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Month: September, 2015

Russian Airforce Strikes ISIS

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Kissinger poisoned the Middle East: America is living in a quagmire of his making – Greg Gandin/Salon.com

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W made matters worse, but the Middle East’s radicalization can all be traced to our support of the Shah of Shahs

The only person Henry Kissinger flattered more than President Richard Nixon was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. In the early 1970s, the Shah, sitting atop an enormous reserve of increasingly expensive oil and a key figure in Nixon and Kissinger’s move into the Middle East, wanted to be dealt with as a serious person. He expected his country to be treated with the same respect Washington showed other key Cold War allies like West Germany and Great Britain. As Nixon’s national security adviser and, after 1973, secretary of state, Kissinger’s job was to pump up the Shah, to make him feel like he truly was the “king of kings.”

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Report reveals 9 Israel lobby tactics to silence students – Nora Barrows-Friedman/The Electronic Intifada

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Lawyers have responded to nearly 300 incidents of “censorship, punishment, or other burdening of advocacy for Palestinian rights” filed by Palestine solidarity activists on more than 65 US campuses in the last year and a half.

Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) detail the assault in a new 124-page report, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US.”

“As the movement for Palestinian rights is growing in the US, so too are concerted efforts to silence any and all criticism of Israel,” said Radhika Sainath, staff attorney with Palestine Legal and cooperating counsel with CCR.

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Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President, Says He’s No Longer Bound by Oslo Accords – Rick Gladstone and Jodi Rudoren/The New York Times

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Demonstrating a new level of tension with Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority declared Wednesday that it was no longer bound by the Oslo Peace Accords and subsequent agreements that formed the basis for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his annual General Assembly speech, Mr. Abbas accused Israel of having violated these pacts, which date back two decades and outline security, economic and other arrangements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel during and after the 1967 war. He asserted that there was no reason that the Palestinians should remain faithful to them as long as the Israelis were not.

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Abbas says Palestinians no longer bound by pacts with Israel – AP

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UNITED NATIONS  — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared before world leaders Wednesday that he is no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel and called on the United Nations to provide international protection for Palestinians, in the most serious warning yet that he might walk away from engagement with the Jewish state.

Abbas, however, stopped short of accompanying his threat with a deadline or giving any specifics, leaving room for diplomatic maneuvers to refocus the world’s attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Israeli “Russian Threat” Hoax Pushes World to Brink of War – Gordon Duff/ Veterans Today

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Russia has begun air operations over Syria today based on an request from President Assad and in consultation with the Secretary General of the United Nations, in full accordance with international law. However, a massive flood of disinformation of every kind, shape and color is flowing across not only the internet but television and remaining print media as well.

It all tracks down to Israel. America’s very controlled press is carrying one story but in many variations.  According to Fox News, a Russian three star general stormed into the US embassy in Baghdad, knocking people down, screaming and raising his fist in the air:

“We will shoot down any American planes inside Syria, America must remove them now or else.”

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New reports: Palestinian rights advocates under attack in the United States – Middle East Monitor

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Palestinian human rights advocates in the United States are routinely targeted for intimidation, harassment, and attacks on their freedom of speech, according to two new reports out today.

‘The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the United States”, co-published by the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Palestine Legal, documents for the first time “the widespread and growing suppression of Palestinian human rights advocacy” in the US.

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The missing Israeli incitement against Palestinians – Josh Ruebner/TheHill

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Grumpy cat purrtells the truth. 

“Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. … They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised here.” This noxious and racist quote from Ayelet Shaked, the current Israeli justice minister, failed to make the cut in a resolution — H.Res. 293 — marked up and passed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee in a voice vote earlier this month.

The resolution condemns anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian Authority, but fails to cite one example of Islamophobic or anti-Palestinian incitement by Israeli officials. Herein lays the major problem with H.Res. 293: Like most House resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is unabashedly one-sided, dispensing with any pretense of objectivity.

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Israel’s Middle East Allies Are Brutal Dictatorships That Regularly Violate Human Rights – MintPress

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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — According to its supporters, Israel is the “only democracy” in the Middle East, and is often described as a Jewish nation surrounded by Arab enemies.

Although this status is debatable, given its mistreatment and disenfranchisement of both occupied Palestinian and Israeli minority populations, it’s also worth noting that the country couldn’t accomplish its militaristic aims in the region without help from two unlikely, and brutal allies.

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Dear Israel, America is just not that into you – Lynette Nusbacher/The Times of Israel

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America is a bit of a tart. They tell lots of other countries they’re allies, which works for the US. It’s not so good for a country like Israel which thinks it’s in a Special Relationship. The best relationship advice to give them is that Uncle Sam is just not that into you.

There was an episode in the sixth series of Sex and the City, ‘Pick A Little, Talk a Little’, in which Carrie’s boyfriend Jack Berger tells Miranda, ‘he’s just not that into you’. The phrase has been a durable one even outside Sex and the City geekdom: you think you’re in a serious relationship, but the other person doesn’t.

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Iran warns ‘fierce’ reaction if Saudi does not return hajj dead – AFP

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Tehran  – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened a “fierce” reaction Wednesday if Saudi Arabia does not quickly repatriate victims of last week’s hajj stampede.

