Sunday, April 29, 2018

Good News... Bad News

A 2008 Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (Monash University) survey of Melbourne's and Sydney's Jewish community found that "Close to 80% of respondents indicated that they regarded themselves as Zionists." (Report Series on the GEN08 Survey, Preliminary Findings)

Nine years on, the ACJC GEN17 survey finds that, while "88% of people feel a personal responsibility to ensure that the Jewish State 'continues to exist'," only 69% identify as Zionist.

What is one to make of these figures?

Well, the good news is that when it comes to those surveyed identifying as Zionist, that's a drop of 11% on the 2008 survey. One could, perhaps, conclude therefore that Zionism is increasingly on the nose with Australian Jews.

But the bad news is that 88%. What does it mean? That 19% of those surveyed simply don't understand that feeling the need to ensure the continued existence of a Jewish State in Palestine means that they are, in fact, Zionists?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Plain Truth about the Gaza Ghetto Massacres

As you reflect on Israel's latest Friday massacre in Gaza (3 killed, 600 wounded), recall this demented Zionist's 14-year-old prediction:

"When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it's going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. Its going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day." Israeli 'geostrategist' Arnon Sofer, quoted in It's the demography, stupid, Ruthie Blum Leibowitz,, 21/5/04)

Of course, the plain truth is that:

a) The "human catastrophe" in Gaza is a wholly Israeli creation, a by-product of Zionist ethnic cleansing in 1948.

b) The "bigger animals" are not the ghettoised and brutalised Palestinians, but their jailers, the Israelis.

c) The "insane fundamentalism" driving those Israeli "animals" is Zionism, Israel's state ideology, which insists on maintaining an exclusively Jewish state in historic Palestine at the expense of its indigenous people.

d) The only way to maintain this state of apartheid is to "kill and kill and kill. All day, every day."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Trump's French Poodle

Have we reached an historic moment? Is the formulation of US policy in the Middle East now in the hands of Tel Aviv... and Paris? Has USrael has found, in Emmanuel Macron, its Tony Blair? Has Bush's poodle become Trump's French poodle? Has Dumb found his Dumber? Whatever's going on, the Trump-Macron bromance is truly weird.


"Just a month after another brief flirtation with the idea of withdrawing from Syria, President Trump once again said he wants US troops out of Syria, promising 'big decisions' very soon. His first talk of a pullout was scrapped days later. This time, he backtracked almost instantly. With French President Emmanuel Macron in tow, Trump told reporters that he and his allies are taking a long-term approach to Syria, and that this would involve leaving 'a strong and lasting footprint' within Syria. He said talk of the long-term issues in Syria was 'a very big part' of his discussions with Macron.

"The idea that Macron is driving Trump's decision-making was a big issue last week. Macron claimed credit for Trump agreeing to stay in Syria, but quickly reversed course, and insisted the two had always agreed on the issue." (Trump again backtracks on Syria pullout, vows 'strong and lasting footprint', Jason Ditz,, 24/4/18)

Just on the issue of dumbness, how dumb is Macron? By all accounts, tres. 

For example, it seems he's completely unaware of the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism: "Addressing Benjamin Netanyahu [last year]... who attended [an event in France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Vel D'Hiv round-up, in which 13,152 French Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps by the then Vichy French government], the French leader said: 'We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism." (Emmanuel Macron says anti-Zionism is a new type of anti-Semitism,, 17/7/17)

In addition to conflating the unconflatable and allowing Netanyahu to make cheap propaganda out of the Vel D'Hiv round-up, thus exploiting the suffering of its Jewish victims, France's appalling colonial record in Syria appears to give him no pause for thought whatever - assuming he's even aware of it that is. Now more than ever, it's worth reviewing the sorry story. The following extract comes from Jeremy Salt's vital book, The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, 2008:

"In 1919 [the Syrians] held a congress in Damascus and chose a king (the sharif [of Mecca's] son Faisal) without being fully aware of the extent to which their rights were being bargained away in London and Paris. In 1920 France partitioned Syria by establishing an enlarged Lebanon and giving it a constitutional arrangement that privileged Christians against Muslims. When negotiations with the Syrian government failed, it sent an army across the Lebanon mountains to bring Damascus to heel. The French forces met stubborn resistance all the way, punishing 'rebellious' villages by bombing them from the air or putting them to the torch. At the base of the anti-Lebanon mountains thousands of Syrian nationalists took up defensive positions around the pass at Khan Maysalun. The pitched battle that ensued dragged on for several hours; by the time the nationalists were routed, 150 were dead (including their commander Yusuf al 'Azma) and another 1,500 wounded. French losses were 42 dead and 152 wounded. Faisal fled before the French entered Damascus and began taking over public buildings.

"Over the years the French used the full range of colonial devices to control Syria. The strategic need to anchor the French presence at both ends of the Mediterranean meant not just consolidating a military presence on land and at sea but blocking the growth of religious and national sentiment. Accordingly, the French 'did not conceal their preference for Christians above Muslims and for the mountain minorities (Maronites, Alawites, Druzes and Turcomans) above the majority Sunni Arabs of the coast, desert and cities.' Separate states - effectively colonial protectorates - were established around Damascus and Aleppo; within the state of Aleppo, the coastal sanjak (subprovince) of Alexandretta (Iskanderun) was excluded and given its own autonomous administration before France completely debauched its 'sacred trust' responsibility under the mandate by handing the region over to Turkey in 1939 (the very region it had insisted in 1918 was part of la Syrie integrale); the coastal region of Latakia was given statehood, and in the south the Jabal Druze was given autonomy with its own governor and an elected council. These arrangements were modified over the years, but French interests always had to predominate. Each state or autonomous region functioned under the control of French delegues and departmental advisers; parliaments (in Lebanon as well as Syria) could be prorogued at the high commissioner's discretion and constitutions suspended indefinitely.

"From beginning to end the platform on which this colonial structure was built was force. More than six thousand French soldiers (most of them colonial troops from North or West Africa) had already died suppressing 'rebels' and 'brigands' since 1920 when Sultan al Atrash, angered at the arrest of Druze sheikhs, routed a French column in late July 1925 and besieged the occupied Druze town of Suwayda. When a second column sent to punish the sheikh for the destruction of the first was also scattered, a wave of uprisings spread across the whole of Syria with the speed of a grass fire. The 'great Arab revolt' had begun, and the French moved swiftly to crush it. In October an uprising in Hama led by Fawzi al Qawuqji - later to make his name fighting the British in Iraq and the Zionists in Palestine - was met with aerial bombardment of the market area and ground action by the hated Senegalese levies that left more than three hundred dead. Outside the town 'rebels' set fire to railway stations and pulled up the lines; in the south, eight villages and the town of Majd al Shams in the Golan were left in ruins after French attacks that left tens of thousands of people homeless; attacks on the Druze in one part of Syria led to Druze uprisings elsewhere, with the town of Hasbeyya (in Grand Liban) being recaptured only after an assault by more than three battalions of Algerian infantry backed by cavalry, tanks, field artillery, and air support.

"Inevitably, Damascus had to bear the brunt of French imperial anger. The main point of resistance was the orchard area on the outskirts of the city known as the Ghuta. Already by October 15 about a hundred 'brigands' had been killed in 'clearing operations.' Twenty-four of the bodies were carried into the city by French soldiers and put on public display in the central square, a touch of barbarity that only further inflamed public feeling. On October 17, Druze horsemen arrived at the Ghuta, and the nationalists began moving toward the center of Damascus, bypassing the barricades set up to keep them out. The next evening the French began bombarding the southern quarters of the town before turning their attention to the center the following morning, 'this time with high explosive shells striking in all quarters from the central bazaars down to the middle of the Maydan.' In two days, 1,416 people (including 336 women and children) were killed and much of the central city was ruined by tank and artillery fire and air attack. The Suq Midhat Pasha and the Suq al Hamidiyya markets near the Umayyad mosque were destroyed. Shop fronts were riddled with machine-gun fire. In the biblical 'street called straight' (running alongside the Umayyad mosque), whole buildings collapsed into piles of rubble. The palatial mansions of the urban notables were shattered. The French high commissioner (General Sarrail) had made part of the 'Azm Palace his quarters, and that was quickly besieged by 'rebels.' The general's rooms were pillaged and the selamlik (where official guests were received) was destroyed. 'Very serious damage' was done to the library, 'where valuable and irreplaceable prints and books dealing with Arabic art have either been absolutely destroyed or injured beyond repair.' Tapestries and carpets were looted both from the 'Azm Palace and the mosques of the Maydan quarter by persons unknown, but the nationalists accused French troops of taking them before setting the mosques on fire.

"There were no apologies from the French government, only outrage at the killing of French troops and the destruction of property by 'brigands.' A collective fine (of about P35 per person) was imposed on Damascus, and the city was subjected to a house-by-house search for weapons. In the country, villages 'where brigands are reported to have been harbored and victualled' were torched, yet the resistance continued. More than 200 Druze fighters were killed and more than 200 wounded in fighting with the French around Majd al Shams in April 1926. Suwayda was retaken by the French the same month after a large-scale battle between 12,000 French troops and a Druze force of 4,000 to 5,000, of which number about 600 men were killed and another 800 wounded for perhaps 120 deaths on the French side.

"With resistance slowly being broken in the north and the south, the French were able to concentrate on the center. In February they had made another attempt to crush resistance in Damascus, and on May 7 they struck again: 'In less than 12 hours the French army struck with more intensity than it had either in October [1925] or February. The number of houses and shops destroyed during the aerial bombardment or as a result of incendiaries was estimated at well over 1,000. The death toll was equally staggering, between 600 and 1,000. The vast majority were unarmed civilians, including a large number of women and children: only 50 rebels were reported killed in the attack. Afterwards the troops indulged in pillaging and looting and then paraded their spoils through the streets in the city centre... The French assault made a formerly busy quarter of 30,000 a virtually deserted ruin.'

"On July 8, a further six days of fighting began when the French military command sent some 5,000 troops, backed up by tanks, field artillery, and aircraft, into the Ghuta. Another 1,500 people (an estimate because, like most occupying armies, the French had no interest in counting the people they were killing) died (only a few hundred of them 'rebels') at the cost of about 200 'French' (mainly colonial troops) lives. Druze and other nationalist leaders fled into Transjordan; France was to retain its hold on Syria and Lebanon until 1946, when, weakened by the war and disgraced by a final bombardment of Damascus in which hundreds of people were killed, it was compelled to withdraw under British pressure and transfer the authority given to it by the League of Nations to nationalist governments." (pp 83-86)

And Macron wants the US to stay in Syria?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WAPO: Syria 4, Yemen 0

Tweet from Bassem @BBassem7:

In the 24 hrs following Douma (Syria) alleged gas attack that killed supposedly 40 people, @washingtonpost tweeted 4 times about this incident. In the 24 hrs following the Saudi airstrike on wedding party in Yemen that killed 40 people, @washingtonpost tweeted 0 times about it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Give Us a Break, Guardian!

Another Israeli bloodletting in Gaza. Another lame Guardian editorial:

"The soldiers use of live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators is an affront; but it is in line with the brutal attitudes towards Palestinians that have been normalised by Israeli politicians." (The Guardian view on the Gaza protests: a new challenge to Israel's blockade, 23/4/18)

It's not an "affront," it's a fucking war crime!

That aside, if the Guardian's editor, Jonathan Freedland, is so bloody ignorant that he seriously thinks that Israeli brutality towards Palestinians is something new, then he doesn't deserve editorial space on a news website, let alone the job of boss cocky.

I mean, how far back do we have to go to understand that anti-Palestinian brutality is in the Zionist DNA?


"[Israeli Prime Minister Levi] Eshkol had already had reason to be worried about the Gaza refugees roughly two years before the Six-Day War [of 1967]. The refugees were multiplying, and when their numbers reached half a million, he feared the situation would become explosive. Once, he asked the chief of staff what would happen if the Egyptians [who then controlled the Gaza Strip]  simply marched the refugees - women and children in the vanguard - towards the border with Israel. [Yitzhak] Rabin said they would not do that, and if they did, as soon as the IDF had killed the first 100, the rest would go back to Gaza." (1967: Israel, the War & the Year that Transformed the Middle East, Tom Segev, 2007, p 524)


"Altogether between 2,700 and 5,000 infiltrators were killed in the period 1949-1956, the great majority of whom were unarmed." (Avi Shlaim, reviewing Benny Morris' Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation & the Countdown to the Suez War, 1993)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Jordan Peterson & the 13th Rule for Life

I read in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald mag Good Weekend the feature - Toughen up, snowflake - on professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Jordan Peterson.

Peterson, apparently, is the latest, trending intellectual guru with all the answers - 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos - for the perplexed (and who isn't these days?), so before rushing out to buy his tome, I thought I'd subject him to the infallible guide for sorting the sheep from the goats, the Palestine/Israel litmus test.

It's really quite simple to administer. Just Google the guru's name + 'Palestine' or 'Israel' or both and check out the result.

So I did, and OMFGx10!

Google took me to a YouTube video, beneath which these words appeared:

"Professor of Psychology Jordan Peterson, Professor Salim Mansur, Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and Ezra Levant, co-founder of The Rebel Media give a spirited talk on the historical significance of the Balfour Declaration (May 18, 2017). The event was hosted by Canadians for Balfour 100, a project of the Speakers Action Group in cooperation with The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and the Mozuud Freedom Foundation."

The Gatestone Institute? Chaired by John Bolton? That's right! As to the rest... well, life's too damn short.

I proceeded straight to JP's 16-minute contribution, but could barely manage 10. Here's why:

"Maybe even the enemies [ie Arabs] of the Jews [ie Israelis] respect them because they've done so well and it's just annoying."

"Israel's a shining beacon on the hill [in] a God-forsaken part of the world."

"You think about the common complaint that the Western colonialists, say, were responsible for the divisions of the Middle East. I mean, that's one way of looking at it. If you start history at 1917 after the allies won the First World War and took down the Ottoman Empire... you could say, well, England and France had the upper hand and they arbitrarily divided up the Middle East, but you could just as easily say that the Ottoman Empire collapsed and they had to do something with it. It wasn't obvious, and they gave some of it to the Arabs who really didn't have any land to begin with, or not any independent land that's for sure, because they were dominated by the Ottoman Empire, and they decided to give some of it to the Jews. Well, maybe that wasn't the world's best solution either way but they were maybe making the best of a bad lot."

According to our intellectual guru, empires (and presumably, countries too) just collapse - no push, no shove necessary. In the case of the Ottoman Empire, no foreign interference over decades, no foreign interventions, no final British push in Palestine. One minute it's standing, the next it's in a bloody great heap, just begging to be cleared away.

And guess which innocent bystanders just happen to be around at that precise point: 'Blimey, chaps, just look at that! How frightfully messy. OK, duty calls, roll up your sleeves and pitch in! And when we're done, we can give some of it to those Arab blighters, and some to the Jews.' To which latter suggestion said innocent bystanders exclaim as one: 'What a jolly good idea!'

Hey, Jordan, here's a 13th Rule for Life. Put it in your second edition: If you don't know anything about a subject, don't talk about it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Next War

Ominous drumbeats in Friday's Australian, from its full-page interview with Israel's new ambassador to these shores, Mark Sofer:

"... the insidious beachhead of Iranian military power pushing into Syria, which shares a border with Israel." (A NOTE TO IRAN: GO HOME, Adam Creighton)

"... Iran is 'crossing a red line'."

"'The Iranians are sitting there, threatening our existence... '"

"... an Iranian government so belligerent that even Arab nations - former enemies of Israel - are looking to Israel to help contain it."

If Israel isn't gearing up for a war this year...

Some other highlights:

"Sofer is at pains to draw a distinction between the Iranian people - 'very erudite' - and the 'half-crazed lunatics' running the theocracy in Tehran."

Says the representative of the half-crazed lunatics running the theocracy in Tel Aviv...

(Remember what happened after another half-crazed lunatic, George W. Bush, drew the same distinction between the Iraqi people and their leader? "Iraq's talented people, rich culture, and tremendous potential have been hijacked by Saddam Hussein." (A vision for Iraq & the Iraqi people, 16/3/03))

"The country is more than pulling its weight in humanitarian terms. 'We're accepting into Israel a huge amount [sic] of Syrian wounded into our hospitals. We don't make a song and dance about it,' he says, referring to the tens of thousands of Syrians being treated for wounds in the north of the country."

And the Oscar goes to...

"The ambassador displays his nation's famously coy attitude to its own military capabilities. 'We're not a nuclear power. We have always said so, and will always say so,' he says when asked about his country's nuclear development. Try finding a source that argues Israel doesn't have a sizeable battery of nuclear weapons. Can anyone blame Israel, though?"

Certainly, you can't, Adam - not if you want to keep your job at the Australian.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Circle the Wagons!

The 70th anniversary of the ill-conceived, apartheid state of Israel is looming, and Murdoch's Australian is literally salivating at the prospect.

