, and the British, and numerous others, vote in their governments and hold them to account. Those who really control the governments are those powerful few who control the banking systems, the major multi-national corporations and, of course, the mass media. If you look beyond the faces of the presidents, prime ministers and politicians you will see that these governments’ policies remain virtually the same, no matter who is ‘leading’ these countries. These ‘leaders’ do not answer to the people they have pledged to serve; they answer to those who remain behind the scenes.
These powerful people and entities have key strategic needs in order to maintain power:
1) They must keep the people ignorant and disempowered.
2) They must keep the people divided. They conquer by dividing the people, never giving people the chance to unite; constantly fostering war by pitting the masses against each other
This system has been controlled by the same families for millennia, and people have been manipulated into a collective state of insanity throughout. Over the course of this tragic situation, empires have come and gone, each one giving way to the next. America is simply the latest in that repeating pattern, and it will fall like all empires do. However, the powers behind it, those controlling the banking, the governments and the propaganda, they will remain in place and prop up the next empire and the pattern will repeat.
We are constantly looking at the faces that these powers present to us, the puppets in effect. The powers themselves remain hidden, with many layers of separation between themselves and the people, and an intricate and complex legal system to protect and hide them. In the west this conspiracy has been called a theory, and everything is done to try and marginalize and ridicule the people who speak correctly about the way the world works. Until this system and those behind it are exposed, we will continue our cycle of self-destruction and continue marching towards a nuclear Armageddon. The most powerful weapon we have is the truth, and until we yield its full power, we will never have justice and peace in this world.
KZ: how is it possible to resist the American Imperialism while the absolute majority of powerful, wealthy states in the world are the stalwart allies of Washington and the other developing, underdeveloped countries are starving of insufficiency and poverty? Even the Non-Aligned Movement which consists of 118 countries isn’t capable of dictating its will to the United States and its European allies. One clear instance is Iran’s nuclear program which is favored and supported by the 118 members of NAM, but fails to prosper due to the objection of some 5, 6 European countries plus the United States. What do you think?
KO: I believe the process of destroying American imperialism is already in place. The truth is the most powerful weapon of all, and the rise in popularity of international news stations like Press TV, Al Jazeera English and RTTV is evidence that people are hungry for the truth they are denied. Despite a huge effort by the western/Zionist controlled media to keep people ignorant, and thus divided, they are losing ground to such important journalistic endeavors that disseminate a truthful version of world events.
The truth is on our side and it shall set us free. There are many creative ways to expose the truth, and we must use them to educate people about how they are being used to maintain the Zionist/Imperialist agenda that makes the rich richer, and the masses more impoverished. If we persevere, we can teach those in the west that the portrayal of Muslim peoples engaged in violent resistance as lunatics and fanatics is simply a means adopted by the Imperialist propaganda machine to divide and conquer. If people understand that the only beneficiaries of war are those who propagate it, we will break free from the tyranny of war, occupation and the monetary system that enslaves us all.
The people of the world, billions of us, can demand the transformation of the UN, or replace it with a genuine system that actually does the job the UN has failed to do since its inception. If we dedicate ourselves to the task, we can end the five permanent member state system that neutralizes any power this institution may wield.
The Non-Aligned Movement is important despite its inability thus far to effect the greater change required. The NAM is a solid foundation that we can build on.
The hypocrisy of Israel having undeclared nuclear weapons in the hundreds while an open nuclear program in Iran is grounds for war is beyond absurd. War can only take place if the propaganda machine is successful in keeping people ignorant. I believe that the pre-planned attack on Iran was scheduled to take place at least a year or two ago. The reason it has thus far not transpired is that those agents of the truth have worked tirelessly and effectively to expose the pending attack as the final confirmation of America’s monstrous imperialism and the use of Israel as its vicious attack dog. If America, Israel and Britain, the true ‘Axis of Evil’, attack, I believe the world will unite against them in a sufficient manner. Nonetheless, attacks on Iran, Lebanon and Gaza remain very possible; hence more and more investment in exposing the truth must be made.
Confronting the tyrants responsible for the blockade of Gaza is in my opinion a priority. That is why I am working with a brilliant team of people on organizing a massive flotilla, with large ships and thousands of passengers representing every nation on Planet Earth, to break the blockade. As well as the Turkish people, I see the Iranian, South African, Irish, Venezuelan and colonized, aboriginal peoples playing a substantial role in that mission.
When all is said and done, we have a choice between surrendering to our enslavement or fighting for a just and peaceful world. I feel that the only way to honor myself, my children and the generations yet unborn is to fight, with the truth as our ultimate weapon, until justice prevails.
KZ: Iran and U.S. have been at loggerheads over the past 30 years hostilely. Do you know of any way to bring the two nations closer together, increase the mutual understanding and promote peace, friendship between the two adversaries?
KO: The primary means of fostering a mutual understanding and friendship between these two hostile nations is no secret. I repeat my conviction that the truth is the ultimate weapon, and anything we can do to propagate the truth is our only option. The American people are a hard-working, idealistic and honest people who have been gravely deceived, to their own detriment. We must strive to educate them, not in a condescending, patronizing way, but with empathy, understanding that we too once believed the lies of those we trusted, and were misguided into actions that caused grave harm to others. Paying taxes is an example. We must teach them the true history of their nation, including its part in the formation of Israel. We must understand that arriving at and accepting the truth is a slow and often painful process, especially when the realization of the damage caused by our own actions dawns. Most importantly, we must be there to welcome those who have traversed the painful road to the truth, and embrace them as our brothers and sisters.
KZ: some analysts suggest that the reason behind the United States’ unconditional support for Israel lies in the fact that Washington wants to maintain its interests in the Middle East through a proxy representative. Some others believe that United States supports Israel on an ideological basis. What’s your viewpoint?
KO: This ties into my last answer. Israel is simply another face, or front, if you like, that the hidden powers that be present to the people. Israel’s primary function is to maintain perpetual conflict in the Middle East. Soon enough, Israel will be spreading this conflict on a global level. I have no doubt that the pending attack on Iran is intended to take us straight into World War III, with a regional nuclear war very likely. This is quite obviously a disaster to any sane human being.
However, to those who see their power threatened by the spreading of truth, 9-11, Zionism, the banking system, etc, this is a very necessary act to help them maintain their grip of control over peoples of the world. This ‘divide and conquer’ strategy has served them well for millennia. On the surface, war is catastrophic, and it seems incomprehensible that anyone could stand to benefit from war. In truth, however, the powers that be become even richer and more powerful as they gain a foothold in yet another peoples’ territory, and afford themselves access to their resources, just take Iraq as an example. The looming death and destruction serves to further divide people and divert them from the truth. What these powers fear more than anything is people coming together in the spirit of humanity. Thus, war is the ultimate tool to prevent the union of the people.
KZ: Israel’s lawlessness is troubling the international community seriously. Israel continues to possess nuclear weapons in violation of the UNSC resolution 487. It is also keeping up with its despotic policies in blockading the Gaza Strip and West Bank. How is it possible to hold Israel accountable for the crimes it commits while the United States is standing by Israel unreservedly?
KO: I believe that Palestine hits at the heart of all injustice, and that the issue of justice for Palestinians threatens to flagrantly expose the powers that have made this situation so. The Zionist project has been invested in heavily, and the powers that be will not relinquish it lightly.
As I stated earlier, there is an intricate and sophisticated legal system that protects the powers that be and enables them to continue their domination over the peoples of this earth. Two such institutions that are being used to enable and perpetuate Israel’s lawlessness are the UN and the International Criminal Court. I strongly advocate the abolition of the UN in its present form.
Giving five permanent member states veto powers over all other states in the world is an insult to the international community and an affront to the cause of justice. Universal Jurisdiction and full accountability for every nation can and will be achieved when we as a people make it so. Until such time, the United Nations is a cruel joke and the International Criminal Court is a sham. Both are fronts presented by the powers that be to convince the people that justice is being administered.
We as people must use our finite resources and come together if we are to effect meaningful change. We are too scattered, fighting each other on minor details and continually resisting and protesting. We must take a proactive approach to effecting justice, and do so in a focused, intelligent, disciplined and fearless way.
KZ: tell us about your experience on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. You were among tens of activists who were brutally beaten and tortured by Israel while trying to breaking the Gaza blockade. What happened first when they boarded on your ship? How did they treat you? What was your reaction? What will be the prospect of Freedom Flotilla?
KO: The Israeli attack began under cover of darkness at about 3.40 in the morning. Within the first five minutes of the attack, even before the commandos dropped down from the helicopter and boarded our vessel, we were taking casualties, and the first man was murdered with a gunshot to the head. Percussion grenades, tear gas, smoke bombs, paintball rounds and live ammunition were all being used. It was like a combat situation, except that one side was not armed with combat weapons.
About one hour after the onset of the attack, I had seen at least five men murdered and dozens of bloody injuries.
Twice during the course of the attack, I was directly confronted by a commando. In both cases, myself and another defender disarmed them. During the first confrontation, I took possession of a 9mm pistol, the same weapon used to kill eight out of the nine men that morning. During the second, the other defender took possession of the commando’s sub-machine gun. A third commando was also disarmed. These three completely disarmed commandos were taken below deck and treated for any injuries they might have sustained. Nevertheless, the bravado and audacity they exhibited while in possession of their lethal weapons vanished. While in our custody, they looked like frightened little children.
Soon after the commandos were captured and subdued a group of about 7 IHH members escorted the soldiers from the main cabin to the bow of the ship, released them and walked away.
The captain of the ship eventually announced via the PA system that the Israelis had taken control of the ship’s bridge. He then instructed us to stop all resistance which we did.
Over the next several hours, we surrendered to the Israelis one by one. Each one of us was searched for weapons and then handcuffed. Most of the men, including myself, were kicked or punched without provocation while restrained.
From this point forward we were treated like dogs. Elderly people were physically abused, women were sexually abused during bodily searches, we were all denied water and food, as well as access to a toilet, one elderly man consequently urinated on himself, and any communication with lawyers was not allowed. We were lied to incessantly, and had our personal possessions stolen, including cash, credit cards, laptop computers, cameras and footage. Of crucial importance, they stole all of the video and photographic footage that without doubt shows them murdering people in cold blood.
It was clear to all of us in Israeli custody that we were being held captive by a force that had completely lost the ability to see others as human beings. These people are thoroughly brainwashed to believe themselves God’s ‘chosen ones’, and thus they believe they have the right to treat all others as animals. Many of us were beaten while in their custody on land, after being beaten on the ship.
On our arrival in the Port of Ashdod, I handed them my Palestinian passport – I had previously hidden my Irish passport on the ship. Many of the Israeli soldiers knew of me from my previous activities, so this just incensed them. I refused to sign any deportation papers, or any statement that I would never attempt re-entry to Gaza or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I demanded to appear before a judge in court. My internment was illegal, and I wanted to be repatriated to Gaza. Eventually I was deported from Israel, I was one of the very last to go.
Two days after my deportation the IDF spokesperson issued a press release identifying me as a “terror operative” who was traveling to Gaza to “train a commando unit for Hamas.”
These charges are beyond ridiculous, and it seems to me they were made to gloss over the IDF’s embarrassment at having one of the most elite forces in the world disarmed and humiliated.
It is the nature of the Zionist Israeli propaganda machine to levy such grave charges on those who resist their aggression. War crimes, mass-murder, piracy, lying, torture, organ theft, Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity are justified at every turn, and the blame shifted to those who defend themselves.
It was a real honor to be aboard the Mavi Marmara with my Turkish brothers and sisters. The Turkish people have the kind of strength and courage required to face a force such as the Israelis and defend their mission as if they were defending their own children. Fearless resistance of proactive measures is what is needed to face the Israeli monster that is killing, maiming and destroying the lives of countless people, including over 800,000 children in Gaza. We must see those children as our children, and we must defend them as such.
I appreciate all efforts put forth to bring an end to the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis. However, I do not believe that the flotilla leaving this month or next has either the scale, or the courageous elements, namely active resistance by the participants, essential for success. I cannot see the blockade being broken unless we as people of conscience from around the world do everything in our power to neutralize the might of the Israeli military. I know this is possible, and soon a plan will be revealed for a flotilla in 2011 that has the potential to achieve the goal of breaking the blockade once and for all. This plan will require several large ships and most definitely a strong Turkish presence. A delegation representing this plan will soon be arriving in Iran as well as numerous other countries to put this plan to the people, and we shall see if the people of the world decide to make it a reality.
KZ: how do you assess the prospect of Israeli regime? Given its continued violation of the international law and its aggressive subjugation of the Palestinian nation, is Tel Aviv going to survive politically?
KO: No. The Zionist regime will not survive any more than the Nazi regime or the South African Apartheid regime. The Zionists will go the same way. God is God of all people, not one group, one way or the other the Zionists will learn this. The people of conscience will ensure that justice prevails. Gaza will rise from the ashes and be a thriving metropolis once more. Palestine will be united and reborn because the will of the people, and their cogent action, will have made it so. It is vital that we envision, and never cease working for, that day. Palestine hits at the heart of all injustice, and when we solve this problem we set the stage for a world worthy of handing down to our children. This is our ultimate worldly calling.
To tell the truth about Israeli barbarism is a breach of impartiality. The Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle reported today that, Ofcom, the UK broadcasting standards body, has ruled that Iranian-backed Press TV’s coverage of the Gaza flotilla incident breached guidelines on impartiality.
You ask yourself why?
Their coverage of the Flotilla wasn’t pro-Israeli enough.
The regulator said the station had not shown due impartiality during a broadcast on June 5th which dealt exclusively with the events surrounding the interception by Israeli commandos of the pro-Palestinian convoy off the coast of Gaza.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that During an episode of a current affairs show Remembering Palestine, presenter Lauren Booth discussed the flotilla with studio guests and participants of the convoy. Ofcom said the show had started with “a pro-Palestinian song set to anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian imagery”.
Ofcom is absolutely right, Booth should have thought about it, and played Hava Nagila along with the images of Israel executing 9 peace activists in International waters. Such an act would bring to light the cheerful aspect in Israeli murderous zeal. It would also cement the cultural continuum between the IDF’s crimes and Jewish cultural heritage.
Watch the Israeli execution on the Mavi Marmara
The watchdog said comments made by Ms Booth and her guests “could be interpreted as being highly critical of the actions of the Israeli government and its military forces”. The comments included: Lauren Booth saying: “Israeli commandos…committed a massacre of innocent civilians sailing aid ships to the besieged Gaza Strip.”
I am slightly puzzled here, how would Ofcom suggest to call a deliberate execution of civilians in the middle of the night? Is there a better word in English to describe the event?
Booth also said “This was obviously a barbarous attack on civilians. One thing is certain: As Turkey buries its murdered citizens…the brave men and women on those ships, in one move, have shifted world opinion against Israeli apartheid.”
Obviously, Booth was very observant, just five days after the Israeli massacre she gathered that the world has changed. Now we all see Israel and its supporters for what they are. I guess that the video above shows clearly a deliberate murderous act. I think that Ofcom should visit Youtube, they can also wait for the results of the UN fact finding mission into Israel’s murdering on the Mavi Marmara.
On a further note, I just wonder, if the British press is not allowed to tell the truth about Israel, who exactly is going to stop Israel from using its nuclear bombs? How should we protest against Israeli war crimes? Should we count on the Conservative Friends of Israel to do the job? Or even Kenneth Clark who under the Israeli Lobby pressure moved quickly to block war crimes prosecutions in the UK so “The likes of Henry Kissinger, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak could slip a little easier” into the UK.
I would use this opportunity to say thanks for Press TV and Lauren Booth for being there. I am certain, that such publicity will bring many more viewers to the one and only broadcaster in the UK that tells the truth about Israeli crimes and the Israeli Lobby in Britain.
In “The Legal Basis of Israel’s Naval Blockade of Gaza” at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), Professor Emeritus of International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ruth Lapidoth argues that Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in which nine Turkish peace activists were killed by Israeli commandos, was perfectly “legal”.
Lapidoth begins by arguing that “the rules of the laws of armed conflict apply” to the “armed conflict” between Israel and Hamas. From this, Lapidoth draws the conclusion that, “This means that Israel may control shipping headed for Gaza—even when the vessels are still on the high seas.”
Examining how the conclusion that Israel may legally blockade Gaza is arrived at, Lapidoth argues that: “The rules on blockades are based on customary international law, as there is no comprehensive international treaty on this subject…. The customary rules on blockade can be found in the manuals of the laws of war issued by certain Western countries such as the United States and Britain. In addition, there is a manual prepared by an international group of experts in 1994 called the San Remo Manual.”
By claiming that we must depend upon “customary international law” to decide whether or not a blockade is legal or not, Lapidoth implies that the body of formal international law is somehow irrelevant and inapplicable. The reason for this argument becomes perfectly clear when one actually examines what international law has to say about Israel’s deadly attack on a humanitarian vessel in international waters, which reveals that this entire foundational premise for the argument is false.
For instance, Israel as a party to the U.N. Charter, which states that: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered…. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” (Article 2).
The prescription for seeking remedy to an international dispute or grievance is given: “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice” (Article 33).
For Member states, it is up to the U.N. Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to “make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security” (Article 39).
If the Security Council finds such a situation exists, it may authorize the use of force “as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security”, including the implementation of a “blockade” (Article 42).
Thus, Israel has a legal obligation to bring any grievances it may have to the U.N. Security Council, which may authorize and enforce a blockade. Yet, Israel has never sought U.N. authorization for a blockade as a remedy for any grievance, and the Security Council has not authorized the blockade of Gaza. Israel’s unilateral blockade, being in contravention to its obligations under the U.N. Charter, is therefore unlawful.
