Here is the latest body count. All of these people have been connected with the Clintons in some form

Clin­ton Body Count

Pub­lished 16 years ago – 


The Clin­tons have left a trail of death and de­struc­tion in thier wake. This is who we’ve lost and why they were tar­get­ted.

Here is the lat­est body count that we have. All of these peo­ple have been con­nected with the Clin­tons in some form or an­other. We have not in­cluded any deaths that could not be ver­i­fied or con­nected to the Clin­ton scan­dals. All deaths are listed chrono­log­i­cally by date.

Su­san Cole­man: Ru­mors were cir­cu­lat­ing in Arkansas of an af­fair with Bill Clin­ton. She was found dead with a gun­shot wound to the head at 7 1/2 months preg­nant. Death was an ap­par­ent sui­cide.

Larry Guer­rin: Was killed in Feb­ru­ary 1987 while in­ves­ti­gat­ing the IN­SLAW case.

Kevin Ives & Don Henry: Ini­tial cause of death was re­ported to be the re­sult of falling asleep on a rail­road track in Arkansas on Au­gust 23, 1987. This rul­ing was re­ported by the State med­ical ex­am­iner Fahmy Malak. Later it was de­ter­mined that Kevin died from a crushed skull prior to be­ing placed on the tracks. Don had been stabbed in the back. Ru­mors in­di­cate that they might have stum­bled upon a Mena drug op­er­a­tion.

Keith Coney: Keith had in­for­ma­tion on the Ives/Henry deaths. Died in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent in July 1988 with un­con­firmed re­ports of a high speed car chase.

Keith McK­askle: McK­askle has in­for­ma­tion on the Ives/Henry deaths. He was stabbed to death in No­vem­ber 1988.

Gre­gory Collins: Greg had in­for­ma­tion on the Ives/Henry deaths. He died from a gun­shot wound to the face in Jan­u­ary 1989.

Jeff Rhodes: He had in­for­ma­tion on the deaths of Ives, Henry & McK­askle. His burned body was found in a trash dump in April 1989. He died of a gun­shot wound to the head and there was some body mu­ti­la­tion, lead­ing to the prob­a­bly spec­u­la­tion that he was tor­tured prior to be­ing killed.

James Milam: Milam had in­for­ma­tion on the Ives & Henry deaths. He was de­cap­i­tated. The state Med­ical ex­am­iner, Fahmy Malak, ini­tially ruled death due to nat­ural causes.

Richard Win­ters: Win­ters was a sus­pect in the deaths of Ives & Henry. He was killed in a “rob­bery” in July 1989 which was sub­se­quently proven to be a setup.

Jor­dan Ket­tle­son: Ket­tle­son had in­for­ma­tion on the Ives & Henry deaths. He was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup in June 1990.

Alan Stan­dorf: An em­ployee of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency in elec­tronic in­tel­li­gence. Stan­dorf was a source of in­for­ma­tion for Danny Casalaro who was in­ves­ti­gat­ing IN­SLAW, BCCI, etc. Stan­dor­f’s body was found in the back­seat of a car at Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Air­port on Jan 31, 1991.

Den­nis Eis­man: An at­tor­ney with in­for­ma­tion on IN­SLAW. Eis­man was found shot to death on April 5, 1991.

Danny Casalaro: Danny was a free-lance re­porter and writer who was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the “Oc­to­ber Sur­prise”, IN­SLAW and BCCI. Danny was found dead in a bath­tub in a Sher­a­ton Ho­tel room in Mar­tins­burg, West Vir­ginia. Danny was stay­ing at the ho­tel while keep­ing ap­point­ments in the DC area per­ti­nent to his in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He was found with his wrists slashed. At least one, and pos­si­bly both of his wrists were cut 10 times. All of his re­search ma­te­ri­als were miss­ing and have never been re­cov­ered.

Vic­tor Raiser: The Na­tional Fi­nance Co-Chair for “Clin­ton for Pres­i­dent.” He died in a air­plane crash on July 30, 1992.

R. Mont­gomery Raiser: Also in­volved in the Clin­ton pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. He died in the same plane crash as Vic­tor.

Paul Tully: Tul­ley was on the De­mo­c­ra­tic Na­tional Com­mit­tee. He was found dead of un­known causes in his ho­tel room on Sep­tem­ber 24, 1992. No au­topsy was ever al­lowed.

Ian Spiro: Spiro had sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion for grand jury pro­ceed­ings on the IN­SLAW case. His wife and 3 chil­dren were found mur­dered on No­vem­ber 1, 1992 in their home. They all died of gun­shot wounds to the head. Ian’s body was found sev­eral days later in a parked car in the Borego Desert. Cause of death? The in­ges­tion of cyanide. FBI re­port in­di­cated that Ian had mur­dered his fam­ily and then com­mit­ted sui­cide.

Paula Gober: A Clin­ton speech writer. She died in a car ac­ci­dent on De­cem­ber 9, 1992 with no known wit­nesses.

Jim Wil­hite: Wil­hite was an as­so­ci­ate of Mack McClar­ty’s for­mer firm. Wil­hite died in a ski­ing ac­ci­dent on De­cem­ber 21, 1992. He also had ex­ten­sive ties to Clin­ton with whom he vis­ited by tele­phone just hours be­fore his death.

Steve Willis, Robert Williams, Todd McK­ea­han & Con­way LeBleu: Died Feb­ru­ary 28, 1993 by gun­fire at Waco. All four were ex­am­ined by a pathol­o­gist and died from iden­ti­cal wounds to the left tem­ple. All four had been body guards for Bill Clin­ton, three while cam­paign­ing for Pres­i­dent and when he was Gov­er­nor of Arkansas.They also were the ONLY 4 BATF agents killed at Waco.

Sgt. Brian Haney, Sgt. Tim Sabel, Maj. William Barkley, Capt. Scott Reynolds: Died: May 19, 1993 – All four men died when their he­li­copter crashed in the woods near Quan­tico, Va. – Re­porters were barred from the site, and the head of the fire de­part­ment re­spond­ing to the crash de­scribed it by say­ing, “Se­cu­rity was tight,” with “lots of Marines with guns.” A video­tape made by a fire­fighter was seized by the Marines. All four men had es­corted Clin­ton on his flight to the car­rier Roo­sevelt shortly be­fore their deaths.

John Craw­ford: An at­tor­ney with in­for­ma­tion on IN­SLAW. He died from a heart at­tack in Tacoma in April of 1993.

John Wil­son: Found dead from an ap­par­ent hang­ing sui­cide on May 18, 1993. He was a for­mer Wash­ing­ton DC coun­cil mem­ber and claimed to have info on White­wa­ter.

Paul Wilcher: A lawyer who was in­ves­ti­gat­ing drug run­ning out of Mena, Arkansas and who also sought to ex­pose the “Oc­to­ber Sur­prise”, BCCI and IN­SLAW. He was found in his Wash­ing­ton DC apart­ment dead of un­known causes on June 22, 1993.

Vin­cent Fos­ter: A White House deputy coun­sel and long-time per­sonal friend of Bill and Hillary’s. Found on July 20, 1993, dead of a gun­shot wound to the mouth — a death ruled sui­cide. Many dif­fer­ent the­o­ries on this case! Read­ers are en­cour­aged to read our re­port in Strange Deaths.

Jon Par­nell Walker: An in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the RTC who was look­ing into the link­age be­tween the White­wa­ter and Madi­son S&L bank­ruptcy. Walker “fell” from the top of the Lin­coln Tow­ers Build­ing.

Stan­ley Heard & Steven Dick­son: They were mem­bers of the Clin­ton health care ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee. They died in a plane crash on Sep­tem­ber 10, 1993.

Jerry Luther Parks: Parks was the Chief of Se­cu­rity for Clin­ton’s na­tional cam­paign head­quar­ters in Lit­tle Rock. Gunned down in his car on Sep­tem­ber 26, 1993 near the in­ter­sec­tion of Chenal Park­way and High­way 10 west of Lit­tle Rock. Parks was shot through the rear win­dow of his car. The as­sailant then pulled around to the dri­ver’s side of Park’s car and shot him three more times with a 9mm pis­tol. His fam­ily re­ported that shortly be­fore his death, they were be­ing fol­lowed by un­known per­sons, and their home had been bro­ken into (de­spite a top qual­ity alarm sys­tem). Parks had been com­pil­ing a dossier on Clin­ton’s il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties. The dossier was stolen.

Ed Wil­ley: A Clin­ton fundraiser. He died of a self-in­flicted gun­shot wound on No­vem­ber 30, 1993. His death came the same day his wife, Kath­leen, was sex­u­ally as­saulted in the White House by Bill Clin­ton.

Gandy Baugh: Baugh was Lasater’s at­tor­ney and com­mit­ted sui­cide on Jan­u­ary 8, 1994. Baugh’s part­ner com­mit­ted sui­cide ex­actly one month later on Feb­ru­ary 8, 1994.

Her­schell Fri­day: A mem­ber of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign fi­nance com­mit­tee. He died in an air­plane ex­plo­sion on March 1, 1994.

Ronald Rogers: Rogers died on March 3, 1994 just prior to re­leas­ing sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion to a Lon­don news­pa­per. Cause of death? Un­de­ter­mined.

Kathy Fur­gu­son: A 38 year old hos­pi­tal worker whose ex-hus­band is a co- de­fen­dant in the Paula Jones sex­ual ha­rass­ment law suit. She had in­for­ma­tion sup­port­ing Paula Jone’s al­le­ga­tions. She died of an ap­par­ent sui­cide on May 11, 1994 from a gun­shot wound to the head.

Bill Shel­ton: Shel­ton was an Arkansas po­lice of­fi­cer and was found dead as an ap­par­ent sui­cide on kathy Fer­gu­son’s grave (Kathy was his girl friend), on June 12, 1994. This “sui­cide” was the re­sult of a gun­shot wound to the back of the head.

Stan­ley Hug­gins: Hug­gins, 46, was a prin­ci­pal in a Mem­phis law firm which headed a 1987 in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the loan prac­tices of Madi­son Guar­anty S&L. Stan­ley died in Delaware in July 1994 — re­ported cause of death was vi­ral pneu­mo­nia.

Paul Ol­son: A Fed­eral wit­ness in in­ves­ti­ga­tions to drug money cor­rup­tion in Chicago pol­i­tics, Paul had just fin­ished 2 days of FBI in­ter­views when his plane ride home crashed, killing Paul and 130 oth­ers on Sept 8 1994. The Sept. 15, 1994 Tempe Tri­bune news­pa­per re­ported that the FBI sus­pected that a bomb had brought down the air­plane.

Calvin Wal­raven: 24 year on Wal­raven was a key wit­ness against Jo­ce­lyn El­der’s son’s drug case. Wal­raven was found dead in his apart­ment with a gun­shot wound to the head. Tim Hover, a Lit­tle Rock po­lice spokesman says no foul play is sus­pected.

Alan G. Whicher: Over­saw Clin­ton’s Se­cret Ser­vice de­tail. In Oc­to­ber 1994 Whicher was trans­ferred to the Se­cret Ser­vice field of­fice in the Mur­rah Build­ing in Ok­la­homa City. What­ever warn­ing was given to the BATF agents in that build­ing did not reach Alan Whicher, who died in the bomb blast of April 19th 1995.

Du­ane Gar­rett: Died July 26, 1995-A lawyer and a talk show host for KGO-AM in San Fran­sisco, Du­ane was the cam­paign fi­nance chair­man for Di­ane Fien­stien’s run for the sen­ate, and was a friend and fundraiser for Al Gore. Gar­rett was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for de­fraud­ing in­vestors in Gar­ret­t’s failed sports mem­o­ra­bilia ven­ture. There was talk of a deal to evade pros­e­cu­tion. On July 26th, Gar­rett can­celed an af­ter­noon meet­ing with his lawyer be­cause he had to meet some peo­ple at the San Fran­sisco air­port. Three hours later he was found float­ing in the bay un­der the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ron Brown: The Com­merce Sec­re­tary died on April 3, 1996, in an Air Force jet car­ry­ing Brown and 34 oth­ers, in­clud­ing 14 busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives on a trade mis­sion to Croa­tia, crashed into a moun­tain­side. The Air Force, in a 22-vol­ume re­port is­sued in June of 1996, con­firmed its ini­tial judg­ment that the crash re­sulted from pi­lot er­rors and faulty nav­i­ga­tion equip­ment At the time of Brown’s death, In­de­pen­dent Coun­sel Daniel Pear­son was seek­ing to de­ter­mine whether Brown had en­gaged in sev­eral sham fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions with long­time busi­ness part­ner Nolanda Hill shortly be­fore he be­came sec­re­tary of com­merce.

Charles Meiss­ner: died: UNK – Fol­low­ing Ron Brown’s death, John Huang was placed on a Com­merce De­part­ment con­tract that al­lowed him to re­tain his se­cu­rity clear­ance
by Charles Meiss­ner. Shortly there­after, Meiss­ner died in the crash of a small plane. He was an As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of Com­merce for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Pol­icy.

William Colby: Re­tired CIA di­rec­tor was found dead on May 6,1996 af­ter his wife re­ported him miss­ing on April 27,1996. Ap­par­ently, Colby de­cided to go on an im­promptu ca­noe­ing ex­cur­sion and never re­turned. Colby who had just started writ­ing for Strate­gic In­vest­ment newslet­ter, wor­ried many in the in­tel­li­gent com­mu­nity. Col­by’s past his­tory of di­vulging CIA se­crets in the past were well known. Strate­gic In­vestor had cov­ered the Vince Fos­ter sui­cide and had hired hand­writ­ing ex­perts to re­view Fos­ter’s sui­cide note.

Admiral Je­remy Bo­orda: Died on May 16,1996 af­ter he went home for lunch and de­cided to shoot him­self in the chest (by one re­port, twice) rather than be in­ter­viewed by Newsweek mag­a­zine that af­ter­noon. Ex­pla­na­tions for Bo­or­da’s sui­cide fo­cused on a claim that he was em­bar­rassed over two “Valor” pins he was not au­tho­rized to wear.

Lance Hern­don: Hern­don a 41 year old com­puter spe­cial­ist and a promi­nent en­tre­pre­neur who re­ceived a pres­i­den­tial ap­point­ment in 1995 died Au­gust 10, 1996 un­der sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances. He ap­peared to have died from a blow to the head. Po­lice said no weapons were found at his man­sion, adding that Mr. Hern­don had not been shot or stabbed and there was no ev­i­dence of forced en­try or theft.

Neil Moody: Died -Au­gust 25, 1996 Fol­low­ing Vin­cent Fos­ter’s mur­der, Lisa Fos­ter mar­ried James Moody, a judge in Arkansas, on Jan 1, 1996. Near the time Su­san Mc­Dou­gal first went to jail for con­tempt, Judge Moor’s son, Neil died in a car crash. There were other re­ports that Neil Moody had dis­cov­ered some­thing very un­set­tling among his step­moth­er’s pri­vate pa­pers and was threat­en­ing to go pub­lic with it just prior to the be­gin­ning of the De­mo­c­ra­tic Na­tional Con­ven­tion. He was al­leged to have been talk­ing to Bob Wood­ward of the Wash­ing­ton Post about a block­buster story. Wit­nesses said they saw Neil Moody sit­ting in his car ar­gu­ing with an­other per­son just prior to His car sud­denly speed­ing off out of con­trol and hit­ting a brick wall.

Bar­bara Wise: Wise a 14-year Com­merce De­part­ment em­ployee found dead and par­tially naked in her of­fice fol­low­ing a long week­end. She worked in the same sec­tion as John Huang. Of­fi­cially, she is said to have died of nat­ural causes.

Doug Adams: Died Jan­u­ary 7, 1997- A lawyer in Arkansas who got in­volved try­ing to help the peo­ple who were be­ing swin­dled out of their life sav­ings. Adams was found in his ve­hi­cle with a gun­shot wound to his head in a Spring­field Mo. hos­pi­tal park­ing lot.

Mary C. Ma­honey: 25, mur­dered at the George­town Star­buck’s cof­fee bar over the 4th of July ’97 week­end. She was a for­mer White House in­tern who worked with John Huang. Ap­par­ently she knew Mon­ica Lewin­sky and her sex­ual en­coun­ters with Bill Clin­ton. Al­though not ver­i­fied, it has been said that Lewin­sky told Linda Tripp that she did not want to end up like Ma­honey.

Ronald Miller: Sud­denly took ill on Oc­to­ber 3rd,1997 and steadily wors­ened un­til his death 9 days later. (This pat­tern fits Ricin poi­son­ing.) Ow­ing to the strange­ness of the ill­ness, doc­tors at the In­te­gris Bap­tist Med­ical Cen­ter re­ferred the mat­ter to the Ok­la­homa State Med­ical Ex­am­in­er’s Of­fice. The Ok­la­homa State Med­ical Ex­am­in­er’s Of­fice promptly ran tests on sam­ples of Ron Miller’s blood, but has re­fused to re­lease the re­sults or even to con­firm that the tests were ever com­pleted.

Had been in­ves­ti­gated by au­thor­i­ties over the sale of his com­pany, Gage Corp. to Dy­namic En­ergy Re­sources, Inc. was the man who tape recorded Gene and Nora Lum and turned those tapes (and other records) over to con­gres­sional over­sight in­ves­ti­ga­tors. The Lums were sen­tenced to prison for cam­paign fi­nance vi­o­la­tions, us­ing “straw donors” to con­ceal the size of their con­tri­bu­tions to var­i­ous can­di­dates. In­deed, Dy­namic En­ergy Re­sources, Inc. had hired Ron Brown’s son Michael solely for the pur­pose of fun­nel­ing $60,000 through him to the Com­merce Sec­re­tary, ac­cord­ing to Nolanda Hill’s tes­ti­mony.

Sandy Hume: On Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 22nd, 1998, Sandy Hume, the 28 year old son of jour­nal­ist Britt Hume, was re­port­edly found dead in his Ar­ling­ton, Vir­ginia home. Aside from the state­ment that this was an “ap­par­ent” sui­cide, there re­mains in place a to­tal me­dia black­out on this story, pos­si­bly out of con­cern that the ac­tual facts will not with­stand pub­lic scrutiny. Worked for Hill mag­a­zine, about Con­gress for Con­gress.

Jim Mc­Dou­gal: Bill and Hillary Clin­ton friend, banker, and po­lit­i­cal ally, sent to prison for eigh­teen felony con­vic­tions. A key white­wa­ter wit­ness, dies of a heart at­tack on March, 8 1998. As of this writ­ing al­le­ga­tions that he was given an in­jec­tion of the di­uretic lasix has not been de­nied or con­firmed.
Died on March 8, 1998

Johnny Lawhon: 29, died March 29, 1998- The Arkansas trans­mis­sion spe­cial­ist who dis­cov­ered a pile of White­wa­ter doc­u­ments in the trunk of an aban­doned car on his prop­erty and turned them over to Starr, was killed in a car wreck two weeks af­ter the Mc­Dou­gal death.. De­tails of the “ac­ci­dent” have been sketchy — even from the lo­cal Lit­tle Rock news­pa­per.

Charles Wilbourne Miller: 63, was found dead of a gun­shot wound to the head on No­vem­ber 17, 1998 in a shal­low pit about 300 yards from his ranch house near Lit­tle Rock. Po­lice found a .410 gauge shot­gun near Miller’s body and a Ruger .357-cal­iber re­volver sub­merged in wa­ter. In­ves­ti­ga­tors con­cluded the Ruger was the weapon used by Miller to kill him­self. Yet, two rounds in the hand­gun’s cylin­der had been spent.

He had long served as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors for a com­pany called All­tel and was deeply in­volved in his own soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing com­pany un­til the day he died. All­tel is the suc­ces­sor to Jack­son Stephens’ Sys­tem­at­ics, the com­pany that pro­vided the soft­ware for the White House’s “Big Brother” data base sys­tem and that was be­hind the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plan to de­velop the se­cret com­puter “Clip­per” chip to bug every phone, fax and email trans­mis­sion in Amer­ica.

Car­los Ghigliotti: 42, was found dead in his home just out­side of Wash­ing­ton D.C. on April 28, 2000. There was no sign of a break-in or strug­gle at the firm of In­frared Tech­nol­ogy where the badly de­com­posed body of Ghigliotti was found. Ghigliotti had not been seen for sev­eral weeks, com­mer­cial clean­ing com­pa­nies may have been con­tacted in or­der for the of­fices to be cleaned.

Ghigliotti, a ther­mal imag­ing an­a­lyst hired by the House Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee to re­view tape of the siege, said he de­ter­mined the FBI fired shots on April 19, 1993. The FBI has ex­plained the light bursts on in­frared footage as re­flec­tions of sun rays on shards of glass or other de­bris that lit­tered the scene.

“I con­clude this based on the ground­view video­tapes taken from sev­eral dif­fer­ent an­gles si­mul­ta­ne­ously and based on the over­head ther­mal tape,” Ghigliotti told The Wash­ing­ton Post last Oc­to­ber. “The gun­fire from the ground is there, with­out a doubt.”

Ghigliotti said the tapes also con­firm the Da­vid­i­ans fired re­peat­edly at FBI agents dur­ing the as­sault, which ended when flames raced through the com­pound. About 80 Branch Da­vid­i­ans per­ished that day, some from the fire, oth­ers from gun­shot wounds.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the con­gres­sional com­mit­tee chaired by Rep. Dan Bur­ton, R-Ind., said that po­lice found the busi­ness cards of a com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­ga­tor in Ghigliot­ti’s of­fice. Corallo said Ghigliot­ti’s work for the com­mit­tee ended some time ago.

Tony Moser: 41, was killed as he crossed a street in Pine Bluff, Ark on June 10, 2000. Killed 10 days af­ter be­ing named a colum­nist for the De­mo­c­rat-Gazette news­pa­per and two days af­ter pen­ning a sting­ing in­dict­ment of po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion in Lit­tle Rock.

Po­lice have con­cluded that no charges will be filed against the un­named dri­ver of a 1995 Chevro­let pickup, which hit Moser as he was walk­ing alone in the mid­dle of un­lit Rhine­hart Road about 10:10 p.m

Po­lice say they have ruled out foul play and will file no charges against the dri­ver be­cause he was not in­tox­i­cated and there was no sign of ex­ces­sive speed.

“Pub­lished orig­i­nally at Ether­Zone.com : re­pub­li­ca­tion al­lowed with this no­tice and hy­per­link in­tact.”

Democracy Now! Criminal Cheerleaders for Bloodshed in Syria

Democracy Now! Criminal Cheerleaders for US-NATO-GCC’s Perpetual Conflict and Bloodshed in Syria

21st-century

Vanessa Beeley

 

“A closer look at what Goodman’s “Democracy Now” is reporting on Syria shows that the purported critical broadcaster has become a purveyor of Western government propaganda. While the mainstream media’s propaganda function is obvious to the informed public, Goodman’s “Democracy Now” plays a more subtle role. Camouflaged with the trappings of critical, independent journalism, “Democracy Now” serves to sow powerful seeds of misinformation in a way that the “compromised” mainstream media cannot.” ~ Finian Cunningham 2012

“As the United Nations says nearly 1 million Syrians are living under siege and the last remaining hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been destroyed.” ~ Democracy Now! November 2016

Last night, Democracy Now! released a report that was breathtaking in the saturation of NATO aligned propaganda in this one segment out of their almost six year criminal, media campaign against Syria and the sovereign will of its people. In the first line alone, we have the ubiquitous and now hugely discredited description of the “last remaining hospitals in eastern Aleppo”.

The East Aleppo “last hospital” litany has become synonymous with corporate media lies. It’s duplicitous and misleading use is clearly demonstrated by this short video collection of the many mainstream media reports on the “last hospital” rendering these corporate media accounts questionable and far from credible.

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A search on Twitter under the hashtag “last hospital” reveals the extent of the mockery of the mainstream media narrative that has risen to an unprecedented level of outright lies in line with the US coalition frustration at the Syrian Arab Army allied advances towards the full liberation of East Aleppo from the clutches of over 22 brigades of assorted US, UK, EU, Turkish, Gulf State-funded & armed militants and mercenary gangs under the leadership of Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda terrorist affiliate in Syria.last-hospital-collage
Collection of corporate media tweets amplifying the “last hospital” narrative in East Aleppo. (Collage created by @Navsteva)

“Nothing Short of a Slaughter“: 1 Million Syrians in Aleppo Under Siege with No Hospital, Food”

This is the already misleading headline of the Democracy Now! report.  Interviewer, Nermeen Shaikh interviews guests, Bassam Haddad, director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies program at George Mason University, and Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society.

The following are the ten main points put forward by these two guests, points that are questionable, and yet go unchallenged by Shaikh:

dn-sahloul

1: East Aleppo contains 300,000 people, of which 100,000 are children

2: These people are under siege, starving & without medicine for the last four and half months, due to the Syrian “regime” and allies.

3: Every 17 hours right now in Aleppo, “health care facilities” are being targeted. In the last 144 days, there were 143 attacks on health care facilities across Syria.  One third of these attacks were in the “city of Aleppo”, so 48 attacks in last four and a half months.

bassam-haddad

4: The daily massacre and maiming of Syrian civilians in West Aleppo by the militant factions in East Aleppo pales into “insignificance” when compared to  the “brutal bombardment of eastern Aleppo and the almost total destruction of life

5: The Syrian “regime” is “focused” upon re-conquering the whole of Syria in its entirety.

6: Al Nusra are not in East Aleppo except maybe a “few fighters

7:  The population of East Aleppo was 1.5 million before the crisis.  Now it is 300,000 so majority have fled to Turkey, Europe or elsewhere inside Syria. Any other place in Syria is dangerous. If they go to government controlled areas they risk being “tortured or detained”. So, the civilians in East Aleppo cannot leave because there is nowhere safe for them.

8: The Syrian “regime” is conducting an ethnic cleansing operation by evacuating “rebels” from liberated areas such as East Aleppo, Homs, Daraya.

9: There is a rift between the US think tanks who support the Syrian “revolution” in order to ensure Israel’s security in the region and the true “revolution” supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of all Syrians. “A rift that should have existed from the very beginning for the sake of building a healthier, independent and democratic uprising in Syria against a dictatorial regime.” ~ Bassam Haddad

10: President Elect, Donald Trump’s stated support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, is the “final nail in the coffin “of the aspiration of the Syrian people, the young people of Syria, who rose up in the beginning of this five years ago for freedoms and liberties that we enjoy and we all support.” ~ Dr Zaher Sahloul

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Democracy Now!’s Fake Objectivity

Yet again, Democracy Now! give their guests a protected platform to present a very partisan and biased view of events in Syria.  Not once does Shaikh proffer an alternative view to that which is being presented by the show’s guests. On the contrary, she positively reinforces their narrative with the use of her own rhetoric and terms such as “annihilation and war crimes” directed against the Syrian government and allies, in the opening statement of the interview.

“The second implication is that this neutral voice, without a discipline of verification, creates a veneer covering something hollow. Journalists who select sources to express what is really their own point of view, and then use the neutral voice to make it seem objective, are engaged in a form of deception. This damages the credibility of the craft by making it seem unprincipled, dishonest, and biased.” ~ The American Press Institute. (Emphasis added)

Shaikh even fails to question the contradiction of her own introduction by Sahloul. Sahloul states that Al Nusra barely exist in East Aleppo. In her introduction, Shaikh alludes to the UN suggestion that the Syrian government should permit autonomy for East Aleppo provided the “jihadist fighters linked to al-Qaeda (Al Nusra) withdrew and the fighting stopped.”

Shaikh fails in her assumed role as an independent and objective reporter.  She fails to ask the most basic questions that would deconstruct the narrative being projected by her guests. She fails to debate. She succeeds only in giving credibility to an incredible account of the situation in East Aleppo, an account that is flatly denied by recent visitors to Aleppo such as independent journalists & researchers, Eva Bartlett, Tom Duggan and the author of this article,  Vanessa Beeley.

How a Genuinely Objective Journalist should have Responded

1: 300,000 civilians in East Aleppo. 100,000 children.

Where do the figures of 300,000 come from? A very simple Google search reveals that this is another one of those magical figures that runs and runs, the earliest reference to it was July 2016. Given the fluidity of the situation in Aleppo and East Aleppo in particular, continuing to cite this figure, after five months of intense activity, is at best, laziness, at worst, dishonest.

The Aleppo Medical Association, which comprises 4,160 registered doctors in West Aleppo, stated in August 2016 that there were less than 250,000 people remaining in East Aleppo.  Of these the AMA told Vanessa Beeley that over 50,000 were “armed militants and terrorists” and their families. Since August 2016, a steady trickle of civilians have succeeded in escaping to West Aleppo via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian Government & Russia.

How does Sahloul arrive at the 100,000 children figure? What is the basis for this claim of these huge numbers, out of alignment with reality according to the Aleppo Medical Association doctors, many of whom, still have family in East Aleppo being held hostage by the Nusra Front-led mercenary brigades.

Of course this narrative aligns perfectly with the majority of corporate media who have consistently acted as nothing more than congressional stenographers in their skewed reporting of the US, UK-led proxy war on Syria.

2: The Syrian “regime” is starving the people of Aleppo:

 What evidence is there of the Syrian Government and Russia “starving civilians” in East Aleppo? Who is responsible for withholding medicines from civilians? Why is there no mention of the NATO and Gulf state funded mercenary siege of West Aleppo.

A four year long, brutal & violent siege of 1.5 million civilians in West Aleppo, which includes depriving them of clean water, food, electricity and medical supplies.

September 2016: “The following is a video made by suspected US alliance media implant in Syria, and extremist sympathizer called Bilal Abdul Kareem of OGN, On the Ground News.  Bilal has been featured multiple times as a ‘Syria-based’ news source for CNN. In this video the US Coalition-backed gangs of mercenaries, otherwise known as the “moderate rebels” are demonstrating against allowing the UN aid into East Aleppo, marching under the flag of Al Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda in Syria.” ~ Channel 4 Joins CNN in Normalizing Terrorism, then Removes Video

Why no mention of Syrian Government and Russian attempts to enter East Aleppo with humanitarian aid, evacuation buses and ambulances in last few weeks? The same humanitarian convoys that were fired upon and refused entry by the so called “moderate rebels” that are being discussed by Democracy Now!

Buses ready to ‘evacuate’ civilians from east – so far no one has crossed. A rebel mortar just landed 50 ft from us. No injuries thank God.