On Thursday, we had a 6-page supplement -  INNOVATION NATION - "Seventy years ago on May 14, David Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of Independence proclaiming the state of Israel. In an arid landscape, the nation has succeeded through ingenuity in endeavours including agriculture and, more recently, hi-tech centred on Tel Aviv and its Silicon Wadi" (19/4/18) - and a lead article by Bruce Loudon, A miracle shaped from the desert, in which he amusingly confuses Israel's apartheid Law of Return with the Palestinians' international law-backed right of return:

"The 'right of return' has attracted migrants with a commitment to the future of Israel."

"And then there is the upsurge of violence in Gaza. Hamas terrorists are inciting impoverished Gazans into defiant protests under the banner of a 'Great March of Return' aimed at reclaiming Palestine, to coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary."

But for me the highlight of Loudon's leader was his resurrection of the hysterical words of Israel's first ambassador to the UN, Abba Eban (who, btw, once cynically quipped that "Propaganda is the art of persuading others of what one does not believe oneself"):

"Surrounded by hostile armies on all its land frontiers, subjected to savage and relentless hostility, exposed to penetration raids and assaults by day and by night, suffering a constant toll of life among its citizens, bombarded by threats of neighbouring governments to accomplish its extinction by armed force - embattled, blockaded, besieged, Israel alone among the nations faces a battle for its security anew with every approaching nightfall and every rising dawn."

An oldie but a goldie. Made my day.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Iraq: No 'War for Oil'

I watched George Galloway's fine 2017 doco The Killing$ of Tony Blair last night. If you haven't already seen it, I can assure you it's well worth it.

Should you do so, I have only one, albeit rather large, caution: the film has footage of Noam Chomsky parroting his nonsense about the US invasion and destruction of Iraq being a 'war for oil', a line unfortunately repeated by Galloway at the conclusion of the film.

Just to clarify, here are my top authorities, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, on this furphy:

"Saddam was eager to sell his oil to any customer willing to pay for it. Moreover, if the United States wanted to conquer another country to gain control of its oil, Saudi Arabia - with larger reserves and a smaller population - would have been a much more attractive target. Plus, bin Laden was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, and fifteen of the nineteen terrorists who struck the United States on September 11 were Saudis (none were from Iraq). If control of oil were Bush's real objective, 9/11 would have been an ideal pretext to act... There is also hardly any evidence that oil interests were actively pushing the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2002-03." (The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy, 2007, p 254)

Thursday, April 19, 2018


It seems only yesterday that I was writing about how the language of Trump's bizarre 'Get ready, Russia/Gas Killing animal' tweet, signalling his intent to attack Syria, smacked of a b-grade 50s western. Well, it appears Trump's started something of a trend. Still, who'd have thought it'd be echoed on the other side of the pond by a Tory toff:

"The president of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Lord David Howell said the Syrian crisis should prompt the [Commonwealth Heads of Government Movement] summit leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to stand up for common values including the rule of law... Lord Howell rejected the claims made in Britain by Mr Corbyn and others, that Parliament should have debated or voted on the use of force before Ms May authorised the military strikes. 'When the posse is riding out you have to join the posse,' he said. 'You can't say 'Oh we'll be back next week when we've had a discussion about it'." (CHOGM 'can pressure Syria' on chemicals, David Crowe, Sydney Morning Herald, 18/4/18)

We live in strange times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Please Explain

Former senator for the Australian Greens, Scott Ludlam, has resurfaced as a Guardian Australia columnist... with mixed results. To deconstruct just these two sentences:

"Syria, and Yemen, and Gaza, each in their own way, are terminal signs that our system of global governance is truly broken." (Syria exposes the broken state of global governance. How do we respond? 16/4/18)

Why Gaza, and not Palestine?

"No party to these bruising conflicts can say with a straight face that they are acting in good faith, or with any regard to the 'international rules-based order' in which post-second world war generations have placed their trust."

To focus here just on Gaza/Palestine, by 'party to the conflict,' does Ludlam mean that neither Israel nor the Palestinians are 'acting in good faith,' or adhering to international law? If so, this statement of equivalence between the two suggests that he has no idea of the underlying settler-colonial nature of the problem. In 2018!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rubbery Figures

"More than 120,000 civilians have been killed... in Syria since 2011, says the Violations Documentation Centre." (Gas often used on civilians: aid group, Sarah Almukhtar, The Sun-Herald, 15/4/18)

"Assad has killed at least 400,000 of his fellow Syrians in seven years of civil war." (Trump strike futile, but will make him feel better, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 16/4/18)

"... the US has been silent on the approximately 100,000 civilian deaths." (Missile strikes easy part. What happens next is harder, Denis Dragovic, Sydney Morning Herald, 16/4/18)

"Analysts view the latest retaliatory strike as futile in a war that Assad instigated and won, after seven years of brutal fighting and the deaths of more than 500,000 civilians." (Strikes met with scorn and shrugs, Farid Farid, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/4/18)

"Of the more than 400,000 Syrians killed... " (Despot gets back to work bombing his people, Sune Engel Rasmussen, The Wall Street Journal/The Australian, 17/4/18)

Here's One for You, Babe

"The White House was in touch with Jerusalem ahead of the overnight airstrikes on Syria. US President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, spoke in the last few days with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben Shabbat, to coordinate details of the US-led attack on Syria... " (Trump adviser Bolton coordinated US-led strike in Syria with Israel, Noa Landau,, 14/4/18)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Israel's Chemical Weapons Capability

"Following the horrors of World War I... civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare... The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States." (From Full text of Trump's address regarding airstrikes in Syria)

OK. Well, now you've punished Syria for its alleged gas attack, how about Israel for its actual gas attacks? James Brooks' extensive essay The Israeli poison gas attacks: A preliminary investigation, (, 8/1/03) details these.

Here's a most interesting extract from chapter IV, Israel's chemical weapons capability:

"Regardless of official pronouncements, the Israeli government has had a deep and abiding interest in the full range of chemical and biological warfare agents. It is well known that Israel has been developing chemical and biological weapons for decades at its Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) complex in Nes Ziona, near Tel Aviv. The facility has been involved in, among many other things, 'an extensive effort to identify practical methods of synthesis for nerve gasses (such as tabun, sarin, and VX) and other organophosphorus and fluorine compounds.'

"One of the IIBR's specialties is inventing novel delivery systems for chemical weapons. One example is a revolver with a range of 150 feet. On impact, a bullet from this weapon injects a needle impregnated with a deadly toxin. The whole affair is designed to penetrate just enough to deliver a fatal dose, and leave little or no trace of the needle.

"IIBR's expertise is also highly scalable. In the aftermath of a tragic 1992 air crash in Amsterdam, the large scale production of nerve gases at IIBR became very difficult to deny. An El Al 747 jumbo cargo jet, flying from New York to Tel Aviv, plowed into a 12-story Amsterdam apartment building, killing the four people on the plane and at least 43 people on the ground in an instant inferno. Teams in while Hazmat suits, never identified or acknowledged by officials, descended on the scene and hauled away certain debris. The Dutch and Israeli governments assured the public that the plane had been carrying 'perfume and gift articles,' and 'no dangerous material' was on board.

"In time, a syndrome of debilitating and chronic health disorders beset at least 850 local survivors. They and their doctors suspected a connection to the El Al crash. In 1998, a Dutch newspaper partially leaked the flight manifest; 20,000 pounds of chemicals had been on the plane, including large amounts of three of the four ingredients needed to make sarin, a deadly nerve gas - enough, when properly mixed, to annihilate a major world city.

"Finally, El Al admitted the presence of the three chemicals. But the identity of one-third of the chemicals on the plane remains a secret to this day. A Dutch citizens group, OVB, literally dug deeper to learn more. They found that soil at the crash site was tainted with uranium, zirconium and lanthanum. Tests also found depleted uranium in the stool samples of local survivors, which, doctors said, corresponded well with the symptoms suffered in the post-crash health syndrome."

See also Salman Abu Sitta's essay, Traces of Poison,, 27/2/03.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

'God' Gets Down & Dirty in the Middle East

As Trump was mouthing his excuses for his decision to attack Syria, he asked his fellow Americans to "say a prayer for our noble warriors... as they carry out their mission," and "pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America." (Full text of Trump's address regarding airstrikes in Syria)

Meanwhile, in occupied Palestine, Trump's other half, Benjamin Netanyahu was cheering on the "holy work" of his snipers*, with the following result:

"Israeli forces injured around 1,000 protesters, 15 of them critically, on Friday as it used lethal force to crack down on demonstrations in eastern Gaza for the third week in a row. One Palestinian, 28-year-old Islam Mahmoud Rushdi Herzallah, was reported by the Gaza health ministry to have died after being shot in the back east of Gaza City." (Israel targets reporters, medics in Gaza protests, Maureen Clare Murphy,, 13/4/18)

[*Netanyahu says Israeli snipers are doing 'holy work', Alison Deger,, 12/4/18]

Sydney Morning Herald Readers & Syria

Every Saturday the Sydney Morning Herald features an item called The Readers' Panel. Four questions are asked, and the results - yes/no/don't know - are recorded as pie graphs at the foot of the letters page.

One of yesterday's 4 questions was: Do you think Australia should join a joint response to the Syrian chemical attack?

The results were as follows: Yes - 39%; No - 39%; Don't Know - 21%

For the pessimists among us this will be a glass-half-empty:

That is, 39% of Herald readers appear sufficiently brain-dead as not to be aware of the fact that they are being bombarded daily with anti-Asad, regime-change propaganda recycled from the New York Times and the Washington Post.

For the optimists, a glass-half-full:

Despite this bombardment, 39% smell a rat, or two, or three, and remain capable of thinking for themselves.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Anthony Nutting Turns in His Grave

The news anyone with half a brain has been dreading:

"On Friday evening, President Trump announced that he has ordered the US military to attack Syria's government. The attacks, which will be participated in by British and French forces, will focus on strikes against Syrian chemical capabilities... " (US, UK, France launch attacks on Syria, Jason Ditz,, 13/4/18)

I'm reminded of the combined British/French/Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956, known as the Suez crisis. (For Israel today, merely substitute USrael.)

I'm reminded too of the following words by Britain's Minister of State at the Foreign Office at the time, Anthony Nutting, who resigned in protest at Britain's decision to join the prior Franco-Israeli conspiracy to attack Egypt:

"Rudyard Kipling's well-known lines on the Boer War - 'Let us admit it fairly as a business people should/ We have had no end of a lesson, it will do us no end of good' - apply equally appropriately to the Suez disaster of 1956. The Boer War, like the American War of Independence nearly 150 years before, showed that the Dutch colonies were not prepared to submit to British imperialism: the Suez War, 40 years later, showed that Britain could no longer dictate to Egypt.

"Within the span of that turbulent half-century the world was transformed and the conditions in which Britain had been able to play her former imperial role ceased to exist. British rule was withdrawn from vast areas of the world as the nineteenth-century concept of Empire was swept away in the scalding torrents of twentieth-century nationalism. Tel el-Kebir, Omdurman and the Khyber Pass now belong in the history books: the Wolseleys and the Kitcheners have ceased to be the arbiters of the fate of nations which, regardless of size and strength, now enjoy equality of status with the mightiest of powers in the United Nations.

"One of the more curious features of modern British history is that, while generally prepared to accept this transformation in respect of the Indian and Colonial Empires, successive British Governments were to show an extreme reluctance to abdicate control in the Middle East." (No End of a Lesson: The Story of Suez, 1967, pp 7-8)

Nutting published this insight into the colonial mindset of the British ruling class in the preface to his book on the Suez debacle 51 years ago. In attacking Syria yesterday, Britain and its Franco-USraeli accomplices have obviously learnt NOTHING in the 62-year period since they fucked up in Egypt in 1956.

Pull the Other

"... Labor's Michael Danby, a noted campaigner for human rights everywhere..." (Woman China wants you to ignore, Peter Hartcher*, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/4/18)

Everywhere? EVERYWHERE?

Pull the other.

[*See my 7/9/16 post Time to Wake Up to the Herald's Peter Hartcher.]

Friday, April 13, 2018

Mugging Syria for Israel 2

Still don't get who's behind the 'get Syria' push? Still don't see who's had it in for Syria for decades. Clearly, you haven't done your homework. Specifically, by reading John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's seminal 2007 study, The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy:

"It is worth recalling that some important figures in the lobby had their sights on Syria well before the Twin Towers fell. Damascus was a prominent target in the 1996 'Clean Break' study written by a handful of neoconservatives for incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu.* In addition, Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, the head of the US Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL), had coauthored a report in May 2000 calling for the United States to use military threats to force Syria to remove its troops from Lebanon, get rid of its WMD, and stop supporting terrorism. The USCFL is a close cousin to the lobby, numerous neoconservatives are among its major activists and supporters, including Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, and David Wurmser. In fact, all of them signed the 2000 report, as did pro-Israel Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), another core USCFL supporter.

"This proposal, and others like it, did not gain much traction in Washington during the Clinton years, mainly because Israel was committed to achieving peace with Syria during that period. Apart from these hard-liners, most groups in the lobby had little incentive to challenge Clinton's policy toward Syria, because the president's approach tended to mirror Israel's. But when Sharon came to power in 2001, Israel's thinking about Syria changed dramatically. Reacting to this shift, a number of groups in the lobby began to press for a more aggressive policy toward Damascus.

"In the spring of 2002, when Iraq was becoming the main issue, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was also promoting legislation to formally place Syria on the 'axis of evil' and Congressman Engel introduced the Syria Accountability Act in Congress. It threatened sanctions against Syria if it did not withdraw from Lebanon, give up its WMD, and stop supporting terrorism. The proposed act also called for Syria and Lebanon to take concrete steps to make peace with Israel. This legislation was strongly endorsed by a number of groups in the lobby - especially AIPAC - and 'framed,' according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 'by some of Israel's best friends in Congress.' JTA also reported that its 'most avid proponent in the administration' was Elliott Abrams, who, as we have seen, is in frequent contact with [Israeli PM Ehud] Olmert's office.

"The Bush administration opposed the Syria Accountability Act in the spring of 2002, in part because it feared that the legislation might undermine efforts to sell the Iraq war, and in part because it might lead to Damascus to stop providing Washington with useful intelligence about al Qaeda. Congress agreed to put the legislation on the back burner until matters were settled with Saddam.

"But as soon as Baghdad fell in April 2003, the lobby renewed its campaign against Syria. Encouraged by what then looked like a decisive victory in Iraq, some of Israel's backers were no longer interested in simply getting Syria to change its behavior. Instead, they now wanted to topple the regime itself. Paul Wolfowitz declared that 'there has got to be regime change in Syria,' and Richard Perle told a journalist that 'we could deliver a short message [to other hostile regimes in the Middle East]: 'You're next.' The hawkish Defense Policy Board, which was headed by Perle and whose members included Kenneth Adelman, Eliot Cohen, and James Woolsey, was also advocating a hard line against Syria.

"In addition to Abrams, Perle, and Wolfowitz, the other key insider pushing for regime change in Syria was Assistant Secretary of State (and later UN Ambassador) John Bolton. He had told Israeli leaders a month before the Iraq war that President Bush would deal with Syria, as well as Iran and North Korea, right after Saddam fell from power. Toward that end, Bolton reportedly prepared to tell Congress in mid-July that Syria's WMD programs had reached the point where they were a serious threat to stability in the Middle East and had to be dealt with sooner rather than later. The CIA and other government agencies objected, however, and claimed that Bolton was inflating the danger. Consequently, the administration did not allow Bolton to give his testimony on Syria at that time. Yet Bolton was not put off for long. He appeared before Congress in September 2003 and described Syria as a growing threat to US interests in the Middle East.

"In early April, WINEP [Washington Institute for Near East Policy] released a bipartisan report stating that Syria 'should not miss the message that countries that pursue Saddam's reckless, irresponsible and defiant behavior could end up sharing his fate.' On April 15, the Israeli-American journalist Yossi Klein Halevi wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times titled 'Next, Turn the Screws on Syria,' while that same day neoconservative Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy, wrote in the Washington Times that the Bush administration should use 'whatever techniques are necessary - including military force - to effect behavior modification and/or regime change in Damascus.' The next day Zev Chafets, an Israeli-American journalist and former head of the Israeli government press office, wrote an article for the New York Daily News titled 'Terror-Friendly Syria Needs a Change, Too.' Not to be outdone, Lawrence Kaplan wrote in the New Republic on April 21 that Syrian leader Assad was a serious threat to America.

"The charges leveled against Syria were remarkably similar to those previously made against Saddam. Writing in National Review Online, conservative commentator Jed Babbin maintained that even though Assad's army was a paper tiger, he is still 'an exceedingly dangerous man.'  The basis for that claim was an 'Israeli source who had told Babbin that 'Israel's military and intelligence arms are convinced that Assad will take risks a prudent leader wouldn't' and therefore, 'Assad's unpredictability is itself a great danger.' Marc Ginsberg, former US ambassador to Morocco, warned of 'Syria's secret production of weapons of mass destruction and its weaponization of missile batteries and rockets.' And like their Israeli counterparts, American supporters of Israel suggested that Syria was hiding Saddam's WMD. 'It wouldn't surprise me,' Congressman Engel remarked, 'if those weapons of mass destruction that we cannot find in Iraq wound up and are today in Syria.'

"Back on Capitol Hill, Engel reintroduced the Syria Accountability Act on April 12. Three days later, Richard Perle called for Congress to pass it. But the Bush administration still had little enthusiasm for the legislation and was able to stall it again. In mid-August, Engel and a group of politicians and Jewish leaders from New York traveled to Israel and met for ninety minutes with Ariel Sharon in his Jerusalem office. The Israeli leader complained to his visitors that the United States was not putting enough pressure on Syria, although he specifically thanked Engel for sponsoring the Syria Accountability Act and made it clear that he strongly favored continued efforts to push the legislation on Capitol Hill. The following month, Engel, who announced he was 'fed up with the... administration's maneuvering on Syria,' began pushing the bill again. With AIPAC's full support, Engel began rounding up votes on Capitol Hill. Bush could no longer hold Congress back in the face of this full-court press from the lobby, and the anti-Syrian act passed by overwhelming margins (398-4 in the House; 89-4 in the Senate). Bush signed it into law on December 12, 2003." (pp 273-76)

[*See my posts Absent-Minded Professors Inadvertently Set Iraq Ablaze (22/12/08) & Netanyahu & the Cauldronization of Iraq & Syria (14/3/13).]

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mugging Syria for Israel 1

Read this part transcript of Fox News' host Tucker Carlson, sensibly animadverting on the subject: What do we REALLY know [about the latest chlorine gas attack in Syria] this time? Then note his guest's - Republican Senator Roger Wickers - damning admission at the end. Most educational:

... All those geniuses tell us that Asad killed the children. But do we really know that? Of course, they really don't know that. They're making it up. They have no real idea what happened... How would it benefit Asad, using chlorine gas last weekend? Well, it wouldn't.

Asad's forces had been winning the war in Syria. The [US] administration just announced its plan to pull American troops out of Syria, having vanquished ISIS. That's good news for Asad and about the only thing he could do to reverse it and hurt himself would be to use poison gas against children. 'Well, he did it anyway,' they tell us. 'He's that evil.' Please.

Keep in mind this is the same story they told us last April. Do you remember that? It was almost exactly a year ago. The new administration was now no longer seeking to depose Asad from power. Regime change was no longer our policy. So the usual war hawks in Washington started yelling, went beserk, and days later Asad supposedly used sarin gas against civilians in Syria. There was a video. We bombed a Syrian airbase in response to that. At the time the obvious question would seem to have been: Are we really sure that Asad did that? It seemed weirdly-timed and counterproductive to him. 'Shut up,' they exclaimed. 'Of course we're sure. What an unpatriotic question.' But of course they were lying. Two months ago the Secretary of Defense admitted that actually we still have no proof that Asad used sarin gas last year. The story, it turns out, was propaganda, designed to manipulate Americans - just like so much of what they say. We've seen this movie before, and we know how hit ends.

But just for the sake of argument let's assume they're not lying this time. Let's assume Asad did just use chlorine gas against kids...  Would that be worth starting a new war? Overthrowing Asad's regime in Syria would result in chaos. Many thousands would die. In fact we might likely see the genocide of one of the last remaining Christian communities in the Middle East, and we might just care about that... Would it make America safer? Would it make the region more stable? Let's see exactly how regime change worked in Iraq and Libya. 'It doesn't matter,' say our moral leaders at CNN... atrocities like this cannot be tolerated. OK, but let's be real. We do tolerate atrocities like this all the time. For example, there's a devastating famine killing children in Yemen right now. The Saudis are causing that famine...

In real life Syria is a highly complicated place. With Asad gone who would run it exactly. Are the moderate rebels we're always hearing about, the ones you're supporting with your tax dollars. Well, a lot of them turn out to be Islamist crazies...

Back in 2013, when the Syrian civil war was still in its earliest days, one onlooker weighed in on twitter. Here's part of what he wrote: "We should stay the hell out of Syria. The rebels are just as bad as the current regime. What do we get from our lives and billions of dollars?. Zero." That was Donald Trump.* And he was right, and that's one of the reasons he got elected president, and now the same people who brought us a dying American middle class, indefensible American borders and endless, pointless wars you can't even find on a map, are telling the president he's got to depose Asad for reasons that are both unclear and demonstrably dishonest...

Roger Wickers is the Republican representative for the state of Mississippi, and he joins us tonight... Senator, what is the national security interest that would be served by regime change in Syria?

Wickers: Well, if you care about Israel, you have to be interested at least in what's going on in Syria...

[*Trump's latest (11/4) gobsmacking tweet, smacking of a b-grade 50s western: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!]

PS - 13/4: Tucker Carlson's rant was featured on the American progressive Jimmy Dore Show. Most of it was replayed to much head-nodding and positive asides by Dore. But not all. Seems he was so wowed over the convergence of his and Carlson's anti-war stance on Syria that he neglected to play Carlson's exchange with Wickers. Funny that...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Whatever Happened to Free Speech?

Now here's a loaded opening sentence:

"Jewish groups are demanding an apology from the ABC over an interview with a disgraced British vicar accused of anti-Semitism and spreading anti-Israel conspiracy theories." (ABC under fire for interview with accused anti-Semite, Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 4/4/18)

To unpack: Jewish groups or Zionist shop fronts?* Disgraced? - says who? Accused means guilty? Has Israel never been known to conspire?

"Radio National marked the start of Passover... by speaking to Stephen Sizer, a retired Anglican vicar and critic of Christian Zionism... "

And how did Israel mark it? By massacring Palestinians.

And as for Sizer being a "critic of Christian Zionism," which End Times theology mandates that, prior to the fabled Battle of Armageddon, Jews either convert to Christianity or die,** wouldn't that, like, be a plus? But no, what really matters to our knee-jerk Zionist complainants, is not Jews as Jews, but apartheid Israel.

Sizer's 'crime'? In 2015, "he shared an article from the website Wikispooks titled '9-11 Israel did it'...", saying, "'the article raises so many questions'." At which, lo and behold, "the Church of England subsequently barred him from writing or speaking about the Middle East."

Perhaps if Radio National had interviewed one of our very own Anglican Friends of Israel instead, said "Jewish groups... demanding an apology from the ABC," would have been happier. After all, AFI's aims include such Zio-friendly items as (1) "To resist the call for a boycott of Israel"; ( 4) "To recall the Church to G-d's Covenant with the Jewish people and to call the Church to affirm the centrality of Israel to the Jewish faith"; and (5) To call Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs - of both word and deed - inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and their State." (

FYI: Stephen Sizer's 2014 book on Christian Zionism is Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon.

[*Those "demanding an apology" are revealed later in the piece: Peter Wertheim, chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), who railed against what he called a "soft" interview, and Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), who declared that the ABC had "'crossed the line big time' in giving Dr Sizer a platform 'to spew his anti-Israel venom'".]

[**"Chuck warned us that Jews who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as their messiah by the time of the Battle of Armageddon will face divine punishment in the form of a double-strength Holocaust. 'Check it out! Zechariah 13:8 - "in the whole land, says the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive". A third of the world's Jews, six million out of eighteen million, died in the Holocaust. We're talking two-thirds at Armageddon - do the math!'" (Allies for Armageddon: The Rise of Christian Zionism, Victoria Clark, 2007, p 16)]

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Palestinians Came Down Like the Wolf on the Fold... 2

(with apologies to Byron)

As I was saying only the other day (7/4), no one, but no one, does reality inversion quite like a Zionist propagandist. Please, let's hear it for... Alan Freedman of St Kilda East:

"In orchestrating the violence, Hamas knew exactly what it was doing. If those protesters in Gaza had stayed home instead of provoking Israel into controlling militants attempting to breach its border, no one would have been killed." (Letter to The Australian, 9/4/18)

(Needless to say, if the grandparents of those Gaza protesters had "stayed home" in 1948-49, they'd have been shot dead and so, conveniently for Israel, not been in a position - ahem - to produce such "provoking" grandkids, right Alan?)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Middle East's First 'Shock & Awe' 2

"Alexandria was about to be turned into a testing ground for the latest advances in British military technology, including hydraulics, swiveling gun platforms, and compound armor. The standard British guns were superior to the Egyptian in every respect. They had a larger bore, faster muzzle velocity (the speed at which the shell leaves the barrel), and much more effective target penetration at a far greater range. The guns were mounted on rotating platforms on the Temeraire and within rotating turrets on the Inflexible, allowing both ships to fire in different directions without having to change position; they could also fire from a distance of up to five thousand yards, putting them well outside the range of the shore guns. The Inflexible was the first warship in the Royal Navy to be fitted with compound armor and underwater torpedo tubes. Each of its four 'monster guns,' as they were described in the London newspapers, now about to be fired for the first time in action, weighed eighty-one tons, had a barrel length of 26 feet, 9 inches, and could fire a 1,700-pound projectile (propelled by a charge of 370 pounds of powder and traveling a third of a mile a second) capable of penetrating twenty-two inches of iron plate at a thousand yards. Every shell fired from one of these guns cost the British taxpayer P25 10s. The destructive power of the Temeraire's four twenty-five-ton guns and four eighteen-ton guns was also very great. Against this massed naval might, the Egyptian shore guns were almost completely ineffective. Sir Beauchamp had no reason not to sleep well on the night of July 10.

"At 5:15 A.M. the Egyptian government sent a steamer to the Alexandra with a message accepting the British demands to stop work on the shore forts, only to receive a message from Sir Beauchamp that 'the time for negotiations was past.' The ships took up battle stations ranging from 1,000 to 3,700 yards offshore and opened up at 7:00 A.M., when the Alexandra fired the first shell at the Adda fort. The shelling continued until 5:00 P.M. 'All that matured science and modern skill could add to the inhuman science of death, mutilation and dire destruction was at work now,' one commentator wrote. Another thought the spectacle as exciting as watching a rugby match between Eton and Harrow. The effect on the Egyptian defenders as the coastal forts were pulverized by these giant shells was understandably demoralizing.

"Mansions on the shoreline were shattered. Even the royal palace at Ras al Tin was set on fire, starting in the harem and burning through the day. In the European quarter of the city, hotels, consulates, and shops were destroyed by the shelling or set on fire and pillaged as outraged Muslims struck back. As the bombardment continued, the French, Portuguese, and British consulates burnt to the ground. The Anglican church was damaged by a shell. The central market lay in ruins, the main square looked as if it had been swept by a hurricane, and some streets were so choked with debris that they could be traversed only in single file. The destruction was so great that a British correspondent who had lived in the city for seventeen years could no longer recognize the street the street where he lived even when he was standing in it. The European quarter was still burning days later. Perhaps two thousand Egyptian soldiers and an unknown number of civilians lay dead in the ruins of the forts or in the bombarded and burned center of the city. Admiral Seymour, the British government, and the London newspapers blamed bedouin, convicts, Egyptian soldiers, and incendiaries for the damage when most of the destruction had clearly been caused by the naval shelling. The British finally restored the order they had just destroyed by clearing the streets with Gatling guns, shooting arsonists, and hanging or flogging looters in what was left of the main square, but by this time most of Alexandria had been turned into 'rubble and ash.' In this welter of blood and destruction British military casualties amounted to five killed and twenty-seven wounded.

"After the event it was argued that 'the bombardment of this magnificent city, so long the emporium of Oriental commerce, produced dire consequences which had not been foreseen and to preclude which no measures had been taken.' European residents of the town were shocked that they had not been warned. 'Had Admiral Seymour given even forty-eight hours notice of his intentions to bombard, he and his government would have been spared the frightful responsibility which now weighs upon them of causing the horrible death of European men, women and children who perished miserably in the interior and the deaths of hundreds of Egyptian women and children who perished in the bombardment and in the panic flight from the hastily bombarded town.' In the wake of the shelling, reports started to come in from Zagazig, Tantah, Damanhour, Mahalla al Kabir, and other towns of the gruesome killings of Europeans (including an entire family dragged out of their train and laid across the line in front of the engine).

"Having established themselves in Alexandria, the British were now reinforced by a land army of more than forty thousand, many of them Indian Army veterans of the campaigns in Afghanistan. The pursuit of Urabi inland involved all the paraphernalia of a great imperial army on the move, from field hospitals, a postal department, and a wagon with a printing press (a wartime propaganda first) to pontoons, war balloons, heliographic equipment, and an armored siege train. A 'specialty ingenious arrangement' enabled a forty-pounder or a Gatling gun to be fired from the carriages without the train being damaged from the recoil.

"Urabi made his final stand at Tal al Kabir on September 12. The British force of thirteen thousand launched a night attack on a force at least twice the size and routed it. 'Enemy ran away in thousands, throwing away their arms when overtaken by our cavalry,' telegrammed the British commander, Sir Garnet Wolseley. 'Their loss is very great.' The bodies of thousands of slain Egyptians 'lay in heaps of thirty and fifty' across the battlefield. Many were headless, while others had been disemboweled or 'literally cut in two.' The British losses were almost trivial: nine officers and forty-eight NCOs and men killed, twenty-seven officers and 353 NCOs wounded, and twenty-two men missing. Urabi was captured and exiled to Ceylon for eighteen years after a sham trial. In the meantime, 'Mr Gladstone went out of his way to contend that the landing of British troops in Egypt was not an act of war.' Apparently the bombardment, invasion, and battlefield butchery were all acts of something else." (pp 36-41)

The Middle East's First 'Shock & Awe' 1

"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

Remember Bush's 'shock & awe', unleashed on Baghdad in March 2003? Wikipedia describes it as "a campaign tactic... based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force designed to paralyze the enemy's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight."

It's worth pointing out, however, that, as with all forms of imperial criminality in the Middle East, not to mention elsewhere, the British got there first with their bombardment of the Egyptian port city of Alexandria in July 1882.

Never heard of it? Neither had I. To fill you in on the gory details, and the British invasion of Egypt that followed, here's the first of 2 posts on the subject, taken from Jeremy Salt's invaluable history, The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (2008):

"In Egypt the khedives [Ottoman viceroys] had slowly sunk into a morass of debt. Mehmet Ali [1769-1849], understanding full well where economic dependence leads, had refused to accept money from foreign lenders. His descendants had to learn the lesson the hard way. They borrowed heavily on European markets to finance various projects. Indebtedness had compelled the Khedive Ismail to sell Egypt's share of the Suez Canal company to Britain for the paltry sum of P4 million... The country's finances and public works were placed under the dual control of the British and the French, but by 1879 the situation was such a mess that the two powers had succeeded in securing the sultan's assent to Ismail's deposition in favour of his son Tawfiq.

"By this time the nationalists had adopted a slogan that was to be repeated until Egypt finally won independence through the revolution of 1952: 'Egypt for the Egyptians.' Their leader was Urabi Pasha (1841-1911), an army colonel. Patriotic and a man of the people, whereas the khedive was an alien in all ways, he had risen through the ranks, capturing the imagination of the people and compelling the khedive (whom he regarded as no more than an instrument of foreign domination) to bring him into the government. By late spring 1882 popular support for Urabi had forced the khedive to accept him as war minister. The establishment of a defiant patriotic government ended foreign supervision of Egypt's finances. The controllers left the country. Momentarily impotent, Britain and France demanded that the khedive dismiss the government and send Urabi and his troublemaking colleagues into the country. No sooner had he bowed to their demands than the Alexandria garrison mutinied, forcing Tawfiq to reappoint the ministry as quickly as he had brought about its downfall.

"A torrent of propaganda was now directed at Urabi from afar. Egypt had 'fallen into the hands of a clique of obscure officers, most of whose names had never been heard of in Egypt twelve months before.' [British PM] Gladstone, using language strikingly reminiscent of Sir Anthony Eden's attacks on President Gamal abd Al Nasser in 1956, called Urabi a 'usurper and dictator.' British and French warships were sent to Alexandria in the name of being on hand to protect the lives of Europeans should the 'rabble' turn on them. They took up their positions in the late spring and lay waiting, as motionless at anchor as crouched animals on a hot day. The British fleet consisted of nine warships (Alexandra - the flagship - Inflexible, Superb, Tremeraire, Sultan, Condor, Monarch, Invincible, and Penelope) and five gunboats (Bittern, Cygnet, Beacon, Helicon, and Decoy) fitted with 'torpedo apparatus' as well as the Gatling guns and Nordenfeld cannon with which the ironclads were also equipped. They were later joined by the warship Achilles. This display of naval power must have filled the inhabitants of the city with rising apprehension as the days went by without the warships moving.

"Alexandria's population of about 230,000 included 70,000 'Europeans,' a category that included Maltese, Armenians, Greeks, and Jews as well as the nationals of European states (including about 4,500 Britons). The provocative, ominous presence of the warships inevitably ended in disturbances. On June 11, a fight in the Rue des Soeurs between two donkey boys - one a Maltese Christian and the other a Muslim - triggered rioting in which about 300 people died. The estimated 150 European dead included the chief engineer of the Superb and two other Englishmen... who were 'literally done to death' in the street. Many of the victims were Maltese; others were Muslims cut down with rifles distributed beforehand to local Christians by the British consul... with the help and planning of the commander of the British fleet and the 'implicit backing' of the Foreign office and the Admiralty.

"News of the rioting caused panic in Cairo. Thousands of European and local Christians fled to Alexandria to book passages on ships out of the country. About fourteen thousand had left by June 17, and a further eight thousand were waiting to leave. The departure of so many trained personnel threatened to disrupt government services, including railways, posts, telegraphs, and the provision of water to Alexandria. The khedive was urged to move government offices to the port city, where the British fleet riding at anchor would be close at hand in case of further trouble.

"A conference that was convened in Constantinople to resolve the crisis ended without a solution being found. On July 3, the commander of the British flotilla (Sir Beauchamp Seymour) warned the Egyptian government to stop strengthening coastal fortifications at Alexandria or face the consequences, and on July 9 Gladstone gave his approval for an attack two days later. Having stationed their warships off the coast of another country and triggered serious disorders by their presence, the British now claimed the right to attack as 'a measure of self defence'."

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Palestinians Came Down Like the Wolf on the Fold... 1

(with apologies to Byron)

No one, but no one, does reality inversion quite like a Zionist propagandist. Please, let's hear it for... George Fishman of Vaucluse:

"When 30,000 people, intent on your destruction, mass on your border and attack your army with burning tyres, slinging rocks, molotov cocktails and a variety of other firebombs, it's not a non-violent protest or a peaceful march, it's war. Israel has every right to use whatever means it has at hand to respond to Gaza's deadly attacks." (Letter to The Australian, 6/4/18)

Saudi's Salman Sucked-in

The Jeffrey Goldberg interview with Mohammed bin Salman (Saudi crown prince: Israelis have the right to a homeland,, 2/4/18) is revealing of both:

"The crown prince was asked by Jeffrey Goldberg whether the 'Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland'."

Stop right there. How many times does this have to be repeated? There is no such thing as 'the Jewish people'. The term is a Zionist fiction. There are, of course, Jews who connect, some more, some less, with Judaism. They are no more an ethnic group/people, however, than Christians and Muslims are, despite the efforts of Zionists such as Goldberg who, to buttress their claim to Arab Palestine, misrepresent them as such.

In case it's not bleeding obvious that the only thing Russian Jews, Iraqi Jews and Ethiopian Jews (to cite but three examples) have in common is a faith, whether religious or cultural, note the following:

"A committee appointed by Israel's Diaspora [!] Affairs minister says that there are some 60 million people around the world with an 'affinity' to Judaism or Israel. The committee says that among them there are communities that could be brought to Israel and converted to Judaism." (Israeli military sets sights on millions of 'potential Jews' to improve country's image and fight BDS,, 27/3/18)

(Except that packing in Chinese, Indian or African converts has nothing to do with "improving Israel's image," and everything to do with outnumbering the indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants of Palestine.)

What arrant, self-serving nonsense this 'Jewish people' fabrication is.

Yet the Saudi clown prince took the bait:

"'I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation,' said the prince, who is on a three-week US tour."

But then what would you expect: "Goldberg also asked Salman about... the kingdom's previous involvement in funding Wahhabi groups... But Salman said he did not know what Wahhabism is... "

Friday, April 6, 2018

Some of Us Lose Our House Keys...

The New York Times' Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Isabel Kershner, is one of a long line of Israeli/pro-Israeli propagandists (Thomas Friedman, Steven Erlanger, Ethan Bronner, Jodi Rudoren).

Our problem is that, in the absence of Fairfax having their own, half-way decent Middle East correspondent, Fairfax readers are expected to put up with the rubbish dished out by Kershner & Co. Either that, or similarly skewed reporting from The Washington Post.

Here, for example, is Kershner' outrageous euphemism for Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Israeli terror gangs in 1948:

"The organisers said [the Great Return March] was intended to raise international awareness of the long-standing blockade of the isolated and impoverished coastal enclave, imposed by Israel and Egypt, and to support the Palestinian demand to return to homes lost in 1948, in what is now Israel." (Israel 'did what had to be done', New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 3/4/18)

Some of us may lose our house keys, but the Palestinians are apparently the only people in history to have lost their houses.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The SMH Editorialist Does Syria

The Sydney Morning Herald's April 2 editorial on Syria, Forget the politics, this is a catastrophe, plumbs shocking new depths in editorial ignorance.

Some gems:

*"Has any country had a more unfortunate history since the end of World War II than Syria?"

Hello? Ever heard of Palestine? Once part of Greater Syria - southern Syria - it was torn from the whole by the Britz and handed to the predatory Zionist movement on a platter. At least today's Syria wasn't flooded with French colons.

*"Granted its independence from France, which had ruled the territory since 1920, in 1946 the new republic enjoyed three years of democracy before undergoing three separate coups in 1949."

Oh, so French "rule" of Syria began as some sort of immaculate conception, did it? Apparently, there's no need to trouble the reader with the inconvenient fact that la belle France mugged Syria's first ever independent and representative government when it brutally invaded and occupied Damascus in 1920. As for the coups of 1949, it was the manifest failure of the Syrian 'democrats' to adequately confront the Zionist usurpation of Palestine in 1948 that prompted the army to enter politics on the basis that the way to Tel Aviv lay through the Arab capitals. But what would the Herald know about that?

*"A loosely defined aggregation of widely disparate peoples, cultures and territories set out under the self-serving Sykes-Picot agreement to carve up the Turkish empire between Britain, France and Russia in 1916, Syria was always going to struggle to achieve unity."

Not at all. Syrians shared, and continue to share, one Arab culture, and one language, Arabic - despite the best efforts of la belle France to divide one sect against the other during the period of its mandate, not to mention the more recent best efforts of the US and its regional clients to do the same. But, of course, you wouldn't expect the Herald's editorialist to be on top of that - too much reading to do!

*"Its population includes Syrian and Palestinian Arabs,* Syriac Christians,** Syrian Kurds, Assyrians,*** Circassians, Turkmens,**** ethnic Greeks and ethnic Armenians*****... The majority Muslim population is predominantly Sunni and Sufi,****** it also includes a large number of Shiites and Alawites."

*Now how did they get there? (Hint: something to do with the Britz)
*** Now how did they get there? (Hint: something to do with the Britz)
****Now how did they get there? (Hint: something to do with the Russians)
***** Now how did they get there? (Hint: something to do with the Turks)
****** Sufis??? You're kidding me!

*"This unworkable degree of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity has proved a recipe for chaos."

Or multicultural, multi-sectarian acceptance?

As for the rest of the editorial, "the al-Assad dynasty" (1971-2018) - father and son - is reduced to the current demonising label of "malign dictatorship prepared to use every available tool, including chemical weapons, against its people," while "Russia, America, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are just some of the nations still intent on using the conflict to advance their own interests."

Exactly what American and Saudi Arabia "interests" in Syria could possibly be is not even hinted at. Nor does the editorialist explore how those powers have gone about furthering those alleged "interests" - by the fostering of sectarian, takfiri gangs, many of them foreign imports, intent on ripping to shreds Syria's secular, multicultural, multi-sectarian fabric.

What a juvenile, Wikipedia-cribbed effort this is. Better off sticking to the local scene.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Every MSM Cliche in the Book

Wow, the following piece has almost every cliche in the pro-Israel MSM handbook: "violence" that merely "erupts" - just like that and for no apparent reason; that old standby "clashes"; Hamas puppet masters; Nakba euphemism*; reporter in direct touch with nameless "Hamas leaders" as he sips his lattes at Tel Aviv cafe; and those poor, put-upon Israeli soldiers who, typically, have no choice but to "respond" to ravening Palestinian untermenschen:

"A Palestinian mass protest along Gaza's border with Israel, billed as peaceful by its organisers, erupted in violence at the weekend, with at least 16 Palestinians killed and several hundred wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers. Friday marked the beginning of six weeks of protests Hamas had planned against Israel and the Palestinian displacement surrounding its 1948 creation... Hamas leaders presented the initiative as a peaceful effort, though they readily conceded it might get out of hand. It did just that within hours, as demonstrators threw rocks and firebombs and rolled burning tires at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition." (Peaceful Gaza protest turns deadly, Jonathan Ferziger/Bloomberg, The Sun-Herald, 1/4/18)


[*And while we're at it, try this little Nakba euphemism on for size: "Demonstrators are campaigning for the right to go back to their ancestors' homes and land that was appropriated after Israel was founded 70 years ago." (Israel warns of raids to curb border unrest, The Sunday Times/The Australian, 2/4/18)]

Associated Press: 'Gaza is a Troubled Territory'

Heard on yesterday's Breakfast program on Radio National. Gormless ABC interviewer Matt Bevan trots out "bloody clashes"* yet again. It seems Matt wouldn't know a massacre if it hit him in the face:

The UN has called for an independent investigation into the deaths and injuries of Palestinian protesters who were involved in bloody clashes with Israeli security forces on the Gaza border on Friday. At least 17 Palestinians were killed and an estimated 1,400 injured after Israeli forces opened fire on the protesters, making it the deadliest day in the Israel-Palestine conflict since the 2014 war. Israel has rejected calls for an independent inquiry. They have blamed Hamas for the violence and Israel says that it could take further action against what it says are terrorist targets inside the Gaza Strip... Joe Federman is the Associated Press bureau chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories. Why has violence flared up in the last week?"

OFFS. The "violence" just "flares up", like a volcano. You just never know when. But seriously, folks, just listen to Federman's reply. Matt's a veritable paragon of objectivity compared to this bloke:

JFWell, this is something that has been in the works for some time...

Err, right... since the British issued the Balfour Declaration, flooding Arab Palestine with Zionist colons, or at least since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist terror gangs in 1948.

Gaza is a troubled territory.

You know that autistic kid that's driving his teachers bonkers, Matt? Gaza!

It's controlled by a group called Hamas [which] took over a decade ago...

Miserable half-truth: Hamas was democratically elected (taking 74 seats in a 132 seat Palestinian legislative body) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in January 2006 after Bush junior insisted that elections be held, against Israeli wishes, in the occupied territories. Israel went ballistic at the result and, by way of collective punishment, imposed an economic stranglehold on Gaza, withholding Palestinian tax and customs revenues. This in fact was the actual beginning of its ruinous blockade of the territory. Sharon adviser Dov Weissglass famously described the move as putting Gazans on "a diet."

... and since then it's been under a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt and conditions are getting worse... And it just seems to be boiling over right now. Hamas is kind of running out of options.. It's become isolated internationally, it's fought 3 wars against Israel, and it's running out of options so now it's turned to these mass protests  along the border.

MB: So why specifically last week? Was their some sort of occasion for these protests to be held...?

JF: Um, it's hard to point to a single spark.

Sooo hard! Of course, you wouldn't expect this blockhead from New York to have heard of Palestinian Land Day - commemorated every 30 March ever since Israeli troops massacred 6 Palestinian Israelis and wounded around 100 others on that date in 1976, during a protest against Israel's theft of Palestinian land in the Galilee. After all, he hasn't even heard of the Palestinian Nakba/Catastrophe FFS:

This has kind of been in the works for a while and we're hitting a time in the calendar with Israel celebrating its 70th anniversary very soon. You have some holidays coming up and you have the Palestinians marking the 70th anniversary of what they call their tragedy.

And this is just the opening Q&A!

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Silence of the 'Humanitarians' on Palestine

Western rhetoric & discourse on Palestine: Human Rights Watch & others,, 31/3/18:

"Yesterday's news was symptomatic. You can take it as an example of the hypocrisy of Western (government, academic and media) rhetoric on Palestine. Notice the utter silence of all those who have been shedding crocodile tears over Syrian civilian victims. All those who called for NATO attacks on Libya, Syria and other places in the name of humanitarian concern were silent yesterday. Their ostensible humanitarianism stops at the borders of Palestine, thus exposing their hollow arguments. Worse, look at the statement issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday:

'The shocking number of Palestinians killed and hurt today by soldiers firing across the Gaza fence raises serious questions about Israel's longstanding use of live ammunition to police demonstrations. Israeli allegations of violence by some protesters do not change the fact that using lethal force is banned by international law except to meet an imminent threat to life.'

"This organization has been rightly exposed in the Arab world as a mere arm of Israeli and Western propaganda in our region. Notice that the statement refers to the Israeli massacre as 'policing demonstrations', and it seems to disagree with Israel only on the number of Palestinians killed, not on the killing itself. The statement even refers to unfounded claims by the Israeli occupation forces that unarmed Palestinians used violence, thus justifying the Israeli occupation army's use of gunfire on demonstrators under certain conditions. HRW's director, Kenneth Roth, usually tweets around the clock, and yesterday had one or two tweets [about the massacre] in which he used only the mildest language. However, when foes of the US use gunfire, whether against civilians or armed groups, he automatically refers to the result as 'slaughter'. Yet he never refers to Israeli war crimes as 'slaughter'. Nor was the term 'war crime' used by HRW yesterday. This is the organisation which calls cases of Palestinians stepping on the toes of Israeli soldiers 'war crimes'. Roth was busy reporting alleged government crimes in Venezuela. This is a man obsessed (according to previous reports on him on this blog - just search it) with what he calls 'pro-Israel donors' to his organization, who basically dictate how HRW covers for and beautifies Israeli war crimes. HRW should have been invented by Western war apparatuses long before its founding. It has been a great gift to colonial practice and thought. If the killings yesterday had been perpetrated by a government not aligned with the US, HRW would have called for a meeting of the Security Council and action at the ICC."

Sunday, April 1, 2018

So You Think the Murdoch Press is the Only MSM Problem?

As unarmed Palestinian refugees, demonstrating behind the wire of their Gaza Ghetto for the right to return to the homes and lands from which they were ethnically cleansed by Israeli terror gangs in 1948, were being callously gunned down - 17 dead and over 1,500 wounded is the current Al-Jazeera count - by Israeli troops terror gangs, sniping from behind protective earthworks* on Good Friday, all the PEP (Progressive Except Palestine) Guardian editor, Jonathan Freedland, could reflect on this Easter is this:

"'Easter? The very word gives me a migraine.' Not my view, but that of an old family friend who couldn't shake the folk memory of Easter as pogrom season, a time of anti-Jewish attacks as Christians resurrected the libel that it was the Jews, rather than the Romans who killed Jesus. [FFS, that was in Tsarist Russia!] But this weekend is also Passover, when Jews retell the story that defines them as a people [Note, not 'as a faith community,' but "as a people," a tell-tale Zionist construct], sitting around a Seder table and recalling through words, song, and crucially, food their exodus from slavery in Egypt. [See my 29-30/12/14 posts The Exodus Master Narrative, 1 & 2.]

"The Easter/Passover combination means that at this time every year Jews are reminded of two core facts about themselves. The first is that they are raised, from the start, to remember that their place is with the oppressed and against injustice because, were it not for the exodus, they would still be slaves today. [So why then, despite this "core fact," inculcated "from the start," do the majority of Jews today see themselves as Zionists?] The second is that, from the start, they have been hated.

"Both of these messages feel timely this weekend, as Jews reflect on the way a movement that they long saw as their natural home - on the left, fighting oppression and injustice - has been rocked by the question of anti-Jewish hatred... " [Hello? So British Zionists are one and all leftist progressives - just not in Palestine?] (Antisemitism matters: Jews are the canary in the coalmine, 31/3/18)

Those, of course, are just the opening paragraphs. But the piece as a whole has bugger-all to do with genuine anti-Semitism, it's just another part of the witch-hunt currently being directed against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is seen as having strayed too far from the Zionist narrative.

The simple fact of the matter is that for Freedland and his PEP Zionist mates, no matter how many Palestinians are murdered and maimed in Israeli pogroms, all that really matters is Israel.

Or, to put it in his own morally repugnant words: "[The Zionist movement] had the right to act, even though the cost for another people, the Palestinians, was immense." (Quoted in my 24/5/14 post Orwell Turns in His Grave.)

[*In addition, the Guardian's accompanying Associated Press report on Israel's latest bloody massacre of Palestinians typically obfuscates the reality with its talk of "deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops," and features this predictable dollop churned out by the Israeli army's propaganda mill: "The Israeli military said thousands of Palestinians threw stones and rolled burning tires towards troops, Palestinian gunmen fired toward soldiers in one incident and militants were trying to conduct attacks under the cover of protests." (Gaza deaths: UN secretary general calls for 'transparent' investigation, 31/3/18). Now go to the Electronic Intifada website and compare this Guardian shite with EI's report, Israel admits, then deletes, responsibility for Gaza killing, 31/3/18.]