“Saudi officials are failing to do their duties,” Khamenei said in a speech to graduating navy officers, following delays in the return of at least 239 Iranian bodies, accusing some of them of “slyness”.

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This algorithm could help predict ISIS’ future moves – Alex Lockie/Business Insider

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A computer scientist has pioneered an artificial intelligence-driven method of modeling the behaviors of militant groups, and the Department of Defense is interested.

In a paper titled “Mining for Causal Relationships: A Data-Driven Study of the Islamic State,” presented at the 2015 Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, a team led by Paulo Shakarian of Arizona State University used 2,200 individual data points on ISIS-related incidents from the Institute for the Study of War to build a descriptive model — an algorithm that models ISIS’s behavior.

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Islamophobia has a long history in the US – Khaled A. Beydoun/BBC News

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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s comments on Muslims in US political life made headlines, but scholar Khaled Beydoun says such comments don’t happen in a vacuum – but rather are rooted in a legal tradition of suspicion towards Muslims.

Earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told US media he would “not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” in response to a question about whether “Islam is consistent with the Constitution”.

Carson’s statement galvanised defenders on the extreme right and prompted critical responses spanning from scorn to constitutional critique.

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VT’s Secret Mission to Syria – Gordon Duff/ Veterans Today

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Was Syria nuked by Israel in May 2013? Answers to questions like this and others were given in a very private mission to Damascus. The nuclear question alone, which was answered at Syria’s highest levels, should turn the world upside down.

A week ago, an amazing mission to Syria ended. Officially, it was a Veterans Today private media conference with Syrian ministries and security officials including a lengthy visit with the Grand Mufti and Ali Mamlouk. In truth, the visit was much more.

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Facing Reality: Jewish terrorism is no longer limited to just a few bad seeds – Karin Attia/Mondoweiss

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Stabbing at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. Death of 16-year-old Shira Banki. Arson attack on a family home in the West Bank. Deaths of 18-month old Ali Saad Dawabsheh, his father Saad Dawabsheh’s, and mother Reham Dawabsheh.

It is time to look inwards at a rising culture of violence rather than facile explanations about individual bad seeds. Something is growing insidiously among us: racism, intolerance and hate. With attacks occurring more frequently, these seeds are no longer limited to one crazy individual, one extremist; instead they are indicative of widespread cultural seeds of racism, intolerance, and hate. These seeds have been cultivating for some time.

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Orwell at the UN: Obama Re-Defines Democracy as a Country That Supports U.S. Policy – Michael Hudson/CounterPunch

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In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution.

This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a “democracy.” In making this hardly-veiled threat, he redefined the word in the vocabulary of international politics. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards,” as Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to the Latin American dictators installed by U.S. foreign policy.

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What Palestinians really want – Yousef Munayyer/CNN.com

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When he speaks at the U.N. General Assembly this week, there is a chance Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will announce that some or all of the Oslo Accords, the foundational document of the U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” aimed at a two-state solution, are null and void.

Yet Palestinians were never really motivated by a desire for their own state, as such. That might sound odd to many, especially given all of the discussion of Palestinian statehood over the past two decades. But it is the truth. What Palestinians want, and deserve, are freedom and equal rights.

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Checkmate! – Preston James/Veterans Today

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In one of the craftiest acts of diplomacy and statesmanship in history, Vladimir Putin has called America’s bluff over ISIS which is now being referred to as the Islamic State.

And in the process President Putin has created a complete checkmate against the secret mercenary army ISIS which is attacking Syria and the Kurds on behalf of secret Intel factions in America, Israel, the Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Putin has done all this by announcing the formation of a broad international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq and by taking the initiative of sending significant military aid to Assad’s forces in Syria.

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This Is Why Muslims Hold Muhammad in Such High Regard – Atif Rashid/HuffPo

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The principles, values and freedoms of which we can be proud of today are found in a book compiled some 1,400 years old. This book was given to us through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who, through his example and teachings, prepared the world for a spiritual, moral and social revolution, the like of which had never been witnessed before.

Through the light of his exemplary practices and words, he readied the world for advancements in all areas of human activity, including faith, science, medicine, culture, architecture, education, economy and civilisation. He came to bring man out of the pits of extreme darkness, ignorance and barbarianism, and to grant life, knowledge and understanding to the world.

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Even in the U.S., Putin Is Crowned Winner in U.N. Showdown – Rob Garver/Fiscal Times

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When you run a heavy-handed government that has systematically beaten down most of the independent domestic press and replaced it with servile government-run news outlets, you expect to see positive headlines after you deliver a major speech. But when Vladimir Putin woke up on Tuesday morning, a day after delivering his first address to the United National General Assembly in 10 years, even he must have been pleasantly surprised by what he read.

“Vladimir Putin Steals Barack Obama’s Thunder on the World Stage,” read one headline.

“Obama Has Turned Putin into the World’s Most Powerful Leader,” read another.

“At the U.N., Putin Checkmates Obama on Ukraine, Syria, ISIS,” went one more.

