Category: Middle East


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By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The Western media in chorus is accusing the Syrian government and its allies including Russia and Iran of “crimes against humanity” for having liberated Aleppo from the clutch of Al Qaeda terrorists. “Putin and Assad could face justice for war crimes in Syria” according to the Washington Post. 

In the media coverage of  Aleppo, the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists are casually described as opposition “rebels” waging a “revolution” against the government of Bashar al Assad, who is portrayed as a “dictator”. 

The media propaganda campaign has gone into high gear. The words “Al Qaeda”, “Al Nusra” or “terrorists” are simply not mentioned in recent media reports.  It never happened. “Opposition rebels” committed to democracy have been crushed by the Russians, according to “authoritative” media sources.

According to reports, there were no terrorists in Aleppo. The “rebels” are now being portrayed as the victims of Russian aggression.  These are the same terrorists who are the object of Obama’s alleged “counterterrorism” campaign, which is largely intent upon protecting the terrorists. 

Lies by Omission

There is no mention of the fact that East Aleppo has been occupied by Al Qaeda affilated entities (which are on the EU and US State Department “terror lists”) and that these terrorists –which are now portrayed as “freedom fighters’– have committed countless atrocities against civilians. And these atrocities are now casually being blamed on the Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces which liberated Aleppo.

For four years East Aleppo has been occupied by Al Qaeda,  which had established a regime of  terror and destruction. The media has portrayed the terrorists as “the moderate” opposition.

Syria: A US-NATO Sponsored Terrorist Insurrection Initiated in March 2011

The evidence amply confirms that Washington has supported the terrorists from the very outset. The influx of Salafist mercenaries commenced in the Southern city of Daraa on the border with Jordan in mid-March 2011.

Moreover, in an August 2011 report, Israeli intelligence news (Debka) confirmed that NATO and the Turkish High Command were involved in recruiting Mujahideen mercenaries throughout “the Middle East and the Muslim world”, while providing the rebels with an vast array of weapons:

“NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers… ” (Debka) .

The terrorists are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance. Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh)  was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity (Al Qaeda in Iraq) created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).

Obama’s Counter-Terrorism Campaign is a Fraud

Obama’s  counter-terrorism bombing campaign directed against the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh) initiated in August 2014 is fake.

If they had wanted to eliminate ISIS-Daesh, they could have bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June 2014.  The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory. With a fleet of state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, F16) it would have been  –from a military standpoint–  ”a piece of cake”, a rapid and expedient surgical operation, which would have decimated the Islamic State convoys in a matter of hours.

The issue mentioned above has never been raised  by military analysts. It has never received media coverage.

Needless to say that if they had eliminated the ISIS convoy in June 2014, Obama’s “Counterterrorism” initiative entitled “Operation Inherent Resolve”  would not have been required.

The unspoken objective of Obama’s “counterterrorism” campaign was to provide a pretext and a justification for the extensive bombing of Iraq and Syria.

According to CENTCOM, more than 31,900 targets were the object of US bombings over a period of more than 2 years, and the ISIS has yet to be defeated.

The counterterrorism bombing campaign was instigated to destroy Iraq and Syria rather than defeat the ISIS.

Foreign Mercenaries and Western Special Forces

Amply documented, these various terror formations in Syria, the most important of which are Jabhat Al Nusra (recently renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, “Front for the Conquest of the Levant”), and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS-Daesh) are largely composed of foreign mercenaries, recruited, trained and financed by the Western military alliance.

Western special forces –often hired by private mercenary outfits– are embedded within the ranks of these terror formations. These special forces are in permanent liaison with their US-NATO-Israeli counterparts.

The various terror organizations are instruments of US-NATO.  The US, France, Britain, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel are the “State sponsors” of Al Qaeda and the ISIS.

Money and weapons are channeled to the terrorists. The US and its allies use arms trafficking –i.e. the unregulated illicit trade in light weapons through private traders including organized crime–, to channel large amounts of weapons and ammunition to the terrorists inside Syria.The Berlin Terror Attack

Terror Attacks in Western Cities

Now let us turn our attention to the Berlin terror attack (December 19, 2016), which coincided chronologically with the Liberation of Aleppo. 

Within less than an hour of the occurrence prior to the conduct of a police investigation, the Western media in chorus concluded without a shred of evidence that ISIS-Daesh was behind the attack….

more…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/there-are-no-terrorists-counterterrorism-supporting-terrorism/5564607

 

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Riyadh, Saudi Arabian capital. Click to enlarge

Riyadh, Saudi Arabian capital. Click to enlarge

by Robert Fisk — The Independent 

Almost exactly a year after Salman bin Albdulaziz Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and head of the House of Saud, hurriedly left his millionaire’s mansion near Cannes with his 1,000 servants to continue his vacation in Morocco, the kingdom’s cash is not flowing so smoothly for the tens of thousands of sub-continental expatriates sweating away on his great building sites.

Almost unreported outside the Kingdom, the country’s big construction magnates – including that of the Binladen group – have not been paid by the Saudi government for major construction projects and a portion of the army of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and other workers have received no wages, some of them for up to seven months.

Indian and Pakistani embassies approached the Saudi government, pleading that their workers should be paid. Economists who adopt the same lickspittle attitude towards the Saudi monarchy as the British Government, constantly point out that the authorities have been overwhelmed by the collapse of oil prices. They usually prefer not to mention something at which the rest of the world remains aghast: deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohamed bin Salman’s wasteful and hopeless war in Yemen. Since the king’s favourite son launched this preposterous campaign against the Houthis last year, supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni president against Shia Muslim rebels, aircraft flown by Saudi and Emirati pilots (aided by British technical “experts” on the ground) have bombed even more hospitals, clinics and medical warehouses than America has destroyed in Serbia and Afghanistan combined since 1999.

Aftermath of a Saudi airstrike in Sana'a, Yemen. Click to enlarge

Aftermath of a Saudi airstrike in Sana’a, Yemen. Click to enlarge

The result? A country with 16 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, whose Aramco oil company makes more than $1bn a day and now records a budget deficit of $100bn, cannot pay its bills. At first, the Yemen fiasco was called “Operation Decisive Storm”, which – once it proved the longest and least decisive Arab “storm” in the Middle East’s recent history – was changed to “Operation Restore Hope”. And the bombing went on, just as it did in the pre-“hope” “storm”, along with the help of the UK’s “experts”. No wonder the very same deputy crown prince Mohamed announced this year that state spending on salaries would be lowered, yet individual earnings would rise.

In Pakistan, whose soldiers make up a large number of the “Saudi” armed forces, there has been outrage, parliamentarians are asking why three Saudi companies have not paid salaries for eight months, refusing even to provide food for their employees. In some cases, the Pakistanis have paid their own nationals for food supplies.

In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The Arab News says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and local Indian expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve. The overall figure that the government owes the construction companies owed may be billions of dollars.

Overtly xenophobic comments have emerged in the Saudi press. Writing in the Saudi Gazette, Abdulrtahman Saad Al-Araabi said: “Many expats hate us and are angry because we are a rich country. Some of them go so far as to say that we, Saudis, do not deserve these blessings and the money we have. That is the reason why some of them become violent when they do not get paid on time.”

Well, I suppose some people are paying a lot of cash to the Jabhat al-Nusra (recently re-named Jabhat Fateh al-Shamal-Nusrah) or Al-Qaeda or Isis lads out there in the line of fire in Syria…

more…

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=139226

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Oil rig

A top oil industry analyst issued an editorial this week suggesting that the recovery of the oil market will be short lived, but is he right? Probably not.

In an editorial this week, acclaimed oil market expert Gary Shilling stood by a prediction he made in August 2015 that oil prices would collapse to $10 per barrel citing higher than expected North American fracking outputs and OPEC’s refusal to limit production.

This February, the oil market analyst’s prediction seemed prescient as the world’s energy industry faced the single greatest market collapse in history with oil prices coming off a 2008 high of $147.27 down to a measly $26 per barrel. At the time, Saudi Arabia moved to increased oil production by 1 million barrels of oil per day to 10.5 million barrels with the Crown Prince demanding that the country’s output increase to 12.5 million barrels daily by 2017.

The world currently produces just shy of 100 million barrels of oil per day and market analysts calculate that for every 1%, or 1 million barrels per oil, that supply exceeds demand oil prices fall by 25%.

At the time of the market collapse, it was estimated that the market was over saturated by several million barrels per oil and continues to be pounded by Saudi overproduction.

Shilling’s argument is a harbinger of danger to come for oil dependent economies such as Venezuela, Libya, and Algeria who lack the access to capital markets necessary to weather a collapse in their oil sector with policy experts fretting that these countries could fall into permanent disarray if the analyst’s argument holds true.

The raw mathematics of Shilling’s argument are most perturbing as he points to the wildfires in the oil-sands in Canada, output cuts due to political unrest in Nigeria and Venezuela, and speculation that the non-state sponsored American hydraulic fracturing industry would go belly up before the market rebounds.

Accounting for the excess supply slack once geopolitical chasms quell and as Canada recovers from the massive Fort McMurray fire that scorched Alberta’s energy industry, easily an extra 4 million barrels of oil could come on line within the next few months savaging the industry.

This also comes at a time when Iran has moved to increase their oil output in a market share arms race with their regional adversary Saudi Arabia who increased production with reckless abandon despite driving prices well below their own breakeven price in a bid to bankrupt oil companies and entire energy dependent countries.

Fortunately, there is a major flaw in Shilling’s assessment which assumes that geopolitical factors that influence production remain constant despite a rout on oil prices. Notably, the instability of smaller, less diversified oil producing countries like Venezuela and Algeria would come to an immediate halt as would, presumably, their entire governing apparatus bereft of the necessary funds to administer the state.

Oil investors know that in addition to breakeven points, all of which have been clearly trounced in the energy market collapse, there is a breakdown point – an oil price level that causes so much economic destruction that the shock itself implies that the market valuation of the natural resource would immediately rebound.

Knowing that a $10 oil price would mean the creation of an immediate oil shortage of over 10% per day that would send the market skyrocketing on bounce back over $100 per barrel, investors price the middle point between the two extremes…

more…

http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20160703/1042377705/oil-fracking-market-crash-saudi.html

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image edited by Web Investigator

Seven ongoing wars, ushering in an era of instability.

If Alex Jones means to tell us that he doesn’t know that Israel plays a huge role on the so-called Syrian refugee crisis, then he needs to start refunding millions of dollars to his well-meaning listeners.

Obama went to Germany just to tell the European continent, according to the Washington Post, “to reject the isolationist and nationalist impulses that are taking hold on the continent and pressed Europe to remain open to refugees fleeing war and poverty.”[1] Obama said:

“We have to uphold our values not just when it is easy, but when it’s hard.”[2]

When was the last time that Merkel and much of the leaders in Europe tell Netanyahu to do the same? Didn’t Netanyahu completely reject call to accept some Syrian refugees?[3] Didn’t Israel’s High Court of Justice return a 17-year-old Syrian girl who sought asylum?[4] Why don’t CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and other Zionist media talk about this?

Well, the logic here is pretty simple: the New World Order and its agents want to kill two birds with one Zionist stone. They want to create panic in Europe, most specifically in Germany. We have already seen sex and blood in Europe largely because of the crisis. Merkel, who is a complete puppet of the regime, simply does not have the guts to say enough is enough.

Moreover, Israel has a history of literally liquidating Palestinians like birds and insects and no virtually no serious politician has even asked the international community to put Israel on a regular diet. In fact, Israel is asking the U.S. to provide more money. But now we are being told that Europe has to lay aside its so-called prejudice, ignore the law, and then accept an essentially diabolical ideology, which has the potential to create revolution virtually all over the continent.

There is another deeper issue here. If Europe is xenophobic for not allowing thousands upon thousands of refugees, then Israel, by that logic, is xenophobic, racist, genocidal, pestilential, infanticidal, and ultimately Talmudic. In fact, Netanyahu tells us that Israeli laws are based on the Talmud.[5]

So, why isn’t all Europe up in arms revolting against the Israeli regime? Why is an entire continent being driven by a racist and genocidal ideology? Where are the leaders of the West? Why don’t they stand up in unison and say, “No, we ain’t gonna take this anymore”?

More importantly, why don’t people like Alex Jones address the Israeli dimension in all this? Why do they keep beating the so-called refugees as if they were the real problem? Does Jones mean to tell us that he doesn’t know that Israel plays a huge role on this? If he doesn’t, then he needs to start refunding millions of dollars to his well-meaning listeners. If he does know and still does not address the real issue, then Alex Jones is really evil.


[1] Greg Jaffe, “Obama urges Europeans to fight forces of xenophobia and division,” Washington Post, April 25, 2016.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Isabel Kershner, “Netanyahu Rejects Calls for Israel to Accept Syrian Refugees,” NY Times, September 6, 2015.

[4] Benjamin Weinthal, “Israel returns Syrian girl who sought asylum,” Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2014.

[5] “Netanyahu reported to say legal system based on Talmud,” Times of Israel, May 8, 2014.

Can someone tell Obama and Merkel to just shut up?

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image edited by Web Investigator 

SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT

One of the world’s largest advertising agencies has been accused of helping Saudi Arabia “whitewash” its record on human rights following the kingdom’s largest mass execution for more than 30 years.

A US subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, the French media conglomerate that owns UK brands such as Saatchi & Saatchi, distributed an article in which the kingdom’s foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir implicitly attempted to justify the execution of 47 people.

A number of political protesters and at least four juveniles are believed to have been among those killed in January. Human rights groups are increasingly worried that three more juveniles – including Ali al-Nimr, who was sentenced to death aged 17 for taking part in a pro-democracy protest – are due to be executed imminently.

But in an opinion piece published by the US magazine Newsweek a month after the killings, Mr Al-Jubeir argued that they were part of Saudi Arabia’s fight against terrorism. The kingdom had “arrested extremists within its borders, tried them before specialised courts and imposed the ultimate penalties on those convicted”, he wrote. The article – entitled “The Saudis Are Fighting Terrorism, Don’t Believe Otherwise” – was distributed by Qorvis MSLGroup, a subsidiary of Publicis that has been working with Saudi Arabia for more than a decade.

On its website, the company stated that its work for the kingdom included “media relations, advertising, government relations, grass-roots action and online communications”.

However, shortly after the UK-based human rights group Reprieve wrote to Publicis raising concerns about the Newsweek article last month, the section about Saudi Arabia disappeared from the Qorvis website.

A cached version, seen by The Independent, said the firm’s work “has effectively served to strengthen the 80-year relationship between the Saudi and American people and governments”.

Ali al-Nimr, 17, is due to be executed for taking part in a pro-democracy protest

In its letter to Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, Reprieve accused Qorvis of helping the Saudis “whitewash serious human rights abuses” by distributing Mr Al-Jubeir’s article, warning that the firm was “dangerously close to helping the Saudi Government defend the execution of non-violent political opponents”.

Reprieve also pointed out that the actions of Qorvis appeared to undermine Publicis’s public statements on corporate social responsibility. The firm has pledged to “support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights” and ensure it is “not complicit in human rights abuses”.

Donald Campbell, director of communications at the human rights group, said: “It is hard to square Publicis’s claim that it is committed to human rights principles with its work for the Saudi Arabian government. The Saudi authorities have a record of torturing and executing those that attend political protests – even children. Yet one of Publicis’s subsidiary companies is helping to defend the country’s supposed ‘reforms’ in the media, as well as the Saudi government’s use of ‘the ultimate penalty’ against those convicted in its deeply unfair courts.”

He continued: “Publicis’s response to questions over this work seems to have been to bury its head in the sand – it is notable that nearly all mentions of their subsidiary Qorvis’s work for the kingdom have disappeared from its website since these concerns were raised. Instead of trying to sweep all this under the carpet, Publicis must carry out a comprehensive review of whether its work for the Saudis is compatible with its publicly stated human rights principles.”…

more…

http://www.blacklistednews.com/One_of_the_world%E2%80%99s_largest_advertising_agencies_has_been_accused_of_helping_Saudi_Arabia_%E2%80%9Cwhitewash%E2%80%9D_its_record_on_human_rights_following_the_kingdom%E2%80%99s_largest_mass_execution_for_more_than_30_years/49875/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Brian Eno: "Oscars’ swag bag is part of Israel’s cultural propaganda campaign"

Brian Eno (Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk)

Israel is using artists, again, to obscure its dismal human rights record. We must all demand the truth

It has become customary for Oscar nominees to receive a “swag bag” of gifts and favors from various companies. This year, alongside the usual random bits and pieces — a “Vampire” breast lift, a sex-toy, and a lifetime supply of Lizora skin creams — there is an unusual contribution: A five-star luxury trip to Israel for every nominee in the main acting and directing categories. The trip is sponsored by the Israeli government.

Israel is hailed as a great country for at least half its inhabitants – those who are Jewish. They can receive automatic citizenship, subsidized housing and many other perks. For Palestinians – whether living in Israel, under Israeli military occupation, or in exile – it’s a very different reality.

For decades, the UN has been condemning the forcible takeover of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers who, backed by an enormous army, government subsidies and the United States, have flooded in from Moscow, London, Brooklyn, Cape Town and elsewhere. It’s a familiar story: The Europeans who settled America did the same to the Native Americans, and the British did it to the Aboriginal Australians. In both cases we turned the victims into the problem: America had a redskin problem.Australia had an abbo problem. But what they both had, in reality, was a settlerproblem. And what Israel has is a settler problem.

What’s more, during Israel’s creation, more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled in fear and made refugees to make space for a Jewish state. After the horrors of World War II, it’s understandable that many Jews saw Israel as a place of safety in a hostile world. But what about those 750,000 refugees and their families? Nearly seven decades later, they still aren’t allowed back to their homes. In the midst of Europe’s greatest refugee crisis ever, it’s worth remembering that Palestinians still make up the largest refugee population in the world.

The Israeli government has attempted to detract from this harsh reality over the years through its “Brand Israel” campaign, which is aimed at using artists, among others, to obscure its human rights violations — whether by paying performers handsomely to play in Israel or by otherwise associating our “brands” with brand Israel.

When expressing his hopes for the Oscar nominees’ swag bag trips, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said: “These are the most senior people in the film industry in Hollywood and leading opinion-formers who we are interested in hosting.” This is the same government official who supports the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

But there’s a “peace process” going on, isn’t there? The problem is it doesn’t resolve anything and it isn’t intended to resolve anything. It provides cover for the Israeli government to continue annexing land, fragmenting the remaining territory further so that a Palestinian state — the purported aim of the process — becomes unattainable. Every day, whether there’s a “peace process” going on or not, the Palestinians are having their land taken from them.

http://www.salon.com/2016/02/26/brian_eno_oscars_swag_bag_is_part_of_israels_cultural_propaganda_campaign/

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Getty Images

Exclusive: ‘If they say something they will no longer have a career – I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite’

by Paul Gallagher

American musicians who support boycotting Israel over the issue of Palestinian rights are terrified to speak out for fear their careers will be destroyed, according to Roger Waters.

The Pink Floyd star – a prominent supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel since its inception 10 years ago – said the experience of seeing himself constantly labelled a Nazi and anti-Semite had scared people into silence.

“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic,” Waters toldThe Independent, in his first major UK interview about his commitment to Israeli activism. “I know this because I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years.

“My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel]. There’s me and Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Manic Street Preachers, one or two others, but there’s nobody in the United States where I live. I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s***less.

“If they say something in public they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed. I’m hoping to encourage some of them to stop being frightened and to stand up and be counted, because we need them. We need them desperately in this conversation in the same way we needed musicians to join protesters over Vietnam.”

Waters likened Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid South Africa. “The way apartheid South Africa treated its black population, pretending they had some kind of autonomy, was a lie,” he said.

“Just as it is a lie now that there is any possibility under the current status quo of Palestinians achieving self-determination and achieving, at least, a rule of law where they can live and raise their children and start their own industries. This is an ancient, brilliant, artistic and very humane civilisation that is being destroyed in front of our eyes.”

A trip to Israel in 2006, where Waters had planned to play a gig in Tel Aviv and the end of the European leg of his Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, transformed his view of the Middle East.

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Roger Waters alludes to the band’s lyrics while painting on the Israeli-Palestinian security barrier in Bethlehem in 2006 (Getty)

After speaking to Palestinian artists as well as Israeli anti-government protesters, who called on him to use the gig as a platform to speak out against Israeli foreign policy, he switched the concert from Hayarkon Park to Neve Shalom, an Arab/Israeli peace village. But as the tickets had already been sold, the audience was still entirely Jewish Israeli.

Waters said: “It was very strange performing to a completely segregated audience because there were no Palestinians there. There were just 60,000 Jewish Israelis, who could not have been more welcoming, nice and loyal to Pink Floyd. Nevertheless, it left an uncomfortable feeling.”

He travelled around the West Bank towns of Jenin, Ramallah and Nablus, seeing how the two communities were segregated – and also visited the security barrier separating Israel from the Occupied Territories spraying a signed message from his seminal work “Another Brick in the Wall”, which read: “We don’t need no thought control”.

Waters soon joined the BDS movement, inviting opprobrium and condemnation for daring to do what so few musicians are prepared to. “I’m glad I did it,” he says, as people in Israeli are “treated very unequally depending on their ethnicity. So Palestinian Israeli citizens and the Bedouin are treated completely different from Jewish citizens. There are 40 to 50 different laws depending on whether you are or you are not Jewish.”

Waters expected to be shouted down by critics, but it is the Nazi accusations that he considers the most absurd, especially given that his father, Lt Eric Waters of the 8th Royal Fusilliers, died aged 31 fighting the Nazis at Anzio, Italy, in early 1944. His body was never found but his name is commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Monte Cassino.

The pain of not knowing his father, who was killed when Waters was five months old, influenced some of Pink Floyd’s most famous songs.

“I have veterans coming to all my shows and meet them at half time. At a gig in 2013, one veteran came up to me, took my hand, wouldn’t let go and looked me in the eye… I can hardly tell you this now without welling up. He said: ‘Your father would have been proud of you.’

“My father died fighting the Nazis, my mother [a strong CND and Labour supporter] devoted her life to doing everything she could to create a more humane world.

“We are asking questions that have never been asked until the last couple of years, which are bringing the wrath of the Israeli lobby down on people like me and all the others who dare to question and criticise.

“[The Israeli lobby] is determined not to let that conversation develop into one that people can listen to and that is why they accuse us of being Nazis. This idea that BDS is the thin end of some kind of genocidal Nazi wedge that ends up in another Holocaust – well it isn’t.”

Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer, wrote of Waters in his autobiography: “Once he sees a confrontation as necessary he is so grimly committed to winning that he throws everything into the fray – and his everything can be pretty scary.”

Israel’s incoming ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, Benjamin Netanyahu’s former spokesman, seems to be the next man in Waters’ sights over “this battle of words”.

He said: “I can tell you what Mark Regev is going to say about any situation. He is going to say: ‘What would you do if your children were being slaughtered by terrorists? Do we not have a right to defend ourselves?’ And that is the mantra.”

Waters cites growing activism on US university campuses, often by Jewish students, as reason for optimism that the status quo may change in his lifetime. He often writes letters to those students who, he said, are set to play as important a role in the future of Israel as the anti-Vietnam War protesters played in influencing US foreign policy in the 1960s and 1970s.

“It makes my heart sing to see these young kids organising themselves and I applaud them for taking a stand in what they believe in the face of such huge opposition,” he said.

“These are brave young people and they cannot be bought. They believe in their attachment and love for other human beings. We do not believe in the building of walls. It’s so important we understand our humanity and co-operate with one another to create a better place for our children and grandchildren.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/roger-waters-pink-floyd-israel-boycott-ban-palestine-a6884971.html

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by JetBlackStare because: (no reason given)

What in the world is going on in Dubai? I always understood that they have a helluva lot of money. Of course it’s oil, right? RIGHT? Maybe… Or not. I came across this blog post that peaked my interest like no conspiracy has in a long while. I read it, I re-read it. I showed it to my friend, I googled the heck out of Dubai. We were both dumbstruck by all the weirdness/coincidences and we can’t come up with a rational theory beyond gross excess. A play ground for the Super Elite. But with oil crashing and some conjecture that the world economy is on the brink again, not to mention the precarious state of the Middle East…Dubai keeps growing.

The city-state of Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the great puzzles of our time. Why did a sprawling metropolis that looks like like it stepped out of a Star Wars movie spring out of an obscure strip of sand in the Persian Gulf, practically overnight? Given that Dubai itself has little in the way of oil wealth, who paid for it all?

How does a city that is perpetually mired in debt continue not only to expand but to expand in ways that make the rest of the world’s great cities look like provincial backwaters?

When oil was trading at 100 dollars a barrel and up you could see the logic. Maybe. But with the current oil crash showing no signs of ending anytime soon you have to wonder, where is the money coming from?

Sure, you can see the need for a hub in that part of the world, a city-state for global corporations doing business with the wealthy oil monarchies of the Gulf and an international airport for flights connecting from Europe to points farther east.

But that doesn’t quite explain Dubai.

There is way more at the link. Including conjecture about the Annunaki, some ancient God/Alien, Oannes.

More certain is the history of this area, and the strange, enigmatic figure that entered the record via one Berossus, who wrote what was then the definitive history of Babylon.

Berossus told of a figure named Oannes, who made his home in the Persian Gulf and came ashore every day to instruct mankind in the arts of civilization. This is one of those episodes in the historical record when something completely insane is recounted entirely soberly, as if it were long accepted as truth. But to our eyes Oannes, who is often identified with the Philistine god Dagon, can only be described as “alien.”

At Babylon there was (in these times) a great resort of people of various nations, who inhabited Chaldæa, and lived in a lawless manner like the beasts of the field. In the first year there appeared, from that part of the Erythræan sea which borders upon Babylonia, an animal destitute of reason, by name Oannes, whose whole body (according to the account of Apollodorus) was that of a fish; that under the fish’s head he had another head, with feet also below, similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish’s tail.

Really hoping some of the Ancient Civilization contributors can chime in with more on that. Is it just a coincidence that this is the historical background of the area?

So I put it to you ATS, what’s going on there? Why are they building a hermetically sealed dome environment? Why do they keep building state of the art structures despite a very low occupancy rate? Who are they building all of this for if there is so much empty space? Why were the fireworks for a huge casino opening only visible from space? Why are they building islands in shapes visible only from the sky, like the Palm Islands or the World Islands?

What are they preparing for? How are they able to pay for all of this and yet the most powerful country in the world, the USA, can’t manage to fill pot holes or take care of our vets? Is this where the world’s money is flowing to? Why?

Are there any ATS members who reside in Dubai or have visited there? What is your take on it? What’s really going on in Dubai?

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1105696/pg1

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WIKK WEB GURU

© SUSAN WALSH/AP

by Sarah Chayes

For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally “moderate.” So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable.

But is it?

In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or so corrupt as to resemble in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization. Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S.decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom.

In recent conversations with military and other government personnel, we were startled at how startled they seemed at this prospect. Here’s the analysis they should be working through.

Understood one way, the Saudi king is CEO of a family business that converts oil into payoffs that buy political loyalty. They take two forms: cash handouts or commercial concessions for the increasingly numerous scions of the royal clan, and a modicum of public goods and employment opportunities for commoners. The coercive “stick” is supplied by brutal internal security services lavishly equipped with American equipment.

The U.S. has long counted on the ruling family having bottomless coffers of cash with which to rent loyalty. Even accounting today’s low oil prices, and as Saudi officials step up arms purchases and military adventures in Yemen and elsewhere, Riyadh is hardly running out of funds.

Still, expanded oil production in the face of such low prices—until the Feb. 16 announcement of a Saudi-Russian freeze at very high January levels—may reflect an urgent need for revenue as well as other strategic imperatives. Talk of a Saudi Aramco IPO similarly suggests a need for hard currency.

A political market, moreover, functions according to demand as well as supply. What if the price of loyalty rises?

It appears that is just what’s happening. King Salman had to spend lavishly to secure the allegiance of the notables who were pledged to the late King Abdullah. Here’s what played out in two other countries when this kind of inflation hit. In South Sudan, an insatiable elite not only diverted the newly minted country’s oil money to private pockets but also kept up their outsized demands when the money ran out, sparking a descent into chaos. The Somali government enjoys generous donor support, but is priced out of a very competitive political market by a host of other buyers—with ideological, security or criminal agendas of their own.

Such comparisons may be offensive to Saudi leaders, but they are telling. If the loyalty price index keeps rising, the monarchy could face political insolvency.

Looked at another way, the Saudi ruling elite is operating something like a sophisticated criminal enterprise, when populations everywhere are making insistent demands for government accountability. With its political and business elites interwoven in a monopolistic network, quantities of unaccountable cash leaving the country for private investments and lavish purchases abroad, and state functions bent to serve these objectives, Saudi Arabia might be compared to such kleptocracies as Viktor Yanukovich’s Ukraine.

Increasingly, Saudi citizens are seeing themselves as just that: citizens, not subjects. In countries as diverse as Nigeria, Ukraine, Brazil, Moldova, and Malaysia, people are contesting criminalized government and impunity for public officials—sometimes violently. In more than half a dozen countries in 2015, populations took to the streets to protest corruption. In three of them, heads of state are either threatened or have had to resign. Elsewhere, the same grievances have contributed to the expansion of jihadi movements or criminal organizations posing as Robin Hoods. Russia and China’s external adventurism can at least partially be explained as an effort to re-channel their publics’ dissatisfaction with the quality of governance.

For the moment, it is largely Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority that is voicing political demands. But the highly educated Sunni majority, with unprecedented exposure to the outside world, is unlikely to stay satisfied forever with a few favors doled out by geriatric rulers impervious to their input. And then there are the “guest workers.” Saudi officials, like those in other Gulf states, seem to think they can exploit an infinite supply of indigents grateful to work at whatever conditions. But citizens are now heavily outnumbered in their own countries by laborers who may soon begin claiming rights.

For decades, Riyadh has eased pressure by exporting its dissenters—like Osama bin Laden—fomenting extremism across the Muslim world. But that strategy can backfire: bin Laden’s critique of Saudi corruption has been taken up by others and resonates among many Arabs. And King Salman (who is 80, by the way) does not display the dexterity of his half-brother Abdullah. He’s reached for some of the familiar items in the autocrats’ toolbox: executing dissidents, embarking on foreign wars, and whipping up sectarian rivalries to discredit Saudi Shiite demands and boost nationalist fervor. Each of these has grave risks…

more…

http://www.sott.net/article/312485-Start-preparing-for-the-fall-of-the-Saudi-Kingdom

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WIKK WEB GURU

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