Israel is also party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which according to Lapidoth’s own argument, applies. The Convention prohibits any acts constituting collective punishment of a civilian population: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited” (Article 33).
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is legally bound to allow humanitarian shipments into Gaza: “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate” (Article 54).
Additionally: “If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal”, including “consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.” Israel is legally obligated to “permit the free passage of these consignments” and to “guarantee their protection” (Article 59).
Israel’s blockade of humanitarian shipments into Gaza ipso facto constitutes an act of collective punishment against the civilian population, and is therefore illegal.
Lapidoth acknowledges that “A blockade has to permit the passage of humanitarian assistance if needed”, but adds: “However, the San Remo Manual includes two conditions (in Article 103): first, the blockading party may decide where and when and through which port the assistance should reach the coast. In addition, the state may require that a neutral organization on the coast should control the distribution of the items.”
Yet, as shall be seen, these conditions only apply in cases where there is a lawful blockade to begin with; which means they don’t apply in Israel’s case. It’s instructive that Lapidoth, far from disputing the fact, tacitly acknowledges here that the Israeli blockade denies the passage of humanitarian assistance; thus the necessity of his legalistic, cherry-picked argument. A look at the document cited reveals that Lapidoth is simply not being honest about what the San Remo Manual actually says.
The San Remo Manual applies to “armed conflict at sea” (Article 1). Yet there is no armed conflict at sea in this case. Gaza has no navy (nor does it have an army or air force). Attacks against Israel are limited to rockets fired by militant groups from the land against targets on the land. Nonetheless, let us consider that a state of “armed conflict” exists and presume the principles of the San Remo Manual are fully applicable.
The Manual explicitly states that: “The principles of necessity and proportionality apply equally to armed conflict at sea and require that the conduct of hostilities by a State should not exceed the degree and kind of force, not otherwise prohibited by the law of armed conflict, required to repel an armed attack against it and to restore its security” (Article 3).
“Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between civilians or other protected persons and combatants and between civilian or exempt objects and military objectives” (Article 39).
“In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage” (Article 40).
“Attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives. Merchant vessels … are civilian objects unless they are military objectives in accordance with the principles and rules set forth in this document” (Article 41).
Moreover, “it is forbidden to employ methods or means of warfare which … are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering” or “are indiscriminate, in that … they are not, or cannot be, directed against a specific military objective” (Article 42).
Israel had an obligation to take “precautions” in its attack, such as “determining whether or not objects which are not military objectives are present in an area of attack”, to “do everything feasible to ensure that attacks are limited to military objectives”, and to “take all feasible precautions in the choice of methods and means in order to avoid or minimize collateral casualties or damage”. Additionally, “an attack shall not be launched if it may be expected to cause collateral casualties or damage which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the attack as a whole” (Article 46).
Lapidoth, in citing the San Remo Manual to support an argument that Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara was legal, neglects to point out that the Manual states explicitly that among the “classes of enemy vessels” that “are exempt from attack” are “vessels engaged in humanitarian missions, including vessels carrying supplies indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, and vessels engaged in relief actions and rescue operations” and “passenger vessels when engaged only in carrying civilian passengers” (Article 47).
Furthermore, the San Remo Manual states that a prerequisite for any lawful blockade is a declaration that “shall specify the commencement, duration, location, and extent of the blockade and the period within which vessels of neutral States may leave the blockaded coastline” (Article 94). Israel has never made a declaration meeting these requirments.
And to be lawful, “A blockade must be effective. The question whether a blockade is effective is a question of fact” (Article 95). Israel’s blockade is not effective towards any military objective whatsoever, having served only to deny humanitarian shipments into Gaza.
Even if Israel had made a proper declaration of its intent, the Manual notes that: “The declaration or establishment of a blockade is prohibited if … it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival” or if “the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade” (Article 102).
Lapidoth also acknowledges that “there is the condition that a state may not starve the civilian population (San Remo, Article 102).” Lapidoth makes no further comments on this condition for the “legality” of a naval blockade, despite the fact that the blockade prevents food from entering Gaza.
Even if one could argue that blocking humanitarian supplies was not the sole purpose of Israel’s blockade, the fact remains that the continuing suffering of the civilian population was and is a predictable consequence of Israel’s actions, which are indiscriminate, disproportionate, and otherwise excessive in relation to any possible legitimate military objective.
Apologists for the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, the flagship ship of the flotilla, have claimed that the nine activists were killed in an Israeli act of “self-defense” against passengers aboard the ship who attacked Israeli commandos with clubs and knives. But whether or not it is true that passengers attacked the commandos who stormed their ship is irrelevant, since (a) Civilians aboard a peaceful vessel operating in international waters have an inherent right to self-defense against armed aggression, such as the storming of their ship by armed Israeli commandos, and (b) the Israeli attack, being against a civilian and not a military target, as discussed above, was a war crime in and of itself. The murder of nine peace activists is thus a further crime.
According to the absurd logic of the argument to the contrary, the burglar who breaks into a home and kills the homeowner who attacks him with a knife commits no crime because he killed the homeowner in “self-defense”.
Continuing, Lapidoth argues that “A merchant ship may be visited, searched, or captured; and if the ship resists, it may be attacked…. A ship that clearly intends to breach the blockade can be dealt with while it is still on the high seas. Stopping the flotilla in international waters 100 kilometers from Israel was legal: In time of armed conflict, ships breaching the blockade may be searched even on the high seas.”
Yet what the San Remo Manual actually states, and what Lapidoth conveniently ignores, is that the “visit and search” of “merchant vessels” must occur only when “there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that they are subject to capture” (Article 118).
There were absolutely no reasonable grounds to suspect that the Mavi Marmara or the rest of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla were “subject to capture”—that is to say, that they served any kind of military purpose or that preventing the humanitarian shipment served any kind of military objective whatsoever.
