Saturday, November 22, 2014

Motherfuckin' Stimulator: Insurrecto-Riotosis

Insurrecto- Riotosis

by The Stimulator - subMedia

This week we bring you an exclusive report on the pandemic that’s infecting the globe. Insurrecto-Riotosis. The first wave of the pandemic was reported in the city of Nantes in France following the police murder of 21 year old eco-defender Rémi Fraisse.

This contagion quickly spread to Belgium where 100,000 peeps hit the streets in Brussels to show their anger to a proposed package of austerity cuts.





In Mexico, insurrecto-riotisis is quickly turning into a full-fledged pandemic, as protests demanding the safe return of 43 students kidnapped on September 26th continue to escalate dramatically.

Also, Wal-Mart employees in Los Angeles staged their first-ever sit-down strike against the mammoth retail giant.

And all over Turtles Island, a massive fight-back against sexual violence and rape culture has blown up over social media.

On the music break, a killer mash up of Keny Arkana’s “La Rage” by DAM.

And this week we feature an interview with Andalusia Knoll, a journalist with the autonomous media collective “Subversiones” who breaks down the who, when, what, why, how of the insurrection in Mexico.

***DONATE TO THE FAMILIES OF THE 43 MISSING STUDENTS***
rightsaction.org/action-content/emergency-fund-raising-appeal-disappeared-mexican-students


Ukraine: America's Agit-Prop Posing as Journalism

US news organizations dispense propaganda, not news : Forget ‘Fair and Balanced,’ US Corporate Media Give Only the Government’s Side

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

One searches almost in vain for honest reporting on the Ukraine conflict in the US corporate media, which is simply parroting the US government position, which is that the rebels in eastern Ukraine are simply tools of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Does this look like something rebel fighters in east Ukraine would 
have done to their own 'stronghold' and capital of Donetsk?

Yet the murderous shelling of the people of the rebel regions of Lugansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is almost certainly wholly the work of an aggressive Kiev-government led Ukraine military, which has been ramping up its forces in the east in preparation for a renewed assault on the two separatist states of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Each time there is a report of shelling of either city, Lugansk or Donetsk, the US media either completely fail to mention who might be responsible, or they report that “both sides” accuse each other of being responsible, though this is clearly absurd, since even those same media also refer to Donetsk and Lugansk as “rebel-held” or “separatist-held,” or as “rebel strongholds.”

Why, one ought to ask, would the rebels shell their own territory, much less the capitals of their respective rebel regions?

The model for how such incidents are to be reported was set on Oct. 6 by America’s version of Pravda, Voice of America. In its article that day, headlined NATO Concerned about E. Ukraine Cease-Fire Violations [1], it states:

The new head of NATO said the Western military alliance is concerned about the large number of violations of the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, which he indirectly blamed on pro-Russian separatists.

Following in lockstep with that approach, here’s what the US media had to say about the conflict in recent weeks:

The New York Times (Nov. 9 [2]):

A shaky cease-fire in eastern Ukraine looked ever more tenuous on Sunday as European monitors confirmed reports of unmarked military vehicles driving through rebel-held territory while Donetsk, the region’s biggest city, endured a nightlong artillery battle.

The monitoring group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that long columns of unmarked military vehicles, some towing howitzers, were spotted over the weekend. The monitors did not speculate as to the origins of the trucks or the people inside them, but Ukrainian officials said the statements bolstered their claims that Russia was again arming and training separatists.

...On Sunday, after what journalists in Donetsk described as the heaviest night of artillery shelling in and around the city in at least a month, the O.S.C.E. observers saw two more unmarked military columns. The observers noted 17 trucks in each column, some equipped with Grad ground-to-ground rocket launchers and others towing more howitzers.

Comment: Notice the focus here on the unidentified military vehicles, but not a word about who would have been firing that heavy artillery barrage into rebel-held Donetsk. A real news organization -- as opposed to a propaganda organ -- would have asked that question and would have sought answers. Clearly the rebels weren’t bombarding their own capital city, but the Times didn’t mention that absurdity.

Reuters report (Nov. 16) [3]:

Fresh volleys of artillery fire were heard across many parts of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, a Ukrainian government statement said, after Kiev warned again of rebel preparations for a fresh offensive.
A Reuters witness in central Donetsk heard several dozen blasts of artillery fire, although it was unclear who had launched them or what was under attack.

Shelling from both sides has repeatedly punctured a ceasefire, agreed in a deal signed on Sept. 5 to end a war that has killed more than 4,000 people since April. Government forces and rebels have accused each other of violating the terms of the truce, raising fears it could collapse entirely.

Ukraine's pro-Western leaders and NATO have accused Russia of sending soldiers and weapons to help pro-Russian rebels launch a possible new offensive, a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

Before the latest reports of shelling, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on Sunday the weekend had been calmer than in previous days, but warned again of a buildup in separatist forces.

"Compared with previous days, the number and intensity (of shelling) fell, but there are signs of rebels and Russian forces preparing for an offensive," Andriy Lysenko said in a briefing in Kiev.

Comment: Once again nowhere does Reuters (now a US news organization, after its merger with Thompson Corp to form Thomson Publishing Group, headquartered in Philadelphia), mention that the shelling of Donetsk would inevitably have been the work of the Ukraine military, not of the separatists who are headquartered there. Instead, the article keeps mentioning the claim that the eastern Ukraine rebels are backed by Russia (no crime, and certainly something the US does militarily to countless countries).

Time Magazine (November 6 [4]):

Two teens were killed and four others wounded when an artillery shell hit a school in Ukraine’s war-torn Donetsk region on Wednesday as a two-month truce between Kiev and pro-Russian militants appeared to be in collapse.

The BBC reports that the shell struck a school sports field where children were playing soccer, near Donetsk airport. The four teens who survived the attack are being treated in an intensive care unit at a local trauma center.

The renewed clashes appear to have been spurred by the widely condemned elections held in Ukraine’s rebel-held southeast over the weekend. Both Kiev and separatist forces are reportedly preparing for all-out conflict once again, with troops being mobilized.

Comment: Again, we so no information or even speculation as to who would have fired a shell into a Donetsk schoolyard, but it seems obvious that unless it was an errant shell fired by rebels, they would not have been targeting a playing field used by their own people.

To get any real idea as to how this conflict -- really a civil war, or war of secession by a part of Ukraine populated largely by Russian speakers -- one has to forget US media and turn to something like Al Jazeera. Here’s an Al Jazeera report on the conflict, headlined Moscow says Kiev 'crudely violated' ceasefire [5] and dated November 6:

Russia has accused the Kiev government of violating the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, saying it has intensified its military offensive against rebels.

The accusation came as Ukraine announced the introduction of passport controls around areas held by pro-Russian separatists and heavy artillery fire erupted in Donetsk.

"It is obvious today that these agreements have been crudely violated by the Ukrainian side," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

"In place of de-escalation, Kiev has intensified the hostilities in the southeast of the country with the use of heavy equipment, which has led to thousands of casualties and large-scale destruction."
...It was not possible to verify which side was responsible for the fire, AFP reported.

The fragility of the situation was underlined on Thursday when the Kiev government and the rebels traded blame over the shelling of a school the day before, which left two teenagers dead and four others injured.

Andriy Lysenko, a Ukrainian military spokesman, said that preliminary information indicates the shells flew into the schoolyard in Donetsk from a location controlled by separatist forces.

But the rebels blamed Ukrainian forces for Wednesday's deadly attack, saying government troops indiscriminately target residential areas in eastern Ukraine.

Lysenko said that in the latest shelling across the conflict zone, nine Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded. The separatists rarely release casualty figures.

He also repeated accusations that "Russian units and mercenaries" continued to cross into Ukraine.

Russian denies directly aiding the rebels, although Russia soldiers and equipment have been frequently spotted by journalists in the conflict zone.

Comment: Notice how differently this Al Jazeera report covers the shelling of the playground, from the way it was handled by Time Magazine. Here, the Ukrainians are quoted as blaming the rebels, but the rebels deny responsibility and point to the widespread “indiscriminate” shelling of civilians in their territory by Ukrainian forces.

That is good journalism.

