Category Archives: Terrorism (state and retail)

Ethiopia: TPLF Terrorism Expands, Civilians Massacred

As the armed conflict between Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) enters a new phase, Ethiopians are uniting against their common enemy. The TPLF is not a group of freedom fighters standing up for the downtrodden; they are a terrorist insurgent force waging a war against a sovereign state. Murdering, raping, destroying property and the lives of Ethiopians, the TPLF is a cancer that for decades has thrown a suffocating shadow of fear and division over the country, a cancer that must be cut out totally if Ethiopia is to flourish.

For 27 years they were the dominant force within a so-called coalition government. Corrupt and brutal, the TPLF stole election after election, trampled on human rights, embezzled federal funds and aid money and committed State Terrorism in various regions of the country. Administering a policy of Ethnic Federalism, they ruled through fear, divided the people along ethnic lines and are widely hated by most Ethiopians.

In 2018, after sustained public protests, they were ousted. However, after such a long period in power their divisive methodology and ideals still have influence. Senior members retreated to their Tigray heartland after losing office, regrouped, plotted, and waited for an opportunity to rise up against the government.

On 4 November 2020 they attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Forces Base in the northern region of Tigray. They killed soldiers, took control of the military’s Northern Command in Mekelle (capital of Tigray) and raided federal armories. This act of terrorism set in motion an armed conflict in the northern region of Tigray; a fight the TPLF had been itching for, which has now spread into the neighboring region of Ahmara.

Thousands have died, combatants and civilians; claims of rape and sexual violence are widespread; tens of thousands have been displaced, homeless and hungry, with large numbers, frightened and distressed, making their way to camps in neighboring Sudan.

The TPLF’s brutal actions should be condemned unreservedly by foreign governments, particularly Ethiopia’s major donors. But, far from standing with the government, the US, UK and EU have consistently supported the terrorists, circulating misinformation, making false claims against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, his government and Ethiopian forces.

Civilians Massacred

In an attempt to stop the killing and defuse the situation, on 28 June, the Government declared a “unilateral humanitarian ceasefire” and withdrew its forces from Tigray. In response, the TPLF marched into the regional capital and issued a series of outlandish conditions for complying: They demanded the release of all Tigray political prisoners (imprisoned for atrocities committed over many years), falsely accused Prime Minister Abiy of starting the war, and claimed that Tigrayans “have been subjected to…genocide and ethnic cleansing”. Federal forces are fighting the TPLF not the people of Tigray. But, as a result of the TPLF instigated conflict, civilians in Tigray have been severely impacted.

Unrelenting, obdurate, Tigray forces, which have now combined with another extremist group, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), have ignored the ceasefire and continued their attack on Ethiopia, moving into the Afar and Amhara regions bordering Tigray. Death, destruction and chaos is left in their wake with distressing reports of civilian killings, rapes, kidnapping and robbery. Homes are destroyed, office buildings, including Kabele (local government) headquarters vandalized, documents burnt, water and electricity supplies cut, Churches and schools damaged or demolished, cattle killed, crops destroyed.

Over 200 civilians were killed in Afar including more than 100 children, according to UNICEF, and around 300,000 were displaced. Federal forces have now driven the aggressors out of this region. In Deber Tabor in Ahmara, the main hospital was attacked and homes destroyed. A local resident, Mr. Deres Nega told Ethiopian media how his wife, children and friends had been killed by the TPLF. His life has been torn apart. His agony is being repeated throughout the area, his pain is the pain of a nation, a pain that has but one cure, the eradication of the TPLF.

Over 200 km north of Deber Tabor, in Chena Teklehaymanot, mass graves were recently discovered containing 124 bodies, many more people (over 100) are missing feared dead. Witnesses state that the TPLF went house to house and slaughtered men, women, children, even priests (revered throughout Ethiopia) were killed. The massacre, which has been confirmed by Gizachew Muluneh, Director of Communications for the Amhara Regional State, is but one atrocity in a series of coordinated assaults by the TPLF since the government ceasefire. Getachew Shiferaw, a leading Ethiopian activist, relates that, “Civilians were massacred [by the TPLF] in Woldia, Kobo, Alamata, Lalibela, Abergele, Maytemri, Gaint, Gashena and Mersa, among others towns.” He warns that, “Chena is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed’s press secretary, has said that TPLF atrocities in Ahmara “were carried out to avenge the military loss the clique suffered by federal and state troops,” as its fighters were routed from Afar. The government believes the Chena massacre was carried out by “the TPLF’s Samri youth group”, who are also thought to be responsible for killing over 1,000 civilians in “the town of Maikadra…last November.” After which they escaped to Sudan and hid in a UNHCR refugee camp.

Such brutal attacks, which are consistently ignored by western governments (who know very well what is actually happening) and prominent mainstream media, are forcing the Ethiopian government, until now relatively restrained, to respond and mobilize its forces. Ethiopia’s foreign ministry recently said the TPLF was pushing the government to “change its defensive mood which has been taken for the sake of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire,” and that unless (government) overtures for a peaceful resolution were reciprocated, “Ethiopia could deploy the entire defensive capability of the state.”

The government, which has been weak on law and order enforcement, cannot simply sit back and allow the TPLF to murder civilians. They must respond swiftly and decisively, including, if necessary, deploying the air force, something they are reluctant to do because of potential civilian casualties.

Malicious foreign forces 

Since the conflict began the Ethiopian government has been battling, not just the terrorists, but malicious foreign forces and misleading information from western governments and mainstream media – the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Facebook etc. The US, which is widely believed to be indirectly arming the TPLF, has led the misinformation campaign, and appear (together with the UK and EU) to have sanctioned the TPLF’s attack on Ethiopia.

To its utter shame the Biden administration (and UK and EU) has failed to condemn the TPLF attacks, and has undermined the Ethiopian government from the outset. They repeatedly call for reconciliation (thereby legitimizing the terrorists), and instruct PM Ahmed to negotiate with the TPLF, which is not only unacceptable to the government, but to the vast majority of Ethiopians, who liken the TPLF to a pack of hyenas, pointing out the impossibility of negotiating with wild animals.

In response to their international backers’ call for ‘negotiations’ the TPLF drafted a list of preposterous demands for any such talks. Among other fantasies, they wanted PM Ahmed to step down and be replaced with one of their own, and a power-sharing arrangement introduced. This would amount to the overthrow (with US backing) of a democratically elected government: The Prosperity Party (a party of national unity founded by Abiy) has a huge mandate, taking 410 out of 436 seats in the June 2020 general election. The formation of a new government, which will include opposition parties, is expected by the end of September/early October, and is eagerly awaited.

As these malicious foreign forces seek to destabilize Ethiopia for their own corrupt geo-political reasons, and the TPLF commit atrocity after atrocity, the Ethiopian people are laying aside long held divisions (largely caused by TPLF policies) and coming together, standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters against the poison of the terrorists and the Imperial arrogance of America and Co.

While this is unquestionably a deeply troubling moment for Ethiopia, at the same time there is cause for celebration and real optimism: The staging of the first democratic elections in the country’s long and rich history was a major achievement, as was the second filling of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (the largest dam in Africa) reservoir. These, along with the imminent formation of a new and democratically elected government, are unifying national events. Significant development which the Ethiopian people can take great pride in as they unite against the TPLF/OLA terrorists. Destructive groups, which must be purged from the country completely and utterly if peace and social harmony are to be established, and the  needed work of national transformation is to go ahead.

The post Ethiopia: TPLF Terrorism Expands, Civilians Massacred first appeared on Dissident Voice.

To Counter Terror, Abolish War

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was among a small group of U.S. citizens who sat on milk crates or stood holding signs, across from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan. We had been fasting from solid foods for a month, calling for an end to brutal economic warfare waged against Iraq through imposition of U.N. sanctions. Each Friday of our fast, we approached the entrance to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations carrying lentils and rice, asking the U.S. officials to break our fast with us, asking them to hear our reports, gathered after visiting destitute Iraqi hospitals and homes. On four successive Friday afternoons, New York police handcuffed us and took us to jail.

Two days after the passenger planes attacked the World Trade Center,  U.S. Mission to the UN officials called us and asked that we visit with them.

I had naively hoped this overture could signify empathy on the part of U.S. officials. Perhaps the 9/11 attack would engender sorrow over the suffering and pain endured by people of Iraq and other lands when the U.S. attacks them. The officials at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations wanted to know why we went to Iraq but we sensed they were mainly interested in filling out forms to comply with an order to gather more information about U.S. people going to Iraq.

The U.S. government and military exploited the grief and shock following 9/11 attacks to raise fears, promote Islamophobia and launch forever wars which continue to this day. Under the guise of “counter-terrorism,” the U.S. now pledges to combine drone attacks, surveillance, airstrikes, and covert operations to continue waging war in Afghanistan. Terror among Afghans persists.

I visited Kabul, Afghanistan in September 2019. While there, a young friend whom I’ve known for five years greeted me and then spoke in a hushed voice. “Kathy,” he asked, “do you know about Qazi Qadir, Bahadir, Jehanzeb and Saboor?” I nodded. I had read a news account, shortly before I arrived, about Afghan Special Operations commandos, trained by the CIA, having waged a night raid in the city of Jalalabad at the home of four brothers. They awakened the young men, then shot and killed them. Neighbors said the young men had gathered to welcome their father back from the Hajj; numerous colleagues insisted the young men were innocent.

My young friend has been deeply troubled by many other incidents in which the United States directly attacked innocent people or trained Afghan units to do so. Two decades of U.S. combat in Afghanistan have made civilians vulnerable to drone attacks, night raids, airstrikes and arrests. Over 4 million people have become internally displaced as they fled from battles or could no longer survive on scarred, drought stricken lands.

In an earlier visit to Kabul, at the height of the U.S. troop surge, another young friend earnestly asked me to tell parents in the United States not to send their sons and daughters to Afghanistan. “Here it is very dangerous for them,” he said. “And they do not really help us.”