The flotilla was forcibly redirected Israel. Yet the San Remo Manual specifically notes that under international law, it is only “with its consent” that a merchant vessel my “be diverted from its declared destination” (Article 119). Israel’s diversion of the flotilla was not done with consent, but under threat of violence and with force of arms, a further violation of international law.
Lapidoth cites precedents of blockades during the Korean War, the Iran-Iraq war, and others, concluding again that, “In the treatment of the flotilla heading for Gaza, Israel has acted in compliance with international law because it has fulfilled all the conditions for a lawful blockade” because “Israel notified the relevant authorities of its blockade in Gaza”.
It’s not clear what relevance Lapidoth thinks previous instances of blockades have to do with the situation in Gaza, and it does not follow from the observation that there have been blockades in the past that therefore Israel “has acted in compliance with international law”. Lapidoth’s claim that because Israel “notified” authorities of its blockade it is “in compliance with international law” is also a non sequitur. As already noted, Israel has never declared its intentions in such a manner as the San Remo Manual states is required for such a blockade, among the other conditions outlined above, for its blockade to be considered legitimate and lawful.
Asking “Can Gaza be considered an enemy although it is not a state?” Lapidoth answers: “According to international law, this is possible.” In the brief discussion that follows, Lapidoth offers no logical rationale for how this conclusion was arrived at. But assuming it’s a correct conclusion, it does not follow that because Gaza can be considered enemy territory that the blockade is legal.
Finally, Lapidoth address the question of whether Israel is, under law, the Occupying Power in Gaza. “Some say that since Israel is still in control of Gaza’s airspace and adjacent sea, Israel is still the occupier”, Lapidoth notes, without identifying who “Some” are. “According to another opinion,” Lapidoth continues, “under the Hague Regulations of 1907 (Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land), occupation has to include full control of the area. (‘Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.’ – Article 42), and of course Israel does not control the whole territory of Gaza. Therefore, it is not responsible for what happens there.”
Lapidoth concludes, “In my opinion, since Israel is not in control of Gaza, it is not the occupier, but in those areas in which Israel still has control – which means sea and airspace – Israel is responsible. Here we have to distinguish between full control of the territory and control only of the sea and airspace.”
But this is argument is prima facie invalid. Article 42 simply does not say a nation must “control the whole territory” for the conditions of an occupation to exist. This is a strawman argument. Moreover, it is simply false that Israel maintains “control only of the sea and airspace” of Gaza. Israel also controls most of the length of the border of the territory, other than the short stretch of it Gaza shares with Egypt. Israel cannot on one hand claim authority to militarily control Gaza’s land, sea, and airspace while on the other maintaining that the conditions of occupation do not exist. Two plus two does not equal five.
In sum, Israel has a legal obligation under the U.N. Charter to bring forth any grievances it has to the Security Council, which may then authorize a legal blockade if it thinks necessary. Yet Israel did not do so, choosing rather to unlawfully implement a unilateral blockade.
Israel has a legal obligation to permit humanitarian supplies into Gaza, and not to engage in indiscriminate warfare or inflict collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza. Yet on its face, collective punishment is the effective consequence of the blockade and Israel’s denial of aid.
Moreover, preventing ships known to be carrying only humanitarian supplies from entering Gaza in no demonstrable way helps Israel “to repel an armed attack” or “to restore its security”. By failing to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives, Israel’s attack on the flotilla was indiscriminate, and therefore prohibited.
By blocking humanitarian goods that serve no military purpose, Israel’s attack constituted collective punishment against the civilian population, and therefore prohibited.
Additionally, since it could be foreseen that sending armed commandos to threaten and forcibly board and take control of a ship inherently presents a risk of causing “collateral casualties” excessive in relation to any military advantage anticipated (which was totally nonexistent in this case), it was therefore prohibited and constituted a war crime.
Lapidoth’s argument that there are “conditions” under international law by which its actions were lawful is a fallacy dependent upon dishonest cherry-picking from the San Remo Manual, which makes clear that those conditions only apply to situations where there is an effective legal blockade necessary for security that is not in practice indiscriminate, and only when, following on those conditions, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a ship may be serving a military purpose and thus exempt from attack. Israel’s capture and redirecting of the flotilla to Israel was a further violation of international law, in addition to the initial attack and the blockade itself.
A talk given at the “Debunking the War on Terror” Symposium on July 14th
The War on Terror Within
1.1 The more cruel we are towards others, the more devastated we are by the possibility that the subjects of our brutality may also be as nasty as we happen to be.
1.2 According to Freud this is what projection is all about.
1.2.1 Otto Weininger refines it, ‘we hate in others, that which we don’t like in ourselves’ he says.
1.3 As it happens, the dynamic of projection is amplified once the subject of our terror is hopeless and defenseless.
1.3.1 The reason is obvious. The more hopeless the subject of our terror is, the more we are inclined to face our relentless viciousness first hand.
2 Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is a devastating example of the above. The more hopeless and defenseless the Palestinians are, the more vicious the Israeli becomes.
2.1 And yet, the more vicious the Israeli is, the more he or she is horrified by ‘terror’.
3 In reality, the Israelis are actually horrified by their own cruelty which they project onto others.
4 The recent cold-blooded murder of 11 peace activists in the high seas by Israeli Navy commandos was nothing but a shocking exposure of that lethal dynamic. The more ethically transparent, innocent and harmless the humanitarian mission to Gaza is, the more lethal the Israeli becomes.
The English Speaking Empire
5. In fact, Israel is just a micro-cosmos of this kind of brutal vicious circle.
6. The so-called ‘War Against Terror’ is in fact a war against the terror within.
6.1 We attack, rob and plunder innocent people and innocent nations. Yet, the more pain we inflict on them the more terrorised we become by our own endless brutality.
Jesus Christ Super Star
7. Jesus taught us how to dismantle our vindictive projection. ‘Turn the other cheek’, he preached, in opposition to the infamous Old Testament’s ‘eye for an eye’.
7.1 Turning the other cheek, is commonly realised as a means to counter an aggressor. However, it maybe the only possible measure to dismantle the ‘terror within’, that same aggression that brews inside us as we become vindictive.
