After Peace Talks Fail, Saudi Coalition Reverts to Scorched-Earth Campaign Against Civilians in Yemen – by Ahmed Abdulkareem – MINT PRESS

The Forgotten War

Yemen Hodeida

After UN-brokered peace talks between Yemen and the Saudi coalition in Geneva failed last week, the Saudi-led coalition renewed its offensive to capture Yemen’s strategic port of Hodeida, leaving scores of dead civilians in its wake.

HODEIDA, YEMEN — Not long after UN-brokered peace talks between Yemen and the Saudi coalition in Geneva failed last week, the Saudi-led coalition renewed its offensive to capture Yemen’s strategic port of Hodeida. The attacks targeted internally displaced persons, vital facilities and infrastructure– continuing a scorched earth campaign that has left scores of dead civilians in its wake.

“Please doctor, save my mother, she will die!” begged nine-year-old Mohammed as he and his brother Amran stared at their dead mother, who died from injuries sustained when a Saudi airstrike hit their family car Friday on the highway between Hodeida and Sana’a in the Kilo 16 district on the outskirts of Hodeida. The family was attempting to flee to Sana’a.

Lying in blood-stained clothing on a bed in Hodeida Hospital’s emergency room, Mohammed, who hung on to his mother’s purse despite the shrapnel in his hand, recounted the events which led him there:

 

We were moving furniture from our home in Kilo 16 to the truck. When a bomb suddenly hit us. My mother was killed and I, my brother and sister were wounded.”

At least 10 civilians, including women and children, were killed and dozens injured by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Hodeida and Sadaa on Friday. Just two days prior, coalition aircraft bombed Hodeida’s Kilo 16 district, killing 15 civilians and injuring dozens more, most of whom were hit when they were forced to flee down the only road that links Sana’a and Hodeida.

The deadly attacks come after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Saudi coalition following international pressure after the coalition targeted a school bus full of children.

In a written memo, Pompeo ‘certified’  that the Gulf monarchies waging the war in Yemen were taking “sufficient steps to protect civilians.”

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.”


Read | Pompeo’s unclassified memo on US Military aid to the Saudi coalition


Despite Pompeo’s statements, attacks on civilians show little sign of abatement.

In another fresh attack by the U.S.-backed coalition, ten civilians including women and children were killed when Saudi airstrikes targeted their family home in the village of Hwara in the Ganiyah district on Monday. Three journalists and a guard were also killed when Saudi airstrikes targeted the Hodeida Radio building Sunday, and two were people were killed and one severely injured after a fishing boat off the island of Al-Sawaba was targeted on Saturday.

 

The worst may be yet to come

Five hundred meters south of Kilo 16, where Mohammed family was hit, local mercenaries employed by the Saudi coalition shelled a United Nations World Food Program (WFP) food silo inside the Yemen Company for Flour Mills and Silos (YCFMS).

The UN food storage facility held large quantities of wheat for the WFP and was responsible for milling about a quarter of the wheat flour the agency distributes to some of the hungriest people in the country, according to the UN.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva on Friday, WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said:

Humanitarian workers, infrastructure and food supplies have been targeted in recent days, as clashes are still ongoing near the Red Sea Mills silos, a critical facility for WFP operations. A mortar shell launched by an unidentified armed group also hit a WFP warehouse in Hodeida city, holding enough food to assist 19,200 people, wounding a guard at the warehouse. The fighting could impact WFP’s ability to supply up to 3.5 million people in dire need in northern and central Yemen for a month.”

Earlier, the chairman of Ansar Allah`s (Houthi’s) Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, warned in a Twitter post that Riyadh had plans to attack food storage facilities and silos across Hodeida under the false pretext that they were being used to store weapons.

The Ministry of Public Health and Population, based in Sana’a, also warned in a statement that the Saudi-led coalition wanted to target UNICEF food stores and World Food Program grain silos in Hodeida, to “push Yemenis to starvation by various means.”

This comes amidst a worsening famine in Yemen which has left thousands of families in many provinces, including Hodeida, with nothing to eat, leaving some to resort to eating the leaves off of trees in an attempt to stave off starvation.

 

Fleeing becomes almost impossible

Like hundreds of families, Mohammed lost his mother when they were driving the Kilo 16 thoroughfare linking the port city of Hodeida to the capital, Sana’a. Serving as the only major road to Sana’a, the thoroughfare has left civilians exposed to deadly coalition attacks as they attempt to flee the fighting in Hodeida.

Houthi Yemen Kilo 16

The road has been difficult to traverse since June 13, when forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched a wide-ranging operation to capture Hodeida’s strategic seaport. With airports closed thanks to a coalition blockade, there are no humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee or ambulance crews to transport the wounded to Sana’a. The coalition has also blocked internet access across most of Hodeida, making it almost impossible for residents to contact the outside world.

The coalition claims its attacks on the Kilo 16 thoroughfare are intended to cut off the Houthis’ main supply route but have provided no evidence to back their claim. The Houthis likely do not rely on the asphalt road where they could easily be spotted and targeted by coalition aircraft.

The fighting for Hodeida has effectively shut down the main artery linking the port city to the rest of the country, Save the Children charity said Thursday.

Tamer Kirolos of Save the Children said “it’s quite literally a matter of life and death” for the main road linking Hodeida to the capital Sana’a to remain open adding”

This year alone we expect some 400,000 children under five to suffer from severe acute malnutrition … Unless supply routes remain open this figure could increase dramatically, putting the lives of thousands of children at risk from entirely preventable causes.”

For its part, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has called for the port of Hodeida and the arteries that lead to and from it to remain open. NRC spokesman Jan Engelan said:

Hodeida is not a trophy and its citizens are not toys … A single act of force to disrupt the flow of supplies from Hodeida would be a deadly blow for millions.”

Aid agencies in Yemen have identified close to 500,000 people who had fled their homes in Hodeida between June and August, the NRC said. So far in September, 55,000 people have been displaced across Hodeida, it added, but a large number of civilians are still trapped in their homes.

 

In Hodeida, No guarantee of safety 

UN humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Thursday:

The situation has deteriorated dramatically in the past few days. Families are absolutely terrified by the bombardment, shelling and airstrikes, as the lives of 300,000 inhabitants hang in the balance in the port city.”

“People are struggling to survive,” said Grande. “More than 25 percent of children are malnourished; 900,000 people in the governorate are desperate for food; and 90,000 pregnant women are at enormous risk.”

Indeed, a family who refused to flee Hodeida were targeted by a Saudi coalition airstrike on Friday, leaving one family member dead and many others wounded. The family, who resided in Hodeida’s al-Zurah district, didn’t have the means to escape the fighting and feared airstrikes targeting the roads leaving Hodeida.

International human rights groups say Saudi Arabia has committed war crimes by using unconventional weapons, conducting hundreds of airstrikes on residential areas, and hitting civilian targets across Yemen.

 

Death from above & everywhere else

Back in Hodeida Hospital’s emergency room, doctors struggle to save Mohammed and Amran after their family car was targeted in a coalition airstrike while trying to flee Hodeida via the Kilo 16 thoroughfare. The boys, both in a great deal of pain owing to serious injuries to their heads, hands and back, risk death from the chronic shortage of medical supplies in Yemen owing to a complete Saudi coalition blockade of the countries airports, seaports and roads.  The blockade has been in effect since the coalition campaign began in 2015.

To make matter worse, over 1,250 days of near-constant airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have reduced Yemen`s hospitals and clinics to rubble and short-circuited its electricity service, while the ruinous blockade has depleted the country’s supply of food and life-saving medicine.

Yemen Famine

Hopes of a UN-brokered agreement to lift the blockade were crushed last week when peace talks between Yemen and the coalition fell through after the UN refused to facilitate the transfer of wounded patients to hospitals outside of Yemen for treatment and to guarantee the safety of a Houthi delegation attending the talks slated to take place in Geneva.

“If the Sana’a negotiating delegation had been allowed to travel to Geneva, I could have saved my father,” said Ahmed Abdul Qadeer. His father, who required a kidney transplant not available in Yemen, was one of several patients scheduled to travel with the Sana’a delegation on September 5.

The United Nations said on Saturday that the situation of children in Yemen is getting worse, not better. Globally, Yemen ranks first in the number of children in need of humanitarian aid. Over 11 million children — 80 percent of the country’s children — are in desperate need of assistance. Social services are barely functioning as the country is on the verge of collapse.

The U.S.-backed military campaign has not only affected children. Civilians across Yemen have suffered immensely from the campaign, which has left thousands of civilians dead, destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and created the conditions for the world’s worst cholera epidemic.

