Posts Tagged ‘Middle-East’

27 July 2014

Israelis in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square light candles for Palestinians killed in Gaza on 26 July. (Yotam Ronen /ActiveStills)

I do not know yet who your loved one was. She might have been a baby a few months old, or a young boy, a grandfather or one of your children or parents. I heard about your loved one’s death from Chico Menashe, a political commentator on Reshet Bet, Israel’s main radio station.

He explained that the killing of your loved one, as well as turning Gaza neighborhoods to rubble and driving 150,000 people from their homes, is part of a well-calculated Israeli strategy: this carnage will destroy the impulse of Palestinians in Gaza to resist Israeli policies.

I heard this while reading in the 25 July edition of the supposedly respectable Haaretz the words of the not so respectable historian Benny Morris that even this is not enough.

He calls the genocidal policies so far “refisut” — feebleness of mind and spirit. He demands far more massive destruction in the future with the knowledge that this is how you behave if you want to defend your “villa in the jungle,” as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak described Israel.

Inhuman wilderness

Yes, I am afraid to say the Israeli media and academia are fully behind the massacre apart from few, hardly audible voices in this inhuman wilderness. I am not writing this to tell you that I am ashamed — I long ago dissociated myself from this state ideology and do all I can as an individual to confront and defeat it. Probably it has not been enough; we are all inhibited by moments of cowardice, egotism and maybe a natural impulse to take care of our family and loved ones.

And yet I feel the urge today to make a pledge to you, which none of the Germans my father knew during the time of the Nazi regime was willing to make to him when the thugs committed genocide against his family. This is not much of a pledge at your moment of grief, but it is the best I can offer and saying nothing is not an option. And doing nothing is even less than an option.

This is 2014 — the destruction of Gaza is well documented. This is not 1948 when Palestinians had to struggle hard to tell their story of horror; so many of the crimes Zionist committed then where hidden and never came to light, even until today. So my first and simple pledge is to record, inform and insist on the truth.

My old university, University of Haifa, has recruited its students to disseminate Israel’s lies all over the world using the Internet, but this is 2014 and propaganda of this kind will not hold water.

Pledge to boycott

But surely this is not enough. I pledge to continue the effort to boycott a state that commits such crimes. Only when the Union of European Football Associations throws Israel out, when the academic community refuses to have any institutional ties with Israel, when airlines hesitate to fly there, and when every outfit that may lose money because of an ethical stance in the short-term understands that in the long run it will gain both morally and financially — only then we will begin to honor your loss.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has had many achievements and continues its tireless work. The obstacles still include the false allegation of anti-Semitism and the cynicism of politicians. This is how an honorable initiative by British architects to force their colleagues in Israel to take a moral stance rather than be accomplices in the criminal colonization of the land was blocked at the last moment.

Similar initiatives were sabotaged elsewhere by spineless politicians in Europe and the United States. But my pledge is to be part of the effort to overcome these hurdles. The memory of your loved one will be the driving force, together with the vivid memory of the suffering of the Palestinians in 1948 and ever since.

Slaughterhouse

I do it all egotistically. I really pray and hope that in this worst moment of your life when Palestinians stand in Shujaiya, Deir al-Balah or Gaza City, gazing at the slaughterhouse created by Israeli warplanes, tanks and artillery, you would not lose hope in humanity.

This humanity even includes Israelis, those who do not have the courage to speak but who express their horror in private as my overflowing email and Facebook inboxes attest, as well as the small handful who demonstrate publicly against the incremental genocide in Gaza.

It also includes those not born yet who perhaps will be able to escape a Zionist indoctrination machine that teaches them, from cradle to grave, to dehumanize the Palestinians to such a level that the burning alive of a sixteen-year-old Palestinian boy fails to move them or shatter their belief in their government, army or religion.

Defeated

For their sake, mine and yours, I wish we can also dream of the day after — when Zionism will be defeated as the ideology that governs our lives between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea and we all have the normal life we crave for and deserve.

So I pledge today not to be distracted even by friends and Palestinian leaders who still foolishly pin their hopes on the long-gone “two-state solution.” If one has the impulse to be involved in bringing regime change in Palestine, the only reason to do this is for a struggle for equal human and civil rights and full restitution for all those who are and were victimized by Zionism, inside and outside the beloved land of Palestine.

May whoever is your loved one rest in peace knowing that their death was not in vain — not because it will be avenged and revenged. We do not need more bloodshed. I still believe there is a way of bringing evil systems to an end with the power of humanity and morality.

Justice also means bringing the murderers who killed your loved one and so many others to court, and we must pursue bringing Israel’s war criminals to trial in international tribunals.

It is a far longer way and, at times, even I feel the impulse to be part of a force that uses hard power to end the inhumanity. But I pledge myself to work for justice, full justice, restorative justice.

