Saturday 15 September 2018

Occupied Britain

Rabbi Sacks: “Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite.”
Tories: “Listen to the holy gentleman.”
Archbishop of Canterbury: “Tories have increased poverty.”
Tories: “Must keep religion out of politics.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

On the censorship of Michael Hoffman’s books by Amazon

On the censorship of Michael Hoffman’s books by Amazon
September 13, 2018
[This article was written for the Unz Review]
A couple of months ago I did an interview with one of the foremost scholars of rabbinical Judaism, Michael Hoffman. The occasion was the release of his latest book “The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome”. At the time I did not expect to have to ask for a follow-up interview with him, but when I learned that Amazon had censored his books (please see Hoffman’s own account of this here). Specifically, the ban is on three of his books. A complete ban (Kindle + printed book) on Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, as well as The Great Holocaust Trial: Revised and Expanded, while his textbook, Judaism Discovered, has been removed from the Kindle. I felt that I had to talk to him again and he kindly agreed to reply to my questions. I submit to you the full text of our Q&A which I will follow-up with a short commentary.
The Saker: Please summarize what happened to your books and Amazon and tells us what specific explanations were given to you. Did Amazon ever offer you a “page and paragraph” list of “offending” passages? Do you have any means of knowing exactly what your book is being banned for?
Hoffman: Whether it is Facebook, Google or Amazon, the excuse most often cited for suppression is “content guidelines’ violation.” Amazon notified us on August 13 that two of our titles, which they have been selling for years and in thousands of copies, Judaism Discovered, our 1100 page textbook published in 2008, and Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, published in 2010 — were being permanently removed after “review” by the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) unit of Amazon. A facsimile of the KDP notice can be viewed here:
In their e-mail they told us that “…we found that this content is in violation of content guidelines.” In studying their content guidelines one encounters a vague, generic statement about not permitting that which is “offensive.” There is no guidance as to what “offense” has suddenly arisen after these books were sold on Amazon for several years. Like the Red Queen in Wonderland who declared to Alice that, “A word is anything I say it is!” — that which “offends” is anything Amazon says it is. A third book, The Great Holocaust Trial: The Landmark Battle for the Right to Doubt the West’s Most Sacred Relic, was also forbidden.
Does Amazon have the chutzpah to publicly categorize these books as “hate speech” or some other alibi for censorship that could be contested? No, they do not. They leave authors and publishers twisting in the wind, making it more difficult to appeal the decision and report to the public on the tyranny. Although since they allow no appeal, it’s a moot point. Personally, I have no doubt concerning why my books were censored.
The Saker: What is, in your opinion, the true intent behind the ban on the sales of your book? What is Amazon’s interest in this?
Hoffman: I don’t believe Amazon has much interest in this. It is more likely that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLC) is the interested party. Last August 7 the New York Times online published a revealing piece by David French in which he wrote: “We live in a world where the Southern Poverty Law Center, a formerly respected civil-rights organization, abuses its past trust to label a host of mainstream organizations (including my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom) and individuals as ‘hate groups,…based sometimes on…outright misreadings and misrepresentations of an individual’s beliefs and views…Amazon recently booted Alliance Defending Freedom from its AmazonSmile charity program because of the center’s designation.”
At around the time in 2017 that the SPLC was trying to interfere with the business operations of people such as myself, by intimidating banks and credit card processors into refusing to process payments for books, Paypal notified us that due to the contents of our website ( we were an embarrassment to their brand and they were terminating our account. As long as Paypal was owned by libertarians, all was well and we had a high customer satisfaction rating for our integrity and dependability. The original Paypal mainly cared about whether you were a responsible seller. A politicized administration eventually took over Paypal and in 2017 we were terminated, very likely on the “advice” of the SPLC.
To return to Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos founded it in 1994. It was very much a libertarian book operation from the start. From 1994 until a year or two ago, Amazon only refused to sell hard core pornography and books that constituted direct appeals to violence or law-breaking, which is how it should be. Every other type of book was sold, without censorship, which is one reason for Amazon’s early success and increasing market share. Then last year, after Mr. Bezos had reached the status of one of the world’s wealthiest persons, and Amazon’s total value was beginning to approach that of Apple and Google, Amazon staged a huge purge and eliminated more than a hundred World War II revisionist history books published by Germar Rudolf’s CODOH organization (books smeared as “Holocaust denial”). This year it was my turn. Next year it might be any author not part of the university press syndicates or the major houses. Such is the heedless power and immunity of Amazon.
It’s important to note that the thought police who removed three of my books were based in the digital division of Amazon, where the electronic Kindle books are marketed and managed. A Kindle permits anyone connected to the Amazon website to read approximately the first thirty pages of any Kindle book free of charge. Consequently, my Judaica scholarship was on display around the world and therefore it was much harder to lie about me and mischaracterize my Talmud and Kabbalah research under those circumstances.