 

Yemen’s resistance shows no sign of surrender

Despite Saudi-led coalition claims of complete control over the Kilo 16 district, including to the main road, Mohammad al-Bukhaiti, a top figure in the Houthi Supreme Political Council, appeared on video Thursday on the Kilo 16 thoroughfare denying that claim.

In June, coalition forces tried to overrun Hodeida but were blocked by fierce resistance put up by Houthi fighters as well as local residents, who took up arms against coalition incursion.

Although the coalition has received substantial intelligence, logistical aid and advanced weaponry from United State, it has continued to plow ahead blindly. More than three years and hundreds of thousands dead and injured later, the coalition is no closer to achieving its goals than it was when it began its bloody campaign.

For their part, the Houthis, who comprise a major component of Yemen’s resistance movement Ansarullah, show no sign of surrender and still control Sana’a and most other major cities, thwarting Saudi Arabia’s efforts to dislodge them in favor of a government more amenable to Saudi policy.

In light of the stalemate and the horrific destruction and loss of life, the Geneva peace talks between should be rekindled. “At least, let Mohammed along with millions of children live in safety as America’s children do, and save what can be saved,” Mohammed and Amran’s father told MintPress.

Top Photo | A girl and her family stand in a school where she and her family were evacuated amid fighting in Hodeida, Yemen. Abdul Jabbar Zeyad | Reuters

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

US Biological Warfare Program in the Spotlight Again – By PETER KORZUN – Strategic Culture Foundation

US Biological Warfare Program in the Spotlight Again
Peter KORZUN | 13.09.2018 | SECURITY / DEFENSE

This is a scoop to bring the US biological warfare effort back into the spotlight. On Sept. 11, Russian media reported that the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research laboratory, a research facility for high-level biohazard agents located near Tbilisi, Georgia, has used human beings for conducting biological experiments.

Former Minister of State Security of Georgia Igor Giorgadze said about it during a news conference in Moscow, urging US President Donald Trump to launch an investigation. He has lists of Georgians who died of hepatitis after undergoing treatment in the facility in 2015 and 2016. Many passed away on the same day. The declassified documents contain neither the indication of the causes of deaths nor real names of the deceased. According to him, the secret lab run by the US military was established during the tenure of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The viruses could spread to neighboring countries, including Russia, Igor Giorgadze warned.

The laboratory’s work is tightly under wraps. Only US personnel with security clearance have access to it. These people are accorded diplomatic immunity under the 2002 US-Georgia Agreement on defense cooperation.

Eurasia Review reported that in 2014 the Lugar Center was equipped with a special plant for breeding insects to enable launching the Sand Fly project in Georgia and the Caucasus. In 2014-2015 years, the bites of sand flies such as Phlebotomins caused a fever. According to the source, “today the Pentagon has a great interest to the study of Tularemia, also known as the fever of rabbits, which is also equated with biological weapons. Distributors of such a disease can be mites and rodents”.

It makes remember the statement made by Nikolai Patrushev, Head of Russia’s Security Council, in 2015. He warned about the threat stemming from biological weapons laboratories that operate on the territories of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). He specifically mentioned the Richard G. Lugar Center in Georgia.

The US has bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world, including the post-Soviet space. They are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Foreign inspectors are denied access to them. It should be noted that independent journalist investigations have been made public to confirm the fact that the US military conducts secret research to pose a threat to environment and population. Jeffrey Silverman, an American journalist who has lived in Georgia for many years, is sure the Richard Lugar Center, as well as other labs, is involved in secret activities to create biological weapons. Georgia and Ukraine have been recently hit by mysterious disease outbreaks, with livestock killed and human lives endangered. The US military operates the Central Reference Laboratory in Kazakhstan since 2016. There have public protests against the facility.

In 2013 a Chinese Air Force Colonel Dai Xu accused the US government of creating a new strain of bird flu now afflicting parts of China as a biological warfare attack. According to him, the American military released the H7N9 bird flu virus into China in an act of biological warfare. It has been reported that the source of Ebola virus in West Africa were US bio-warfare labs.

Russian experts do not exclude the possibility of using a stink-bug by the US military as a biological weapon. A couple of years ago, mosquitoes with Zika virus have been spotted in Russia and South Ossetia to cause outbreaks of human and animal flu.

The US activities violate the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms. It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In force since 1975, the convention has 181 states-parties today. The BWC reaffirms the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which prohibits the biological weapons use. In 1969, US President Richard Nixon formally ended all offensive aspects of the US biological warfare program. In 1975, the US ratified both the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the BWC.

Negotiations on an internationally binding verification protocol, which would include on-site inspections by an independent authority to the BWC, took place between 1995 and 2001. The US did not sign up. Its refusal to become a party to the verification mechanisms makes any attempt to enhance the effectiveness of the BWC doomed. A Review Conference is held every five years to discuss the convention’s operation and implementation. The last one, which convened in November 2016, was a frustration with minimal agreement on the final document and no substantive program of work to do before the next event takes place in 2021. There is little hope the BWC will ever be strengthened to have teeth. With no verification mechanism, the US military bio-warfare labs will always be a matter of concern. The issue is serious enough to be included into global security architecture. The UN General Assembly is the right place to raise it. Its 73rd session will open on September 18. 

The alter ego wars – by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

usabombingsinsyria

by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

The British Press is big on righteous indignation. Its wallows in selective grief whenever Russia is accused of dirty dancing. It uses single issues reportage selectively, to obfuscate its modus operandi. The subject of the unpleasant Salisbury Skripal poisoning attack on two people was written up as though it was the evil to end all evils…far outweighing the attention poor suffering Yemen might deserve, for instance.

It comes as no surprise that the Anglo Zionist media, ablaze with recriminations of the most self-righteous sort, spit out venom with unabashed hypocrisy whenever the Russian Bear is accused of a crime. The entire Skripal episode rests only on assertions. Britain, as a node in the Washington Consensus playbook, likes to issue statements that seem to come directly from the mouth of a prim elocution-teacher articulating words to justify the prioritization of perspectives that afford the Anglo-Zionist sphere a green card. But strangely, their selective grief becomes ever more retrograde.

And it might be that they are unaware that they have been downgraded to the rank of cheerleaders, whose function it is to run into the arena waving plumes. In the ‘great game’ presently underway on the global pitch, where the dollar and the yuan are the symbols that adorn the goal post of either contestant, at either end of the playing field there are basically two combatants.

The neo-conservative class, cosseted in Anglo-Zionist priorities were quick to publish the following statement in the Independent Newspaper; US, France, Canada and Germany… pledge to join Theresa May’s Campaign Against Russian GRU Spy Agency…alleging that the whole operation was approved by Vladmir Putin’s government.

But something didn’t gel, this was a rerun to something we had seen before. It all came across as a reboot of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ …the same alliance who marched onto the world stage as liberators wishing to save Iraq from itself, but ended up destroying it, were back. Somebody had dusted off the old George Bush, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger lies. The Brits, readying for another sortie, rushed out onto the ‘all the world is a stage’ hoping to kick another goal for Empire.

Stranger than strange is the fact that the liberal classes in the West fail to perceive contiguities that connect them to the horrendous slaughter of thousands of Yemen’s children, or to their acceptance of Israel’s inhuman occupation of Palestine, which alternates between subjecting the occupied people to siege warfare, or to a regatta like event, where the power of the smug occupying force is celebrated in ways the beggar belief. Shooting fish in a barrel comes to mind. Does this happen because “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

If the ‘good folk’ of Western enlightenment are undisturbed by the events that recently occurred in Gaza, then they are obviously at one with the majority of Israelis who relish turkey-shoots that slaughter hundreds of caged and unarmed civilians for the sport of it, simply because Israelis are in possession of an ideology that induces identity euphoria in them. Is it because they believe that God or Doctor Strangelove made them the chosen people?

Even more strange is the fact that humans continue to justify lies and subterfuge if their interests are challenged. The US, for example…the Godfather supporting Israel’s gauche actions…remains utterly committed to blocking change everywhere, so that it can keep the world dependent on the American dollar…and the American consumer as well…even at the cost of high trade deficits at home while engaging in trade wars if need be. Collusion between America and Israel is overseen by AIPAC…the new Founding Fathers of The Republic…who live in Washington and Tel Aviv, and whose purpose is to keep the banking system safe from miscegenation. Hence the drip feed prioritisation of single-issue texts and sub-texts that explain Western media and its disappearing values.

The methods used by the unipolar Anglo-Zionist Empire are brutally simple; use military muscle and propaganda to tabulate the rules of the agenda. The most expedient way to do so is to control the flow of information. The space between imputation and tabulation is where colonization is born.

