Saturday, 30 November 2019

The UK Chief Rabbi and the Rest of the Nation - Gilad Atzmon on Richie Allen Show

 
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The UK’s chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has claimed “a new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root” in the Labour party. In an astonishing personal attack in the Times, the Rabbi said that Jeremy Corbyn was unfit to lead the country. Jazz artist, author and geopolitical analyst Gilad Atzmon joins Richie Allen to discuss the above (21 min, 18 sec).
My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me and others.

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 Unrest: Protests and Provocations

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
Iran Unrest 44edf
When protests in Hong KongIraq, and Lebanon erupted, I was fully anticipating protests in Iran to follow. In 2018 alone, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) had spent millions of dollars in these countries (and elsewhere) to promote America’s agenda. However, I did not expect unrest in Iran to take place while I was visiting the country. In retrospect, I am glad that I was here to be witness to these latest events.
On Thursday, November 21st, friends took me to a very charming Iranian restaurant in the heart of the city. During our lunch, they talked about there being a price hike in gasoline. After lunch, we walked around the charming downtown area of Tehran, visited shops, and exhausted climbed into a cab. We asked the cab driver if he had heard anything about prices going up. He told us that this was just a rumor. As such, the increase in the price of gasoline took Iranians by surprise. Regrettably, the government of President Rohani had not explained the rationale behind the price increase PRIOR to the increase itself. In several parts of Iran, protests erupted. Perhaps justified, and they were peaceful. One could argue they were disruptive in that cars blocked roads, making it difficult for others, causing traffic jams, but there was no vandalism on the first day – not to my knowledge.
But calm soon gave way to violence. A friend who lives in the suburbs of Tehran, in Karaj, told me that on a single street in that sleepy suburb, protestors had set 4 banks on fire. Elsewhere, police stations were attacked, banks and gas stations set on fire. Businesses were set on fire and destroyed. People were sending text messages to each other giving locations of alleged protests in the hopes of gathering people in one spot or another.
This did not surprise me. I was certain that “swarming” tactic was being implemented (as I believe it was elsewhere mentioned above). First developed by RAND as a military and tactical tool, RAND’s publication “Swarming & The Future of Conflict” states:
In Athena’s Camp, we speculated that swarming is already emerging as an appropriate doctrine for networked forces to wage information-age conflict. This nascent doctrine derives from the fact that robust connectivity allows for the creation of a multitude of small units of maneuver, networked in such a fashion that, although they might be widely distributed, they can still come together, at will and repeatedly, to deal resounding blows to their adversaries. This study builds on these earlier findings by inquiring at length into why and how swarming might be emerging as a preferred mode of conflict for small, dispersed, internetted units. In our view, swarming will likely be the future of conflict.”
“Social conflict also features pack-like organizations, as exemplified by modern-day “soccer hooligans.” They generally operate in a loosely dispersed fashion, then swarm against targets of opportunity who are “cut out” from a larger group of people. The use of modern information technologies—from the Internet to cell phones—has facilitated plans and operations by such gangs (see Sullivan, 1997)”.
Swarming depends on robust information flow and is a necessary condition for successful swarming. In other words, by controlling communication and sending texts to ‘protestors,’ random groups are mobilized together in one or various spots. Chaos ensues, which naturally draws reaction. One is never aware of the origin of the messages. In one of her talks, Suzanne Maloney of Brookings seemed to know the exact number of cell phones in use in Iran. These messages increased in number, as did the vandalism and reaction to the destructive behavior. This was not the first time that this tactic had been used in Iran. But it was the first time that Iran’s adversaries were surprised, shocked even, to see that Iran was capable of shutting down the Internet so quickly in order to put a stop to the spread of violence and restore calm.
I drove around in Tehran from end to end, either with friends or in a cab, and took note of the streets. I watched both Iranian TV news and foreign media such as BBC Persian, VOA, Radio Farda, Saudi funded Iran International broadcasted into Iran through satellite (at times jammed) to encourage people to get out on the streets and to protest. Iran was covered under a blanket of snow. With freezing temperatures, I was amused to see BBC Persian show pictures of ‘demonstrators’ in T-shirts. I was angry to see Reza Pahlavi, the deposed Shah of Iran appear on Iran International encouraging people to get out onto the streets. I felt insulted on behalf of every Iranian when Secretary Pompeo retweeted an old tweet and then tweeted again that ‘he was with the Iranian people’ – not to eat, not to receive medicinal goods, not to address their desire for peace and security, but to endure all kinds of hardship and to be subjected to American terrorism (sanctions) and go out on the streets to protest in order to promote America’s agenda.
The hostile foreign media even showed pictures of a ‘protestor’ handing out flowers to security personnel – a symbol first used against the Pentagon in 1967 by a woman protesting the war in Vietnam (and later in the 2014 US-backed coup in Ukraine). Except I could not tell if the picture I saw streaming through the foreign media’s satellite television was Iran or not. The viewer was told it was. The symbol was powerful, but I doubt very much that it was an indigenous one.
With the Internet disconnected, foreign media propaganda then had its viewers believe people were calling from inside Iran; eyewitnesses were reporting events. A voice telling BBC, or Iran International, or …… what was going on. Just a voice which would not doubt then be picked up as eyewitness testimony and shared in all media outlets. The ease with which individuals in various target countries always manage to get directly through television stations has always fascinated me. No automated answer – just straight to the newsroom.
In all this, I can’t help but ask why it was that none of the banks and gas stations set on fire, buildings burnt and businesses ruined, were not located in the pro-West parts of Tehran. Their life continued without a hitch – homes safe, business safe. After all, the main reason for the gasoline price increase was to help the less affluent and the poor. Perhaps as Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute said of the CIA’s role behind the uprisings, Michael D’Andrea, aka “Ayatollah Mike” wanted them safe. Regardless of the reason, CIA/NED spent millions and failed – again.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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آخر الاقطاعيين حين يغضب



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سامي كليب

ما أن انتهت مقابلتي أمس على قناة ” أم تي في” اللبنانية، حتى نشر وليد جنبلاط رسالة حاقدة يتهمني فيها بأني نشرت كتابا عن بشار الأسد واني مدسوس في الثورة. احتراما لتاريخ كمال جنبلاط قائد الحركة الوطنية والرجل النبيل الذي استشهد لأجل مبادئه واحتراما لرفاق آخيتهم سابقا في الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي في عز الحركة الوطنية. يهمني أن أوضح التالي:

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أولا: ان هجوم جنبلاط عليّ هو خشيته من امتداد الثورة التي أدعمها الى عقر داره، وهي خشية تفاقمت حين سُئلت على الشاشة هل عُرضت علي وزارة، فهو يعتبر ان الناس من حوله قطيع. هو الذي يختار من يرضى عنه ويسحق من يعاديه، ان لم يقتله، أو يهجّر عائلته. هاله جدا ان يصبح اسمي متدولا، فهو ككل الاقطاعيين يخشى العلم والثقافة، ولا يزعجه اكثر من مثقف لم يقبل يوما بالخضوع لبطشه.

ثانيا: ان كتابي عن سوريا، جاء بناء على قناعاتي بعروبة صادقة، وبأن بلدا عزيزا علينا يُدمّر ويغزوه الإرهاب والحقد وتتقاطع فوقه مصالح العالم، كان يفترض منا كمثقفين ان نكتب حقيقة هذه الحرب التي دمرت قلب العروبة النابض. وهي حقيقة كتبها الكثير من الكتّاب غيري وبينهم مثلا السفير الفرنسي السابق ميشال ريمبو، والكتاب الغربيين مثل فريديريك بيشون،وجان بيار استيفال وروبرت فيسك وغيرهم… بينما كان جنبلاط يضحك على ناسه وشعبه بأن لديه معلومات من مخابرات عالمية بان النظام السوري سيسقط بعد شهر. لم اجامل في الكتاب ولم احابي، وانما توقعت ما حصل تماما وما عاد واعترف به معظم رموز المعارض السورية. اتحداك ان تكشف ان لي أي علاقة مع أي دولة عربية غير علاقة عروبية صادقة صافية منطلقة من مباديء ثابتة.

ثالثا: تعلّمنا من القائد كمال جنبلاط ورفاقه في الحركة الوطنية، ان إسرائيل عدوة، وسرنا على هذا الدرب الذي لأجله استشهد والدي في خلال الاجتياح الإسرائيلي واصيبت امي بجروح حملتها حتى وفاتها. وناصرنا منذ شبابنا من يقاوم مُحتلَّ ارضنا، فكان طبيعيا ان يكون هذا خطنا، بينما ضاعت خطوط جنبلاط، وتاه وصار يضيع بين عواصم العالم باحثا عمن يطمئنه بان حزب الله الذي طرد إسرائيل زائل لا محالة. هو وسام على صدري ان أكون الى جانب من قاوم المحتل من فلسطين ولبنان حتى الجزائر والمغرب.

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رابعا: حين استشهد كمال جنبلاط، وبطش الأستاذ وليد بمسيحيي الجبل انتقاما وهم أهلنا واخواننا الذين عشنا واياهم حياة هانئة جميلة في قرانا الساحرة ، ثم ذهب لعقد تحالف تاريخي مع الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد بعد ٤٠ يوما من استشهاد والده، ضاعت البوصلة أكثر، وما عاد “الدروز” يعرفون من قتل من ومن المسؤول والمنفذ حتى عاد جنبلاط يتهم سوريا حين ضعفت بأنها هي التي قتلت والده.

خامسا: صال البيك وجال في توصيف الرئيس بشار الأسد بأقسى النعوت في “ثورة الأرز”، وهو الذي افاد حتى الثمالة من الوجود السوري في لبنان من مصالح تجارية وتعيينات وزارية، لا بل انهم وضعوا له قانونا انتخابيا خاصا به كي تبقى زعامته . وبعد ان نعت جنبلاط الرئيس الأسد باوصاف ……………………”، عاد وذهب مطأطأ الرأس للتصالح معه والاعتذار منه، وحمل له في يده كتابا هدية، وأدلى بتصريحات لا يدلي بها …….،. دائما المصالح اهم من المباديء عند نجل رجل المباديء. يا رجل، لو فُتحت ملفاتك مع النظام السوري لما اكتفينا على مدى سنوات من نشر ما فعلته وما افدت منه.

سادسا: الأستاذ وليد الذي اعلن وقوفه الى جانب خيار مناهض للمقاومة، روّج كثيرا حبه لأهل الخليج والعرب ولحليفه سمير جعجع، فلماذا اذا راح يصف قادة الخليج ” بالمخرّفين” ويعتبر جعجع في جلساته الخاصة بانه ” حاقد تقسيمي” ؟ الجواب ؟ لان المصالح اهم من المباديء.

سادسا: يا وليد جنبلاط المحترم، انا ابن عائلة متواضعة، فقدت أهلي بسبب إسرائيل، تعبت وتعلمت وهاجرت وكافحت في حياة صعبة حتى وصلت الى ما وصلت اليه برضى الله والاهل وبتعبي وعرق جبيني، أنت ماذا فعلت؟ ماذا عملت؟ من أين لك ولمن معك كل هذه الثروة؟ هل تعرف ماذا يعني أصلا عرق الجبين؟ هل تعتقد ان من تحقّرهم كل أسبوع حين تستقبلهم يحبونك فعلا؟ الا تعتقد ان الناقمين عليك داخل طائفتك العريقة الكريمة اهل التوحيد، هم الغالبية اليوم؟ قل لي بالله عليك، كم مصنعا ومؤسسة ومعملا اقمت في منطقتك كي تساعد الفقراء؟ انظر الى ما فعلته مثلا النائبة نايلة معوض في منطقتها للمزارعين…

سابعا: ترفع اليوم شعارات ضد السلطة، كن واثقا ان الرئيس ميشال عون اكثر صدقا وشرفا وشفافية منك. كفاك ضحكا على الناس. وكن واثقا انه لولا اخلاص رئيس حركة امل الرئيس نبيه بري لصداقته معك ودفاعه عنه احتراما لما كان بينكما، لما كان لك اليوم موقع في السياسة، فالجميع فاقد الثقة بك. حبذا لو ان السيد حسن نصرالله الذي راعاك مرارا احتراما لطائفة الموحدين ومنعا للفتنة، يقول يوما ما كنت تقوله له في السر وما تعلنه في العلن.

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ثامنا: أنت اقوى مني بطشا. يمكنك ان تقتلني كما كنت تفعل، يمكنك ان تضيّق على اهلي في الجبل، يمكنك ان ترسلي لي قطّاع طرق، يمكنك ان ” تهوّش” ضد الخائفين منك والمنتفعين منك كي يشتموني على صفحات التواصل الاجتماعي، لكن تأكد ان كل ذلك لن ينفع، فانت آخر الاقطاعيين الزائلين بثورة الناس. فمن نكّل بالناس مثل وساهم بإفقارهم لا يمكنه ان يصبح اليوم ثائرا.

   ( الأربعاء 2019/11/27 SyriaNow)


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US ‘Regime Changes’: The Historical Record



Global Research, November 29, 2019
First published on February 5, 2019
As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.
We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.
We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US ‘regime changes’ throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Venezuela: Results and Perspectives 1950-2019
During the post WWII decade, the US, working through the CIA and the Pentagon, brought to power authoritarian client regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and several other countries.
In the case of Venezuela, the US backed a near decade long military dictatorship (Perez Jimenez ) roughly between 1951-58. The dictatorship was overthrown in 1958 and replaced by a left-center coalition during a brief interim period. Subsequently, the US reshuffled its policy, and embraced and promoted center-right regimes led by social and christian democrats which alternated rule for nearly forty years.
In the 1990’s US client regimes riddled with corruption and facing a deepening socio-economic crises were voted out of power and replaced by the independent, anti-imperialist government led by President Chavez.
Image on the right: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2005 (Source: Public Domain)
The free and democratic election of President Chavez withstood and defeated several US led ‘regime changes’ over the following two decades.
Following the election of President Maduro, under US direction,Washington mounted the political machinery for a new regime change. Washington launched, in full throttle, a coup by the winter of 2019.
The record of US intervention in Venezuela is mixed: a middle term military coup lasted less than a decade; US directed electoral regimes were in power for forty years; its replacement by an elected anti-imperialist populist government has been in power for nearly 20 years. A virulent US directed coup is underfoot today.
The Venezuela experience with ‘regime change’ speaks to US capacity to consummate long-term control if it can reshuffle its power base from a military dictatorship into an electoral regime, financed through the pillage of oil, backed by a reliable military and ‘legitimated’ by alternating client political parties which accept submission to Washington.
US client regimes are ruled by oligarchic elites, with little entrepreneurial capacity, living off of state rents (oil revenues).
Tied closely to the US, the ruling elites are unable to secure popular loyalty. Client regimes depend on the military strength of the Pentagon — but that is also their weakness.
Regime Change in Regional-Historical Perspective
Puppet-building is an essential strategic goal of the US imperial state.
The results vary over time depending on the capacity of independent governments to succeed in nation-building.
US long-term puppet-building has been most successful in small nations with vulnerable economies.
Image below: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the advocate of the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état that installed the right-wing dictatorship (Source: Public Domain)
The US directed coup in Guatemala has lasted over sixty-years – from 1954 -2019. Major popular indigenous insurgencies have been repressed via US military advisers and aid.
Similar successful US puppet-building has occurred in Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Being small and poor and having weak military forces, the US is willing to directly invade and occupy the countries quickly and at small cost in military lives and economic costs.
In the above countries Washington succeeded in imposing and maintaining puppet regimes for prolonged periods of time.
The US has directed military coups over the past half century with contradictory results.
In the case of Honduras, the Pentagon was able to overturn a progressive liberal democratic government of very short duration. The Honduran army was under US direction, and elected President Manual Zelaya depended on an unarmed electoral popular majority.Following the successful coup the Honduran puppet-regime remained under US rule for the next decade and likely beyond.
Chile has been under US tutelage for the better part of the 20th century with a brief respite during a Popular Front government between 1937-41 and a democratc socialist government between 1970-73. The US military directed coup in 1973 imposed the Pinochet dictatorship which lasted for seventeen years. It was followed by an electoral regime which continued the Pinochet-US neo-liberal agenda, including the reversal of all the popular national and social reforms. In a word, Chile remained within the US political orbit for the better part of a half-century.
Chile’s democratic-socialist regime (1970-73) never armed its people nor established overseas economic linkage to sustain an independent foreign policy.
It is not surprising that in recent times Chile followed US commands calling for the overthrow of Venezuela’s President Maduro.
Contradictory Puppet-Building
Several US coups were reversed, for the longer or shorter duration.
The classical case of a successful defeat of a client regime is Cuba which overthrew a ten-year old US client, the Batista dictatorship, and proceeded to successfully resist a CIA directed invasion and economic blockade for the better part of a half century (up to the present day).
Cuba’s defeat of puppet restorationist policy was a result of the Castro leadership’s decision to arm the people, expropriate and take control of hostile US and multinational corporations and establish strategic overseas allies – USSR , China and more recently Venezuela.
In contrast, a US military backed military coup in Brazil (1964) endured for over two decades, before electoral politics were partially restored under elite leadership.
Twenty years of failed neo-liberal economic policies led to the election of the social reformist Workers Party (WP) which proceeded to implement extensive anti-poverty programs within the context of neo-liberal policies.
After a decade and a half of social reforms and a relatively independent foreign policy, the WP succumbed to a downturn of the commodity dependent economy and a hostile state (namely judiciary and military) and was replaced by a pair of far-right US client regimes which functioned under Wall Street and Pentagon direction.
The US frequently intervened in Bolivia, backing military coups and client regimes against short-term national populist regimes (1954, 1970 and 2001).
Morales 20060113 02.jpg
In 2005 a popular uprising led to free elections and the election of Evo Morales, the leader of the coca farmers movements. Between 2005 – 2019 (the present period) President Morales led a moderate left-of-center anti imperialist government.
Unsuccessful efforts by the US to overthrow the Morales government were a result of several factors: Morales organized and mobilized a coalition of peasants and workers (especially miners and coca farmers). He secured the loyalty of the military, expelled US Trojan Horse “aid agencies’ and extended control over oil and gas and promoted ties with agro business.
The combination of an independent foreign policy, a mixed economy , high growth and moderate reforms neutralized US puppet-building.
Not so the case in Argentina. Following a bloody coup (1976) in which the US backed military murdered 30,000 citizens, the military was defeated by the British army in the Malvinas war and withdrew after seven years in power.
The post military puppet regime ruled and plundered for a decade before collapsing in 2001. They were overthrown by a popular insurrection. However, the radical left lacking cohesion was replaced by center-left (Kirchner-Fernandez) regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade (2003 – 15).
The progressive social welfare – neo-liberal regimes entered in crises and were ousted by a US backed puppet regime (Macri) in 2015 which proceeded to reverse reforms, privatize the economy and subordinate the state to US bankers and speculators.
After two years in power, the puppet regime faltered, the economy spiraled downward and another cycle of repression and mass protest emerged. The US puppet regime’s rule is tenuous, the populace fills the streets, while the Pentagon sharpens its knives and prepares puppets to replace their current client regime.
Conclusion
The US has not succeeded in consolidating regime changes among the large countries with mass organizations and military supporters.
Washington has succeeded in overthrowing popular – national regimes in Brazil, and Argentina. However, over time puppet regimes have been reversed.
While the US resorts to largely a single ‘track’ (military coups and invasions) in overwhelming smaller and more vulnerable popular governments, it relies on ‘multiple tracks’ strategy with regard to large and more formidable countries.
In the former cases, usually a call to the military or the dispatch of the marines is enough to snuff an electoral democracy.
In the latter case, the US relies on a multi-proxy strategy which includes a mass media blitz, labeling democrats as dictatorships, extremists, corrupt, security threats, etc.
As the tension mounts, regional client and European states are organized to back the local puppets.
Phony “Presidents” are crowned by the US President whose index finger counters the vote of millions of voters. Street demonstrations and violence paid and organized by the CIA destabilize the economy; business elites boycott and paralyze production and distribution… Millions are spent in bribing judges and military officials.
If the regime change can be accomplished by local military satraps, the US refrains from direct military intervention.
Regime changes among larger and wealthier countries have between one or two decades duration. However, the switch to an electoral puppet regime may consolidate imperial power over a longer period – as was the case of Chile.
Where there is powerful popular support for a democratic regime, the US will provide the ideological and military support for a large-scale massacre, as was the case in Argentina.
The coming showdown in Venezuela will be a case of a bloody regime change as the US will have to murder hundreds of thousands to destroy the millions who have life-long and deep commitments to their social gains , their loyalty to the nation and their dignity.
In contrast the bourgeoisie, and their followers among political traitors, will seek revenge and resort to the vilest forms of violence in order to strip the poor of their social advances and their memories of freedom and dignity.
It is no wonder that the Venezuela masses are girding for a prolonged and decisive struggle: everything can be won or lost in this final confrontation with the Empire and its puppets.
*
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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Featured image is from Images.com/Corbis

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Bennett Says ‘Israel’ Must Take Advantage of Protests to Strike Iranian Troops in Syria: Hezbollah Can’t Engage in War Now


Capture
November 29, 2019
The Zionist Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said that ‘Israel’ had to seize the chance of the ongoing protests in Tehran, Baghdad and Beirut in order to strike the Iranian troops in Syria, considering that those disturbances can mitigate the axis of resistance.
Bennet added that the Israeli army must launch a continuous campaign till driving the Iranian troops out of Syria, estimating that Hezbollah cannot engage in such a confrontation because of its involvement in the domestic issues.
The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that ‘Israel’ had to move against the Iranian troops in Syrian in order to prevent Hezbollah from repeating the same experience of accumulating dozens of thousands of missiles on the occupation entity’s border.
Yedioth Ahronoth also revealed that the Institute for the Zionist National Security Studies simulated a large scale military confrontation with Hezbollah after trading fire on border.
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سلامة شريك كارتيل النفط جنبلاط والبساتنة وشمّاس ويمّين وتوتال يبتزّون الناس

ابراهيم الأمين

السبت 30 تشرين الثاني 2019

لم يكتفِ رياض سلامة بكل ما فعله خلال ربع قرن من سياسات نقدية ومالية أفقرت الشعب اللبناني. ولم يقبل التواضع والخروج من الساحة، وقاتل لأجل ذلك مستخدماً أموال الدولة والمودعين، مانعاً تغييره منذ عام 2005. ولم يكتفِ بما جعل لبنان يدفع كلفة بقائه حاكماً قبل ثلاث سنوات. كذلك لم يكتفِ بالسماح بتهريب أموال كبار أثرياء الحرب الأهلية والحرب الاقتصادية وسارقي الدولة والناس في الأشهر الماضية، بل هو يواصل كذبه على الناس، ويتحدث عن صلابة وسلامة النقد والقطاع المصرفي. ولا يزال يصرّ على سياسات هدفها الأول والأخير المحافظة على أرباح كارتيلات البلاد المنتشرة في كل القطاعات، من المصارف الى النفط والمواد الاستهلاكية وتجّار العملة أيضاً.

الأمر لا يقف عند هذا الحد، بل إن شركاء سلامة، في جولة اليوم، هم من أبناء الطبقة الحاكمة، من رجال أعمال يخدمون سياسيين كباراً بغية المحافظة على نفوذهم وقوّتهم. وبعض هؤلاء يحاولون ركوب موجة الحراك، وتراهم يتحدثون عن الثورة ونظافتها، مثل تاجر الدم والنهب وليد جنبلاط، الذي لم يكتفِ بإرسال زعرانه لقطع طريقَي الساحل والبقاع، وقتل متمرد عليه هو علاء أبو فخر برصاص الموالين له، بل هو اليوم يشارك في تصعيد مفتعل يقف خلفه كارتيل المحروقات، وهو أحدهم، من أجل جباية المزيد من الأرباح، والتي لا نعرف إن كان يضمن مسبقاً تهريبها الى خارج لبنان. وهو يفعل ذلك مطمئناً الى أن جماعة أميركا والـ«ان جي أوز» في الحراك، يمنعون أي كلمة ضده، وأي اعتصام في مواجهته، وأي تحرك تجاه منزله في بيروت أو المختارة، وأي اعتصام ضده في إمارة الشوف وعاليه، وأي بيان يجعله، فعلاً، واحداً من «كلن يعني كلن».

عنوانان احتلّا مشهد البلاد أمس، الى جانب البحث المملّ بشأن الوضع الحكومي، والذي لا يبشّر بخير، حتى ولو تحدد موعد الاستشارات، لأن الذين يريدون تأليف الحكومة هم أنفسهم الذين يرفض الشارع بقاءهم في مناصبهم. والعنوان الأول، هو استمرار التلاعب بسعر الليرة اللبنانية، وتواصل عملية ابتزاز المواطنين الساعين الى استعادة أموالهم المودعة في المصارف. والعنوان الثاني يتعلق بإضراب أصحاب محطات البنزين، وهم شبكة من كبار تجار النفط وموزعيه، والذين حصدوا أموالاً طائلة من الأرباح طوال الفترة الماضية، ويقف جنبلاط في مقدمهم، من أعمال «كوجيكو»، (بالإضافة الى نشاطه في قطاع الغاز والاسمنت)، الى الفرنسيين من خلال شركة «توتال»، الى أبناء البساتنة الذين صاروا يملكون عدداً هائلاً من محطات الوقود، ويتشاركون مع الأخوَين ريمون وتيدي رحمة في استيراد النفط والفيول من الخارج، الى أصحاب المحطات الأخرى من مارون شمّاس وأوسكار يمّين وآل رمضان، وغيرهم من الذين لا يريدون التنازل عن 5 بالمئة من أرباحهم في هذه الأزمة، ويتحدثون عن صعوبات تواجه عمليات الاستيراد.

لكن سلامة يعود ليقف على رأس فرقة إنقاذ هؤلاء. إذ عندما قررت وزارة الطاقة القيام بمبادرة كان يجب أن تكون سياسة عامة منذ وقت طويل، وقررت استيراد البنزين عبر «منشآت النفط»، لتضع ما ستستورده في خزانات تتسع لكميات تكفي البلاد لثلاثة أشهر على الأقل… عندما قررت الوزارة ذلك، قرر أصحاب المحطات الإضراب، بينما يعرقل سلامة إقرار الاعتمادات المالية للوزارة، مؤخِّراً عملية الاستيراد، ومتصرّفاً مع الدولة بطريقة لا تأخذ بالحسبان الأزمة القائمة. يريد منها اتخاذ إجراءات ستنعكس حكماً على المواطنين من خلال رفع أسعار الوقود الآن، من البنزين الى المازوت الذي سيرتفع الطلب عليه في فصل الشتاء والبرد.

اجتماع بعبدا يطالب مصرف لبنان بخفض الفوائد وبتسهيل متطلّبات المودعين

وإلى جانب هذا المسار، لا يزال سلامة يكذب على الناس في شأن الوضع المالي. هو أعلن بلسانه أن الودائع محميّة، وأنه يرفض إقرار قانون لتقييد السحوبات والتحويلات (capital control)، وأنه لن يمسّ بحرية التحويلات المالية الى الخارج. لكنه لم يلزم المصارف بهذا التوجه، بل تركها تتصرف كما لو أن القرار موجود. ثم لم يناقش المصارف في الإجراءات التي تقوم بها لمواجهة طلبات الزبائن. وبينما أعلنت جمعية المصارف برنامج عملها، عادت ولم تلتزم به، وفرضت على الناس البرنامج الذي يناسبها، وهي التي حددت سقف السحب اليومي أو الأسبوعي من العملات المحلية أو الأجنبية. وفوق ذلك، فإن سلامة يترك قطاع الصرّافين يعمل بلا رقيب أو حسيب، علماً بأنه من مسؤولياته، كما هي حال شركات شحن الأموال، التي يرفع أصحابها لواء «ثورة الفقراء»، لكنهم غير مستعدين لخسارة واحد في المئة من أرباحهم.

في القصر الجمهوري، انعقد اجتماع مالي هو الثاني منذ اندلاع الأزمة. وغاب عنه رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال سعد الحريري، المهتم بتأليف حكومة يديرها من دون أن يترأّسها. وخلال الاجتماع، جرت مراجعة حاكم مصرف لبنان وجمعية المصارف في الإجراءات المتخذة في سوق القطع وكيفية التعامل مع المودعين. وبحسب معلومات مشاركين في الاجتماع، من المفترض أن يبادر رياض سلامة ــــ ولا أحد يثق بأنه سيفعل شيئاً ــــ إلى إلزام المصارف بسياسات تسهّل للناس الحصول على حاجتهم من أموالهم المودعة، وكذلك تسهيل التحويلات الضرورية للناس وللأعمال إلى الخارج. لكن النقطة الجديدة التي أثيرت في اجتماع أمس، هي دفع القطاع المصرفي الى خفض الفوائد المعتمدة على العملات المحلية والأجنبية الى النصف، باعتبار أن سبب رفعها سابقاً لم يعد موجوداً، إذ كان سلامة يبرّر رفع الفوائد بالحاجة الى جذب أموال من الخارج، وهو ما لا يحصل الآن. ويفترض أن يصدر عن حاكم مصرف لبنان وجمعية المصارف مجموعة من القرارات والتعاميم في هذا السياق.

أما في جانب عمل الصرّافين، فالصورة تبدو قاتمة، حيث لا يضمن أحد من المسؤولين تغييرات حقيقية. وبينما ارتفع سعر الليرة مساء أول من أمس، عاد وانهار أمس ليبقى متداولاً بين 2100 و2250 ليرة لكل دولار.

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Occupied Palestine: The Most Enduring Media Cover-up


Global Research, November 28, 2019
Clearing the FOG hosts Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese interviewed Alison Weir, journalist and founder of If Americans Knew, a website that provides factual information about the Israeli State and Palestine. Weir describes how she learned firsthand that US media provide a false and one-sided narrative about Occupied Palestine and why she has dedicated the past twenty years to counter that. She also explains some of the most common myths and what she learned as she did research for her book, “Against Our Better Judgment.” Weir is a very clear thinker on the issue of Palestine-Israel and provides the data and language we need to speak to a propagandized population. You can listen to the entire interview and the week’s news analysis on Clearing the FOG.
Interview
Clearing the FOG (CtF): Alison, your website is a great source of information. Before we get into the site, why don’t you tell us about how you got involved in this issue.
Alison Weir (AW): People always wonder that because I don’t happen to be Jewish or Arab or Muslim or Palestinian and like most Americans 20 years ago, I knew very little about this issue. I had been active on other issues, anti-war during the Vietnam war, civil rights, that type of thing but I had never focused on Israel-Palestine until the Second Intifada began in the Fall of 2000. I’m sure you know intifada just means “Uprising,” a Palestinian Uprising. When that began, in Fall of 2000, I got curious about it.
My background is journalism. At that time, I was the editor of a very small weekly newspaper in Northern California. This wasn’t for my job, it was just my personal curiosity. I started to follow the news coverage on this uprising and I quickly noticed that it was very one-sided, that we were hearing from and about Israelis in great detail, but we got very little information from and about Palestinians.
I went on the internet and discovered a great deal of information from the region itself, from humanitarian agencies that were there, Israeli media in English, Palestinian media. And I discovered that Israeli forces were shooting Palestinians every day in large quantities, including many children and I noticed this reality was not being reported on the news sites that I usually looked at. The San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, especially NPR, seemed to be covering that up.
So the more I looked into it, the more I felt this was a truly significant cover-up. I felt and I do feel now that this was the longest-lasting and most enduring cover-up I had ever seen and that it was occurring across the political spectrum. After a few months of looking into that, I decided, it seemed so significant that I quit my job in Sausalito and traveled as a freelance reporter throughout Gaza and the West Bank. It was a very intense trip, I was not part of any delegation. There really weren’t any delegations at that time.
When I came back, I started the organization, If Americans Knew. The goal has been to be very factual, to show the sources of our information. It’s very transparent. It gives Americans without ideological slant the facts on Israel-Palestine and especially the American connection, the fact that we are in many ways responsible for what Israel does because our tax money goes to Israel. It’s now over 10 million dollars per day. We’ve given Israel far more than we’ve given anybody else.
Most Americans, I think, are the way I was. I felt I had no connection to this confusing issue on the other side of the world, but I learned I have a very direct connection to it and therefore it’s my responsibility to know about it and to act in ways that I feel are morally required. In a nutshell, that’s how I ended up 20 years later still working on this issue.
CtF: That was a very courageous thing to do. Of course, the US also provides cover for Israel in the United Nations or when the International Criminal Court wants to investigate Israel. How were you received by Palestinians when you went there to cover the Intifada?
AW: The perception was and is that you will be in great danger from Palestinians. But I discovered it was the opposite. I was welcomed. I was invited to stay in people’s homes, which I often did. People were very excited to learn that an American journalist was there. I told people I’m here to see what’s going on and people would smile at me in places like Gaza where there were really very few Americans at that time. I didn’t see any other journalists traveling around.
Crowds of people would come up to me and they wanted to show me their bullet-riddled homes and show me what was happening to them. So I found it then and on my other trips there since, people are very welcoming, very friendly. Often they’re very aware of how much money the US gives to Israel. Even though most Americans don’t know that, it is known in the region. Despite their knowledge of that and despite their knowledge of how the US has supported Israel in so many ways, they’re still very welcoming to Americans and very willing to not blame us for what our government is doing. So it’s really the opposite of what people have been led to believe it would be like.
CtF: We were just in Occupied Palestine recently and what you describe is very consistent with our experience as well. Your website focuses on correcting the misconceptions. What are some of the most important misconceptions that people in the United States have about the situation in Occupied Palestine?
AW: That’s at the heart of the problem because there are so many that it’s hard to make people realize it’s really as different as they expect. If there were only one or two, people can accept that. It’s harder for them to realize that almost everything they thought was true is not accurate. And that is what I am often telling them.
One of the main things is that we are directly related to the conflict. We give Israel massive amounts of money. This is per capita on average 7,000 times more than we give other people. One of the other things is that many people are unaware that Israel was established in my lifetime, that when I was born there was no Israel. There was a region called Palestine that had been there called Palestine for really millennia.
Many intelligent and knowledgeable people are not aware of what Israel Palestine is about, that basically Israel was established through warfare. It was not established by the United Nations, another misconception. It was established by a war of ethnic cleansing. That’s what we now term that type of war. It’s the title of an excellent book by an Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, so, the very foundation of Israel is very different than people realize.
This was an intentional dispossession of the indigenous population. It started with the beginning of the establishment of the modern state of Israel and continues through today. Constantly Israel is confiscating additional Palestinian land and taking it over for Jewish-only settlements, as they’re called. Many people are unaware that many Palestinians are Christians. This is where Christianity began. It’s rarely mentioned in the US media.
The other thing people are often unaware of these days is media coverage always focuses on “rockets from Gaza.” Every news report mentions rockets from Gaza. The fact is that I was there traveling around by myself as a reporter before any rockets had been fired and I saw already at that time in early 2001 extreme devastation. I saw neighborhoods in Gaza that were bullet-riddled, that looked like the pictures you see of World War II ruins. In the West Bank too shelling was going on. This was before any rockets had been fired.
People think Israel is defending itself from rockets, but the rockets were actually resistance groups in Gaza trying to fight back with really very ineffectual rockets. In the whole time they’ve been used, they’ve killed at most a few dozen Israelis. Meanwhile, Israeli forces have killed many thousands of Gazans. The only statistic we get in the typical news report is thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza. They never tell that the total number of Israelis who have been killed is perhaps by now, maybe 50, perhaps not even that high and they never tell that during that time about 5,000 Gazans have been killed. We don’t hear about the massive bombardment of Gaza that’s been going on for a very long time and that has killed thousands of Gazans. And of course, killed many people in the West Bank also.
CtF: When we were there, we saw fighter planes flying over Jerusalem on their way to bomb Gaza. Over 30 Gazans were killed, including a family. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes in the recent siege of Gaza. And these so-called rocket attacks, they’re like little pipsqueak rockets. These rockets were a response to an Israeli assassination in Gaza. It’s really amazing they use that as an excuse, but they do.
AW: They get away with it because the media only tell about the response and don’t tell about what came before. The American population is completely misled. Most of these are small homemade projectiles, but media will report them as missiles and people are imagining a Nike missile or something. That’s just not what’s going on.
There have been studies of the chronology of the violence in the conflict. There was one excellent study by an MIT professor who looked at periods of calm, at various truces through the years. Her study showed that it was something like 96% of the time in the shorter truces it was Israel that had first resumed violence against Palestinians and in the longer truces, it was 100% of the time that Israeli forces resumed the violence. This is just not known to the American public because it’s very filtered news coverage that people are getting.
Your point of hearing jets flying over to bomb Gaza is very significant. People don’t know that here we have one of the most powerful militaries on the planet, largely due to our tax money and often US weaponry, fighting against a population that has no Air Force, no Navy, no aircraft, no helicopter gunships. The disparity is astounding and the media try to call it a war. A war is between two military forces. That’s not what we have when we look at Gaza and Israeli forces.
CtF: It’s such an asymmetric situation. Palestinians have been forced from their homes, living in an apartheid state and have the right under international law to defend themselves. But the Palestinians we met with while we were there, activists, said we are nonviolent, we believe in using non-violence and talked about teaching their children not to hate other people, how giving in to that was destructive. One of the things that people push back in the United States is they say that there never really was a Palestine, that Palestinian nationality didn’t start until the 20th century. Can you comment on that?
AW: Yes. This is one of the Israeli talking points that many people have fallen for. You see this on Facebook and Twitter and various places. It’s a nonsensical argument. It’s true, there was not a state of Palestine. There was not a state of Israel. There was a region called Palestine. You can look at old maps.
Palestine was a region back in biblical times. It was talked about in more recent times. It was talked about in more recent centuries. It was under the Ottoman Empire. It was what we call multicultural. Around 1900, the population was about 80 percent Muslim, about 15 percent Christian and a little under five percent Jewish. This was a region. It was not a nation-state, as we know nation-states came relatively late to the world. Germany wasn’t a nation-state for many years. The United States did not used to be a nation-state. Palestine was a region. Palestinians have existed.
There was a book published some years ago by an Israel partisan who went by the name Joan Peters claiming the Palestinians did not exist, that they were just nomads that had come in because the Zionists’ wonderful entrepreneurial spirit had created jobs for these nomads to join them. This is the thesis of her book called “From Time Immemorial.” Many people read it. It was praised by pretty much every book review in the United States.
People like Barbara Tuchman, an Israel partisan, but known as a historian, praised it. It turned out to be a complete hoax.  Some very good historians and analysts including some Jewish Americans looked into the book and found out that these many footnotes were often fraudulent. They were actually coming from Zionist propaganda. In Israel itself, it was exposed as non-factual. In Britain, it was exposed as non-factual. In the United States, it eventually was, but I don’t think any of the people that gave it a positive review and that endorsed it then had the honesty or principle to retract their erroneous reviews.
Many people, especially many Jewish Americans, read that book and were taken in by it and then repeat the myth that there were no such thing as Palestinians. Even Golda Meir, the famous Israeli Prime Minister, said at one point that quote there were no Palestinians. That’s like Americans trying to say well there were no Native Americans here. Of course, there was.
CtF: Even in the country itself Israeli Jews seem oblivious to the reality in their own country. Home demolitions and the settlers putting settlements on Palestinian communities and on Palestinian lands. We drove on Jewish-only roads. If I Google “Jewish only roads,” I find an article about “Jewish only roads don’t exist.” One of the challenges we have in talking to people in the United States, and even in Israel, Occupied Palestine, is they don’t want to see reality. How do you communicate to people who just seem oblivious whether unintentionally or intentionally?
AW: Certainly, Israelis have been brought up to be just the way you’re describing. Nurit Peled, an academic, has done excellent work showing that Israeli textbooks are very propagandistic in the way that they depict Palestinians. They’re not even called Palestinians. They call them Israeli Arabs. So this is deeply embedded in many portions of the Israeli population.
Fortunately, there are many people in Israel that are dissenting from that and they’re trying to reach their fellow Israelis. There are Israelis Against Torture and Israelis Against Home Demolition. There are a number of Israeli groups within the society, a small fraction, but they’re doing really wonderful work in trying to expose what’s actually going on. There are some Israeli journalists, especially Gideon Levy, who write every week in the Israeli media about some of the latest atrocities being committed by Israel against Palestinians.
I would love to reach everybody. I’d love to reach every Israeli. I’d love to reach every American who’s taken in by Israeli talking points. What I focus on is the really fairly promising reality that about three-quarters of the American population, despite the pro-Israel media coverage that we’ve been getting for decades and despite Hollywood, really does not have a strong view on this issue. And general surveys will show that they say something like we shouldn’t take sides, which is sensible. If you don’t know much about an issue, you just don’t take sides.
That sounds like a fairly wimpy approach to those of us who know what’s going on there, but what that would mean if you don’t take sides is we would stop giving Israel 10 million dollars per day. We would stop vetoing UN resolutions to protect Israel from world condemnation of its violence. So it’s actually quite a good stand if we did what the majority of Americans already say we should do.
I try to focus on giving the general public the facts on this issue and the importance of making their wishes known to their elected representatives that it’s time to stop this massive aid to Israel. It prevents peace. Israeli militarists think they have a blank check from the most powerful nation on the planet, which they do right now. So my view is we give voters factual information on this. We show how extremely tragic the situation is because of what we’re funding and the fact that it hurts us as well and emphasize how important it is to tell our elected representatives that we want them to change these misguided destructive US policies of a blank check to Israel.
It’s time for us to vote and to work on the issue of Israel Palestine. Not only because of what it’s doing to Palestinians, not only because of what it then does to the US but because our support of Israel has led to our wars in the region. It has led to much of the violence in the region that has since spilled over elsewhere. It’s the core issue of the Middle East and it’s the time for us to focus on it and to address it.
CtF: I want to ask you about a topic that you’ve been writing about recently. And that is the criticism that people who question or criticize the Israeli state are anti-semitic. Can you talk about that?
AW: Yes, that’s used all the time and most of us are profoundly opposed to bigotry of all kinds. We don’t want to be splattered with such mudslinging. We don’t want to be called anti-Semitic. We don’t want to be anti-Semitic and we’re not being anti-Semitic when we speak out for justice as a principal, but that’s the attack that they try to use.
A member of the Israeli Parliament some years ago on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now said, and I’m paraphrasing, she said this is a trick. We always use it when somebody is critical of Israel, we call them anti-Semitic and that is exactly what going on. Nobody should be anti-Semitic. Nobody should be against any population, should be hostile and prejudiced against people. Bigotry is wrong. So that’s what they try to use.
What’s gotten worse is that not only do they try to claim somebody’s anti-Semitic when we’re talking about a nation-state and talking about injustice and trying to support principles of justice for all people, there is an effort to change the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticisms of Israel. This is extremely insidious.
It’s been going on for a number of years. There’s a new formulation in which certain criticisms of Israel, factual statements about Israel, will now be defined as anti-Semitism. Therefore it will be defined as hate speech, etc. This effort was begun by an Israeli Minister named Natan Sharansky. It has now been embedded in the US State Department and it’s being embedded elsewhere around the world. We need to learn about that and we need to oppose it. We need to stick with the traditional definition of anti-Semitism and we should oppose all anti-Semitism just as we oppose all racism, but we should not allow that incorrect epithet to be used to silence us or to prevent us from working for justice and human rights for all people including Palestinians.
CtF: One of the people we visited with when we were recently in Occupied Palestine was Rabbi Hirsh, who is with an ultra-orthodox Jew, and he makes a very strong case that Zionism is inconsistent with Judaism, that it violates the Torah. That makes the state of Israel really under his religious analysis to be against Judaism. A growing group of Jews in the United States is getting active in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. A number of Jewish groups are actually beginning to criticize Zionism and Israel. It’s really is an absurd claim that people who criticize Israel or Zionism are anti-Semitic. It just shows the weakness of their arguments.
AW: It does and I’m glad you brought that up because when Zionism, political Zionism, began with Theodore Herzl and some conferences in Switzerland in the late 1800s, the majority of Jews around the world did not join that movement. They said we’re Americans, we’re British etcetera. Even a Jewish population in Palestine was opposed to it, especially observant Jews were opposed to it and considered it a heretical move. There are many Jews who for religious reasons oppose Zionism saying this is against the Bible. It’s against God’s will. That’s part of what people don’t know. And in my book, in the research I did, it was very interesting to see how Zionists were very upset that Jewish-Americans were not embracing Zionism in the early years. In fact, for a number of decades, there were groups such as the American Council on Judaism that actively and strenuously opposed Zionism.
CTF: Finally, how can people learn more about the work that you do?
AW: The first thing would be to go to our website: IfAmericansKnew.org. From there, you will also go to our blog, the If Americans Knew blog. Between those two resources, I believe there’s a lot of information that will be useful to people. My book is available on Amazon. The short title is “Against Our Better Judgment.” It can be read very quickly. It’s one of the selling points and it’s thoroughly cited. It turned out that the book is half citations. So every statement in it, you can find the source for that statement. It contains a great deal of information that many people, even experts on the issue, did not know about before because when I started researching it, I was starting from scratch. I read a huge number of books. We’re also working to encourage people to join the effort to work within their congressional district to inform the people in your community about what’s going on. You can email us at contact@IfAmericansKnew.org and help get this information off the internet and into the hands of people in your community. We also have a very active Facebook page, If Americans Knew Facebook page, where we post things every day. I especially encourage people to join our email list. We should not rely on Facebook for our communication. That is a private company and they could turn it off whenever they want to so, please join our email list also.
CtF: If you haven’t visited If Americans Knew, it’s a very deep website. If you ever want to understand a particular aspect of Israel or Occupied Palestine, you’ll find a lot of the facts right there. If you’re ever writing about it, debating it, trying to understand and discuss it with others, it’s a very fact-based and deep web site that serves a very useful purpose for engaging on this issue.
AW: We’ve certainly tried and the websites been live about 15 or 16 years. There’s really a depth of content there. We’re trying to upgrade it to a more modern look but there’s so much content, we just haven’t been able to do that yet. So it’s an old-school look but the content is there for people to find and it’s all sourced. We try to make sure that our material is factual and show people that that’s the case.
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Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese co-direct Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.
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