We were also beginning to sell ever increasing numbers of these Kindle books to people in Asia, particularly India and Japan. It’s my hunch that Big Brother is not half so worried about printed books as the digital kind. Removing the three books from the Kindle was the primary objective.
To be banned by Amazon is not equivalent to being banned by any other private business. Most publishers will admit that Amazon has replaced Bowker Books in Print as the industry’s authoritative guide to what books in English have been printed in the past and what is in print now. Amazon is currently the reference source. For a book to be forbidden by Amazon renders it largely invisible. It is equivalent to burning the book. So this is not a matter of Amazon exercising the prerogative of private enterprise. Amazon is a monopoly. It has no rival. If your book doesn’t exist on Amazon, then for most people who are not research specialists, your book doesn’t exist. The consequences for the pursuit of knowledge are ominous.
There is a problem here for Amazon as well. The more Amazon excludes books that embody facts and ideas that constitute radical dissent, the more it becomes a narrow censor’s aperture rather than a reliable bridge to the entire range of the Republic of Letters.
Apologists for censorship of radicals and authentic conservatives often claim that no First Amendment rights are violated when Amazon bans books, therefore it is not a civil rights issue, merely an inconvenience of the capitalist system. In the 1950s however, when the privately-owned movie studios banned certain directors, actors and screen-writers judged to be Leftists or Communists, that action on the part of private enterprise was inscribed in the rolls of the culture wars as the infamous “Blacklist,” and we are still reading and weeping over it sixty-five years later. So it depends on whose ox is being gored.
My Judaica studies are free of “Jew hate,” as anyone who peruses the sections in both books titled “To the Judaic Reader” knows. There we state that the books are dedicated to pidyon shevyuim (redemption of the captive), i.e. rescuing those Judaic persons who are in bondage to the Talmud and the Kabbalah.
Our enemies easily turn to their advantage books containing hatred of “The Jews.” What they absolutely have no credible answer to is a critique predicated, as our books are, on a sincere foundation of true Christian love. Boundary-breaking scholarship united to compassionate concern for the welfare of Judaic people is almost unprecedented in this field. This approach makes my studies of Judaism among the most powerful and effective because they are free of the “hate speech” which is the pivot upon which turns the machinery of liberal-approved censorship. For that reason, making Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, and Judaism Discovered available on the Kindle undercut decades of hatred and libel. Therefore those volumes had to be suppressed.
The Saker: Since this ban was put in place – what reactions have you heard? who has spoken in defense of your scholarship and right to be heard? has anybody taken your defense or spoken up for you?
Hoffman: Ron Unz allowed me to publish a note on the ban at and you, the Saker, have taken an interest. Our many friends, readers and subscribers have expressed outrage on Twitter and in e-mail. Meanwhile we have contacted everyone from a columnist for Taki’s website to the legacy media, to no discernible effect thus far. The Washington Post, which is owned by Mr. Bezos, has as its motto, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Yet it is in that very darkness where Amazon’s book-banning dwells, due to the apathy of the media and the American Library Association. To ban books by a vulnerable independent scholar is not exactly a daring move in this age where “hate speech” is anything that offends someone’s cherished myth. The definition is so loose it functions as an inquisitor’s sword.
On the positive side, we have seen an uptick in orders to our own online store for the printed books which Amazon has banned []. There is no replacement for the banned Kindle editions, however.
The Saker: What do you believe could be done to resist this state of affairs? what can we all do to put at stop to this kind of censorship?
Hoffman: In a general, the supporters of the lies of the Overlords wage spiritual and psychological warfare with far more dedication, commitment and self-sacrifice than the purported allies of God’s truth. The Cryptocracy’s defenders are 24/7 militants resolved to contend with their perceived foes with every ounce of their being. Whereas on the side of Christian conservative renewal, with honorable exceptions, I find mainly armchair warriors and folks so enormously distracted by the choices offered by the Internet’s deluge of words and images, that they are nearly paralyzed by the spectacle.
Compare the reception Judge Kavanaugh received in the Senate hearings with that of recent Supreme Court nominees Kagan and Ginsburg. The Republicans were too cowed to seriously confront those ladies. Maintaining decorum was the chief concern of the timid GOP at the time, while Kavanaugh faced a near riot in the visitor’s gallery and extremes of withering interrogation and contempt from defiant Democratic senators.
When CODOH’s books were banned we reported the case extensively online and in our printed newsletter. We contacted an executive with the American Library Association to elicit his response and express our outrage. We did what we could even though we have almost no relationship with CODOH. We would do the same for any person of good will who is denied the right to advance human learning with suppressed facts and ideas. This was formerly a truism in America, up until the rise of the punks of social media who seem to be more like a branch of Antifa than an intellectual class invested in discovery and enlightenment.