This is what I can pledge — to work to prevent the next stage in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Details here: https://punkonomics.org/2014/07/24/im-speaking-at-the-solidarity-with-gaza-event-in-orlando-florida-friday-25th-tomorrow/

Facebook eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/712920515442529/

Don’t forget to tune in to Punkonomics on WPRK91.5FM Wednesday 2-4PM to continue the discussion (and follow punkonomics.org on most social networks)

Qods Day Solidarity with Gaza

We will also devote next week’s podcast to the current events in the Middle East, their context, and history (Live radio show every Wednesday 2-4PM on WPRK91.5FM in Central Florida)

The event is tomorrow (Friday 25th) I’m one of the “Renowned Speakers” LOL

Qods Day Solidarity with Gaza

Amphitheater side, Rosalind and Washington intersection

195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando FL

Capture
Note: the map is North pointing down

Program of Events

PART 1: 4:00 p.m-5:30 p.m

Road Protest

PART 2: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m Honorary Speakers

Introduction on “Qods Day, Oppression around world and Palestine” by Sheikh Azhar Naseer

Speaker One: Rasha Mubarak, Jobs with Justice “Why are we still protesting?”

Speaker Two: Alexus Morales Students for Justice in Palestine “Recent Events and why justice is so important”

Speaker Three: Miguel Rodriguez CoFounder of Peace Builders and Justice of Florida “This is a humanitarian issue, not a religious one. Silence is not an option”

Speaker Four: Reverend Jeffrey DeYoe of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Advocacy Chairperson of the Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church “Zionism destroying culture and personal experiences, why we as Americans should boycott and speak out against US Support for Israel”

Speaker Five: Benjamin Balak, Economics Professor at Rollins “Political elements of the conflict, US Aid to Israel and Involvement”

VIGIL:

Shabeer Kirmani Spoken Word titled “Sleep Well”

Azra Dhanji “Speak”

Taha Baig “Pain of Gaza” Rap

Zahra Dhanji “Encountering Freedom”

Sameer Jagani

Yasmeen Virji and group singing “Palestine, tomorrow will be free”

Candle Light Vigil Remembering the Innocent Lives of Gaza- Moment of Silence

CONCLUSION: by Laila Abdelaziz Emerge USA: How has the US been involved (US Aid to Israel in comparison to aid elsewhere and within our  country, how much of our taxes go to funding genocide, President’s support, congressional vote 100-0), recent events recap (death count in Gaza) and what we can do to help stop this (3 objectives).

End with (standing up, everyone repeats): We stand, “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

Qods Day Guidelines & Protocols

The rally will take place at the amphitheater side of Lake Eola Park from 4pm to 6:30, at the intersection of Washington St. and Rosalind Ave.

1. All participants must respect and observe all local, state, and federal laws. This includes but is not limited too:

a. No blocking sidewalks

b. No disrupting moving traffic

c. No trespassing on private property

d. No disruption of local business

2. In the event of hostilities from onlookers or those opposed to the peaceful rally, all participants must restrain from any reaction of any kind. Contact a volunteer organizer if hostilities are encountered. Local law enforcement presence is expected and will be contacted in the event of hostilities.

3. Safety of everyone is of the utmost importance. Please be mindful of your surroundings. The area is a busy intersection with walkers and commuters. Please stay in the designated area only. Participants should stay near the amphitheater at all times.

4. Please make note of volunteer organizers as they will have the most up to date information and procedures. They will be wearing  white&black armbands.

5. Umbrellas and ponchos are recommended as there is a chance of rain. In the event of severe inclimate weather, the protest will be suspended in order to safeguard all participants. Volunteers will announce suspension.

6. Those attending with children should maintain safe distance from the roads.

7. Please do not litter the area with trash/posters/brochures. All participants should dispose of trash in designated areas.

 

(letter published in last Thursday’s Financial Times)

From Mr KN Al-Sabah,

Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.

But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!

Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!

Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the US!

Gulf states are pro-US. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

KN Al-Sabah,

London EC4, UK

Continuation of what I posted  yesterday titled:

Some real-world context to Obama’s ridiculous propaganda speech on Syria >:/

PT 2: Chris Hedges and Rania Masri On What the Future May Hold For Syria

REAL NEWS NETWORK: Rania Masri and Chris Hedges On Obama’s Syria Address

Obama Warned on Syrian Intel

Exclusive: Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.
     
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
     
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
     
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
   
Precedence: IMMEDIATE
     
We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”
     
We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandumimmediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised. The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond …  the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer you the same advice today.
     
Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.
     
We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.
      
Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?
     
That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”
     
This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political, not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”
Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002, on Iraq, The minutes record the Richard Dearlove, then head of British intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on July 20.
     
The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence, prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the “intelligence” on Syria.
     
The Intelligence
     
There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.
     
According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.
We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.
     
In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.
Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.
     
At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government.
     
The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.
     
Cui bono?
      
That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel has equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.
     
Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:
“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.
      
“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”
      
We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates that it is.
      
That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.
      
Iran’s Role
       
Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation, real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience suggests to us that such is supremely possible.
      
Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and perhaps beyond, against Iran.
       
Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident, and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United States].”
     
Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.
      
Inevitable Retaliation
      
We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example, terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”
      
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
      
Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan
Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)
Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq
Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)