Friday, July 3, 2015

Those Rebels, That Hospital, Our Ambassador, & His Wife

"Israel has established a standard of its own - it and its supporters have erected what is probably the most substantial propaganda apparatus in modern history (in all history, given technological facilitation?). The mythical Goebbels' operation was small fry by comparison. The Zionist enterprise out-rivals the Soviet Union's post-WWII Cominform, not least because the latter's members were anathema to Western establishments whereas the former has been taken to their bosoms." (Israel's cheer squad and Sydney University - Part 1, Evan Jones, independentaustralia.net, 18/6/15)

Jones is spot-on, of course. For me, his comments call to mind the Israeli practice of picking up, and patching up, Syrian 'rebels' a little the worse for wear after a hard day's work in the emirate-in-progress just across the border (along with a handful of injured kids, for reasons that will become apparent as we proceed).

Here, for example, is an extract from one of the more recent news reports on the business:

"Since February 2013... the Jewish state has provided medical care to injured Syrians. So far, 1,600 of them - most badly injured - have been treated in hospitals in northern Israel. The effort has produced uplifting stories of injured Syrian children saved by Israeli doctors. But the majority of patients have been young men of military age, and... their affiliation with the various rebel groups remains shrouded in secrecy.

"Since 1974, a United Nations peacekeeping force has been stationed in the Golan Heights to monitor the cease-fire line between Israel and Syria. For the past year, most of the peacekeepers have been stationed on the Israeli side after Nusra abducted a UN battalion from Fiji in Syria (they were later released). In their latest report to the UN, the peacekeepers mentioned several meetings along the border between armed Syrian rebels and Israeli soldiers. They saw the Israelis take injured Syrians into their vehicles and load rebel trucks with sacks. What was in those sacks remains unclear, but Israeli sources, speaking in an off-the-record briefing, say the contents included food and blankets for the winter. [LOL]

"The UN report doesn't specify which rebel groups the Israelis were helping... But the main force operating in the area, Israeli sources say, is Nusra.

[See my 12/12/14 post A Side of Israel the World Too Rarely Acknowledges.]

"What the Israeli military will say on record is that it is offering medical care to injured Syrians. Over the past year and a half, for instance, Israeli doctors in the Rebecca Sieff Hospital [aka Ziv Medical Centre] in Safed have treated around 500 of them..." (Inside Israel's secret war in Syria, Assaf Uni, newsweek.com, 18/6/15)

OK, so Israel's been patching up the limbs of those tearing Syria limb from limb... and handing over sacks of whatever to the anti-Asad lads. Nothing unusual there. In fact, it'd be newsworthy if it didn't have an iron in the Syrian fire.

What is unusual, however, is how the Israelis have been conducting their covert exercise in destabilisation and regime change in Syria (involving a de facto alliance with an al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliate, the Nusra Front, dear to the heart of our own Zaky Mallah, but proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Australian authorities) under the cover of an overt propaganda exercise, projecting Israel as a Good Samaritan, disinterestedly ministering to the medical needs of a traditional enemy.

And non-Israelis, it seems, have been instrumental in the latter effort. Non-Israelis like Australia's ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma and his lovely wife, Rachel Lord, for example.

Here's Dave: 

"In the town of Safed... the frontline of the conflict in Syria feels very close. At Ziv Medical Centre, without fanfare or publicity, they are treating a steady and growing stream of wounded Syrians... Ziv Hospital is a profound example of humanity and decency at its most compelling. It is Israel at its very best, and a side of Israel that the world too rarely acknowledges." (Origin no bar to Israel lifesavers, The Australian, 31/8/13) (See my 3/9/13 post Our Man in Tel Aviv 2.)

And here's Rachel:

"Barely 4 months into her new position as diplomatic spouse, the 37-year-old former human rights lawyer is on a crusade: She wants to make the world aware of the humanitarian work being done at a small Israeli hospital up north where close to 150 victims of the civil war in Syria... have received treatment in recent months. On Thursday morning, she and her husband, Dave Sharma, hosted the first big event to take place at their official residence... since arriving here this summer: a gathering of members of the diplomatic corps to acquaint them with the activities of Rebecca Sieff Medical Center in Safed... It was just a few weeks after they arrived in Israel, with three little girls, that lord and her husband first read in the papers about the medical treatment Sieff hospital was providing Syrian victims of the fighting in their country, all at its own expense. Lord, who had worked previously as a Syria expert in the Australian foreign service, was intrigued and immediately jumped at her husband's suggestion that they take a trip to the hospital to witness first-hand what was going on. 'There were children with limbs blown off, who could barely move, the same age as our girls.' As a mother seeing those kids... I was literally in tears...  It was a story about Israel, she mused, that is not often told. 'Israel tends to get lots of negative press. It's rare to hear stories about such incredible humanitarian work going on here'." (Ambassador's wife offers relief to Syria's civil war victims - and to Israeli hospital, Judy Maltz, Haaretz, 25/10/13)

In fact, Ziv Medical Centre has even become one of the pit-stops on the rambamming circuit for Australian politicians. (See my 10/6/15 post Is AIJAC Getting Its Money's Worth?)

You really couldn't make this stuff up: far from the prying eye, Israel's Operation X in Syria is lending God-knows-what material support to AQ, while Australian diplomats and politicians praise the work of its propaganda arm at Ziv Medical Centre as "a profound example of humanity and decency at its most compelling," and "incredible humanitarian work."

Meanwhile, down in Gaza...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Getting Them While They're Young

The Israel lobby is not going to take the new Palestine-friendly Bob Carr or NSW Labor leader Luke Foley's new directive* on rambamming lying down:

"The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has announced its new Berger Fellowship program designed to strengthen ties between the Jewish community and future political leaders. The 2015 program is for up-and-coming Labor Party members and has the support of the General Secretary of the NSW ALP.**

"The program has been developed to enable participants to:

*act as a vehicle for the Jewish community and Labor Party
*attend major Jewish community events
*provide advice on events of mutual interest

"The program culminates in a week-long study tour of Israel.

"Participants for the 2015 program are Darren Rodrigo - Office of Bill Shorten. Dave Latham, State Organiser, NSW Labor, Edward McDougall, Senior Advisor, Office of Steve Kamper [MP for Rockdale] and Trent Murray, Co-Convenor Australian Rainbow Labor." (New NSW program for up and coming politicians, jwire.com.au, 30/6/15)

These guys don't miss a trick...

[*See my 1/5/15 post My Solution to NSW Labor's Rambamming problem;**Jamie Clements]

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cory Bernardi Shoulders the White Man's Burden

It's always interesting to learn about the backgrounds of those who toil on our behalf on the parliamentary leather. So thanks must go to Greg Bearup for his illuminating profile of Senator Cory Bernardi in this week's Weekend Australian Magazine. Some highlights:

"You'll be chatting amiably and he'll come out with something inflammatory, like: 'According to the Islamic texts and doctrines, Mohammed was the perfect Muslim; Mohammed was a person that, no question, did a lot of acts that are similar to what ISIS is doing today.' Kaboom! Can't you see how divisive that is, I say, and that most Muslims, even the most moderate Muslims would find that statement offensive? 'It's the truth,' he says. 'Islam needs reform. What was seen as acceptable in the seventh century is not acceptable today.' There's no nuance. He's not trying to appeal to the centre. His method is to spark debate with a hand grenade. At times, he's blown off his own arm. 'I'm just a big ball of scar tissue now,' he says. 'They can't draw any more blood.' Sometimes, listening to him, I am reminded of Pauline Hanson..."  (Regrets, I have just one)

Boy, Cory sure can join the dots! Breathtaking!

"[H]is political epiphany came to him when he was about 25 and he was lying in an isolation ward in an Adelaide hospital, suffering from tuberculosis. Until then he had led a fairly blessed existence. His immigrant father had done well; Leon opened a succession of inner-city restaurants and bars in Adelaide. Cory had attended one of Adelaide's establishment schools, Prince Alfred College, where he was a popular kid and a champion rower. At the age of 18 he was chosen to row for Australia... He won a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport... but his promising career was cut short by a back injury at the age of 19. He was bitterly disappointed but he dusted himself off and headed overseas... He travelled all over Europe and then found himself working for a German construction company that won a contract in Libya, where he lived for 9 months. It was not a happy experience and seems to have left him with a grim view of Islam. He was isolated and working with 25 Turks, 'none of whom spoke English'."

Rude bastards! That's Islam for you, I guess.

"When one of his colleagues, an Englishman, was injured and taken to hospital, Bernardi says they had to wait until a goat was treated before they tended to the Brit."

How dare those bloody wogs treat a white man in this fashion! Where's a NATO bombing raid when you need one?

"'There was another time when we saw some burqa-clad ladies and we went to talk to them and the men came and started abusing us, shushing us away... you don't want to accuse all Muslims but there are substantial parts of the Muslim teachings that shouldn't apply in the modern age'."

Jeez! How's a white man supposed to liberate a brown woman with all these bloody brown blokes getting in the way?

Thank God for the local sheilas:

"He came back to Adelaide and... bought into the family business, Bernardi's, an inner city pub. Sinead Sheehy, a beautiful and feisty young Irish woman... was working behind the bar. 'My first impression of him was that he was a very strong individual,' she says. 'Oh, and handsome.' Both of them were going out with other people. That soon changed."

OK, so Cory knows all about Islam and ISIS, but has he ever heard of ISIL - Italian State in Libya - and what it got up to at the Mechiya Oasis in Libya in October, 1911? Rhetorical question, of course.

Here are some correspondents' reports* from the time:

"Tripoli has been the scene of one of the reddest dramas in the history of wars. It was a week of atrocities, a mad rush of assassins, a hecatomb of aged people, women and children - executions in groups." (Correspondent of Excelsior, Paris)

"A perfect nightmare of horror... a veritable carnival of carnage." (Correspondent of the Daily Express)

"The Italians having set themselves to cow the Arabs, the floodgates of blood and lust were opened... One hardly knows to what limits the elasticity of the phrase 'military exigencies' will be stretched in the 20th century." (Correspondent of The Times)

"For 3 days the butchery went on... cripples and blind beggars have been deliberately shot; sick people whose houses were burned were left on the ground and refused even a drop of water. The Arab quarter was overrun by crazy soldiers armed with revolvers, who were shooting every man and woman they met. (Francis McCullagn, Correspondent for the Daily News, Westminster Gazette, and New York World)

*Quoted in Libya & the West: From Independence to Lockerbie, Geoff Simons, 2003

Monday, June 29, 2015

George Galloway's 5-Point Plan for Combating ISIS

As you may or may not know, George Galloway is currently campaigning for the position of London's lord mayor, a matter to be decided next year.

Mindful of the weekend's murder of British tourists in Tunisia, he has just tweeted the following thought:

"It is only a matter of time before the Death Cult ISIS attacks us here at home. We are locked into a conflict our leaders chose for us."

While LibLab here has little to offer except more military involvement in Iraq and less civil liberties at home, Galloway, who accurately predicted the consequences of the Bush/Blair invasion of Iraq, followed the above with 5 more tweets, outlining a five-point plan of action to combat ISIS.

Here it is:

1) End involvement, direct and indirect, in wars on Arab countries.

2) Back the Syrian and Iraqi States as they fight for the existence of their countries.

3) Employ a single, not double, standard towards political violence. Stop Islamophobia at home.

4) Stop propping up and arming Israel and the Arab dictators we approve of whilst attacking those we don't.

5) Protect our borders at all costs. National unity, smart policing, intelligent intelligence, determination.

Let the discussion begin...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Insufferable Hypocrisy (& Short Memory) of Murdoch's Australian

Here's the Australian's editorialist, lashing the ABC for allowing the clearly troubled, ill-informed and attention-seeking Zaky Mallah to strut his stuff on its Q&A program last Monday night:

"In allowing Mallah the floor, Q&A went far beyond its previous efforts allowing Julian Assange and David Hicks to question Julia Gillard and John Howard." (ABC's blunder of judgment, 24/6/15)

Now here's Martin Chulov, a former Middle East correspondent for the Australian, disclosing, in his 2006 book, Australian Jihad, that his paper threw money at Mallah. (The colleague mentioned was fellow journalist Louise Perry):

"Mallah hadn't told us outright the target of his proposed attack, but from the tone of his letter, ASIO looked a likely prospect. There was a stark conflict between our roles as journalists and our duties as citizens to disclose information we had about a planned offence, especially something as serious as a potential act of terrorism. Mallah had told us he would be in touch again shortly to arrange a screening of his [suicide] video... Within a few days, Mallah called again, inviting us to his home...

"'I've got the video now. You can have a look at it, if you want. How much do you think it would be worth?'

 "'I don't know, Zak. Why do you want to sell it, anyway?' I asked.

"'Islamicaly we have to clear our debts before we die. I need about $4000 to do that and then I'm sweet.'

"We had earlier arranged with The Australian to offer Mallah several hundred dollars for several of his jihadi photos. We knew the paper wasn't interested in buying his suicide video, but we decided not to refuse his request there and then." (Australian Jihad: The Battle Against terrorism from Within & Without, p 173)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Saudi-Israeli Alliance

We live in strange times:

1)

"There are many hands behind the Israeli army's onslaught on Gaza. America is not unhappy that Hamas is getting such a beating... Nor is Egypt overcome with grief...

"Neither matter to Netanyahu as much as the third undeclared partner in this unholy alliance, for neither on their own could give him the cover he needs for a military operation of this ferocity... Such permission can only come from a brother Arab.

"The attack on Gaza comes by Saudi Royal Appointment. This royal warrant is nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it. Former Israeli defence minister Shaul Mofaz surprised the presenter on Channel 10 by saying Israel had to specify a role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarisation of Hamas. Asked what he meant by that, he added that Saudi and Emirati funds should be used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged.

"Amos Gilad, the Israeli defence establishment's point man with Mubarak's Egypt and now director of the Israeli defence ministry's policy and political-military relations department told the academic James Dorsey recently: 'Everything is underground, nothing is public. But our security cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states is unique. This is the best period of security and diplomatic relations with the Arabs.' The celebration is mutual. King Abdullah let it be known that he had phoned President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to approve of an Egyptian ceasefire initiative which had not been put to Hamas, and had the Jerusalem Post quoting analysts about whether a ceasefire was ever seriously intended.

"Mossad and Saudi intelligence officials meet regularly: The two sides conferred when the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was about to be deposed... and they are hand in glove on Iran, both in preparing for an Israeli strike over Saudi airspace and in sabotaging the existing nuclear programme. There has even been a well sourced claim that the Saudis are financing most of Israel's very expensive campaign against Iran..." (From Saudi Israeli alliance forged in blood, David Hearst, middleeasteye.net, 20/7/14)

2)

"For more than half a century, Saudi Arabia has tried to use its vast oil wealth to build a lobby in the United States that could rival the imposing Israel lobby... but [they] could never build the kind of grassroots political organization that has given Israel... such extraordinary clout... But Saudi Arabia may have found another way to buy influence inside the United States - by giving money to Israel and currying favor with Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over the past several years, as both Saudi Arabia and Israel have identified Iran and the so-called 'Shiite crescent' as their principal enemies, this once-unthinkable alliance has become possible - and the Saudis, as they are wont to do, have thrown lots of money into the deal.

"According to a source briefed by US intelligence analysts, the Saudis have given Israel at least $16 billion over the past two and a half years, funneling the money through a third-country Arab state and into an Israeli 'development' account in Europe to help finance infrastructure inside Israel. The source first called the account 'a Netanyahu slush fund,' but later refined that characterization, saying the money was used for public projects such as building settlements in the West Bank..." (From Did money seal Israeli-Saudi alliance? Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com, 15/4/15)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lifting the Lid on Saudi Influence in Australia

One to watch:

"WikiLeaks has revealed secret Saudi Arabian influence in Arabic media and Islamic religious groups in Australia, as well as covert monitoring of Saudi students studying at Australian universities. More than 60,000 leaked Saudi diplomatic documents have been released by WikiLeaks in what the international transparency group says will be the first instalment of the publication of more than 500,000 secret papers in batches over coming weeks...

"The leaked Saudi government documents include extensive correspondence between the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the kingdom's embassy in Canberra that reveals sustained Saudi efforts to influence political and religious opinion within Australia's Arabic and Islamic communities.

"The documents include instructions from the Saudi government to its embassy relating to the payment of large subsidies from the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information to prominent Arabic newspapers and media organisations in Australia, with reference made to cheques to the value of $10,000 and $40,000.

"The Saudi embassy is also revealed to pay close attention to the political and religious beliefs of Saudi university students studying in Australia with reports sent to the Mabahith, the General Investigation Directorate of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the kingdom's brutal secret police that deals with domestic security and counter-intelligence.

"The directorate is also revealed to make recommendations in relation to Saudi government funding for building mosques and supporting Islamic community activities in Australia.

"The documents show the Sunni kingdom's strong concern about efforts by Shiite Islamic leaders to engage with the Federation of Islamic Councils and the kingdom's funding of visits to Australia by Sunni Islamic clerics to counter Shiite influence.

"WikiLeaks said the reports... 'provide key insights into the kingdom's operations and how it has managed its alliances and consolidated its position as a regional Middle East superpower, including through bribing and co-opting individuals and institutions.'

"The documents reveal extensive Saudi efforts to influence and neutralise critical opinion in foreign media, including widespread use of monetary contributions and subsidies..." (Saudi influence in Australia revealed, Philip Dorling, The Sun-Herald, 21/6/15)

Those extensive efforts to influence and neutralise critical opinion in foreign media must be working here, because Dorling's piece is the only report of these WikiLeak documents, as far as I'm aware, to surface in the Australian msm.