For many years, the United States claimed its mission in Afghanistan improved the lives of Afghan women and children. But essentially, the U.S. war improved the livelihoods of those who designed, manufactured, sold and used weaponry to kill Afghans.

When the U.S. was winding down its troop surge in 2014, but not its occupation,  military officials undertook what they called “the largest retrograde mission in U.S. military history,” incurring enormous expenses. One estimate suggested the war in Afghanistan, that year, was costing $2 million per U.S. soldier. That same year, UNICEF officials calculated that the cost of adding iodized salt into the diet of an Afghan infant, a step which could prevent chronic brain damage in children suffering from acute malnourishment, would be 5 cents per child per year.

Which endeavor would the majority of U.S. people have opted to support, in their personal budgets, had they ever been given a choice? Profligate U.S. military spending in Afghanistan or vital assistance for a starving Afghan child?

One of my young Afghan friends says he is now an anarchist. He doesn’t place much trust in governments and militaries. He feels strong allegiance toward the grassroots network he has helped build, a group I would normally name and celebrate, but must now refer to as “our young friends in Afghanistan,” in hopes of protecting them from hostile groups.

The brave and passionate dedication they showed as they worked tirelessly to share resources, care for the environment, and practice nonviolence has made them quite vulnerable to potential accusers who may believe they were too connected with westerners.

In recent weeks, I’ve been part of an ad hoc team assisting 60 young people and their family members who feel alarmed about remaining in Kabul and are sorting out their options to flee the country.

It’s difficult to forecast how Taliban rule will affect them.

Already, some extraordinarily brave people have held protests in in the provinces of Herat, Nimroz, Balkh and Farah, and in the city of Kabul where dozens of women took to the streets to demand representation in the new government and to insist that their rights must be protected.

In many provinces in Afghanistan, the Taliban may find themselves ruling over increasingly resentful people. Half the population already lives in poverty and economic catastrophe looms. In damage caused by war, people have lost harvests, homes and livestock. A third wave of COVID afflicts the country and  three million Afghans face consequences of severe drought. Will the Taliban government have the resources and skills to cope with these overwhelming problems?

On the other hand, in some provinces, Taliban rule has seemed preferable to the previous government’s incompetence and corruption, particularly in regard to property or land disputes.

We should be honest. The Taliban are in power today because of a colossal mess the U.S. helped create.

Now, we U.S. citizens must insist on paying reparations for destruction caused by 20 years of war. To be meaningful, reparations must also include dismantling the warfare systems that caused so much havoc and misery. Our wars of choice were waged against people who meant us no harm. We must choose, now, to lay aside the cruel futility of our forever wars.

My young friend who whispered to me about human rights abuses in 2019 recently fled Afghanistan. He said he doesn’t want to be driven by fear, but he deeply wants to use his life to do good, to build a better world.

Ultimately, Afghanistan will need people like him and his friends if the country is ever to experience a future where basic human rights to food, shelter, health care and education are met. It will need people who have already made dedicated sacrifices for peace, believing in an Afghan adage which says “blood doesn’t wash away blood.”

Essentially, people in Afghanistan will need U.S. people to embrace this same teaching. We must express true sorrow, seek forgiveness, and show valor similar to that of the brave people insisting on human rights in Afghanistan today.

Collectively, recognizing the terrible legacy of 9/11, we must agree:  To counter terror, abolish war.

This article first appeared at Waging Nonviolence

The post To Counter Terror, Abolish War first appeared on Dissident Voice.

How Can America Wake Up From Its Post-9/11 Nightmare?

Looking back on it now, the 1990s were an age of innocence for America. The Cold War was over and our leaders promised us a “peace dividend.” There was no TSA to make us take off our shoes at airports (how many bombs have they found in those billions of shoes?). The government could not tap a U.S. phone or read private emails without a warrant from a judge. And the national debt was only $5 trillion – compared with over $28 trillion today.

We have been told that the criminal attacks of September 11, 2001 “changed everything.” But what really changed everything was the U.S. government’s disastrous response to them.

That response was not preordained or inevitable, but the result of decisions and choices made by politicians, bureaucrats and generals who fueled and exploited our fears, unleashed wars of reprehensible vengeance and built a secretive security state, all thinly disguised behind Orwellian myths of American greatness.

Most Americans believe in democracy and many regard the United States as a democratic country. But the U.S. response to 9/11 laid bare the extent to which American leaders are willing to manipulate the public into accepting illegal wars, torture, the Guantanamo gulag and sweeping civil rights abuses — activities that undermine the very meaning of democracy.

Former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz said in a speech in 2011 that “a democracy can only work if its people are being told the truth.” But America’s leaders exploited the public’s fears in the wake of 9/11 to justify wars that have killed and maimed millions of people who had nothing to do with those crimes. Ferencz compared this to the actions of the German leaders he prosecuted at Nuremberg, who also justified their invasions of other countries as “preemptive first strikes.”

“You cannot run a country as Hitler did, feeding them a pack of lies to frighten them that they’re being threatened, so it’s justified to kill people you don’t even know,” Ferencz continued. “It’s not logical, it’s not decent, it’s not moral, and it’s not helpful. When an unmanned bomber from a secret American airfield fires rockets into a little Pakistani or Afghan village and thereby kills or maims unknown numbers of innocent people, what is the effect of that? Every victim will hate America forever and will be willing to die killing as many Americans as possible. Where there is no court of justice, wild vengeance is the alternative.”

Even the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, talked about “insurgent math,” conjecturing that, for every innocent person killed, the U.S. created 10 new enemies. And thus the so-called Global War on Terror fueled a global explosion of terrorism and armed resistance that will not end unless and until the United States ends the state terrorism that provokes and fuels it.

By opportunistically exploiting 9/11 to attack countries that had nothing to do with it, like Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen, the United States vastly expanded the destructive strategy it used in the 1980s to destabilize Afghanistan, which spawned the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the first place.

In Libya and Syria, only ten years after 9/11, U.S. leaders betrayed every American who lost a loved one on September 11th by recruiting and arming Al Qaeda-led militants to overthrow two of the most secular governments in the Middle East, plunging both countries into years of intractable violence and fueling radicalization throughout the region.

The U.S. response to 9/11 was corrupted by a toxic soup of revenge, imperialist ambitions, war profiteering, systematic brainwashing and sheer stupidity. The only Republican Senator who voted against the war on Iraq, Lincoln Chafee, later wrote, “Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment.”

But it wasn’t. Very few of the 263 Republicans or the 110 Democrats who voted for the Iraq war in 2002 paid any political price for their complicity in international aggression, which the judges at Nuremberg explicitly called “the supreme international crime.” One of them now sits at the apex of power in the White House.

Trump and Biden’s withdrawal and implicit acceptance of the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan could serve as an important step toward ending the violence and chaos their predecessors unleashed after the September 11th attack. But the current debate over next year’s military budget makes it clear that our deluded leaders are still dodging the obvious lessons of 20 years of war.

Barbara Lee, the only Member of Congress with the wisdom and courage to vote against Congress’s war resolution in 2001, has introduced a bill to cut U.S. military spending by almost half:  $350 billion per year. With the miserable failure in Afghanistan, a war that will end up costing every U.S. citizen $20,000, one would think that Rep. Lee’s proposal would be eliciting tremendous support. But the White House, the Pentagon and the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate are instead falling over each other to shovel even more money into the bottomless pit of the military budget.

Politicians’ votes on questions of war, peace and military spending are the most reliable test of their commitment to progressive values and the well-being of their constituents. You cannot call yourself a progressive or a champion of working people if you vote to appropriate more money for weapons and war than for healthcare, education, green jobs and fighting poverty.

These 20 years of war have revealed to Americans and the world that modern weapons and formidable military forces can only accomplish two things: kill and maim people; and destroy homes, infrastructure and entire cities. American promises to rebuild bombed-out cities and “remake” countries it has destroyed have proven worthless, as Biden has acknowledged.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan are turning primarily to China for the help they need to start rebuilding and developing economically from the ruin and devastation left by America and its allies. America destroys, China builds. The contrast could not be more stark or self-evident. No amount of Western propaganda can hide what the whole world can see.

But the different paths chosen by U.S. and Chinese leaders are not predestined, and despite the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the U.S. corporate media, the American public has always been wiser and more committed to cooperative diplomacy than America’s political and executive class. It has been well-documented that many of the endless crises in U.S. foreign policy could have been avoided if America’s leaders had just listened to the public.

The perennial handicap that has dogged America’s diplomacy since World War II is precisely our investment in weapons and military forces, including nuclear weapons that threaten our very existence. It is trite but true to say that, ”when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Other countries don’t have the option of deploying overwhelming military force to confront international problems, so they have had to be smarter and more nimble in their diplomacy, and more prudent and selective in their more limited uses of military force.

The rote declarations of U.S. leaders that “all options are on the table” are a euphemism for precisely the “threat or use of force” that the UN Charter explicitly prohibits, and they stymie the U.S. development of expertise in nonviolent forms of conflict resolution. The bumbling and bombast of America’s leaders in international arenas stand in sharp contrast to the skillful diplomacy and clear language we often hear from top Russian, Chinese and Iranian diplomats, even when they are speaking in English, their second or third language.

By contrast, U.S. leaders rely on threats, coups, sanctions and war to project power around the world. They promise Americans that these coercive methods will maintain American “leadership” or dominance indefinitely into the future, as if that is America’s rightful place in the world: sitting atop the globe like a cowboy on a bucking bronco.

A “New American Century” and “Pax Americana” are Orwellian versions of Hitler’s “Thousand-Year Reich,” but are no more realistic. No empire has lasted forever, and there is historical evidence that even the most successful empires have a lifespan of no more than 250 years, by which time their rulers have enjoyed so much wealth and power that decadence and decline inevitably set in. This describes the United States today.

America’s economic dominance is waning. Its once productive economy has been gutted and financialized, and most countries in the world now do more trade with China and/or the European Union than with the United States. Where America’s military once kicked open doors for American capital to “follow the flag” and open up new markets, today’s U.S. war machine is just a bull in the global china shop, wielding purely destructive power.

But we are not condemned to passively follow the suicidal path of militarism and hostility. Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan could be a down payment on a transition to a more peaceful post-imperial economy — if the American public starts to actively demand peace, diplomacy and disarmament and find ways to make our voices heard.

— We must get serious about demanding cuts in the Pentagon budget. None of our other problems will be solved as long as we keep allowing our leaders to flush the majority of federal discretionary spending down the same military toilet as the $2.26 trillion they wasted on the war in Afghanistan. We must oppose politicians who refuse to cut the Pentagon budget, regardless of which party they belong to and where they stand on other issues. CODEPINK is part of a new coalition to “Cut the Pentagon for the people, planet, peace and a future” — please join us!

— We must not let ourselves or our family members be recruited into the U.S. war machine. Instead, we must challenge our leaders’ absurd claims that the imperial forces deployed across the world to threaten other countries are somehow, by some convoluted logic, defending America. As a translator paraphrased Voltaire, “Whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

— We must expose the ugly, destructive reality behind our country’s myths of “defending U.S. vital interests,” “humanitarian intervention,” “the war on terror” and the latest absurdity, the ill-defined “rules-based order” whose rules only apply to others — never to the United States.

— And we must oppose the corrupt power of the arms industry, including U.S. weapons sales to the world’s most repressive regimes and an unwinnable arms race that risks a potentially world-ending conflict with China and Russia.

Our only hope for the future is to abandon the futile quest for hegemony and instead commit to peace, cooperative diplomacy, international law and disarmament. After 20 years of war and militarism that has only left the world a more dangerous place and accelerated America’s decline, we must choose the path of peace.

The post How Can America Wake Up From Its Post-9/11 Nightmare? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Israel’s Airstrikes in Syria are Not Newsworthy for Western Media

FILE PHOTO: Damaged buildings are shown after what Syrian authorities said was an Israeli air strike in the western suburbs of Damascus © SANA/Handout via REUTERS

Israel again illegally bombed Syria last week, violating Lebanese airspace to do so and putting at risk the lives of untold numbers of civilians. And following this, crickets in the media, again.

On Thursday, just after 11pm, Israeli missiles targeted the vicinities of Damascus and Homs, according to a statement from the Syrian army. Russia’s Reconciliation Center for Syria said Israel did so via six planes which fired 24 guided missiles at Syria.

In its attack on Syria, Israeli missiles put two passenger airplanes in Syrian and in Lebanese airspace at risk, particularly the 130 civilians and flight crew on a Middle East Airlines flight coming from Abu Dhabi to Beirut. Flight trackers show the plane abruptly changed course to avoid being targeted.

Flashback to 2018, when Israel attacked Syria using the cover of a Russian plane – whose presence was legal in Syria, having been invited by the Syrian government, contrary to the invading Israeli plane. Syrian air defense missiles responded to the threat, downing the Russian plane.

Just last month, Israel attacked Syria on multiple occasions, including during Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest times for Muslims.

The reality is that Israel’s bombings of Syria are so routine that this latest attack is hardly ‘news’ and it is hard to make it newsworthy to write about. I’ve written about such attacks before, including noting (February 2021): “Israel’s military chief of staff boasted earlier about hitting over 500 targets in just 2020 alone.”

But each attack is, in my opinion, newsworthy, because each of them affects, if not kills, civilians.

Surely, it would be newsworthy if the routine bombings of a neighboring sovereign country were committed by, say, Russia or China. The entirety of Western media and all of the internet would be livid and demanding accountability.

Israel’s pretext when bombing Syria is usually that it is, “targeting Iranian-backed fighters,” a charge gleefully reprinted in media and by sources supporting the fall of the Syrian government.

In reality, reports claim, Thursday’s bombings killed four Syrian civilians, including at least one youth.

The psychological terror

British journalist Vanessa Beeley, who lives in a heavily populated suburb on the outskirts of Damascus, tweeted of feeling the impacts of the bombings.

Now imagine all of the people in the vicinity feeling that impact, not knowing if that night they would finally be struck. That’s the thing we don’t hear much of if these attacks even make any media coverage: how they impact on civilians, even those not directly injured but terrorized by them.

I know very well of the terror of being near a site Israel has just bombed. And although I have many anecdotes from my three years of living in Gaza, one rather poignant incident involved me sleeplessly musing on the rooftop of the simple central Gazan home I lived in on a hot August 2011 night. I wrote:

I am watching sporadic shooting stars when the first F-16 appeared from the direction of the sea. Three more follow. The roar is normal, F-16s are normal, and reading in the news the next day that some part of Gaza was bombed is normal. They continue eastward and a bombing seems imminent. It is. A thick cloud of black smoke blots the dim lights of houses in eastern Deir al Balah where the F-16s have struck.

I went on to write about the planes attacking the city of Khan Younis to the south, and suddenly, bombing close to me.

Two massive blasts, the house shakes. They’ve bombed somewhere near the sea, which is only a few hundred meters away. Concrete dust flutters down upon us. There is a sustained honking in Gaza that everyone recognizes as make way, we’ve got another victim here.

And, if I may dwell on this one simple anecdote, I remarked on how the men in the house tried to appear calm and cool but, while we were all accustomed to such random bombings and either put on a brave face or genuinely stop flinching, they do still affect you deeply.

Every time one of those f***ing F-16s flies over us, it’s a reminder of the last war, or of previous attacks, or of random bombings, or of friends and family martyred in their sleep, cars, homes… Every time those F-16s intentionally break the sound barrier to create a bomb-like sonic boom, everyone within range instinctively remembers their own personal horror at whichever Israeli war or attacks.

I have more terrifying, all night long bombing memories, with massive bombs landing nearby, including just tens of meters away. Those were during the 2008/9 war on Gaza. With the above account, I want to emphasize how these terrors occur on any random day, but will never be heard of in the media.

But it isn’t just the already bad enough bombings. The psychological terror aspect includes the near-continuous presence of drones overhead.

All day, you can hear them [Israeli drones]. It causes a nervous breakdown for any human to keep listening to this all day. I can’t even imagine what they feel in Gaza when they have them all the time overhead.

If you haven’t ever been under one, much less tens, of military drones, you won’t know how deeply disturbing hearing them is. It is hard to concentrate with such an ominous cacophony constantly overhead.

When in early August, in what the Israel army claimed was a “retaliation” attack, Israel fired artillery shells at the Khiam region of southern Lebanon, Osman was at her home less than one kilometer from the bombings. She spoke of the terror of her children. “I found one of them hiding under the sink, I found two of them hiding in my bedroom near the closet because they thought this was the safest place to be.”

  • Originally published at RT.
The post Israel’s Airstrikes in Syria are Not Newsworthy for Western Media first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What do you really know about U.S.-Cuba relations?

The need to possess Cuba is the oldest issue in U.S. foreign policy.
— Noam Chomsky, Excerpted from Rogue States, 2000

When you watch the latest news stories about unrest in Cuba, are you relying on critical thought to process them, or are you lazily falling back on decades of deeply embedded propaganda about Castro, communism, etc.? Are you familiar with your country’s history with Cuba? Are you open to accepting that God’s Country™ may have committed atrocities far worse than anything you’ve been told about the Cuban regime?

If you claim to hate communism, do you ever ask yourself why? Is it based solely on official textbooks, news stories, and flag-waving speeches by U.S. politicians? Do you know what communism actually is? Can you differentiate between communism, socialism, Marxism, etc.? Do you know for sure that genuine communism has ever actually existed in practice?

My point here is not to defend or condemn or even juxtapose communism and capitalism. I’m not a fan of either and I pledge no allegiance to Cuba. I do, however, pledge allegiance to context, nuance, perspective, and truth. For example, when you assess current Cuban society, it cannot be accurately done without factoring in six decades of the U.S. embargo. FYI: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the ongoing embargo costs the U.S. economy $1.2 billion per year in lost sales and exports, while the Cuban government estimates that the embargo has cost the island itself $753.69 billion. To discuss Cuban politics, culture, or economics without factoring in the blockade is an act of intellectual dishonesty.

But there’s more — much more. The history of Cuba features a litany of abuses rained down upon it by its powerful neighbor to the north. To follow is just a small sampling to keep in mind whenever you decide to spout off about the current situation.

In 1897, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt stated bluntly, “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.” His wait lasted less than a year. February 15, 1898, was a muggy Tuesday night in Havana Harbor. Some 350 crew and officers settled in onboard the U.S.S. Maine. “At 9:40 p.m., the ship’s forward end abruptly lifted itself from the water,” writes author Tom Miller. “Along the pier, passersby could hear a rumbling explosion. Within seconds, another eruption — this one deafening and massive — splintered the bow, sending anything that wasn’t battened down, and most that were, flying more than 200 feet into the air.”

By the time the sleeping giant was jarred into alertness by the Maine explosion, Cuban and Filipino rebels were already fighting Spain for independence in their respective lands. The Maine was in Havana Harbor in 1898 on a purportedly friendly mission. “Yet,” writes Miller, “the visit was neither spontaneous nor altruistic; the United States had been eyeing Cuba for almost a century.”

“At a certain point in that spring, McKinley and the business community began to see that their object, to get Spain out of Cuba, could not be accomplished without war,” adds historian Howard Zinn, “and that their accompanying object, the securing of American military and economic influence in Cuba, could not be left to the Cuban rebels, but could be ensured only by U.S. intervention.”

American newspapers, especially those run by William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World), jumped on the Maine explosion as the ideal justification to drum up public support for a war of imperialism. “Tabloid headlines depicting Spanish atrocities against Cubans became commonplace, and the influential papers of both men were outdoing each other in the sensationalized screaming for war,” says historian Kenneth C. Davis. When Hearst sent artist Frederick Remington to Cuba to supply pictures, Remington reported that he could not find a war. “You furnish the pictures,” Hearst replied, “and I’ll furnish the war.”

Spain was easily defeated, the legend of Teddy Roosevelt was manufactured whole cloth, and the Cubans (and Puerto Ricans) found themselves exchanging one colonial ruler for another. In the Philippines, where U.S. soldiers were ordered to “Burn all and kill all,” over the next decade, six hundred thousand Filipinos were eventually wiped out… all to the war cry of “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!”

These myths do more than justify actions at the time. They become part of our concept of our country and get exhumed and pressed into service when needed. These myths survive despite careful studies that expose reality. For example, in 1976, Admiral Hyman Rickover of the U.S. Navy mounted an investigation of the Maine disaster. Rickover and his team of experts concluded that the explosion was probably caused by “spontaneous combustion inside the ship’s coal bins,” a problem common to ships of that era. Oops

Today’s perception of Cuba has little to do with the fabricated heroics of one of the faces carved on Mount Rushmore. Since 1959, it’s mostly been about Fidel Castro and his legacy. The Cuban Revolution, the ensuing U.S. blockade, and events like the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis have all been documented — in varying degrees of veracity — elsewhere. We know much less about the lower intensity U.S. assaults on Cuba… and even if we did, they are automatically justified by an ever-ready catalog of Castro’s atrocities (real and imagined) and his ties to the USSR.

Under Castro, explains Noam Chomsky, Cuba was portrayed as “an agent of the Kremlin, bent on taking over Latin America and taking over the United States.” The communism angle, combined with Castro’s authoritarian rule, lent free reign to U.S. policy planners to sell Castro as the devil in our backyard. Effective agrarian, educational, and medical reforms were all cleverly omitted from any discussion about Cuba. The focus remained on the communist in charge… keeping the public distracted from what was being done behind the scenes by their own government.

The Cuba Project, a.k.a. “Operation Mongoose,” was initiated by the Kennedy administration in January 1962 with the stated U.S. objective of helping the Cubans “overthrow the communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.”

“What has happened is a level of international terrorism that as far as I know has no counterpart, apart from direct aggression,” says Chomsky. “It’s included attacking civilian installations, bombing hotels, sinking fishing vessels, destroying petrochemical installations, poisoning crops and livestock, on quite a significant scale, assassination attempts, actual murders, bombing airplanes, the bombing of Cuban missions abroad, etc. It’s a massive terrorist attack.”

The U.S. demonization of Castro and subsequent aggression toward communist Cuba since 1959 is a blueprint of spin and deception and served to strangle the revolution in its infancy. “The world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone,” says historian William Blum.

Right about now, I can hear some of you bellowing about Castro aligning with the Soviets. But the Cuban leader did come to Washington in April 1959 to discuss relations between the two governments. A different course could’ve been chosen by the Home of the Brave™. Instead, President Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet with Castro. He was too busy golfing in Georgia so he sent Vice President Richard Nixon in his place. The rest, as they say, is history. But, then again, Cuba has never really stood a chance.

For a glimpse into how the U.S. views Cuba (and other nations in that geographical area), consider what Marine Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler said all the way back in the 1930s.

Calling war “possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious” racket of all, in which “profits are reckoned in dollars and losses in lives.” Summing up his career, Butler explained: “I spent 33 years being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.”

As far back as the American Revolution, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams announced that U.S. control of Cuba was “of transcendent importance.” This brings us back to today’s headlines.

The post What do you really know about U.S.-Cuba relations? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What do you really know about U.S.-Cuba relations?

The need to possess Cuba is the oldest issue in U.S. foreign policy.
— Noam Chomsky, Excerpted from Rogue States, 2000

When you watch the latest news stories about unrest in Cuba, are you relying on critical thought to process them, or are you lazily falling back on decades of deeply embedded propaganda about Castro, communism, etc.? Are you familiar with your country’s history with Cuba? Are you open to accepting that God’s Country™ may have committed atrocities far worse than anything you’ve been told about the Cuban regime?

If you claim to hate communism, do you ever ask yourself why? Is it based solely on official textbooks, news stories, and flag-waving speeches by U.S. politicians? Do you know what communism actually is? Can you differentiate between communism, socialism, Marxism, etc.? Do you know for sure that genuine communism has ever actually existed in practice?

My point here is not to defend or condemn or even juxtapose communism and capitalism. I’m not a fan of either and I pledge no allegiance to Cuba. I do, however, pledge allegiance to context, nuance, perspective, and truth. For example, when you assess current Cuban society, it cannot be accurately done without factoring in six decades of the U.S. embargo. FYI: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the ongoing embargo costs the U.S. economy $1.2 billion per year in lost sales and exports, while the Cuban government estimates that the embargo has cost the island itself $753.69 billion. To discuss Cuban politics, culture, or economics without factoring in the blockade is an act of intellectual dishonesty.

But there’s more — much more. The history of Cuba features a litany of abuses rained down upon it by its powerful neighbor to the north. To follow is just a small sampling to keep in mind whenever you decide to spout off about the current situation.

In 1897, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt stated bluntly, “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.” His wait lasted less than a year. February 15, 1898, was a muggy Tuesday night in Havana Harbor. Some 350 crew and officers settled in onboard the U.S.S. Maine. “At 9:40 p.m., the ship’s forward end abruptly lifted itself from the water,” writes author Tom Miller. “Along the pier, passersby could hear a rumbling explosion. Within seconds, another eruption — this one deafening and massive — splintered the bow, sending anything that wasn’t battened down, and most that were, flying more than 200 feet into the air.”

By the time the sleeping giant was jarred into alertness by the Maine explosion, Cuban and Filipino rebels were already fighting Spain for independence in their respective lands. The Maine was in Havana Harbor in 1898 on a purportedly friendly mission. “Yet,” writes Miller, “the visit was neither spontaneous nor altruistic; the United States had been eyeing Cuba for almost a century.”

“At a certain point in that spring, McKinley and the business community began to see that their object, to get Spain out of Cuba, could not be accomplished without war,” adds historian Howard Zinn, “and that their accompanying object, the securing of American military and economic influence in Cuba, could not be left to the Cuban rebels, but could be ensured only by U.S. intervention.”

American newspapers, especially those run by William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World), jumped on the Maine explosion as the ideal justification to drum up public support for a war of imperialism. “Tabloid headlines depicting Spanish atrocities against Cubans became commonplace, and the influential papers of both men were outdoing each other in the sensationalized screaming for war,” says historian Kenneth C. Davis. When Hearst sent artist Frederick Remington to Cuba to supply pictures, Remington reported that he could not find a war. “You furnish the pictures,” Hearst replied, “and I’ll furnish the war.”

Spain was easily defeated, the legend of Teddy Roosevelt was manufactured whole cloth, and the Cubans (and Puerto Ricans) found themselves exchanging one colonial ruler for another. In the Philippines, where U.S. soldiers were ordered to “Burn all and kill all,” over the next decade, six hundred thousand Filipinos were eventually wiped out… all to the war cry of “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!”

These myths do more than justify actions at the time. They become part of our concept of our country and get exhumed and pressed into service when needed. These myths survive despite careful studies that expose reality. For example, in 1976, Admiral Hyman Rickover of the U.S. Navy mounted an investigation of the Maine disaster. Rickover and his team of experts concluded that the explosion was probably caused by “spontaneous combustion inside the ship’s coal bins,” a problem common to ships of that era. Oops

Today’s perception of Cuba has little to do with the fabricated heroics of one of the faces carved on Mount Rushmore. Since 1959, it’s mostly been about Fidel Castro and his legacy. The Cuban Revolution, the ensuing U.S. blockade, and events like the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis have all been documented — in varying degrees of veracity — elsewhere. We know much less about the lower intensity U.S. assaults on Cuba… and even if we did, they are automatically justified by an ever-ready catalog of Castro’s atrocities (real and imagined) and his ties to the USSR.

Under Castro, explains Noam Chomsky, Cuba was portrayed as “an agent of the Kremlin, bent on taking over Latin America and taking over the United States.” The communism angle, combined with Castro’s authoritarian rule, lent free reign to U.S. policy planners to sell Castro as the devil in our backyard. Effective agrarian, educational, and medical reforms were all cleverly omitted from any discussion about Cuba. The focus remained on the communist in charge… keeping the public distracted from what was being done behind the scenes by their own government.

The Cuba Project, a.k.a. “Operation Mongoose,” was initiated by the Kennedy administration in January 1962 with the stated U.S. objective of helping the Cubans “overthrow the communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.”

“What has happened is a level of international terrorism that as far as I know has no counterpart, apart from direct aggression,” says Chomsky. “It’s included attacking civilian installations, bombing hotels, sinking fishing vessels, destroying petrochemical installations, poisoning crops and livestock, on quite a significant scale, assassination attempts, actual murders, bombing airplanes, the bombing of Cuban missions abroad, etc. It’s a massive terrorist attack.”

The U.S. demonization of Castro and subsequent aggression toward communist Cuba since 1959 is a blueprint of spin and deception and served to strangle the revolution in its infancy. “The world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone,” says historian William Blum.

Right about now, I can hear some of you bellowing about Castro aligning with the Soviets. But the Cuban leader did come to Washington in April 1959 to discuss relations between the two governments. A different course could’ve been chosen by the Home of the Brave™. Instead, President Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet with Castro. He was too busy golfing in Georgia so he sent Vice President Richard Nixon in his place. The rest, as they say, is history. But, then again, Cuba has never really stood a chance.

For a glimpse into how the U.S. views Cuba (and other nations in that geographical area), consider what Marine Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler said all the way back in the 1930s.

Calling war “possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious” racket of all, in which “profits are reckoned in dollars and losses in lives.” Summing up his career, Butler explained: “I spent 33 years being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.”

As far back as the American Revolution, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams announced that U.S. control of Cuba was “of transcendent importance.” This brings us back to today’s headlines.

The post What do you really know about U.S.-Cuba relations? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What do you really know about U.S.-Cuba relations?

The need to possess Cuba is the oldest issue in U.S. foreign policy.
— Noam Chomsky, Excerpted from Rogue States, 2000

When you watch the latest news stories about unrest in Cuba, are you relying on critical thought to process them, or are you lazily falling back on decades of deeply embedded propaganda about Castro, communism, etc.? Are you familiar with your country’s history with Cuba? Are you open to accepting that God’s Country™ may have committed atrocities far worse than anything you’ve been told about the Cuban regime?

If you claim to hate communism, do you ever ask yourself why? Is it based solely on official textbooks, news stories, and flag-waving speeches by U.S. politicians? Do you know what communism actually is? Can you differentiate between communism, socialism, Marxism, etc.? Do you know for sure that genuine communism has ever actually existed in practice?

My point here is not to defend or condemn or even juxtapose communism and capitalism. I’m not a fan of either and I pledge no allegiance to Cuba. I do, however, pledge allegiance to context, nuance, perspective, and truth. For example, when you assess current Cuban society, it cannot be accurately done without factoring in six decades of the U.S. embargo. FYI: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the ongoing embargo costs the U.S. economy $1.2 billion per year in lost sales and exports, while the Cuban government estimates that the embargo has cost the island itself $753.69 billion. To discuss Cuban politics, culture, or economics without factoring in the blockade is an act of intellectual dishonesty.

But there’s more — much more. The history of Cuba features a litany of abuses rained down upon it by its powerful neighbor to the north. To follow is just a small sampling to keep in mind whenever you decide to spout off about the current situation.

In 1897, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt stated bluntly, “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.” His wait lasted less than a year. February 15, 1898, was a muggy Tuesday night in Havana Harbor. Some 350 crew and officers settled in onboard the U.S.S. Maine. “At 9:40 p.m., the ship’s forward end abruptly lifted itself from the water,” writes author Tom Miller. “Along the pier, passersby could hear a rumbling explosion. Within seconds, another eruption — this one deafening and massive — splintered the bow, sending anything that wasn’t battened down, and most that were, flying more than 200 feet into the air.”

By the time the sleeping giant was jarred into alertness by the Maine explosion, Cuban and Filipino rebels were already fighting Spain for independence in their respective lands. The Maine was in Havana Harbor in 1898 on a purportedly friendly mission. “Yet,” writes Miller, “the visit was neither spontaneous nor altruistic; the United States had been eyeing Cuba for almost a century.”

“At a certain point in that spring, McKinley and the business community began to see that their object, to get Spain out of Cuba, could not be accomplished without war,” adds historian Howard Zinn, “and that their accompanying object, the securing of American military and economic influence in Cuba, could not be left to the Cuban rebels, but could be ensured only by U.S. intervention.”

American newspapers, especially those run by William Randolph Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World), jumped on the Maine explosion as the ideal justification to drum up public support for a war of imperialism. “Tabloid headlines depicting Spanish atrocities against Cubans became commonplace, and the influential papers of both men were outdoing each other in the sensationalized screaming for war,” says historian Kenneth C. Davis. When Hearst sent artist Frederick Remington to Cuba to supply pictures, Remington reported that he could not find a war. “You furnish the pictures,” Hearst replied, “and I’ll furnish the war.”

Spain was easily defeated, the legend of Teddy Roosevelt was manufactured whole cloth, and the Cubans (and Puerto Ricans) found themselves exchanging one colonial ruler for another. In the Philippines, where U.S. soldiers were ordered to “Burn all and kill all,” over the next decade, six hundred thousand Filipinos were eventually wiped out… all to the war cry of “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!”

These myths do more than justify actions at the time. They become part of our concept of our country and get exhumed and pressed into service when needed. These myths survive despite careful studies that expose reality. For example, in 1976, Admiral Hyman Rickover of the U.S. Navy mounted an investigation of the Maine disaster. Rickover and his team of experts concluded that the explosion was probably caused by “spontaneous combustion inside the ship’s coal bins,” a problem common to ships of that era. Oops

Today’s perception of Cuba has little to do with the fabricated heroics of one of the faces carved on Mount Rushmore. Since 1959, it’s mostly been about Fidel Castro and his legacy. The Cuban Revolution, the ensuing U.S. blockade, and events like the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis have all been documented — in varying degrees of veracity — elsewhere. We know much less about the lower intensity U.S. assaults on Cuba… and even if we did, they are automatically justified by an ever-ready catalog of Castro’s atrocities (real and imagined) and his ties to the USSR.

Under Castro, explains Noam Chomsky, Cuba was portrayed as “an agent of the Kremlin, bent on taking over Latin America and taking over the United States.” The communism angle, combined with Castro’s authoritarian rule, lent free reign to U.S. policy planners to sell Castro as the devil in our backyard. Effective agrarian, educational, and medical reforms were all cleverly omitted from any discussion about Cuba. The focus remained on the communist in charge… keeping the public distracted from what was being done behind the scenes by their own government.

The Cuba Project, a.k.a. “Operation Mongoose,” was initiated by the Kennedy administration in January 1962 with the stated U.S. objective of helping the Cubans “overthrow the communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.”

“What has happened is a level of international terrorism that as far as I know has no counterpart, apart from direct aggression,” says Chomsky. “It’s included attacking civilian installations, bombing hotels, sinking fishing vessels, destroying petrochemical installations, poisoning crops and livestock, on quite a significant scale, assassination attempts, actual murders, bombing airplanes, the bombing of Cuban missions abroad, etc. It’s a massive terrorist attack.”

The U.S. demonization of Castro and subsequent aggression toward communist Cuba since 1959 is a blueprint of spin and deception and served to strangle the revolution in its infancy. “The world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone,” says historian William Blum.

Right about now, I can hear some of you bellowing about Castro aligning with the Soviets. But the Cuban leader did come to Washington in April 1959 to discuss relations between the two governments. A different course could’ve been chosen by the Home of the Brave™. Instead, President Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet with Castro. He was too busy golfing in Georgia so he sent Vice President Richard Nixon in his place. The rest, as they say, is history. But, then again, Cuba has never really stood a chance.

For a glimpse into how the U.S. views Cuba (and other nations in that geographical area), consider what Marine Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler said all the way back in the 1930s.

Calling war “possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious” racket of all, in which “profits are reckoned in dollars and losses in lives.” Summing up his career, Butler explained: “I spent 33 years being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.”

As far back as the American Revolution, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams announced that U.S. control of Cuba was “of transcendent importance.” This brings us back to today’s headlines.

The post What do you really know about U.S.-Cuba relations? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

China and Russia Quiet about US Past Genocides and Ongoing Genocide in the Middle East and Africa

The world facing desperate situations of climate change, planetary degradation and nuclear war preparation desperately needs protection from inhumane deceiving war promoting Western media, and from where shall it come if not from the bountiful and powerful two great designated adversaries of the Western powers, China, the world’s most populous nation and largest economy, and the Russian Federation encompassing 11% of the planet’s landmass.

Seems That the World Has Let Americans Get Away With Murderous Genocide in So Many Countries

Let’s begin with acknowledging that officials of the United States of America, its military, its clandestine operating CIA, and personnel within its criminal media cartel have been committing crimes against humanity free of any worry or concern of prosecution.

Let us also acknowledge that though there is relatively free speech throughout most of the world, no one seems to ever be talking about the multitude of legally prosecutable monstrous crimes against humanity committed by Americans with impunity, many of which involve the death of millions of innocent men, women and children. There is a strange absence of much talk about them even as the horrific acts of genocide that they were.

The World Court of Public Opinion Is Not Yet in Session Regarding US Crimes Against Humanity

Sure, there are quite a few anti-imperialist books in print that are critical of US genocides, but the great court of world pubic opinion has not been in session since 1945 when there was consensus among people throughout the world for demanding the ultimate legal punishment of the leaders of the nations for the murderous horrors perpetrated during their invasions and bombings in the course of the Second World War.

American Officials are Vulnerable for Having Confessed or Bragged about Their Illegal, Unconstitutional and Genocidal Crimes

How is it that even government officials of nations presently under attack by the United States of America, and those of nations invaded and bombed by the US in the past, passively continue to allow Americans to get away with murder, the present murdering of thousands and the past mass murder of many millions, when massively murderous crimes against humanity have even been openly admitted to by high officials of the government of the United States of America by their openly characterizing them either as having been mistakes or by bragging about their having been successful.

–  American officials claiming that their mega genocidal invasions, bombings and occupation wars in Vietnam and Iraq were honest mistakes are the two most devastating examples. “We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why.” –former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.1 “It was a mistake, and I acknowledge that.” — Presidential candidate Joe Biden referring to his vote in favor of the Iraq invasion war when he was chairman of the powerful US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.2 But no talk of Americans paying for their years of ‘mistakes,’ murder and maiming of millions and the destruction of their countries.

–  The CIA official in charge of the the US/UK covertly engineered bloody overthrow of Iranian democracy in 1953 has even written a book bragging about his crime,3 which the CIA has publicly admitted to.4

–  American murderous invasions of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada and covertly arranging and financing devastating civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador that are openly acknowledged (without any sense of responsibility for the suffering).

–  The undercover arrangements for the brutal assassination of democratically elected popular first Congo President Patrice Lumumba were entertainingly reviewed in a televised segment of the US government’s Smithsonian Institute Channel in US mainstream media,5 no contrition indicated.

No Uproar in Reaction to Americans Massive Murdering of Millions of Innocent Men, Women and Children in Their Own Beloved Countries far away from the Invading United States of America

Martin Luther King’s & Nelson Mandela’s Exceptional Outcries

Oh, from time to time there have been accusing outcries from individuals: “The greatest  purveyor of violence in the world is my own government,” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 made headlines in newspapers throughout the world,6 and South African President Nelson Mandela in 2003, “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities it is the United States of America,”7 Of course, CIA controlled criminal mainstream media vilified King, didn’t report Mandela’s outcry, and has made sure that few people ever heard of King’s condemnation of his government again. However, neither King nor Mandela called for prosecution of the perpetrators and compensation for victims of the atrocities they decried. (King did say that Americans ‘must make what reparations they can for the damage they did and provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in the US if necessary, but said nothing about prosecution of Americans.)

In Western alternate media, the finest independent journalists, top intellectuals and historians stick to reporting and chronicling events of human horror as if they were imperial RealPolitik, as unchallengeable as the weather, rarely including the whole truth that they are obviously prosecutable as crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and genocide. Inversely, in the case of domestic homicide on a city street anywhere in the world, the public clamors to know whether or not what happened was a crime or not. Amazingly, in world coverage independent journalism this writer finds the word ‘crime’ is never or hardly ever employed. Journalists report mass murderous world events as terrible or mistaken foreign policy, rarely, if ever, citing a need for reparations, indemnity, or compensation for surviving victims.

Sadly, when an Iraq mom, managed to get her lawsuit against President Bush and members of his administration as far as a US Federal Court of Appeals, it received only a very modest amount of coverage even in anti-imperialist independent alternate media.

There’s Freedom of Speech but No One is Speaking Out

Why is there is no outcry around the world against the dozens of US invasions, bombings, occupation wars and deadly sanctions in and on smaller nations? The US bloodletting is probably rarely even much of a topic of pubic conversation anywhere except within the populations of the countries under US attack. Independent peoples historians assume that it is because of the enormous influence of monopolized CIA overseen giant worldwide media conglomerates.

For decades, powerful CIA controlled Western news and entertainment media, with it’s television’s worldwide satellite reach has mesmerized and totally bamboozled its planetary audience into ineptitude with its programing of indulgence, of very restricted and twisted selective news, deceitfully blacked out critical information, misinformation, and often outright lies ultimately portraying the many US regime change invasions, bombings, sanctions and occupation wars as benevolent and necessary to protecting American freedom and democracy.8

Way back in 1950, Albert Einstein explained “Under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”9

Albert Einstein wrote that in 1950, even before the CIA operation Mongoose10 had completed its control over everyone of any appreciable importance in American media and sources of information and in much of Western Europe and on the other continents, see the lengthy article: Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A. 12/26/1977, The New Times.11,12

Powerful Western Media Has Anesthetized Majority Humanity but Why Are Even those Nations under US Attack Relatively Silent Re US Crimes Against Humanity?

Unfortunately, some nations currently under American military attack have pro US war lord governments installed by American occupying forces as in the case of Afghanistan and Somalia, and the populations of many nations formerly invaded, bombed and sanctioned by Americans, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia want to put their enormous suffering behind them. Their governments seek to avoid confrontation with the USA, long become trading partners.

A majority of small countries in the world once attacked by Americans, British or French have governments either economically, politically and militarily controlled by the USA or by a Western colonial power, or if enjoying a degree of independence, fear criticizing the US would bring economic punishment and/or covertly arranged disturbances.

Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Yemen and North Korea For Years Under Mortal Attack From USA! China & Russia  Targeted with Nuclear Missiles — All Have Independent Governments

This is all to say that humanity can only hope for calls for international law to come down on the past and present murderous lawlessness of the  American empire from nations presently under attack which have independent governments free from US control, like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Yemen and North Korea. However, up to now, the these nations have not taken advantage of the US wars confessed to as mistakes, which it seems could easily be profiled into world public awareness of USA guilt of genocide, at least in Vietnam and more recently in Iraq.

Likewise would the repeated quoting publicly of Martin Luther King’s blistering condemnations of his government damage the credibility of Western media, which has for more than a half-century blacked-out Kings damnation of his government. These glaringly obvious ways to fight back against the insanely criminal USA that is attacking their nations and constantly threatening world war are not being taken advantage of though many nations suffer US sanctions and worse.

Solidarity and Truthful Counter-Propaganda from Independent Nations Under US Attack Woefully Insufficient

The US was sued by Nicaragua in the World Court in 1984 for mining Nicaragua’s harbors and other hostile acts (Nicaragua v. United States). The Court ruled in Nicaragua’s favor and found the US in violation of customary international law. The court put the United States of America under obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua. The US ignored the ruling but apparently stopped the mining. The suit brought international attention to US being guilty of crimes against a tiny country and it considering itself above the law.

This conviction by the International Court of Justice should not have been allowed to be forgotten as well as the US mega genocides committed in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Iraq, and all the other regime change murderous invasions, bombings and deadly sanctions of Latin American, Middle East and African nations.

An Absence of Law

No leader anywhere ever seems to call for prosecution of US invasions under the Nuremberg Principles of International Law. Even the very leaders of nations under illegal US NATO attack fail to even speak of laws broken during yearly UN General Assembly Debates

There has long been an atmosphere of appeasement in the UN General Assembly’s yearly General Debate. Delegate after delegate from Africa, Asia and Oceania seem to adhere to some ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ not to embarrass the great and powerful United States of America when describing the appalling conditions prevailing throughout the 3rd World.

How strange, mysterious, unexplainable, illogical, baffling and painful for millions grieving over past genocidal military action and the millions facing death or worse today, that since the inception of the United Nations, no delegate to the UN General Assembly, with one exception (to the best of this historian’s knowledge), has called for justice under the law, for any of the the tens of millions of survivors of past mega profitable crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and forms of genocide. The single exception this author could find was Muammar Gaddafi’s comprehensive UN General Assembly address calling for investigation of all wars and restitution for victims of US NATO UN crimes against humanity.

That one exception occurred during the UN General Debate in 2009, when Gaddafi, leader of the Revolution of the Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, spoke in the name of the African Union: “We are about to put the United Nations on trial; the old organization will be finished and a new one will emerge.”  Gaddafi called for investigations into past wars of permanent members of the Security Council, the US, UK and France, to be followed by trials of those guilty of causing these wars and millions of deaths and suffering “that has surpassed that brought by the Nazis.”

Speaking before the UN General Assembly in 2009, Gaddafi, had called the Security Council a “Terror Council” for the sixty-five wars it has failed to prevent, even approving or participating in most of them. How prophetic for what would come Gaddafi’s way so soon. (See “Time to Expose Media Manufactured Uprising CIA Terrorists US-NATO Air Strikes on Wealthy Libya“)13

By not using their veto power, two giant independent nations, Russia and revolutionary China, gave the colonial powers the 2011 No-Fly Zone resolution which US and NATO military used to destroy all Libya’s army and militias which had been successfully fighting a CIA created terrorist rebel army that was executing black Libyans.14

China and Russia also voted for a resolution precipitously accusing Libya’s government leaders and armed groups of violently suppressing peaceful demonstrations.

However, the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda, stated that Mr. Gaddafi is just one of several individuals in Libya whose alleged criminal acts could fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC which continues to monitor criminal actions of armed groups in the country. These armed groups represent a major threat to long-term peace and stability in Libya.” There never was a single documenting video or photo of a peaceful anti-government demonstration, let alone, one being fired upon. To the contrary, there was a near million wildly demonstrating in favor of Gaddafi and Libya’s Green Book socialism while NATO planes bombed never reported in the New York Times or elsewhere in the US or Europe.15

The colonial powers had sufficient influence in both the Arab League and the African Union to have both organizations vote against Gaddafi, which in turn influenced China’s UN posture.

China, after indicating it was against military intervention, abstained instead of voting no on the UN Security Council resolution calling for war on the Libyan government with the fig lief of enforcing a no-fly zone to protect civilians — a war by white neocolonialist powers on their former African colony that had raised its Arab socialist living standard to be higher than nine European nations including Russia.

China lovers were instantly stumped into incomprehension, bewilderment, dismayed, the rug pulled out from underneath their feet. Their confidence lost that the fifth of Mankind with wisdom gained during five thousand years of practical living would protect the rest of us from the insanely barbaric, homicidal imperialism wrought by predatory capitalism that had once colonized the whole nonwhite world, including China. This confidence or hope was now destroyed with our witnessing China going along with a classic example of false flag violence fostering a civil war in the age old imperialist principle of divide and conquer.

Vladimir Putin was not president of Russia during the Libyan debacle, and this author later published “Russians Calling Medvedev a ‘Traitor’ for Not Vetoing UN NATO War on Libya in Larger Context” — the article’s larger theme is the willingness of humanity to accept White world profitable investments in genocide until world economic power shifts from Europeans and their descendant nations overseas to the six sevenths of humanity they plunder. Article portrays the immediate before and after of the preposterous destruction of Libya.

The White folks nations led by the US have been throwing up a solid anti-Russian and anti-Chinese barrage of accusations, but the two great designated adversaries of the West remain polite and defensive.

China is accused of cultural genocide in Xinjiang, US President Biden labels Russian President Putin “a killer,” while even the West’s obvious backing of horrific ISIS goes unmentioned by the Russians and Chinese. (See “An American Senator Writes of ISIS ‘Hellish Filth We’ve Recruited, Armed and Trained for 8 Years!’” “The Syrian War had ” much to do with clandestine actions of CIA, MI-6, Mossad, Turkish MIT, French DGSE, Saudi GID and others. It would never have occurred without American planning and execution (and criminal media complicity).16

In ISIS IS US, a panel of cutting-edge researchers tell what ISIS really is, and what has been going on behind the scenes in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The conclusion: Like Iran-Contra, the ISIS death squads were set up by the US to crush a nation.))

Chinese & Russian Diplomacy Quiet Re America’s Massive Genocide17 in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan

About 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. About 250,000 Libyans have been killed in the war, violence and chaos that the U.S. and its allies unleashed in Libya in February 2011. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people have been killed in Syria since the Islamic terrorists, ISIS and others were introduced into Syria. Estimates of people killed in Somalia since 2006 must be somewhere between 500,000 and 850,000. Estimates for Yemen are about 175,000 people killed, a minimum of 120,000 and a maximum of 240,000.

After 16 years of war, about 6 million violent deaths, and the killing continues as we read this.

After 21 years of war, 6 countries utterly destroyed and many other destabilized, and this reality carefully omitted from what qualifies as the evening news on telecasts in America, Europe and most of the TV watching world audience.18 Would that a compassionate supreme being looking down at planet Earth, would somehow see to this information being presented to Earthlings, that they might be motivated to put a end to such a inhuman catastrophe.

The world facing desperate situations of climate change, planetary degradation and nuclear war preparation desperately needs protection from inhumane deceiving war promoting Western media, and where shall it come if not from the bountiful and powerful two great designated adversaries of the Western powers, China, the world’s most populous nation and largest economy, and the Russian Federation encompassing 11% of the planet’s landmass.

Until now, seems that both Russia and China have confined themselves to presenting convincing domestic media and have spent only modest resources in reaching out internationally beyond cultural and scientific news coverage.

It bears mention that if China and Russia sought to seriously expand their international news coverage to include some occasional  overview of the mega massive loss of life in the millions brought about by the genocidal foreign policies of the United States of America and its allies since 1945, both could expect some somewhat similar charge of at least one genocidal policy each. China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1976, as the   New York Times alleged that leader Deng Xiaoping stated as to teach Vietnam a lesson — a lesson that took the lives of 30,000 human beings. Over the span of years from 1991 through 2017, Russia first lost the Chechian war for independence, then reconquered Chechnya amid a terrific loss of life and deadly Islamic terror, and in 2008 fought a heavy handed war with Georgia over the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia.

However, it is China and the Russian Federation that represent humanity’s hope and profound desire for a peaceful world of cooperation and non-belligerence. At present a wild insistence is being broadcast for war preparation with its seemingly unlimited financing constantly demanded in the media of the US-led Western neo-colonial capitalist democracies. The list of genocidal regime change wars, invasions, bombings and sanctions perpetrated by the US led Western powers since 1945 is inclusive of nearly a majority of the formerly militarily colonized peoples of the world and the deadly violence continues in more than a half dozen nations. This is what needs media attention for protection of those who will otherwise continue to suffer death, maiming and immeasurable suffering.

Though for the Chinese, confrontation, both in the martial arts, as in Kung-fu, and in social behavior and personal demeanor is a face and balance losing stance, Chinese cities are targeted with US nuclear warheads, and since either by accident, mistake or intention, a million-fold catastrophe could occur, it would seem some outspoken attention, some awareness, some warning for all humanity is in order. NATO has threateningly declared China a global security challenge.19

Military and nuclear confrontation seems to be no problem for President Putin, however given the awesome challenge of climate change and planetary degradation being derailed by the mega enormous financial and human resources wasted on military spending, a facing off in a tough cold war posture does not seem a sufficient response to the continuing menace from the United States of America and her allies.

In this no win situation, may some Chinese philosophical wisdom be introduced in some fresh world media in time to prevent the third world war being so assiduously invested in, planned, prepared for and promoted, while the effects of climate change and Earth degradation slowly inundates humanity in a lethal future.

  1. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, writing in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect, on the management of the Vietnam War.
  2. Presidential candidate Joe Biden referring to Iraq invasion war. During a 2020 presidential debate, Biden delivered an apology for Iraq War vote] As Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Joe Biden’s enthusiastic support for war on Iraq was crucial.
  3. Countercoup: The Struggle for the control of Iran is the memoir of CIA man Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of former US President Theodore Roosevelt.the book recounts his role in overthrowing democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh with triumphant zeal.
  4. The CIA has publicly admitted for the first time that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, in documents that also show how the British government tried to block the release of information about its own involvement in his overthrow. The US national security archive at George Washington University published a series of declassified CIA documents. 8/19/2013, The Guardian.
  5. Devil Eisenhower ordered the assassination of President Patrice Lumumba, YouTube 1/13/2017, BBCFOUR Smithsonian Channel telecasted https://www.bing.com/videos/search.
  6. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City.
  7. AP in Johannesburg and agencies, 30 Jan 2003.
  8. Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent revisited,” The Listening Post 12/22/2018, You Tube.
  9. Albert Einstein, Essays in Humanism.
  10. Mockingbird was a secret operation by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. Begun in the 1950s, organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts and also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns.

    After 1953, Operation Mockingbird had major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services. These networks were run by people with well-known pro-American big business and anti-communist views.

    The CIA currently maintains a network of individuals around the world who attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda, and provide direct access to a large amount of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”

    After leaving the Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years.

    — Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”

    For those unfamiliar, Operation Mockingbird was a CIA operation began as the Cold War ramped up in the 1950’s. In an attempt to gather …

    Newly Declassified Govt Docs Reveal Operation Mockingbird is Alive and Well,” Oct 2, 2015.

  11. Church Committee (the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) was a U.S. Senate select committee in 1975-6 that investigated abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Chaired by Idaho Senator Frank Church amazingly criminal findings must have the publishers of the New York Times some obligation to report on covert criminal activity the Church Committee had brought to public attention.

    Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe, 1988.

    The agency appears to be a serial violator of human rights around the world including inside America itself. The books shows everyone how to identify CIA …

    Operation Mockingbird, CIA Media Control Program,” YouTube

    1976, Senator Church live with his investigating committee re Operation Mockingbird

  12. Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent 1988, Pantheon Books.
  13. A month before French and British planes would eventually destroy Libyan Armed Forces and militias, and hunt Gadaffi down there was a massive pro-Gadaffi Green Libya demonstration of a near million Libyans and Gadaffi address the multitude from hiding even while NATO planes bombed. It went unreported in Western media and videos of the event have recently been removed, blocked. For years they could be viewed at HUGE PRO GADDAFI RALLY IN TRIPOLI – RAW FOOTAGE, 7/2/2011, http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=14505 among other alternate media sites. All now blocked or no longer available.
  14. There were armed attacks on police stations (even traffic police) and vicious attacks on Chinese and Korea construction workers already two days before, and during the anniversary of the Danish Cartoons or “day of rage,’ executions of 50 captured Libyan soldiers, one beheaded, some hung along with police officers. And who knows how many ordinary Libyan civilians harmed by tough guys brought in to Benghazi and other Cyrenaican towns. This was reported by Reuters and BBC, but not CNN. There are (now were) some horrifically gruesome cell phone videos on the Internet of grisly hangings, beheadings, bloody beatings of blacks and others loyal to their government. (Libya has a black population, mostly in South Libya, of half a million. Libya under Gaddafi has eliminated a good deal of race discrimination, so black Libyans are especially loyal to the government.) Jay Janson, “There Was No Libyan Peaceful Protest, Just Murderous Gangs and Nic Robertson,” 16 June, 2011, Countercurrents.org.
  15. [14]
  16. Ask Hillary Who Buys ISIS et al Terrorists Helping US Oust Assad NewToyota Trucks/ Heavy Weapons.” Sec. Hillary oversaw regime change wars in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, S. Sudan, Syria, Yemen; should be asked to explain new Toyota trucks/heavy weapons coming to ISIS/other terrorists, who have been mass murdering US designated enemies in Assad’s Syria and Shiite wherever they are; why superpower US ‘fighting’ for 5 years can’t defeat ragtag force of 25,000; involved false flags attacks on US to prove innocence?

    John-Paul Leonard, ISIS IS US: The Shocking Truth: Behind the Army of Terror

  17. Article 2 of the The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the United Nations General Assembly effective 1/12/1951, defines genocide as

    … any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;

    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

  18. Nicolas J.S. Davies, “How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen,” Consortium News, April 25, 2018.
  19. M.K. Bhadrakumar, “NATO declares China as global security challenge in World, 18/06/2021.
The post China and Russia Quiet about US Past Genocides and Ongoing Genocide in the Middle East and Africa first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Israel’s night raids on Palestinian families aren’t over, whatever the courts say

The videos are all over YouTube. Masked Israeli soldiers storm a Palestinian family’s home in the middle of the night. Parents, dressed in nightwear, are suddenly surrounded by heavily armed men in balaclavas.

Young children are forced awake. With a mix of bleary-eyed confusion and fear, they are made to answer questions posed to them in broken Arabic by these faceless, armed strangers. They are lined up in one room while the soldiers take photographs of them holding their identity cards. And then, just as suddenly as they arrived, the masked men disappear into the night.

There are no questions beyond identifying the people in the house. No one is “arrested”. There’s no obvious purpose; just a family’s sense of security permanently wrecked.

To most people watching these startling videos, such scenes look like an Orwellian nightmare. And sure enough, Israel has given this procedure an Orwellian name: “intel mapping”.

Last week, under pressure from the courts, the Israeli army announced that it had ended the practice of “mapping”, unless – and this will be a loophole easily exploited – there are “exceptional circumstances”.

Given that the families whose homes, privacy and dignity are invaded are not suspected of any offence, it is difficult to imagine what “exceptional circumstances” could ever justify these degrading and terrifying raids.

Masked intruders

In announcing its decision, the Israeli army said that in the digital age, there were other tools it could use to gain intelligence on Palestinians, beyond randomly invading their homes with guns in the middle of the night. A statement added that it was a humanitarian gesture aimed at “mitigating the disruption of citizens’ everyday life”.

Except, of course, Palestinians are not Israeli “citizens”; they are subjects without rights living under a belligerent military occupation. And this is not about “disruption” – Palestinians aren’t facing an unexpected train delay – but a form of collective punishment, and therefore a war crime.

As a report by three Israeli human rights organisations published last November observed, “it is highly doubtful that any instance of mapping could be considered legal under international law”. Nonetheless, these home invasions are commonplace. They are integral to the Israeli army’s policy of surveilling, controlling and persecuting Palestinians.

According to figures compiled by the United Nations, the Israeli army carried out around 6,400 “search or arrest operations” in 2017 and 2018 alone – with each operation potentially including more than one home. Research by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, shows that the vast majority of such operations start between midnight and 5am.

In a quarter of cases, soldiers break down the door to enter, and in a third of cases, a family member is physically assaulted. Two-thirds of families have experienced these invasions more than once.

“Intel mapping” operations have been particularly difficult for the army to justify on any kind of security grounds. That led earlier this year to unwelcome scrutiny from Israel’s top court, which gave the army until August to divulge the wording of its “mapping” protocol. The army’s cancellation of the practice last week means that the rationale for traumatising thousands of Palestinian families over many years will continue to be a secret.

Habitual war crimes

The reality is that “mapping” was never really about building up a more accurate picture of Palestinian society. It has many other, far more sinister aims.

In practical terms, it is used to train young Israeli soldiers, familiarising them with the techniques of invading Palestinian homes and intimidating Palestinians – all in a safe environment for the soldiers. The army knows that Palestinian parents will be primarily concerned with protecting their children from the terrifying presence of armed intruders in what should be the family’s safest space.

In testimony to Breaking the Silence, an organisation for whistle-blowing Israeli soldiers, one soldier observed: “There’s rarely an operational motivation for it. Often, the motivation is practice, meaning we got a breaching tool [for forcing open doors] for the first time; no one knows how to use it, so it is decided that we break into a house now.”

But there are other, even darker purposes behind these random “mapping” raids. They are part of the gradual process by which the army acculturates its young soldiers into a life of committing habitual war crimes. It breaks down their sense of morality and any remnants of compassion after years of exposure in Israel’s school system to anti-Palestinian racism.

It turns Palestinians into nothing more than objects of suspicion and fear for the soldiers. Or as one Palestinian woman told Yesh Din: “The way they banged and came into the house was like entering somewhere with animals, not people.”

Terrorising Palestinians, even children, quickly becomes part of the humdrum routine of military “duties”.

Psychological warfare

But most important of all, home invasions traumatise Palestinians in ways designed to entrench the occupation and make it more permanent. They are a form of psychological warfare – a campaign of terror – against both the families and the communities they live in. They reinforce the message that the Israeli army is everywhere, controlling the smallest details of Palestinians’ lives.

Several soldiers told Breaking the Silence that the goal was to make Palestinians feel persecuted. One noted: “The bigger mission was to instill a sense of persecution in the Palestinian population. That’s not my phrase, it’s a phrase that actually appeared in [military] presentations and briefings.”

The soldiers take this guidance to heart. One said he understood the purpose of hiding his face “was to be more intimidating, scarier, and then maybe you get less resistance”.

“Mapping” raids are designed to make Palestinians believe that any kind of opposition to the occupation is futile, or counterproductive. Home invasions leave permanent scars, as women often describe feeling violated and losing a sense of pride in their home, while men suffer from the trauma associated with being unable to protect their wives and children. Children are left with anxiety and sleep disorders, and they struggle at school.

There is a further goal to these “mapping” operations when Jewish settlements have been built close to the Palestinian families being targeted. Home invasions take place on a regular basis for these families, serving as a form of pressure to encourage them to abandon their homes so the settlers can replace them.

A 2019 UN survey of an area of Hebron coveted by settlers found that over a three-year period, 75 percent of Palestinian homes in the neighbourhood had been “mapped”. One resident whose home was raided more than 20 times toldYesh Din researchers: “I think the entry [by soldiers] is just harassment, to drive us out of the house.”

Spying on Palestinians

Even some former soldiers understand that the intelligence-gathering rationales for these invasions are bogus. Several told the human rights groups that the intelligence supposedly gained from these operations was never put to later use. None could identify a database where the information was being stored.

Even if the mapping raids were primarily about collecting information, the army has far more effective means to spy on and control the Palestinian population in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The job of Unit 8200, one of the Israeli military’s many intelligence-gathering arms, includes listening in on Palestinian communications to find secrets that can be used to blackmail and extort Palestinians to collaborate with occupation authorities.

A so-called cyber unit in Israel’s justice ministry is tasked with spying on Palestinians’ internet and social media communications. And Israel has endless other sources of intelligence on Palestinians: collaborators, the Palestinian population registry that it controls, biometric identity documents, face-recognition technology, questioning at checkpoints, the use of drones, and the seizure of Palestinians for interrogation.

Court complicity

More importantly, the army knows that it can continue as before with these home invasions by using other pretexts. It will subsume “mapping” operations within even more violent categories of night raids – such as the search for weapons, interrogations of children about stone-throwing, or arrests.

Sadly, the Israeli courts have always shown a willingness to collude with the army in precisely these kinds of face-saving deceptions and cynical manipulations of language. There is no reason to believe that the Israeli legal system will do anything in practice to ensure that home invasions, whether for “mapping” or any other purpose, come to an end.

The record of Israeli courts has been consistently dismal in protecting Palestinians from Israeli army abuses. Even when the courts do belatedly rule against army protocols that flagrantly violate international law, the army invariably finds ways to undercut the ruling – usually with the court’s complicity. For years, the army has continued to use Palestinians as human shields, dragging out legal proceedings by recharacterising the practice as a so-called “neighbour procedure” or “prior warning”.

It is not hard to imagine that “intel mapping” could be given a similar linguistic makeover. And there is an additional reason to be sceptical: more than 20 years ago, Israel’s top court banned the torture of Palestinian detainees – yet, it continued almost unabated because the court created a loophole for cases defined as “ticking bombs”, when interrogators supposedly faced a race against time to extract information to save lives.

After the ruling, it seemed that every Palestinian seized by the army became a “ticking bomb”. Finally, in 2017, the court reversed its 1999 ruling when it permitted torture as long as interrogators did not cross a threshold of pain that it declined to determine in advance.

The reality is that when Israel treats its occupation as permanent, then preserving the occupation’s infrastructure – for surveillance, control, intimidation and humiliation – becomes an absolute necessity. When the occupier additionally seeks to drive out Palestinians to replace them with its own settler population, the rot runs deeper still. Palestinian men, women and children are reduced to nothing more than pieces to be swept off a chessboard.

For that reason, home invasions – the terrorising of families in the middle of the night by masked soldiers – will continue, whatever euphemism is used to justify it.

• First published in Middle East Eye

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Words Alone will not End Anti-Muslim Terror in Canada 

The killing of a Muslim family on June 6 in Ontario, Canada, again presented an opportunity for Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to brand himself as a voice of reason and communal harmony. However, Trudeau’s amiable and reassuring language is designed to veil a sinister reality which has, for many years, hidden the true face of Canadian politics.

“This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities,” Trudeau told Parliament, two days after a Canadian terrorist, Nathaniel Veltman, deliberately struck a Canadian Muslim family at an intersection in London, Ontario. Only a young boy survived the attack which killed his parents, sister and grandmother. The 9-year-old boy remains in critical condition.

The Prime Minister, whose brand of friendly and progressive liberal facade is often juxtaposed with the rise of conservative, populist politics in much of the Western hemisphere, went on speaking as if an activist advocating human rights and equality for all. “If anyone thinks racism and hatred don’t exist in this country, I want to say this: How do we explain such violence to a child in a hospital? How can we look families in the eye and say ‘Islamophobia isn’t real’?”, Trudeau said.

Ironically, it took years of pressure and concerted lobbying from many civil society organizations, progressive and Muslim groups to finally convince Trudeau to designate January 29 as the ‘National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia’. This specific date was chosen to commemorate the terrorist attack by a Canadian citizen on a Quebec City mosque in 2017. Six Canadian Muslims were killed and 19 others were injured in the hate crime in the Grand Mosque.

That attack, too, was an opportunity for Trudeau to rail against terrorism and hate.  Ultimately, it was all empty rhetoric, as the Canadian government has done little to rectify the dangerous phenomenon. This lack of meaningful action makes the government complicit in the rising Islamophobia and hate crimes in Canada.

By way of explaining his rejection of recognizing January 29 as the day of ‘action on Islamophobia’, Trudeau told Radio-Canada that, while it is “important to underline intolerance directed at people of faith,” he wished to “avoid that type of backlash that we’ve seen when we take these kinds of actions,” since the perpetrators of hate crimes are “still a small intolerant minority”. Jingoism aside, Trudeau was essentially arguing that recognition and action against Islamophobia were unnecessary as they may give too much attention to a small and hateful ‘minority’.

Trudeau is utterly wrong. A report submitted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in November last year showed that a majority of Canadians – 52% – believe that Muslims cannot be trusted, while 42% feel that discrimination against Muslims – read: racism – is mainly the fault of Muslims themselves.

The UN findings are part of a long trajectory of violence and racism targeting Canadian Muslims. A Gallup Poll published in 2011 has already debunked the ‘small minority’ claim. Canadian Muslims – 48% – along with American Muslims – 52 % – feel disrespected within their societies. This ‘disrespect’ manifests itself in numerous ways, much of it unreported, occasionally making news when it translates into outright violence. Indeed, there is plenty of that too.

Official Canadian police reports demonstrate that hate crimes against Canada’s Muslims are on the rise, with 166 such incidents reported in 2018, 181 in 2019 and so on, with violent crimes becoming more intense and bloodier with time.

Sadly, anti-Muslim terrorism in Canada is likely to increase in the future, not only because hate crime statistics show an upward trajectory, but because anti-Muslim sentiments often take center stage in government and media as well.

Negative depictions of Islam and Muslims in Canadian media must not be grouped under the designation of ‘mainstream Western media bias’, as media fear-mongering is penetrating the very psyche of large sections of Canadian society. Many Canadian politicians, even in Trudeau’s own party, often exploit this alarming phenomenon to feed their political ambitions.

Various Canadian provinces have either passed or drafted laws that specifically target Canada’s Muslim minorities, for example, Quebec’s Bill 62, which restricts the wearing of the niqab in public buildings. Outrageously, the Bill, which was passed by Quebec’s Liberal government in October 2017, followed the bloody attack on the Grand Mosque in Quebec City. Instead of fighting Islamophobia, Quebec’s officials provided it with a legal and moral justification.

While feeding Islamophobia at home, Trudeau persistently rages against human rights violators in China, the Middle East and around the world. As Chinese columnist Mu Lu rightly argued in Global Times, Canada uses “human rights as a stick to beat others.” While the same claim can also be made regarding the misuse of human rights as a foreign policy tool by other Western leaders, Trudeau is often successful in presenting his human rights concerns as genuine.

If Trudeau is, indeed, genuine in his desire to root out anti-Muslim terrorism from Canada, he should start by cleansing his own party of hate speech, end all attempts at criminalizing Islam and Muslims and ban hate speech against Muslims in the media.

Terrorism will not end as a result of pomposity but through real action. Trudeau seems to have much of the former and none of the latter.

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