Tuesday, 19 November 2019

US is paving the way for Israel annexing the West Bank

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the US was softening its position on Israel’s network of settlements in the occupied Palestinain territory, saying it was revoking the notion that settlements are illegal under international law — a notion recognized by the rest of the world as factual and true.
“The Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach to Israeli settlements,” Pompeo said in his opening remarks at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
Pompeo said that the Trump administration would be departing from the Carter administration’s 1978 legal opinion — which served as the basis for the long-standing U.S. policy on settlements — which states that Israel’s establishment of Jewish-only settlements was “inconsistent with international law.”
Calling Israeli settlements illegal under international law, Pompeo said, “hasn’t worked” and “hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.”
“The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace,” he said.
“The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo declared, adding that the administration was “expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement.”
According to Pompeo, one of the considerations taken by the administration leading up to the decision were the “confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities” by the Israeli legal system — a system that has been widely criticized as serving to uphold the structures of Israel’s occupation rather than one aimed at achieving justice and equality for all.

Once the annexation will be a fait accompli, Israeli law experts will cook up for the WB Palestinians some complicated 'legal' status [by the Israeli Supreme Court] that will probably be allow them to stay but without citizenship or any significant political rights. Mark my words...

Mondoweiss.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Barack Obummer: 'No more Mr Hopey Changey Guy!'

Who’s that guy telling the Democratic Party to be conservative about what they wish for from their next president? Wait, isn’t that Barack ‘Yes, we can’ Obama, the media darling that led the country before Trump ‘ruined it all?’

The cold shower poured on Friday by the former US president in front of a room full of wealthy donors in Washington was obviously directed at Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the progressive contenders in the Democratic primary race. The two senators have proposed a number of policies to radically change the way America functions economically and politically – for the benefit of the common people.

According to Obama, Democratic voters don’t really want a candidate that would “completely tear down the system and remake it.”

There are a lot of persuadable voters and there are a lot of Democrats out there who just want to see things make sense. They just don’t want to see crazy stuff. They want to see things a little more fair, they want to see things a little more just. And how we approach that I think will be important.

Yep, the guy who got elected on a message of hope that America could achieve its dreams is now telling it to be rooted in reality. The bold vision that the party nominee should offer to the divided nation should presumably involve a little less bankruptcies over medical bills, a little fewer ICE raids on immigrants and a lot less concerns from the corporate elites about their sustained profits in the foreseeable future. Yes, we can!

RT.com USA

Friday, 8 November 2019

Brazil's former president Lula walks free from prison after supreme court ruling!!!

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been released from prison where he was serving a 12-year corruption sentence, after a supreme court ruling which delighted his supporters and infuriated followers of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Lula was greeted on Friday by delirious supporters outside the federal police headquarters in the city of Curitiba where he has been imprisoned for 580 days.

Lula was incarcerated in April 2018 after a sentence for corruption and money laundering handed down by the controversial judge Sérgio Moro was upheld by an appeal court.

On Thursday Brazil’s supreme court ruled that defendants could only be imprisoned after all appeals to higher courts had been exhausted, paving the way for Lula and another 5,000 prisoners to be freed.

The decision followed revelations published by the investigative website the Intercept Brasil showing Moro had colluded with prosecutors leading the sweeping graft investigation that imprisoned Lula.

Polls had showed that Lula was leading in last year’s presidential election, but the conviction removed him from the race, giving Bolsonaro a clear run.

Bolsonaro then made Moro his justice minister, heightening the sense of injustice.

Lula presided over an extraordinary period of economic growth and reduction of inequality as president from 2003 to 2010. Even in prison he has cast a long shadow over political debate in Brazil – but his release is only likely to widen political divides here.

“His freedom does not change a divided country,” said Carlos Melo, a professor of political science at Insper, a São Paulo business school. “Let’s see if this stays on social media … The atmosphere is a little tense.”

Earlier on Friday, Bolsonaro’s vice-president, Gen Hamilton Mourão, criticised the decision on Twitter. “Where is the rule of law in Brazil?” he tweeted.

Grauniad.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Breaking! John McLaughlin on Impeachment: "Thank God For The Deep State"

Former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin acknowledged and praised the "deep state" for any involvement that led to the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

"There is something unique you have to agree that now the impeachment inquiry is underway, sparked by a complaint from someone within the intelligence community, it feeds the president’s concern, an often-used term about a deep state being there to take him out?" moderator Margaret Brennan asked.

"Thank God for the deep state," McLaughlin quipped.

"Everyone here has seen this progression of diplomats and intelligence officers and White House people trooping up to Capitol Hill right now and saying these are doing their duty and responding to a higher call," McLaughlin said. "It doesn't surprise me -- with all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it, which was the trigger that then unleashed everything else."

"Now why does that happen?" he explained. "I'll tell the American people why that happens. This is the institution in the U.S. government, that with all of its flaws and it makes mistakes, it is institutionally committed to objectivity and telling the truth. It is one of the few institutions in Washington that is not in a chain of command that makes or implements policy. Its

whole job is to speak the truth, it's engraved in marble in the lobby."

[Ed.] Oh John, ROFLOL, it's the way you tell'em!

RealClearPolitics

Saturday, 2 November 2019

BLOWBACK: HOW ISIS WAS CREATED BY THE U.S. INVASION OF IRAQ

“YOUR BROTHER CREATED ISIS,” college student Ivy Ziedrich told a startled Jeb Bush after a town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada, in May 2015. The then-Republican presidential hopeful tried to defend his elder sibling, former President George W. Bush, by blaming the rise of the Islamic State on Barack Obama, “because Americans pulled back” from Iraq in 2011.

It sounds a bit conspiratorial, right? Calling Dubya the creator of ISIS? The reality, however, is that Ziedrich’s accusation wasn’t far off the mark.

Had it not been for Bush’s catastrophic decision to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003, in defiance of international law, the world’s most feared terrorist group would not exist today. ISIS is blowback.

In this week’s episode of my six-part series on blowback, I examine the three ways in which Bush’s misadventure in Mesopotamia helped birth a group that the U.S. now considers to be one of the biggest threats to both U.S. national security and Middle East peace.

First, foreign military occupations tend to radicalize local populations and breed violent insurgencies. Take Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Or Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In Iraq, the U.S. morphed from heroic liberators into brutal occupiers within a matter of weeks. In Fallujah, which would later become an ISIS stronghold, U.S. troops opened fire on a crowd of peaceful protesters in April 2003, killing and wounding dozens of Iraqis.

The shootings, the torture, the general chaos, all helped drive thousands of Iraqis from the minority Sunni community into the arms of radical groups led by brutal gangsters, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, formed in 2004 to fight U.S. troops and their local allies, was a precursor organization to … ISIS.

Second, in May 2003, in a criminally stupid and reckless move, the U.S. occupying authorities disbanded the Iraqi army. That’s right: The U.S. made more than half a million well-armed and well-trained Iraqi troops unemployed overnight. No less an authority than Gen. Colin Powell, Bush’s secretary of state and America’s former top soldier, would later describe those jobless soldiers as “prime recruits for insurgency.”

In recent years, many of the top commanders in ISIS have been identified as former senior officers in Saddam Hussein’s army. Coincidence?

Third, the U.S. military detained tens of thousands of Iraqis, many of them noncombatants, at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, where imprisoned jihadis were able to not only radicalize new recruits in plain sight, but also plan future operations and attacks. “Many of us at Camp Bucca were concerned that instead of just holding detainees, we had created a pressure cooker for extremism,” compound Cmdr. James Skylar Gerrond would later remark.

One former Bucca detainee, incidentally, was none other than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Yes, the self-proclaimed caliph and leader of ISIS who, according to Iraqi terrorism expert Hisham al-Hashimi, “absorbed the jihadist ideology and established himself among the big names” while at Bucca.

To be clear, then, ISIS is blowback from the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. And don’t just take my word for it. Listen to David Kilcullen, a former adviser to both Gen. David Petraeus and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, considered to be one of the world’s leading counter-insurgency experts. “We have to recognize that a lot of the problem is of our own making,” Kilcullen told Channel 4 News in March 2016. “There, undeniably, would be no ISIS if we hadn’t invaded Iraq.”

Mehdi Hasan @ TI

Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Occupation of the American Mind

Despite receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from those who have actually seen it, The Occupation of the American Mind has been repeatedly attacked and misrepresented by right-wing pressure groups and outright ignored by virtually all mainstream media outlets and North American film festivals. To bypass this campaign of misrepresentation and suppression, we’ve decided to make the film available for FREE online so that people can make up their own minds about its analysis of U.S. media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Please watch and share widely!

21 minute version:

45 minute version:

Full length (84 minute) version: