It’s Always the Season for Irony : Syria and the White Knights of US Imperialism

Cartoon from 1958In this crusade, armchair liberal trothawks[1] sally forth to save “intelligentsia” like themselves from Saddam, sorry, Assad. Vilifying the majority of Syrians’ electoral decisions which are also supported by polls, the white knight trothawks claim to represent the wishes of Syrians and in particular “revolutionaries”, though the Syrian Communist parties at this juncture defend their country and the Syrian government. Similarly, Israel and the US abhorred Gazans’ choice of Hamas (as Rice sleazed “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming … I don’t know anyone who wasn’t caught off guard by Hamas’s strong showing”[2]). In the wings, Israel assists Al Qaeda “revolutionary” affiliate Al Nusra whilst smearing its old adversary and supporter of the Syrian government, Hezbollah, hoping to weaken it in preparation for a convenient time to steal South Lebanon real estate, its “unfinished business”[3], where Hezbollah previously defeated the belligerent, expansionist zionist entity.

Obligingly, the Pythonesque knights zero in on Russia, who, unlike the empire and its dirty cronies – NATO, the GCC and Israel – was invited by the sovereign Syrian government to intervene. However, trothawks do not recognise sovereignty for they are white knights embracing “no borders”, endowed with noblesse oblige to charge in wherever cartoon superheroes are required to support “democracy” and other glorious western values traditionally foisted upon foreign nations without consent prior to capitalist exploitation. Russia has its own legitimate interests, yet is demonised by knightly trothawks who cheer for empire’s “revolutionary” death squads and “regime change”, for the good of Syrians of course[4].

Ironies multiply. Pick a side, must be our side, bellow the trothawks. Wahhhhh, those who are not for us must be against us!!! if you don’t support the US contras and condemn Putin, you must be a Putinist, no, a Stalinist, Assadist, tankie, paternalist, orientalist, dummy anti-imperialist and whatever else they can scrounge into their desperate smear campaign against the real anti-imperialist left. Bush and his predecessors’ nationalist chants and the ridiculous Cold War deception are revived. As post-intervention rivers of blood flow on in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, the empire’s abhorrent divide and rule strategy in the region is crystal clear, despite transparent trothawk attempts at disappearing the imperial record under the rubric of “Arab spring”. Oozing colonialism and petty bourgeois racism, trothawks and neocons alike see these perpetual strategic imperial destabilisations as necessarily fixed footy matches with the role of empire to be hushed up and sanitised. Like the capitalist elite, they ride like engorged ticks on the back of empire, as valkyries screeching for the heads of those who challenge their absurd reductionism.

Happy thanksgiving, gawd bless Amerikkka, the turkey was better than last year’s. What do you want for Christmas? South Lebanon?

Footnotes

1. Trothawk (noun) – warmonger who professes grassroots organising capabilities, does not fight, supports other non-combatants building grassroots nationalist movements, opportunistically chooses proxies to fight on their behalf, loves RtP, bombs for “democracy” not “social justice for workers”. The cry of the mating Trothawk is “tell me what to think about this. What are the other Trothawks doing?” Also see “Lovebirds of War” http://www.kadaitcha.com/2015/09/10/lovebirds-of-war/
2. “The Gaza Bombshell” http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/04/gaza200804
3. “Lebanon, Israel and the next Middle East war” http://www.lebanonwire.com/0804MLN/08043009KT.asp
4. Trothawks for bombs. “We do call for action to protect civilians in Syria, including limited military action to enforce a no-bombing zone.” http://www.syriauk.org/2015/11/why-we-are-not-supporting-todays-stop.html

Other Links

John Bolton: “Security and stability are sufficient ambitions”

2012 DIA Report:

“While holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan reads aloud key passages such as, “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

From The Redirection:

“Nasrallah said he believed that America also wanted to bring about the partition of Lebanon and of Syria. In Syria, he said, the result would be to push the country “into chaos and internal battles like in Iraq.” In Lebanon, “There will be a Sunni state, an Alawi state, a Christian state, and a Druze state.”

Longterm US policy for regime change in Syria:

‘The cables gave the public a recent window into the strategies and motivations of US officials as they expressed them to each other, not as they usually expressed them to the public. In the case of Syria, the cables show that regime change had been a long-standing goal of US policy; that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its regime-change policy, thus helping lay the foundation for the sectarian civil war and massive bloodshed that we see in Syria today; that key components of the Bush administration’s regime-change policy remained in place even as the Obama administration moved publicly toward a policy of engagement; and that the US government was much more interested in the Syrian government’s foreign policy, particularly its relationship with Iran, than in human rights inside Syria.’

2011 US implementation of strategy delineated in Wikileaks cables:

‘The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.

The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria as part of a long-standing campaign to overthrow the country’s autocratic leader, Bashar al-Assad. Human rights groups say scores of people have been killed by Assad’s security forces since the demonstrations began March 18; Syria has blamed the violence on “armed gangs.”

Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified U.S. diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. The channel is named after the Barada River, which courses through the heart of Damascus, the Syrian capital.’

‘Several U.S. diplomatic cables from the embassy in Damascus reveal that the Syrian exiles received money from a State Department program called the Middle East Partnership Initiative. According to the cables, the State Department funneled money to the exile group via the Democracy Council, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. According to its Web site, the council sponsors projects in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America to promote the “fundamental elements of stable societies.”

The council’s founder and president, James Prince, is a former congressional staff member and investment adviser for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Reached by telephone, Prince acknowledged that the council administers a grant from the Middle East Partnership Initiative but said that it was not “Syria-specific.”

Prince said he was “familiar with” Barada TV and the Syrian exile group in London, but he declined to comment further, saying he did not have approval from his board of directors. “We don’t really talk about anything like that,” he said.

The April 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus states that the Democracy Council received $6.3 million from the State Department to run a Syria-related program called the “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative.” That program is described as “a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” to produce, among other things, “various broadcast concepts.” Other cables make clear that one of those concepts was Barada TV.’

Interesting connection with Prince’s Democracy Council – Yani Haigh aka Jon Haigh:

“He is currently the director with responsibility for internet communications for The Best Plans Project and is also involved with the Democracy Council in San Francisco in the construction of a new web presence for the American International School in Gaza.’

From 2012:

‘Go back a while to early 2006, and you have the state department announcing a new “funding opportunity” called the “Syria Democracy Program”. On offer, grants worth “$5m in Federal Fiscal Year 2006”. The aim of the grants? “To accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.”‘

More on Yani Haigh, Kamal Nawash et al

ORB survey 2015:

‘ORB International, a company which specializes in public opinion research in fragile and conflict environments, [2] found that 47 percent of Syrians believe that Assad has a positive influence in Syria, compared to only 35 percent for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and 26 percent for the Syrian Opposition Coalition.’

On “research” funded by the Democracy Council.

‘And even worse, rather than publishing findings in a peer-reviewed academic journal, the findings from the “Secret Survey” are publicized in the media with articles in places such as The Business Wire, the LA Times, CNN, the Free Library, Daily News. I believe that the point of this research is to shape an anti-Assad agenda and anti-Assad atmosphere in the US. Personally, I am also against the Assad regime and believe he must go — and research of this kind has a place in foreign policy. But, at the same time –it is unreasonable to engage in this type of ethically dubious research and expect your reputation as a research to remain in tact! ‘

RELEVANT WIKILEAKS CABLES

US grubs’ plans in 2009 to use “human rights” as a decoy for destabilisation and regime change:

‘Some programs may be perceived, were they made public, as an attempt to undermine the Asad regime, as opposed to encouraging behavior reform. In an effort to assist any Department level discussions on the SARG’s attitude toward human rights, this cable describes a possible strategy for framing the human rights discussion as an area of “mutual concern” for Syria and the U.S.’

‘DRL funded four major Syria-specific programs in the previous fiscal year. The grant recipients were (1) Freedom House, which conducted multiple workshops for a select group of Syrian activists on “strategic non-violence and civic mobilization;” (2) the American Bar Association, which held a conference in Damascus in July and then continued outreach with the goal of implementing legal education programs in Syria through local partners; (3) American University, which has conducted research on Syrian tribal and civil society by inviting shaykhs from six tribes to Beirut for interviews and training; and (4) Internews, which has coordinated with the Arab Women Media Center to support media youth camps for university-aged Syrians in both Amman and Damascus. In addition to these programs, the Embassy provided input on DRL grants awarded to Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), International War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and The International Research and Exchange Board (IREX). Though Post does not directly monitor any of these programs, we have appreciated the opportunity to meet with representatives of CIPE and IWPR. ‘

‘In addition to smaller local grants, MEPI sponsors eight major Syria-specific initiatives, some dating back to 2005, that will have received approximately USD 12 million by September 2010. A summary of MEPI produced material on these programs follows: -Aspen Strategic Initiative Institute, “Supporting Democratic Reform” (USD 2,085,044, December 1, 2005 – December 31, 2009). The institute, situated in Berlin, works with indigenous and expatriate reform-oriented activists and has sponsored conferences in international locations that brought together NGO representatives, media, and human rights activists from the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S., paying particular attention to Syrian Kurds. MEPI noted that “while this program has offered little intrinsic value and will not likely be continued beyond the terms of the grant, the program did give NEA a unique opportunity to meet Damascus Declaration officials in Europe who were later vouched for by Riad Seif” (a Damascus Declaration signatory currently serving a two and a half year prison sentence). -Democracy Council of California, “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative (CSSI)” (USD 6,300,562, September 1, 2006 – September 30, 2010). “CSSI is a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” that has produced a secure Damascus Declaration website (www.nidaasyria.org) and “various broadcast concepts” set to air in April. -Regents of the University of New Mexico, “The Cooperative Monitoring Center-Amman: Web Access for Civil Society Initiatives” (USD 949,920, September 30, 2006 – September 30, 2009). This project established “a web portal” and training in how to use it for NGOs. MEPI noted, “this program has been of minimal utility and is unlikely to be continued beyond the term of the grant.” -People in Need, “Strengthening Civil Society” (USD 611,304, September 30, 2006 – June 30, 2009). This project provided training for young activists using the model of Eastern European democratization. -Berlin Society, “Local Women’s Center” (USD 316,592, September 25, 2006 – August 31, 2009). This project funds a women’s center in Syria which, in turn, provides Internet access, as well as computer and literacy classes, and legal and medical advice. -International Republican Institute (IRI), “Supporting Democratic Reform” (USD 1,250,000, September 30, 2006 – August 31, 2009). “The project supports grassroots public awareness campaigns and the conduct and dissemination of public opinion polling research. Recent results include the distribution of two video compact discs compiling footage recorded by citizen-journalists and a 240-page report documenting thousands of human rights abuses.” -Solidarity Center, “Building Trade Union Capacity” (Approx. USD 50,000 of a multi-country USD 3,000,000 program, September 1, 2007 – December 31, 2009). This project funds “pilot research” on Syrian trade unions and has connected domestic labor activists and their counterparts in the Middle East and North Africa. Senior staff have visited Syria for meetings with the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions. -Etana Press, “Community-Based Libraries” (USD 584,904, June 1, 2008 – February 28, 2010). “This project supports the establishment of a community-based library/bookshop.” MEPI noted that over 500 visitors have visited the library to date “though it is not yet fully operational.” -MEPI has also proposed continued programming for IRI and the CIPE, as well as supporting independent journalists through joint efforts with NEA/PI. ‘

Yes, the SARG knew about US plans against it:

”Zeitunah told us security services had asked whether she had met with anyone from our “Foreign Ministry” and with anyone from the Democracy Council (Comment: State Department Foreign Affairs Officer Joseph Barghout had recently been in Syria and met with Zeitunah; we assume the SARG was fishing for information, knowing Barghout had entered the country. Jim Prince was in Damascus on February 25, and it is our understanding he met with Zeitunah at that time, or had done so on a separate trip. End Comment). She added that her interrogators did not ask about Barghout by name, but they did have Jim Prince’s. ”

“Zeitunah’s report begs the question of how much and for how long the SARG has known about Democracy Council operations in Syria and, by extension, the MJD’s participation. Reporting in other channels suggest the Syrian Muhabarat may already have penetrated the MJD and is using MJD contacts to track U.S. democracy programming. If the SARG does know, but has chosen not to intervene openly, it raises the possibility that the SARG may be mounting a campaign to entrap democracy activists receiving illegal (under Syrian law) foreign assistance.”

The SARG definitely had glommed onto US duplicitous efforts to destabilise and create a faux “Arab Spring”:

‘It is unclear to what extent SARG intelligence services understand how USG money enters Syria and through which proxy organizations. What is clear, however, is that security agents are increasingly focused on this issue when they interrogate human rights and civil society activists. The information agents are able to frame their questions with more and more specific information and names. The charge that Hasani received USG funding vis-a-vis the Al-Andalus Center is especially worrying since it may suggest the SARG has keyed in on MEPI operations in particular. ‘

In 2010: Thanks to the US “human rights” interventions and “plausible deniability” cover, Syria arrests human rights activists. Prince seems to have kept at arms’ length from Barada TV head Attasi:

‘Attasi confirmed reports we had heard from other contacts about the SARG,s interest in chasing down the financial and political support structure behind Barada. Security agents called her in for questioning in October and repeatedly asked her about her affiliations with the U.S. Embassy and whether she knew Jim Prince and someone named “Ugo” (or “Hugo”), the latter of whom agents described as being involved with People In Need in Prague. Attasi truthfully denied personal knowledge of the individuals as well as ever having visited the Embassy, though she claimed to have “indirectly” sent a warning to Ugo. ‘

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Why the Refugee Acceptance Movement Must Become an Anti-Imperialist Movement

At around the same time the United States was forming death squads and torture chambers, the Bush administration plotted the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Leaked documents made available by WikiLeaks show that the United States planned, once again, to deploy the El Salvador option in Syria. The plan “was to use a number of different factors to create paranoia within the Syrian government; to push it to overreact, to make it fear there’s a coup” including “foster[ing] tensions between Shiites and Sunnis.

2012 hostile Doha Poll.

‘Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria’s borders.’

Poll July 2015:

‘ 63% of Syrians think the Free Syrian Army have a completely or somewhat negative influence in Syria, compared to 36% who think they have a somewhat or completely positive influence’

Preplanning: ‘However brutal and repressive Bashar al-Assad may be, he is currently the leader of a sovereign state which is still recognised as legitimate by most other countries in the world. And despite a civil war that has been raging for over four years, the opposition groups supported by a range of other Middle Eastern countries as well as by the USA have singularly failed to dislodge him. While David Cameron calls Assad “one of ISIL’s greatest recruiting sergeants”, the indisputable fact is that ISIL stepped into the vacuum created by the civil war itself.

It is an open secret that the USA, mainly through the CIA, has been funding, arming and supporting the Syrian opposition from the outset. Undeterred by the disastrous results of ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya, the US, UK and other western powers have been determined to see regime change in Syria and have been trying for four years to help that along by supporting the Free Syrian Army and other military groups trying to oust Assad.’

Guilt by Dis-association: The Landscape of Amerikan* Exceptionalism in the Guise of Palestine Solidarity

Poll of Libyans (March 2014): 32% say the country is better off “since the revolution” while 41% say it’s worse off.

On US strategy for perpetual destabilisation:

‘How much death and destruction would American terror warriors have to cause before their ostensible opponents rejected their claims of noble intent? During the thirteen years of the “war on terror,” actions of the United States government have consistently and predictably strengthened anti-American terrorist groups. To chalk this all up to stupidity — rather than unstated imperial imperatives — is to choose ignorance.’

Israel trained against Russian-made air defense system in Greece: sources

Turkey to occupy Iraq?

Turkey-bound Isis oil being smuggled through “moderate” rebel areas in north Aleppo destroyed by Russian jets

Plausible deniability, testing the waters for a possible US policy shift?:

‘U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday it might be possible for the Syrian government and rebel forces to cooperate against Islamic State militants without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad having first left power.

However, Kerry said it would be “exceedingly difficult” to achieve this if rebel forces that have been fighting against Assad for more than four years did not have some confidence that the Syrian leader would eventually go.

Kerry was asked at a news conference during a visit to Greece whether Assad’s departure was a precondition for Western-backed rebels to cooperate with government troops against IS, which has captured a swathe of Syria and Iraq and carried out a string of attacks in other countries.

“With respect to the question of Assad and the timing, I think the answer is … it is not clear that he would have to ‘go’ if there was clarity with respect to what his future might or might not be,” Kerry said.’

Interview between Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) and Gen. Wesley Clark, retired 4-star US army general and former supreme Allied commander of NATO during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: […] About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

Syrian “opposition” invited by the Wahhabi beheaders to design the new Syria.

‘”The goal of the Riyadh meeting is developing a united front against Assad,” Khaled Khoja, said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We will share our new vision there. We have conformity over Syria’s future after Assad. We are meeting in Riyadh to avert claims that the opposition is a creation of different factions,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Khoja is due to attend the summit from Dec. 11 to 14, when the Saudi government has invited 65 opposition leaders to discuss the shape Syria in accordance with the Geneva communique, the document that sets out the need for a cease-fire and political settlement.”

Lenin:

‘The flaunting of high-sounding phrases is characteristic of the declassed petty-bourgeois intellectuals. The organised proletarian Communists will certainly punish this “habit” with nothing less than derision and expulsion from all responsible posts. The people must be told the bitter truth simply, clearly and in a straightforward manner’.

‘If war is waged by the exploiting class with the object of strengthening its rule as a class, such a war is a criminal war, and “defencism” in such a war is a base betrayal of socialism. If war is waged by the proletariat after it has conquered the bourgeoisie in its own country, and is waged with the object of strengthening and developing socialism, such a war is legitimate and “holy”.’

Who buys the ISIS oil and how do they acquire it?

‘JAY: Now, you made a point in your article that the Americans have done very little bombing of these oil trucks. They kind of picked it up after the Russians started bombing oil trucks. How do you explain the Americans allowing this kind of flow of funds into IS?

PRASHAD: Well, I asked somebody in the State Department this. And you know, she’s not a spokesperson, not possible for her to speak on the record. But she basically said something that I found very unbelievable, which is that it’s taken them time to perfect their targeting. They didn’t want to hit civilians, they don’t believe that the truck drivers should be targeted, that they themselves aren’t, you know, a party to IS. They are merely driving trucks. So they had to finesse their operations.

Well, this sounded a little far-fetched to me. The United States has not been known, you know, as a humanitarian bomber when it’s bombed other logistical convoys in Afghanistan or elsewhere. So this seemed a little odd to me. Yes, it–of course, it appears directly that the American bombing, the few bombings now of oil convoys have followed the ration bombings of the oil convoys. But you know, I just want to say that even the bombings of the oil convoys, it will have a dent on ISIS’s Office of Resources. But the vast bulk of ISIS funding comes from confiscations, extortion, and taxation. And that is not going to be affected by aerial bombardment. So whether they bomb the trucks or not, ISIS funding is not going to be completely depleted.

What this attack at the ISIS oil is going to do is to put pressure on groups–on countries such as Turkey and Israel and others that are playing a duplicitous game in this international coalition against ISIS. I think that is far more important. It’s clarifying the politics. Where does Turkey stand vis-a-vis ISIS? Where does Israel stand?

JAY: Listen, we’ve been saying–and you and I have talked about this, I’ve talked about this in other interviews on the Real News. But the fundamental strategy of the United States and Israel in Syria was let everybody kill each other, as long as it takes. In other words, make sure no one side gets a real strategic advantage over the other. And if one gets too strong, strengthen one of the other sides. Do you think this has something to do with it, that they don’t–you know, they don’t want a complete collapse of ISIS.

PRASHAD: Well, look, it’s–. This is a plausible scenario. I’ve never heard it from anybody in a position of authority, you know, that they feel that they don’t want to see the collapse of ISIS. But what they do say, which comes close to that, is that destroying ISIS itself is not going to give the Sunni population of northwestern Iraq an sections of northern Syria, it’s not going to give the Sunni population confidence that they, you know, their sort of anxieties, their grievances, would be taken care of. In other words, just allowing the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Mosul, to be overrun by the Iraqi army is itself not going to bring that Sunni population to understand that their needs would be taken care of by the Iraqi state, and the same of course in Syria.’

DPAI In Solidarity With the Lebanese Boycott

Don’t Play Apartheid Israel Is In Solidarity With the Lebanese Boycott

The rock band Placebo played Israel then Lebanon in June 2010. In an interview in Israel, lead singer Brian Molko insulted Gaza flotilla participants who were assaulted and nine people murdered by Israel the previous week. The interviewer commented “It’s important to have Israel’s endorsement these days.” Molko responded with a casual laugh: “I think so… especially if you want to go sailing.” [relevant passage begins at .46 ]

Molko’s reprehensible comment came at a time when many Israelis were celebrating this massacre whilst berating and humiliating the survivors who were incarcerated in Israel. The Pixies had previously cancelled their Israel gig only weeks before in response to the Palestinian call to boycott, yet Molko joked, implying that one needs to be on the side of Israel and support its multiple breaches of international humanitarian law to remain safe. Until Placebo releases a statement in support of BDS and condemns Israel’s attack on the flotilla, DPAI feels strongly that Molko’s comments can only be considered as condoning Israel’s crimes.

While PACBI has not yet endorsed a boycott of any artist or group for breaching the boycott guidelines, in Lebanon, as indeed in all Arab countries, the considerations are entirely different than in the rest of the world.

Palestinians belong to the Arab world (regardless of many issues about what Arabism means and the categorical need for full equality of minorities and for a civic, not ethnic, state), and this makes Arab-Israeli relations subject to the normalization guidelines, not just the Guidelines for the International Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Arab countries, and especially Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, are an integral and internal part of the colonial conflict, not outsiders whom Palestinians ask for effective solidarity.

Now targeted by a legal suit against them, Lebanese activists have based their boycott of Placebo on their own legitimate criteria and DPAI supports their actions. The attempt to prosecute Lebanese groups who called for a boycott of Placebo is likely inspired by the anti-democratic anti-boycott law passed this year in Israel’s Knesset which is aimed at countering the BDS campaign and protecting Israeli apartheid from censure by Israelis and internationals who support BDS.

We reject any argument that the Lebanese boycott of Placebo is unlawful and stand in solidarity with the Lebanese boycott groups’ campaign. Please show your support also by signing up to their actions below.

DON’T PLAY APARTHEID ISRAEL
We are a group, of 780 members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The following call comes from the Green Resistance blog. It is published on the website of the Lebanese Campaign for the Boycott of Zionism. Please send all sign-ons to rania.z.masri@gmail.com:

Samah Idriss, director of Dar al-Adab publishing house, received a court summons [recently] from Beirut’s commerce court. Idriss is implicated in a lawsuit for his involvement in a Lebanese boycott campaign against the British rock group Placebo last year. Jihad el-Murr, who heads the company that organized the event, filed the suit on 10 July 2011.

El-Murr is suing Idriss, as well as three other groups involved in the campaign: the Aidoun Refugee Rights Center, the Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, and the Global BDS Campaign in Lebanon. El-Murr, a self-described famous businessman from a prominent family, is demanding US$180,000 compensation for his company’s financial losses allegedly caused by the boycott campaign.

Jihad el Murr is suing these four organizations/campaigns on the grounds that, because we called for the boycott of Placebo’s concert in Lebanon because they had just performed in Israel, we are thus financially responsible for the smaller turnout at this 2010 concert than the number that went to the 2004 Placebo concert in Lebanon. The lawsuit may have been inspired by the recent anti-boycott law passed by Knesset – which can hold individuals/organizations that call for boycott to be financially responsible for any losses endured by a company/other even without that company proving that the statements have resulted in the loss. The lawsuit may also have been inspired by potential future plans by Jihad el Murr. Either way, the intent is clear: to silence the boycott movement, and to muzzle free speech.

So:

Are you opposed to this anti-boycott lawsuit? –
Are you opposed to this attempt to stifle free expression?

If so, please read the statement below. If you agree to this statement, please sign your full name, address, profession, and organization (if any). Please sign your name and email it to Rania Masri at [encode_email email=”rania.z.masri@gmail.com”]

Note: if you live in Lebanon, you may choose to sign a statement declaring that you are a member of the Campaign to Boycott Zionist Supporters in Lebanon. If so, please state as such in your email or in your comment.

We, the undersigned, attest that we are members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. We attest that, consequently, we are defendants in the lawsuit against us by To You To See, represented by its manager Mr. Jihad Al-Murr, on the basis of our support for the boycott of the Placebo concert in June 2010 due to Placebo’s insistence on performing in Israel on the eve of the massacre against the Freedom Flotilla.

We, the undersigned, further declare our full stance in solidarity in the defense against this lawsuit. We shall regard this lawsuit as another platform and a new opportunity to consecrate our campaign to boycott supporters of zionist oppression and racism, and to emphasize our right to express what we see as just in the pursuit of this human right. We also stand in solidarity with all the other defendants in this case, including Samah Idriss of the Al-Adab magazine, the Refugee Rights Center – Aidoun, and the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon.

Sometimes the justice system is used to oppress free voices and to strengthen certain power structures. In this lawsuit,the justice system shall be first and foremost a platform to empower the values of justice and freedom in resisting injustice and oppression.

Please, if you want to sign the statement, please include your full name, location or address, profession, and organizational affiliation (if any). Please include that information in an email to [encode_email email=”rania.z.masri@gmail.com”].

Thank You.

Related Links

Stand in Solidarity with Lebanese BDS activists
Interview: Why is concert promoter suing Lebanon boycott activists?

Freedom Dominoes Falling

From Tunisia, to Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, people are rising up against the waning US empire’s puppet dictators while the US pays begrudging lip service to their struggle or like Biden, sacrifices the democratic aspirations of Egyptians to Israel and US geopolitical scheming (he means resources and militarisation). The price, once again for empire, is worth it? After all, these are only brown people who happen to be living where the resources which the US covets are situated. Several patronising US blogocrats of various shades of white supremacy have expressed less than admirable support for the courageous Egyptian people – surely these annoying foreign brown people should wait until the empire tells them it is convenient for them to pursue regime change, the government leaders they acquire after the revolution may be even more unappealing than their current torturous US allied villains. For neocon Laurent Murawiec afficionados, the dream of Egypt being the ‘prize’ for empire is surely now a nightmare.

LatuffLater, @PJCrowley tweeted “We are concerned that communication services, including the Internet, social media and even this #tweet, are being blocked in #Egypt.” #

The people’s demonstrations express heartfelt grassroots impatience to be rid of oppression – an impetus echoed also by Iranians attempting to dislodge their current repressive nexus. In Egypt,

At least four persons have died so far, 600 have been arrested and many more injured. Protests are flaring up in Cairo, 6th of October City, Suez, Mahalla al-Kubra and Alexandria.

“Young people are standing in the way of heavily armed armored vehicles and stopping them. People are genuinely frustrated,” Khaled al-Balashy, editor-in-chief of al-Badil newspaper told IPS.

“That was the first time I see people literally sacrificing their lives in face of police brutality,” al-Balashy said. “They think nothing worse could happen to them. This is unprecedented. And the changes will be equally unprecedented. It is a matter of time.”

Diaa Rashwan, an analyst with the semi-official al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies noted that the protests are now calling for regime change, not for the usual government benefits or reduction in food prices.

In contrast the people of Palestine continue to struggle against a despicable tripartite adversary which includes the leaders of the Palestine Authority collaborator, imposed upon them by the US for its own and its zionist crony’s benefit.

… the administration at least twice threatened to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority if elections were called and anyone other than Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad remained in power.

And it actively works with Israeli and Palestinian security services to deny the democratic will of Palestinians.

What is clear, then, is that Obama not only prefers the status quo, but the United States will actively subvert democracy in order to ensure that governments that will follow its policies remain in power.

If the administration has taken such an anti-democratic line with Palestinians, imagine how it must feel about the protests that have just exploded in Egypt, where substantive democratic change and a truly representative government would no doubt be far less amenable to US policies and strategic objectives regarding Israel and the war on terror than is Mubarak’s.

Faced with the overwhelming calumny and injustice of its oppressors evidenced in the Palestine Papers, dispossessed Palestinians are steadfast, continuing to insist on their rights.

For Amar al-Masaid, 28, history was something he lived with every day. “Our country was taken by force,” he said, amid jumbo boxes of cornflakes, tins of spam and chocolate Santa Clauses in his family’s shop. “They invaded us. They are a colonial power. We will never make any compromise. We will never sell our land. It would be better to stay with the Jews under occupation that give up our rights.”

His family had fled from Deir Aban in 1948; his father still has the deeds to the land they lost. “If you ask a little baby in these camps where their home is, they will answer you,” he said.

On cue, seven-year-old Dahoud and his sister Ranim, five, arrived to buy dried coconut, sent by their mother. Where did they come from? “Palestine,” said the boy; his sister whispered “Al-Maliha,” an Arab village south of Jerusalem until 1948, now home to a huge Israeli shopping mall and sports stadium.

According al-Masaid, the refugees live in a prison. Look around you, he said gesturing at the wall looming a couple of hundred yards away.

Nearby, 63-year-old Mousa al-Masaid, wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh, was passionately dismissive about the recent disclosures of negotiations. “I don’t care what they say on al-Jazeera,” he said. “All I care about is going back to my homeland. You want me to give up my land for peace? To hell with peace! I would rather live under the rule of monkeys than give up my land for peace.”

The Palestinian negotiators did not represent him, he said, and had no right to bargain away his homeland on his behalf.

Free Palestine!

At this moment

The offices of the Palestinian ambassador to the UK have been occupied by a group of students who are demanding new Palestinian national council elections.

At 1pm today, around a dozen Palestinian students from a number of British universities arrived at the Palestinian general delegation to the UK in Hammersmith, west London.

Although they had made an appointment to see the ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, they arrived in large numbers and with computers and banners.

A spokesman for the students said they had been moved to stage a peaceful sit-in by the release of leaked Palestinian papers over the last few days.

“The documents confirmed what we had known all along — that they are out of touch with the people,” the spokesman said.

As well as calling for new elections, the students — from Oxford, SOAS, LSE, City and Westminster universities — are demanding a more inclusive political process that reflects and engages all Palestinians.

“We are ready to stay as long as necessary until our message has been received and understood,” he said.

The ambassador, whose office has been occupied, has asked the students to leave the room but has told them they are welcome to remain in the building.

“They told me they wanted to hold a sit-in in my office. I told them: ‘You’re welcome. This is your embassy. This is your home’,” he said.

Hassassian also said he had agreed to pass their demands on to the Palestinian government, but needed his office back if he was to relay them.

“We are being very hospitable and we hope that they respect our hospitality,” he said.

Two Metropolitan police officers entered the embassy a little after 4pm, and chatted to the ambassador and protesters.

The Palestinian students have issued a demand for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to be restored “as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”.

Related Links

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Palestine Papers: If US can’t be ‘honest broker’ in Middle East, get out of the way
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State Department Releases Statement on Protests in Egypt & a Note on Democracy Promotion *updated*
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Video: Ali Abunimah on right of return and The Palestine Papers – Al Jazeera English 25 Jan 2011
Robert Fisk: A new truth dawns on the Arab world – Fisk gets his timeline wrong. The people of Tunisia revolted before the release of the Palestine Papers and there’s debate whether Wikileaks instigated the revolt or merely added fuel.
Documents reveal PA-Israel collaboration to target resistance
Egypt is not Tunisia – Op-ed: Egypt’s security services know how to handle protests, Mubarak isn’t going anywhere – Israel just loves Mubarak
Photos young women in Egypt protests
http://www.flickr.com/photos/el-amiro21/5390526441/
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Time to end foreign aid to Israel: ‘We just can’t do it anymore,’ Sen. Paul warns
Saudi Arabia’s silence may be a good thing

Egyptian slogans
What the herd is saying in Egypt
Egypt Unemployment Rate 2010 – 9.4%
African National Congress manual
Egypt: An Internet Black Hole
Palestinian students claim right “to participate in shaping of our destiny”
Guardian Journalist Arrested and Beaten Alongside Protesters in Egypt Secretly Records Ordeal ‘In Egypt, running battles between police and anti-government protesters continued into the early hours of Thursday morning. Police have arrested up to 1,200 people, including a number of journalists. Among them was Guardian reporter, Jack Shenker. He was arrested and beaten by plainclothes police on Tuesday night and shoved into a truck with dozens of other people. He managed to keep his dictaphone with him and recorded what was happening as the truck carried them outside of Cairo.’
Police alone can’t keep rulers in power. Egypt’s battle is on
The Palestine Papers and the “Gaza coup”
Egypt braces itself for biggest day of protests yet
Mohamed ElBaradei lands in Cairo: ‘There’s no going back’
State Dep’t says democracy is OK for Tunisia but not Egypt because of Israel
Emergency Response Plan: EGYPT
Egypt shuts down the internet on eve of protest as the world community gathers
Joe Biden says Egypt’s Mubarak no dictator, he shouldn’t step down…
Once again: new Khaled Said in Alexandria. Elsayed Belal was tortured to death by Egyptian police.
Counternarcotics and Law Enforcement Country Program: Egypt
What if this was Iran?
http://twitpic.com/3u0d48
Translated Excerpts from Egyptian Activists’ Action Plan
The Birth of the New Middle East
OPERATION EGYPT – ANONYMOUS PRESS RELEASE – 26/01/2011
The US role as Israel’s enabler : George Mitchell’s message means the United States is out of touch with Palestinian realities. by Mark Perry and Ali Abunimah
Streisand me! is a service by the proud people of the internet. This is a meeting place and resource page for everyone who want to participate in the creation of a censorship resistant internet.
Egypt: Internet down, police counterterror unit up
How to open blocked Facebook, Twitter and any website.
The Internet goes dark in Egypt
U.S. cables: Mubarak still a vital ally
Biden: see no good, hear no good, speak no good
Biden to Israelis: Mideast status quo unsustainable – ‘”The demographic realities make it difficult for Israel to be a Jewish homeland and a democratic country,” said Biden in his speech to foreign dignitaries, Israeli officials and students at Tel Aviv University. “The status quo is not sustainable.” ‘
Police alone can’t keep rulers in power. Egypt’s battle is on
Egyptian Activists’ Action Plan: Translated
The Internet goes dark in Egypt
Internet traffic graph
URGENT-Internet down all over Egypt | Urgent Call to Protest
Emergency Response Plan: EGYPT
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When Egypt turned off the internet
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Interview with Hossam el-Hamalawy : Professor Mark LeVine interviews journalist and blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy on the situation in Egypt.
The devil they knew is a bogy no more – Paul McGeough quotes Ibish – why???
Muslim Brotherhood demands of Mubarak

@SultanAlQassemi Hassan Nafaa on Al Jazeera Arabic “The only replies from the govt were on the security front, no political concessions were offered” #Jan25 #

@SultanAlQassemi Hassan Nafaa “What we want is for President Mubarak to announce he will not run again for presidency or appoint his son as president” #Jan25 #

@SultanAlQassemi Hassan Nafaa “We want the parliament to be reformed. We want to hear Mubarak say ‘I understand your demands & we will comply'” #Jan25 #

@SultanAlQassemi FYI: Hassan Nafaa is Professor & Chairman of the Political Science department at Cairo University & anti-inheritance of power campaigner #

@SultanAlQassemi Poetry #Jan25 “O Security Officers, who will you protect when the Pashas flee Egypt like others have done? Carry two sheilds instead of one” #

@SultanAlQassemi Poetry of #Jan25 “And he wants to appoint his genius son for us as well? After 30 years!” Tamim Al Bargouthi poetry on Al Jazeera Mubasher. #

RT @ummhajarforpal: All known ways 2 stay online in #Egypt + HOWTO make gasmask http://wp.me/p16sn9-2QP #jan25 #bloggers Please RB & RT!!!

Internet working in most 5 star hotels??

Palestine / Israel Links

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (20-26 January 2011)
Breaking: Settlers Kill Palestinian Near Iraq Burin
The rabbis of the devil
Obama must call Israeli settlements illegal
The Goldstone Report: more important than you think
THE PALESTINE PAPERS: MAKDISI – The Palestinian people betrayed 27Jan11
The EU and Israel committed themselves to establishing a partnership which provides for close political and mutually beneficial trade and investment relations together with economic, social, financial, civil scientific, technological and cultural cooperation.
The Palestine Papers: our red lines have been crossed
One doesn’t boycott the only free society in the Mideast -BHL rant

Wikileaks Links

WikiLeaks may put India in big trouble
Police arrest five over Anonymous WikiLeaks attacks
Pirate Party slams police over Anonymous arrests
WikiLeaks rival goes live as editors turn on Assange
09CAIRO1468, NDP INSIDER: MILITARY WILL ENSURE TRANSFER OF POWER
iewing cable 09CAIRO874, SCENESETTER: PRESIDENT MUBARAK’S VISIT TO

Other Links

Popular Uprising In Yemen Seeking President’s Exit
The wrong kind of sharing: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page hacked
Tunisia Unrest Inspires Jordan Protesters
SA awaits news on Madiba’s health
The Haiti Situation : An interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristide
America’s Culture of Cruelty
Open Leaks Open but no leaks
My battles with Rupert Murdoch : Murdoch will tolerate competition, but prefers market dominance. Monopoly? Even better
Mainstream Media Continues to Ignore the Horrifying Murder of Brisenia Flores
BOMBSHELL REPORT: Goldman Sachs Got Billions From Taxpayers Thru AIG For Its OWN Account, Crisis Panel Finds; Contradicting SWORN Testimony From Execs
Smoke Signals – Plexus : Mark Pesce
Development and Discussion of the Plexus Social Networking Stack
Himalayan glaciers not melting because of climate change, report finds
US diplomat charged with Pakistan double murder
Video: “I Am Not A Terrorist, I Am A Child” (ORPHANS DUE TO “GERMAN/US AIRSTRIKE”)

Fadi Andrawos – Falasteen W Lebnan : aid contingents reach Gaza

As George Galloway’s 300 strong Viva Palestina aid contingent waits at the Rafah crossing to enter Gaza, celebrated author Alice Walker is already there.

The visitors include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker and about 60 other people who arrived over the weekend to celebrate International Women’s Day and see for themselves what life is like for Palestinians after Israel’s devastating 22-day offensive.

The group visited women’s centres and organizations across the Gaza Strip yesterday, handing out about 2,000 aid baskets. They listened to the stories of the women, some of whose children were killed in the war. Over the next few days they will visit refugee camps and neighbourhoods levelled by Israeli shells and artillery.

“This is not a gimmick; it’s a strategy,” Kim Elliott, Toronto publisher of the independent news website http://www.rabble.ca, said in a phone interview from her hotel in Gaza City. “It’s for [us] to see what it’s really like and make the personal connection and go back to [our] homes to talk about it.”

“All great changes come from minorities,” Alice Walker insisted during a phone interview from the home of a Palestinian family where she was being hosted.

“In fact, they usually come from two to three people – especially if they are writers,” said Ms. Walker, best known for her novel The Color Purple. She said she danced, sang and ate and listened to the women and that she saw “a lot of sadness on the faces of the children.”

The visitors not only had to take a bus for hours from Cairo across the Sinai Desert, they were required to pay their embassies to write letters declaring that they assumed sole responsibility for their lives upon entering the Gaza Strip.

“It cost $130!” said Ehab Lotayef, a 50-year-old Montreal engineer who was able to enter Gaza with the assistance of the U.S. women’s peace group Code Pink, which organized the delegation.

“I think they didn’t want a bunch of women with big banners camping out at the border crossing,” said Sandra Ruch, 52, a Torontonian and program co-ordinator for Women’s Coalition for Peace in Israel and Independent Jewish Voices in Canada.

For 2009 International Women’s Day, we at the Fringe celebrate the dedication and intelligence of women throughout the world who resist apathy and make a difference.

The Evidence of Israel’s War Crimes In Gaza & Lebanon

From The Times – Israel admits using white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza

After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”

The incident in question is thought to be the firing of phosphorus shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on January 17. The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas. Pictures of the attack show Palestinian medics fleeing as blobs of burning phosphorus rain down on the compound.