Tom Duggan, an english journalist, who has lived in Syria for the last four years,  reports LIVE from the artificial, US coalition-funded-militant imposed, borders between East and West Aleppo. He reports, at great risk to himself and his crew, on the attempts being made by civilians to flee from East Aleppo into the safety of Syrian government held West Aleppo.  Aleppo: Live Footage from Tom Duggan

27th October 2016: 

“We regret to note that the United Nations has not properly worked out an operation to evacuate the sick and the wounded.” Vitaly Churkin to the UN

“The ambassador added that the UN work with various opposition groups in Aleppo and the local council was “left to take care of itself.” He stressed that the UN personnel did not “exert the necessary pressure” on “sponsors” of illegal armed groups to convince them to cooperate with the aid workers on the ground.

Besides criticizing the UN team, the Russian envoy also accused entities that have influence over fighters in besieged neighborhoods of Aleppo of not applying enough pressure on the militants to make the most of the Russian-Syrian humanitarian pause.” ~ UN failed to organize evacuation of civilians from rebel-held Aleppo – Russian envoy

Why does Shaikh not bring up the fact that the civilians of East Aleppo have been rising up against the “moderate rebel” occupation and protesting the stockpiling of food and humanitarian supplies by the militant factions, or that dozens of civilians were killed and injured by these same factions opening fire on their protests and escape attempts across East Aleppo.

“Meanwhile, Russia said that terrorists have opened fire on civilians protesting against them in al-Haidariyeh neighborhood in Aleppo city, killing 17 civilians, including children, and wounding over three dozen more.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said that the terrorists arrested 10 people and took them to an unknown location.They were all executed on the same day,”  he further went onto say.

Some 300 people participated in demonstrations against terrorists in al-Kallaseh neighborhood trying to escape across Bustan al-Qaser corridor but the terrorists sought to disperse the demonstrators by shooting them from a heavy machine gun and then mined all the approaches to a checkpoint and placed snipers on the roofs of nearby houses, Konashenkov said.” ~ Syrian Arab News Agency

Would Democracy Now! please explain how doctors such as Sahloul and his Chicago colleagues are entering East Aleppo from outside Syria. How are citizen journalistsactivists and the NATO & Gulf state funded terrorist support group, the White Helmets able to leave and re-enter East Aleppo to and from Turkey?

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If there is no movement to and from East Aleppo, how did Netflix manage to make an entire documentary, without leaving Turkey, based upon the exploits of this  multi-million NATO & Gulf state-funded, fraudulent, first responder group, embedded inside Nusra Front and ISIS held territory, if they were not able to leave East Aleppo to provide them with the “award winning” film footage?

Not forgetting that Democracy Now! supported the White Helmets without question, despite the daily mounting evidence of their role as a terrorist support group inside Syria, producing the fabricated evidence needed to faciliate greater US coalition intervention and enabling calls for a No Fly Zone, widely recognised as a declaration of war with Russia to be fought on Syrian soil.

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The alleged increase in number of Doctors in East Aleppo in a 24 hour time frame. (Photo @Navsteva)

These are only a few of the counter arguments with which any self-respecting journalists should have been challenging their guests.  A journalist’s job is to provide the public with the facts and to then leave it up to them to decipher the picture based upon the evidence, not to support one-sided narratives that are presented as truth without evidence.

3: Every 17 hours the Syrian “regime” and Russia are targeting hospitals in East Aleppo. 

According to the Aleppo Medical Association ( I spoke with them two days ago) the officially recognised hospitals in East Aleppo are the following – two Syrian Government hospitals, the Childrens Hospital & Eye Hospital and the National Hospital. The Childrens & Eye Hospital have been completely taken over by Nusra Front who have converted them into their headquarters and a Sharia Law courtroom. The National was under construction before the conflict and is therefore non operational.

Then you  have the private hospitals.  Yassin Jaban, Islamic Medical Hospital and Al Daqaq.  Combined, these have less than 50 beds. There is also the Omar Abud Al Aziz hospital which was the cherished project of the Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun before it was taken over by Nusra Front in 2013 and converted into a Nusra-led militant base.  According to the Grand Mufti Hassoun, the top floor was turned into a sniping tower and civilians are rarely treated, terrorists & militants are given priority.  The hospital was taken by force, the incoming Nusra-led militants murdered doctors, nurses and patients in the process.

Of these private hospitals, only the Omar Abud Al Aziz and Yassin Jaban are still “operational” and run entirely by various militant factions, once again, headed up by the Nusra Front.

So if only two of the officially recognised hospitals are still operational, and wholly occupied by Nusra Front and associates, how does Sahloul explain his claim of “hospitals” being mercilessly targeted 48 times in the last four and a half months or, now, every 17 hours, despite the various prolonged ceasefires adhered to by both Russia and Syria but routinely broken by the US coalition-funded mercenaries and terrorists across Syria.

What hospitals is he talking about and why does Shaikh not ask that question? Why is MSF  (Medecins Sans Frontieres) and its associated outreach workers in the many militant field shelters in Nusra Front and ISIS held territory across Syria not supplying coordinates to the Syrian government in order to avoid the targeting of these armed militant-held temporary structures or buildings, requisitioned as triage centres.

4: The daily maiming and massacre of civilians in West Aleppo, being sniped and targeted by “moderate rebel” hell cannon missiles, grad missiles, shells and explosive bullets, pales into insignificance compared to the bombardment by the Syrian and Russian airforces. 

Perhaps Shaikh should have watched this video of a young man in Aleppo who had just lost his two year old son to the “insignificant missiles” Please note also the fact that Russia and Syria had respected the agreed ceasefire for 21 days while the “moderate rebel” targeting of civilians had never ceased during that time. Warning this video is very distressing. 

There has not been a single Syrian or Russian airstrike on East in 21 days.

Rebel shelling has not stopped for a day.

Why had Shaikh not read this report from Syrian journalist, Jamila Assi, on the massacre of 8 school children, all under the age of 13, on the 20th November, all targeted by the US coalition-funded”moderate rebel” hell cannon mortars and missiles at Al Fourkan school in West Aleppo.

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Images of the 8 school children murdered by US alliance-funded “moderate rebels” while at school in West Aleppo. (Photo: Chretiens de la Syrie pour la Paix Facebook page)

How does Shaikh respond to Haddad’s summary dismissal of the suffering of the people of West Aleppo, under siege for over four years and a constant target for the “moderate rebel” snipers, missiles and explosive bullets? She moves on. She does not even register this familiar dehumanization of 1.5 million civilians in the Syrian government controlled West Aleppo.  She tacitly approves Haddad’s reducing of their armed militant imprisonment and the daily Nusra Front-led slaughter of children and civilians to “pale insignificance”.

5: The Syrian “regime” is focused upon re-conquering Syria in its entirety. 

So the elected government and national army are defending their country & people against an illegal proxy intervention by hostile nations including the US, UK, EU, Gulf States, Turkey, Israel to name a few, and stand “accused” of  focusing upon reclaiming their country from the hordes of hostile nation-funded terrorist factions such as Nusra Front and ISIS and the gangs of so called lesser or “moderate” militants such as Ahrar Al Sham, brutal ethnic cleansing agents, working alongside Nusra Front, or Nour Al Din Zinki, the beheaders of 12 year old Palestinian child, Abdullah Issa.

A “re-conquering” that has the support of the majority of the Syrian people.

6: Al Nusra are no more.

Really?

aleppo-nusra
October 20th Murad Gazdiev reports in-fighting between hardline militant gangs. 

Pierre Le Corf, French national and humanitarian volunteer working on the East/West Aleppo borders, told Syria TV, on the 12th November, that all he sees on the frontlines are “black flags, nothing but black flags” (the emblem of Nusra Front). First part of the video is in Arabic, but Eva Bartlett and Pierre Le Corf speak in English. Watch 

Finally there is the now famous admission by US Defence Department’s Colonel Steve Warren in April 2016, stating clearly that it is Nusra Front that are the primary occupiers of East Aleppo.

7: The population of East Aleppo was 1.5 million before the “conflict”. Fleeing civilians fear torture and detainment in Government held areas.

It is well documented that West Aleppo covers 75% of the overall surface area of unified Aleppo. There are 1.5 million people living in West Aleppo, including an estimated 600,000 who managed to flee East Aleppo to take refuge in West Aleppo when the various terrorist and militant factions first invaded East Aleppo in 2012.

Sahloul fails to mention the 600,000 who fled to Syrian Government held West Aleppo and Shaikh fails to question his analysis, once again her pseudo neutrality gives credibility to questionable fact.

Sahloul makes the outlandish claim that the Syrian people fear going into Syrian Government held areas. Shaikh allows him to airbrush the 90% of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) who have fled to precisely, the Syrian Government held areas.

Shaikh’s abject failure to question this narrative is made doubly reprehensible when we consider that even the Carnegie Middle East Centre, with Muslim Brotherhood, hardline Syrian opposition members on its committee, such as Bassma Kodmani, grudgingly admits that:

However, it seems clear that most of the population movement inside the country is headed away from insecure and impoverished rebel-held territory toward more stable and economically functioning government-controlled areas.”

This analysis does not bear out Sahloul’s claims that the displaced civilians avoid Government held areas because they will be detained or tortured.

Neither does this Democracy Now! report or Sahloul’s testimony mention the extensive reconciliation negotiations that are being carried out across Syria, by reconciliation minister, Dr Ali Haider (a Syrian opposition leader of the Syria Social Nationalist Party), in an attempt to broker peace with the various militant or terrorist factions and to restore peace to the region.

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July 2016:A visit to the Syria Trust Development where families of “rebels”and displaced Syrian civilians are being re-educated, rehabilitated and are given help and advice on re-integration or re-settlement into areas liberated by the SAA. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

When in Syria very recently, I personally witnessed the efforts being made by various Syrian state institutions and NGOs to rehabilitate the families of “rebels” back into society and to give them housing, financial support, free education, health care and new skills training to enable them to be self sufficient.

None of this is discussed, Shaikh barely registers the incendiary accusations that are being made by Sahloul and her lack of response ensures that these claims are imprinted on the minds of Democracy Now!‘s audience.  An audience that Democracy Now! has criminally misled for the duration of the almost six year, dirty NATO & Gulf State and Israeli war on Syria.

8: The Syrian Government is conducting an ethnic cleansing operation by removing armed “rebels” from liberated areas.

In response to this point Shaikh could have cited a huge number of cases where the Syrian inhabitants of cities, towns and villages invaded or occupied by US coalition-armed and funded extremist militant factions, have demanded the removal of what are now primarily foreign mercenary forces that have besieged, massacred, tortured, abused and kidnapped many of their family members, particularly children.

There are too many to list so it is mind-blowing that Shaikh could not find one example to counter another nefarious statement from Sahloul.

I would recommend a read of Eva Bartlett’s account of the ancient Christian village, Maaloula. This is a factual account of invasion, occupation and eventual liberation from both local Muslim Brotherhood factions initially known as the FSA (Free Syrian Army) who turned on their own neighbours, before being reinforced by the Nusra Front/Al Qaeda in Syria. This is a story of the subjugation of a Christian community seeped in history and heritage by extremist fanatics who thought nothing of shooting their erstwhile neighbours in the head for refusing to convert to Islam.

Eva Bartlett: Overcoming Savagery, Treachery, Maaloula’s Heroic Defenders Fight for the Future.

9: There is a rift between the US think tanks who support the Syrian “revolution” in order to ensure Israel’s security in the region and the true “revolution” supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of all Syrians.

“The true ‘revolution’ supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of ALL Syrians”.  Really?

Again, here, Shaikh allows the eradication and dehumanization of the majority of the Syrian people who have time and time again rejected the concept of a ‘revolution’ and who support the Syrian State, the Syrian Army and its allies in their resistance against the NATO & Gulf state driven, external, extremist factions that are invading and occupying their country in supreme violation of all International Laws and UN Charters relating to state sovereignty.

Shaikh fails again and again in her role as a journalist.  This is a woeful dereliction of “duty” on the part of Democracy Now!

Why does she not question how the interests of seven year old Haider are served by the true “revolutionaries”? Who among them cared about Haider’s well-being? Haider lives in the village of Al Foua & neighbouring Kafarya, two marooned Shia Muslim villages in Idlib, a region largely occupied by Turkish controlled, Saudi funded, extremist factions such as Nusra Front & Ahrar al Sham. Kafarya and Foua have been under partial siege since 2011 and full siege since March 2015. They are being starved, shelled and sniped by the “revolutionaries” for their “well being”.

In reality, it is clear, their well-being is of no interest to the “revolution”.  The NATO & Gulf state-funded, extremist-led “revolution” is conducting a vicious programme of ethnic cleansing against these villages.

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7 year old Haider, shot by a US-backed “moderate rebel” sniper (Photo: supplied to 21st Century Wire by residents of Al Foua)

“On the 15th September, 7 year old Haider Ammar Al Hamoud, was shot through the stomach by an Ahrar Al Sham sniper, the US backed terrorist group besieging the Idlib villages of Kafarya and Foua. Haider was ignored by western media. 

His life-threatening injury did not merit any outcry from human rights organisations or the NATO-aligned media who ignore the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of children in Syria because it does not serve their agenda to demonize the Syrian President, Bashar al Assad or the national armed forces.” ~ Syria: No “Dusty Boy” Outrage for 7 yr old Haider, Sniped by NATO Terrorists in Idlib Village of Foua

10: Trumps election and his stated support for President Assad is the final nail in the coffin of Syrian aspirations.

In reality, the majority of Syrian people inside Syria who have withstood almost six years of a proxy, filthy war, waged by NATO & Gulf states and Israel against their country, their resources, their families, their security, their history, their culture, their self-determination and their existence are overjoyed that finally the intervention train has been derailed and Clinton, the ultimate war harpy, did not make it into office.

There are those who believe that WWIII has been averted and perhaps now there is a chance that the US will not go to war with Russia on Syrian soil.

Shaikh does not even broach the alternatives to Sahloul’s statement. Another demonstration of ‘Democracy Now!s collusion with interventionism and the subtle, subliminal beating of war drums, by ommission and obscurantism.

Democracy Now! has been absorbed into corporate media.

Democracy Now! may have started life as an “independent” news source but its absorption into the foundation funded corporate media league happened long ago.

Democracy Now! is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations.” ~ Democracy Now!

“Serious questions have arisen about how Democracy Now!, begun and developed with the resources of Pacifica Radio and grants from the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund and others, suddenly became independent and the effective property of Amy Goodman without recompense to Pacifica. This transfer apparently included valuable assets such as trademarks, ownership of years of archived programs, affiliate station access, and more.” ~ Discover the Networks

There are further claims from Discover the Networks of indirect funding from criminal hedge fund manager, George Soros, who has a multitude of NGOs working inside and outside Syria to spin the web of deceit and propaganda against the Syrian government, President Bashar Al Assad and the Syrian Army.

Read 21st Century Wire’s article: George Soros, Anti-Syria Campaign Impresario

A lengthy analysis of the Soros funding of US media by America’s Media Watchdog, the Media Research Center  includes this statement:

“And that’s really just the beginning. That tally takes into account only a few of the bigger Soros-funded media operations. Many numbers simply aren’t available. ”Democracy Now!” – ”a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez” – is known for its left-wing take on global news. Its vitriol ranges from attacks on Blackwater founder Erik Prince and supporters of Andrew Breitbart (whom it calls ”Electronic Brownshirts”), to claims the U.S. is opposed to Arab democracy. Just that one Soros-funded operation is heard ”on over 900 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.” But it posts no formal audience numbers. Phone calls to ”Democracy Now!” were not returned.”

Why did Democracy Now! not return phone calls? 

There are those who argue that Democracy Now! are our allies and our “friends”, that we should collaborate with them and help to awaken them to the reality of the dirty war on Syria. So we did.

When Eva Bartlett and I were in Syria we were contacted by a DN “insider” in the US who was horrified by the Democracy Now! biased coverage of Syria’s externally imposed conflict. They contacted Democracy Now! on our behalf and asked that they interview Eva Bartlett and myself, particularly as we had both just left Syria after a lengthy stay, including time spent in Aleppo.

After some time, we received a reply from a DN producer.

Laura Gottesdiener had just written the following headline for Democracy Now! when our contact had written to her, mentioning my work on the White Helmets and suggesting Democracy Now! should interview me:

Syria: Rescue Workers Say Government Dropped Chlorine Bombs

“In Syria, volunteer rescue workers known as the “White Helmets” have accused the Syrian government of dropping chlorine bombs from helicopters onto a neighborhood of Aleppo. No one died, but a video posted by the White Helmets shows civilians struggling to breathe. The allegations have not been independently verified.”

Gottesdiener’s reply was:

“However, a few questions: I am seeing Vanessa as one of the main people who is accusing the White Helmets of being a US propaganda front, but I’m really not seeing a lot of other coverage of this.

Also, I’m really not seeing, except for Vanessa, anyone linking the White Helmets to Al Qaeda. And when you say Al Qaeda-linked, I’m assuming you’re referring to Al-Nusra, which was AQ linked but has since broken from AQ. Just clarifying here.

If there are more reports/links, can you pls send along? Ditto for Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. I understand it’s based in UK, not on the ground in Syria, but the Observatory almost always has news faster than anyone else. I have heard some murmurs about its anti-Assad slant, but not that it’s information is inaccurate. Pls let me know if you have any reliable sources that say otherwise.” (Emphasis added)

So Democracy Now! acted as an echo chamber for NATO-aligned propaganda.  They supported the rebranding of Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Nusra Front, without a murmur of dissent. They dismissed the White Helmet research as the implied work of a lone wolf, conspiracy theorist journalist. They made the very clear statement that SOHR was a good source because of the speed of information received from them, no emphasis on accuracy. They heard “murmurs” regarding the partisan, anti-Assad nature of SOHR reports but were not dissuaded from using them or persuaded to find alternatives in the interest of objecivity.

Murmurs that were very clearly made, even by mainstream media, such as the Guardian, in 2012, ignored by Democracy Now! because speed is more important than accuracy or objectivity.

Needless to say, despite my replying and providing other sources of research on the White Helmets, no interview was forthcoming, for either myself or Eva Bartlett. We can only conclude that an alternative view that does not align with US regime-change-enabling propaganda is not going to be entertained by Democracy Now!

Conclusions

The interview discussed in this article, demonstrates perfectly that Democracy Now! are happy to speak to a Doctor, Sahloul, who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, (an organisation known & exploited for its compliance with US neo-colonialist objectives), and was a former president of the Mosque Foundation, accused of financing terrorism & promoting extremism.

The following is taken from an article by Tony Cartalucci at New Eastern Outlook, after a previous interview of Dr Sahloul by Democracy Now! in April 2016:

According to its own website SAMS is provided with full support by the US State Department, millions of dollars’ worth of it. The website even includes a video by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers, hailing SAMS as one of her “personal heroes.” Furthermore, Dr. Sahloul is said by those who know him in Chicago to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood himself.

His alleged medical work would be the perfect cover for providing support to terrorist organisations which seek to divide and destroy Syria. All he has done with his Democracy Now interview is confirm that repeating the State Department’s unfounded narratives regarding “barrel bombs” and the use of “chlorine gas” by the Syrian government is a tactic used by the US to further this end.

dr-antaki

Why do Democracy Now! never interview Dr Nabil Antaki, an eminent gastroenterologist, based in West Aleppo who has fiercely opposed the propaganda being amplified by Dr Sahloul, a US resident and others like him receiving funding from foundations & think tanks focused on regime change in Syria.

Syria: Aleppo Doctor Demolishes Imperialist Propaganda and Media Warmongering

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Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. (Photo: Democracy Now)

Democracy Now! makes the bold claim in its About section that it provides its audience with “access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S.corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists”.  Why then, did Democracy Now! fail to speak to independent journalists who had just returned from Syria?

“In addition, Democracy Now! hosts real debates–debates between people who substantially disagree”. Really? In this particular interview Democracy Now! fails to question, to verify or to provide an alternative view. It acts as a platform and a megaphone for propaganda.

Democracy Now! may still be considered a “friend” by those who grew up in the early, heady days of Amy Goodman’s much vaunted, independent idealism, but Democracy Now! is no friend to Syria.

Democracy Now! has proven itself the best friend of US neo-colonialism & global, overt or covert intervention and prime time supporters of the US murderous foreign policy in Syria. In the four years since Finian Cunningham first exposed the Democracy Now! alliance with corporate elite globalism and betrayal of its own principles of impartiality and objectivity, nothing has changed.

Democracy Now! continues on its foundation-gold-paved path towards promoting regime change in Syria and the ultimate destruction of Syria’s culture, society and secular state. It will not succeed, but when the the consensus changes as it is in the process of doing right now, Democracy Now! will be remembered for the voice they gave, not to the majority of the Syrian people, but to the extremist minority, funded, armed & expanded by the US, UK, EU, Israel, Turkey and despotic Gulf States that has ensured perpetual conflict, bloodshed and misery for the Syrian people for nigh on six years.

Democracy Now! is not speaking truth to power. Democracy Now! has given power to the lies that have decimated a sovereign nation and its courageous people.

Please watch, instead, a short video from Syrian Students of Aleppo University, supporting their Syrian national army in cleansing East Aleppo of their US coalition-funded & armed foreign mercenary, prison wardens, attackers and murderers of their families. For, anyone who spends time inside Syria, or speaks to the majority of the Syrian people inside Syria, even the unarmed opposition, will tell you that this is not an isolated sentiment or propaganda. It is reality, the Syrian Arab Army is the Syrian people: Watch 

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SEE ALSO: WHO ARE SYRIA’S WHITE HELMETS?

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

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Is the US controlling Israel or is Israel controlling the US? Tell us what you think.

Who is Pulling Trump’s Strings in the US???

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1-Israel-ISIS

Who is pulling whose strings?  Obama or Netanyahu? Is the US controlling Israel or is Israel controlling the US? Tell us what you think.

How can we forget when Obama just started his first term in office in 2011, when he told the world he was going to take the Palestine borders back to 1967.

Israel has said endorsing the 1967 borders would prejudge negotiations. Obama also took pains to show respect for Israel’s views ahead of his meetings Friday with Netanyahu soon after.

Still, Mr. Obama’s tough stand could set the stage for a tense meeting Friday when Netanyahu goes to the White House.

In a statement following Mr. Obama’s remarks, Israeli Prime Minister rejected the president’s endorsement, and said a return to his country’s 1967 borders would spell disaster for the Jewish State.

Calling the 1967 lines “indefensible,” Netanyahu said such a withdrawal would jeopardize Israel’s security and leave major West Bank settlements outside Israeli borders.

Round one to Netanyahu, when Obama bows down to the wishes of Israel and one election promise out of the window.

Whatever Israel asks for Israel gets and we saw this in April 2014 when Obama signed away an additional $225 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for Iron Dome in the past. The new package is intended to replenish Israel’s capabilities.

beto_orourke

 

Congress approved the money last week before lawmakers left for their annual summer break. Obama signed the bill in the late afternoon in the Oval Office with a handful of photographers present.

Congressman O’Rourke was one of the few who voted against an aid package to Israel. Overwhelmed by the swift avalanche of Jewish criticism, the young man won’t ever make the same ‘mistake’ again.

It took only one wrong vote to teach a freshman Democrat from Texas how sensitive, and even wrathful, the Jewish community can be when it comes to Israel.

But the real story of what happened to Rep. Beto O’Rourke did not stop with the angry reaction he got when he cast one of only eight votes in Congress against special funding for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system during the recent Gaza war.

It was almost a textbook case of how the establishment pro-Israel lobby works its magic — and a story not yet completed in early September, when The New Yorker magazine took note of what had happened to O’Rourke.

In an in-depth report on the work of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the large Washington-based lobby, during the Gaza war, New Yorker writer Connie Bruck recounted the blasts that rained down on the El Paso congressman following his vote.

The reactions, as Bruck reported, included a mass email blast labeling O’Rourke as “an anti-Israel congressman” and denouncing his vote as “shameful.” Critical local press coverage included a public comment by one of his own Jewish donors to the El Paso Times that in voting as he did, O’Rourke “chooses to side with the rocket launchers and terror tunnel builders” of Hamas.

But since then, behind the scenes, what has followed is a long process of mutual outreach and hours of hashing out differences, until the final act, which is now in the works: an El Al flight to Tel Aviv on the pro-Israel lobby’s dime.

“He’s a good guy, but he didn’t know how the Jewish community would react,” said Daniel Cheifec, executive director of the Jewish Federation of El Paso. “Now he knows that this community is not going to be very happy if he screws up again.”

O’Rourke, in fact, had no prior record of criticizing or voting against Israel. He did not even oppose more funding for the Iron Dome system. He only opposed rushing through the large appropriation with no debate as members of Congress were hurrying home for the summer recess when a more considered vote to boost the program was coming in October.

Israel, which receives more than $3.6 billion per year in various forms of aid from Washington, is already the single largest recipient of American largesse. But the August 1 House vote appropriating $225 million to Israel above and beyond its usual aid was meant to allow the Jewish state to restock on Iron Dome interceptors that had proved effective in countering Hamas rocket attacks into the country.

Congressional leaders squeezed the vote into the legislative schedule just as members were packing up to leave for their summer recess. The overwhelming support of 395 representatives with only eight voting against was not unusual for a pro-Israel piece of legislation, especially one that deals with military assistance at a time of war.

“I really don’t understand how he makes his decision,” Rabbi Stephen Leon of Congregation B’Nai Zion, a local synagogue, told the El Paso Times even before The New Yorker piece picked up on the pushback. “It’s a great, great disappointment to the Jewish community here. We had meetings with him prior, to talk to him about the importance of Israel, and the way he voted makes very little sense.”

El Paso, a city with a 70% Hispanic majority, has a relatively small Jewish community, estimated at 4,000, amid a population of some 862,000. But Jews are well represented on O’Rourke’s donor list, with local businessman Stephen L. Feinberg among the top contributors to his campaign.

O’Rourke, in a Facebook posting, tried to explain his vote. “I could not in good conscience vote for borrowing $225 million more to send to Israel, without debate and without discussion, in the midst of a war that has cost more than a thousand civilian lives already, too many of them children,” he wrote. He also stressed that with an aid package for Israel up for a vote in two months, he felt no need to rush more spending without adequate debate when Congress was all but empty.

To members of the Jewish community who later spoke with him, O’Rourke also explained that he was one of the last to vote in the roll call, at a point at which it was clear the bill was cruising toward passage. He consequently felt free to cast a vote on principle, knowing it would not impact the final outcome. O’Rourke believes that every appropriation should be properly debated.

Veteran Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia, who is known for refusing to vote along the lines of the pro-Israel lobby, tried to warn O’Rourke. “I tried to find him on the floor, but I couldn’t,” he told The New Yorker. “I’m afraid he may have a tough race in November.”

At O’Rourke’s office, emails flooded his inbox. The El Paso Jewish federation sent out an alert to members, urging them to take action. It contained O’Rourke’s contact information and a suggested sample letter. Another email, for which no one will now take responsibility, circulated among Jewish activists urging supporters not to re-elect him.

This threat is all but empty, since O’Rourke faces no real challenge in his strongly Democratic district.

Beto (short for Robert) O’Rourke, 41, is a fourth-generation El Paso native who started off his career in a teenage rock band. He studied at Columbia University and returned to his hometown, where he ran for city council before moving on to the national scene. His political focus has been on immigration and veteran affairs, two key issues for a border town that hosts a large army base. But he won more recognition for his call to legalize marijuana, an uncommon voice in the state of Texas. Foreign policy has never been a top priority.

Hours after the controversial vote, O’Rourke launched a damage-control campaign that proved to be effective. He reached out to Jewish donors and friends who were more than happy to start the healing process.

Politicians are meant to be representing the people who have elected them, but in the US it seems that this is not the case. Unless you vote on what Israel wants you to vote for, you get the wrath of the Jews and Israel on you.

HOPELESS HAWKS: U.S. Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Hatred of Iran

Now we have just witnessed Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress in the style of a State of the Union speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 41 rounds of applause as U.S. lawmakers eagerly enlisted in the Israeli-Saudi conflict against Iran and its allies – an enthusiasm that may well entangle the U.S. military in more wars in the Middle East.

Netanyahu declared:

“In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”

Netanyahu’s reference to “Iran’s aggression” was curious since Iran has not invaded another country for centuries. In 1980, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – at the urging of Saudi Arabia – invaded Iran. During that bloody eight-year war, Israel – far from being an enemy of Iran – became Iran’s principal arms supplier. Israel drew in the Reagan administration, which approved some of the Israeli-brokered arms deals, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986.

In other words, Israel was aiding Iran after the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979 and during the time when Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and various acts of terrorism allegedly committed by Hezbollah, a Shiite militia in Lebanon. Israel only shifted toward hostility against Shiite-ruled Iran in the 1990s as Israel gradually developed a de facto alliance with Sunni-ruled and oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which views Iran as its chief regional rival.

Netanyahu’s choice of Arab cities supposedly conquered by Iran was strange, too. Baghdad is the capital of Iraq where the U.S. military invaded in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated government — on Netanyahu’s recommendation. After the invasion, President George W. Bush installed a Shiite-dominated government. So, whatever influence Iran has in Baghdad is the result of a U.S. invasion that Netanyahu personally encouraged.

More recently, Iran has supported the embattled Iraqi government in its struggle against the murderous Islamic State militants who seized large swaths of Iraqi territory last summer. Indeed, Iraqi officials have credited Iran with playing a crucial role in blunting the Islamic State, the terrorists whom President Obama has identified as one of the top security threats facing the United States.

Netanyahu cited Damascus, too, where Iran has helped the Syrian government in its struggle against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. In other words, Iran is assisting the internationally recognized government of Syria hold off two major terrorist organizations. But Netanyahu portrays that as Iran “gobbling up” a nation.

The Israeli prime minister also mentioned Beirut, Lebanon, and Sanaa, Yemen, but those were rather bizarre references, too, since Lebanon is governed by a multi-ethnic arrangement that includes a number of religious and political factions. Hezbollah is one and it has close ties to Iran, but it is stretching the truth to say that Iran “dominates” Beirut or Lebanon.

Similarly, in Sanaa, the Houthis, a Shiite-related sect, have taken control of Yemen’s capital and have reportedly received some help from Iran, but the Houthis deny those reports and are clearly far from under Iranian control. The Houthis also have vowed to work with the Americans to carry on the fight against Yemen’s Al-Qaeda affiliate [AQAP].

Leading the Battle

Indeed, Iran and these various Shiite-linked movements have been among the most effective in battling Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, while Israel’s Saudi friends have been repeatedly linked to funding and supporting these Sunni terrorist organizations. In effect, what Netanyahu asked the Congress to do – and apparently successfully – was to join Saudi Arabia and Israel in identifying Iran, not Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, as America’s chief enemy in the Middle East.