Advances in human knowledge are achieved on the basis that “error has rights,” for the reason that enshrined dogmas are often wrong and demonized dissidents are sometimes the bearers of rare discoveries. But the epigram of our time is “Error has no rights,” which was the doctrine of the fiery Inquisition, of the head-chopping French Revolution and of the Bolsheviks and Maoists. If error has no rights then neither does truth, in that what is denounced as hateful error by the mob is sometimes a destabilizing, necessary and even cosmic truth.
Reading Hoffman’s words I thought that what happened to him is so typical of the Orwellian world we live in where the what I call the “Skripal rules of evidence” (aka “highly likely”) have replaced even basic evidentiary notions, a world in which false flag attacks are announced weeks in advance, a world in which the Planetary Hegemon has declared urbi et orbi that nothing in the body of international law applies to the “indispensable nation” (or to the parasitic host feeding off it) and where “might makes right” has become the motto by which everybody lives. Of course, the censorship of a book cannot be compared to the initiation of a war of aggression (which is the “supreme international crime” under international law: this was the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trial on this topic: To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole). Still, there is something uniquely devious and evil about the censorship of Hoffman’s books by Amazon, several things in fact:
  1. What is attacked in not a person or even a group, but ideas, arguably the most precious attribute of mankind. This is therefore not only an attack on a human being, but an attack on the very notion of humanity as such
  2. While the method is different, the intention here is no different from the book burnings of the Nazis or the Papacy except that in these latter cases it was obvious who ordered the burning of putatively “degenerate” or “heretical” books. Thus the ideological motive of the Nazis and Papists was always clear whereas in the case of Hoffman this ideological motive is hidden (even if obvious with anybody with a modicum of intelligence).
  3. The ultimate hypocrisy lies in the fact that most so-called libertarians (from the Left to the Right) have nothing to say about this because this is not a case of censorship by government but the action of a corporation which has the “right” to do as it wishes, nevermind that the result is still a clear de-facto infringement of Hoffman’s First Amendment rights and the freedom of academic scholarship.
  4. The US government and Congress, by allowing monopolistic corporations such as Amazon to have that kind of power are basically engaging in what I would call “censorship by proxy” which is to be expected from a deep state which now does almost everything by proxy in order to bypass fundamental US and international laws (“extraordinary renditions” anybody?).
  5. Unlike the government which does have to produce at least some evidence before it can censor an individual or organization, a US corporation does not even have to justify itself by a single word. This is viewed as a triumph of deregulation by mindless libertarians who would gladly surrender all their freedoms as long as it is not to the state. In the real world, of course, they still end up handing over their freedoms to the state, except that the state is hiding behind their beloved corporations.
It is also pretty obvious that those who might, at least in theory, have something to say about this kind of censorship by proxy remain silent because, at least according to them, Hoffman is an “anti-Semite” (which, having read many of his books, I can attest is a total falsehood; by way of evidence here are sample pages from his book: and thus he is undeserving of support. So-called “anti-Semites” are, along with the pedophiles, the “consensus villains” of the day (I explain that in detail here) but what the anti-anti-Semites fail to realize is that each time a “consensus villain” is deprived from his rights, this sets a precedent for everybody else. This is why Yehuda Bauer warned us when he wrote: “Thou shalt not be a victim, Thou shalt not be a perpetrator, And above all, Thou shalt not be a bystander”. To no avail, alas: we live in society of silent bystanders apparently! And when YouTube decides to silence all the Syrian state channels to better prepare for a false flag chemical attack, everybody looks away – “ain’t my problem”…
We all know that in Europe (and in Russia) you can be jailed and your books banned if a court finds them to be “revisionist” or “anti-Semitic” or “hateful” and the like. But at least in Europe (and in Russia), you get your day in court and you can defend yourself against accusations which the state has to prove. In Russia, just last week, a man accused of “rehabilitating National-Socialism” (for reprinting an article by another author!) was found non guilty by a majority of jurors (5 to 3) (the punishment he was facing was a fine and several years in jail). Thank God, in the “home of the brave” no such thing could happen, right?!
True, Hoffman does not risk jail (yet!). But in terms of crushing crimethink, I submit that the US system is much more effective because it allows the deep state to hide behind the veil of corporate malfeasance. There have been plenty of revolutions against a state, but I don’t know of any revolutions against the corporate dictatorship.
You tell me: which is worse, the absence of freedom or the illusion of freedom?
Personally, I find the latter *much* worse.
I never expected the corporate presstitutes to really care about our freedoms, ditto for the libertarians and the progressive Left. They are all too busy with their narrow ideological agenda. As for the US academic world, it has shown its true face when it allowed the persecution of Professor Norman Finkenstein. But I have to say that I am shocked by the fact that the blogosphere and the so-called “alternative media” has remained so silent in the face of such a blatant censorship by proxy by the deep state against one of the foremost US historians.
I urge all those reading these lines to speak up on Hoffman’s behalf and to support him by purchasing his superb and censored books. This is how every one of us can resist the Hegemon and his rule!