America has become a culture that needs to spend an unbelievable amount of money on security to retain power, both domestically and abroad, so that it can continue to impede systems that might interfere in its quest for global economic hegemony. Its foremost need is to create a system of privately-run forces like Wall Street, The Pentagon, the Intelligence Agencies, the Media, Academia and every other institution that walls-in the ‘the people’s’ voice, so that Corporatism can remain the arbiter in matters of unity.

It is currently referred to as the Deep State. It could also be referred to as the place where fifth-columnists go to pull the leavers that release the crap that spews out from the entails of the chewing-gum single-issue personification of entitlement culture that has overtaken America. It freely proffers single-issues of many stripes to keep existential angst on the boil, while sequestering the sole right to interpret the meaning of unity.

Ever since Corporate American Democracy Inc. emerged as the marketable brand par excellence…by its own reckoning…it has unrelentingly sought to subsume every other form of rule to a nether zone of irrelevance. As its ideological logic continues to spread across the globe, it does so by creating organelles of the Doctor Strangelove kind to kill off competitors vying for a percentage of the global marketplace. The better known ones are, Economic Sanctions, False Flag Operations, Extrajudicial Killings, Government Destabilisation, Siege Warfare, crucifixion of non-white people and many other forms of flesh-shredding instrumentalities that have found their way into the Western toolbox.

But with the passing of time, we have come to understand how adept Corporate American Democracy Inc. has become in creating false-flag single issues of the anodyne kind in its quest to undermine the sovereignty of its neighbours. Examples that springs to mind are Russia Nationalism, State Capitalism and Confucianism in Communist China, plus the Religious component in the Iranian system of governance. In general, Anglo-American-Zionism has little tolerance for cultures in possession of unifying doctrines capable of underpinning the genesis of their unipolar cultures…which is why Corporate Capitalism frequently bombs the shit out of them.

Which brings us back to fifth columnists like George Soros, the archetypal Zionist anti-assimilationist, and what Alex Christoforou had to say about him;

“Leaked Memo Show how George Soros planned to overthrow Vladimir Putin and destabilise Russia”.

“The recent DC Leaks of over 2,500 documents from George Soros NGOs, has shed a bright light on how the billionaire used his vast wealth to create global chaos in a never-ending push to deliver his neo-liberal euphoria to the peasant classes.

While Soros has managed to thoroughly destabilise The European Union by promoting mass immigration and open borders, divided the United States by funding Black Lives Matter and corrupting the very corruptible US political class, and destroyed Ukraine by pushing for an illegal coup of a democratically elected government using neo-Nazi strong men…one country that Soros has not been able to crack has been The Russian Federation”.

One man’s meat is another man’ poison it would seem. Observing the parvenus of fake literacy pushing the Washington-Zionist Consensus across the globe is to witness an Empire in decline. It has acquired all the hallmarks of a society at war with itself. The view from the looking-glass suggests that the vitriolic blowback from within the greed-worn US of A may require the removal of the appellation ‘U’ from the ‘S of A’. At which point, a cross-gender ‘witchcraft craze’ may devour America’s fairest and foulest with a repeat of the Salem Witch Trials (Europe 1300 to 1600), leading to thousands of supposed witches…mostly women…being executed. If blowback is in the offing, expect the casualties to be in the millions this time?

It appears that American media in conjunction with government sanctioned controls relating to ‘kosher’ versus fake news, have successfully manufactured a caulking product that cocoons the native imagination…or lack of…in a narrative that is restrained by the octopus embrace of the billionaire class. The front line being the power to project single issues as the modus operandi of democracy, a multifarious system that leaves the question of helmsman-ship open to ever more privatization.

The joie de vivre that may have existed in the US of A of yore, is no more. It has been replaced by acrimonious duopoly-narcosis infighting concerning which side of the duopoly can run the surveillance state that Corporate America has become. As execrable inequality continues to eat into the American dream, more and more Americans have come to realize that the system is stacked against them. They suspect that there is some awful presence in their midst, but don’t quite know what it is. They suspect that some unnameable force has corrupted the social aspect of the State but remain mystified as to how a socialised state might ward off the predations of Corporate Capitalism.

The idea that the State could be the vector that unified all single-issues is incompatible in a culture that venerated private property and celebratory status as an end to itself. When China’s successes in harnessing capitalism’s potential in ways that worked for the unity of the entire system began to show positive results, alarm bells began ringing in the US of A. It was at this point that the capitalist media swung into action, employing the best bullshit its epistemological dirty dancers could muster to accuse China of bad faith, evil intent, colonial skulduggery, and just about every single issue it could come up with to detract from the obviously very successful New Silk Roads enterprise.

The reason that the New Silk Roads ventures were embraced by so many African nations were that the terms of trade and borrowing were generally more attractive that anything Western banks could match. Besides, Chinese diplomacy and comity were palliatives accompanying the magic of the silky yuan making its way into a greatly underdeveloped dark continent. Silk, gold and the yuan had arrived in time to add a little hope for Africans endeavouring to develop their resourceful habitats.

According to China’s Chamber of International commerce, over 3,000 Chinese companies have invested Africa-wide in telecommunications, transportation, power generation, industrial parks, water supply, rental business for construction machinery, retail, schools, hotels and hospitals.

At the Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, President Xi Jinping announced a significant US $60 billion package to compliment another US $60 billion pledged at the 2015 summit.

That breaks down to $15 billion in grants and interest-free loans; $20 billion in credit lines; a $10 billion fund for development financing; $5 billion to finance imports from Africa; and waiving the debt of the poorest African nations diplomatically linked to China.

We in the Anglo-Zionist marketplace have lost sight of what comity might mean in the context of trade. As colonists and war-mongers we have come to accept violence and deception as the norm. We have also come to accept one set of rules for those on the outside of society, and another set of rules for those on the inside…or for those yet deeper within…the Deep State mandarins who manipulate us.

On any given day, there is $41.1 trillion in a self-invested network of interlocking capital that spans the globe and is managed by the mandarins of global capitalism operating outside our purview, to provide the ideological justifications for their shared interests (promulgated through their corporate media), that entails formulating agendas that have little, if any, concerns about human values or matters pertaining to the health of the planet. They are there as policy elites who seek the continued growth of capital in the world and to serve a unifying function…but for whom?

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G20, G7, World Trade Organization (WTO), World Economic Forum (WEF), Trilateral commission, Bilderberg Group, Bank of International Settlements, Group of 30 (G30), the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Monetary Conference serve as institutional mechanisms for consensus building within the transnational class, who in turn, exist as states within states, where they enjoy the collective status of fifth columnists, quietly and covertly accumulating assets per means of neo-conservative privatisation.

For evidence of this, we need only look back and observe how deep-state interests skewed interpretations of historic fact to justify their own existential playbook. The phrase “axis of evil” was first used by US President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002 and often repeated through his presidency, to describe foreign governments that, during his administration, sponsored terrorism and sought weapons of mass destruction. The phrase attributed to former speechwriter David Frum, originally as the axis of hatred and then evil. Frum explained the rational for creating the phrase “axis of evil” in his book, “The Right Man. The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush”.

With hindsight, we see how the consolidation of America’s Deep State came into being. The war on the Muslim World was let rip because it had the blessing of AIPAC, The New York Times and a host of fellow travellers who successfully maneuvered their mandarins into positions of power, deep inside the heart of the Republic. In effect, Zionism created a new ‘Vatican’ in the US of A, becoming an eminence grise by slithering its way into the heart of the Republic. In so doing, it adopted the mantle and status of alter ego for the punch-drunk Republic and employed institutions like the New York Times to tabulate a language of deception.

Dipping even deeper into the archives of ‘hindsight’, we are now able to tabulate…thus interpret…the many actions of ‘The Coalition of The Willing’ as being nothing more that an unconscionable jamboree of disinformation designed to intimate the Muslim World, and ultimately, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea…countries that were seen as obstacles that stood in the way of the Anglo-American-Zionist “Project for the New American Century”…compliments of William Kristol and Robert Kagan.

PNAC’s stated goal was “to promote American Global Leadership”. This organization stated that “American leadership is good for both America and for the world” and sought to build support for “a Reaganite” policy of military strength and moral clarity. What we observe in hindsight is totally unacceptable…the re-immergence of a Crusader mentality?

What The Washington Consensus achieved under the leadership of its alter ego (Zionism) was something entirely different; the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine and other states occurred with absolute impunity. Worst of all, if current holocausts are brought out into the light of day as is the fashion of single-issues politics, they are quickly removed from centre stage scrutiny by the invisible hand that owns the franchise on victimology…and the price for saying that other holocausts are no less inferior to those under franchise, is to be branded an anti-…!!

“All the world’s a stage”, declared the Bard of Avon. But think again; the acrimonious garbage that spews from the mouths of Western governments and their media show us that something quite uniquely different is happening on the world stage that no bard could explain. The evidence is now before us, language and truth are in freefall, and we may just have to wait until some unknown force comes to our rescue, to purge the toxic swamp that obscures our vision of that “All the World’s a Stage” perspective, the one that contains the seeds that are needed to grow a unified unity.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

All Watched Over by The Anglosphere of Loving Grace: Big Brother is keeping ‘Five Eyes’ on you – By Darius Shahtahmasebi – – RT

five eyes surveillance

Just last week, the world’s leading snooping powers quietly and without notice issued a disturbing warning to tech giants, telling them to surrender unprecedented backdoor access to their citizens’ data.

Not many people know this, but the United Kingdom has some of the most extreme spying powers in the developed world. At the end of 2016, passing what some people called the “Snooper’s Charter,” the UK put into law some of the most draconian anti-privacy laws that we have ever known, allowing its government to compel companies to break their own encryption.

The UK plays a pivotal part in the so-called Five Eyes alliance, which also includes the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Nobody knew it at the time, but the American military base which my family and I grew up next to has played a crucial role in delivering US drone strikes across the Middle East and beyond. America’s drone-strike regime, largely considered illegal for numerous reasons, is not something that countries should willingly participate in lightly and without public scrutiny.

Why am I mentioning this? Because it goes to the very heart of my point: the extent to which we know or do not know what our governments are doing behind closed doors is quite literally a matter of life and death.

Now, it has been revealed that the Five Eyes alliance, dedicated to a global “collect-it-all” surveillance task, has issued a memo calling on their governments to demand that tech companies build backdoor access for states to access users’ encrypted data or face measures that will force companies to comply.

The memo was released quietly with little media coverage last week by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, and essentially demanded that providers “create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.” The memo was reportedly released after ministers for the intelligence agencies of the Five Eyes nations met on Australia’s Gold Coast last week.

The most laughable aspect, of course, was the opening sentence, which ironically reads: the “governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are committed to personal rights and privacy, and support the role of encryption in protecting those rights.”

Yes, of course. Also worthy of note is the order in which those countries appear in the memo, clearly ranking from biggest bully in the playground to the push-over child at school who is just happy and content to be a part of the “club.”

If we are to take the memo at its face value, end-to-end encryption is potentially our best friend. The memo itself admits that some encrypted data is nearly impossible for intelligence agencies to crack on their own, as they are struggling to make sense of the data they are currently intercepting. This is why they are forcibly calling on the world’s leading tech providers to do their work for them.

Will those tech companies cave in to these government’s demands? You can bet your bottom dollar that eventually, yes, they very well might. While Facebook did not comment directly on the memo, instead attempting to refer questions to a public blog that the social media giant published in May explaining its policies on encryption, there is one important ingredient missing from the future of these policies.

After Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the US establishment and its media cohorts went into a “fake news” frenzy that saw Barack Obama deliver a stern attack on Facebook directly, supposedly being one of the main disseminators of fake news. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and founder, completely dismissed the idea that Facebook played a substantial role in this, stating:

“Voters make decisions based on their lived experience. We really believe in people. You don’t generally go wrong when you trust that people understand what they care about, and you build systems that reflect that.”

Despite this statement, hoping no one had noticed, barely a few days later, Facebook then announced it was adopting a string of measures to fight “fake news” after all.

Why the sudden change in heart? Could it be that, according to the Washington Post, in that trivial space of time, Barack Obama personally pulled aside Zuckerberg in a private room, on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Peru, so that the president could make a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of “fake news” more seriously?

Comment: More likely, the same people who controlled Obama ‘let Zuckerberg know’ which side his bread was buttered on. They can regulate FB, destroy it, take it out of the Zuck’s hands, or simply have him ‘have an accident’. As should be patently clear to everyone now, real power is exercised from the shadows…

In other words, these big companies will always inevitably cave to government pressure whether or not they even agree with what these governments are saying. According to the New York Times, one Facebook official said that the Australian memo had “no teeth,” but was in fact “part of an escalating war between governments and Silicon Valley tech giants over access to people’s private data.”

Comment: ‘Silicon Valley’ is the US deep state military-industrial complex ‘in the flesh’. All of it began with, and is thus still founded on, DARPA, i.e. the Pentagon and ‘the intelligence community’.’Silicon Valley’ IS the government. Together they form CorpGov.

In that context, the warnings speak for themselves. The companies who do not comply with these nations’ demands will be hit with “technological, enforcement, legislative, or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions,” according to the memo, which does not detail what sort of measures these will be. Also unclear is how much access and to what, exactly, the governments of the Five Eyes are proposing. However, it seems likely that the least it would allow each government is access to encrypted call and message data relating to their citizens.

Given that Facebook has been breaching our privacy in favor of government agencies for a long time now, you can rest assured that Zuckerberg will not put up any meaningful resistance to this new decree issued by the Five Eyes network.

This idea of “fake news” and still-unsubstantiated claims of extensive foreign interference in Western democracies more or less set the tone for the Five Eyes gathering in Australia. Perhaps, just perhaps, the aim of these governments was not to discuss what to do about child-trafficking or international crime as they claim, but actually something more broadly related to containing these powers’ number-one adversary (here are two clues).

It is worth noting that there has been next to no criticism of these Five Eyes powers for delivering such a blatant attack on our right to privacy. Remember that, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to “wrest control of the internet,” as the Guardian wrote approximately three years ago. But these same Western media companies are awkwardly silent about what their own governments are proposing to do, something which other nations could only dream about achieving on such a global scale.

It needs to be said that now is the time to start paying attention. If you think the same governments that facilitate terrorism all over the planet want to access your data to in good faith to do nothing other than foil terrorist plots, you are nothing short of naïve.

Privacy matters, whether you think you matter or not; and if you don’t believe me, who better to demonstrate this point than Mark Zuckerberg himself?

“This same division can be seen with the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who in an infamous interview in 2010 pronounced that privacy is no longer a ‘social norm,'” journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in his TEDtalk, “Why Privacy Matters.”

“Last year, Mark Zuckerberg and his new wife purchased not only their own house but also all four adjacent houses in Palo Alto for a total of $30 million in order to ensure that they enjoyed a zone of privacy that prevented other people from monitoring what they do in their personal lives,” Greenwald continued.

So, why does all of this matter anyway? If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, am I right?

Firstly, security researchers and other critics of these backdoor access proposals have stated time and time again that there is no workable way to create a “secure backdoor” that would not be vulnerable to intercept by hackers who have not been sanctioned access to the data.

Secondly, this line of nonsensical thinking was graciously debunked and tossed into the fire, never to be seen again, by none other than infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden, who stated:

“…privacy isn’t about something to hide. Privacy is about something to protect. That’s who you are. Privacy is baked into our language, our core concepts of government and self in every way. It’s why we call it ‘private property.’ Without privacy you don’t have anything for yourself.”

“Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like arguing that you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

For those of us who have plenty to say, the memo is nothing but an attack on all our fundamental rights and freedoms, and should be rejected in the same manner in which the media has chosen to ignore it.

About the author

Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst, currently specialising in immigration, refugee and humanitarian law.

Comment: ‘All watched over by machines of loving grace’ was a Californian hippy’s poem from the 1960s, envisioning a computing/digital utopia. British docu-maker Adam Curtis named his 2011 series after it, in which he explored how the computing/internet age enslaved rather than liberated people. The original techie innovators and gurus predicted that politics-as-usual would disappear. Instead, everything has become intensely political, and the predominantly anglophone structure of world power is arguably more entrenched and brutal than ever before.

See Also:

Syrian War Report – September 6, 2018: Russian Warplanes Wipe Out Armed UAV Workshop In Idlib – bY SOUTH FRONT- VT

0
504

https://southfront.org/wp-content/plugins/fwduvp/content/video.php?path=https%3A%2F%2Fsouthfront.org%2Fsyrian-war-report-september-6-2018-russian-warplanes-wipe-out-armed-uav-workshop-in-idlib%2F&pid=1395

…from SouthFront

Su-34 and Su-35S warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed a warehouse of portable anti-aircraft missiles and a workshop where Idlib militants were making armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and kept explosives in store, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on September 5. According to him, the strikes were delivered on September 4, away from populated areas. Konashenkov noted that over the past month 47 UAVs launched by militants have been eliminated near Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base.