That would put the U.S.-Iranian cooperation in combating Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in jeopardy. It could lead to victories by these Sunni terrorists in Syria and possibly even Iraq, a situation that almost surely would force the U.S. military to return in force to the region. No U.S. president could politically accept Damascus or Baghdad in the hands of openly terrorist organizations vowing to carry the fight to Europe and the United States.

Yet, that was the logic — or lack thereof — in Netanyahu’s appeal to Congress. As he put it, “when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” He also argued that Iran was a greater threat than the Islamic State, a position that Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has expressed, too.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime [in Syria] as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in a 2013 interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran” – even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

In June 2014, then speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Netanyahu made a similar point: “The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.”

Of course, Iran has disavowed any interest in developing a nuclear bomb — and both the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities agree that Iran has not been working on a bomb. Further, the negotiated agreement between Iran and leading world powers would impose strict oversight on Iran’s civilian nuclear program, leaving little opportunity to cheat.

Instead, Netanyahu wants the United States to lead an aggressive campaign to further strangle Iran’s economy with the goal of forcing some future “regime change.” The principal beneficiary of that strategy would likely be Saudi Arabia, which has served as the proselytizing center for the reactionary Wahabbi version of Sunni Islam, which inspired Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

Elements of the Saudi royal family also have long been known to support Islamist militants, including forces associated with bin Laden. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that convicted al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui identified leading members of the Saudi government as financiers of the terrorist network.

According to the story, Moussaoui said in a prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of the group’s donors and that the list included Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many leading clerics.

Moussaoui also said he discussed a plan to shoot down President George W. Bush’s Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, at a time when Bandar was the ambassador to the United States and considered so close to the Bush family that his nickname was “Bandar Bush.”

Moussaoui claimed, too, that he passed letters between Osama bin Laden and then Crown Prince Salman, who recently became king upon the death of his brother King Abdullah.

While the Saudi government denied Moussaoui’s accusations, Saudi and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have been identified in recent years as financial backers of Sunni militants fighting in Syria to overthrow Assad’s largely secular regime, with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front the major rebel force benefiting from this support.

Shared Israeli Interests

The Israelis also have found themselves on the side of these Sunni militants in Syria because the Israelis share the Saudi view that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – reaching from Tehran to Beirut – is the greatest threat to their interests.

That attitude of favoring Sunni militants over Assad has taken a tactical form with Israeli forces launching attacks inside Syria that benefit Nusra Front. For instance, on Jan. 18, 2015, Israel attacked Lebanese-Iranian advisers assisting Assad’s government in Syria, killing several members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general. These military advisers were engaged in operations against Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from attacking Nusra militants who have seized Syrian territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. One source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria told me that Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with Nusra forces, who have even received medical treatment at Israeli hospitals.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have found themselves on the same side in other regional struggles, including support for the military’s ouster of the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, but most importantly they have joined forces in their hostility toward Shiite-ruled Iran.

Now that all calls for the US to invade Syria fade away and the longer the war goes on, the more lies are surfacing and the call for war is getting more desperate. With Netanyahu calling for war in Iran and Syria and Obama reviving the Cold War with Russia.

Unless Europe wakes up to what Obama and Netanyahu are up to there are going to be more wars in Europe. When are the US taxpayers going revolt against their hard earned dollars going to Israel and wars. What is the point of having elected leaders, when they can only do what Israel tells them to.

Who is running the US and who is controlling your police? The biggest enemy of Obama isn’t Iran, it should be his own people, that he is continually lying to.

Netanyahu has just spoken to Congress, let’s see how long it takes for him to get exactly what he wants. WAR.

FoS

#US, #Palestine #News: #Trump and his #US represntitive at the #UN urges withdrawal of an anti-#Israel #UNReport…

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#US, #Palestine #News: #Trump and his #US represntitive at the #UN urges withdrawal of an anti-#Israel #UNReport…

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http://adam1baum.blogspot.com/2017/03/trump-and-his-us-represntitive-at-un.html?spref=tw

#BoycottIsrael Murderers and Thieves

Israel to demolish Palestinian village in West Bank Israeli occupation wants to use the land of the village to build facilities serving illegal Israeli Jewish settlements in the nearby area Earlier, the villagers appealed against Israeli demolition orders, but the Israeli courts failed to prevent Israeli occupation from carrying out the demolitions. Israeli Civil Administration […]

via israel to demolish Palestinian village in West Bank — Uprootedpalestinians’s Blog

The fight for justice begins at home

Rather than focusing exclusively on Israel-Palestine, Western leftists should use the occupation as a starting point to examine their own role in oppression at home.

By Jakub Zahora

Activists hold mock sections of the Separation Wall during a protest against the occupation on the West Banks main Jerusalem-Hebron highway in full view of Israeli settlers, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Activestills.org)

In early October last year, dozens of activists staged a “Global Sukkot against Demolitions” demonstration in front of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) building in Jerusalem. I participated in the event, which involved a coalition of anti-occupation groups and Bedouin citizens of Israel protesting against JNF-led plans to demolish four Palestinian and Bedouin villages in the Negev and the West Bank.

The protest was purposefully organized during Sukkot in order to appeal to the Jewish values and historical experiences underpinning this holiday, which in addition to its agricultural elements, also commemorates Jewish wandering and plight after the Exodus. Indeed, Jewish and Palestinian activists explicitly evoked themes of homelessness and dispossession during the protest in order to show the parallels between historical Jewish experiences and the current treatment of non-Jews by the Israeli state. The demonstration ended with activists declaring, “Not in my name.”

To my surprise, the slogan left me somewhat uneasy. Indeed, the discriminatory policies we were protesting had never been conducted in my name: I am not Jewish. Thus, this occasion made a question that had been haunting me for a while even more pressing: what is my position and that of other non-Jewish researchers and activists in Israel and Palestine, and what can we contribute?

I came to the region in fall 2015 to conduct my doctoral research on so-called “quality of life” settlements. Over the course of the year I spent in Israel/Palestine doing interviews, making observations and analyzing documents, I became deeply conscious of my own position there. Without buying into the narrative that equates criticism of the State of Israel with anti-Semitism, I became critical of what I perceived as the Western Left’s excessive focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when compared to other instances of mass suffering and oppression around the world.

On the one hand, I am inclined to agree with opinions that single out Israel for its colonial policies, which stand in stark contrast to its self-proclaimed status of being “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Protesters demand that Airbnb stop renting properties in West Bank Israeli settlements, Dublin, June 3, 2016. (Courtesy of JVP)

On the other, I also became convinced that being strongly opinionated about, and actively involved in resistance against, the Israeli occupation has become a sort of identity politics on the part of those Westerners who are eager to be seen as progressive. It seemed to me that involvement in pro-Palestinian activism for a month or two served as a kind of rite of passage for mostly young, college-educated leftists.

What further bothered me was that this exceptionalizing perception of Israel/Palestine was often accompanied by a rather essentialist take on the situation in the region, that went beyond the Orientalist, xenophobic and patronizing attitudes towards Palestinians I had steeled myself for when beginning my research. Thus, an acquaintance’s remarks that the untidiness of “Arab” cities in the West clearly demonstrated Palestinians’ cultural inferiority vis-à-vis Israelis, did not really surprise me.

More disturbingly for me, I repeatedly came across simplified and even dehumanizing language from some foreigners when discussing Israelis, a pattern I had a hard time reconciling with the self-declared leftist views of these individuals. I vividly remember another researcher, whose project also involved interviewing settlers, referring to them as “imports.” As I objected to this perplexing language, she seemed surprised and retorted “So how would you call them? Immigrants?”

I very much agree that settlers are part of the Israeli occupying regime. Yet, as I reflect on my personal and national history, I am forced to question certain leftists’ hasty condemnations. My family owns a large cottage in a mountainous area in the northern part of the Czech Republic. Located near the top of a hill, it has a beautiful view over a picturesque village and the surrounding hilly areas.

Yet this peaceful scenery is in fact a sort of monument to massive ethnic cleansing: before World War II, the village had been predominantly German, its inhabitants deported by the Czechoslovakian authorities in late 1945. Overall, around 2.5 million Czechoslovakian citizens of German background were expelled in the aftermath of the war, and several thousand instances of murder and rape occurred. With this in mind, I can hardly see the situation in Israel/Palestine as unique.

Protest in front of JNF office in Jerusalem (photo: Max Schindler)

But most importantly, I found myself resentful of my own role in the research and activist industry focused on the region. I can understand the need of Jewish activists to protest and critically analyze Israeli policies, given that the State of Israel claims to represent them because of their religion/ethnicity.

But what am I to make of myself, an Eastern European gentile who has almost no personal connection to the region? Given that there is an abundance of racist policies and practices in my home country as well, how can I possibly justify my own research of the Israeli settlement project as opposed to, for instance, investigating the mistreatment of refugees by Czech authorities?

I do not have any definite answers to these questions, only tentative ideas. In terms of my research, I gradually started considering “quality of life” settlements as a somewhat extreme example of a wider phenomenon of how can people shut themselves away from violence that underpins their everyday lives.

Indeed, in my interviews with settlers the disturbing policies and practices of the Israeli rule that take place literally a hundred meters from them never came up. This perspective then helped me to see the power structures in the occupied Palestinian territories as less exceptional and more similar to other contexts, including the one I was born and brought up in.

I believe this attitude could be productive for others when approaching the conditions in Israel/Palestine. Perhaps it is not just about seeing parallels between the Israeli army’s daily harassment of Palestinians on the one hand, and mass incarceration of blacks in the U.S. or ghettoization of Roma citizens in the Czech Republic on the other. I came to the conclusion that we should also acknowledge how few differences there are between “economic” settlers commuting on Israeli-only roads in the West Bank, and us (non-settlers, non-Israelis, and in some cases non-Jews), in our comfortable gated communities and gentrified neighborhoods.

Adopting such a perspective thus does not call for refraining from criticism towards Israeli policies. Indeed, as racism and xenophobia once again become legitimate in Western public debates and political programs, practices that sustain the Israeli occupation of the West Bank should be seen as alarming examples of how easily violence against some segments of the population can become concealed, normalized and eventually accepted. Maybe, then, the case of Israel/Palestine can help us, Jews and non-Jews alike, to see more clearly our own daily compliance in oppression and dispossession in other contexts.

Jakub Zahora is a PhD student at the Department of International Relations at Charles University in Prague. In his dissertation he is looking into the politics of space and sight in large settlements in the West Bank.

Under Obama, U.S. lost influence on world stage as relations with allies frayed

U.S. loses influence on world stage; relations with allies fray

Bringing all but about 15,000 troops home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is one of President Obama’s proudest achievements, although the move created an opening for terrorists. (Associated Press) more >
– The Washington Times – Sunday, January 15, 2017

From the Middle East to Russia to Asia, President Obama’s foreign policy has left the U.S. in a weaker position than when he took office, analysts say.

As Mr. Obama prepares to depart the White House, U.S. relations with traditional allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia have frayed badly, Moscow is exerting its power increasingly in Syria and in Eastern Europe, and even the U.S. relationship with Western Europe has been called into question. On his watch, U.S. influence has diminished in all of those regions.

“I can’t really think of any concrete success that President Obama’s had in terms of foreign policy,” said Nile Gardiner, a foreign affairs analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “You can point to an overall weakening of American power on the world stage and an eroding of key alliances.”

When he came into office, Mr. Obama was faced with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a total of about 180,000 troops deployed. He also was dealing with a global financial crisis and recession that caused the U.S. unemployment rate to rise to 10 percent during the first year of his presidency.

“The president came into office eight years ago with the view of being principally a domestic president, with the financial crisis looming, and to be transformative,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The administration felt that his victory and the fact that he was not President [George W.] Bush would be sufficient in transforming the trans-Atlantic relationship and relations with Europe.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said among Mr. Obama’s biggest achievements in foreign affairs were bringing home all but about 15,000 troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, ordering the Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 and re-establishing diplomatic and cultural ties with Cuba in 2014.

“That is an indication of the important progress that President Obama has made,” he said.

But the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in late 2011, critics argue, created a power vacuum that led to the rise of the Islamic State, the Salafist terrorist group that has launched horrific attacks against the West and has dominated the administration’s counterterrorism operations since 2014.

Meanwhile, Libya descended into extremist anarchy after the U.S. helped oust Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, with the Islamic State gaining a foothold there.

“President Obama’s approach was extraordinarily naive in the Middle East,” said Mr. Gardiner, a former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “He also failed to combine his optimism with any hard power. That really enabled a number of very dangerous actors to emerge and to threaten directly the United States and its allies. It isn’t very clear that the Obama White House has any real strategy for eradicating ISIS. It’s a containment strategy; it’s not one of victory.”

In a final address to military brass and troops last week, Mr. Obama insisted that his strategy against the terrorist network is succeeding.

“We are breaking the back of ISIL and taking away its safe havens, and we’ve accomplished this at a cost of $10 billion over two years — the same amount that we spent in one month at the height of the Iraq War,” he said, using another term for the Islamic State.

Mr. Obama rested much of his strategy for the broader Middle East on reaching the deal with Iran in 2015 to limit its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

“When President Obama took office, the No. 1 threat that was identified by the United States and our allies around the world was the risk that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Earnest said. “That would be extraordinarily destabilizing to not just the Middle East, but to the world. It would be extraordinarily concerning to our closest ally, Israel. And it would pose a threat to our allies in Europe that are within range of some of Iran’s missile capabilities.”

He said the administration’s “principled, hard-nosed diplomacy” has ensured that Iran is “now farther away from being able to get a nuclear weapon than they have been in some time.”

“All of that was accomplished without deploying a single soldier or firing a single shot,” Mr. Earnest said. “And that certainly is a testament to the president’s success in addressing some of the most significant threats facing the United States.”

Reset with Russia

The president’s critics at home and in Israel contend the deal gave too much to Tehran and won’t prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Mr. Gardiner called it one of Mr. Obama’s biggest strategic failures.

“The Iran nuclear deal will go down in history as a massive failure and a very dangerous, poorly thought-out move,” he said. “This deal is very short-sighted and will certainly allow Iran to [get a nuclear weapon] within this generation.”

Mr. Obama’s relations with Israel, never strong, reached a low point last month when the administration failed to veto a vote by the U.N. Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Russia has confounded Mr. Obama almost since the start of his presidency. The infamous Russian “reset” of his first term is little more than a mocked memory, as the U.S. has been unable to reverse Russian military gains in eastern Ukraine or to thwart Russia’s decisive support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country’s 6-year-old civil war.

“The reset was a real foreign policy disaster and a complete misreading of [President] Vladimir Putin, and an underestimation of the scale of the threat posed by Russia,” Mr. Gardiner said. “Moscow ran rings around the Obama White House.”

Ms. Conley said Mr. Obama did receive cooperation from Moscow initially in several key policy areas, working with Russia and other world powers to negotiate the Iranian nuclear deal, cooperating on counternarcotics and military supply lines in Afghanistan, and negotiating the New START agreement to reduce nuclear weapons. But the relationship began to sour by 2011, as Mr. Putin confronted large public demonstrations and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Moscow of rigging parliamentary elections.

Mrs. Clinton’s actions so infuriated Mr. Putin that, U.S. intelligence agencies say, the Russian leader ordered a cybercampaign to undermine her presidential candidacy last year.

The problems with Mr. Putin culminated last month when Mr. Obama expelled 35 Russian operatives from the U.S. over the campaign of extensive cyberattacks in an effort to influence the November presidential election. While President-elect Donald Trump has questioned the administration’s conclusions, he and congressional Republicans have blamed Mr. Obama for failing to take seriously enough the overall threat of cyberattacks.

Even after highly embarrassing hacks of sensitive government personnel records in recent years, Mr. Obama said Sunday that he wasn’t paying enough attention to the threat from Russia.

“I don’t think I underestimated [Mr. Putin], but I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation for cyberhacking and so forth to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating,” Mr. Obama told ABC’s “This Week.”

Mr. Trump and other Republicans have accused the administration of trying to undermine his victory with claims of Russian meddling. The president rejected that accusation, saying he ordered a review of the cyberattacks to better guard against Mr. Putin’s hacking in the future.

European debt and migration

The president’s deteriorating relationship with Mr. Putin has followed a predictable pattern in relations between Moscow and Washington, Ms. Conley said.

“Almost every U.S. president comes into office thinking that they personally can overcome profound challenges of the U.S.-Soviet, U.S.-Russian relationship,” she said. “They get about two years into it, and then they run into the same roadblocks. We have very different values and very different interests.”

In Asia, Mr. Obama tried to “rebalance” U.S. foreign policy chiefly through a 12-nation free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, hoping to use it as a counterweight to China’s influence. But Congress has not ratified the pact, and Mr. Trump has panned it as a bad deal for American workers.

Mr. Earnest said the blame rests with Congress, where virtually all Democrats joined some Republicans to kill the agreement.

“The president is disappointed that Congress didn’t act to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said. “That certainly had the potential to strengthen our security and economic relationships throughout the Asia-Pacific. That was a missed opportunity, but I don’t think that’s one that you can pin on the president of the United States, because he did the hard work of negotiating the kind of an agreement that would have advanced our interests. It didn’t move forward because of Congress’ failure to act.”

In Europe, Mr. Obama seems to have miscalculated the impact of the debt and migration crises on allies from Britain to Italy. He personally lobbied British voters last spring to remain in the European Union, a bid that failed spectacularly.

“It was a bold and risky move, because I think the average American would not appreciate a British prime minister spending three days saying what they should do,” Ms. Conley said.

With the approach of the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II, she said, “Now we are understanding how fragile the European project is.”

“All of that has come into question. Europe itself has come into question,” she said.

These international developments present “huge challenges for the new administration,” Mr. Gardiner said.

“It has to clear up a lot of the mess that has been left by the Obama presidency, especially in the Middle East,” he said. “It also has to deal with a greatly strengthened Russia that is increasingly assertive and menacing.”

 

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Israelis post anti-Arab racism online every 46 seconds, study finds

A new study shows that Israeli Jews publushed 675,000 racist posts on social media in 2016 — a dangerous increase from 2015, when only 280,000 such posts were published.

7amleh statistics

Every 46 seconds an Israeli Jew publishes a racist or inciting comment against Arabs on Facebook and other social networks, a new study finds. According to the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media (7amleh), which published its Index for Racism and Incitement on Social Media last week, 60,000 active Israeli social media users published at least one racist post against Arabs in 2016.

According to the study there were over 675,000 such posts in the previous year, published at a rate of one post every 46 seconds — a dangerous increase from 2015, when 280,000 racist and inciting posts were published.

7amleh’s study also focused on the correlation between remarks made by high-level government officials and the amount of inciting posts. One can see a clear increase in the number of racist posts against Arabs following every inciting remark by a member of the government.

The sharpest spikes in racist posts came following remarks by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Arab citizens, following the fires that raged across Israel and the West Bank in November 2016, which leaders blamed on nationalistically-motivated arson. Miri Regev’s comments against Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar and poet Mahmoud Darwish also led to a higher volume of incitement on the internet.

Another sharp increase was felt throughout the trial of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who was found guilty of killing an incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron early last year.

Haneen Zoabi is removed by Knesset security on February 8, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

According to the study, the Israeli media serves as the main inspiration for racist posts against Arabs. Much of the hatred and incitement is directed at Palestinian politicians, who are frequently mentioned in both the media and who are incited against by Israeli politicians. MK Haneen Zoabi was the most frequent target of incitement and racism, with 60,000 posts directed at her. Ahmed Tibi was subjected to 40,000 posts, closely followed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with 30,000 and Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh with 25,000.

7amleh published the following video:

Institutionalized racism works

7amleh’s report was a result of repeated accusations by Israeli politicians that Palestinians take part in incitement against Israeli Jews on social media. These accusations led to the arrests of Palestinian activists, often when they had committed no such crime. According to 7amleh, Israel is putting pressure on companies such as Facebook and Google to reveal data on its users so as to make it easier to track and arrest them.

According to human rights organizations, over 200 criminal cases have been opened against Palestinian activists who have been accused of incitement on the internet. On the other hand, only a few Israeli Jews have been arrested for anti-Arab incitement on social media.

7amleh’s study was conducted by Vigo, an Tel Aviv-based company that specializes in monitoring and studying social media outlets. The company used a search algorithm based on 100 names and key words used among Palestinians, crosschecking them with racist words or incitement to violence that often appears on social media in Israel.

This article first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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