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Mohammad bin Salman’s Days Are Numbered: The Times

The seven Middle East wars of the last two decades mark a new colonial era, driven by a failing empire. But colonization is banned these days, so an ideological cover is needed, and with today’s highly literate populations that cover is provided by an embedded colonial media, backed up by a well-paid NGO sector.
This colonial media is required to recycle the new colonial myths, that vicious predatory invasions are ‘humanitarian interventions’, that terrorist proxy wars are ‘civil wars’ led by peaceful protestors, and that the independent target nations are simply illegitimate ‘regimes’ led by evil ‘dictators’.
That is why we see the durable, if hardly plausible, stories of Palestinian resistance to ethnic cleansing as ‘terrorism’; the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan as a war for the ‘rights of women’ (thank you George W. Bush and Amnesty International) and the repeated ‘false flag’ chemical weapons stunts in Syria (simply pretexts for further intervention), as the actions of a monster president who is (for some unexplained reason) ‘killing his own people’.
The colonial media could be characterized as an embedded state and corporate media sector, which seeks to normalize imperial war and sustain the myths of colonial interventions (in face of substantial reason and evidence) while demonizing independent states and dissident voices. Some criticism is allowed, so long as it does not support the resistance.
This sector has begun to include the giant corporations which control what had been a more diverse social media.
As the weight of global political-economic relations shifts eastwards – and as US industrial and financial power slides and the dollar is undermined – Washington has tried to reclaim its imperial mantle. It is a bold and bloody last stand.
Unlike the Europeans, the USA has always cloaked its imperial projects in the language of ‘freedom’. The fact that this theme has persisted across regimes of slavery, conquest and the purchase of entire nations represents quite an achievement, in both popular persuasion and verbal gymnastics.
That legendary doublespeak can be seen at work today, in the wars against Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Those wars accompany the attempts to isolate Russia, China, and western Europe, which the paranoid American empire sees as its real competitors.
Washington’s grand strategy in the Middle East wars borrows traditional imperial aims. The first of these is to exclude potential ‘big power’ competitors from the resources-rich region, or rather to dictate the terms of their engagement.
The second is to destroy any independent political will in the region, dividing peoples with the help of its main regional agents, the sectarian and backward regimes of apartheid Israel and medieval Saudi Arabia.
While US interventions in the Americas stretch across two centuries, Washington’s first major intervention in West Asia was the 1953 coup in Iran, which imposed a US-backed dictatorship until the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
As a large, central and avowedly independent country, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains the key target of Washington and its regional minions. It has both the capacity and will to lead an independent coalition against Washington’s project for a ‘New Middle East’.
Many in the Middle East regard Israel as the principal enemy. However, this gives too much credit to the Zionist colony. As resistance leaders in Lebanon and Yemen have recently pointed out, the Zionist tail does not wag the imperial dog.
Israel does indeed contribute to colonial media and social media myth-making, but its repression at home undermines much of that.
The US-American colonial media remains central. Both major political parties are rooted in the same self-righteous ‘exceptionalism’, used to justify great crimes. The same large investment groups that dominate the US government also run the colonial media.
Yet in recent years it has been the ‘smart power’ of the ‘exceptionalist’ liberals which has proved more effective in today’s propaganda wars, attracting support from those westerners who like to see themselves as ‘saviours’ of the poor peoples of the world.
This colonial liberalism draws directly from British colonialism liberalism of the mid-19th century. ‘Civilising’ and ‘saving’ the natives are back in fashion.
By Tim Anderson

