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Mon, 26 Sep 2016
The World for People who Think

Star of David

How Israel's oppressive and humiliating occupation affects all aspects of Palestinian life and incites violent resistance

© AP Photo
The news was familiar but no less alarming for the ugly déjà vu: four Israelis killed on Wednesday night by Palestinian gunmen in the heart of Tel Aviv. Israel's government, the most right-wing in the country's history, responded with measures that the UN promptly warned might count as collective punishment: flooding the West Bank with troops, sealing off the West Bank and Gaza, and revoking entry permits that had allowed 83,000 Palestinians to cross into Israel for work, worship and medical care.

On Thursday, the day after the shootings, Tel Aviv's Mayor Ron Huldai found the courage to state the obvious—that violence will persist until the occupation ends. Israel "is perhaps the only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights," Huldai said. Such frankness counts as bravery these days, but even Huldai was understating the truth. It's not the mere fact of a military occupation, of Israeli troops on Palestinian territory, that provokes such attacks. It can be difficult to comprehend from across the Atlantic, or even from usually tranquil Tel Aviv, but the occupation, as I have observed while reporting from the West Bank since 2011, functions as a massive mechanism for the creation of uncertainty, dispossession and systematic humiliation. It is not just soldiers and guns, but a far-reaching structure that affects all aspects of Palestinian life—a complex web of checkpoints, travel restrictions, permits, walls and fences, courts and prisons, endless constraints on economic possibilities, home demolitions, land appropriations, expropriation of natural resources, and, too often, lethal force.

No amount of preventive repression or collective punishment will bring an end to the bloodletting in Tel Aviv or elsewhere. As long as this oppressive system stands, and the United States continues to support it with billions of dollars a year in military aid, despair will spread, and with it death.

Bad Guys

The delusion of Empire: Syrian ceasefire failure means escalation of U.S.'s undeclared war on Russia

© AP
Gradually, the mist of ambiguity and confusion hanging over Syria is lifting a little. The landscape is sharpening into focus. With this improved visibility, we can view a little more clearly the course of action being prepared by Iran, Russia and the Syrian government.

Russia is emerging from an internal debate over whether the U.S. is truly interested in an entente or only in bloodying Russia's nose. And what do we see? Skepticism. Russia is skeptical that NATO's new missile shield in Poland and Romania, plus military exercises right up near its border, are purely defensive actions.

Iran, meanwhile, is studying the entrails of the nuclear agreement. As one well-informed commentator put it to me, Iran is "coldly lethal" at the gloating in the U.S. at having "put one over" Iran. Because, while Iran has duly taken actions that preclude it from weaponizing its nuclear program, it will not now gain the financial normalization that it had expected under the agreement.

It's not a question of slow implementation — I've heard directly from banks in Europe that they've been visited by U.S. Treasury officials and warned in clear terms that any substantive trade cooperation with Iran is closed off. Iran is not being integrated into the financial system. U.S. sanctions remain in place, the Europeans have been told, and the U.S. will implement fines against those who contravene these sanctions. Financial institutions are fearful, particularly given the size of the fines that have been imposed — almost $9 billion for the French bank BNP a year ago.

Comment: Crooke is a 'former' MI-6 agent. This isn't the first time he has spoken with common sense about Syria and Russia. (See: Sophie&Co: Former MI6 agent talks Syrian war, ceasefire, erratic Turkey, refugees (VIDEO)) What stands out in his analysis is the utter lack of responsibility and even rationality when it comes to U.S. decision-makers. It is as if they are unaware that they are dealing with real people, not just computer avatars or pieces on a chessboard to be used for whatever short-term gain is in sight. There is a total disconnect with reality and the fact that actions have consequences. They live in a narcissistic bubble and tell outrageous lies. As Crooke asks, do they not see where this leads? It appears not. They do not see what they don't want to see. It's unlikely to start a total nuclear war, but it's sure to make the world a worse place even than it is right now.


Camera

Evil Britannia: Great Britain's record of bloodshed, imperialism, genocide (PHOTOS)

For those who fought throughout the 20th century to rid themselves of colonial rule and imperialist occupation by the UK, the price paid was heavy.

For those who suffered under a dying British colonialism that was desperate to maintain its "possessions" at all costs, many of the wounds still have not healed nor has the blood dried.

Here is a look at just some of the more infamous atrocities carried out by the empire upon which "the sun never set," a country that remains heavily involved in a imperialist military operations throughout the 'post-colonial' world.

