Falk & Tilley: Open Letter to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Our Report on Apartheid in Israel

Falk & Tilley: Open Letter to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Our Report on Apartheid in Israel

Falk & Tilley: Open Letter to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Our Report on Apartheid in Israel

[PHOTO: Ambassador Nikki Haley speaking at AIPAC convention, March 27, 2017. When she was Governor of South Carolina, Haley had been the first to sign into law anti-BDS legislation. See excerpts from her AIPAC speech below*]

By Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, The Nation:

 Dear Madam Ambassador:

 We were deeply disappointed by your response to our report, Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, and particularly your dismissal of it as “anti-Israeli propaganda” within hours of its release. The UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) invited us to undertake a fully researched scholarly study. Its principal purpose was to ascertain whether Israeli policies and practices imposed on the Palestinian people fall within the scope of the international-law definition of apartheid. We did our best to conduct the study with the care and rigor that is morally incumbent in such an important undertaking, and of course we welcome constructive criticism of the report’s method or analysis (which we also sought from several eminent scholars before its release). So far we have not received any information identifying the flaws you have found in the report or how it may have failed to comply with scholarly standards of rigor.

Instead, you have felt free to castigate the UN for commissioning the report and us for authoring it. You have launched defamatory attacks on all involved, designed to discredit and malign the messengers rather than clarify your criticisms of the message. Ad hominem attacks are usually the tactics of those so seized with political fervor as to abhor rational discussion. We suppose that you would not normally wish to give this impression of yourself and your staff, or to represent US diplomacy in such a light to the world. Yet your statements about our study, as reported in the media, certainly give this impression.

[The report is available here.]

We were especially troubled by the extraordinary pressure your office exerted on the UN secretary general, António Guterres, apparently inducing him first to order the report’s removal from the ESCWA website and then to accept the resignation of ESCWA’s distinguished and highly respected executive secretary, Rima Khalaf, which she submitted on principle rather than repudiate a report that she believed fulfilled scholarly standards, upheld the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, and produced findings and recommendations vital for UN proceedings.

Instead of using this global forum to call for the critical debate about the report, you used the weight of your office to quash it. These strident denunciations convey a strong appearance of upholding an uncritical posture by the US government toward Israel, automatically and unconditionally sheltering Israel’s government from any criticism at the UN, whether deserved or not, from the perspective of international law. Such a posture diminishes the US’s reputation as a nation that upholds the values of truth, freedom, law, and justice, and that serves the world community as a regional and global leader. It also shifts the conversation away from crucial substantive concerns.

You fail to consider that Israeli leaders have themselves warned of the apartheid features of their policies. It may have been that the word “apartheid” alone was enough to trigger your response, a reaction undoubtedly abetted by Israel’s instantaneous denunciation of our report. In following Israel’s public lead, however, you fail to consider that Israeli leaders have themselves grasped and warned of the apartheid features of their policies for decades. The widely admired Yitzhak Rabin, twice Israel’s prime minister, once confided to a TV journalist, “I don’t think it’s possible to contain over a long term, if we don’t want to get to apartheid, a million and a half [more] Arabs inside a Jewish state.” Prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak both warned publicly that Israel was at risk of becoming an apartheid state and cautioned their constituencies about what would happen to Israel if the Palestinians realized this and launched an anti-apartheid struggle. Former Israeli attorney general Michael Ben-Yair has stated flatly, “we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories.” These prominent Israelis were clear-headed observers of their own country’s policies as well as patriots, and it was their cautions, as much as any other source, that inspired ESCWA member states to consider that the possibility of an apartheid regime existing in this setting must be taken seriously and so commissioned the report now under attack.

It is therefore wholly inappropriate and wrong for you to charge that, simply by accepting this commission, we as authors were motivated by anti-Semitism. The reverse is true. To clarify this claim, we call your attention to two features of the report that we hope will lead you to reconsider your response.

It is wrong for you to charge that, simply by accepting this commission, we were motivated by anti-Semitism.