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Iran Will Not Succumb

Place sanctions against a country in an attempt to have its citizens rebel against their government and, at the same time, say that you hold no animosity against that population; your only problem is with their government. How does that work? How did it work against Iraq? Maybe one of the 900,000+ children who died in the land of the Euphrates could have explained this concept had he or she survived those sanctions.
Targeting the livelihoods of innocent nationals because you don’t like their government is nothing less than sabotaging lives. Cutting off their medicine and food supplies is laying siege on their health. It is as simple as that – it is a crime against humanity.
Iran has had sanctions imposed on it for nearly forty years now and it is still as far from going down on its knees as it ever was. It enjoys strong diplomatic relations with plenty of countries who really matter in terms of economic, technological, and military cooperation. Iran does not need the United States’ seal of approval. Time and again, this country has confirmed to the free world that it is impossible for the United States to meddle with any nation that spends a great deal of its annual budget on education, health care, and development. In other words, a nation with a government that prioritizes its citizens.
In Iran, if you are a law-abiding citizen, you are untouchable by any law enforcement agency regardless of the color of your skin. This is not the case for the country that tries to school Iranians about democracy from beyond the ocean.
Iran has strict gun laws; children go to schools without fear of being shot in the classroom.
Iran never sent warships to bomb the innocent citizens of Lebanon; the New Jersey did not sail under the Iranian flag when it pounded civilians with shells ranging in weight between 1,900 and 2,700 pounds.
The Islamic Republic is backed by its people who refuse manipulation of their natural allegiance towards their flag.
When the American president speaks about the need for Iran to change its policies, the Iranian people get perplexed. Does it mean that they should follow the American example? Should their judicial system start giving harsher prison sentences to those of a darker skin color? Should the Iranian police strangle those selling cigarettes in the streets? Which part is the American administration talking about?
If not regarding domestic issues, then one might presume that the United States government is referring to changes in Iranian foreign policies. Again, being the ones doing the preaching, it means they represent the example others should follow. In this case, Iran would need to stop supporting the people in its region against terrorists and do like the United States does, namely give weapons and strategic support to al-Qaeda and “ISIS”. The primary American allies in the Middle East, the Saudis, have spared some children in Yemen; perhaps, Iran can go butcher those to gain American consent.
There is confusion like never before when it comes to the American administration’s logic. On one hand, they speak of human rights, liberty, and democracy. On the other, they encourage the annihilation of Palestinians and Yemenis. Understanding the American official rhetoric is becoming increasingly difficult. It appears as though the American definitions of liberty and democracy are contrary to those of the rest of the world.
Having lived and worked in Iran for several years, I know for a fact that the average Iranian citizen does not hate Americans just like he doesn’t hate his own government – it’s very difficult to find the concept of ‘hate’ in the Iranian society. He does, however, dislike anyone who disrespects his way of life and his country. This average Iranian is educated enough to identify cheap theatrics performed by leaders of foreign powers like Trump and Netanyahu. A majority of Iranians feel like there are continuous attempts to insult their intelligence when they are given lessons in democracy by one whose army has invaded other countries and another who leads an apartheid occupation government.
Iranians are proud of their leadership that has not conducted assaults on other countries. They gather, in support, around the authorities that manage to keep the country safe from foreign meddling and intervention. Not so long ago, the C.I.A nearly succeeded in creating an Iranian civil war that would have resulted in partitioning the country into smaller ethnic states; the Iranian public knows this and knows, all too well, that after failing in utilizing sectarian and racial tools, the American administration is trying to upset the Iranian people/government harmony with sanctions.
There’s no denying that embargoes carry negative effects when imposed. But, their consequences become diluted when the targeted people make an art out of resilience.
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

رسائل شديدة الدقة في لحظة شديدة الحساسية

سبتمبر 14, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– في لحظة تجاذب يجتمع فيها التفاوض ورسائل القوة، تبدو لعبة حافة الهاوية الدولية والإقليمية في الذروة، وبينما يسعى الحلف الذي تقوده روسيا ويضمّ بصورة رئيسية إيران والصين وحلفاء آخرين تتقدّمهم سورية، إلى تثبيت مكاسبه ومواصلة التقدم دون الدخول في صدام مباشر مع أميركا، تبدو واشنطن عاجزة عن تحمّل وتقبل تقدم الحلف المقابل الذي يمنحه التفوق على مساحة آسيا ويضع «إسرائيل» والسعودية في وضع صعب، بينما الانتشار العسكري الأميركي يتراجع، ولكنها تبدو بالمقابل مستعدة لرسائل الضرب تحت الحزام أملاً بفرض تراجع دون وقوع الصدام.

– اللغة التي تتحدّث فيها واشنطن عن العقوبات على إيران وروسيا، خصوصاً في قطاع الطاقة، تعادل بالنسبة لموسكو وطهران إعلان حرب، وقد شهد اجتماع وزيري الطاقة الروسي والأميركي يوم أمس، جولة تفاوض تضمّنت عروضاً متبادلة، لكنها لم تخرج بغير الاتفاق على مواصلة التفاوض، بينما أعلنت واشنطن مزيداً من العقوبات على برنامج السيل الشمالي الروسي الذي ينقل الغاز إلى أوروبا الشمالية، رغم العرض الروسي بالاستعداد لتفاهمات تنحصر في سوق الغاز الأوروبية تتيح حصة منها لشركات الغاز الصخري الأميركي كما وعد الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين في قمة هلسنكي، لكن الأميركيين الذين يحتاجون هذا المكسب يراهنون على ضمّ ملفات أخرى تتصل بالمنطقة وخصوصاً بسورية وإيران، لا تجد قبولاً روسياً وتصل حد الاستعداد لسحب العرض الخاص بالغاز الصخري، إذا استمر التصعيد الأميركي بالعقوبات.