7.1.1 By turning the other cheek we may manage to defuse the violence within us. We replace it with acceptance, we disarm ourselves. We give peace a chance.
From Promised Land to Promised Planet
8. Zionism presented itself initially as a Jewish nationalist patriotic movement aimed at becoming both a homecoming and a dwelling.
8.1 Zionism vowed initially to collect Jews from around the world and to bring them to Palestine. It was inspired by the idea of a national home in a ‘promised land.’
8.2 This is definitely not the case anymore. Zionism took a different route. It actually expects the Diaspora Jews to mount pressure on Western governments and media. Wolfowitz was very productive in shaping America’s interests and desires, as was David Aaronovitch in championing ‘moral interventionist’ wars in The Times, David Miliband fulfilled his duty fighting to amend British Universal Jurisdiction within the British cabinet to allow Israeli war criminals to visit this Kingdom. Alan Dershowitz managed to transform the American academic world into a Yeshiva. Haim Saban, the Israeli American tycoon, bankrolls the Democratic party when he isn’t buying American media outlets or funding a new think tank.
8.3 The Israelis realised a long time ago that it is far cheaper to buy the entire Western political system than buy a single tank.
8.4 Zionism has become a global movement with global interests.
8.4.1 It drifted from the discourse of ‘promised land’ into the politics of ‘promised planet’
8.5 Consequently, British and American soldiers are dying in growing numbers fighting Zionist wars.
8.6 More concerning is the fact that British and American people have been made complicit in a genocide driven by Zionists.
8.7 However, the most troubling issue here is the fact that Brits and Americans are driven by an Old Testament vindictive ideology, namely an ‘eye for an eye’. One would have expected that considering the Christian foundation of Britain and the USA these countries would be inspired by compassionate Christian ideas such as ‘love your neighbour’ and ‘turn the other cheek.’
The Open Society and Its Enemies
9 Historians will have to find out at what point in time British and American political power and media gave up on compassion and peace.
9.1 Yet, in order to do so, historians must be free to think and to say what they think.
9.1.1 We must, therefore, restore the respected notion of history and the notion of historical research. We have to make sure that every chapter in our past is academically accessible. We also must reinstate freedom of thought, speech and expression. These crucial and elementary human rights have been jeopardised in the name of political correctness and legislation.
9.2 History is founded on the belief that a deeper understanding of the past may help us to shape our future.
9.3 Such an idea is transparent enough to support the realisation that history can lead to peace and reconciliation. We can simply try to amend the horror of the past by adopting a peaceful thinking.
9.3.1 To turn the other cheek is to some extent a product of proper historical realisation. It suggests that violence leads to more violence, yet, endurance and self control bring peace about.
10 Devastatingly enough, Britain and America implement the opposite lesson. Rather than aim towards peace and reconciliation, we are actually committing more and more crimes in the name of the past. Like the Israelis who kill in the name of the Shoa, we kill in the name of ‘democracy’, ‘moral interventionism’ and even ‘coca-cola’. As if this is not enough, when we run out of reasons, like the Israelis we kill in the name of Jewish suffering.
11 It doesn’t take a genius to gather that the proponent of these precepts in our midsts are devoted Zionists. It doesn’t take a genius to gather that Wolfowitz’s Doctrine lead to the war in Iraq. It is literally transparent that the ‘moral interventionism’ that is advocated by David Miliband, Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen is a pretext for violence. It is not exactly a secret that when Britain was taken into illegal Iraq war, Lord Levy, a Zionist by admission, was Labour’s No 1 fund raiser.
Give History a Chance
12 Our vision and re-vision of the past can shape our future, and yet, our vision of the future can also shape our past.
12.1 I will try to enlighten this complicated idea through a simple yet devastating hypothetical and imaginary lethal war scenario:
We, for instance, can envisage a horrific situation created by an imaginary hypothetical Israeli nuclear attack on Iran in which millions of innocent people die every day. I guess that amongst the few survivors of such a horrific reality, some may be so bold to insist that ‘the history of Jewish suffering might make sense after all.’
Again the above scenario is a product of the imagination, it by no means justifies Jewish suffering, and yet, such a vision of a ‘possible’ horrific development should ideally stop Zionist enthusiasts from advocating a war against Iran or anyone else. However, the above fictional scenario should help us to grasp how a vision of the future can also amend or transform our comprehension of the past.
12.2 At the moment our history books are sealed and cemented. We cannot engage in a real study of our most relevant past and we are therefore denied the right to consider its meaning.
12.3 Consequently, we have failed to encompass the real ethical meaning of world war II and the holocaust in particular. Similarly, we are silenced when it comes to the events that led towards the 2nd Iraq War. We are supposed to wait for the current Iraq Inquiry with the almost absurd hope that rabid Zionist Martin Gilbert will be kind enough to show us the truth.
13. With history being squashed it is hardly surprising that the same people who flattened Hamburg, Pforzheim, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki continued to do the same in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
14. Similarly, the same lobbies that pushed Britain and America to a deadly confrontation with the Muslim world are now pushing us to flatten Iran.
15. To save the world and to bring peace about, we must learn our past and we must be free to so. Revisionism is the means towards a better future.
Give History a Chance.
The Israeli recipe for dealing with the world: “If force does not work, use more force.”
Bombs go off in Turkey — a great spree of terrorist bombings and attacks. Practically every day Turkish soldiers and civilians are being killed. The killings are done ostensibly by the Kurd terrorists of the PKK, but in reality it is a new step in Israel’s warfare against Turkish independence. Encouraged by Israel, the PKK has extended its operations to the Aegean and the Black Sea resorts all the way to Izmir.
Israelis have armed, supplied and trained Kurdish terrorists for many years; they have turned Iraqi Kurdistan into their own territory, with many Israeli businessmen going about their affairs while waiting for Kirkuk oil to flow to Haifa as it did in the days of colonial British rule. The Kurds have remained a hidden tool of Israel in the region for many years; their activation now shows that Israel still wants to teach the Turks a lesson.