Firstly, the report carefully confines its working definition of apartheid to those provided in the 1973 Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the International Crime of Apartheid and the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It does not rely on definitions developed in polemics about the conflict or taken casually from online sources. As the 1973 Convention and the Rome Statute are part of the same body of law that protects Jews, as well as all people in the world, from discrimination, this authoritative definition should not be set aside. Any responsible critique must therefore engage with these legal definitions, and the larger body of international human-rights jurisprudence in which they are situated, so as to address the report for what it actually says rather than concocting a straw man that can be easily dismissed. We hope you will reconsider the report in this light.

Secondly, the member states of ESCWA requested that a study be commissioned to examine whether Israel’s apartheid policies encompassed the Palestinian people as a whole. This meant that, as authors, we were asked to consider Palestinians living in four geographic regions within four legal categories or “domains”: those living in the occupied territories, those resident in Jerusalem, those living as citizens within Israel, and those living in refugee camps or involuntary exile. For each domain, we found that Israeli policies and practices are, by law, internally discriminatory. But more importantly, we found that all four operate as one comprehensive system that is designed to dominate and oppress Palestinians in order to preserve Israel as a Jewish state. It is this whole system of domination, too long misinterpreted by treating Palestinians as situated in unrelated categories, that generates the regime of domination that conforms to the definition of apartheid in international law. Moreover, it is this system that has undermined, and will continue to undermine, the two-state solution to which the United States has committed its diplomatic prestige over the course of several prior presidencies. Appraising the viability of this diplomatic posture in light of findings in this report would, we propose, be crucial for the credibility of US foreign policy and should not be blocked by political considerations.

We hoped our report would give rise to discussion of all these issues. Especially, we hope that its findings will inspire a review of this question by authoritative legal bodies such as the International Court of Justice. We did not seek a shouting match. We therefore now respectfully ask, against this background, that our report be read in the spirit in which it was written, aiming for the safety, security, and peace of everyone who lives in territory currently under Israel’s control. As the report’s authors, this was our moral framework all along, and we still retain the hope that the serious questions at stake will not be buried beneath an avalanche of diversionary abuse of our motives and character. Charges of crimes against humanity should not be swept to one side out of deference to political bonds that tie the United States and Israel closely together, or for reasons of political expediency. Such machinations can only weaken international law and endanger us all.

Sincerely,

Richard Falk,
Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Virginia Tilley,
Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University

*Excerpts from Haley’s speech March 27, 2017 at the AIPAC convention, as reported by the Times of Israel

“And this ridiculous report, the Falk report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is, or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems,” said Haley, lightly horrified. “Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state?”

“So for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”

“The first thing we do is we call the secretary general, and say, ‘This [report] is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it.’ The secretary general immediately pulled the report, and then the director has now resigned.”

All of Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights are illegal under international law.

New US bill would punish settlement boycotters

New bill in Congress backed by AIPAC aims to thwart international measures to hold Israel accountable for settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

Wisam HashlamounAPA images

US Senator Ben Cardin is once again trying to pass legislation designed to suppress the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

During the last Congressional session, the Maryland Democrat succeeded in sneaking language into a must-pass trade bill making it a “principal negotiating objective” of the United States “to discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel” while negotiating trade deals.

This discouragement of BDS extended to boycotts of products originating from settlements in what the bill euphemistically referred to as “Israeli-controlled territories.” All of Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights are illegal under international law.

But with the Trump administration’s skepticism toward free trade deals and its withdrawal of the United States from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, it seems unlikely that the United States in the near term will be leveraging anti-BDS pressure through trade negotiations as Cardin envisioned.

With BDS continuing to gain momentum, Cardin went back to the drawing board and introduced the Israel Anti-Boycott Act on 23 March, designed to coincide with the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The powerful Israel lobby group duly made the bill one of its top legislative priorities.

The Senate version of the bill – S.720 – currently has 18 cosponsors – 14 Republicans and four Democrats.

Its counterpart in the House – H.R.1697 – introduced by Illinois Republican Peter Roskam, has 91 co-sponsors at present, about two-thirds of them Republicans.