– في العراق تجاذب أمني سياسي أميركي إيراني في الذروة، ورسائل متبادلة عالية السقوف، وواشنطن التي تعرف عجزها عن تحمّل مواجهة مباشرة مع قوى المقاومة، تحاول ربط تلك المواجهة بالتصعيد مع إيران وتهديدها بصفتها مَن سيدفع ثمن أي استهداف للقواعد الأميركية في العراق، التي جاء ردّها على لسان قائد الحرس الثوري الإيراني في تصريح خاص بقناة المنار، داعياً الذين يملكون قواعد عسكرية في نطاق ألفي كلم حول إيران إلى التيقن من دقة إصابة الصواريخ الإيرانية. وفي اليمن تذهب السعودية إلى إفشال محادثات جنيف تمهيداً للهجوم الأخير الذي تحاول عبره تغيير الوضع العسكري في منطقة الحديدة، حيث تقف واشنطن بقوة وراء الهجوم السعودي، كما أظهرت تصريحات وزيري الخارجية والدفاع أمام الكونغرس باعتبار السعودية تلتزم بالمعايير المطلوبة في تجنّب إصابة المدنيين، رغم الإقرار الأممي بالمجازر التي ترتكبها السعودية، والعنوان الإنساني هو الباب الذي يغطي مواقف واشنطن بدعم أي حرب أو الضغط لوقفها.

– في هذا التوقيت تخرج مناورات روسية صينية غير مسبوقة. وهي الأولى من نوعها، ويشترك فيها ثلاثمئة ألف ضابط وجندي، وكل أسلحة البر والبحر والجو، ويشرف عليها الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، وتطلق عليها تسمية «الشرق 2018»، لتعلن جاهزية روسية صينية مشتركة لمواجهة أي تحدّ عسكري، والرسالة بتوقيتها ومضمونها واضحة، وكما الرسالة الإيرانية، تقول لواشنطن إن التصعيد سيقود إلى المواجهة، ونحن جاهزون إن رغبتم بها.

– الرسائل المتبادلة على حافة الهاوية تتمّ على خلفية قرار بعدم التصادم. وهذا يعني أنها رسائل تفاوضية، وأن ساحة الاشتباك التي تقدّمها إدلب هي المساحة الوحيدة المتاحة لتسجيل النقاط، مع رهانات أميركية على تحقيق شيء ما في الحديدة هذه المرة، لكن في إدلب كان السباق الروسي الأميركي الإيراني على موقع تركيا، وقد كسبته روسيا وإيران. وصار جيش الأميركيين هو جبهة النصرة التي كانوا ينتظرون حمايتها من تركيا، بإغراء كانتون تقوده أنقرة في شمال سورية يمنح الشرعية الواقعية لبقاء كانتون تديره واشنطن شرق الفرات، فتقسيم يمنح شرعية لتقسيم واحتلال يمنح شرعية لاحتلال. وأمام العزم والحزم بالذهاب للحسم تغيّر الموقف التركي، ليلتزم التعهّد بمقاتلة النصرة، وهناك الكل حذر والكل يراقب، والكل ينتظر.

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US Marines Conduct Major Drills With Syria Terrorists

US Marines Conduct Major Drills With Rebels in Southern Syria
According to one of the rebel commanders operating along the Syria-Jordan border, hundreds of US Marines and a large number of rebels have completed several days of live fire military exercises along the border.
These appear to be the continuation of live-fire exercises the Marines were carrying out last week at al-Tanf, which officials said were intended as a “warning to Russia,” after Russia warned they planned to act against Islamist factions in the area.
Pentagon officials today described the exercises as a “show of force,” saying that they want to demonstrate the ability of US forces to “respond to any threat to our forces within our area of operations.”
The US has warned a 55 km radius around al-Tanf is off limits to all other forces, though they’ve done little to prevent al-Qaeda forces from setting up shop in the area. It doesn’t appear the al-Qaeda forces were directly involved in the exercises, but they’ll clearly be the beneficiaries of the US preparing to “defend” the area from Syria and Russia.
There is no timetable for the operation in the south, but Russia informed the US it would be happening last week. This is likely to be a confrontation on the long-term US presence in Syria.
While US forces in Syrian Kurdistan are there at the behest of Kurdish officials, the Tanf base appears to serve little purpose, beyond giving the US a little presence in the southeast corner, where they can pick fights with any pro-government forces who get too close.