The stuff being published by the US corporate media isn’t journalism at all. It is rank propaganda in support of the US government’s goal, which attempting to drive, at all costs, a wedge between America’s vassal states in Europe, and the Russian Federation.

The American public need to know that, but as long as they just obtain their news from the corporate media, whether that’s Fox or CNN or the vaunted New York Times, they’re not going to get it.

Source URL: http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/2559

Links:
[1] http://www.voanews.com/content/ukraine-cease-fire-france-germany-pro-russian-separatists/2473771.html
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/world/europe/in-ukraine-shelling-and-convoys-of-armed-trucks-threaten-cease-fire.html?_r=0
[3] http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/16/us-ukraine-crisis-shelling-idUSKCN0J00UT20141116
[4] http://time.com/3560299/artillery-fire-kills-teenagers-donetsk-ceasefire-ukraine/
[5] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/11/moscow-says-kiev-crudely-violated-ceasefire-2014116134221855924.html

Canada's Complicity in War, Racism, Islamophobia and Neoliberal Economic Austerity

Demonstration against war, racism, Islamophobia and austerity

by CASA

As health care, education, unemployment insurance, equity programs and the arts are cut in the name of austerity, military spending (at $22.6 billion in 2012) has increased every year since 1998 and is projected to continue. Since 2004, Canada has invaded or bombed Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq and Libya, leaving a trail of destruction followed by corrupt client regimes and neoliberal austerity policies.

Every new invasion is justified as a contribution to humanitarianism and democracy, but the results speak for themselves. Canadian oil contractors in Iraq, engineering firms in Libya, sweatshop operators in Haiti and mining companies in Afghanistan have all benefited while the people of those countries have suffered.

Meanwhile, Canadian police and security forces have continuously harassed, infiltrated and intimidated racialized communities in Canada, imprisoning people without trial and cracking down on democratic dissent.

Invasions abroad, state violence at home, resource theft on indigenous land within Canada's borders and across oceans: all of these contribute to the enrichment of a tiny elite at the expense of the world's majority.

Join us as we hit the streets to oppose war, austerity, racism and Islamophobia: interlocking systems of violence that stand in the war of achieving a more just and equal world!


organized by : Tadamon! / Comité d’action solidaire contre l’austerité – CASA

Saturday, Nov. 22 1pm
métro Guy-Concordia
Norman Bethune square
Montréal, Québec

media contact : Stefan Christoff

endorsed by :

A qui la ville ?
Anarchopanda pour la gratuité scolaire
Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante ( ASSÉ )
Centre communautaire des femmes sud-asiatique / South Asian Women’s
Community Centre
Centre d’appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns
Centre des Travailleurs et Travailleuses Immigrants
Centre for Gender Advocacy
La Chorale du Peuple
Climate Justice Montreal – Justice climatique Montreal
Collectif Québécois contre l’islamophobie
Comité Chômage de l’Est de Montréal
Decolonizing Street Art
Femmes de diverses origines / Women of Diverse Origins
Le Guet des Activités Paralogiques, Propagandistes et Anti-démocratiques
(G.A.P.P.A. )
Howl Arts Collective
Iww Montréal Syndicat industriel des travailleurs et travailleuses de
Montréal
Justice Palestine, McGill University
Kalmunity Vibe Collective
Mouvement Action Chômage de Montréal
McGill Radical Law Community / Communauté juridique radicale de McGill
(RADLAW)
Missing Justice: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Organisation populaire des droits sociaux de la région de Montréal (OPDS)
L’Organisme de Défense des Prisonniers Politiques
PAJU- Palestinian & Jewish Unity
PINAY (Organisation des femmes philippines du Québec)
Popir Comité-Logement (Projet Organisation Populaire Information et
Regroupement)
Regards sur le 7ème feu ensemble
Solidarity Across Borders


This is the English-language news wire for social justice groups in Montreal.

To subscribe to the French-language newswire, send a message to:
fildepresse-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

US Desperate to Escalate Ukraine Conflict as EU Back-Pedals

Europe Veering From US Abyss Over Russia?

Finian Cunningham - SCF

It’s long overdue but better late than never that Europe might just be back-pedalling on America’s aggressive agenda towards Russia. The business-like visit to Moscow this week by Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggests that Europe can come to its senses to seek a diplomatic resolution of the escalating tensions over the Ukraine crisis – tensions that could spark a wider continental war, or worse.

Steinmeier met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in which the pair stressed the need to find a political end to the violence in Ukraine. The German diplomat – the first high-level European envoy to Moscow in several months – also talked about normalising relations between his country and Russia and of finding a way to rescind the economic sanctions that Brussels has imposed on Moscow over recent months.

EU ministers in Brussels balked at imposing a fourth round of sanctions earlier this week, showing a growing division over the policy among European governments.

Interestingly, Steinmeier said his visit to the Russian capital was following up on positive discussions held last weekend with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Australia. The German foreign minister said the task now was to prevent a new spiral of violence in Ukraine.

Given that Germany is the European Union’s largest economy, we can fairly say that Berlin’s political attitude is going to hold sway for the rest of the bloc. Meanwhile, the contrast with the European attitude, as seen this week through Steinmeier, could not be sharper in Washington.

This week, the Republican-controlled Congress was pushing through a bill that will significantly increase military support to the Kiev regime. The ultra rightwing cabal, despite a fig leaf of elections last month, has clearly shown no interest in implementing the ceasefire brokered on September 5 in the Belarus capital, Minsk. Civilian casualties are mounting among the ethnic Russian population in Donetsk and Luhansk as the Kiev’s military forces continue their practice of indiscriminate shelling of cities and villages with the use of banned weapons, including cluster bombs and unguided ballistic missiles.

Never mind violations of the Minsk Protocol, the murderous offensive by Kiev consists of multiple war crimes.

Nonetheless, the US Congress is unabashed and is in fact preparing to legalise massive overt military aid to this regime whose leaders, including its nominal President Petro Poroshenko, are becoming more and more unhinged, warning earlier this week of “not being afraid of total war with Russia”.

Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, the author of the provocatively named Ukraine Freedom Act Support, said this week: 
 
“Ukraine [sic] needs weapons, ammunition, body armour and communication means. Of course, financial support is important but not as much as weapons and ammunition to fight off the Russian troops who invaded a sovereign country.”

Note the assertion of Russian invasion by the Congressman without the slightest obligation to substantiate his claim. He probably heard it on Fox News or CNN and feels free to regurgitate it as incontrovertible fact.

The Kiev regime’s reckless militarism over the past seven months has brought Ukraine’s economy to its knees, with its currency crashing and soaring international debts unpaid – chief among the creditors being Russia. Yet Washington sees the priority as not financial assistance but rather more militarism to provoke more aggression towards Russia.

After the Republican mid-election victory earlier this month, Congress is likely to pass the above bill. Henceforth, the US government will be enabled to openly supply lethal materiel, including anti-tank and air defence systems, grenade launchers, machine-guns and sniper rifles. This marks a baleful escalation of Washington’s military intervention in Ukraine, which up to now has feigned its support for the Kiev regime as “non-lethal aid”.

This is just what the US Republicans have been clamouring for. Last week, swivelled-eyed Senator John McCain said: 
 
“We want to give the Ukrainians [sic] weapons to defend themselves as the Russians are dismembering their country.”

McCain, another Fox-News-regurgitating politician, was one of the main international sponsors of the neo-Nazi shock troops who seized power in Kiev earlier this year and who now openly vilify fellow Ukrainians in the eastern regions as “sub-human Moskals”.
 
Up till lately, Washington and Brussels have been singing off the same propaganda hymn sheet as the Kiev regime that they both railroaded into power last February in an illegal coup against the elected Ukrainian government. In an astounding inversion of reality, the US-EU axis accuses Russia of invading and subverting Ukraine. No proof is proffered and the words of the criminal, openly hostile and Russian-hating Kiev regime are promulgated as gospel truth.

Brussels has so far toed the Washington line of imposing sanctions on Russia for allegedly violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The fact that the people of Crimea voted freely and overwhelmingly to secede from the Western-installed Kiev regime in March and to join the Russian federation, followed by similar referenda for breakaway autonomy in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, is attributed, through a feat of double-think, to Moscow’s meddling.

However, with the Western sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions taking the heaviest toll on an already recession-stricken Europe, the anti-Moscow nostrums are bound to be viewed with increasing leeriness. Tough talk may be cheap, even rewarding, for Washington, but not for the Europeans.

‘German exports to Russia tumble’ reported the Financial Times at the end of last month, as a result of the standoff with Moscow – the worst rupture in relations since the formal end of the Cold War more than two decades ago. Elsewhere it is reported that German industry and businesses are feverishly lobbying Berlin to revise the sanctions policy, which is threatening thousands of German jobs and the biggest bilateral trade between Europe and Russia.

As the EU’s economic powerhouse, what is bad for Germany is automatically bad for the rest of Europe.

The new EU foreign policy chief Frederica Morgherini, formerly the Italian minister, has recently expressed misgivings about the effectiveness of sanctions. Morgherini took over from Britain’s Catherine Ashton who was instrumental in the Western regime-change operation in Kiev and who had displayed a pathetic servility to Washington.

Other European states are also increasingly finding a more critical voice towards what they see as senseless and self-defeating hostility against Russia. ‘Hungary questions EU sanctions on Russia’ reported the Financial Times on October 16. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria have added their voices to question the official Washington-Brussels stance of trying to isolate Russia.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has defiantly said that his country will not follow Brussels’ sanctions on Russia, citing long-lasting historical and cultural ties with Moscow, even though Belgrade currently has EU accession status. Added to that are strong economic and investment ties between Russia and Serbia.

All these dissenting countries have a vested interest in developing the giant South Stream gas supply project from Russia, as well as from just maintaining decorous neighbourly relations. For them, the sanctions on Russia are tantamount to cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Perhaps the words of Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders are finally beginning to win through reason and empirical evidence, or lack of it. Speaking at the Valdai Club in Sochi at the end of October, one of Putin’s main points was that US geopolitical policy is aimed at driving a wedge between Europe and Russia out of selfish American interests. Competition for Europe’s vast energy market is an obvious objective for the US, as well as the subordination of European economic policy to Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve. In short, the subordination of Europe to American capitalist hegemony.

Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov recently said that what is primarily motivating American hostility towards Moscow is that “Russia dares to have an opinion” on the future direction of global developments. This independence is seen for example in Russia’s promotion of alternative international banking to the Washington-dominated IMF, or the use of bilateral currencies for seminal Eurasian energy trade instead of dependence on the US dollar.

Any sane person can see that Russia’s policies are entirely legitimate and even desirable for a more balanced global economy and polity. It is ludicrous for the arrogant, self-declared exceptional American nation to criminalise Russia on this basis, and that is why Washington has used the Ukraine crisis as a cover for its unacceptable imperialist agenda.

European governments would do well to contemplate the self-indicting words of US Vice President Joe Biden. Biden told a meeting at Harvard University last month that European states were initially reluctant to adopt American sanctions toward Russia. “President Obama had to embarrass European leaders into it,” said Biden with more than a hint of glee at Washington’s power at bullying Europe. How’s that for an atrocious admission?

Washington has everything to gain from plunging its so-called European allies into a new Cold War with Russia. And Europe has everything to lose.

But it seems now that a significant European constituency is at last waking up to the folly that has been foisted on its 500 million citizens by the likes of pro-American puppets Hermann Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso, David Cameron and Catherine Ashton. Will German Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Francois Hollande grasp the courage to follow the diplomatic path being advocated by several courageous dissenting EU members?

One hopes that Europe is beginning to part ways with the US direction on Russia – a direction that is leading to an abyss.

American politics is arguably the most corporate-controlled, brainwashed, intellectually devoid and dangerous institution that the world has ever known. The buying of the latest Congressional elections with $4 billion in corporate campaign funds (that is, bribes) is proof that the US is not a democracy – it is a plutocracy. If Europeans have any residual democratic independence and enlightened reason, then they must find it and assert it urgently. Europe and Russia are far more natural allies than the warmongering American rulers could ever be.
 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why They Spy on Us

Why Are We REALLY Being Spied On? 

by Russell Brand - The Trews


Reaction to news that the US Senate has rejected the USA Freedom Act, a bill that sought to end the NSA’s ongoing daily collection of practically all US phone data.




Russell Brand The Trews (E193).

Produced directed & edited by Gareth Roy.
Trews Theme by The Rubberbandits
Thanks to Jimi Mackay: @jimimackay
and Urban Nerds: @urban_nerds for our creative services


Subscribe Here Now: http://tinyurl.com/opragcg and send links to video news items of topical stories that you'd like me to analyse.

Gaza Bombings and the Reignition of Internal Palestinian Strife

Gaza bombings rock Palestinian reconciliation

by Nicola Nasser

It is ironic that the annual commemoration of the death of Yasser Arafat should turn into an occasion for rekindling the flames of internal strife. This was clearly the aim of last week’s bombings that targeted the homes of Fatah leaders in Gaza, as well as the podium for the commemorative ceremonies of Arafat, who strove to make Palestinian national unity one of the pillars of his political legacy.

How desperately those concerned need to be inspired by the political legacy of that great president.

During a visit to demonstrate solidarity with the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyar, where settlers, under the protective eye of occupation soldiers, set fire to a mosque, Director of the Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) Kamel Abu Aliya remarked that his ministry have documented 20 similar attacks on mosques in the West Bank since 2011.

In targeting mosques, the occupation is clearly targeting major symbols of national and popular unity. Mosques, by definition, gather people together rather than drive them apart. Inside the mosque all the factions of the national struggle that are at odds with each other assemble as one with their fellow men, in solid ranks with a single heart.

The occupation has never foregone any means at its disposal to drive a wedge into the Palestinian national ranks. This has not changed. So it is ironic that the bombings would become an occasion to present the occupation with the gift of factional polarisation and a war of words, at a time when the factions most need to be united, and that they would serve to turn the national compass away from Jerusalem, on which Arafat had set his national compass until his dying breath.

But here is another important point. Both sides of the dispute — Fatah and Hamas — have condemned the attacks, denied all charges of responsibility and insist on the need to conduct an investigation into bombings as quickly as possible.

If these two factions can agree on these points, what would keep them from agreeing to form a joint fact-finding committee that would include representatives from all other factions (most notably the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front) and independent figures from civil society that would be committed to publishing its findings in fulfilment of the right of the Palestinian people to know the truth?

Moreover, why couldn’t the creation of a joint committee such as this become a new mechanism for enhancing national reconciliation and ending acrimonious exchanges before they spiral out of control?

In this regard, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that he is not interested in “an investigation by them” — referring to Hamas, of course — but does not propose an alternative investigatory mechanism, he is not helping efforts to unearth the truth, which his people are more eager to learn than the two factions whose protracted dispute has exhausted their people.

But the most appalling irony resides in their aversion to turning the finger of accusation in the direction of the ultimate beneficiary from all this — namely, the Israeli occupation authority and its state. A focus on that beneficiary would suffice, in and of itself, to contain the dangerous repercussions of the bombings on national unity and, simultaneously, to expose the truth about the existence of parties who fear their interests would be jeopardised by the end of the rift in both the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip.

These parties are exploited, knowingly or not, by the occupation, and collectively they form a “fifth column” that works to obstruct the process of national reconciliation in order to safeguard their interests.

But even if those who carried out the bomb attacks were Palestinian this does not obscure the identity of the first and foremost beneficiary. This, moreover, comes at a time when the occupation is escalating its aggression against the Palestinian people under occupation.

It is increasing its forces in the West Bank, intensifying its repressive measures and moving to augment its budget for settlement expansion. More significantly, the Israeli government recently approved a bill of law to extend the laws of the Israeli state to the Jewish colonies in the West Bank, as is the case in East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In other words, we are effectively speaking of another Israeli annexation bid.

The history of dissension and strife is repeating itself. A statement by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) urges Fatah and Hamas to exercise restraint and to remain alert to the conspiracies that are being woven against the Palestinian people.

It cautions the two factions against falling into the Israeli trap of igniting Palestinian discord and urges them to give competent agencies and relevant political authorities sufficient time to unearth the threads of the crime.

Yet this statement, which applies perfectly to the current situation, was issued by the PFLP in July 2008 after four Ezz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigade members were killed in a bombing on Gaza beach. At the time, Hamas accused Fatah and the Fatah charged Hamas with carrying out an “internal purge.”

Nothing appears to have changed, apart from the fact that today Fatah accuses Hamas of planting the bombs and the latter responds that the attack was related to an internal conflict inside Fatah. In both cases, the occupation power and its government come out innocent!

That rush to judgment and finger pointing before the smoke has cleared is suspicious and raises questions regarding the political motives behind such reactions. One is reminded of a similar case of accusations that were hurled after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri in 2005.

Before his blood had dried some fingers in Lebanon pointed to Syria, even though it was palpably evident that Damascus could not have been behind the crime as it was fully aware that it could only be harmed by the consequences.

The same applies to Hamas today. After its long political experience it would realise that it could only stand to lose from the Gaza bombings.

The hands that carried out the bombings in Gaza might be Palestinian and even Fatah or Hamas hands, but those who issued the orders could not have been Palestinian decision-makers. Anyone familiar with the history of Palestinian assassinations knows this.

The perpetrators may have been motivated by personal interests but the consequences cannot possibly serve Palestinian interests, factional or otherwise. They can only serve the occupation authority and its state, especially as the victim is certainly the Palestinian people and their national unity.

The fifth column that benefits from Palestinian division and that feels threatened by its end is still searching for opportunities to sabotage Palestinian national reconciliation. It must have seen the Gaza bombings as a perfect opportunity to fan the flames of discord, offering a service free of charge to the occupation (presuming the best possible intentions under that situation), or not free of charge (presuming the worst).

It does not take much effort to reach the above conclusion. However, building on it by containing the unpatriotic repercussions of the attacks requires great thought and effort in order to prevent outbursts of factional acrimony or to keep them contained in order to safeguard national reconciliation from collapse.

This is essential to ensure that the reconstruction of Gaza moves forward, to sustain the national unity government and to return the focus to solidifying national ranks in the face of the occupation’s ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people, their security and wellbeing and their sanctities, and behind the political battle that the Palestinian presidency is waging in the international arena.


Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (nassernicola@ymail.com). This article was translated from Arabic and first published by Al-Ahram Weekly on November 20, 2014.

All That Glitters: Does Musk Midas Touch Make SolarCity a Ray of Investor Sunshine?

This Solar Company Keeps Reporting Losses But You May Want To Buy It Anyway

Inside Opportunities with Martin Tillier - OilPrice.com

We all know that logically we should assess the value and prospects of any stock based on the profitability and prospects of the company. That is investing 101, but sometimes other factors take over. In the case of SolarCity Corp (SCTY), buyers seem to be motivated by anything but profitability.

The company has never made a profit since the IPO nearly two years ago, but even so, despite losing a lot of ground since the high back in February, SCTY is trading at over five times what it was then. The gut reaction of any value investor when looking at the basic numbers would be to avoid, or even short, SCTY, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The discrepancy comes from the fact that GAAP reporting doesn’t do justice to the company, as much of its business comes from leasing agreements. Revenues from those agreements will be counted over a number of years, around twenty in most contracts, while some of the expenses are accounted for immediately.

Management has attempted to address this discrepancy by including a non-GAAP measure of “Retained Value” (RV) in their quarterly reports. The way that is calculated contains some assumptions that can be questioned, such as the prediction that all contracts will be renewed for a total of thirty years, but in many ways, the concept of RV is a valid one.

Whether you take into account future revenues or not, however, one thing cannot be denied; SolarCity is growing extremely quickly. It is now the largest supplier of residential solar power systems in the U.S. and sold or leased 137MW of systems in the third quarter of this year.

Growth has been impressive and if anything is accelerating.

Of course, if you are losing money on everything you supply then selling more just makes the situation worse. Many evidently think that is the case here as short interest in the stock now stands at over one third of the total float. When the growth and future revenues are taken into consideration, though, that assumption looks flawed.

What the company is essentially doing is leveraging and investing heavily in a massive cash stream in the future. Presumably the shorts think that SCTY will run out of money before that stream starts to flow but there is one reason that is unlikely to be the case…Elon Musk.

Musk, who is also behind Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, may not be the flawless genius that some see him as but one thing is for sure; he has the clout to get financing in Silicon Valley. As most pure tech valuations are looking a little stretched there is an awful lot of cash washing around in California looking for a home, and Musk’s name will be enough to ensure that SCTY get at least their fair share if they need it.

Buying SCTY at these levels does involve a bit of trust. You have to trust that there will not be another major downturn in house building in the near future and that interest rates will remain low for an extended period.

You have to trust that there will be no wholesale dumping of solar panels by China and that there will be enough cash available for SolarCity to continue operations for a number of years until the investment begins to pay off. None of these assumptions look unreasonable, however.

Buying here with a stop at the May and June lows around $46 (a potential loss of 15% or so) and a target of around $80 (close to 50% potential profit) also appeals from a risk/reward perspective. Add to that the prospect of a serious short squeeze if the stock does begin to rally and a little bit of trust seems warranted.

The basic role of any company is to make money, and when one is still struggling to do that two years after going public it would normally be a huge red flag. In this case, however, it can be argued that SolarCity is actually making money, but it just doesn’t look that way.

Given that, an exceptional rate of growth and an appealing risk/reward ratio at the current levels, SCTY looks like the kind of loser it could pay to get behind.

"Neocon" Press Pushing US to Brink of Broader War, Again

Delusional US ‘Group Think’ on Syria, Ukraine

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

Neocon ideology appears to have seized near total control over the editorial pages of America’s premier news organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, contributing to an information crisis inside “the world’s superpower,” a development that should unnerve both Americans and the world community.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the
situation in Ukraine, on South Lawn of White House, 
July 29, 2014. (White House Photo - Lawrence Jackson) 

 A Washington Post editorial, for instance, took President Barack Obama to task on Wednesday for one of the few moments when he was making sense, when he answered “no” to whether he was “actively discussing ways to remove” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Obama added, “we are looking for a political solution eventually within Syria. … But we’re not even close to being at that stage yet.”

The question itself — from Kristen Welker of NBC News — would have been remarkable enough if you weren’t steeped in the arrogance of Official Washington where it’s common to engage in casual speculation about overthrowing another country’s government. In Neocon Land, it goes without saying that once the United States judges some world leader guilty for having violated international law or human rights or whatever, it is fine for the U.S. government to “take out” that leader, even if the supposed “facts” are a jumble of reality and propaganda that no one has bothered to seriously sort out.

In Assad’s case, there is the conventional wisdom that his government carried out the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus, although much evidence now points to a provocation by anti-Assad rebels. There is also the fact that Assad’s military has been battling the ruthless Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, two terroristic organizations.

While that doesn’t excuse excessive civilian casualties, it is a mitigating circumstance, much as the U.S. military rationalized the massive loss of civilian life after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as regrettable collateral damage but justified in prosecuting the post-9/11 “war on terror.”

But, of course, there are two sets of rules, one for the world’s “indispensible nation” and its allies and another for everyone else. There is an unstated acceptance of these double standards by every “serious” person in Official Washington, including mainstream journalists.

In this view, the “exceptional” United States has the right to invade any country of its choosing and violently remove leaders not to its liking. If the shoe were on another foot – say, some country seeking to remove a U.S. ally for violating international law or human rights or someone trying to hold former President George W. Bush accountable for his war crimes – an entirely different fashion rack of principles would suddenly be in vogue.

Nevertheless, Obama answered Welker’s question appropriately. “No,” he said, the U.S. government is not now trying to overthrow Assad, whose government is the principal bulwark against an outright military victory by Al-Qaeda’s affiliate, Nusra Front, or the even more barbaric Islamic State.

Indeed, it would be madness for Obama to say or do differently, since he himself acknowledged last summer to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman that the idea of a “moderate” rebel force in Syria was always a “fantasy.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Behind Obama’s Chaotic Foreign Policy.”]

Dreamy Neocon Thinking


The likely result of the U.S. military destroying Assad’s defenses would be a victory by Islamic extremists with their black flags flying over Damascus. That, in turn, would probably force the United States and its European allies to undertake a major invasion of Syria with hundreds of thousands of troops at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars – and no reasonable prospect for success.

Despite the craziness of this we-must-take-out-Assad thinking, it has become the “group think” of Official Washington. If only Assad were forcibly removed, this thinking goes, then the supposed “moderate opposition” would take over, transform Syria into a model democracy and everything would work out just fine. That this scenario is reminiscent of the dreamy neocon predictions about Iraq before the U.S. invasion in 2003 – and would be even less likely in Syria – seems to bother no one.

So, the Washington Post’s editors write in reaction to Obama’s negative reply on ousting Assad: “That message will be greeted with cheers by the Assad clique and its supporters in Iran; it will encourage the regime to believe it can continue its ‘barrel bomb’ and chlorine gas attacks with impunity. It will also probably ensure that the rift between the United States and its allies against the Islamic State continues to widen.”

Then, the Post’s editors glibly suggest that Obama should introduce U.S. ground forces, presumably into Syria as well as Iraq:

“Mr. Obama appears to recognize the severity of the threat posed by the Islamic State and appears to be focused on the job of leading the fight against it. But if he continues to allow his ideological resistance to steps such as the deployment of ground forces to constrain the campaign, he will ensure its failure.”

The Post’s casual attitude toward dispatching the U.S. military into foreign countries, even without the approval of a sovereign government and thus in defiance of international law, is typical of the neocon arrogance that launched the Iraq War, which, in turn, gave rise to both Al-Qaeda’s presence in the region and the Islamic State, which fought the U.S. occupation of Iraq under the name “Al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

In other words, it was the neocon disregard for international law that touched off this bloody mess in the first place, but the neocons are now popping up to give more advice on how Obama must handle the situation now. But their recommendations amount to war and more war. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Neocon Plan for War and More War.”]

The Neocon NYT


The neocons also have their claws into the New York Times, both the editorial section and the foreign desk. The Times’ coverage of Ukraine, for example, could be a textbook study of biased journalism, presenting the Ukraine crisis as all the fault of Russian President Vladimir Putin who supposedly instigated the trouble in some bid to reestablish the Russian Empire.

In reality, Putin was distracted by the Sochi Winter Olympics in February when the political crisis in Ukraine erupted into major violence. Belatedly, Putin sought to sustain the status quo in Ukraine, i.e., the government of the constitutionally elected President Viktor Yanukovych, but Putin’s efforts failed.

It was the United States and, to an extent, the European Union that were pressing for “regime change” in Ukraine. This strategy went back months if not years, with neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland reminding Ukrainian business leaders in December 2013 that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.”

Then, in early February, Nuland was caught on the phone to U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who should be in the government after Yanukovych was removed. “Yats is the guy,” Nuland said in reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who indeed became prime minister after Yanukovych was ousted in a putsch on Feb. 22. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Powerful ‘Group Think’ on Ukraine.”]

Yet, it is now Official Washington’s consensus that Putin instigated the Ukraine crisis out of a desire to reclaim territory lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union – and that he further plans to seize the Baltic states like some reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.

The “group think” is so absurd that even former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger saw through it. Kissinger said in an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that the West was exaggerating the significance of the Crimean annexation given the peninsula’s long historic ties to Russia.

“The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest,” the 91-year-old Kissinger said.
“It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia. … Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

Instead, Kissinger argued that the West – with its strategy of pulling Ukraine into the orbit of the European Union – was responsible for the crisis by failing to understand Russian sensitivity over Ukraine and making the grave mistake of quickly pushing the confrontation beyond dialogue. But Kissinger also faulted Putin for his reaction to the crisis. “This does not mean the Russian response was appropriate,” Kissinger said.

But the neocon editors of the New York Times continue to pin everything on Putin, declaring in a Thursday editorial: “The United States and the European Union have made clear, and correctly so, that they hold President Vladimir Putin of Russia largely responsible for this state of affairs [in Ukraine]. …

“There is no question that by annexing Crimea and arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Putin has done great damage to East-West relations — and to his country, which finds itself isolated and in economic trouble. The decision on Monday by the European Union to add more separatist leaders to the list of Mr. Putin’s allies barred from Europe may be largely symbolic, but along with the cold reception [toward Putin at the G-20 meeting] in Brisbane, it does let the Russian leader know that the West is not about to let him off the hook.”

But it is really the whole world that is on the hook of neocon ideology with the major U.S. news media now incapable of wriggling off and presenting anything approaching an objective analysis of what is happening in either the Middle East or Eastern Europe.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Canadian Scientist Suzuki Among Arrested at Burnaby Mountain Blockade: Protesters Vow to Fight On

Despite RCMP arrests, opponents of Kinder Morgan remain steadfast in opposition to Kinder Morgan

by ForestEthics Advocacy

On Thursday 24 people were arrested on Burnaby Mountain by the RCMP, and Kinder Morgan moved in heavy equipment late at night to begin work after weeks of presence by caretakers opposed to their tar sands pipeline plans.

Burnaby residents, caretakers at Burnaby Mountain, and concerned groups say they remain undeterred in the face of these heavy-handed intimidation tactics.

Over 70% of Burnaby residents are opposed to Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion expansion proposal that would transport even more diluted bitumen and bring even more tankers to the Burrard Inlet. Indigenous rights, climate change, and protection of the lands and waters against corporate greed remain key issues in the movement against tar sands expansion.

At least three of those arrested were held overnight and have their bail hearing this morning at BC Supreme Court. Arrests included Sut-lut, a Sḵwx̱ú7mesh elder who started the sacred fire onsite; Kaleb Morrison and Erin Flegg who have been at the site for months; Adam Gold, a named defendant in Kinder Morgan's injunction and civil law suit, and a tree sitter who has been camped out on top of the Borehole 2 drill site.


 What: Press Conference at Burnaby Mountain

When: Friday, November 21, 2014, 10:30am

Where: Centennial Way at Burnaby Mountain Parkway, Burnaby BC

Who: The press conference at the bottom of Burnaby Mountain will include:


- Tamo Campos: grandson of David Suzuki who was arrested
- Erin Flegg: a caretaker at Burnaby Mountain
- Lynne Quarmby: named defendant in the Kinder Morgan injunction
- Representative of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

For updates on the situation: https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

- 30 -

MEDIA ADVISORY

Friday, November 21, 2014

Media contacts:

Maryam Adrangi:

NATO's Next War Promises All Out Offensive Against Ukraine

All-Out War in Ukraine: NATO’s ‘Final Offensive’

by James Petras

There are clear signs that a major war is about to break out in Ukraine: A war actively promoted by the NATO regimes and supported by their allies and clients in Asia (Japan) and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia).

The war over Ukraine will essentially run along the lines of a full-scale military offensive against the southeast Donbas region, targeting the breakaway ethnic Ukraine-Russian Peoples Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk, with the intention of deposing the democratically elected government, disarming the popular militias, killing the guerrilla resistance partisans and their mass base, dismantling the popular representative organizations and engaging in ethnic cleansing of millions of bilingual Ukraino-Russian citizens.

NATO’s forthcoming military seizure of the Donbas region is a continuation and extension of its original violent putsch in Kiev, which overthrew an elected Ukrainian government in February 2014.

The Kiev junta and its newly ‘elected’ client rulers, and its NATO sponsors are intent on a major purge to consolidate the puppet Poroshenko’s dictatorial rule. The recent NATO-sponsored elections excluded several major political parties that had traditionally supported the country’s large ethnic minority populations, and was boycotted in the Donbas region.

This sham election in Kiev set the tone for NATO’s next move toward converting Ukraine into one gigantic US multi-purpose military base aimed at the Russian heartland and into a neo-colony for German capital, supplying Berlin with grain and raw materials while serving as a captive market for German manufactured goods.

An intensifying war fever is sweeping the West; the consequences of this madness appear graver by the hour.

War Signs: The Propaganda and Sanctions Campaign, the G20 Summit and the Military Build Up


The official drum- beat for a widening conflict in Ukraine, spearheaded by the Kiev junta and its fascist militias, echoes in every Western mass media outlet, every day. Major mass media propaganda mills and government ‘spokesmen and women’ publish or announce new trumped-up accounts of growing Russian military threats to its neighbors and cross-border invasions into Ukraine. New Russian incursions are ‘reported’ from the Nordic borders and Baltic states to the Caucuses. The Swedish regime creates a new level of hysteria over a mysterious “Russian” submarine off the coast of Stockholm, which it never identifies or locates – let alone confirms the ‘sighting’. Estonia and Latvia claim Russian warplanes violated their air space without confirmation. Poland expels Russian “spies” without proof or witnesses. Provocative full-scale joint NATO-client state military exercises are taking place along Russia’s frontiers in the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

NATO is sending vast arms shipments to the Kiev junta, along with “Special Forces” advisers and counter-insurgency experts in anticipation of a full-scale attack against the rebels in the Donbas.

The Kiev regime has never abided by the Minsk cease fire. According to the UN Human Rights office 13 people on average –mostly civilians –have been killed each day since the September cease fire. In eight weeks, the UN reports that 957 people have killed –overwhelmingly by Kiev’s armed forces.

The Kiev regime, in turn, has cut all basic social and public services to the Peoples’ Republics’, including electricity, fuel, civil service salaries, pensions, medical supplies, salaries for teachers and medical workers, municipal workers wages; banking and transport have been blockaded.

The strategy is to further strangle the economy, destroy the infrastructure, force an even greater mass exodus of destitute refugees from the densely populated cities across the border into Russia and then to launch massive air, missile, artillery and ground assaults on urban centers as well as rebel bases.

The Kiev junta has launched an all-out military mobilization in the Western regions, accompanied by rabid anti-Russian, anti-Eastern Orthodox indoctrination campaigns designed to attract the most violent far right chauvinist thugs and to incorporate the Nazi-style military brigades into the frontline shock troops. The cynical use of irregular fascist militias will ‘free’ NATO and Germany from any responsibility for the inevitable terror and atrocities in their campaign. This system of ‘plausible deniability’ mirrors the tactics of the German Nazis whose hordes of fascist Ukrainians and Ustashi Croats were notorious in their epoch of ethnic cleansing.

G20-plus-NATO: Support of the Kiev Blitz


To isolate and weaken resistance in the Donbas and guarantee the victory of the impending Kiev blitz, the EU and the US are intensifying their economic, military and diplomatic pressure on Russia to abandon the nascent peoples’ democracy in the south-east region of Ukraine, their principle ally.

Each and every escalation of economic sanctions against Russia is designed to weaken the capacity of the Donbas resistance fighters to defend their homes, towns and cities. Each and every Russian shipment of essential medical supplies and food to the besieged population evokes a new and more hysterical outburst – because it counters Kiev-NATO strategy of starving the partisans and their mass base into submission or provoking their flight to safety across the Russian border.

After suffering a series of defeats, the Kiev regime and its NATO strategists decided to sign a ‘peace protocol’, the so-called Minsk agreement, to halt the advance of the Donbas resistance into the southern regions and to protect its Kiev’s soldiers and militias holed-up in isolated pockets in the East. The Minsk agreement was designed to allow the Kiev junta to build up its military, re-organize its command and incorporate the disparate Nazi militias into its overall military forces in preparation for a ‘final offensive’. Kiev’s military build-up on the inside and NATO’s escalation of sanctions against Russia on the outside would be two sides of the same strategy: the success of a frontal attack on the democratic resistance of the Donbas basin depends on minimizing Russian military support through international sanctions.

NATO’s virulent hostility to Russian President Putin was on full display at the G20 meeting in Australia: NATO-linked presidents and prime ministers, especially Merkel, Obama, Cameron, Abbott, and Harper’s political threats and overt personal insults paralleled Kiev’s growing starvation blockade of the besieged rebels and population centers in the south-east. Both the G20’s economic threats against Russia and the diplomatic isolation of Putin and Kiev’s economic blockade are preludes to NATO’s Final Solution – the physical annihilation of all vestiges of Donbas resistance, popular democracy and cultural-economic ties with Russia.

Kiev depends on its NATO mentors to impose a new round of severe sanctions against Russia, especially if its planned invasion encounters a well armed and robust mass resistance bolstered by Russian support. NATO is counting on Kiev’s restored and newly supplied military capacity to effectively destroy the southeast centers of resistance.

NATO has decided on an ‘all-or-nothing campaign’: to seize all of Ukraine or, failing that, destroy the restive southeast, obliterate its population and productive capacity and engage in an all-out economic (and possibly shooting) war with Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel is on board with this plan despite the complaints of German industrialists over their huge loss of export sales to Russia. President Hollande of France has signed on dismissing the complaints of trade unionists over the loss of thousands French jobs in the shipyards. Prime Minister David Cameron is eager for an economic war against Moscow, suggesting the bankers of the City of London find new channels to launder the illicit earnings of Russian oligarchs.

The Russian Response


Russian diplomats are desperate to find a compromise, which allows Ukraine’s ethnic Ukraine- Russian population in the southeast to retain some autonomy under a federation plan and regain influence within the ‘new’ post-putsch Ukraine. Russian military strategists have provided logistical and military aid to the resistance in order to avoid a repeat of the Odessa massacre of ethnic Russians by Ukrainian fascists on a massive scale. Above all, Russia cannot afford to have NATO-Nazi-Kiev military bases along its southern ‘underbelly’, imposing a blockade of the Crimea and forcing a mass exodus of ethnic Russians from the Donbas. Under Putin, the Russian government has tried to propose compromises allowing Western economic supremacy over Ukraine but without NATO military expansion and absorption by Kiev.

That policy of conciliation has repeatedly failed.

The democratically elected ‘compromise regime’ in Kiev was overthrown in February 2014 in a violent putsch, which installed a pro-NATO junta.

Kiev violated the Minsk agreement with impunity and encouragement from the NATO powers and Germany.

The recent G20 meeting in Australia featured a rabble-rousing chorus against President Putin. The crucial four-hour private meeting between Putin and Merkel turned into a fiasco when Germany parroted the NATO chorus.

Putin finally responded by expanding Russia’s air and ground troop preparedness along its borders while accelerating Moscow’s economic pivot to Asia.

Most important, President Putin has announced that Russia cannot stand by and allow the massacre of a whole people in the Donbas region.

Is Poroshenko’s forthcoming blitz against the people of southeast Ukraine designed to provoke a Russian response – to the humanitarian crisis? Will Russia confront the NATO-directed Kiev offensive and risk a total break with the West?



James Petras latest book is: THE POLITICS OF IMPERIALISM:THE US, ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST (CLARITY PRESS:ATLANTA)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Intifada III Anyone?

Talk of a Third Intifada: Where to From Here, Palestine?

by Ramzy Baroud - Common Dreams

When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. Now imagine if that journalist was not dependable to begin with, even more than it being “interesting”, the outcome runs the risk of becoming a mockery.

Consider the selective historical views offered by New York Times writer Thomas Freidman - exposed in the book “The Imperial Messenger” by Belen Fernandez for his pseudo- intellectual shenanigans, contradictions and constant marketing of the status quo.

In an article entitled, The Third Intifada, published last February, Friedman attempts to explain two of the most consequential events in the collective history of the Palestinian people, if not the whole region:

“For a while now I’ve wondered why there’s been no Third Intifada. That is, no third Palestinian uprising in the West Bank, the first of which helped to spur the Oslo peace process and the second of which - with more live ammunition from the Israeli side and suicide bombings from the Palestinian side - led to the breakdown of Oslo.”

Ta-da, there it is: Palestinian history for dummies, by, you know .. Friedman. Never mind that the consequences that led to the first uprising in 1987 included the fact that Palestinians were rebelling against the very detached elitist culture, operating from Tunisia, which purported to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. It was a small clique within the PLO-Fatah leadership that were not even living in Palestine at the time who signed a ruinous, secret agreement in Olso in 1993. And, at the expense of their people’s rightful demands for freedom, this arrangement won them just a few perks.

The uprising didn’t help “spur the Oslo peace process”; the ‘process’ was rather introduced, with the support and financing of the United States and others, to crush the intifada, as it did.

While there is some truth to the fact that the second uprising led to the breakdown of Oslo, Friedman’s logic indicates a level of inconsistency on the part of the Palestinian people and their revolts - that they rebelled to bring peace, and they rebelled again to destroy it. Of course, his seemingly harmless interjection there of Israel’s use of live ammunition during the second uprising (as if thousands of Palestinians were not killed and wounded by live ammunition in the first), while Palestinians used suicide bombings - for the uninformed reader, justifies Israel’s choice of weapons.

According to the Israeli rights organization B'Tselem, 1,489 Palestinians were killed during the first intifada (1987-1993) including 304 children. I85 Israelis were reportedly killed including 91 soldiers.

Over 4,000 Palestinians were killed during the second intifada, and over a 1,000 Israelis. However, according to B’Tselem, the high price of death and injury hardly ceased when the second Intifada was arguably over by the end of 2005. In “10 years to the second Intifada,” the Israeli organization reported that: “Israeli security forces killed 6,371 Palestinians, of whom 1,317 were minors. At least 2,996 of the fatalities did not participate in the hostilities when killed. .. An additional 248 were Palestinian police killed in Gaza during operation Cast Lead, and 240 were targets of assassinations.”

There are other possible breakdowns of these numbers, which would be essential to understanding the nature of popular Palestinian revolts. The victims come from diverse backgrounds: refugee camps, villages, small towns and cities. Until Israel’s devastating war on Gaza, 2008-09, the numbers were almost equally divided between Gaza and the West Bank. Some of the victims were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Israeli bullets and shells targeted a whole range of people, starting with bystanders, to un-armed protesters, stone throwers, armed fighters, community activists, political leaders, militant leaders, men, women, children, and so on.

In some tragic way, the Israeli responses to Palestinian uprisings is the best validation of the popular nature of the intifada, which goes against every claim made by Israeli leaders that say intifadas are staged and manipulated for specific political ends.

For years, many journalists have busied themselves asking or trying to answer questions regarding the anticipated Third Intifada. Some did so in earnest, others misleadingly, as in the NBC News report: Palestinian Violence Targets Israelis: Has Third Intifada Begun? Few took a stab at objectivity with mixed results as in CNN's: In Jerusalem, the 'auto intifada' is far from an uprising.

But most of them, using a supercilious approach to understanding the Palestinian collective, failed to understand what an uprising is in the first place.

Even the somewhat sensible approach that explains an intifada as popular outrage resulting from the lack of political horizon can, although at times unwittingly, seem distorted.

It is interesting that hardly any had the astuteness to predict previous uprisings. True, violence can be foreseen to some degree, but the collective course of action of a whole nation that is separated by impossible geographical, political, factional and other divides, is not so easy to analyze in merely a few sentences, let alone predict.

There were numerous incidents in the past that never culminated into an “intifada”, although they seem to unite various sectors of Palestinian society, and where a degree of violence was also a prominent feature. They failed because intifadas are not a call for violence agreed upon by a number of people that would constitute a critical mass. Intifadas, although often articulated with a clear set of demands, are not driven by a clear political agenda either.

Palestinians lead an uprising in 1936 against the British Mandate government in Palestine, when the latter did its most to empower Zionists to establish a ‘Jewish state’, and deny Palestinians any political aspiration for independence, thus negating the very spirit of the UN mandate. The uprising turned into a revolt, the outcome of which was the rise of political consciousness among all segments of Palestinian society. A Palestinian identity, which existed for generations, was crystallized in a meaningful and much greater cohesion than ever before.

If examined through a rigid political equation, the 1936-39 Intifada failed, but its success was the unification of an identity that was fragmented purposely or by circumstance. Later intifadas achieved similar results. The 1987 Intifada reclaimed the Palestinian struggle by a young, vibrant generation that was based in Palestine itself, unifying more than the identity of the people, but their narrative as well. The 2000 Intifada challenged the ahistorical anomaly of Oslo, which seemed like a major divergence from the course of resistance championed by every Palestinian generation since 1936.

Although Intifadas affect the course of politics, they are hardly meant as political statements per se. They are unconcerned with the belittling depictions of most journalists and politicians. They are a comprehensive, remarkable and uncompromising process that, regardless of their impact on political discourses, are meant to “shake off”, and defiantly challenge all the factors that contribute to the oppression of a nation. This is not about “violence targeting Israelis”, or its collaborators among Palestinians. It is the awakening of a whole society, joined by a painstaking attempt at redrawing all priorities as a step forward on the path of liberation, in both the cerebral and actual sense.

And considering the numerous variables at play, only the Palestinian people can tell us when they are ready for an intifada - because, essentially it belongs to them, and them alone.


Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

Kinder Kops: RCMP Moves In On Burnaby Mountain Trans Mountain Pipeline Protesters

RCMP arrests on Burnaby Mountain will not deter opposition to Kinder Morgan

by ForestEthics Advocacy

 Caretakers call for solidarity presence on Burnaby Mountain


VANCOUVER - RCMP have arrested at least 12 Burnaby Mountain caretakers and supporters today, as police moved in to remove a long-standing protest presence against Kinder Morgan's pipeline survey crews.

The caretakers have been camped out to stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline geotechnical survey work. Arrests included Kaleb Morrison, Erin Flegg and Adam Gold, who have been on site for months. There is also a tree-sit underway at Borehole 2 to protect that site.

On Monday evening there was a mass protest in solidarity with the caretakers of Burnaby Mountain, and organizers say these arrests will not deter opposition to Kinder Morgan.

For updates on the situation: https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

- 30 -

MEDIA ADVISORY

Media contacts:

Lynne Quarmby:
Maryam Adrangi:

For updates follow #BurnabyMountain
and https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NATO Return Planned for Benighted Afghanistan

Uncomplicated, in Afghanistan

by Kathy Kelly - TeleSur

There are numerous, obvious solutions to problems in Afghanistan which NATO countries could consider, could even attempt if the alliance wasn’t there for the mineral wealth.

On November 7, 2014, while visiting Kabul, The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, noted that NATO will soon launch a new chapter, a new non-combat mission in Afghanistan. But it’s difficult to spot new methods as NATO commits itself to sustaining combat on the part of Afghan forces.

In an October 29th speech, in Brussels, Stoltenberg commended NATO Allies and partner nations from across the world because, for over a decade, they “stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan.” According to Stoltenberg, “this international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children.” Rhetoric from NATO and the Pentagon regularly claims that Afghans have benefited from the past 13 years of U.S./NATO warfare, but reports from other agencies complicate these claims.

UNAMA, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, found that 2013 was “the worst year for Afghan women, girls and boys since 2009, with the highest number of deaths and injuries recorded from conflict-related violence.”

“It is particularly alarming that the number of Afghan women and children killed and injured in the conflict increased again in 2013,” said the UNAMA Director of Human Rights, Georgette Gagnon.
“It is the awful reality that most women and children were killed and injured in their daily lives – at home, on their way to school, working in the fields or traveling to a social event. This situation demands even greater commitment and further efforts by the parties to protect women and children from conflict-related violence.”

Stoltenberg’s assurance of NATO’s positive contribution to civilian welfare in Afghanistan is also undermined by a recently issued Amnesty International report examining NATO/ISAF operations, such as air strikes, drone attacks and night raids, which caused civilian deaths and also involved torture, disappearances, and cover-ups. The report, entitled “Left in the Dark,” gives ten chilling and horrific case studies, occurring over a five year period, 2009 - 2013. Amnesty International states that two of the case studies “involve abundant and compelling evidence of war crimes.”

I wish that NATO’s commander could have joined Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) that same week, in Afghanistan, as they visited an extraordinarily sustainable project, called “Emergency.” This Italy based network of hospitals and clinics has been particularly remarkable for effectively saving and improving the lives of Afghan people, over the past 13 years, while at the same time rejecting any form of war or use of weapons within its facilities.

At the entrance to any one of Emergency’s clinics or hospitals, a sign says “No Weapons Allowed.” A logo banning guns is next to the Emergency logo. Although they work in one of the most intense war zones in the world, Emergency staff, including security guards, reject any use of weapons inside their facilities.

Yusof Hakimi, the nurse in charge of Emergency’s ICU in the Kabul hospital, assured us that the ban is strictly upheld. A child isn’t allowed to carry a plastic toy gun inside the hospital premises. No one can wear camouflage clothing.

“Even the president of Afghanistan cannot carry a gun inside our hospitals!” says Luca Radaelli, the medical coordinator of Emergency’s hospital in Kabul.

He added that it’s not easy to maintain a facility where wars are banned. “But,” he adds, “everyone understands the purposes and respects the rules.”

They’ve learned unarmed ways of providing security. One such way involves an absolute commitment to neutrality. They never take sides in the various conflicts that plague Afghanistan. In fact, they don’t even ask if a patient belongs to one side or another.

Most NGOs in Afghanistan arrange for their staff to travel in heavily armed vehicles. But unarmed Emergency ambulances travel through war zones, in multiple directions, across the country. “We don’t have armed guards,” says Luca. “We don’t have bullet proof cars. We don’t change our routes because,” he explains, in his clear, matter-of-fact style, “we have never been targeted.”

Luca says they acquire security through their reputation. Since they never charge any patient for health care, no one would accuse them of trying to make a profit.

They also pursue strong diplomatic conversations with each group affected by their work. When Emergency opens a clinic, they explain their policy of maintaining neutral independence to everyone involved, including new workers, contractors, local government officials, and religious leaders. “If you provide something good, something skilled, and it is free of charge,” he adds, “there is no need to protect yourself. People won’t get angry.”

If NATO and U.S. commanders took a fraction of what they have spent securing this region by violence,- (the Pentagon has requested 58.5 billion dollars for Fiscal Year 2015 in Afghanistan),- and spent that instead on helping heal people from war and from war’s causes, providing, say, chances at a survival wage that don’t require enlisting with the local Taliban or the local warlord, sending enough food for the families war has displaced instead of weapons donated this month to one faction, next month to another; if a portion of the 104 billion the U.S. has spent on non-military aid to Afghanistan, since 2001, could have subsidized actual food crops so that poor farmers disgusted with their subsistence role in poppy production could somehow survive without it, could non-combat projects start to work, as have Emergency’s projects?

There are numerous, obvious solutions to problems in Afghanistan which NATO countries could consider, could even attempt if the alliance wasn’t there for the mineral wealth, for another foothold on which to stand between once-and-future superpower rivals and the world’s oil. The world looks so much different when you’re in it to make a profit.

But Emergency isn’t in Afghanistan to point out a sane path through disaster to all the actors, here and abroad, who seem unlikely to discard paths of suicidal hatred and ignorance.

In Luca’s view, Emergency is simply what a healthcare institution ought to be.

“It grows from a very simple idea. Provide high quality service for everyone, not thinking about profit, but just about patients' health.”

“What is so complicated?” he asks.

We might address a similar question to NATO Sec. Gen. Jens Stoltenberg: A new, non-combat mission, in Afghanistan, one that rejects weapons and war—what would be so complicated?

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (vcnv.org)

Kerry's Absurd Theatrics in Amman

John Kerry conducted a theatre of the absurd in Amman

by Mazine Qumsiyeh - Middle East Eye 

US Secretary John Kerry met in Amman with King Abdullah, PM Netanyahu, and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas for the umpteenth episode of the ongoing theatre saga dubbed the "peace process."

Just across the river in occupied Palestine, a sadly familiar scene continues to unfold: increased colonial activities; attempts to drive Jerusalemites out of the occupied city and make it into a Jewish on; restrictions on millions of Muslims and Christians from reaching their Holy sites; home demolitions; random and bizarre acts of violence; and 6,000 political prisoners languishing in Israeli gulags/prisons.

Seven million of us Palestinian are refugees or displaced people (out of a population of 12 million). Land left for us to live on in historic Palestine is now a mere 8 percent of our historic land (that includes the cantons left for us in the Galilee, Naqab, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank).

Millions of Jewish settlers from Europe and other parts of the world now control 92 percent of the land, more than 90 percent of the water, all border crossings, and all other natural resources in the country. Israel's latest assault on the besieged people of Gaza this year killed 2,170 and injured 10,900 human beings. About 80 percent of these casualties were civilians, including 519 children who were killed and 2,114 children who were injured.

During that genocidal assault, Kerry had nothing but praise for the colonizers.

Zionism started here in the 19th century as a colonial movement to change a multi-religious flourishing Palestine (3 percent Jewish at the time) into the Jewish state of Israel in the Levant (JSIL).

The support of western powers was and continues to be critical for JSIL's establishment and (increasingly more expensive) maintenance. Kerry's intentions were made clear by his statements that were directed toward the goal of supporting JSIL. Not one word was mentioned about Palestinian rights.

The rich, manoeuvring, and conniving politicians can continue their macabre theatre in places like Amman and Washington and Ramallah and Tel Aviv, while millions of destitute people suffer and continue to stew with anger as they try to liberate themselves.

The question remains when will this insanity end and do meetings like those in Amman merely prolong the agony and give cover to ongoing atrocities? Most people here understand that the USA cannot be a peace broker when it continues to fund Israel to the tune of billions of dollars a year, arm it to the teeth, and shield it from international law by using its veto power at the UN against the will of the international community.

The US/Israel-created “Palestinian Authority” (PA) is now dominated by men more concerned for their jobs than the future of Palestine. This was the trap that was created in the negotiations in Norway in 1993 (the Oslo accords). Since then, the number of Israeli colonial settlers in the West Bank alone rose from 180,000 to 650,000. More and more, life for us - the remaining Palestinians - has become unbearable.

Maintaining a racist system has meant creating and pushing an Israeli educational and social system that increasingly forces its population to the extremes – a development that helps to explains mosque torching, random attacks on civilians with impunity, and more.

Former Israeli Knesset Member, Avraham Berg, has come to clearly understand this in his later years, writing recently in Haaretz that:

“Here are Israel's shallow prime minister and the bumbling police, the masses who cling to futile prayers and not to a moment of human peace. Here are the country's hypocritical chief rabbis, who just a month ago demanded promises from the Pope regarding the future of the Jewish people, but in their daily lives remain silent about the fate of the people who are our neighbours, trampled beneath the pressure of occupation and racism under the leadership of rabbis who receive exorbitant salaries and benefits....we are incapable of understanding the suffering of a whole society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us.”

Declassified documents confirm now the analysis of many writers who have long argued that starting right after the 1973 war, PLO leadership including Mahmoud Abbas (of Fatah) and Nayef Hawatmeh (of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine or DFLP) were eager for a resolution that falls short of securing basic Palestinian rights, in exchange for the promise of self-determination.

There are certain inflexible positions that preclude arriving even at this sell-out positions of giving up 78 percent of historic Palestine to settle for what an American official described in 1973 as the “rump entity” and now commonly referred to as the Palestinian Authority in (parts of) the West Bank and Gaza. One major obstacle is the “enduring special relationship” between Israel and the US that Kerry speaks about and that is shaped for many decades worth of persistent Zionist lobbing in Washington.

But more and more people outside of the narrow circle of politicians are speaking out for Palestinian rights. Most people know that negotiations between occupied and occupier will get us nowhere because the math does not add-up.

Israel gets $12 bn profit every year from its occupation and that is not counting the billions from US taxpayers or the billions from arms sales marketed as “battle tested” (on the guinea pigs in Gaza).

Freedom is never freely given by the privileged oppressor to the oppressed but it must be extracted and demanded with pain and sacrifice. Resistance from inside must be complemented by support from outside that includes topics like the growing campaigns of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).

Many hope that politicians will show some leadership and take steps to enact positive change but most of us know that we the people must act first and that is the way history changes.

Many internationals show solidarity because Palestine today is the lightning rod exposing hypocrisy and racism in the same way that South Africa provided such a beacon in the 1980s.

Most people also now understand that unless human rights and international law are observed uniformly, the “Middle East” (Western Asia) and the whole world risks of continuing down the path of mayhem and killings, a might makes right approach to existence.

We must all continue and strive to travel the different path of justice and coexistence. In the meantime, let the political theatre of the absurd play to empty seats in Amman and elsewhere.

Mazin Qumsiyeh is author of 'Sharing the Land of Canaan' and 'Popular Resistance in Palestine'. He is a professor at Bethlehem University and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.