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What’s Russia up to in Syria? I would wager they’re after something big – retaking Palmyra – Robert Fisk/The Independent

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Vladimir Putin hasn’t sent his soldiers to Syria just to show solidarity with Bashar al-Assad. Nor has he flown them into the Russian bases around Tartous to keep Assad in power. That goes without saying. And Putin isn’t worried about losing the only warm water Mediterranean port still in Moscow’s hands.

He wants a victory. Syria’s army, the only institution upon which the regime – indeed, the entire state apparatus – depends is being re-armed and trained for a serious military offensive against Isis, one which is meant to have enormous symbolic value both in the Middle East and in the world. Military plans always get delayed. And the moment the first artillery piece sends off a shell, the plans always go wrong. In Syria, operational details change every day and every night. But I’ll wager a well-informed guess right now – and we’ll keep calling this a guess, if only for form’s sake – that the Syrian army is being primed to recapture the ancient Roman city of Palmyra from the Islamists.

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Saudi Arabia is worried – and not just about its king – Brian Whitaker/The Guardian

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Not only are many Saudis jumpy about their incautious King Salman, the world surrounding the Gulf is also changing in all the ways they fear

Extreme caution has long been the watchword of Saudi monarchs: caution in foreign policy, and caution especially when it comes to internal change. Since 2005, when the king nervously decided it was safe to allow elections for half the members of municipal councils (the other half were to be appointed by the king), it has taken a further 10 years to get around to letting women take part.

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Saudi Royal Calls For Regime Change In Riyadh – The Guardian/MintPress

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Plea by grandson of state’s founder comes as falling oil prices, war in Yemen and loss of faith in authority buffet leadership of King Salman.

A senior Saudi prince has launched an unprecedented call for change in the country’s leadership, as it faces its biggest challenge in years in the form of war, plummeting oil prices and criticism of its management of Mecca, scene of last week’s hajj tragedy.

The prince, one of the grandsons of the state’s founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, has told the Guardian that there is disquiet among the royal family – and among the wider public – at the leadership of King Salman, who acceded the throne in January.

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​Ya’alon: Israel is not coordinating its Syria operations with Russia – Debka File

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Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Israel is not coordinating its operations in Syria with Russia, as Moscow ramps up its buildup in that country.

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The First-Ever Raising of Palestine’s Flag at the U.N. Is Our Moment of Hope – Mahmoud Abbas/HuffPo

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Tomorrow, the Palestinian flag will be raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York and at other U.N. offices around the world. The sense of pride among the Palestinian people was overwhelming the day the world voted in favor of this landmark initiative. I am certain that the day our flag rises among the flags of the community of nations will also be a most emotional and proud day.

The General Assembly’s vote confirmed again that we, the people of Palestine, are not alone in our quest for freedom, fulfillment of our rights and an end to decades of Israeli occupation and oppression. On September 30, we will raise our flag in a peaceful gesture that will remind all that justice and independence is ultimately possible. To get to this destination, we need the support of our friends around the world and the leadership of the U.N.

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Israeli Advocates Palestinian Holocaust – Richard Silverstein/Tikun-Olam

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Nati Mor

 
Among the latest oddities and outrages in the Israeli media (including social and news media) are these:

An Israeli Facebook user, Nati Mor, posted this “panegyric” to the Palestinian people (translation by Ronnie Barkan, who found this gem).  Though it’s one of the most extreme statements I’ve read in some time, it’s important because it represents the views of so many more Israelis, including many who would never be so bold as to express themselves like this publicly:

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Obama and Putin Play Diplomatic Poker Over Syria – Michael R. Gordon and Gardiner Harris/The New York Times

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UNITED NATIONS — After circling each other for the past year, President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia squared off on Monday at the United Nations in dueling speeches that presented starkly different views on the Syrian crisis and how to bring stability to the Middle East.

President Obama made a forceful defense of diplomacy and the system of rules represented by the international body, but in a veiled reference to Mr. Putin, he warned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.”

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Songs for Bashar

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Song by Djalil (Syrian/American rap)

More recommended songs:

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A quiet street in Jerusalem becomes a new front line between Israelis, Palestinians – Ruth Eglash/The Washington Post

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     In 1948, a barbed-wire and concrete fence ran down the center, dividing it – half of it, including the Old City [with Wailing Wall]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — On the surface, Meir Nakar Street seems like an idyllic place to live. A kindergarten and a leafy park are on one side of the street and a row of neat stone houses is on the other.

But this quiet area has recently become a new front line of sorts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For many nights over the past month, Palestinian youths have lobbed stones, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at the houses here, residents say. One property was hit more than 17 times in 10 days, sparking a fire inside the home and in the garden.

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Alison Weir Interview – VT Radio

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Speaking Truth to Empire

 

On “Speaking Truth to Empire”, on KFCF 88.1 Free Speech Radio for Central California, Dan Yaseen interviews Alison Weir, founder and executive director of “If Americans Knew (IAK),” a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing Americans with information on Israel-Palestine conflict, which is misreported or under-reported in the American media. We will talk about her new book, Against Our Better Judgement and about recent McCarthy-like attacks on her and IAK.

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