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Oslo Paved the Way to Deal of Century: "It Was A Mistake To Have Negotiated With Israel At All"

Israel's Prime Minister Yitchak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat conferring after being awarded, together with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo
Buoyed by the Oslo Accords, I moved to the West Bank as a legal adviser to the PLO team. I was wrong. 25 years since that iconic Arafat-Rabin handshake, it’s clear talks are futile – and Palestinians are no closer to freedom
By Diana Buttu
September 13, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –    Twenty-five years ago this month, on the White House lawn, the lives of a generation of Palestinians changed forever when the late Palestinian leader,Yasser Arafat, shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. That handshake marked the start of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with promises of a new era of peace, freedom and prosperity.
25 years later, Palestinians are no closer to freedom, as Israel has further entrenched, rather than lessened, its now 51-year military occupation.
Like countless others at the time, I was optimistic that the negotiations would finally lead to Palestinian liberty as promised and based on this, I decided to move to the West Bank to work as a legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team. During that period, I met with countless diplomats, worked on scores of proposals and even began a house-to-house campaign to speak to Israelis about ending Israel’s military rule.
But while I and others worked to end occupation others worked to entrench it, including the Israeli government and its settlers: within the first seven years after the negotiations began, Israel used incentives to nearly double its settler population. Today, the settler population is more than three times the size it was in 1993, with nearly 700,000 settlers living in the West Bank.
Back in 1993, settlements were, for the most part, confined to hilltops, with Israeli settlers considered to be fringe. Far from being ostracized, today, some Israel’s largest cities are settlements, settlers have taken over homes in the heart of Palestinian towns and settlers command positions on the Israeli cabinet and on the Supreme Court. In short, settlers are the norm, not the exception. Today, Israeli settlers speak openly about annexing the West Bank or expelling Palestinians.
I am often asked why the negotiations process failed. It is easy to point to the rise of right-wing Israeli governments, poor leadership or weak or uninterested U.S. presidents. But the real reason for failure lie beyond these factors.
It is because the parties should not have started negotiating in the first place.
To demand that Palestinians – living under Israeli military rule – negotiate with their occupier and oppressor is akin to demanding that a hostage negotiate with their hostage taker. It is repugnant that the world demands that Palestinians negotiate their freedom, while Israel continues to steal Palestinian land. Instead, Israel should have faced sanctions for continuing to deny Palestinians their freedom while building illegal settlements.
Twenty-five years later, rather than living the joys of freedom, we mark each day, by thinking about how to maneuver the maze of Israel’s more than 500 checkpoints, put in place to accommodate Israeli settlements, just to be able to get to work or to school. A 25 year-old in the West Bank has likely never been able to visit the sea – a few miles away – while a 25 year-old in Gaza has never been able to leave the Gaza Strip, to visit friends and family in the West Bank and Jerusalem or even abroad.
It isn’t just movement of people that is affected. Palestinians have not been able to take advantage of technological progress for “security reasons” for example, as cancer treatment advances throughout the world, Palestinian hospitals are barred from acquiring radiation equipment. Even our postal system remains hostage to Israel’s whims.
But, rather than recognize the mistake of negotiations, the world continues to demand that we continue the facade even though negotiations irrevocably broke down more than a decade ago. The negotiations process has, in effect, served as cover for the world to do nothing – while giving Israel the cover to build and expand settlements.
If peace is to be achieved, it must entail costs – and this time, not shouldered by the Palestinians. Rather, Israel must receive the strong message, the first in its history, that settlements will no longer be tolerated but rather reversed, and that Palestinians must be free.
I am under no illusions that the Trump Administration will put into place such sanctions. While previous administrations tried to maintain a semblance that they were helping “both sides,” Trump has come decidedly in support of Israel’s right-wing pro-settler movement.
Whether by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or by attempting to extinguish the right of return, President Trump has shown that his “deal of the century” will undoubtedly accommodate Israeli settlements, take away Palestinian rights and reward Israeli wrongs. The closure of the PLO office in Washington D.C. this week is yet another check on Israel’s wish list.
For Israel and its supporters, the past 25 years have been a victory. With Trump at the helm, Israel’s settlers are at an all-time high, Palestinians are confined to bantustans and the U.S. is cracking down on Palestinians for demanding their freedom.
But this short-term fix has long-term implications. While Oslo changed the lives of a generation of Palestinians, this generation and the next have certainly learned its lessons: that negotiating is futile, and that our rights cannot be compromised. With this, it is only a matter of time before we begin struggling for equal rights in a single state, rather than press for statehood.
Diana Buttu is a Ramallah-based analyst and activist, and a former adviser to Mahmoud Abbas and the negotiating team of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Twitter: @dianabuttu 
This article was originally published by Haaretz 
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Friday 14 September 2018