The bill opposes the creation of a database of Israeli settlement companies by the UN Human Rights Council and any efforts to boycott those companies’ products.

According to Cardin and the other original sponsors of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, the bill also seeks to “prevent the implementation of similar ‘blacklists’ or boycotts in the future.”

It aims to do so in a heavy-handed manner: by imposing governmental sanctions – denial of loans, fines and even potentially jail time – on companies complying with calls from the UN Human Rights Council to boycott Israeli settlement products.

Shrewdly shrouded

If it becomes law, the bill could also sweep up in its broad ambit companies refusing to do business with Israeli settlements whatever their source of inspiration for doing so may be. These sanctions would also apply to potential future international governmental calls for a broader boycott of Israel.

The draconian nature of the bill is shrewdly shrouded. None of the above-mentioned sanctions are specified in the actual text of the bill.

Only by closely examining the underlying laws which would be amended by this bill does its intent become evident: to harshly punish those companies which exercise their First Amendment-protected right to engage in boycotts of Israeli settlement products.

The bill seeks to amend two laws – the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 – to accomplish its aim.

The Export Administration Act is the primary law which makes it illegal for US corporations to comply with the Arab League boycott of Israel. The Department of Commerce maintains an Office of Anti-Boycott Compliance to ensure US corporations do not participate in the Arab League boycott and to fine those that do.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would amend this law to encompass “restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any international governmental organization against Israel or requests to impose restrictive trade practices or boycotts by any international governmental organization against Israel.”

Even if a corporation was not responding directly to a call from an international governmental organization to boycott Israel or even settlement products, it could still run afoul of this bill if its actions are perceived to “have the effect of furthering or supporting” this boycott.

The potential penalties for violating this bill are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment, as stipulated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The bill specifies that international governmental organizations include the United Nations and European Union, a clear indication the legislation is intended to counteract the limited steps the UN Human Rights Council has taken to catalog Israeli settlement products and the EU’s labeling – but not prohibition – of those products.

Protecting settlements

The bill also amends the Export-Import Bank Act to make it possible for the bank to “deny applications for credit” to corporations whose policies and actions “are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with citizens or residents of Israel, entities organized under the laws of Israel, or the Government of Israel.”

The legislation refers back to the definition of BDS enshrined in law in the last congressional session to include “Israeli-controlled territories,” thereby making the harsh sanctions applicable to actions solely targeting Israeli settlements.

The bill concludes with a dubious stipulation that nothing in it “shall be construed to alter the established policy of the United States or to establish new United States policy concerning final status issues associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict, including border delineation, that can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties.”

However, by establishing such stringent penalties for corporations that respond to nascent international governmental organizations’ efforts to end trade in Israeli settlement products, the bill does in fact attempt to dramatically alter US policy.

Growing consensus

For the past 50 years, official US policy has held that Israel’s settlements are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and illegal under international law. The bill seeks to undermine this determination by penalizing companies refusing to do business with Israeli settlements and conversely attempts to legitimize their status.

Under existing law, corporations can only be penalized for adhering to the Arab League boycott of Israel. Cardin’s bill would vastly widen this net by also ensnaring corporations that support international governmental organizations’ boycotts of Israeli settlement products or even those which are perceived as furthering those boycotts.

Last year, Human Rights Watch urged that all corporations had to end all business in or with settlements in order to comply with their human rights obligations, and that governments are responsible for taking steps to discourage settlements.

“Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other resources,” Arvind Ganesan, director of the group’s business and human rights division, said.

There is also a growing consensus among international legal scholars that trade in settlement goods violates international law.

Activists are organizing against this bill because they believe that if passed, it could stymie campaigns by the Palestine solidarity movement to pressure corporations to cut ties to Israel or even with Israeli settlements.

Beyond apartheid: Fragments from the West Bank

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I want the world to know

Anas Mohammed Jnena on April 17, 2017

Anas Mohammed Jnena, a writer from Gaza with the WeAreNotNumbers campaign wants the world to know Gaza is like any other place in the world and so are its people: “I want the world to know that Palestine has writers, artists, thinkers and, most importantly, lovers. I want to the world to know that we are humans just like you.”