Chumik Shenko massacre, Tibet, 1904


Photo:National Army Museum, Study collection
On March 31 1904 hundreds of Tibetans were slaughtered by the British with maxim machine guns. The order from the British was "to make as big a bag as possible" [i]. The day after the massacre Colonel Younghusband who led the British invasion into Tibet stated "I trust the tremendous punishment they have received will prevent further fighting, and induce them at last to negotiate" [ii].

Comment: These horrible instances of British massacres are just a sample of British crimes against humanity. The pathological depths of British expansionism and domination over the last 300 years or so also brought atrocities to Burma and Indonesia, and across the wilderness of Africa, Canada and Australia, wiping out whole tribes and peoples.

British imperialism, like its offspring, US imperialism, has impacted every continent and peoples on this big blue marble. The British regime still does so today, directly or by proxy. And they call themselves civilized.
"This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things... This war has come from robbery - from the stealing of our land." - Spotted Tail, Brulé Lakota tribal chief

On the subject of great evil perpetrated by certain regimes, read Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Applied for Political Purposes


Bad Guys

How the neocons took over America, and why 51 U.S. 'diplomats' are now calling for war against the Syrian government

More than 50 U.S. State Department "diplomats" sent a "dissent" memo urging President Obama to launch military strikes against the Syrian army, another sign that Foggy Bottom has collectively gone nuts, writes Robert Parry.

Over the past several decades, the U.S. State Department has deteriorated from a reasonably professional home for diplomacy and realism into a den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions, a dangerous phenomenon underscored by the recent mass "dissent" in favor of blowing up more people in Syria.

Some 51 State Department "diplomats" signed a memo distributed through the official "dissent channel," seeking military strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad whose forces have been leading the pushback against Islamist extremists who are seeking control of this important Mideast nation.

The fact that such a large contingent of State Department officials would openly advocate for an expanded aggressive war in line with the neoconservative agenda, which put Syria on a hit list some two decades ago, reveals how crazy the State Department has become.

Comment: See also Moon of Alabama's take on the dissent memo and the NYT's coverage of it: Know-Nothing "Diplomats" Prepare For Hillary's War On Syria
These State Department loons have their ass covered by Secretary of State Kerry. Otherwise they would (and should) be fired for obvious ignorance. What "judicious" military threat against Russian S-400 air defense in Syria is credible? Nukes on Moscow (and New York)? ...
  • "Diplomats" urging military action do nothing but confirm that they do not know their job which is diplomacy, not bombing. They failed.
  • These "diplomats" do not know or do not want to follow international law. On what legal basis would the U.S. bomb the Syrian government and its people? They do not name any. There is none.
  • To what purpose would the Syrian government and the millions of its followers be bombed? Who but al-Qaeda would follow if the Assad-led government falls? The "diplomats" ignore that obvious question.
... The U.S. military continues to reject an escalation against the Syrian government. Its reasonable question "what follows after Assad" has never been seriously answered by the war supporters in the CIA and the State Department. ...

Unexpected support of the U.S. military's position now seems to come from the Turkish side. The Erdogan regime finally acknowledges that a Syria under Assad is more convenient to it than a Kurdish state in north-Syria which the U.S. is currently helping to establish [because Assad rejects a Kurdish state] ... The Turks have suddenly removed their support for their "Turkmen" proxies fighting the Syrian government in Latakia in north west Syria. Over the last few days the "Turkmen" retreated and the Syrian army advanced. It may soon reach the Turkish border. Should the Latakia front calm down the Syrian army will be able to move several thousand troops from Latakia towards other critical sectors. The Turkish government, under the new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, is now also sending peace signals towards Russia.

The situation in Syria could rapidly change in favor of the Syrian government should Turkey change its bifurcating policies and continue these moves. Without their Turkish bases and support the "moderate rebels" would soon be out of supplies and would lack the ability to continue their fighting. The Russians and their allies should further emphasize the "Kurdish threat" to advance this Turkish change of mind.

The race to preempt a Hillary administration war on Syria, which the "diplomats" memo prepares for, is now on. May the not-warmongering side win.



Stock Up

Despite media blackout, eyewitness testimony of multiple shooters at Orlando nightclub spreads on social media

© activistpost.com
In the wake of the Orlando massacre, social media has been alight with people airing their thoughts on the incident, but a post claiming shooter Omar Mateen wasn't the only gunman in Pulse has sparked particularly vociferous debate and outrage online.

The post in question was written by a man calling himself Cody Agnew, who posted it on Facebook on Sunday. It stated that he knew a woman who had survived the killing spree despite being shot 12 times and having 11 bullets removed since.

Agnew claimed that the woman, who he described as "coherent" and "fairly stable," said there had been three gunmen in the gay nightclub on the night of the attack, and not just one.

The controversial post, which has since been deleted, claimed there were "bits of information that the media aren't telling us."

Comment: Check out for yourself what some of them had to say

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Crusader

What if Vladimir Putin knows a 'third way' for society?


"We are neither pupils nor teachers for the West. We are disciples of God and teachers for ourselves." - Ivan Ilyin
Vladimir Putin saved Russia from the scavengers of the Yeltsin era. What's more, he's fundamentally re-forming the world's biggest country in ways few understand. Unfortunately, most of this select group are bitter enemies of the notion of a Russian led world. While think tanks and "new world" evangelists in the west promise change and progress, Putin and his colleagues are at work, resolutely forging a new Russia.

Many people believe that Russia under Putin is a totalitarian regime. Meanwhile, fanatical followers of the Russian president defend his moves as an effort to hammer out some pseudo-American form of democracy. But both of these ideas about the idealism of Vladimir Putin are false. Many have sought to study Putin, while simply applying their own ideologies either "for or against" what they believe Putin is. The reality is, there is a "third way" of reshaping Russia's future. Putin, by far the best read leader in the world today, has derived a Russian strategy based in part on the teachings of the Russian religious and political philosopher, Ivan Ilyin.

USA

'Endemic US mass shootings driven by gun culture & nihilistic rage'

© Shutterstock
Due to widespread Islamophobia many US citizens are rushing to blame Islamist radicalism for an "pandemic" of mass shootings and do not realize that the government's own gun policies only fuel the violence, RT America's Chris Hedges believes.

Although most people in the US assume the radical ideology and Islamic terrorism are behind the present-day rampage, the fact is that mass shootings are an inevitable consequence of the US domestic policy, Hedges said.

"Islamophobia runs deep in the United States. I think when people hear about mass shootings before the name of the perpetrator is released because of the long "war on terror" there's often an unstated assumption that there is a connection to radical Islamic militancy. But, in fact, mass shootings, unfortunately, in the United States are endemic," Hedges told RT.

"It's a confluence of the gun culture of the nihilistic rage that grips the underclass in the United States and figures such as this particular shooter are easily seduced by ideologies that sanction this," he added saying that the latest massacre in Orlando will "stoke" even more Islamophobia in the US.

Hedges said that the current gun policy has only worsened the security situation in the country.


Snakes in Suits

Allen Dulles' 'Indonesian strategy' and the assassination of John F. Kennedy

© Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston
President John F. Kennedy with CIA Director Allen Dulles and Director-designate John McCone on September 27, 1961.
Review of Greg Poulgrain's book "The Incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles".

Would Allen Dulles have resorted to assassinating the President of the United States to ensure the achievement of his 'Indonesian strategy'?

This is the central question addressed by Greg Poulgrain in his extraordinarily important book, The Incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles.

Two days before President John Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, he had accepted an invitation from Indonesian President Sukarno to visit that country the following spring. The aim of the visit was to end the conflict (Konfrontasi) between Indonesia and Malaysia and to continue Kennedy's efforts to support post-colonial Indonesia with economic and developmental aid, not military. It was part of his larger strategy of ending conflict throughout Southeast Asia and assisting the growth of democracy in newly liberated post-colonial countries worldwide.

He had forecast his position in a dramatic speech in 1957 when, as a Massachusetts Senator, he told the Senate that he supported the Algerian liberation movement and opposed colonial imperialism worldwide. The speech caused an international uproar and Kennedy was harshly attacked by Eisenhower, Nixon, John Foster Dulles, and even liberals such as Adlai Stevenson. But he was praised throughout the third world.

Quenelle - Golden

Jonathan Pie News Report: 'How Big Business is voting in Britain's EU referendum'

Jonathan Pie's latest episode focuses on big business and he asks how they sleep at night in "comfy mattresses stuffed with my taxes, probably".


Bullseye

Weaponizing the crosshairs: Putin foiling NATO plans to protect Romania, Poland from Iran

At a recent ceremony in Deveselu, Romania, the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) was declared operationally certified — a key milestone in Phase II of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). According to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs:
This Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System represents a significant increase in the capability to defend NATO European territory from attacks originating outside the Euro-Atlantic area, and is a key milestone in the development of NATO Ballistic Missile Defense.
If you happen to live in Romania, this is of course great news, since it means that your country is now fully protected from attack by Iran. This is especially critical for the security of Romania because, as is widely known, Iran, just like Saddam Hussein's Iraq, possesses a variety of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), which can be unleashed at 45 minutes notice. What is especially pleasing to me, as an Englishman married to a Polish lady, is that Poland is also on its way to introducing the system on its territory, and the knowledge of a system protecting my in-laws from President Hassan Rouhani's burning desire to seize control of Lower Silesia is bound to make me sleep soundly.