Trump’s Taking Putin’s Earlier ICC Moves to a Qualitatively New Level

Image result for international criminal court

 by Zara Ali 
President Putin’s decision to remove Russia from the International Criminal Court in 2016 over its hyper-politicized reports about the country’s activities during the 2008 peace-enforcement operation against Georgia and 2014 reunification with Crimea inadvertently gave “normative legitimacy” to Trump leaving the organization too, though Moscow could never have expected that Washington would then take everything to a qualitatively new level by threatening to sanction anyone who dares to cooperate with this globalist body’s cases on American and “Israeli” war crimes.
This much is obvious, and it’s that the US and “Israel” are essentially the same political entity on two different continents, with one hand washing the other, proverbially speaking, and their “deep states” working in full coordination to protect their shared interests across the world. That’s why no one should have been shocked by the Trump Administration’s announcement that it’ll sanction anyone who dares to approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) with accusations of American or “Israeli” wrongdoing or cooperate on any cases against them. Some of the consequences that National Security Advisor John Bolton said could await any potential violators include being banned from entering the US, having any assets there frozen, and even ironically being tried by American courts, which might not be enough to deter everyone but are still substantial enough to make many international elites like the ICC’s judges second guess whether it’s worth getting involved.
Without a doubt, the US wants to prevent any more evidence of it and “Israel’s” war crimes from reaching the public consciousness, hoping that its weaponization of sanctions will be enough to intimidate this globalist body and therefore allow it and its allies to regain some control over the international narrative about their actions in Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere. The blatant unilateralism of this move and the obvious motivation behind it to cover up countless crimes have been loudly criticized all throughout the Alt-Media Community, and rightly so, but the principle of the ICC and its many controversial activities risk being made sacrosanct in response as various forces try to emphasize the immorality of the US’ decision. That, however, is problematic because it could also harm Russia’s reputation by extent, which inadvertently provided “normative legitimacy” to the US’ withdrawal a few years ago.
To avoid any manipulation of the author’s words and intention in writing this piece, it is not being asserted that Russia in any shape or form supports the extraterritorial application of American law, especially regarding sanctions, but just that the prominent action of a Great Power such as itself pulling out of the ICC in 2016 over its hyper-politicized reports about the country’s activities during the 2008 peace-enforcement operation against Georgia and the 2014 reunification with Crimea set the normative precedent for the US to ultimately follow suit under the same pretexts, even if the American claims of the globalist body’s impartiality towards it are hypocritical. The ICC has always been a politicized instrument of control over war-torn countries like the former Yugoslavia and “Global South” ones such as Sudan, and just like the UN itself, it never embodied the “noble ideas” popularly associated with it.
Far from fulfilling the “utopian” expectations of it being the deliverer of “unbiased justice” all across the world, the ICC instead functions as a weapon of “lawfare” for reinforcing infowar narratives and advancing American interests, though just like other international structures that the US previously exerted full control over such as the WTO, Washington gradually lost its total dominance over them as its rivals made progress in leveraging them to their own advantage. The same trend appears to have reached the ICC too, at least judging by how angrily the US is reacting to war crimes accusations against it and “Israel” being given attention there. Whereas Obama’s America might have “tolerated” this and rationalized it as “taking one for the team” in order to advance the ideology of Liberal-Globalism, Trump’s America has to patience to continue playing this game.
The Fate of the ICC:  When Law and Politics Mix
Just like Russia did roughly two years prior, the US is pulling out of the ICC as well, but unprecedentedly going much further in taking everything to a qualitatively new level by threatening to sanction anyone who cooperates with this structure and therefore contributes to sullying the US and “Israel’s” international reputations by drawing global attention to evidence of their war crimes. It doesn’t matter to the US that these claims are based on a lot more fact than the ones levelled against Russia and other countries that have been victimized by this globalist body, but only that its former instrument of control against others is now finally being used against itself, which is why Washington now wants to destroy what it helped create or at the very least thwart its operational effectiveness.
There’s nothing inherently wrong in principle with leaving a hyper-politicized structure that served as a globalist Hybrid War weapon all along, even though it’s understandably unpalatable to many that the US is attempting to justify this through the use of double standards, but it’s very concerning that America is once again expressing its so-called “Exceptionalism” by threatening to sanction anyone who cooperates with the ICC’s efforts to raise awareness of the US and “Israel’s” war crimes. This goes far beyond China’s refusal to ever join this initiative in the first place or Russia’s decision to pull out of it a few years ago and shows that the US is aggressively trying to manipulate the ICC’s activities in a desperate bid to regain control some control over the international narrative, which in and of itself suggests that its many rivals have indeed been successful over the years in breaking through the Mainstream Media’s monopoly.
By Andrew Korybko

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