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Liberal Antiwar Activism is the Problem

Counterpunch

August 5, 2016

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“Liberalism itself has failed, and for a pretty good reason. It has been too often compromised by the people who represented it.”

? Hunter S. Thompson

Every election season, veterans and their families are used as political pawns. During the Democratic National Convention in Philly, the Khans, the mother and father of a Marine Captain who was killed in Iraq, conveniently filled the role for Hillary Clinton and the Neoliberals. At the Republican National Convention, Patricia Smith gladly took the stage for the Neofascists and talked about the death of her son and the non-scandal that is, Benghazi.

In the meantime, anyone who opposes U.S. Empire is shit-out-of-luck when it comes to presidential elections and the two major parties. Here, we should commend Gary Johnson and Jill Stein for remaining principled in their views surrounding foreign policy, militarism, torture and surveillance. They’re the last of a dying breed.

***

My transition from obedient Marine to antiwar veteran was swift. In 2004, while deployed to Iraq, I enthusiastically cast an absentee ballot for John Kerry. Four years later, I was protesting Obama and the Democrats at the DNC in Denver. It didn’t take long to figure out that the Democratic Party was a party of Empire and Capitalism.

Unfortunately, 2008 was the last time a significant number of antiwar activists protested Obama’s foreign policy. Yes, a small number of Americans made a fuss when Obama first threatened to bomb Syria, but those protests were driven by partisan and sectarian interests (the first and only time I saw Republicans and Communists working together). Furthermore, those protests weren’t sustained in any meaningful fashion, so the energy quickly dissipated. As everyone now knows, Obama eventually launched military strikes in Syria and the U.S. continues to bomb the country today.

The millions of liberals who enthusiastically marched against the Bush/Cheney regime have remained utterly silent during Obama’s reign in the White House. And they should be ashamed.

***

Why are liberals and progressives so unprincipled when it comes to U.S. Empire? In my thinking, a large part of the problem is ideological: the majority of liberals and progressives, including many who supported Bernie Sanders, fully identify as Americans. They’ve bought into the notion that the U.S. is a special nation that enjoys a special place in our geopolitical reality. Liberals perpetuate the myth of American Exceptionalism and fully endorse the concept of American Nationalism. As a result, these ideologies are employed in their rhetoric and reflected in their bankrupt policies.

In the future, any antiwar movement that hopes to be successful, must undoubtedly challenge these myths and ideologies and remind Americans of our brutal history. When I think of American Exceptionalism, I don’t think about the moon landing or the U.S. Constitution, I think of exceptional madness: the genocide of North America’s indigenous population, slavery and 200 years of Empire.

When I see an American flag, my blood boils. Technically, I’m an American. But I don’t self-identify as an American. I’d rather identify as a global citizen or simply a human being. Maybe some of this sounds petty, as the flag is simply the symbolic representation of U.S. Empire, but to me, and many millions around the globe, it represents murder, plunder and extreme hubris. Again, nothing to be proud of, and surely nothing to defend.

***

Another fundamental problem in the antiwar movement was individual careerist interests. Let’s be honest, many people failed to protest Obama’s militarism because it wasn’t economically prudent to do so. In short, it was bad for peoples’ potential careers in the world of non-profits. Many of the veterans and antiwar activists I met during the Bush-era now work for any number of liberal NGOs. The revolving door of professional activists and paid consultants dampened any potential radicalism that could have sprouted from any number of organizations we worked with. We were told, “Don’t offend the donors!”

Eventually, I sat on the board of directors of an internationally known antiwar organization. I remember having a conversation with my fellow board members about fundraising. At the time, we were having financial difficulties and donations were sparse. Consequently, the board decided that we should conduct a fluff, top-down campaign to attract funding. Instead, I proposed that we should call our donors and explain that the antiwar movement has disappeared and that we’re having difficulties keeping members active and engaged. You know, the truth. I was told that’s not how NGOs work and that I was immature and uneducated about the topic. You know, just another working-class buffoon.

Today, that organization is a shell of its former self. Hell, I’m not sure if the organization even exists outside of a few art projects and street theater performances. Conventions are held, but they’re no more substantive than a high school reunion. It’s sad and unfortunate.

I don’t recall these memories or provide these reflections with any pleasure. To be honest, it breaks my heart that this is the state of the antiwar movement. Peoples’ lives around the world depend on those of us in the U.S. to create movements capable of stopping Uncle Sam’s imperial madness. So far, we’re losing. And in many ways, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

***

I live in a Rust Belt town in Northwest Indiana, hence most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are not radical activists or political organizers. These folks might attend a local political or cultural event, or even vote in the primaries, but they’re not full-time activists. They don’t spend their days reading Tariq Ali and Arundhati Roy (though they should). These are people who wake up (early), go to work (usually for shit pay), come home (if they have one), eat some dinner (usually fast food or frozen meals) and watch Netflix or ESPN. Their realities and interests are dramatically different than the people I met in the antiwar movement, particularly those working for NGOs.

Several years ago, at a strategic workshop in Chicago, we spent the first two hours of each day talking about pronouns. That’s right, pronouns. Now, is there anything inherently wrong with discussing gender identities? Of course not. But we were attending a strategic workshop for an antiwar organization, not a lecture on gender and civility.

It became clear to me that Identity Politics had infected the organization. But where did this ideology come from? San Francisco, of course.

Many of our members attended anti-oppression workshops, where they talked about privilege and collective liberation. Of course, 95% of the people conducting and attending these workshops were white, upper-class, highly educated and firmly isolated from reality. Yet, here they were,back in Chicago, telling me about privilege and questioning whether or not I was truly a good person because I didn’t understand what cis-gender meant.

If anyone reading this essay ever wondered why more working-class and poor people don’t join antiwar organizations or attend leftist political events, well, now you know. Because the Left is a fucking weird place.

Instead of educating people about the connections between militarism and austerity, Empire and Capitalism, workshop facilitators had people talking about pronouns and doing breathing exercises. I guess that sort of shit might fly in Portland or San Francisco, but not in the Rust Belt.

***

Speaking of the privileged and highly educated, isn’t it interesting that the people who argue for interventionist policies are often people who have the proper educational and cultural pedigree? Here, I’m thinking of the Rachel Maddows and Charlie Roses of the world.

The Humanitarian Interventionist isn’t a steelworker or a bartender at the local pub. Why? Because that bartender or steelworker’s son or daughter could very well end up fighting those interventionist wars abroad. They have some skin in the game, unlike the many professional-class liberals and societal managers who make absurd arguments about the merits of American Exceptionalism and hegemony.

One of the more interesting dynamics of the 2016 race has been Trump’s double-speak on foreign policy. On the one hand, Trump makes absolutely insane statements about nuclear weapons and so forth. On the other hand, Trump occasionally sounds like an isolationist and/or anti-interventionist.

Now, do I believe a word Trump utters? No. But what’s interesting is the fact that large portions of the GOP base, primarily white, working-class and poor people, are no longer buying what Uncle Sam is selling. Their sons and daughters have been ravaged from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with more veterans committing suicide than died overseas. The people who live in Small Town America are the Americans who’ve sacrificed the most since 9/11. And for all the wrong reasons: namely, nationalism, revenge, greed and power.

To me, this antiwar sentiment, however jumbled, unprincipled and unsophisticated it may be, is something to tap into. Without question, large swaths of the American public, especially Sanders and Trump’s supporters, are fatigued from almost fifteen years of non-stop war.

The next step is to use this sentiment to organize and mobilize a new antiwar movement. The only way this will happen is if the Left drops its pretentious bullshit and learns how to talk to regular Americans without getting offended. And that includes some of Trump’s supporters.

***

While the most Americans were focused on the Khan family and Donald Trump’s inability to keep his mouth shut, Obama launched his latest attack in Libya. The White House claims the U.S. will regularly drop bombs for the next month. Unsurprisingly, there was no debate, no congressional approval. The U.S. is bombing Libya and there’s nothing anyone can say or do about it. That’s the sad reality we endure.

Meanwhile, groups such as Vets vs. Hate, and opportunistic liberals, protest Trump’s bigotry but remain utterly silent when it comes to Obama and Clinton’s many war crimes and atrocities. Liberal groups have little to say about the links between U.S. Empire and Climate Change. Refugees aren’t even mentioned. Afghanistan is an afterthought. Libya and Syria might as well not exist. And not a word about civilian casualties.

Moreover, Vets vs. Hate reinforces the false notion that veterans are heroes. Yes, plenty of veterans sacrificed, but not for “democracy” or “freedom.” We killed and died for oil companies, geopolitical interests and banks. And the Democrats share as much responsibility as the Republicans.

The U.S. is the richest and most powerful Empire in history. And for the last 50 years we’ve been killing peasants around the globe. That’s honorable?

In the end, people who want to dismantle the U.S. Empire – Libertarians, Greens, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists – had better get our shit together, drop the sectarian nonsense, find our courage and form organizations that aren’t beholden to wealthy donors or the NGO complex because we’re running out of time. And neither the planet, nor humanity can endure another decade of liberal antiwar activism.

[Vincent Emanuele writes for teleSUR English and lives in Michigan City, Indiana. He can be reached at vincent.emanuele333@gmail.com ]

Indeed, Western Civilization is in a War

July 20, 2016

By Gerald A. Perreira

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Republican, Newt Gingrich, long known for his fascistic views, recently declared that “Western Civilization is in a war”. Truth be told, he is on solid ground. Indeed, Western Civilization is in a war, a war that has been raging since its inception. It has been at war with itself and with the entire non-European world for centuries. Long before anyone heard of Jihadists, Al-Qaeda and ISIL, Western Civilization was at war. Long before Osama Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muammar Qaddafi in Libya or Bashar al Assad in Syria, Western Civilization was at war with the entire rest of the world. Western Civilization has mastered the art and technology of warfare. They are the quintessential warlords, despite the fact that they love to attribute this term to non-European leaders, especially Africans. There is no civilization on the face of this earth that has waged war more relentlessly and permanently than Western Civilization – this is not opinion, it is an indisputable historical fact.

European Tribal Wars

Newt Gingrich and his kind need to be reminded of the Hundred-Year’s War (1337 – 1453). This was a European tribal war primarily between the French and the English, with various other European tribes supporting either side. The Hundred Years War claimed the lives of an estimated 3.5 million people. Then there was the Thirty Year’s War (1618 – 1648) involving the majority of European nations. Military historians estimate the death-toll to be at least 8 million. Then we had the two great European tribal wars, erroneously referred to as World War 1 and World War 2, in which the colonized were roped in to fighting alongside the various North Atlantic Tribes. Sadly today, many of us are still fighting on the side of the various North Atlantic Tribes to further the aims of Empire and in the process subjugate and destroy our own peoples. So-called World War 1 claimed the lives of 38 million people, while the other so-called World War – one of Europe’s most genocidal tribal wars left more than 60 million dead.

The West turns on the Rest

After bleeding themselves for centuries, and committing genocide on their own people, they turned on the Indigenous peoples throughout the world committing an unprecedented act of genocide, and then instigated the horrific Trans-Atlantic trade in captured Africans, resulting in the death of untold millions of Africans. This was a war like no other – a war that is still raging on the streets of every town and city in modern day USA, where the descendants of those captured Africans are routinely gunned down by the police in the streets. This year alone, US police have killed at least 136 Africans, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being the latest victims. In 2012, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a report titled: Operation Ghetto Storm in which they documented the fact that every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a Black man, woman or child. This is none other than a war being waged by white corporate America and its racist institutions on the poor and disenfranchised. Following the fatal shooting of 5 police officers in Dallas, Texas on July 7th, President Obama had this to say:

“there’s been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement… I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with people and the police department in Dallas.”

Despite the fact that many of the Africans shot by police in the US have been executed at point blank range, and that a recent victim, Tamir Rice was only 12 years old when he was shot to death in a playground, no US president, including Obama, has ever spoken about the killing of Africans in America in this tone, using appropriately harsh words.

And when 3 more police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 17th, President Obama had this to say:

“I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop…And make no mistake – justice will be done.

We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None… These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best.”

Anyone reading these statements can see that Barack Obama is clear about whose side he is on in this war. In the face of the horrific statistics regarding the number of Africans shot this year alone by police, let alone decades of police brutality and murder directed against African communities throughout the US, Obama deliberately fails to connect the dots. He dare not. As the Black face of White Supremacy and Western Civilization’s ongoing war, this White House Negro better keep his story straight and keep to his script.

Barack Obama chalks up Major Victory

After all, during his presidency he chalked up a victory for Western Civilization’s war that compares with few others. He authorized and colluded in the brutal murder of Muammar Qaddafi, one of Africa’s finest leaders. He joined with his Western European allies to destroy Africa’s most prosperous country, in a bid to prevent Libya from leading the entire continent to its long awaited destination of a United States of Africa. This was a huge moment for Western Civilization’s war effort, since a United States of Africa, with its own currency, backed by its own gold, would have definitely humbled Western Civilization. It would have brought about a cataclysmic shift in global power relations which is why Muammar Qaddafi was targeted for annihilation.

‘The Returnees’

The two men accused of the police shootings following the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both ‘returnees’. Micah Johnson was a 25 year old former US Army reservist who had served in Afghanistan, and Gavin Long was a 29-year-old Marine Corps veteran who had served in Iraq. Long received several awards, including the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Navy Unit Commendation Medal. These two young men were trained to be killers in the ongoing, never ending war waged by Western Civilization. Obama needs to tell us: When US forces bomb wedding parties in Afghanistan and entire apartment blocks in Iraq, killing and maiming men, women, children and the elderly – are these attacks not the work of cowards who speak for no one? Have these wars, waged by Western Civilization righted any wrongs? What causes have been advanced by the unleashing of unimaginable terror and genocide on the populations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to name just a few of the most recent targets of Western Civilization’s ongoing war.

We need to remind Newt Gingrich that those who he charges with the crime of waging war on Western Civilization –‘ the terrorists’ and so-called ‘Jihadists’ – were and continue to be organized, trained, armed and financed by Western Civilization’s intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of their allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan. Let us not forget that Ronald Reagan referred to the ‘jihadists’ who were fighting the Soviet troops in Afghanistan at that time, as freedom fighters. In fact, it was Ronald Reagan who popularized the concept of Jihad in western political circles. These same jihadists were the forerunners of Al Qaeda and ISIL and have been used and manipulated by Western Civilization’s intelligence agencies to fight a number of their dirty wars, leaving behind nothing but mayhem and destruction.

After the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the Arabs who fought with the Afghan mujahideen, all of whom were supported and armed by Western Civilization’s various agencies, returned to their respective countries. Armed with their reactionary Wahhabi ideology they launched ‘jihad’ against what they referred to as ‘secular’ regimes. The same regimes that the ‘Jihadists’ saw as ‘secular’ were nationalist regimes, that each, in their own way, opposed Western Civilization’s domination of their country and the region. Western Civilization’s warlords and generals were quick to realize that they could continue their infiltration and manipulation of these groups of ‘jihadists’ to further the aims and objectives of Western Civilization’s Empire. After all, Al Qaeda means the base and refers to the original database created by the CIA when they were backing these so-called jihadists in Afghanistan. It was their base and they had full access to it.

No meaningful analysis can be made of events taking place in 2016 if we do not have knowledge of the past. We must research and study ‘His-Story’ and ‘Our-Story’, in order to be able to devise an effective strategy of resistance. As military strategist and philosopher, Sun Tzu counsels:

“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and you know Earth, you may make your victory complete.”

Who is to blame?

Newt Gingrich was certainly right – Western Civilization is in a war. What he failed to point out is that every aspect of this war, this global terror and nihilistic violence we are confronted with in 2016 was spawned by Western Civilization’s agenda for global domination. We must remain focused on the real enemy despite the daily bombardment we receive from Western Civilization’s corporate media about the new bogyman. The creation of bogeymen is a strategy they have used since the beginning of their onslaught to distract us from the real enemy – themselves. It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic to watch on as they attempt to portray Russia and Vladimir Putin as the new evil. I suspect that in the age of the internet, even those who in the past absorbed Western Civilization’s propaganda as if it was gospel truth, are growing weary.

Following is an excerpt from Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? The book was written by populist conservative, Pat Buchanan. Unlike politically correct liberals, likes of Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton, who never tell it like it is, but rather weave a deceptive narrative to further Western Civilization’s prolonged war; and the likes of Newt Gingrich and his gang who like to throw around words and concepts without having any knowledge whatsoever of the history of Western Civilization; Pat Buchanan, although a staunch defender of Western Civilization, is courageous enough to lay the blame where it rightfully belongs. Perhaps his honesty is motivated by his understanding that the very survival of Western Civilization is in jeopardy if it continues on its present trajectory. In his words:

“We fail to understand what motivated our attackers. They did not come to kill us because they abhor our Constitution, or wish to impose Sharia on Oklahoma. They were over here because we are over there. They came to kill us in our country because we will not get out of their countries. Terrorism is the weapon of the weak who wish to be rid of foreign domination. From Plaines Indians to Afghan mujahideen, from Menachem Begin’s Irgun to the Algerian FLN, from the IRA of Martin McGuinness to the ANC of Nelson Mandela, it has ever been thus. Terrorism is the price of Empire.”

While this self-evident truth is abundantly clear to the rest of us, it is important to note when this truth is finally articulated and documented by one of their own. If this war is ever to end then Newt Gingrich and the rest of Western Civilization must face their own demons.

 

 

[Gerald A. Perreira is a writer, educator, theologian and political activist. He is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP). He is an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network for Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fateh revolution and was a founding member of the World Mathaba, based in Tripoli, Libya. He can be reached at mojadi94@gmail.com.]

Stranger Than Fiction: How to Keep an Antiwar Movement Down

by Emma Quangel

May 9, 2016

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Imagine, if you will, the year 2016. It is a year of war. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkey – just a handful in a long list – are under attack. Covert operations angling at “regime change” take place in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The African continent is engulfed in conflict, the threat of “regime change” knocking against even South Africa’s door. The BRICs are threatened, destabilizing. Thousands drown every year in the Mediterranean while millions more flood Europe, desperate for refuge from the violence and poverty that plagues their homelands. The right is on the rise across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. The global economy is sagging under the weight of its own contradictions.

The United States government, that acts as the hired guns of a global class of jet-setting billionaires, imprisons 2.3 million of its own people. 3.2 per cent of its citizens are under correctional control. The descendants of those once kidnapped and enslaved are particularly tormented – one in three black males in the USA will spend some time in prison. 12,000 children in Flint, Michigan are poisoned by lead in the water. 60,000 people in New York City are homeless. Nearly 1,000 people were killed by the police in the United States last year. Thousands more are tortured – even boiled alive – in US prisons. In the state of Louisiana, black men in chains pick cotton for slave wages while overseers toting shotguns monitor them from horseback. The electoral system is rigged, disenfranchises millions, and offers the same solution, year after year: submit or be crushed.

Imagine, if you will, the year 2016 without a revolutionary movement against such conditions.

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The Black Panther Party was possibly the highwater mark for American revolution in the 20th century because it existed in concert with, and gave guidance to, a broad-based antiwar movement. While the labor struggles of the working class at the turn of the century were integral in improving the lives of millions of Americans and providing a platform for revolutionary socialism, it wasn’t until the radical labor movement started to speak out against the First World War that they were persecuted in full by the government, lynched, deported and imprisoned. Likewise, the Black Panthers were most heavily targeted when they developed a line that connected the suffering of the American people to the suffering inflicted on others by the United States abroad. In both instances, the culprit was imperialism, capitalism made flesh in the form of guns and planes that could stamp out challenges to its hegemony.

That the Black Panther Party even existed should one of the greatest points of pride among radicals in the United States. Indeed, Black Panthers are still on the run from the FBI or languishing in prisons, sometimes for decades under solitary confinement. They were able to serve the people while educating them about the world we lived in. To the Black Panthers, to anyone who would call themselves a dialectical materialist, the idea that the United States Government is an institution that can be reformed is simply absurd. The United States Government, to Marxists, does not exist as a faulty waiter failing to bring free health care and universal housing with the check, but rather, to mediate class conflict in favor of the bourgeoisie – not just in the United States, but worldwide. The Black Panthers saw this, and declared themselves in solidarity with the victims of imperialism. They toured the world, meeting with revolutionaries from North Korea to Vietnam. And this, along with organizing among poor black communities in the United States, is what brought down the wrath of the state on their heads.

It is possible to say that a revolutionary movement in the United States can only exist when there is praxis that recognizes the relationship between oppression in the US and imperialism. I would further venture to say that there can be no praxis without the two elements being present concurrently, and that no honest effort at building a revolutionary movement in the US can be made without recognizing that there must be an antiwar movement to join, and that this antiwar movement must be anti-imperialist.

After all, the wars of today differ greatly from the wars of the early 20th century, the wars that threw Emma Goldman and Big Bill Haywood in jail. We no longer have the draft – the popular rage over Vietnam saw an end to that – and the US spends more time launching air strikes from unmanned drones than digging trenches or preparing for bayonet combat. Likewise, imperialism doesn’t always take place at the end of a gun. The IMF and World Bank, created at the end of World War II, helped to exert influence over economies and governments where a heavier, more direct hand was once required. The creation of NATO and the Cold War made imperialism seem a war of ideologies, rather than the ham-fisted grab at resources that it was. Now, it seems that while American bombs and bullets murder so many worldwide, we are encouraged to side with imperialism as socialists. We are expected to take on the reasoning of George W. Bush and Samantha Power so long as it is dressed up and marketed in a way that pleases us, even if we consider ourselves “Left” leaning politically. Like soda and smartphones, we are exhorted to find identity in our positions, to represent ourselves by our consumer choices.

An alarming trend is on the rise in the United States and in the English-speaking world more generally: the ubiquitous Op-Ed. What was once relegated to just one page of the newspaper (the term Op-Ed meaning something that ran on the page opposite to Editorial) now makes up large sections of online news media. I imagine it is cheaper to pay a freelancer $250 (optimistic!) for their opinion than finance a foreign bureau. Whole TV networks run on an audio-visual version of the Op-Ed. It is a form of news that directly tells its reader how to think about the current events. Many gain their information on a topic simply from reading Op-eds. Today’s columnist and pundit is a TV show, someone that we can tune into on a regular basis for entertainment and flattery. If one show is boring, if you don’t like what they’re saying – simply switch the channel. It doesn’t matter, as all are trying to sell you a ruling class agenda. And, above all else, in our 24 hour news cycle, we are never allowed to present news in a boring way. The VICE lifestyle brand turned global news channel, with its correspondents pulled from content marketing’s central casting, is a prime example of the desire to “sex-up” news by letting opinions lead coverage. It is a way to engage the youth, as it boasts openly, to not only consume brands, but also official narratives, with enthusiasm.

A narrative example from the Op-ed world of news could be as follows: In Syria, democratic protesters are fighting against a brutal regime that slaughters them with impunity. These democratic protesters, now called rebels, are always at risk of being annihilated by state violence and torture because the Western Left has “failed” them.We must all support these rebels and pressure our government to do the right thing,whatever that might be.

Some articles might be run in conjunction, many that might contradict this narrative. We might learn from respected journalists with years of experience and lauded professional histories that things aren’t so simple. We might learn from State Department press transcripts that these brave rebels take quite a lot of money from the US Government. But it doesn’t matter if half of the paper contradicts the other half. When we are told how to read the news, through the eyes of these pundits, we are happily oblivious of whatever facts might contradict our chosen authority. After all, Thomas Friedman is far more influential and famous than some no-name stringer for The Times. Anyone who might disagree with the official narrative, even if they are respected journalists, scholars or activists, are now called conspiracy theorists, “hacks” or worse.

But while journalists are still nominally held to professional standards, the pundit owes no such thing to her audience. After all, this is just her opinion, and she is not expected to have thoroughly researched differing narratives – nor is she obligated to present opposing views, or to present anything evenly – when publishing her Op-ed. This is not unexpected, nor is it dishonest to the job description of a “pundit”. It’s up to the publication to decide how much of its material is news, and how much of it is entertainment packaged as Op-eds.

Yet, there is danger when a pundit or entertainer decides to call herself a journalist without having been subjected to the same standards we would expect from the NYT stringer. Facts are not checked and sources are not vetted. So-called journalists, such as Michael Weiss or Molly Crabapple, rely heavily on anonymous sources who slip them scintillating information or photographs. And yet, I am unsure who these sources are, who has vetted them, and how they did so. Indeed, as this new generation straddles the line between journalist and pundit, the means by which they communicate are themselves in question. My own WhatsApp number is from Iraq, though I have not lived there since October 2015. So, I think it’s natural to ask how these sources are processed, especially if the Op-ed writers posing as journalists are writing whole books based on their testimony, appearing on talk shows as experts, and building careers off promoting wars. While the content may be biased and one-sided, laden with marketing copy and convenient omissions, we should be incredibly wary on how we define, protect, but also how we verify the “source”. Indeed, I wouldask how these pundits find, vet and receive information, but as many already tried to have me fired from my last job for asking such questions, it’s pointless to attempt from my position – though I welcome corrections and inputs from editorial.

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As it stands, The Guardian admitted last week that it had been fed stories on Syria by the UK Home Office operating from behind a PR firm that was operating a Syrian advocacy campaign. Breakthrough Media joins its American agency Purpose (via The Syria Campaign) in pushing advocacy for pro-intervention narratives on the Syria conflict. What is left out of the discussion of whether or not public funds are being used to propagandize war to the tax-paying public is the disclosure of who the freelance “journalists” are that are being paid or otherwise lobbied to write on Syria. We would expect that journalists taking money or in kind contributions from campaign staff disclose such information when writing on the election – why not the same expectation from those who write on foreign policy matters? Perhaps it is because, in the long run, such issues are far weightier than whatever new jab a candidate throws on social media or a cable news talk show. One of the more chilling revelations from The Guardian, one seemingly lifted straight from my book, is that some of the journalists reported they were unaware that they were being utilized in this way.

If we knew that Fred Hampton or Emma Goldman were taking money from public relations firms (who may or may not have been receiving marching orders from governments) when speaking or writing on the wars they opposed, wouldn’t that change the way we see their positions? And certainly, if we were to discover that some of our favorite, cherished personalities who regularly tell us how to read the news were taking money from PR firms, to confuse, mislead, attack or threaten activists who might otherwise try and build a case against the US government’s wars abroad and at home, wouldn’t that be a scandal?

There may be no antiwar movement today because we live in a media environment that seeks to destroy it in its nascence. Andrew Bacevich, in his recent instructive essay for Harper’s called “American Imperium”, makes the case that:

The trivializing din of what passes for news drowns out the antiwar critique. One consequence of remaining perpetually at war is that the political landscape in America does not include a peace party.

Indeed, before there can be a peace party, there must be an antiwar critique. And the “trivializing din” that Bacevich speaks of is not simply drowning out antiwar critique, it is merciless in seeking to destroy and discredit ideas such as the fact that the United States enjoys unprecedented military, economic, ideological and strategic domination over the entire world. Such ideas, when voiced publicly, are met with derision and laughter. As if, with dozens of bases and tens of thousands of soldiers surrounding Russia, one could seriously argue that Russia is imperialist, or an equal threat to world peace as the US. There are no Russian bases and no Russian soldiers garrisoned on our borders. We cannot even know, as the numbers are not publicly available, how many US soldiers and bases are currently in the Middle East – indeed, how many are currently in Iraq and Syria, where much conflict is currently taking place. Whereas before, reliable journalists and their supportive editors might have been successful in discovering such figures, they are now too focused on revenue and survival. This opens wide the door for propagandists who wish to deride and discredit any remaining “Left” antiwar sentiment in the US. Until this is resolved, building an anti-imperialist antiwar movement will remain an uphill battle, even among smaller groups, as subjectivity and sophistry continues to be taught and promoted over objectivity, materialism, serious study and clear thinking.

 

[“Emma Quangel is the woman who bravely contributed to the outing of Nazi murderer/”Last Rhodesian” Dylann Storm Roof’s blog, which probably spoiled Roof’s chances at the inexorably successful—for white supremacists—insanity defense.  After Quangel, an insanity verdict for Roof would be an insanity verdict for the U.S. white supremacist system: which is to say, in lieu of Aristotelian-bourgeois justice, Artaudian ritual magic, a self-reparative exorcism.”]

The Creation of Discursive Monoculture

Public Good Project

May 6, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

television_war_poster

The creation of discursive monoculture—intended to dominate all discussion of vital issues—is the result of a strategy by the power elite to prevent counter-power narratives from entering mainstream consciousness. Through hostile takeovers of government, media, and the non-profit industrial complex, the financial sector in the last decade has accomplished what official censorship and political repression could not: totalitarian control of social media, and the mobilization of progressives in support of neoliberal fascism.

As I noted in Preventing Discursive Monoculture, the financial sector capture of media, academia, and civil society indicates a future of diminishing consciousness—a future where fantasies about political power enable the murder of Indigenous activists and unembedded journalists with impunity. More recently, in A World of Make Believe, I elaborated on the fact that privatized mass communication now dominates public opinion to such a degree that all public discussion of vital issues is choreographed by PR firms.

In Controlling Consciousness, I observed that the donor elites that set the civil society agenda benefit from Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness, allowing them to fabricate news, as well as to integrate advertising with government propaganda. In order to maintain credibility, the non-profit PR firms subservient to the power elite, i.e. Avaaz, need to first establish a noble reputation, often using the tried-and-true method of poverty pimping—an effective and largely undetected tool in the art of social engineering.

Chrysi Philalithes of Red, Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose, Brett Solomon, cofounder and executive director of AccessNow.org and Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out take part in "The Rise of the Movement Entrepreneur" discussion hosted by Purpose at the Paley Center February 10, 2011 in New York. (Allison Joyce/Insider Images)

Above: Chrysi Philalithes of Red, Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose, Brett Solomon, cofounder and executive director of AccessNow.org and Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out take part in Social Media Week hosted by Purpose at the Paley Center February 10, 2011 in New York. (Allison Joyce/Insider Images)

As I remarked in R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe, under the neoliberal model of global conquest, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose, and Amnesty International function as stage managers for the power elite in choreographed productions where neoliberal heroism can be enacted. These constructed events–that urge neoliberal military interventions in countries like Mali, Burundi, Libya and Syria—then draw in civil society as participants of moral catastrophe, where they actually become complicit in crimes against humanity.

conformity-is-unity-3

Courtesy of Mark Gould

The ulterior strategy of Avaaz as the ‘Great White Hope’ in other venues, subsequently allowed this social media marketing agency to easily herd so-called progressives to line up behind the neoliberal imperial campaigns in Libya & Syria–where Avaaz literally designed and managed the PR campaign for NATO and the US–in order to present the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra as the good guys in ‘white helmets’. Networked psychological warfare (Netwar) is not hard to grasp; it just isn’t discussed anywhere, making Communication: The Invisible Environment.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

SYRIA: #AleppoIsBurning Campaign Created by US and NATO to Facilitate a “No Bomb Zone”

The Wall Will Fall

May 4, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

“I would like to point out something, if you open the trending section in Facebook you will see that Aleppo, Syria is trending.  They say the Syrian government is continuing air-strikes on Aleppo. The funny thing is we dont see or hear any planes.” ~ Marianne R Bedoun, Aleppo

The following photo was taken from Soros funded ANA Press director, Deiaa Dughmoch’s Facebook page.  Translated as Aleppo citizens searching the skies for war-planes.  According to Marianne Bedoun, they might be there some time.

aleppo looking for planesMarianne was immediately targeted by hate speech from the followers of mainstream media and the US NATO governed propaganda outlets who are controlling the Aleppo narrative. This from one UK based Facebook responder:

“Its about hiding the truth that Assad is massacring the Syrian people to keep himself in power and the US and NATO are backing him up rather than engaging in any Wahhabi terrorist support operation.  Its really quite racist to call those defending their homes and lives NATO backed terrorists but I guess you are so deep in this shit you cant see.” ~ Dick Gregory. 

Marianne responded from inside Aleppo:

You are right I am so deep in this I cant exit because I am a Syrian living in Aleppo. And please tell me where did you get your facts? Your brain-washing western media? I am telling you what I see every minute. Racist? We are the ones defending our homes against their brutal ways…hell cannons, hand-made missiles etc every day since day one”

Aleppo woman confronts
Professor Tim Anderson

This social media exchange exemplifies the ever widening chasm between the reports from the Syrian people living in areas under siege or occupied by US NATO backed terrorists and the blatant bias from western and gulf funded journalists.

“The Pentagon has now designated “information operations” as its fifth “core competency” alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own “psyop” element producing output for local media.

This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of “public diplomacy” which includes funding radio stations and news websites. In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal.

This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two “black propaganda specialists” from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through “editors and writers who work with us from time to time”. ~ US Government has Long used Propaganda against the American People

The Aleppo Spin

A very quick look at who has rapidly generated the #AleppoIsBurning campaign that has made red the new black on Facebook and Twitter brings us rapidly to the Purpose Manhattan PR company and their Syria cohorts.  Syria Campaign, the White Helmets are implicated and the actual event has been created by none other than Rami Jarrah of Soros funded ANA Press based in Southern Turkey and operating with the explicit approval of chief terrorism supporter, Sultan Erdogan.

rami and erdogan 2

Rami Jarrah meeting with Erdogan to discuss the “difficulties” in maintaining media coverage of the “Syrian revolution”. 

Note in this image, Erdogan makes no effort to conceal his support for the mythical Syrian revolution.

Rami Jarrah’s connections to Soros and his commitment to promoting the US NATO narrative are discussed in the two following articles:

George Soros: Anti-Syria Campaign Impresario

Oscar Spoiler: The Return of Syria Danny, as Actor Danny Dayem turns up in Rami Jarrah’s Latest Fictional Short

If we go to the Aleppo is Burning event page on Facebook, the producers are clearly visible:

Aleppo rami

Deiaa Dughmoch and Rami Jarrah are co-founders of ANA Press.  Sarah Dadouch works for ANA Press and is based in Istanbul, Turkey according to her Facebook page.

Co-initiator of the #AleppoIsBurning campaign is Lilah Khoja who has been instrumental in promoting the “Worldwide Red Protest”.  Khoja is on the team of the Karam Foundation  as their advocacy co-ordinator. While there is minimal financial information on the Karam Foundation, set up in 2007 by co-founder and CEO, Lina Sergie Attar, Attar is on the board of the Muslim Brotherhood Syrian American Council.

“The Syrian American Council is one of the largest American based Syrian lobbying organizations and key SAC leaders are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in the US:

The last known SAC President was Talal Sunbulli (aka Talal Sunulle ) who was listed as the Syrian coordinator in the international phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members seized by federal investigators during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.

The last known SAC Chairman was Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the California office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a part of the Us Muslim Brotherhood.

US Muslim Brotherhood figure Louay Safi is known to have been a leading member of the SAC.” ~GlobalMBWatch

Attar is in fact Chair of the Humanitarian Committee as well as being on the National Board of Directors under one of her many name variations, Lina Segie.

SAC board

According to Attar’s biography on the Karam Foundation site, she is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo.

“Sergie Attar frequently travels to the Syrian border in southern Turkey to run Karam’s Smart Aid programs.”

Perhaps of even greater interest, Attar “serves on the board of directors” of the Soros and Avaaz/Purpose created Syria Campaign.

“Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices , The Syria Campaign and March Campaign #withSyria.” ~ Cory Morningstar

Ford and Lina
Lina Attar of Karam Foundation/Syria Campaign/SAC with Ex US Ambassador to Syria and known terrorism supporter, Robert Ford.

In February 2016 Attar appeared with alleged death squad creator and ex US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford at the “War on the Innocents: The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis” conference held at Phillips Exeter Academy. Ford has been singularly involved in the creation of the so called “moderate rebels” in Syria, a euphemism that is rapidly losing all credibility despite his best efforts to shore up their crumbling facade of respectability.

The final member of the #AleppoIsBurning marketing team we will discuss is Noha Kamseh, based in Gazientep, Turkey. Kamseh works for the Syrian Forum.

According to their website, the Syrian Forum is registered in Turkey, Austria and the US. It supports “Local Administration Councils as an utmost priority” and “Aspires to contribute to the rebuilding of a democratic Syria under the Rule of Law.”

“Local Administrative Councils (LACs) are well positioned to take the place of government municipalities, especially in the areas of the north devoid of government services. The SOC [Syrian Opposition Council] should provision funding and resources to the identification, development, and training of civil society groups in watchdog functions so that they can monitor the LACs for transparency and accountability where appropriate.” ~ Local Councils in Syria report.

Are we seeing a US NATO funded Syrian Shadow State creation supported by the Syria Forum? They aspire to “rebuilding a democratic Syria under the rule of Law”, one wonders which law they are talking about as there is no mention of the existing Syrian constitution, nor any reference to the recent widely accepted, reformed and democratic elections.

The Syrian Forum operates with institutionalized, yet dynamic processes that seek out unique and creative initiatives. Its work is supported through private donations from Syrians, and international partnerships with governments, foundations, academic institutions, and other non-profit organizations

So which governments and foundations are supporting the formation of a “Syrian shadow state”?

collage sf2

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various UN Agencies and a few other organisations heavily invested economically and geopolitically in “regime change” in Syria.

Qatar has defended Riyadh funded and Al Qaeda affiliate Ahrar Al Sham currently besieging and daily shelling or sniping the Idlib villages of Kafarya and Foua among many others across Syria including the village of Madaya where Ahrar Al Sham terrorist factions are occupying the village and stockpiling humanitarian aid before selling it at extortionate prices to the civilians. This narrative was naturally distorted by many members of the same team, now generating the #AleppoIsBurning reports.

“I am telling you that Ahrar al Sham is a Syrian group, they look for their liberation, and they are working among other moderate groups,” ~ Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al Attiyah

As Canadian peace campaigner and writer, Ken Stone said in 2013, Canada has also been pivotal in the war against Syria and the “regime change” objectives of the US and NATO alliance.

“1. Organizing the covert mercenary war against Syria through the Group of Friends of the Syrian People (“Friends of Syria Group”);

2. Establishing a regime of economic sanctions against Syria and hosting, in Ottawa, the Friends of Syria Group’s International Working Group on Sanctions;

3. Funding and supporting the so-called “rebel” side;

4. Planning for an overt western military action against Syria;

5. Working with Syrian-Canadians antagonistic to the Assad government;

6. Contributing to the demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to the de-legitimation and isolation of his government.”

Aleppo bus Shababeek
Burned out bus in Aleppo. Photo: Shababeek Media

The  Aleppo Narrative from Doctors in Government Held Areas

On the 30th April we received an exclusive report from Dr Nabil Antaki also based in western Aleppo, in which he stated the following facts:

1: The majority of Aleppo civilians are living in the Syrian government held sectors of western Aleppo.  Over 1.5 million in these areas compared to 300,000 in the primarily Al Nusra occupied eastern sectors.

2: The western media lies and distorts the truth.  They do not mention the terrorist blockade of western Aleppo or the constant food, water and electricity shortages.

3: Terrorist bombardment of civilians in western Aleppo is relentless and unreported. Mosques and hospitals are regularly targeted. No sector is spared the onslaught.

The 21st Century Wire report: Aleppo Doctor Attacks Western Media for Bias, Censorship and Lies.

We also asked Dr Antaki to verify the existence of the MSF “supported” Al Quds hospital allegedly bombed by Syrian or Russian air-strikes, consistently denied by both governments. We sent him the Channel 4 video allegedly taken from the hospital CCTV recording of the last moments before the attack.  This was his response:

This hospital [Al Quds] did not exist before the war started. It must have been installed in a building after the war began.  I dont know anyone in the East of Aleppo who could confirm this hospital is Al Quds.”

Aleppo baby

Dr Zaher Hajo who is head of Forensic Medicine in Aleppo also confirmed the deaths of 90 civilians of whom 30 were children from the US and NATO backed terrorist hell cannon and mortar fired into western Aleppo sectors over the last week. 8 of those murdered were targeted as they left the Mosque in the Bab al Faraj area after Friday prayers on the 30th April 2016.

Dr Hajo reported over 500 civilians injured in the ongoing terrorist attacks.

The following report has just come in from Al Masdar News on Tuesday 3rd May 2016:

“The jihadist rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) fired several rockets at the Dubayt Hospital in government controlled Aleppo City on Tuesday, killing and wounding several patients and staff members.

According to local reports from Aleppo City, the Jihadist rebel forces were seen targeting the Dubayt Hospital with multiple rockets; these fighters were from the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat Al-Nusra. The total death toll is unknown at the moment; however, local activists stated the dead and wounded are still being rescued from the burning hospital.”

Aleppo University
3/5/2016 Tweet from Leith Abou Fadel Al-Masdar News

On the 29th April, Al Alam reported: 

“Terrorists targeted al-Razi Hospital with rocket shells and fired others on al-Jamiliyeh and al-Mohafaza (governorate) neighborhoods, leaving 4 people dead and 38 others injured and causing material damage to the hospital and the locals’ houses.”

aleppo 24.4

Aleppo Christian Community Responds to Western Media Lies 

“We have been under continuous bombardment over the past few days in Aleppo with civilian deaths, injuries and destruction.” Last night “in our neighborhoods we had four dead and over 15 injured, in addition to homes and buildings damaged. And these attacks are being carried out by the so-called “moderate opposition groups”. ~ Vicar of Aleppo: Msgr. Georges Abou Khazen

The Vicar went on to say that “foreign jihadists have been given the green light to intensify the bombing of civilians” by the US and NATO in response to recent Syrian Arab Army advances towards the liberation of Aleppo from the occupying and surrounding terrorist factions.

On a recent trip to Canada, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria spoke about one Christian neighbourhood targeted by the US NATO “moderate rebels”.  The 13 year old son of one family, Fouad Banna, was killed instantly in the attack:

“It was awful: a bomb that the rebels deliberately launched on a Christian neighbourhood, on a popular borough. It has blown everything apart, destroyed countless houses. Such was the case of Fouad’s home” ~ Catholic Herald

Where are the Syria White Helmets and Western Media?

One can be forgiven for asking where the neutral and unarmed saviours of all Syrians are when the US NATO terrorists rain missiles down upon Syrian people living in the government held western sectors of Aleppo. While photos circulating in western media are entirely of White Helmet “first responders” during the bombing of known Al Nusra terrorist zones, they are conspicuously absent from photos & scant reports covering the “moderate rebel” murderous excesses.

However one video released by the Syria White Helmets during the massacres of the Syrian people and targeting of civilian facilities in Aleppo, reveals what they were doing, while on the other side of the demarcation line, Syrians were dying.

The White Helmets are embedded in the eastern, terrorist held sectors of Aleppo. While the western media runs unquestioningly with the US NATO narrative of Syrian and Russian aggression against terrorists portrayed as civilians we have to ask the question, where is their objective reporting? Why are the massacres of Syrian civilians in western Aleppo being ignored?

Why are the White Helmets, icons and heroes for the misled and deceived, busy filming a promo video for the Soros “turn the world red” campaign when the Syrian people they claim to defend and cherish are being maimed and murdered a few blocks away?

white helmets with al nusra2

As Doctor Nabil Antaki said on the 30th April:

“With regards to recent events in Aleppo, I state very clearly that the mainstream media are lying by omission. Since the beginning of the war in Aleppo that began 4 years ago, they have consistently failed to report all the facts.”

In 2013 Al Kindi hospital in Aleppo was targeted by the US NATO “moderate rebels”. Al Kindi was the 4th biggest hospital, specialising in cancer treatment, in the Middle East.

After days of heavy shelling, the terrrorists drove a truck up to the front of the hospital and detonated it. The remaining Syrian Arab Army soldiers defending Al Kindi were executed and this horrific execution was filmed by the US and NATO terrorists.  Their videos are still available but are graphic and not for the faint hearted.

A Syrian tragedy ignored by a western media in the midst of fomenting anti Assad fervour.

Al Kindi 2

The US NATO Media Campaign Objectives

The US NATO campaign driven by this team of Soros funded agents of change depends entirely upon unproven accusations levied against the Syrian & Russian governments of bombing civilians in Aleppo and the alleged bombing of an MSF “supported” hospital in eastern Aleppo, the Al Quds.

 From the German Federal Press conference 29th April 2016

[Germany conducts aerial reconnaissance of Syria with Tornado units and they survey airspace]

“It is not very likely, but we cannot completely rule out the possibility that the anti-ISIS coalition [US NATO] has been responsible for the attack on the MSF hospital.”

collage aleppo burningTaken from campaign organiser, Fahtme Otman’s facebook page.

We have come full circle from the early “No Fly Zone” to the “Safe Zone” and finally to the “No Bomb Zone”.  The objective is clear. This campaign like so many before it,is attempting to re-generate public outrage and support of the implementation of a No Fly Zone in Syria. A No Fly Zone that would ensure the unmitigated devastation of Syria and its reduction to a Libya style failed state in preparation for Imperialist looting and pillaging.

So our media are working as a megaphone for US and NATO propaganda, the Humanitarian NGOs in Syria are embedded in terrorist areas and are not saving lives, rather they are prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people.

The humanitarians who are calling Syrians “racist” for telling the truth should perhaps have more respect for those who are living through hell because they have consciously chosen to remain ignorant of the facts.

***

[Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.]

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

 

 

Impunity International

Wrong Kind of Green

May 4, 2016

by Jay Taber

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many so-called ‘peace and justice’ centers in the United States are still oblivious to the ongoing betrayal of human rights by Amnesty International (AI), which—like Human Rights Watch– has become increasingly corrupt over the past two decades. This brief overview is intended to help dispel the mistaken notion that AI is sacrosanct, and to prompt the pious poseurs–that comprise the purity networks in the US–to begin basing their policies, programs and associations on facts, rather than on outdated fantasies about the Human Rights Industrial Complex.

In order to transition from these preconceived fantasies to research-based reality regarding human rights, these ‘peace and justice’ centers will need to reorient themselves to doing research related to digital Netwar, rather than reflexively responding to press releases by Amnesty International, or to the social media propaganda by AI public relations associates Avaaz and Purpose. Until these local nodes of ostensibly noble causes do research, they will remain a notably unconscious milieu—infantile consumers, rather than informed and engaged citizens.

AI

In 1991, Amnesty International eagerly acquiesced to the $11 million Wag the Dog public relations campaign–devised for the Pentagon by the Hill & Knowlton PR firm–to generate support for the US invasion of Iraq, and in 2012, AI was an enthusiastic cheerleader in support of the escalated bombing of Afghanistan by NATO.

In 2015, Amnesty International–in one of the most egregious examples of the nihilism that now characterizes the human rights industry–endorsed the organized crime initiative to freely engage in human trafficking of women and children for sex slavery through the decriminalization of the prostitution industry–rather than choosing to support the Nordic model of decriminalizing the victims, but not the perpetrators.

 

Amnesty International Document

Ken Roth Comment

In 2015-2016 Amnesty International supported–and continues to support—US and NATO military aggression in countries like Libya and Syria, which is bolstered by the public relations campaigns of Avaaz and Purpose–Wall Street-funded marketing agencies with deep ties to the very heart of the military industrial complex. By unthinkingly supporting AI, these ‘peace and justice’ centers become complicit in these war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

Further reading on AI

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/?s=amnesty+international

 

 

 

R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe

Wrong Kind of Green

April 28, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

jerremy heimens maxresdefault

Above: Avaaz  and Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans

Purpose Avaaz Syria-Campaign-HIRE

The Syria Campaign Facebook PURPOSE Screenshot

Under the neoliberal model of global conquest–exhibited by the heavy-hitters of the UN Security Council (i.e. USA, France and UK) in countries such as Burundi, Mali, Libya and Syria–the recurrent chorus line R2P-R2P-R2P-R2P from pro-war, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose and Amnesty International is what the European writer Federica Bueti described as the ‘theatre of catastrophe’ that dramatically changes the way we live. The crises of the war economy concocted by these heavy-hitters throughout the world, then, become stage sets where the drama of neoliberal heroism can be enacted.

Performance extras such as the Purpose subsidiary White Helmets—good guys always wear white hats—funded by USAID, play the role of innocent victims, thus justifying the need for the heavy-hitters to ride to the rescue. Or, in the case of modern warfare, to bomb the hell out of the designated villain(s).

avaaz-ad-720

New York Times Avaaz Ad, June 18, 2015. Headline: “PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” …“A majority of Americans support a No-Fly Zone in Syria to save lives and 1,093,775 people around the world [in an on-line petition] are calling for action now.” The photograph used in the ad is from the Anadolu Agency.

As Bueti observes, catastrophe has ‘become a rhetorical tool used to reinforce a general state of anxiety’ and ‘the rhetoric of crisis suggests a daily apocalyptic scenario in which preventive measures and special interventions are required to ensure the survival of neoliberal forms of governance’. The crisis as a constructed event–in which the media plays a major role–she says, ‘has succeeded in producing a peculiar representation of catastrophe with devastating social effect’ that, due to the urgency of immediate intervention, ‘has produced an opaque filter through which it is almost impossible either to understand the causes and consequences of the current crisis or to see a way out of it’.

Avaaz Obama jpg

“People write congratulatory messages to President-elect Barack Obama on a 24-foot long message board in front of the Lincoln Memorial November 6, 2008 in Washington, DC. The organization Avaaz.org has set up a global message board at the memorial with display of messages from all around the world for people to write their notes to Obama.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while flanked by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) during a campaign rally, on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, Va. Recent polls show Rep. Perriello trailing challenger Virginia State Senator Robert Hurt (R-VA). With mid-term elections approaching, President Obama has been campaigning for Democrats who may be in jeopardy of losing their seat. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

October 29, 2010: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while Avaaz co-founder Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) looks on during a campaign rally, on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, Va.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Writing further, Bueti notes, ‘In Greek theatre, catastrophe designates the moment preceding the final resolution of the plot. In breaking with the rhythm of the narration and moving from one side of the stage to the other, catastrophe creates a moment of suspension of emphatic participation in the staged event. This moment allows the author to directly address the audience through the Chorus, which represented both the voice of the author and the one of the politeia, or Athenian citizens. …In the moment of kata-strephein, the staged dilemma of the individual hero becomes the shared dilemma of the whole of community, eventually creating a temporary event of solidarity’.

As Bueti reflects, ‘From a strictly pedagogical perspective, the Chorus is the moral representative of the polis and of its institutions, the bearer of a certain order that needs to be endlessly confirmed and reiterated’. When the heavy-hitters of the UN Security Council prepare to pound the constructed villain(s) into oblivion, it is the heavily-armed proxies of the heavy-hitters that produce the conditions creating moral catastrophe that the chorus cheers on toward a happy ending. As Bueti concludes, ‘Apocalyptic scenarios, in this case, possess a restorative dimension in which the hero will save the world from an imminent disaster’.

 

Further reading

THE PURPOSE OF AVAAZ: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Wag the Dog: Campaigns of Purpose

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

EU To Burundi: Regime Change Trumps

Oriental Review

March 30, 2016

By Andrew Korybko

EU To Burundi: Regime Change Trumps Anti-Terror Help

The EU has stepped up its behind-the-scenes role in organizing regime change in Burundi by taking the dramatic step to cut most of its funding for the country’s anti-terror contingent in Somalia, this according to the latest exclusive report from Reuters. Burundi provides nearly a quarter of the 22,000 African Union (AU) troops stationed in the country and is the largest international contributor. Correspondingly, while there’s no official data about the number of AU soldiers who have been killed during the nearly decade-long African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), reliable estimates and official UN data from 2013 indicate that Burundi has borne the brunt of the roughly 3,000 fatalities that are thought to have occurred.

Given Burundi’s dedicated commitment to fighting terrorism in Somalia and the blood that its military has already shed in furtherance of this goal, it’s all the more surprising that the EU would risk undermining its anti-terror effectiveness, especially when Burundi is essentially carrying out its task as a paid surrogate for Western troops themselves. Revealingly, Brussels’ decision adds proof to the convincing allegations that the EU elite are more influenced by US-whispered geo-economic imperatives in overthrowing the leader of a geopolitical pivotal and mineral-rich state than pragmatically assisting its forces in the shared struggle against global terrorism.

Black-On-Black Terrorism

Probably the most immediate reason why the EU elite don’t appreciate Burundi’s anti-terror commitment in Somalia is because Al Shabaab, the primary target of this indefinite mission, only operates in Africa and targets black victims. It’s not that the group is doing this out of any purposeful intent, but simply that its area of operations around the Horn of Africa puts it within range of mostly black targets. In an ironic rebuff to their ideology but in accordance with their unsurprising and typical double standards, the Cultural Marxist EU elite don’t see any pressing need to halt black-on-black terrorism so long as it’s contained to Africa and doesn’t target European-based Africans. Al Shabaab has yet to expand its zone of attack to anywhere directly relevant to conventional EU interests, preferring instead to kill Ethiopians, Kenyans and even fellow Somalians in its crazed pursuit of an irredentist and ethnic Somali-dominated “Islamic State” in East Africa.

Members of Somalia's hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo: The Daily Nation

Members of Somalia’s hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo: The Daily Nation

It’s true that there exist certain grievances that the regional Somali community definitely has towards their respective governments no matter which country they presently reside in, and there was a failed Cold War-era effort at reviving the “Greater/Natural Somalia” that was divided by European and what was perceived to be African (Ethiopian) imperialism, but Al Shabaab has expertly manipulated these preexisting sentiments and historical memory and intertwined it with the violent doctrine of extreme Islam in order to manufacture a semi-appealing terrorist group that masquerades as a pseudo-“resistance” organization. Furthermore, there have been strong suspicions in the West that Qatar is one of the terrorist group’s sponsors, and while no smoking gun has emerged, such a truth would believably mesh with the emirate’s already proven modus operandi in the Mideast.

In contrast to Saudi Arabia’s terrorists, Qatar’s have largely refrained from attacking Western targets, possibly owing to a tacit agreement that they have with the latter’s governments to provide soft support (media sympathy, “refugee” status, etc.) for Doha’s patronized Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated elements in exchange for much-needed and competitively priced energy contracts. Both sides are presently upholding this deal, with the EU continuing to purchase Qatari energy resources while Emir Thani holds off the terrorist hordes from attacking European targets (at least for now), and with Al Shabaab likely part of this arrangement, Brussels sees no urgent need to substantially support outsourced anti-terror activities against a regional African group that only targets local black victims. For this self-interested and ideological inconsistent reason, the “bleeding heart” Cultural Marxists of the EU are eagerly willing to sacrifice the effectiveness of a solid and tested anti-terrorist force in Somalia solely as a means of encouraging regime change in Burundi.

The Geopolitical Hinge

The average observer might be dumbfounded with disbelief that the EU would knowingly hamper anti-terror operations in Somalia in order to pile up regime change pressure on a geographically tiny and landlocked Central African state, but the unspoken geopolitical reality behind all of this is that Burundi is actually quite important in a regional strategic sense. It’s far from being a pivot, but because it plays an integral influencing role on the nearby pivots themselves, it can more accurately be described by the author’s own neologism as being a “geopolitical hinge”. Its strategic disposition one way or the other can impact on regional affairs but not necessarily change them owing to the country’s comparatively lesser influence on its neighborhood, but it nevertheless fulfills an important role in the larger East African paradigm of power. All economic considerations aside about the lust that Western companies have for displacing their expected Russian and Chinese rivals in the country’s largely untapped mineral sector, Burundi occupies an ideal geographic space in one of the most dynamic and gradually focused-on areas of the continent. To place the country into a grander context, East Africa is on the cusp of undergoing New Silk Road-affiliated transnational integrational projects that could dramatically elevate its regional partners’ multipolar status in the emerging world order.

Un-burundiThat said, Burundi is the weak link in this emerging construction due to the potential that its domestic identity-differences, legally subdued but still socially present, could be manipulated from abroad to engineer a disruptive Hybrid War that sabotages an important spoke of the African Silk Road network. To get into the details, Burundi abuts regional giant Tanzania, whose population is expected by the UN to surge to epic and powerful proportions by mid-century to 137 million, making it the fourth-fastest-growing country in the world. Relatedly, while this could potentially be a demographic curse, it could also be an economic blessing, and it’s for this reason why China and other countries have a deep-seated interest in getting involved in the country’s economy now while it’s still relatively early on to do so. However, a prompted Hybrid War in Burundi would inevitably lead to overspill effect across the Tanzanian border, not only in terms of “Weapons of Mass Migration”, but also in armed non-state actors traversing its territory and embedding themselves along the Central Corridor railroad line that’s expect to form a crucial part of the East African Railway Master Plan, itself the New Silk Road infrastructural backbone of the formative East African Federation.

Additionally, any humanitarian/militant crisis in Burundi could easily draw in Rwanda, which is already conspiring against Bujumbura as it is (and even worse, exploiting refugees to do so), and this could offset one of the most economically promising countries on the continent. One should bear in mind, however, that this is mostly a macroeconomic and statistical illusion largely facilitated by Rwanda’s developing hub status and its key role in laundering the eastern Congolese minerals that its affiliated rebel forces have pillaged (despite it being ‘officially’ illegal to do so). Even so, Rwanda does have a lot of minerals in its own right and is the world’s largest exporter of coltan, for example, but the US likely takes issue with the fact that it’s selling some of them to China and diversifying its overall economic relations with Washington’s prime global economic rival. Rwanda’s role vis-à-vis China is increasingly taken on a very strategic nature owing to the importance that its own and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) (illegally transited) minerals have to China’s (overseas) scientific-technological manufacturing base. As much as Paul Kagame has wantonly behaved as an untouchable American proxy since he came to power on the heels of the country’s externally instigated genocide, that does appear to be changing, as Washington signaled its “disappointment” at his ambitions to run for a third term next year, indicating that it now potentially sees him and his county as dispensable scraps of geopolitical “scorched earth” material in the larger New Cold War that it’s fighting against China’s New Silk Road vision in Africa.

To summarize Burundi’s geopolitical hinge relevance in East and Central African affairs, not only could a Hybrid War in the tiny country offset Tanzania and the East African Federation’s broad New Silk Road integrational connective projects, but it could also return the neighboring mineral-rich country of Rwanda to being an unapproachable battlefield that scares away and obstructs all possible Chinese strategic investments there. Tangentially, but no less importantly, Burundi’s location next to the extraordinarily mineral-rich areas of the eastern DRC also means that both its possible Hybrid War problems or the influence of any ‘Western/foreign protector’ can extend into one of the most prized natural resource regions in the entire world, either indefinitely offsetting its export capability (both legal and illegal via Rwanda) or redirecting its market destinations more firmly to the West at the expense of East Asia. Undoubtedly then, after considering these geopolitical and geo-economic imperatives, tiny Burundi begins to take on an outsized significance in the global calculations of the New Cold War.

Rekindling The Hybrid War Conflict

Imbued with a relevant understanding of Burundi’s grandiose geostrategic and geo-economic pivot importance to New Cold War affairs and fresh with knowledge about how the EU (under likely American orders) has betrayed Burundi’s brave anti-terrorist sacrifices in Somalia, it’s now time to investigate the connection between these two seemingly disparate topics and unveil that larger goal that’s being pursued. As is already widely known, the US and its allies have been pushing for a regime change against the democratically elected and legitimate Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, wanting to replace him with a pliant politician that would open the country up to full Western ‘investment’ at Russia and China’s strategic multipolar expense. The ‘normative’ cover for doing so was to allege that the President was constitutionally barred from running for a third term, but the country’s highest court ruled that he can do so on the technicality that his first term was an appointment and not an actual election.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang and the First Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation for the primary school to be built with China's assistance, January 2008

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang and the First Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation for the primary school to be built with China’s assistance, January 2008

No matter the nitty gritty details of the state’s sovereign affairs, it’s evident that foreign powers were involving themselves in this process as a means of acquiring future long-term influence inside what they presumed would quickly become a post-Nkurunziza Burundi. A low-intensity Hybrid War was launched against the country on the grounds that the President’s campaign and eventual election to a third term was unconstitutional, and the UN estimated that a comparatively small figure of 474 people have been killed there since the manufactured turmoil broke out on command in April 2015. While the global body quite rightly recognizes that the conflict could spill over Burundi’s borders and become the spark for a larger regional conflagration (in line with the author’s above-mentioned assessment about the US’ scorched earth Hybrid War tactics in East and Central Africa against China), it’s quite telling that, respectfully speaking, not even half a thousand people have died in a political crisis that captivated the attention of most of the world’s leading international news outlets for almost the past year. This attests not only to the exaggerated importance that the Western media gave to this crisis, but also to the patriotism of the country’s civilian population and the majority of its military leaders, not counting of course the conspirators of the failed May 2015 coup.

Although the attempt at a traditional regime change ploy miserably failed, the fact that it came the closest out of all of the ones that were tried (Color Revolution and Unconventional War included) indicated to the West that this is the method which must be most heavily invested in for possible future success. Returning to the beginning of the article where Reuters’ exclusive report was cited about the EU cutting off funding for the Burundian anti-terrorist forces in Somalia, it must be qualified that this doesn’t translate to the full suspension of funds, but to a significant enough percentage that it will negatively impact not only on the government itself (which takes a 20% cut), but most relevantly on the soldiers themselves who have come to depend on this added income. The goal is to turn the rank-and-file soldiers against the government by essentially blackmailing them into supporting another military coup sometime in the future, but unlike its failed predecessor, any forthcoming one might have a larger supportive cadre of conspirators to draw from and might end up splitting the military forces along ethnic lines. Whether it succeeds or not in overthrowing the government at that point isn’t actually all that vital so long as it can add fuel to the Hybrid War flames of identity violence that the West has been trying to fan for almost a year now.

Concluding Thoughts

It shouldn’t be forgotten that if the US can’t successfully co-opt or change a targeted government, then it will instinctively resort to geopolitical ‘scorched earth’ tactics in taking down the country and the rest of the region that are expected to otherwise play very constructive roles in China’s New Silk Road global multipolar paradigm. Burundi, with its small size and relatively godforsaken geographic location, surprisingly plays a very significant role in affecting the geopolitics of East and Central Africa, especially when this its geo-economic relevance is factored into the overall strategic equation. The West is very cognizant of the Hybrid War vulnerabilities that plague the country, particularly the recent and very bloody Hutu-Tutsi civil war, and it’s adroitly manipulating these factors in order to add increasingly intense pressure on the government.

Thankfully, the people are well informed of the external threat against their country and understand the nefarious plot that’s been deployed against them to return Burundi to ethnic-based civil war, hence why the Hybrid War plan has dismally failed to reach its full and genocidal hoped-for potential that would have then triggered a “humanitarian intervention” by the African Union, the East African Federation, the UN, and/or a unilateral “coalition of the willing” from the West. In light of this ‘inconvenient’ reality, the West now appears to be investing heavily in winning the ‘hearts and minds’ (and pocketbooks) of the rank-and-file soldiers of the Burundian military, obviously in anticipation of a forthcoming military coup redux that represents the best possible chances at overthrowing the government or sparking a renewed civil war.

There’s a possibility that a separate foreign patron (perhaps China) could step in to fill the financial void left by the EU’s withdraw of monetary commitment to the Burundian anti-terrorist forces in Somalia, but if even if this doesn’t eventuate, the proven patriotism of the country’s military and the astuteness of its officer corps should be enough to repel the forthcoming conspiracy against it and ensure that it fails just as badly as its forerunner did. Nevertheless, depending on how the forecasted situation develops, it frighteningly might be destabilizing enough that it exacerbates Burundi’s internal identity-based divisions and noticeably pushes it closer to the brink of Hybrid War, possibly even involving a more robust Rwandan role. The next few months will be decisive, and any major national commemoration or foreign presidential trip might be chosen as the date for launching the latest coup attempt bringing Burundi back to its days of civil war and dysfunction.

 

[Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015).]

 

The Alternative View Conference: Vanessa Beeley on the NGO Complex

The Wall Will Fall

April 10, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

AV7 Speakers Collage_2

On the 13/14/15th May 2016 I have the honour to be speaking alongside some very distinguished analysts and researchers at the Alternative View 7 Conference in Milton Keynes, UK

Alternative View UK

 

THE NGO SOFT POWER COMPLEX: 

HUMANITARIANS OR “EXECUTIONERS”?

 

We live in a world governed by propaganda where the majority of media mouthpieces are gagged by those who own them and only permitted to release information that serves the narrative of the ruling elite or Imperialist powers.

We know that our governments lie.  We know that our media channels lie.  We search for integrity and truth among the rubble of propaganda.  We want to pin our hopes on a power for “good”.

So what does the machine create?  It creates a power for good in its own image.  It creates the Non Government Organisations, the Not for Profit Industrial Complex [NPIC] to give us the illusion, not only of this power for good, but of our own empowerment, our own stakeholding in reducing the misery being inflicted upon Humanity.

The problem reveals itself when we consider who does actually fund & create these flagships of philanthropy.  The problem lies with the foundations and government think tanks who have their hands firmly on the helm and direct the ship where they want it to go.  Do we really believe that these funders, donors and backers will sail the ship into waters where they risk capsizing their own objectives?

In this role, and dependent upon their donor support, NGOs cease to be the neutral, unbiased ‘humanitarian’ organisations they publicly purport to be, and instead become actual covert tools for foreign intervention and regime change.  By default, they are assimilated into the Western modus vivendi of “waging war by way of deception” and their purpose is to alter public perception of a conflict via a multitude of media and “marketing” channels.

My focus will be on Syria to demonstrate the blueprint used by the Axis of Interventionism and “regime change” to create a two headed coin of destruction.  On the one side is their own Frankenstein monster with its unique market branding:  Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Khorasan and on the other side, supposedly pitted against all form of brutality and evil authoritarianism is the ubiquitous NGO, in situ despite all risk to themselves to “save all Humanity from the evil regime”.

I will demonstrate that when the “soft power” missionary complex is in the same hands as the “hard power industrial/military” complex…they are two sides of the same coin..overtly opposing and covertly combining to achieve Imperialist aims in any given target region or nation. The NGO complex is THE most insidious tool of empire and arguably the most damaging.

“Syria is one of the biggest propaganda schemes of our time. When the dust settles, if it does, it will be revealed” – Professor AbuKhalil

 

YEMEN: UN Whitewashing Saudi Coalition War Crimes and International Human Rights Violations

The Wall Will Fall

April 4, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

“If those who support aggressive war had seen a fraction of what I’ve seen, if they’d watched children fry to death from Napalm and bleed to death from a cluster bomb, they might not utter the claptrap they do.” ~ John Pilger

Professor Francis Boyle, distinguished Professor of Law in Illinois and long-time thorn in the side of the Imperial Establishment has publicly expressed his disgust at the UN complicity with the sanctions that engendered starvation on a catastrophic scale in Iraq in the early 1990s.  Over 500,000 children died from malnutrition:

During the summer of 1991 I was contacted on behalf of several Mothers in Iraq whose children were dying at astounding rates because of the genocidal economic sanctions that had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August of 1990 at the behest of the Bush Senior administration.”

Boyle went on to present his complaint accusing President Bush of committing international genocide against the 4.5 million children in Iraq, “in violation of the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and in violation of the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world

“My Complaint estimated that since sanctions were first imposed against Iraq in August of 1990, Iraqi children were dying as a direct result thereof at the rate of about 500 per day.”

Boyle expressed his frustration at the UNSC [Security Council] failure to suspend the crippling sanctions against Iraq.

“Despite my best professional efforts working on behalf of my Clients pro bono publico, the grossly hypocritical United Nations Organization adamantly refused to act to terminate these genocidal sanctions and thus to save the dying children of Iraq.”

Professor Boyle’s full speech: Legal Protection of Children in Armed Conflict: The Iraqi Children Genocide

Shortly after Professor Boyle’s attempt to derail the genocide being carried out against an entire generation of Iraqis, endorsed by the UNSC, then US secretary of State, Madeleine Albright made her horrifying statement on CBS TV network.

May 12th 1996 TV presenter, Leslie Stahl posed this question:

“We have heard that a half a million children have died [in Iraq]. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And-and, you know, is the price worth it?”

Albright’s reply is still shocking, 20 years after the first US NATO campaign of extermination in Iraq.

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Is the UN Repeating History in Yemen?

Bani Quis 2
Mona Relief 1/4/2016: Bani Quis, Hajjah, Northern Yemen on border with Saudi Arabia.  

Since the start of the illegal Saudi-led coalition war of aggression against Yemen that began on the 26th March 2015, the UN has appeared to work in lock-step with the lawless aggressor, Saudi Arabia and its allies to exacerbate the widespread suffering of the Yemeni people.

UNSC Resolution 2216 was adopted on the 14th April 2015.  It called specifically for the arms embargo to be imposed against 5 named individuals.

Arms Embargo: All Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to, or for the benefit of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Abdullah Yahya al Hakim & Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi.”

Two other names were included in the Annex to this list, Abdulmalik al-Houthi and Ali Ahmed Saleh.

Basis for Resolution 2216

This resolution was entirely based upon the premise of the legitimacy of the fugitive, former President of Yemen, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Reaffirming its support for the legitimacy of the President of Yemen, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and reiterating its call to all parties and Member States to refrain from taking any actions that undermine the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and the legitimacy of the President of Yemen” ~ Resolution 2216

On the same day that the UNSC signed off on a resolution of staggering partiality and bias towards one party in the conflict, namely ex President Hadi and his Saudi backers, a letter had been addressed to the UN by Ali AlAhmed, Director of the Gulf Institute. In this letter, AlAhmed clearly states that, legally,  Hadi is NOT the legitimate President of Yemen.

“To reiterate, at present Mr. Hadi is a former president of Yemen. The UNSC has no legal authority to appoint him as president of Yemen, or treat him in such capacity. Although his term ended February 25, 2014, Hadi remained in office until February 2015; one year after his term has expired, in violation of the UNSC-endorsed GCC Initiative. He also failed to call for general presidential elections per the agreement he signed.

Because the Saudi-led war on Yemen was built on the false premise that Hadi is the current legitimate president of Yemen, it must be emphasized that he is, in fact, not a legitimate leader of that country. Legally, Mr. Hadi is the former transitional president of Yemen whose term expired February 24, 2014.”

AlAhmed reminds the UNSC that Hadi had been elected in a one-horse-race election in February 2012 under the terms of the GCC Initiative [Gulf Cooperation Council]. That term of presidency had been set to expire after two years, when new elections would be held in Yemen.

One month prior to the agreed election date, in January 2014 the NDC [National Dialogue Conference] took the decision, to extend Hadi’s term under the pretext that the transition period was incomplete and that a draft constitution would not be ready for referendum until March 2015.

According to Abdulazeez Al-Baghdadi, a former legal advisor for the Ministry of Interior, the extension of Hadi’s term in office and the justification for this action was:

“A fraud that has no legal basis in constitutional terms….the NDC has no legal authority to extend Hadi’s term because NDC members do not represent the Yemeni people,” he said. “Hadi’s term expired when his two-year term stipulated in the GCC Initiative ended in February 2014.”

During the UNHRC [Human Rights Council], 31st Session in Geneva March 2016, Mohammed al Wazir, Yemeni-American Lawyer and Director of Arabian Rights Watch Association testified that:

“UN Security Council Resolution 2216 is about an arms embargo on 5 people, yet its being used as a cover to justify a blockade on 27 million Yemenis. According to the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview released in November 2015, 21.2 million people making up 82% of the population are now in need of some form of Humanitarian assistance.  Nearly 2.1 million people are currently estimated to be malnourished, including more than 1. 3 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.”

Bani Quis HajjahMona Relief: Bani Quis April 2016

According to Al Wazir’s statement to the UNHRC, Hadi had in fact resigned on the 22nd January 2015 and despite calls from various political factions, he refused to withdraw his resignation prior to the expiry of his questionable extended term as President of Yemen.

In a bizarre turn of events, perhaps after his Saudi controllers had put pressure on their marionette, Hadi fled Sanaa [Yemen’s capital] for the port city of Aden. Once safely ensconced in Saudi loyalist territory, Hadi plucked up the courage to renew his claim to the Presidency.

Hadi even attempted to relocate the Government to Aden but once he realised this was not a popular decision and with the Yemeni army closing in, Hadi fled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. From there he requested that the Saudi Arabian government launch a war against his own people to reinstate him as President, a post he had resigned from, weeks previously.

So are we seeing the UN endorse and sustain an illegal war without a UN mandate, being waged against the Yemeni people by a known human rights violating, totalitarian, absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia? And if so, on what basis? To protect an illegitimate, fugitive President who has called for the destruction of his own people?

Is the UN Defending Yemen’s Sovereignty, Independence & Territorial Integrity?

Resolution 2216 states:

“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and its commitment to stand by the people of Yemen”

Why then did the UN ignore the statement of their own Special Envoy, Jammal Benomar, made on the 28th April 2015?

“When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power sharing with all sides, including the Houthis”

Why then did the UN not strongly oppose the Saudi war of aggression that has decimated the Yemeni people or demand that humanitarian aid be allowed entry to alleviate the universal suffering of the already impoverished nation.

Instead the UN flung the door wide open to the Saudi-led war of aggression against Yemen. A war devoid of any legal, moral or ethical justification. A war that would punish the Yemeni people for striving to form their own government without foreign meddling or Saudi corruption and neo-colonialist intent.

Why is the UN not defending the determination of the Yemeni people to create a new government that would guarantee equal citizenship and governmental proportional representation for previously marginalised minorities?

Is the UN Preventing the Deteriorating Humanitarian Situation in Yemen?

Resolution 2216:

“Expressing grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and emphasizing that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution.

Recalling that arbitrary denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supply and access, may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.”

Having allowed the Saudi-led coalition to bomb all hopes of a political solution into smithereens, why is the alarm not being sounded against this oppressive, despotic regime that has the worst human rights record in the region?

Mohammed Al Wazir at the UNHRC:

“So, in summary, the Saudi-led coalition of absolute monarchies and military dictatorships conducted daily airstrikes and imposed a comprehensive land, air and sea blockade for the past year on 27 million Yemenis in order to re-install Hadi, a person whose mandate had expired in Yemen.  Is this what we call defending legitimacy? Collective punishment and terror, inflicted on the entire population in order to deter a group called the Houthis who are less than 1% of the population.  I can say with utmost confidence, there is a major issue with proportionality and a reckless disregard for the principles of distinction and military necessity not to mention international law.”

Taiz bombing driver
Mona Relief: September 2015 KSA bombing of Humanitarian
convoy on the Hodeida to Taiz road. 

The UN is, in reality, actively allowing the denial of human rights to the Yemeni people by the predatory aggressor, Saudi Arabia.  The UN is sanctioning the “depriving of civilians of objects indispensable to their survival”.  When the Saudi Coalition bombs humanitarian supply convoys does the UN not consider this to be “wilfully impeding relief supply and access”? 

Is the UN wittingly allowing these grave violations of humanitarian law or is it an unwilling victim, prey to far more powerful geopolitical players in the region?

What is the UN’s Mandate in Yemen?

“The UN was established to maintain state sovereignty, and both national and international unity.  Instead we appear to be witnessing a process of fracturing society along false sectarian fault lines and the disruption of internal reconciliation and political peace processes within nation states.”

The UN is allegedly seeking a peaceful political transition in Yemen according to the terms laid out in the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism.

This objective becomes untenable when we consider that effectively, the GCC initiative has expired.  So who precisely is obstructing the peaceful political transition?  The Yemenis or those who launched an illegal war against them and who are destroying their ability to survive let alone decide their political future?

“That is if we take the GCC initiative as a legal document with full force and effect, which is not conceded by any means….but even by its own terms, it has expired.” ~ Mohammed al Wazir

The illegitimate, fugitive President, Mansour Hadi fled Yemen and incited a war against his own people from Riyadh. A war that has massacred over 8000 people and injured tens of thousands more.  A war that has left Yemen without resources, infrastructure, electricity, communication, food and water.

In a logical, rational world all those who supported Hadi’s endeavour should be found by the UN “Sanctions Committee” and Panel of Experts to be “obstructing the peaceful political transition in Yemen” and be considered the main instigators of instability and insecurity in Yemen.

Conclusions

It is almost impossible not to conclude that multiple parties are colluding to starve Yemen into submission to Saudi objectives. Objectives that are aligned with those of the US, NATO and Israel.

“The UN embargo/blockade against Yemen and the Yemenis violates Genocide Convention article II (e):  Deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” ~ Prof. Francis A Boyle

The Arms Trade

The UK has sold over £ 2.8bn in arms to Saudi Arabia since this illegal war began.  The US, a staggering $33bn.  Lockheed Martin, a major player in the Military Industrial Complex announced in January 2016 that they would be opening an “expanded repair capability centre” in Saudi Arabia, the first support centre for their Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod technology outside the US.  To ensure “fleet readiness”.  France has just signed off on a mind-blowing $ 7.5 billion arms contract with Qatar [member of the Saudi coalition].

The Oil Trade

oil map

Saudi Arabia’s annual $10 trillion oil revenue is a major factor. Yemen is essential for the survival of the Gulf States in this market, and by default, pivotal to US and NATO resource needs. If Saudi Arabia lost control of Yemen, the effects would be catastrophic for the Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia is the only Gulf state with the geographic potential of an east-west pipeline which would give access to the west and the Red Sea, if ever a conflict should arise with their arch enemy Iran who controls the eastern Straits of Hormuz, the primary crude oil shipping channel. However that east-west pipeline was converted in 2001 to gas and it would take some time to restore it to suitability for oil. Saudi Arabia has recently replaced Iraq as India’s number one crude oil supplier.

It is no accident that Saudi proxy forces, AQAP [Al Qaeda Arab Peninsula] and ISIS have seized swathes of land in the southern province of Hadramaut and the port of Aden.  According to a 2008 Wikileaks cable, Saudi Arabia’s intent is to lay a pipeline from the oil and gas rich areas of Al Jawf and Marib in Yemen to the southern coastline, enabling them to avoid both the Straits of Hormuz and the Yemen controlled, Bab el Mandeb straits.

“A British diplomat based in Yemen told PolOff that Saudi Arabia had an interest to build a pipeline, wholly owned, operated and protected by Saudi Arabia, through Hadramawt to a port on the Gulf of Aden, thereby bypassing the Arabian Gulf/Persian Gulf and the straits of Hormuz.” ~ Wikileaks

This would liberate Saudi Arabia from the clutches of Iranian logistical control and challenge Iran’s regional hegemony head on. With Japan, India, China and S Korea representing the expanding crude oil markets, the geopolitical and economic significance of Yemen to the Gulf States becomes transparent.

The Human Trade

Finally and perhaps most disturbingly, lets review the actions of known US outreach agent and neo-colonialist battering ram, USAID. In July 2015, USAID announced that it would turn the aid tap off to Yemen.

“Given the current situation in Yemen, USAID is placing most development programs on a full suspension,” spokesman Sam Ostrander told Al-Monitor. “The suspension will allow us to keep programs in place so that we can restart development activities quickly when the situation becomes more permissive.”

Criticism abounded against this decision accusing the US of facilitating Saudi human rights violations in Yemen. However, nothing should surprise us when we learn that almost simultaneously Saudi Arabia established its first, official, international Human Rights NGO..there are so many oxymorons in that one sentence.

“A UN source said he expected it to operate as the Gulf State’s equivalent of USAID – the state aid agency of the United States”

With barely a fanfare, the King Salman Centre was launched to fill the crater left in Yemen,  by the departure of USAID and by the US UK and NATO supplied weapons of mass destruction. The chutzpah of this move is only challenged by the flattening of Gaza by Israel who is then tasked and paid to rebuild it.

During my recent visit to the UNHRC, to testify against the Saudi coalition’s illegal use of US supplied cluster munitions on civilian targets in Yemen, I had the misfortune to attend a Saudi presentation of their Humanitarian flagship. There were numerous UN organisations in attendance.  At the end of the Saudi unveiling, oozing with hypocrisy and inflated claims of universal humanitarianism, the representative of UNICEF raised their hand.  I paraphrase their comment.

We would like to thank Saudi Arabia for their continued efforts to provide humanitarian assistance on a global basis and look forward to many years of continued and increased collaboration” 

So, having appointed Saudi Arabia to chair of a key human rights panel inside the UNHRC, the UN is now fully endorsing an absolute monarchy’s attempt to further whitewash their crimes against Humanity.  One look at King Salman Centre’s partners, denies UN impartiality when dealing with Saudi atrocities against the Yemeni people. Does it implicate the UN in these crimes?  Combined with the unjustified and illegitimate bias of UN Resolution 2216,  it must certainly raise questions that need answering.  The Yemeni people deserve an answer.

partners

Has the UN been bought and paid for by a Monarch? Is this the ultimate spin cycle to rinse the blood of innocent Yemeni men, women and children from the hands of the Saudi monarchy and its allies, including the UN, US, NATO & Israel.

The UN is disproportionately influenced by the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, with particular reference to the helmsman, the US and it includes 3 permanent members who are backing the Saudi-led coalition.  France, the UK and the US.  Maintaining impartiality is virtually impossible under these circumstances and too much is geopolitically at stake if Saudi Arabia loses its grip on Yemen.

“Impartiality does not – and must not – mean neutrality in the face of evil. In the face of genocide, there can be no standing aside, no looking away, no neutrality – there are perpetrators and there are victims, there is evil and there is evil’s harvest.” ~ Kofi Annan,  Rwanda 1998 after UN peacekeeping forces deserted, handing 1 million civilians over to mass murderers. 

It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that Iraq does not happen again.  Yemen does not deserve this level of collective punishment from one of the world’s most oppressive, soulless and malevolent regimes and the UN must answer for its failure to protect Yemen against the Saudi coalition murderous ravages.

Bani Quis 7 Bani Quis 6 Bani Quis 3 Bani Quis 5

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[Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.]