‘Being a former prisoner’s daughter has instilled in me an unstoppable determination’

Tamam Abusalama on April 17, 2017

As more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launch a hunger strike on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners Day, Tamam Abusalama recalls the combined 15 years her father spent as a prisoner. “Being a former prisoner’s daughter has instilled in me an unstoppable determination to break all borders and limits. I struggle against everything that violates my freedom and that of my people.”

Beyond apartheid: Fragments from the West Bank

Yarden Katz on April 17, 2017

According to a recent New York Times op-ed, Israel today is “nothing like” South African apartheid. Yarden Katz, an Israeli, abandoned the warnings about visiting the West Bank and toured a housed in Bethlehem trapped by the wall, and a ghost town in Hebron, “If we only dare look, we see that there’s apartheid and much more.”

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/israel-palestine/#sthash.N4eacYAt.dpuf

The Situation In Syria Is NOT Complicated — Here’s All You Need To Know  

1. Your government is lying to you and the media is helping them.

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“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

The popular quote above has at times been attributed to Henry Ford, though it’s most likely a paraphrase of his actual words authored by Congressman Charles G. Binderup in 1938. In any case, it points to the self-evident fact that our economic system is so vastly complex that there are multiple contradictory schools of thought on how it works and how best to approach it. It’s so vastly complex that the few people who understand it are able to manipulate it to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of the overwhelming majority of people who don’t. There are a lot of shadows in all that complexity for the mechanisms of deception and exploitation to hide, and that’s exactly what happens; people get ripped off by a system they don’t understand.

If something is complicated, ordinary people who don’t have years of their lives to dedicate to its study are forced to take the experts on that subject at their word. If a doctor tells you that you have a certain illness which requires a certain treatment, you take her at her word, because her expertise is why you sought her out in the first place. It’s a highly imbalanced power dynamic, which is why we have things like the Hippocratic Oath to make sure experts use the power they’re entrusted with responsibly.

One pernicious side-effect of the existence of such power dynamics, however, is that people can be tricked into assuming that they exist in places where they do not. And I see this happening with the situation in Syria.

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Google the words “Syria” and “complicated” together and you’ll come up with millions of results, because the corporate media is fond of marrying those two terms in the audience’s mind when discussing Syrian affairs. They’re the experts; you cannot possibly hope to understand what’s happening in the nation that America’s neocon hobgoblins have been salivating over invading since at least 2001, so you need to rely on their expertise. The major plot hole in that story: those people have never taken anything like a Hippocratic Oath for their practice, and the situation in Syria is not actually too complicated for you to understand. Every day I speak to Americans who are under the mistaken impression that understanding the Syrian dilemma is a goal they can’t possibly hope to attain, so here are some basic facts that can give you enough of an understanding to see through the illusion of complexity they’re trying to lull you into:

1. Your government is lying to you and the media is helping them.

For decades Noam Chomsky has been writing about how the corporate media is used to manufacture the consent of the governed to a system which disadvantages them. America has a decidedly corporatist system of government, which means that due to institutionalized legal bribery in the form of campaign funding and corporate lobbying there is no boundary between America’s elected government and the billionaires who bribe them. In 2014 a Princeton University study found that the will of the people has functionally zero influence over what laws get passed in the United States, despite everyone having a vote and the ability to assemble and demonstrate, while the richest Americans have a great deal of influence over what legislation gets passed. This is how the rich have been able to design a system which advantages them and disadvantages everyone else.

Who would consent to this? No one; that’s why the corporate media is here to pull the wool over your eyes. Virtually all media in America is controlled by a mere five extremely powerful corporations, which, in a corporatist system of government, are inseparable from the government itself. Thus America has in effect (despite Constitutional protections designed to prevent this) a state-run media.

What does all this have to do with Syria? In September of last year, independent journalist Vanessa Beeley appeared on the Ron Paul Liberty Report in a segment titled “Why Everything You Hear About Aleppo Is Wrong,” ripping to shreds the corporate media’s narrative that Bashar al-Assad is using the Syrian military to attack non-combatants while moderate freedom fighters oppose him in a civil war. Unlike the corporate propagandists reporting on the situation from the safety of their Hollywood studios, Beeley actually went to Syria and looked around and asked questions. Her findings have been corroborated by everyone else who’s gone there in the spirit of investigation as opposed to propaganda, from Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett to Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Which takes us to our next point:

2. Your government has been fighting on the side of terrorist groups.

It’s been a known fact since 2013 that the moderate rebels who were fighting Assad had been overrun by terrorist groups and extremist jihadist factions, and by 2015 were essentially gone. When the corporate media talks about “rebels” in the Syrian “civil war”, they are talking about multinational terrorists groups committing widespread acts of terrorism.

It really is Assad vs. terrorists in Syria. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated. The only people trying to make it sound more complicated than this are the people who support the violent jihadist factions because they’re trying to depose Assad and take over the country, which would of course be disastrous for everyone, especially the millions of Christians that Assad’s secular government was protecting. Is Assad a great guy? Maybe not, but he is unquestionably better than ISIS and al-Qaeda. And the United States has been arming those terror organizations in Syria to fight against Assad.

3. Trump promised to stop helping the terrorists in Syria and fight them instead.

A lot of lefties don’t understand why so many of Trump’s supporters have been turning against him after the Syrian cruise missile strikes against a Syrian air base; there’s an assumption in liberal and progressive circles that all Trumpsters want war and bloodshed. Nothing could be further from the truth; much of Trump’s support came from people who are sick of America’s regime change interventions and wanted a Commander-in-Chief who’ll leave Assad alone and stop funding the terror groups trying to get rid of him. Trump has been saying since 2013 that America should stay out of Syria, while Clinton was advocating a no-fly zone that top military officials attest would have necessitated a war with both Syria and Russia. A lot of Trump’s support came from people who wanted to avoid more senseless war, and now here he is less than three months into his presidency committing an act of war upon the government that is fighting the terrorists in response to what was almost certainly a false flag.

Oops! Sorry, I got ahead of myself:

4. Your government has an extensive history of using false flags to manufacture consent for stupid wars.

From the Vietnam War to the Gulf War to the Iraq invasion, the corporatist power structures who run the US government have been deceiving the American people into consenting to military responses to non-existent threats. With Vietnam it was the fake Gulf of Tonkin incident. With the Gulf War it was the false Nayirah testimony which convinced Americans that Iraqi soldiers were killing hundreds of premature babies in a Kuwait hospital by removing them from their incubators. With the Iraq invasion it was the weapons of mass destruction lie and the deliberate psy-op by the corporate media to marry the ideas of “Saddam Hussein” and “9/11” in the minds of their viewers, which was so successful that six months after the invasion 70 percent of Americans still believed that Saddam was responsible for the September 11th attacks.

And now the corporate media is ramping up the war propaganda for regime change in Syria, because OMG Assad is gassing little babies! Problem is,

5. There is currently no reason to believe the chemical attack was not another false flag.

In 2013 the US and its international arm NATO accused Assad of gassing his own people, without ever investigating the fact that the al-Qaeda affiliate al Nusra was known to have such weapons and the UN’s Carla Del Ponte statingthat the terrorist opposition forces were most likely the culprit. Despite this massive reason to doubt this narrative, it is to this day being reported as fact that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in 2013, and that he did it again last week despite having no motive to do so and every motive not to.

These corporatist propagandists are telling you that, on the eve of scheduled peace talks, days after the Trump administration declared its intention to leave the Assad administration alone, while winning the war against the terrorist forces, Assad decided to commit geopolitical suicide by openly committing a war crime that he knew for a fact would turn all of NATO against him. This makes no sense, and, knowing what we know about the US deep state’s love of false flags, there is no reason to believe it happened until we are shown irrefutable, unquestionable proof that Assad really did the absurd and suicidal comic book supervillain evil deed the corporate propagandists are telling us he did. As of this writing, no such proof has been offered.

There are many, many other reasons to be intensely suspicious of the official narrative about last week’s gas attack in Idlib which you should definitely research if you’re curious, but to keep things nice and simple here I’m just going stick to the fact that we know the US government uses false flags to manufacture consent for war, that it makes no sense for Assad to commit such an atrocity at this time, and that we’ve been shown no reason to believe the official narrative. If you still swallow the official story despite those three facts, you are stupid. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated.

6. The US power establishment stands a lot to gain by installing a puppet regime in Syria.

In my mind-blowing conversation with Vanessa Beeley the other day, I learned that there is no American criticism of Assad to be found anywhere online prior to 2009. Seriously. Google it right now and try to prove me wrong. Not only will you not find anything remotely resembling the vitriolic demonization you see about him today, you will find that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair actually nominated him for knighthood. It was not until Assad began advancing resource policies benefitting its allies Iran and Russia that this demonization began.

In addition to Syria’s important strategic location in the oil and gas resource battle that the US has been largely dominating via its military and economic might, Syria’s border dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights means that Israel has every reason to want to keep Syria in check, not only because the Golan Heights contains oil but because it provides a third of Israel’s water supply. Assad also launched what he called his “Five Seas Vision” in 2004, a strategy to use Syria’s supreme geographic location to become an economic superpower. Needless to say, such a plan wouldn’t sit well with the current king of economic power, the United States, which can only maintain its hegemony by keeping other nations down.

And of course, Russia’s involvement in the region makes Syria a prime location for a proxy war with the Putin government, which has been far more disobedient than a nice, compliant Yeltsin-type administration would be if America can force a regime change in that nation as well.

7. Syria is a sovereign nation. It is none of your government’s business.

Lastly, and with all due respect, please mind your own goddamn business, America. It is none of your business which proposed pipeline the Syrian government prefers. It is none of your business what alliances the Syrian government makes. It is none of your business if Syria’s leader is a dictator or a saint. You do not get to decide what a sovereign nation does with itself. That is not your place.

So don’t let the talking heads on TV dupe you into thinking that “doing nothing about Assad” is some sort of strange suggestion. Tom Ritchford said it best when describing US foreign policy:

Imagine you have a friend who makes a habit of announcing that people are sick, and then performing surgery on them.

While your friend does have the world’s largest collection of surgical tools, it uniformly works out badly for his patients. Always the surgery turns out worse than the disease, and much of the time it turns out that the patient wasn’t even sick to start with — because your friend has no interest in doing diagnoses or really any form of medicine except surgery.

Now your friend has announced that someone else is sick, and a few minutes later has them strapped to the operating table and is preparing the knives. But when you justifiably express dismay, you are accused of wanting to “sit back and do nothing”.

It doesn’t work that way, America. You don’t get to decide who is sick and who needs surgery. That is not your place. Yes, it is that simple. No, it is not complicated.

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Donald Trump Is An International Law Breaker

Donald Trump‘s decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie.

In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened:

  1. The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. [prior to the Chemical Weapons attack] There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.
  2. The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib and that the Russians believed it was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.
  3. The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.
  4. There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.
  5. We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you. How do I know? I went through “Live Agent” training at Fort McClellan in Alabama.

There are members of the U.S. military who were aware that this strike would occur and it was recorded. There is a film record. At least the Defense Intelligence Agency knows that this was not a chemical weapon attack. In fact, Syrian military chemical weapons were destroyed with the help of Russia.

This is Gulf of Tonkin 2. How ironic. Donald Trump correctly castigated George W. Bush for launching an unprovoked, unjustified attack on Iraq in 2003. Now we have President Donald Trump doing the same damn thing. Worse in fact. Because the intelligence community had information showing that there was no chemical weapon launched by the Syrian Air Force.

Here’s the good news. The Russians and Syrians were informed, or at least were aware, that the [cruise missile] attack was coming. They were able to remove a large number of their assets. The base the United States hit was something of a backwater. Donald Trump gets to pretend that he is a tough guy. He is not. He is a fool.

This attack was violation of international law. Donald Trump authorized an unjustified attack on a sovereign country. What is even more disturbing is that people like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and NSA Director General McMaster went along with this charade. Front line troops know the truth. These facts will eventually come out. Donald Trump will most likely not finish his term as President. He will be impeached, I believe, once Congress is presented with irrefutable proof that he ignored and rejected intelligence that did not support the myth that Syria attacked with chemical weapons.

It should also alarm American taxpayers that we launched $100 million dollars of missiles to blow up sand and camel sh**t. The Russians were aware that a strike was coming. I’m hoping that they and the Syrians withdrew their forces and aircraft from the base. Whatever hope I had that Donald Trump would be a new kind of President, that hope is extinguished. He is a child and a moron. He committed an act of war without justification. But the fault is not his alone. Those who sit atop the NSC, the DOD, the CIA, the Department of State should have resigned in protest. They did not. They are complicit in a war crime.

Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam.

Noam Chomsky: Russia Interference Claims Turning US Into Laughing Stock (Video)

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‘Half the world is cracking up in laughter’ — Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is asking, what the heck is wrong with Democrats? They’re giving Trump a free pass on everything except the one thing he is mildly good on. Their incessant whining on alleged Russian interference is a joke — the US doesn’t just interfere, it topples governments it doesn’t like in coups and invasions.

Meanwhile you’ve got NATO exercises on the Russian border — not Warsaw Pact exercises in Mexico — and the US building up a first strike infrastructure in eastern Europe under the guise of a missile shield to protect against Iran.

It’s a pretty remarkable fact that—first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter.

The United States doesn’t just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn’t like, institutes military dictatorships.

Simply in the case of Russia alone—it’s the least of it—the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways.

So, this, as I say, it’s considered—it’s turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world.

So why are the Democrats focusing on this? In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump’s programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That’s—the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed.

Just a couple of days ago, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can’t believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, “Sure, that’s just what they ought to be doing.”

So, meanwhile, this one topic is the primary locus of concern and critique, while, meanwhile, the policies are proceeding step by step, which are extremely destructive and harmful. So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That’s not a major issue.

Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, OK, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly.

And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.

Well, you can understand why the Democratic Party managers want to try to find some blame for the fact—for the way they utterly mishandled the election and blew a perfect opportunity to win, handed it over to the opposition.

But that’s hardly a justification for allowing the Trump policies to slide by quietly, many of them not only harmful to the population, but extremely destructive, like the climate change policies, and meanwhile focus on one thing that could become a step forward, if it was adjusted to move towards serious efforts to reduce growing and dangerous tensions right on the Russian border, where they could blow up.

NATO maneuvers are taking place hundreds of yards from the Russian border. The Russian jet planes are buzzing American planes. This—something could get out of hand very easily.

Both sides, meanwhile, are building up their military forces, adding—the U.S. is—one thing that the Russians are very much concerned about is the so-called anti-ballistic missile installation that the U.S. is establishing near the Russian border, allegedly to protect Europe from nonexistent Iranian missiles. Nobody seriously believes that. This is understood to be a first strike threat.

These are serious issues. People like William Perry, who has a distinguished career and is a nuclear strategist and is no alarmist at all, is saying that we’re back to the—this is one of the worst moments of the Cold War, if not worse. That’s really serious. And efforts to try to calm that down would be very welcome.

And we should bear in mind it’s the Russian border. It’s not the Mexican border. There’s no Warsaw Pact maneuvers going on in Mexico. And that’s a border that the Russians are quite reasonably sensitive about. They’ve practically been destroyed several times the last century right through that region.

MUST WATCH!!! Trump and the Greater Israel (WARNING! DISTURBING CONTENT!)

MUST WATCH!!! Trump and the Greater Israel (WARNING! DISTURBING CONTENT!)

More:

https://medium.com/@Adam1Baum/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east-8f2904b99114

When a people allow human rights violations to go unpunished, they are no better then the criminals themselves.

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