The main neocon magazine in the US, frontpagemag.com, has openly called for the Kurds to retaliate for Turkey’s support of Palestine. Another Jewish right-wing think-tank speaks of mobilizing the US Congress to condemn the one-hundred-year-old Armenian tragedy as a means of undermining Turkey. After many years of siding with Turkey, the Jewish Lobby has now decided to switch sides and support the Armenian claims. So Turkey is now under attack from all sides. This was to be expected, for the popular Israeli slogan says: “If force does not work, use more force.”
This is the explanation of the Flotilla Massacre on May 31, 2010. The Mavi Marmara attack was intended to be a short, sharp shock to the increasingly independent Turks. The Israelis intended to terrify and frighten them into obedience; this is why they ordered a blood bath on board the Mavi Marmara. As we now know, the Israeli commandos began shooting well before encountering any resistance. They were not there to play softball; submission was what they were after. Murder was not a result of being surprised or of miscalculation: it was an open attack on Turkey.
Israel’s conflict with Turkey was not an unfortunate result of the murderous raid. The confrontation between them became acute two weeks before the massacre, on May 17, 2010. Together with Brazil, Turkey had arranged and signed the Tehran Declaration — a nuclear fuel swap deal with beleaguered Iran. This declaration could have derailed the US-Israeli plans of sanctioning Iran to death prior to bombing it.
Israel wants Iran destroyed; as much as she wanted Iraq demolished, Gaza starved and the rest cowed. The swap agreement undermined all the logic behind the sanctions. All the plotting of Israeli lobbyists in the US and Europe was wiped out in an instant. Indeed, as the Muslims say: they plot, but Allah plots better.
Israel received the news of the Turkey-Brazil-Iran agreement as a heavy blow. “We were defeated by the crafty Turks and Iranians,” read the headlines of Israeli newspapers. Not so fast! The US State Department minimized the damage, effectively asking: “Who cares what these lowlifes agree about? If we have decided to bomb somebody, bomb we shall. We shall never allow the facts to confuse us.” Thomas Friedman in the NYT was disappointed that “a Holocaust-denying thug” was being allowed to live.
Brazenly disregarding the agreement, the UN Security Council approved the sanctions on June, 9. Moscow and Beijing were bribed or blackmailed to agree. China preferred to play ball in order to avoid confrontation over North Korea. The story of the sunken South Korean ship had provided a pretext for an attack on North Korea, and such an attack could cause much damage to China. The Chinese are also vulnerable to Western meddling in Xinjiang and Tibet.
The Russians have received some precious gifts: the Ukraine was returned to Russia’s fold, Georgia was marginalized, the new nuclear arms treaty was better for Russia than anything they could have expected. At the same time, Moscow suffered a severe terrorist attack, reminding the Russians of their enemies’ ability to seed trouble. Notwithstanding, Turkey voted against the sanctions, proving its new regional role as a reliable new pivot for the Middle East.
The conflict between Turkey and Israel did not start with the Iran swap: it began earlier, in January 2010, when the Israeli deputy Foreign Minister Dani Ayalon invited the Turkish ambassador and publicly humiliated him. In Oriental fashion, Ambassador Chelikkol was offered a seat on a sofa lower the Ayalon’s armchair. Ayalon refused to shake hands with the ambassador and told journalists in Hebrew while the cameras were rolling: “We would like to show that he takes a lower seat and there is only the Israeli flag on the table”.
Or perhaps the conflict began a year earlier, in January 2009, when the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, walked off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Erdogan was annoyed by the attempt of a Western moderator to cut off his angry response to Israeli president Shimon Peres, who had justified the mass killings in Gaza.
Or perhaps it started in September 2007 when Israeli planes flew over Turkey to bomb Syria without as much as ‘by your leave’.
Perhaps it was even earlier, when Turkey began to assert its independence by discarding its century-old, shop-worn ideology of Kemalism. The secular nationalism of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a trap for the former Empire. Brutish Kemalist Turkey was necessarily a member of NATO, an enemy to Arabs and Iranians, a docile client of the US, a loyal ally of Israel and a persecutor of the Kurds.
Now is the time to thank the Europeans for doing their bit to reform Turkey. In endless negotiations with Turkey, the European Union demanded a release of the Army’s iron grip on power. Without this gentle prompting from Europe, Turkey would still be ruled by a Zionist general or by a Zionist generals’ appointee. With their people freed from military rule, the Turks ended their violent secularism and regained peace with Islam and with their neighbours.
I visited Turkey last Christmas, and met with the activists who were about to depart for Gaza. Turkey is doing well: no economic crisis, steady growth, peace with the Kurds, a brave attempt to make peace with Armenians, and a perfect balance of religion and freedom. Whoever wishes to may go to a beautifully restored Ottoman mosque and pray, or to a café and drink very good Turkish wine. Girls are forced neither to shed their scarves nor to cover their arms.
“We lost Turkey”, said Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defense, and blamed the European Union for refusing to accept Turkey. But we have to thank the Europeans for this refusal. We do not want Turkey in the EU; we need Turkey for ourselves, for the region.
There is a great new plan for creating an Eastern Union as a regional equivalent of the European Union. This is the right place for Turkey, at the head of this new formation. In a way, it will be restoration of the Ottoman Empire — to the same extent that the European Union is a restoration of Charlemagne’s empire. The difference is that Europe was fragmented for centuries, while our region was united until 1917. Even if full political union is a distant prospect, this is good start on the way to this worthy goal.
There are already free-trade treaties between Turkey and its Arab neighbours; the spiritual dimension is there, for Istanbul was the last seat of the Caliphate and the see of Constantinople Patriarchate. Now Turkey may establish a regional International Court to deal with regional problems — among others, with Zionist excesses. Europe is still not free from Zionist control and that is why the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court in The Hague are unsuitable places to try Zionist criminals. Moreover, their present location recalls the Eurocentric world of yesterday. A regional court may also convincingly deal with war criminals in occupied Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Great lawyers like Richard Falk and Judge Goldstone could be invited to sit in it.
The establishment of the International Court (East) would be a serious and realistic step towards further decolonization of the region and its future unification in an Eastern Union.
However, the Eastern Union will be as different from the Ottoman Empire as the European Union differs from the Third Reich, that previous attempt to unite Europe. It will be a voluntary union of sovereign states, where they all will preserve their unique cultures and traditions, a good neighbour to united Europe, to Russia, Iran and China.
Looking beyond the Middle East
The Union could peacefully spread well beyond the Middle East as well, reuniting its natural territories from Gibraltar to Danube. This natural territory was formed a long time ago, in the fourth century, when the mighty Roman Empire was divided into the Western Empire with its capital in Rome, and the Eastern Empire, or Byzantium, with its capital in Constantinople, as Istanbul was then called. The Byzantine Empire became the Ottoman Empire in 1456. Still, it is the same ‘great space’, the same united large civilization of Muslims and Eastern Christians. People of Turkey and Greece, Serbia and Egypt have the same attitudes, they share their common values, they are more religious than their Western brethren, they object to the Western colonization, American imperialism and Israeli Zionism.
The rising West could not vanquish the united East; so in order to colonize its lands, the West has tempted the nations with a futile dream of independence. This mirage of independence was but a trap: the new “liberated independent” countries became subjects of Western rule. We may compare that with a human body: if our arms and legs will become independent of our mind, they won’t manage well. Indeed all members of the single body, the Ottoman Empire, do not function well after the amputation, or independence, forced upon them.
That was the case with the Arabs during World War I. The Arab Revolt was brought forth by Lawrence of Arabia, a great agent of British intelligence. The Arab lands became much more dependent than they ever were, and now they are ruled by a plethora of sheiks, stooges and dictators. The only democratic regime in the whole Arab world is unhappy, besieged Gaza.
However, the Arabs were not the only victims of these Western policies. The British intrigues had caused Greece’s independence in early 19th century, and afterwards rivers of blood and transfers had made this separation complete. But Greece is not at home in the EU, just as Greece of old was not at home in the Empire ruled from Rome. The recent financial crisis has proven it again: Greece’s roots and destiny are in the East.
No sane person would suggest that Greece should be incorporated in Turkey. Equally, none would suggest France be incorporated in Germany. However, France joined Germany to form the EU, and Greece may join Turkey to create the Eastern Union, eventually to embrace other Muslim and Orthodox Balkan provinces of the Byzantines, namely Albania and Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, even Romania and Georgia. All these countries may find the Eastern Union more suitable than the European one.
The Eastern Union may reach other countries and former provinces that were torn away and colonized by the Europeans in the 19th century. Algeria is a country that needs this reconnection most of all, as this oil-rich land is run by a bunch of secular anti-religious and pro-Western generals just like Turkey was until ten years ago. Morocco with its outdated and unsuccessful monarchy that combines systematic torture of dissidents with abject Zionism, maverick Libya and fragile Tunis also need a broader framework which would not cancel out but instead reinforce their sovereignty.
The Eastern Union could also establish an area of joint interests with the Russians over the Caucasus. Russians have a problem over there: separation of these Russian provinces is too dangerous as it is likely to bring the hostile forces of NATO into Russia’s backyard. Keeping them against the population’s will is an expensive and unpopular policy. A Russian attempt to grant independence in all but name to Chechnya misfired as the small country immediately turned its territory into a base of armed raids into Russia proper. The Eastern Union could put paid to these insurgencies and bring peace and stability to the turbulent Caucasus. In return, the Union may recognize Russian interests in the Christian Orthodox sites.
Palestine will become a crown jewel of the Eastern Union. Demise of colonialism will end Zionism as well, for after all, Zionism would never win ground without European imperialist support. The Christians, Jews and Muslims of Palestine will have equal rights and duties in the Holy Land, forever free from political ambitions and ethnic rivalry.
Hold your breath. This in not a joke, this is not a satire. It is real almost as much as it is pathetic. Israeli Ynet just reported that the images of captured Israeli commandos published in Turkish papers opened “…old wounds among those Israeli commandos involved in similar circumstances. Thus far, at least four combat soldiers have reported worsening of their (mental) condition”
While the rest of the world is caught shocked and angry by the images of Israeli navy seals executing peace activists in cold blood, the Israelis seem to moan over their new emerging phantasmic trauma.
Yent reports, “the difficult images of Israeli commandos tied up and bloody on the deck of the Marmara have had significant effects on soldiers who have been away from the battlefield for more than a year.” Apparently the new sufferers are soldiers who didn’t even take part in the event.
First, let me offer the Israeli traumatised commando ‘victims’ a light remedy. In the following picture they can see that the Turkish medical team was actually treating the lightly wounded Israeli soldiers on the lower deck at the time their friends were executing peace activists on the upper decks. I want to believe that once Israelis grasp that there is compassion out of their Hebraic Ghetto, they may even start to develop some empathic feelings themselves. But I may be over optimistic here.
Ynet learned that at least four “Navy combat soldiers have recently contacted the Defence Ministry to report that the media images of the injured soldiers have instigated a worsening in their mental and psychiatric conditions.” No wonder why Israel needs so many atomic bombs. If this is the way its toughest combatants react to images of light injuries, Israel may as well use its ultimate weapon against the next humanitarian flotilla to Gaza.
One of the ‘suffering commandos’ who was enlisted last year and didn’t participate in the cold blooded murder on the Mavi Marmara reported that he “did not receive any training on how to deal with such situations and their repercussions”, one of which is that he has a hard time falling asleep at night. The kosher warrior cannot close his eyes. Not too bad, I guess, in comparison with the nine peace activists who won’t see daylight.
Interestingly enough, Ynet is yet to report about Israeli commandos who are traumatised by the massacre they committed executing peace activists in international waters. Ynet is also yet to report on any Hasbara officer who committed a suicide after being exposed for forging and staging footage of violence on the Mavi Marmara.
Maybe the Israelis are not that fragile after all.