Showing posts with label war crimes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label war crimes. Show all posts

Friday, 12 September 2014

Evil Empire versus Evil Caliphate: an analysis of the lies of the Nobel Peace Prizident

This article will probably not be for the admirers – insofar as there are still any – of Barack Hussein Obama, also known in these pages as the Nobel Peace Prizident or Drone Man.

I repeat: supporters of the blood-soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama should not read this article. If you are offended, you have only yourself to blame.



Rather than watch the spectacle of Drone Man actually speaking, I’ve read the transcripts of his speech to the American people regarding the absolute and urgent necessity of declaring an immediate jihad-cum-crusade against the Islamic State, or Caliphate, or whatever it chooses to call itself on any given day of the week. If you have a strong stomach for lies, you can read it here.

Now, of course I wouldn’t trust Drone Man as far as I could throw him (always assuming one of his drones didn’t blow me away while I was in the act of throwing him). But, though I made allowance for the fact that Drone Man is (a) a politician and (b) even for a politician, an inveterate liar, I was struck not so much by what he said as what he didn’t say in announcing what Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com called Operation Doubletalk. I took away at least ten different points where he stayed silent – because silence, of course, was his only way of avoiding the clear facts.

1. The Nobel Peace Prizident didn't say that the American Empire still can't control Afghanistan, and, in fact, is retreating in defeat. In fact, this used to be a Western joke – repeated even in the sitcom Yes Minister – once upon a time; “The Russians can’t even control Afghanistan!” Well, the Americans have proved unable to control Afghanistan, or Iraq, or anywhere, really, though they pretend to a global empire. Going by the actually record of American force of arms since the Korean War against any determined and motivated enemy, the prospects for America’s Third Iraq War are pretty dismal.

2. Our favourite war criminal crowed about the “killing” of Osama bin Laden. What he avoided talking of, naturally, was that it was after bin Laden's alleged "killing" that al Qaeda underwent a hitherto unprecedented expansion in territory and power. In May 2011 it was still a series of cells scattered through a few backwaters. Today it controls important territory in Libya, Mali and Yemen, not to mention in Syria, and is still expanding in places like Lebanon.

3. Talking about Yemen, Drone Man did mention that unhappy country, where as we all know his eponymous flying killer robots have been active. What he didn't say was that his drone attacks, which include the murder of people who go merely to help the victims of his first strikes, have drastically increased support for al Qaeda in that part of the world. 

4. The Evil Emperor spoke approvingly about "killing the leader of al Shabaab". Actually, as I’ve said here, the killed man, Godane was a factional boss of a divided movement, and had had several of his rivals murdered in the past. In fact, Godane’s extremism had alienated a lot of Somalis who might have had a better opinion of al Shabaab but for him, and murdering him could very easily increase the appeal of the movement. Such a nuance, of course, is far too much for all but a miniscule minority of Americans to even begin to comprehend, and I’m not faulting the Prizident for not mentioning something which would fly far above the heads of almost all his listeners anyway.

What I noticed, though, is that the Dronemaster avoided talking of how al Shabaab arose only because of the American and Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 in the name of "fighting al Qaeda". In fact, but for that invasion, Somalia would never have had a radical Islamic insurgency. And, of course, even then, al Shabaab had nothing at all to do with al Qaeda until much later when the latter had established itself in Yemen, which again was facilitated by American support to the venal government and its drone campaign.
 

5. As for Syria, the Dictator of the United States said that he had

“... ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition.”

and would

...strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL (sic)”.

He avoided mentioning two interesting facts. First, that his "moderate opposition" is just as much a collection of cannibal headhunters, rapists, child-killers and slavers as ISIS itself, and in many ways worse. And, secondly, said “moderate opposition” – such of it that still exists – now makes no attempt to hide the fact that it is, actually, allied with ISIS and shares weapons and finances with it. 

Talking about killing children, can one swallow the instinctive nausea rush over Dronester’s silence over his Zionistani allies murdering the children of Gaza? Can even Americans ignore that?

6. Still on Syria, according to the Warmonger in Chief, Assad has “lost legitimacy”. This statement, of course, is nothing new as far as Washington is concerned, but makes two fascinating omissions. The first one is that ISIS didn’t exactly appear out of thin air. The conditions for its rise were created precisely by the American Empire itself, by stoking the embers of the terrorist campaign in Syria, by arming and training the so-called opposition. And we’ve seen in Libya – which the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was careful not to mention – what happens when the “moderate opposition” takes over.

The other omission he makes is the clear fact that the only force capable of beating ISIS is the Syrian Arab Army, the same government army which he claims has “lost legitimacy” and “terrorises its citizens”. The ultimate aim of the Empire is the overthrow of the government of Syria and the disintegration of that country into a Libya-like conglomeration of bitterly opposed ministates, which can be exploited or ignored as convenient.

Since the American Empire intends to bomb Syria – again, something I predicted months ago – without the Syrian government’s permission, it’s only a matter of time before it moves over to bombing Syrian military targets. The groundwork is already being laid. One justification will be that Assad must not be allowed to “grow too strong” and so must be attacked. The other justification will be that if Syrian army installations on the front line are not destroyed, they will be overrun and their equipment captured by ISIS, so they have to be bombed and obliterated in advance.

If Syria refuses to allow unilateral American bombing of its territory, it will be bombed anyway, and directly – because it’s stopping America from bombing ISIS. In other words, the Nobel Peace Prize Awardee’s final plan is to bomb Syria, whatever happens.

7. The Emperor of Evil spoke of how ISIS

...In acts of barbarism... took the lives of two American journalists - Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

I wonder if the hypocrisy meter – even by Drone Man standards – broke on that point. Even if we assume the beheading videos of Foley and Sotloff are genuine, something which is very far from a foregone conclusion, neither of these two was exactly a journalist in the traditional sense; they were, as I mentioned here, just combatants under another name. Both had embedded themselves with the so-called “opposition” (in the case of Foley in Libya earlier as well), and Sotloff, for one, was photographed playing around with a DShK heavy machine gun on the back of a “rebel” truck. 



Sotloff’s own family has stated that he was sold to ISIS by the same “moderate opposition” Drone Man is so eager to arm, train and fund even more than he already is; the same “moderate opposition” whose “vetted members” go straight from CIA camps to join ISIS. As for Foley's mother, she said she was threatened with prosecution if she attempted to pay a ransom to get her son freed.

You'd almost think the Empire wanted these two men beheaded.

8. If the hypocrisy meter wasn’t broken by that statement, it surely must have taken another hit from the Nobel Peace Prizident’s claim that

we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding

 I’d love to see him start by cutting off his own funding of the “moderate opposition”, and by, say, attacking the primary source of jihadist funds in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Want to bet when that’s going to happen?

9. Though it didn’t feature in his speech, it seems from other sources that apparently the Owner of the Planet Earth intends to launch a three year war against ISIS. This figure interested me. Why "three years"? Who came up with this time frame? I could think up only one answer. This: in two years, unless the law is changed in some manner to allow him to continue (far from a remote possibility in today’s Amerikastan), the Emperor will have to demit office. So –  whatever mess is left after that in the War on ISIS will be his successor's fault. 



10. There were a few other lies along the way, of course, because if Barack Hussein Obama can find an opportunity to tell a lie he can’t possibly pass it up. So, we have:

“It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples' right to determine their own destiny.”

That must have gone down very well with the Eastern Ukrainians who were being shelled by Obama’s Nazis, and with the Western Ukrainians who have seen their pensions cut in half under the oligarch regime installed in the EU/US organised coup in February. Of course, it also fails to mention that the Evil Empire has, actually lost, and lost hugely, in Ukraine.

Like it or not, though, the Dronemaster gambled in Ukraine, and lost. He needs a war to appease his military-industrial complex backers, and also distract his people's attention. Since the latter, in any case, have the attention span of a mayfly with ADHD, in three months' time they won't even remember Ukraine exists...until it’s time to remind them.

Another lie-in-passing was this:

‘ When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here's what one of them said. "We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people."

Quite naturally, the truth was somewhat different. There were only a few people on “that mountain” and, far from falling over themselves praising Amerikastan, they said they had no intention of moving, thanks.

Let me issue another warning: the "war against ISIS" can be used to cook up invasions elsewhere in the globe against other groups which can be called ISIS. Like, say, Boko Haram, for instance, in Nigeria; and Ebola, which Obama also threw in a mention of, is a handy excuse for sending forces to “protect personnel” in Africa. 

And once they are there, they’ll stay there as long as the resources to be exploited last.

Of course Drone Man’s war plans will not succeed. But they are not meant to succeed. In the schemes of the Warstate, it’s only a perpetual war that matters.

That’s where the money lies, and money is the only thing ideologically blank war criminals like Barack Obama follow.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

On the sequence of events leading up to the Israeli invasion of Gaza

Intro:

This article is meant as a description of a sequence of events to help the reader understand the current so-called “war” in Gaza, and to find one’s way through the many dense layers of lies and propaganda.

For the purposes of this article, I shall use the terms “Israel” and “Israeli” instead of “Zionistan”, the term I prefer; but the use of those terms do not signify any legitimisation or approbation of the Zionist entity.

I shall – for the purposes of this section of the article – treat HAMAS as an organisation independent of Zionist control. I shall discuss that point further in the concluding section of this article.

The reason I am doing this not to pretend that there can be some kind of moral equivalence between a racist apartheid “nation” with billions yearly in aid from the American Empire on one side, and the inmates of a starved open-air concentration camp on the other. This is so any reader who wishes to can cite this article, or copy it, to other discussions without being accused of bias.

I repeat: you are welcome to cite or copy this article elsewhere.

I  strongly recommend you follow up the links I have provided in the text and at the end - they provide additional information that is beyond the scope of this article.

So let us begin.

*******************************




In general, the Israeli propaganda machine, and those who repeat its claims, say that the aggression against Gaza is justified to prevent HAMAS rockets from falling on Israeli cities. Let’s examine this claim.

It is perfectly true that HAMAS is firing Qassam rockets at Israeli cities. It is completely true that Israeli families have hidden in bomb shelters from the incoming rockets.

Nothing else about Israeli claims is true.

Before we go further, let me mention a word about these Qassam rockets. They aren’t guided ballistic missiles or anything of that nature. What they are, is a steel tube packed with fertiliser as propellant, and sometimes (not always) with a crude warhead at the other end. When the propellant is ignited, the rocket – hopefully – takes off from the launching rails without crashing, and flies through the air until said propellant runs out and it falls on something. If there is a warhead, and if the rocket strikes the ground at an angle that impacts the nail (which is generally what is used as a striker), the warhead may or may not explode. If it does explode, the usual damage is a smear of black powder residue.

The statistics make it clear: Israelis are more likely to die from peanut allergies than Qassam fire.

What is the military utility of the Qassams? Nothing. What is their non-military value? Immense. The Qassam is a symbol of continued resistance, that oppression and blockade haven’t destroyed the will to fight back.

But, as I said, in military terms the Qassams’ value is less than negligible. And if we are to take the Israeli claim about the effectiveness of their Iron Dome defence at face value – something which reputable scientists have dismissed – the value of the Qassams drops to farcical levels. This is not the equivalent of the US’ Ukrainian allies rocketing and shelling Lugansk, something  the White House seems perfectly willing to let go on.

But, the HAMAS did fire Qassams without provocation on Israel, right? They did provoke the current round of violence?

Let’s see!

If we aren’t to take the route of arbitrarily declaring that a certain point is the “beginning” of the sequence of events leading to a particular situation – something that has been called “Historical Creationism” and is meant to point blame in one particular direction – we should take a longer view. We should start further back in time and see how things led up, action begetting reaction, to the situation of the moment.

The Beginning:

If there is a point where the story begins, it could be 2006, when HAMAS won a free and democratic election in Gaza. This was greeted by shock in Western capitals, which had aided in the election in the fond belief that the Palestinians would vote for the hyper-corrupt and effete Fatah in preference over HAMAS. Discord over the election resulted in an internecine HAMAS-Fatah civil war in 2007, in which Fatah was eliminated in Gaza and HAMAS virtually ceased to exist in the West Bank.

This was followed by a punishment Israeli (and Egyptian) blockade of Gaza, meant to, in the words of an Israeli minister, “put Gaza on a diet” for having the temerity to back HAMAS. This “diet” was quite literal, with a per capita limit of 2279 calories per day. Also,

All exports were banned, and just 131 truckloads of foodstuffs and other essential products were permitted entry per day. Israel also strictly controlled which products could and could not be imported. Prohibited items have included A4 paper, chocolate, coriander, crayons, jam, pasta, shampoo, shoes and wheelchairs.

Apparently, shoes et al were “dual use items” – as was A4 paper, and presumably coriander and jam could only be used to “feed terrorists”, who would then attack on wheelchairs with shampoo bottles firing crayons, if one were to go by the Israeli “logic”. Also, Gaza fishermen were restricted to a narrow coastal zone, which rapidly became depleted of fish due to the inevitable overfishing involved.

Not surprisingly, this could not sustain the population of Gaza, and smuggling rapidly became a major industry. Since Gaza is a tiny territory, under constant Israeli control and surveillance (even after the 2005 Israeli “withdrawal” from the territory), there was no way to carry out this smuggling except via tunnels. These tunnels, from Gaza’s border with Egypt – the only non-Israel border the strip has – rapidly became a major conduit for all supplies, and the Gazans became expert at tunnel-building. Time magazine even did a photo feature on them.

I repeat – these tunnels were built in the first place as a direct response to the Israeli blockade, because it was the only way the people of Gaza could survive in anything resembling civilised conditions.

These tunnels also suited HAMAS fine, because it could tax all the smuggling activities and raise funds from them. (It must not be imagined for a moment that HAMAS was, or is, the only resistance group in the Gaza Strip – there is also Islamic Jihad, which is no friend of HAMAS, and several smaller outfits. This should be kept in mind.)

Mowing the lawn”:

Roughly every two years after imposing their blockade, the Israelis have launched major attacks on Gaza. It happened in 2008, in which over a thousand Palestinians were killed, and again in 2012, in which 139 Palestinians died. In between, there were more, indeed constant, minor attacks on Gaza. On each occasion, the overwhelming majority of casualties were Palestinian civilians, something difficult to understand in view of the Israeli pretence of having a “moral army” which “goes to extreme lengths to avoid civilian casualties.” In fact, as we shall see, what is remarkable is not that civilians were killed, but that – for a nation claiming that HAMAS presented a threat to its very existence – Israel went to great lengths not to destroy HAMAS.

Had it been determined to end Hamas rule it could easily have done so, particularly while Hamas was still consolidating its control over Gaza in 2007, and without necessarily reversing the 2005 disengagement. Instead, it saw the schism between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as an opportunity to further its policies of separation and fragmentation, and to deflect growing international pressure for an end to an occupation that has lasted nearly half a century.

Israel called this process of regular attacks “mowing the lawn”. Apparently no one chose to notice that this reduced the Palestinians to the status of grass.

But HAMAS accepted a ceasefire after the 2012 “mowing”, and not only did it adhere to this ceasefire for over nineteen months, it prevented the other Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza from attacking Israel. It even stopped peaceful protests against Israel.

I repeat: from 2012 to 2014, HAMAS was in total ceasefire mode with Israel, despite constant provocations. Not only was it in ceasefire, it enforced the ceasefire on Islamic Jihad and other resistance groups.

HAMAS and the Syrian “Civil War”:

One of the few nations that had stood by HAMAS and the Gaza resistance was Bashar al Assad of Syria, as well as his ally, Iran. Now, the ideological mentor of HAMAS is the Muslim Brotherhood, the organisation which had been suppressed throughout North Africa from Algeria to Libya to Egypt, and in Syria as well. In the wake of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011, as various old tyrants were overthrown by what seemed to be a tide of democracy, the Muslim Brotherhood scored an important victory. The dictator of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown by a popular revolution, and a MB led government replaced him. Life became easier for Gaza residents, with the MB significantly easing the blockade and in fact pressuring Israel to an early ceasefire when it last attacked Gaza in 2012.

At the same time, in Syria, the violence was escalating as terrorist gangs sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and NATO attempted to take over the country. HAMAS – at the time based in Damascus – made a blunder so colossal that it has, to date, never recovered from it and perhaps never will. It chose to believe the fantasy that Assad’s fall was imminent and inevitable (something I, a mere foreigner half a world away, had at the time accurately stated was neither) and ditched him for Qatar. HAMAS men began using the techniques taught them by Hizbollah against Hizbollah, as at the battle of Al Qusayr, a turning point in the conflict. All this swiftly led to the funds being provided by Iran and Syria drying up – and Assad showed no signs of falling.

Soon enough, there was more trouble with Qatar, too, when in a very murky episode the HAMAS leadership was asked to leave the country. And in Egypt, the MB government was overthrown by a military dictatorship under al Sisi, one so aggressively anti-MB that it was far more anti-HAMAS than the earlier Mubarak dictatorship had been.

So, from having the full support of Syria and Iran and at least being tolerated by Egypt, HAMAS – by its own blunders – suddenly ended up with no friends whatsoever, bar the doubtful “friendship” of Israel’s friend and ally Turkey. It had no money and no way to make any more. Even the old reliable tunnel network had collapsed since the al Sisi dictatorship was aggressively demolishing them. By early 2014, HAMAS was on the ropes; unable to pay salaries of the Gaza employees, the economy almost nonexistent, sewage accumulating in the streets, massive daily power cuts, rising popular discontent, and no way out except a unity deal with its arch rival, Fatah.

Unity moves with Fatah:

Ever since the 2007 break with Fatah, there had been several attempts to forge a unity government. The closest that it came to one was in 2011, but went nowhere. But now, in 2014, with the situation in Gaza turning increasingly desperate, HAMAS decided to form a unity government with its arch rival. In real terms it was an unconditional surrender for HAMAS, since it accepted almost completely the Fatah positions (which in turn were dictated to Mahmoud Abbas by Israel). HAMAS wouldn’t even have a single cabinet post in this unity government, so total was its surrender. All it would gain in return was continued control over the Gaza strip and the reopening of the border crossing with Egypt, no more.

Not too surprisingly, this was greeted with relief by a lot of people in the West, including the US, which had grown increasingly uneasy at the situation in Gaza. In April, the agreement was signed, and on the 2nd June, the government was inaugurated.

With barely a protest from the Islamists, Abbas repeatedly and loudly proclaimed that the government accepted the Middle East Quartet’s demands: that it recognise Israel, renounce violence and adhere to past agreements. He also announced that Palestinian security forces in the West Bank would continue their security collaboration with Israel.

It did not, however, suit the Israeli government at all. All this time, the Israeli attempt had been to play off the Palestinians against each other, but a unity government would put an end to the game and put real pressure on the Netanyahu regime to allow a Palestinian state, something the Israeli prime minister had stated he would never allow. It became imperative to find a way to sabotage the unity government.

The opportunity came not in Gaza, but in the West Bank.

The West Bank:




All this time, the West Bank remained under the corrupt and effete Fatah “government” – the Palestinian Authority, as it is called, though it has no authority – of Mahmoud Abbas. The security services of this “government” acted in close alliance with the Israeli forces – so much so that the West Bank people joke bitterly that they’re enduring two occupations, one by Israel and one by the PA. In the West Bank there is no armed resistance activity; with few exceptions, the only weapons are in the hands of the “security services”. Not a single Qassam has been launched from the West Bank. And in return for this the West Bank people are rewarded with...

...massive, constant Israeli settlement construction – which always takes the best land from the Palestinians – with institutionalised apartheid (Arabs are not permitted to use roads meant for settlers, for example); “security walls” which cut off villages from their fields and children from their schools; over five hundred military checkpoints;  “price tag” attacks from settlers; the destruction of their olive groves and houses in mass punishments; and no prospect of ever gaining independence as a reward for their “good behaviour”.




Please keep this in mind when you hear any Israeli claim that they are interested in living peacefully alongside the Palestinians. They simply are not.  

Professor Ilan Pappé has said that Israel made a conscious decision to become a racist apartheid state instead of a democratic one. Today, ultra-right, openly racist and fascist opinion is rising in Israel, with chants of “Death to Arabs” even at football matches. This should not be forgotten either.

In May, on the day commemorating the Nakba – the Palestinian Holocaust of expulsion by Israel in 1948 – there were demonstrations in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank. Israeli troops opened fire with live ammunition, killing two unarmed Palestinian teenagers. The incident was captured on closed circuit TV, and after initial denials the Israelis fell into sullen silence, not admitting the murders but unable to plausibly continue to deny them.

The kidnappings:

Some days later, on 11th June, Israel bombed Gaza, killing two Palestinians – one of them a ten year old boy. The very next day, three settler teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank. Israel, without providing any proof whatsoever, immediately blamed HAMAS for the kidnappings – though HAMAS denied any involvement. Despite knowing – from a phone call made by one of the kidnapped teenagers – that they were almost certainly dead, Israel lied (even to the parents, as they later testified), and launched a massive and aggressive “search operation” in the West Bank. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested, including over sixty released as part of a previous prisoner swap for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Nine Palestinians were killed, and houses demolished and looted. During this time Abbas’ PA security forces worked in close collaboration with the Israelis.

Much later, the teenagers were found dead – only a short distance from where they were kidnapped – and by tourist guides at that. Apparently the “thorough” search wasn’t thorough enough to check the neighbourhood of the kidnap. In response, the Israeli government immediately announced three more settlements in the West Bank.

Let me mention at this point that all these settlements are clearly illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, in Israel and the West Bank, ultra-right racist Jewish organisations had been hard at work, stoking up anti-Palestinian hatred.  Straight from an anti-Arab demonstration, six of these ultra-right Jews attempted to kidnap a Palestinian boy but failed - because the nine-year-old boy's mother began hitting the attempted kidnapper over the head with her cellphone. Can you imagine the paeans in the media if it had been an Israeli mother protecting her son from Arabs? I think you can.

It wasn't enough deterrence. The next day they returned, successfully abducted Muhammad Abu-Khdeir, poured petrol into his mouth, and burned him to death.

Even at this stage, HAMAS did not retaliate. Despite being repeatedly attacked, falsely accused of the kidnap of the teenagers (even the Israeli police later admitted HAMAS had had nothing to do with the kidnappings), it still did not retaliate. The nineteen-month ceasefire was still on.

The Qassams begin:

The facts show that Israel, as one article laconically states, had to work quite hard to get HAMAS to end its ceasefire. That finally happened on 7th July, when it bombed a HAMAS group in a tunnel inside Gaza. This group had had nothing to do with attacking Israeli positions.

Between 01:00 and 16:00, the bodies of 5 members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) were recovered from a tunnel dug near Gaza International Airport in the southeast of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.  They were identified as: Ibrahim Dawod al-Bal’awi, 24; ‘Abdul Rahman Kamal al-Zamli, 22; Jum’a ‘Atiya Shallouf, 26; and Khaled ‘Abdul Hadi Abu Mur, 21, and his twin brother, Mustafa.  Another three members were recovered alive, but one was in a serious condition.

Only then – after being repeatedly attacked in the West Bank as well as Gaza – did HAMAS retaliate; and the retaliation was by the Qassams, which, as we have seen, are utterly useless for all practical purposes.

That they are useless isn’t even a matter of opinion – the Israeli reaction proves they are useless. While simultaneously claiming that they are an existential threat, Israel reacted angrily to international flights being held back from its airports; apparently the existential threat wasn’t threatening enough to potentially harm its tourist industry. And while Qassams were touted as a massive threat, Israelis were sitting out on hillsides cheering the bombing of Gaza – exposed to these same Qassams.




Therefore the sequence of events, leading up to the invasion of Gaza, clearly shows that not only was HAMAS not to blame, but that at every stage, the Palestinians were reacting to Israeli provocation.

Let me also repeat a point I made earlier: HAMAS is not the only resistance group active in Gaza. There’s Islamic Jihad and several smaller groups; and even Israel admitted that HAMAS had stopped them rocketing Israeli cities. An attack blamed on HAMAS is not necessarily an attack launched by HAMAS, or even an attack HAMAS knew about or had any sympathy for.

It's a different matter that right now the various resistance groups are standing together against the enemy offensive - but not surprising. It's United We Stand and Divided We Fall; and if the Israeli attack is one thing which will bring the resistance together permanently, so much the better for it.

*******************************************

Having handled the sequence of events up to the launch of Qassams, which Israel cites as the casus belli of its war massacre in Gaza, let me move on to some other points.

The HAMAS human shield myth:

When all else fails, the Israeli counterargument about Gaza hinges a few shopworn arguments:

The first is the argument that HAMAS uses human shields and stores weapons in mosques and houses. That this is not true isn’t even a new thing: it was exposed several years ago, by Amnesty International among others, which said that the only instances of human shield use had been by Israelis. HAMAS did not, and has not now, used human shields. That is a lie. Nor has it stored weapons in homes or mosques except on two occasions when it stored weapons in empty UNRWA schools – UNRWA condemned the incident, and nobody has ever found any evidence that it was repeated.

Actually, this is by no means a new Israeli tactic. It had accused Hizbollah of similar tactics in 2006 – and then, too, it was conclusively proved by Human Rights Watch that Israel was lying. In fact, there is so much evidence piling up on this that this is something even Israeli Hasbara propagandists are becoming wary of citing.


(There's an interesting twist to this; as one of the few old Zionists still alive, Uri Avnery, says, in the Israeli "war of independence" it was the Jewish groups which hid weapons in schools, hospitals and synagogues.)



Nor is it true that the Israelis "warn" the people to flee before bombing their house. Often they don't, and even when they do, there is neither time to run or anywhere to run to.

The tunnels:

Another argument is that HAMAS used its tunnels to attack Israelis. This is a strange argument – apparently invented post facto – after the Qassam excuse didn’t wash as well as it seemed it would. I have been able to only find one instance of Palestinians – perhaps HAMAS, perhaps someone else – attacking a kibbutz using the tunnels; and that was on 17th July, ten days after the beginning of full scale hostilities. Since the tunnels have been around for many years, it's, in any case, at least disingenuous to pretend that they are a proximate cause for attacking Gaza.

The tunnels, as I said, were originally invented for smuggling, not for fighting; but they do seem to have been used with increasing effectiveness by the resistance to target the Israeli attackers. In retaliation, it is the Israelis who have been killing Palestinian civilians; that over 80% of Palestinian casualties have been civilians is proof, if any were needed, who is actually striking at civilian targets. In contrast almost all Israeli dead and wounded have been military personnel.

It is, in fact, the phenomenon of Gazan resistance and Israel’s retaliatory massacres of civilians that has led to the attackers’ destruction of the strip’s only power station; it was to drain Gaza’s laptops and mobile phones of power so that the people of the strip could no longer Tweet and Instagram photos and appeals for assistance to the world. Massacres are difficult to continue if exposed to the world in real time.

That this kills babies is incidental, of course.




The ceasefire:

The third Israeli argument is that HAMAS rejected a peace proposal – a ceasefire “proposed” by Egypt. It was a ceasefire HAMAS was never going to accept, and for excellent reasons. First, it was not consulted at all on what terms it was ready to accept; it has said repeatedly that what it wants is a lifting of the blockade. Secondly, the ceasefire was rubber stamped by the Egyptian dictator al Sisi, the man most responsible for the plight of the Gazans – much more so than even the Israelis. Third, though the proposal was rubber stamped by Egypt, it was an Israeli proposal, which gave Gaza nothing at all in return for ceasing hostilities. It would be a return to the status quo ante, as was the case in 2012. As we have seen, though the Gazans honoured the ceasefire, it was the Israelis who broke it. There is absolutely no reason to imagine it would be different this time round.

In return, HAMAS – and, very significantly, Islamic Jihad – made a counter-proposal; they would offer a ten-year ceasefire in response for lifting the blockade and other minor concessions. The response from the other side? Dead silence.

At the moment, fighting continues, and another “ceasefire” was broken within two hours by the Israelis, citing the “capture” of one of its soldiers. HAMAS has denied that it captured the soldier; in any case, the Israelis prefer to murder their own troops rather than let them be captured, as it seems to have done in this case. And seeing the number of times the Israelis have lied, it is by no means impossible that this “capture” is nothing more than another lie meant to continue the fighting.

In any case, the Israeli insistence on demolishing the tunnels is somewhat bizarre. Tunnels, surely, can be easily re-constructed when demolished? Isn't someone bright enough to have thought of that? And, in the exposed Gaza strip, tunnels are not just vital to the defence - they are the only way the defence can be conducted. As Uri Avnery says, HAMAS uses the tunnels for "...attacks, command posts, operational centers (sic) and arsenals."

As bizarre as this tunnel fixation is the Israeli insistence that it, and it alone, has the right to decide what a "ceasefire" entails. Thus, after declaring a 72-hour ceasefire, it still sent troops to attack a tunnel, apparently in the belief that it can destroy Palestinian infrastructure with impunity, but it's a ceasefire violation when the resistance fights back. That is at least delusional.

Either way, we can more or less say with confidence that the invasion isn't going anywhere near as well as the Israelis thought. 

************************************

A word about HAMAS:

Throughout this article, I have treated HAMAS as an independent resistance movement, “terrorist”, if you will, but independent. Actually, it was nothing of the kind. According to Uri Avnery, it was set up with the knowledge and tacit encouragement of Shin Bet (the Israeli military intelligence service, more honest and less murderous than Mossad). According to other sources, the Israeli involvement in setting it up was much more direct. Either way, HAMAS – at least in its upper echelons – is far from being as independent of the Israelis as most people believe.

There’s an interesting little fact. For all the talk about how HAMAS is “sworn to destroy Israel”, the Israelis have actually taken great care not to destroy or even seriously harm the group. In fact, even in the current confrontation, Netanyahu wants HAMAS to stay.

If you look at it, the only side that really wins in this conflict is...HAMAS. Israel is well on the way to becoming a pariah state, its propaganda collapsing, with huge numbers even in Europe now turned firmly against its racist apartheid policies. However, HAMAS, the raison d’être of Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza – HAMAS, which was on the ropes only months ago – has suddenly regained its lost position as the only defender of the Palestinians (excepting Islamic Jihad and minor groups). While Mahmoud Abbas continues to do nothing in the West Bank, HAMAS is steadily fighting the Israeli war machine to a virtual standstill. Who wins here?

I am not saying that Israel is deliberately sacrificing its soldiers to strengthen HAMAS. Even Netanyahu is not so stupid as that. The resistance of the lower ranks of HAMAS is real and effective; they didn’t melt away as the regime in Jerusalem thought they would. Increasingly, the Israelis are looking at a no-win situation. They aren’t losing though; not yet. Not as long as the US empire continues paying them, no questions asked.

The ones who are actually losing are the people of Gaza; but apart from the copy-pasted, hypocritical comments of Hasbara propagandists, nobody in a position of power cares about them.    

 Further reading:







And, oh, by the way, Zionists do not represent Jews. Thank you for remembering that.


Copyright B Purkayastha 2014

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Thought for the Day

Oppression always rides on the back of a carefully crafted lie: that the victims are the real oppressors, and that the perpetrators are merely defending themselves. Once that narrative has been successfully instilled in popular consciousness, anything goes as far as hurting the victims is concerned. 

At times this approaches farcical dimensions. I recall reading an account of a German born in Romania justifying the Nazi Holocaust against Jews in something like these words: "You keep talking about what we did to the Jews, but you never talk about what the Jews did to us!"

So what was it that the Jews did? Did they eat German babies or something? You're eager to find out. And then this same guy goes on to say that his father, a farmer, was shortchanged by a Jewish wholesaler.

That's it. A Jewish wholesaler - in Romania - made a questionable deal (allegedly), and therefore this justified the massacre of not just that Jew in particular but all Jews, including Jews from countries on the other side of the continent.


Then we have the case of Zionistan, where the Chosen People justify their own racist genocidal policies against the Palestinians by claiming that a Qassam rocket - in essence, more an upgraded firework than a weapon - is justification for systematic starvation of the Palestinian people, their confinement to Bantustans, and periodically, their massacre by bombing and the like. The simple fact is that, statistically, a Zionist is more likely to be killed by a peanut than a Qassam, but facts aren't the motive factor here.

In this country, you can safely substitute "Muslim" for "Jew" or "Palestinian", with the Hindunazis going to even more ludicrous lengths to justify their bigotry. Since they're hard put to find recent examples to justify their chauvinism, they fall back on alleged "massacres" perpetrated by Muslim rulers a thousand years ago. Asked to provide actual, verifiable figures for this, from genuine historians, of course, their response is vituperative abuse or silence.

None of this is surprising. It's difficult to justify murdering another people by claiming that they look, or pray, or dress differently from you. But claim that they have sinned against your people, and it's easy.

Aye, the perpetrators have a right to defend themselves, after all!


Muslim man "getting what he deserves", Central African Republic.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A very, very slightly hopeful article, for a change

In 2002, a wave of religious violence swept across the Indian state of Gujarat.

It wasn’t the first communal violence India has ever faced – very far from that – but it was one of the worst single episodes, simply because it was planned and directed by the state government in all particulars.

Back in 2002, Gujarat was known as the “Hindutva* laboratory”, where the nation’s largest Hindunazi[1] political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried out its ideas on turning society into a de facto Hindu theocracy where nobody else would have any rights whatsoever.

*The word, literally meaning “Hinduness”, connotes Hindu radicalism.

In the capital, the ironically named Gandhinagar, sat Narendrabhai Modi, whom I have written about elsewhere[2]; his government had recently not done well in local elections, and he needed some way of hardening support for his party. One sure way of hardening support, of course, is to get the people behind you in a religious crusade. This is something which rulers have known since the start of recorded history.

The Hindunazis had already been trying their damndest to marginalise the Christian and Muslim minorities in Gujarat. However, merely making it almost impossible to convert away from Hinduism to those religions wasn’t enough; something much more drastic was necessary.

A massive dose of communal bloodletting was an obvious answer. All one had to do was to wait for an opportunity.   

It came on the   27th of February 2002, when some carriages of a train returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state in North India caught fire in a railway station in Godhra in Gujarat. This Ayodhya was the mythological hometown of the mythical Hindu god-king Ram, and in 1991 had been the site of a Hindunazi aggression in which an ancient Muslim mosque had been demolished on the excuse that it had been built on the site of Ram’s alleged birth. For more information on that, I’ve written about it here[3].  

Ever since that date, Hindunazis had organised pilgrimages to the makeshift temple they’d set up on the site of the destroyed mosque. The train that was returning from Ayodhya had been loaded with people returning from that “pilgrimage”, and had a substantial complement of Hindunazi stormtroopers as well. According to reports, when the train stopped at Godhra, these stormtroopers had an altercation with Muslim tea sellers on the platform. They may or may not have attempted to abduct a Muslim girl as well, according to whom you believe, but there seems to have been a genuine quarrel.

Soon after leaving the station, the train was stopped, and Muslim mobs from the nearby slums allegedly attacked the carriage in which the Hindunazis were travelling. The carriage was burned, resulting in the deaths of 58 or 59 of the passengers, most of whom were women and children.

[Later, a judicial commission[4] proved conclusively that the carriages could not have been set on fire from outside, so that the Hindunazi fable of Muslims flinging petrol from buckets could not have happened. The Hindunazis then modified their tale to claim the Muslim mobs slashed the connectors between carriages with “swords”, entered the carriage, splashed petrol on the floor and then set it on fire. The commission, studying all the evidence, concluded that the fire was probably accidental. (In fact accidental fires on Indian trains are quite common and kill people virtually every year.) A citizen’s tribunal reached the same conclusion.]

Whether the fire was accidental or not, the Modi government in the state declared that this was an act of terrorism, and paraded the bodies of the dead to raise communal tensions. Another Hindunazi outfit allied to the BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), called a general strike, and though these strike calls are both illegal and invariably incite violence, the BJP did nothing at all to either stop it or take any measures to ensure security. By the end of the day, Hindunazi mobs were going around the state, often openly led by BJP politicians, systematically destroying Muslim properties, killing, looting and raping.

The violence was not just systematic, it was very carefully organised. The Hindunazi stormtroopers had very precise knowledge of just which businesses were owned by Muslims (which were often camouflaged by Hindu-sounding names), where they lived, and so on – knowledge which could only have been supplied by the state government. They were trained and organised, too, in demolition and arson, and armed with swords, explosives, and cylinders of cooking gas with which to carry out their campaign of murder and demolition. According to police officers and politicians from the BJP who later came out in the open, Modi declared that the people should be “allowed to vent their natural anger” and sent ministers to sit in the police control room to make sure the cops did nothing to quell the violence. Actually, the police on the ground not only did nothing, they routinely joined in the looting, destruction, murder and rape, so Modi’s precautions were likely superfluous anyway.

The violence reached surreal dimensions. Ordinary Hindus, not involved in the pogrom, pitched in the looting as well, rushing to snatch goods from vandalised Muslim shops, often on live TV. Entire localities populated by Muslims were cleared out, everyone either murdered or driven into refugee camps. A former member of parliament, Ehsaan Jaafri, begged for help when his locality was attacked. Not only did help not arrive, Jafri was stripped, beheaded, and his corpse thrown into a fire; several members of his family, including two young boys, were burned alive. The stormtroopers displayed an almost perverse tendency to assault women, raping them and then murdering them. If they were pregnant, the foetus was often ripped out of their bodies, impaled on spears, and burned separately. Children were massacred in identical sadistic fashion. Sometimes they were forced to drink petrol and then set on fire, so that they burned from the inside. Even girls as young as eleven were gang raped and murdered by the Hindunazi mobs.

I remember one incident reported by a Hindu peace activist, Teesta Setalvad, who later visited the makeshift Muslim refugee camps. She found Muslim children casually talking of “rape”, and, surprised, asked if they knew what this word “rape” meant. One kid piped up in these words: “Maĩ batāoon, didi, balātkār ka matlab hai jab aurat ko nangha bana dete hai aue uské bad jalā dete haĩ.” (“I’ll tell you, Elder Sister, rape means when they strip a woman naked and then burn her.”) These were kids, you understand, ordinary children.

The looting was accompanied by a systematic demolition of Muslim tombs and mosques; up to 230 of them were known to have been destroyed. In one instance, not only was a mausoleum demolished, but the local council paved over the site the very next day, displaying an alacrity unheard of in India and quite impossible without direct orders from the government.

Nobody knows how many people were actually killed. The “official figure” is about 150000 Muslims displaced and approximately 720 to 1000 killed; most credible estimates cite the dead as about twice that. According to figures, some 200 to 250 Hindus were also killed. How many of them were murdered by Muslims in retaliation is debatable. It’s known that many Hindus went to great personal risk to save their Muslim neighbours and friends, and that a lot of them were afraid of being mistaken for Muslims, so it’s very likely that at least a substantial number of them were killed deliberately or in error by the Hindunazi mobs.

It was only on the evening of the first of March, three days after the pogrom started, that the state government finally allowed the deployment of Central government forces, including the army, to impose a semblance of order. The Central government of the time was also under the BJP, and there are credible reports that the prime minister, the relatively liberal Atal Behari Vajpayee, had wanted to use constitutional provisions to dismiss Modi’s government and impose direct rule, but was dissuaded by his colleagues. The violence continued for many days afterwards, by fits and starts, and it was up to a month before it finally ebbed. What it left was a devastated society, where ordinary middle class Muslims found themselves – even if not personally bereaved – destitute and forced into Muslim ghettoes, where they were then accused of isolating themselves in ghettoes.

Modi’s response to the backlash and revulsion that broke out across the nation, from Hindus as well as others, was absolutely typical of the man. He called it an intolerable assault on Gujarati pride, rejected all criticism, and parlayed this into an “us versus them” mentality which brought him rich electoral rewards. He was helped by the spineless response of the alleged “secular” Congress party, which to this day has never made the slightest move to bring him to book, either at the state or at the centre.

And today, it is this Modi who is all set to become the Prime Minister of the country after the current multi-phase elections are over.

Great, isn’t it?

At this point, the reader is probably recalling the title of this article, and asking, what on earth is hopeful about any of this? Has Bill lost his mind?

No. Bill has not lost his mind.

There were two photos, of many, which defined the Gujarat pogrom in popular consciousness. The first was of a Muslim tailor, Qutubuddin Ansari, his face streaked with tears and dust as he desperately begged for his life.



The second was of a Hindunazi stormtrooper, fist clenched and an iron rod upraised in the other hand, as he shouted slogans at the camera. He belonged to the Hindunazi outfit Bajrang Dal, and his name was Ashok Mochi.



That was in 2002.

Now let’s take a time jump to March, 2014. The place is Kerala, in South India. Two men take the stage at a function, united in reconciliation, and pledge to fight Hindunazism and Modi together[5]. One of these men is Qutubuddin Ansari. The other is Ashok Mochi.

Mochi (left) and Ansari


And this is what gives me a faint, flickering, glimmer of hope. I don’t know if Mochi personally killed or injured anyone. I don’t know his personal journey over the years. But I do know that instead of retreating into the safe confines of Hindunazi radicalism, he went forth and begged forgiveness from his victims, and turned against the culture of hate which had used him and those like him as a weapon.

Nobody is irredeemable. If they have the faintest, slightest trace of humanity left in them, they can still turn around from the brink of the abyss.

If that isn’t hopeful, I don’t know what is.

Sources:







Further reading:





Note: A lot of Hindunazi supporters to this day attempt to deny all the facts of the Gujarat pogrom, even though Modi himself has now distanced himself from his former fellow-conspirators, and has had several of them prosecuted and jailed in an effort to reinvent himself as an innocent.