Earlier, pro-militant sources once again accused the Russian Aerospace Forces of striking civilian targets in the province of Idlib. While some civilian casualties as a result of any kind of fully-fledged operations against well-armed terrorist groups can hardly be avoided, pro-militant sources and mainstream media outlets are often exploiting this narrative in their propaganda campaigns against the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance. Most of reports appearing from pro-militant “media activists” in Idlib describe any destroyed militant position, HQ or warehouse as a bakery, a medical point or a civilian house.

Fearing a full-scale ground advance by the Syrian Army against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies in the Idlib de-escalation zone, militants are destroying bridges in the al-Ghab Plains area. According to available data, at least four bridges were blown up during the past 10 days.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-led forces have also built additional fortifications and deployed reinforcements at the contact line with pro-government forces as well as have carried out a series of arrests of public persons and political activists supporting a reconciliation with the Damascus government.

On September 5, the Syrian military deployed another batch of troops and heavy equipment near the province of Idlib. This force belongs to the 1st Division, which is set to participate in the upcoming offensive alongside with the Tiger Forces, the 5th Assault Corps, the 4th Armoured Division and other pro-government factions.

In the area of al-Safa, the Syrian Army continued its operation against ISIS cells. According to pro-government sources, artillery units and warplanes are actively striking the remaining ISIS positions. However, no final offensive has been launched yet because Damascus still hopes to save multiple civilian hostages kept by the terrorist group in the area.

On September 4, the White House once again threatened the Syrian government with a military action.

“The United States is closely monitoring the situation in Idlib province, Syria, where millions of innocent civilians are under threat of an imminent Assad regime attack, backed by Russia and Iran,” the statement said. “Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately.”

Considering multiple US threats to use military force against Damascus in case of new reports on chemical attack in Syria, it will be strange if no such reports appear when the battle of Idlib finally starts.

Last battle: Syrian army ready to launch offensive, liberate Idlib says Syrian MP – By SPUTNIK

The Syrian Army in Daraa Province

© Sputnik / Mikhail Alayeddin
The Syrian Army in Daraa Province on the border with Jordan

The Syrian Arab Army is getting ready to launch an offensive against terrorists in Idlib province, Omer Osi, a member of the Syrian Parliament, told Sputnik, expressing confidence that the region would eventually be liberated. The Syrian MP explained Turkey’s concerns about the upcoming advance.

“Government troops are making final preparations with reinforcements and military equipment being sent from Damascus, Aleppo and Hama to the Idlib region,” Omer Osi, a member of the Syrian Parliament of Kurdish origin, told Sputnik Turkey. “They are waiting orders to launch an offensive. The Syrian armed forces are determined to liberate Idlib from terrorists, and we are sure that it will certainly be taken in the near future.”

Earlier, Damascus had announced a large-scale operation to free Idlib province, the last terrorist stronghold in Syria. However, the US signaled its discontent with the upcoming offensive.

“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!” US President Donald Trump tweeted on September 3.

In response, Moscow underscored that Idlib remains the last hotbed of terrorism in the region, which undermines “attempts to bring the situation to the track of political and diplomatic regulation.”

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan echoed Washington, saying that the Idlib operation could turn into nothing short of a “massacre.” Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had agreed during a phone conversation that a Syrian government advance on Idlib would be “unacceptable.”

Comment: Turkey conveyed to Russia its condemnation of a recent attack in Syria’s Idlib, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Sept. 5.

“After the attack, our institutions [Turkish and Russian] contacted each other. We told them that this is wrong,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov may visit the German capital of Berlin on September 14, a diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday.

“The visit is planned for September 14,” the source said in response to a question.

Osi explained that Russia, Turkey and Iran were continuing negotiations regarding the situation in Idlib, adding that Erdogan’s concerns had certain grounds: Should the operation take place, terrorists will flee Idlib and move towards Turkey.

“As you know, Ankara opposes this operation, because in this case members of the terrorist groups, currently located in Idlib, will move towards Turkey,” he elaborated. “When operations were carried out to liberate Hama, Aleppo and other Syrian territories, the terrorists retreated to Idlib. Now they have nowhere to retreat, except the territory of Turkey.”

It is expected that the Idlib operation will be discussed by the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran during an upcoming summit in Tehran on September 7.

Idlib province is in one of Syria’s de-escalation zones and remains an important foothold for jihadi fighters. Tensions are growing steadily over reports that terrorists might prepare a chemical provocation to provoke Washington into retaliating against Damascus.

On August 22, US National Security Adviser John Bolton signaled that the US would resort to tough measures against the Syrian government in case chemical weapons are used. Previously, the Trump administration had carried two missile strikes on Syrian Arab Army positions under unconfirmed reports of alleged chemical attacks.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, four Russian warplanes, deployed at the Hmeymim air base, conducted strikes on positions of the al-Nusra Front* terrorist group in the region. According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the Russian aircraft destroyed warehouses and workshops of terrorists.

“The Russian aircraft carried out all strikes solely on the identified terrorist targets, as confirmed through several channels, located far from settlements,” Konashenkov emphasized.

Delivering a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on September 3, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov addressed the issue of the seven-year-long war in Syria, highlighting that “there is no place for terrorists in Syria and that the Syrian government has every right to seek their liquidation on its territory.”

“We are now taking the most active effort, together with our Turkish colleagues, together with the Syrian government, and with the Iranians as participants in the Astana format, to split the armed normal opposition forces from the terrorists on the ground,” Lavrov underscored.

*Al-Nusra Front is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

Comment: Russia will continue fighting terrorists in Syria’s Idlib until their total elimination, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Wednesday.

“We consider it Russia’s duty to strictly adhere to the agreements [concerning the de-escalation zone in Idlib], and it will continue the fight against terrorists until their ultimate and total elimination,” she noted. “The Russian Aerospace Forces are conducting strikes on Idlib not for “aggressive” purposes, but for exterminating terrorist objects that are used in the increasing attacks on the Syrian army’s positions and the civilian population, as well as in the attacks on the Russian military, whose presence in Syria is requested by the lawful government of the country.”

See also: Erdogan: Working with Russia ‘really important’ to prevent Idlib ‘massacre’

Trump’s Drastic Cuts to UNRWA Spell More Poverty, Hopelessness, and Radicalization in Palestine – By Hisham H. Ahmed, Ph.D (MINT PRESS)

In an attempt to pressure the Palestinian people to accept his “deal of the century,” Trump decided to drastically cut the annual U.S. contribution to UNRWA from abut $350 million to $65 million and pressured other countries, including Britain and Australia, to reduce their contributions as well.

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, was established in December 1949 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 to address the basic humanitarian needs of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who became refugees in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

As its name reveals, UNRWA’s mission was centered on providing relief rations, basic healthcare, education and employment opportunities for the refugees who lost all of their livelihood. Underlying UNRWA’s establishment was the goal to integrate refugees into the neighboring Arab host countries, so as to diffuse tensions and promote regional peace and stability.

Motivated by political objectives, the United States and Britain have been the biggest contributors to UNRWA’s budget. This has remained the case until recently when U.S. President Donald Trump announced in February of this year his decision to drastically cut U.S. contributions to UNRWA. Over the years, these two big powers saw in this humanitarian agency an effective vehicle for containing frustration and despair among the refugees.

 

Indeed, in spite of some of its shortcomings, UNRWA has been able to provide badly needed services, particularly for destitute refugee families. UNRWA became an important apparatus of employment for many skilled refugees.

Until it began in the past few years to introduce reductions in its services, UNRWA’s schools once provided the best education to be had in their communities, employing the most talented Palestinian teachers and graduating very successful students who excelled in various fields of knowledge and expertise.

School girls listen to Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, during the launch of a global campaign to support UNRWA, at the UNRWA Rimal Girls Preparatory School in Gaza. Adel Hana | AP

In an attempt to pressure the Palestinian people to accept his “deal of the century,” Trump decided to drastically cut the annual U.S. contribution to UNRWA from about $350 million to $65 million and, against all advice from his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, he pressured some other countries, including Britain and Australia, to reduce their contributions as well.

 

The first impact of Trump’s drastic cuts

UNRWA, which had already been struggling financially to meet its increasing demands, owing to the influx of more Palestinian refugees as a result of the Syrian crisis, found its operations severely hampered at a most critical time for so many Palestinian refugees. Supposedly compelled by the financial constraints, UNRWA recently decided to further shrink most of its modest services. Then, more worrisome for the refugees, it dismissed more than 1,000 Palestinian refugee employees from work in the Gaza, which has been lingering under siege for about 12 years.

Gaza, where unemployment has exceeded 80 percent, is considered one of the most troubled places on earth for human survival. Due to the tight siege, clean water is very scarce; Gazans get fewer than four hours of electricity per day; and the healthcare system has practically crumbled, as medical supplies are not coming in. On the whole, people are tormented by, on the one hand,  the ongoing contest of powers between Hamas, which has unilaterally controlled the strip since 2007, and the Palestinian Authority, and, on the other, the Israeli occupation that dominates the airspace and sea as well as all entry points by land.

A Palestinian employee sits during a protest at the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City, July 25, 2018. UNWRA staff are protesting the agency's decision to fire dozens of Palestinian staff in Gaza in the Gaza Strip. Khalil Hamra | AP

UNRWA’s decision, which seems to be the product of financial considerations, is nonetheless interpreted by many Palestinians as a politically-motivated move, owing to its timing and place of execution. Palestinians maintain that of all places where UNRWA operates, Gaza cannot be the first where such severe austerity measures should be introduced. The agony in the Gaza Strip is incalculable, especially as people have endured three wars with Israel in the past decade alone.

The new measures by UNRWA fell like a thunderbolt on refugee employees who have been dismissed, as no other opportunities for employment are available. Such measures led one of the dismissed employees, caught in despair and anguish, to try to set himself on fire in protest. Employees whose jobs were terminated have carried out an open-ended hunger strike with their families inside UNRWA headquarters.

 

Hopelessness and frustration: the breeding ground for extremism

Especially in a troubled area like the Middle East, the many crises that have developed over the years have contributed to the deepening of extremist tendencies among some groups and organizations.

By all accounts, the displacement of many refugees in the most recent conflicts during the past few years has widened the base of radicalization in the region. Radicalization becomes inevitable during times of total despair and profound frustration unless alternative creative, innovative solutions are introduced — i.e., unless some robust, systematic international programs of aid to alleviate the suffering of the refugees and to replace despair with hope are instituted.

In essence, radicalization of individuals can be viewed as a factor that leads to abnormalizing the behavior of those who fall victims to this tendency. More broadly, when radicalization spreads in a group or community, it can deform the social structure and lead to behavior that lacks balance — this may be called “the imbalancing” of communities. Creative and innovative policies are required to tackle the underlying root causes of radicalization.

Palestinian children sit next to hanged clothes, on the First day of Eid al-Fitr in a United Nations school where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their homes in fear of Israeli airstrikes, in the Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip. A U.N. inquiry has found that at least 44 Palestinians were killed and at least 227 injured by "Israeli actions" while sheltering at U.N. locations during last year's Gaza war. Secretary Ban Ki-moon said Monday, April 27, 2015, he deplores the deaths and calls U.N. locations "inviolable."

UNRWA’s measures of cutting its services and dismissing close to 10 percent of its Palestinian workforce in Gaza are bound to hamper the educational process for hundreds of thousands of students, especially as other Palestinian employees in other locations feel quite vulnerable and may, as a result, resort to protesting such measures. In effect, the learning process of Palestinian students will be impacted and their educational rights violated.

The implications of violating the educational rights of refugees cannot be overlooked. Radicalization usually finds its way among disgruntled and frustrated young people, those who believe that their future offers them nothing more than despair and anguish. The Gaza Strip has been in a state of war and under total siege for many years — thus, to begin with, services are limited if provided at all. Dismissing of employees in the thousands by the organization in whose name and for whom it was created adds insult to injury, as it threatens the very livelihood of tens of thousands of people, when accounting for the members of the families of those who are dismissed and whom they support.

 

An impact that rolls on into a darkened future

Wars, especially when compounded by chronic despair and frustration, usually affect societies both in the present and the future: while present effects might be measurable, those that might occur in the future are often accompanied by surprise. With the continuation of such measures by UNRWA, entire generations may be expected to be kept without formal education. These may be easily subjected to some kind of informal, unstructured education — i.e., indoctrination and radicalized mobilization by a number of organizations that generally thrive in an environment of chaos and anarchy.

Some scholars have studied the interplay between radicalization and feelings of deprivation. For example, Fathali M. Moghaddam (2005) has stressed the need for education to nurture feelings of tolerance and equality among different groups. Ervin Staub (2007) has focused on preventive measures against radicalization, mainly through teaching, learning and education. More recently, however, Kartika Bhatia and Hafez Ghanem (2017) drew the link between the decline in education, rise of unemployment and empowerment of radicalization.

By writing this article, the author hopes to shed light on such an important underlying problem faced by Palestinian refugees. Coming to terms with this problem now, policy-makers and strategists can avert crucial problems in the future, mainly the deepening of frustration and the potential rise of radicalization in the region.

School girls look while pass the house morning of Mohammed Ayyoub, 14, who was killed by Israeli soldiers during a protest on Gaza's border with Israel, east of Jebaliya,, April 21, 2018. Adel Hana | AP

The recent waves of hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding a number of European countries could have been averted with sound, foresighted policies. In writing this article, the author is motivated by the sense of urgency to highlight the ramifications of the ferocious assault of displacement on the rights of the refugees, particularly those pertaining to education. At the same time, the author is also motivated by his own background as a Palestinian refugee who was born and grew up in a refugee camp, Dheisheh near Bethlehem: every time I read about the plight and the agony of new refugees, I cannot help reflecting on my own upbringing and observation of the effect of deprivation on the lives of so many people around me.

Palestinian refugees have been subjected to serious injustice everywhere they went. UNRWA’s recent measures of reducing the already modest services it provides to the refugees, and its termination of thousands of jobs solely for Palestinian employees, raise a number of compelling moral and legal questions. The international community is responsible for the catastrophe endured by Palestinians. Thus, even if the United States under Trump resorts to punitive financial measures to achieve political ends, the world community should not allow UNRWA to crumble. Cutting services and dismissing Palestinian employees from their jobs is not the answer, nor is it the solution to the worsening financial problem.

 

Constructive reforms, not drastic and destructive cuts, are needed

A comprehensive assessment of UNRWA’s structure needs to be carried out, as its bureaucracy has massively expanded. It is a well-documented fact that the average salary of a foreign employee in UNRWA is about 10 times that of a Palestinian employee. UNRWA was created to serve Palestinian refugees and to employ them, as its mandate stipulates.

Attempts by the U.S. Congress to redefine the refugee status for Palestinians — i.e., to exclude all descendants from the current UNRWA definition of Palestinian refugees — aim at liquidating the problem of those refugees in time by dissolving UNRWA. The specific goal is to limit the definition to fewer than 40,000 Palestinian refugees, rather than the current 5.3 million. The calculation is that even the new limited number will further shrink, as elderly refugees will die and the definition will not apply to their descendants.

This can only exacerbate the already fragile security environment in the Middle East. Such attempts stem from many concerted efforts by Israel and its lobbying groups in the U.S. to influence American decision-makers. For example, in its annual conference in the last week of July, CUFI, Christians United For Israel in the United States, an organization that has become synonymous with AIPAC, lobbied members of Congress for redefining the status of Palestinian refugees. This is quite short-sighted, as it completely evades the political, legal and humanitarian consequences of this action. From a cost-benefit analysis, securing the necessary funds for UNRWA to maintain its operations, and actually to enhance them, is less costly than having to deal with increasing instability, deepening frustration and the resultant growing radicalization.

The High Commissioner of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, has reflected an excellent understanding of the potential ramifications of cutting services and terminating jobs for Palestinian refugees. In a number of interviews he gave to the media, especially after Trump announced that he will be reducing U.S. contributions to UNRWA’s budget, Krahenbuhl clearly spoke of the impending radicalization among young refugees. Therefore, it is inconceivable to allow the dissolution of UNRWA to happen under his supervision. This stands in total contradiction with the reputable record he has.

With a comprehensive assessment, serious reform, and reliance on more skilled Palestinian expertise, UNRWA can be enabled to cross this threshold and continue to fulfill its humanitarian mission. Sadly, the Palestinian problem is not over, and no just settlement for the refugees has been achieved. Therefore, the outcry of Palestinian refugees should be heard at the highest level of decision-making in the UN, including that of the office of the Secretary-General himself, Antonio Guterres.

This is the time to heed the call for human justice and dignity for Palestine’s refugees. This is the time when perspicacity should override narrow political considerations. This is the time to prevent more seeds of radicalization from being planted.

Top Photo | A wall painting made by Palestinian employees is seen at the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City. July 25,2018. UNWRA staff were protesting the agency’s decision to fire dozens of Palestinian staff in Gaza in the Gaza Strip. Khalil Hamra | AP

Hisham H. Ahmed, Ph.D. was Chair of the Academic Senate and Chair of the Politics Department at Saint Mary’s College of California, he was a Fulbright scholar in Palestine, where he wrote his book: From Religious Salvation to political transformation: the rise of Hamas in Palestinian Society. Ahmed is the author of numerous studies dealing with the Middle East. Ahmed is frequently called upon by the local and international media for analyses of various political issues pertaining to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

NATO Repeats the Great Mistake of the Warsaw Pact – By Martin SIEFF (Strategic Culture Foundation)

NATO Repeats the Great Mistake of the Warsaw Pact

Through the 1990s, during the terms of US President Bill Clinton, NATO relentlessly and inexorably expanded through Central Europe. Today, the expansion of that alliance eastward – encircling Russia with fiercely Russo-phobic regimes in one tiny country after another and in Ukraine, which is not tiny at all – continues.

This NATO expansion – which the legendary George Kennan presciently warned against in vain – continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war. Far from bringing the United States and the Western NATO allies increased security, it strips them of the certainty of the peace and security they would enjoy if they instead sought a sincere, constructive and above all stable relationship with Russia.

It is argued that the addition of the old Warsaw Pact member states of Central Europe to NATO has dramatically strengthened NATO and gravely weakened Russia. This has been a universally-accepted assumption in the United States and throughout the West for the past quarter century. Yet it simply is not true.

In reality, the United States and its Western European allies are now discovering the hard way the same lesson that drained and exhausted the Soviet Union from the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 to its dissolution 36 years later. The tier of Central European nations has always lacked the coherence, the industrial base and the combined economic infrastructure to generate significant industrial, financial or most of all strategic and military power.

In fact the current frustrating experience of NATO, and the long, exhausting tribulations that faced Soviet diplomats and generals for so many decades was entirely consistent with the previous historical record going back at least until 1718.

From 1718 until 1867 – a period of a century and a half – most of Central Europe, including even regions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, were consolidated within the Austro –Hungarian Empire, However even then, the Habsburg multi-national empire was always militarily weak and punched beneath its weight. After Emperor Franz Josef recklessly proclaimed his famous Compromise of 1867, the effectiveness of the imperial army was reduced to almost zero. The autonomous and feckless conduct of the Hungarian aristocracy ensured a level of confusion, division, incompetence and ineptitude that was revealed in the army’s total collapse against both Russia and Serbia in the great battles of 1914 at the start of World War I.

Germany moved in to occupy and consolidate the region in both world wars. But far from making Germany a global giant and enabling it to maintain its domination of Europe, the Central European regions – whether as part of Austro-Hungary during World War I or as independent nation-states allied to the Nazis in World War II – proved miniscule and worthless against the alliances of Russia, the United States, Britain and France that the Germans fought against in both global conflicts.

After the Soviet Union militarily destroyed the genocidal military power of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russia’s Great Patriotic War, the political consolidation of East Germany and Poland were strategically necessary for Russia’s security. But occupying and organizing the rest of the region was not. Far from strengthening the Soviet Union, those nations weakened and distracted it. Today, NATO is repeating the Soviet Mistake and that fatal move is inexorably draining the alliance of all its strength and credibility.

NATO is also repeating the disastrous mistake that France made in 1920-21 when it created a “Little Entente” of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania to supposedly counterbalance the revival of Germany. The plan failed completely.

Today those very same nations – enthusiastically joined by Hungary, Poland and the three little Baltic states – are relentlessly distorting both NATO and the EU. They generate weakness and chaos in the alliances they are in – not unity and strength.

As I have noted before in these columns, the great British historian Lord Correlli Barnett drew the important distinction between militarily powerful nations that are generators and exporters of security and those, either tiny or disorganized, pacifist and weak nations that have to import their security from more powerful states.

One might call such small countries “feeder” or “parasite” states. They siphon off energy and strength from their protector partners. They weaken their alliance partners rather than strengthening them.

The consistent lessons of more than 300 years of Central European history are therefore clear: Leading and organizing the tier of Central European nations in the Warsaw Pact did not strengthen the Soviet Union: Instead, those activities relentlessly weakened it.

Incorporating most of the small nations in Central Europe into any empire or alliance has never been a cause or generator of military or national strength, regardless of the ideology or religious faith involved. At best, it is a barometer of national strength.

When nations such as France, Germany, the Soviet Union or the United States are seen as rising powers in the world, the small countries of Central Europe always hasten to ally themselves accordingly. They therefore adopt and discard Ottoman Islamic imperialism. Austrian Christian imperialism, democracy, Nazism, Communism and again democracy as easily as putting on or off different costumes at a fancy dress ball in Vienna or Budapest.

As Russia rises once again in global standing and national power, supported by its genuinely powerful allies China, India and Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the nations of Central Europe can be anticipated to reorient their own loyalties accordingly once again.

World moral authority? Exposing the US role in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen – By Tony Cartalucci (New Eastern Outlook) (SOTT)

mattis

As atrocities and scandal begin to mount regarding the US-backed Saudi-led war on the impoverished nation of Yemen, the involvement and hypocrisy of the United States and other Western backers is coming to full light.

Global condemnation of Saudi airstrikes on civilian targets has brought public attention to Washington’s role in the conflict – a role the Western media has attempted to downplay for years. It is ironic, or perhaps telling, that alternative media outlets targeted as “Russian influence” are leading coverage of Yemen’s growing humanitarian catastrophe.

US Denies Role in Proxy War That Couldn’t be Fought Without It

In a recent press conference, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis – when asked about the US role in the Yemeni conflict in regards to Saudi atrocities – would claim:

We are not engaged in the civil war. We will help to prevent, you know, the killing of innocent people.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Mattis himself would lobby US Congress earlier this year to continue US support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen.

A March 2018 Washington Post article titled, “Mattis asks Congress not to restrict US support for Saudi bombing in Yemen,” would admit:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a personal appeal to Congress on Wednesday not to restrict the United States’ support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, as the sponsors of a privileged resolution to end Washington’s involvement announced that the Senate would vote on the matter next week.

Support includes US intelligence gathering for Saudi operations, the sale of of US weapons to the Saudi regime, and even US aerial refueling for US-made Saudi warplanes dropping US-made munitions on Yemeni targets selected with the aid of US planners.

In essence, the US is all but directly fighting the “civil war” itself.

Abetting War Crimes, Sponsoring Terrorists to What End?

As to why the US believes it must continue supporting a proxy war Saudi Arabia is fighting on its behalf – beginning under US President Barack Obama and continuing in earnest under current US President Donald Trump – the Washington Post could conclude (emphasis added):

The war in Yemen has inspired much controversy in Congress, as lawmakers have questioned why the United States has involved itself so closely on the Saudi-backed side of a civil war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel forces. Successive presidential administrations have presented the campaign as a necessary component of the fight against terrorism and to preserve stability in the region. As Mattis put it in his letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, “withdrawing US support would embolden Iran to increase its support to the Houthis, enabling further ballistic missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and threatening vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, thereby raising the risk of a regional conflict.”

However, Mattis, his colleagues, and his predecessors have categorically failed to explain how Iran constitutes a greater threat to either US or global security than Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is a nation admittedly sponsoring Al-Qaeda worldwide, including in Yemen as revealed by a recent Associated Press investigation, and the nation which both radicalized the supposed perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City and Washington D.C. and from which most of the supposed hijackers originated from.

If Iran is indeed waging war against Saudi Arabia and its terrorist proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, the real question is – why isn’t the United States backing Tehran instead?

The obvious answer to this question reveals the crumbling moral authority of the United States as the principled facade it has used for decades falls away from its hegemony-driven agenda worldwide.

The US and its allies created the “War on Terror” and intentionally perpetuated it as a pretext to expand militarily around the globe in an attempt to preserve its post-Cold War primacy and prevent the rise of a multipolar alternative to its unipolar “international order.” It has done this not only at the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, it has done it at the cost of trillions of taxpayers’ dollars and the lives of thousands of America’s own soldiers, sailors, aviators, and Marines.

Canada Too

A recent row between Canada and Saudi Arabia over supposed “human rights” concerns appears to be a vain attempt to salvage the credibility of at least some nations involved in the now 7 year long war – the last 3 years of which has seen direct military intervention by Saudi Arabia, its partners, and its backers – including Canada.

The Guardian in an article titled, “‘We don’t have a single friend’: Canada’s Saudi spat reveals country is alone,” attempts to portray Canada as taking a lone, principled stance against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia – abandoned even by Washington.

The article would claim:

The spat appeared to have been sparked last week when Canada’s foreign ministry expressed its concern over the arrest of Saudi civil society and women’s rights activists, in a tweet that echoed concerns previously voiced by the United Nations.

Saudi Arabia swiftly shot back, making plans to remove thousands of Saudi students and medical patients from Canada, and suspending the state airline’s flights to and from Canada, among other actions.

The Guardian would also claim:

…the US said it would remain on the sidelines while Saudi officials lashed out at Canada over its call to release jailed civil rights activists.

Canada’s feigned concern for “human rights” in Saudi Arabia comes at a time when the Canadian government continues approving of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms sales to Riyadh. This includes small arms and armored personnel carriers Saudi forces are using in their ongoing invasion and occupation of neighboring Yemen.

The feigned divide between Ottawa and Washington over Saudi human rights violations is overshadowed by years of commitment by both North American nations in propping up the Saudi regime, and aiding and abetting the very worst of Riyadh’s human rights abuses unfolding amid the Yemeni conflict.

Canada’s apparent role is to help compartmentalize the worst of the West’s decaying moral authority, containing it with the US, and taking up a more prominent role in the West’s industrialized “human rights” and “democracy” leveraging racket.

While Canadian armaments help fuel genocide in Yemen – Canadian diplomats around the world fund agitators and directly meddle in the internal political affairs of foreign nations predicated on promoting “human rights” and “democracy.”

In Thailand for example, the US has receded into the shadows, allowing Canada, the UK, and other European nations to openly engage in political meddling on their behalf. US funding and support continues, but the public face of Western “outrage” is increasingly becoming Canadian, British, and Northern European.

However, Canada faces the same problem that has permanently eroded American credibility. And as its role in perpetuating real human rights abuses worldwide continues to be exposed, its feigned concern over token or even manufactured human rights concerns will increasingly appear hypocritical and hollow, undermining the West’s collective ability to leverage and hide behind human rights and democracy to advance their self-serving agendas.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Comment: See also:

The Afghan Quagmire Gets Deeper, Denser and Bloodier – By Brian CLOUGHLEY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

The Afghan Quagmire Gets Deeper, Denser and Bloodier

In April 1971 John Kerry, who served gallantly in Vietnam and was later Secretary of State, stood in front of a US Senate Committee and asked “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Today, we could do with a John Kerry to ask the same question about the war in Afghanistan.

On August 5 it was reported that “a suicide bomber has killed three Czech NATO soldiers in an attack in eastern Afghanistan. The victims were targeted while on a routine foot patrol alongside Afghan forces, NATO officials said in a statement. A US soldier and two Afghan soldiers were wounded in the attack in Charikar, the capital of Parwan province.”

Just what is being achieved by Czech soldiers on fighting patrols 5,000 kilometres from home is not explained by any of the authorities responsible for their deployment — and thus for placing them in jeopardy of their lives — but the usual nauseating platitudes were promptly mouthed by some of them.

The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, declared that the dead soldiers were “heroes who fought against terrorism so far from home.” Well, he should know about operating far from home. Forbes lists him as being worth four billion dollars and owning “a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Paloma, in the French Riviera” which is no doubt some consolation to the relatives and friends of the men who were killed. Babis, of course, sent his “deepest condolences to their families,” as did the ever-ready General John Nicholson, the sixteenth commander in Washington’s seventeen years of war, who, never at a loss for futile banality, babbled that “Their sacrifice will endure in both our hearts and history and further strengthen our resolve.” What utter garbage.

The “sacrifice” of these Czech soldiers won’t be felt by any hearts other than those of their grieving families, and it is insulting to claim that it will. And their deaths won’t get even the tiniest footnote in history. As to “strengthening our resolve” — resolve to do what? — to carry on mouthing phoney inanities about the utter chaos in Afghanistan?

This tawdry exhibition of fake emotion sticks in the gullet — but it’s not as sickening as the observation in The Economist that the war’s “current cost — roughly $45 billion and around a dozen lives a year — is modest enough to invite little interest from Congress or the media. That suggests Mr Trump’s strategy is sustainable.”

The talented intellectuals of The Economist think that the deaths of a dozen American soldiers every year in the unwinnable Afghan War indicate that the policies of Trump and the Pentagon can be maintained indefinitely. What’s a dozen lives, after all?

Well, listen to me, you clever little intellectuals and you swaggering military strategists, because I’m going to tell you a few home truths.

The soldiers who have died — and those who are going to die —have relatives who love them. They have parents, brothers, sisters, wives, partners, children, all of whom suffer when the lives of their nearest and dearest are sacrificed by a bunch of no-hopers as part of a “modest” cost in a supposedly “sustainable strategy” in a country that is ungovernable.

The Costs of War Project at Brown University estimates that more than 100,000 people have died in the war in Afghanistan. They weren’t all soldiers, of course, because in conflicts like this, the civilian population always suffers from action by both militants and the armed forces involved. In July, the UN reported that 1,692 Afghan civilians were killed, and 3,430 injured in the first six months of 2018, which is the record for that period in the seventeen years of this catastrophe.

But let’s get back to the soldiers who are dying.

On August 9 it was finally acknowledged by the Kabul government that over twenty Afghan soldiers had been killed in an insurgent attack on August 3 in Uruzgan province. There were no US-NATO troops involved, so there has been little reporting of the disaster by the western media, and no mention of it whatever by NATO headquarters, but it is the most serious setback suffered by the Afghan Army for several months.

Consider what happens to the dependant families of dead Afghan soldiers: the widows are entitled to pensions, of course — but Afghanistan is the third most corrupt country in the world. Do you imagine for a moment that these anguished women receive a fraction of the tiny amount to which they are entitled? Of course they don’t. Usually, they don’t get a bean, because the money is stolen by crooked and heartless government officials. What have you to say to that, General Nicholson? Does it strengthen your resolve to do anything?

As reported by the Japan Times, “Help for Afghan Heroes, an Afghan non-profit organization supporting 5,000 families of wounded or dead security forces, said corruption is a key reason many women do not receive assistance.” Nasreen Sharar, special projects officer for the group, said that “they are asked to pay a bribe to get the application processed and they often don’t have the money.”

Of course they don’t have the money. They are just tiny inconsequential and stricken blobs in a “sustainable strategy” that costs $45 billion and “around a dozen lives a year.”

Hashratullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for Kabul’s Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, told Arab News “We are in a state of war. The number of women who become widows is increasing. Those who fight on the government side and those on the side of the Taliban and the militants have wives and mothers too. People on both sides suffer and women on all sides are affected more than anyone in this war.”

But what about the Czech army soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan? The western media carried the 130 word Reuter‘s report about their deaths, and then forgot all about them, which makes a sick joke of Nicholson’s pompous pronouncement that “Their sacrifice will endure in both our hearts and history.”

They were Staff Sergeant Martin Marcin, 36, and Corporals Kamil Benes, 28, and Patrik Stepanek, 25, about whose deaths the Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar declared that “We have witnessed a tragedy that can hardly be prevented when you serve in the army.” I would really like to be able to put that grubby politician on a patrol in Afghanistan, along with the intellectuals of The Economist and all the other smart-assed commentators to whom soldiers’ lives and grieving widows mean nothing.

Not that the Czech government told us much about the widows or other relatives of the soldiers Mr Metnar sent to die in Afghanistan. All that was reported by Czech Radio was “One leaves behind a widow and a three-month-old baby.”

At least, she’ll probably be paid her pension, unlike so many widows of Afghan Army soldiers who also died for… What?

In all the years of useless conflict in Afghanistan the western media has never listed the names of Afghan Army soldiers killed in action, because these soldiers don’t matter in the greater scheme of things — the “sustainable strategy” — in which they are but inconsequential pawns, as are all the civilians who are killed by bombing, whether on the ground by the Taliban, or from the sky by Afghan-US-NATO airstrikes.

The BBC reports that “Since President Trump announced his Afghanistan strategy . . . the number of bombs dropped by the US Air Force has surged dramatically. New rules of engagement have made it easier for US forces to carry out strikes against the Taliban” and this surge in aerial blitzing has certainly had an effect.

In the first six months of 2018 the UN documented “353 civilian casualties (149 deaths and 204 injured) from aerial attacks, a 52 per cent increase from the same period in 2017. The mission attributed 52 per cent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan Air Force, 45 per cent to international military forces, and the remaining three per cent to unidentified Pro-Government Forces.”

While Afghan and foreign air forces blitz the country, and the Taliban and other militants wreak havoc with their constant attacks, all that happens politically is that corruption thrives and the murderously criminal vice-president, Abdurrashid Dostum, returns from self-imposed exile to create further chaos. The place is ungovernable, and the foreigners should get out, now.

As John Kerry said, almost fifty years ago: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”


%d bloggers like this: