Afghan Poppy Cultivation at ‘All-Time High’ (7.6 Billion spent to “fight” it)

October 21, 2014 by  
Filed under World

U.S. has ALLEGEDLY spent $7.6B on counternarco ops (oops)

Free Beacon 

Cultivation of the illegal poppy plant in Afghanistan has reached an “all time high” following a $7.6 billion counternarcotics campaign paid for by the United States, according to government oversight investigators.

Despite the spending to combat growth of the poppy plant, which is used to make drugs such as opium and heroin, cultivation has reached an “all time high,” especially in places once declared “poppy free,” according to new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

“After a decade of reconstruction and over $7 billion in counternarcotics efforts, poppy cultivation levels are at an all-time high,” SIGAR concluded in its report released Wednesday.

The findings have caused concern about the effectiveness of the United States’ efforts to stymie poppy production, SIGAR concluded.

Levels of poppy farming have not been this high since 2007, according to SIGAR.

And “with deteriorating security in many parts of rural Afghanistan and low levels of eradication of poppy fields, further increases in cultivation are likely in 2014,” SIGAR informed the Defense and Justice Departments in a recent alert.

Afghanistan has experienced a 50 percent increase in poppy-related proceeds from 2012 to 2013 as a result of the farming boon, according to the report.

“Despite the significant financial expenditure, opium poppy cultivation has far exceeded previous records,” according to SIGAR.

The boost in production of the popular drug is primarily the result of new deep-well technology that has allowed the Afghans to turn large portions of the once inhabitable desert into fertile land.

“Due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation,” the report states. “Poppy-growing provinces that were once declared ‘poppy free’ have seen a resurgence in cultivation.”

Areas once “considered a model for successful counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts” have seen poppy production grow fourfold between 2012 and 2013, according to SIGAR.

Profits garnered from the production of opium and other poppy-derived drugs have increased from $2 billion in 2012 to $3 billion in 2013, the report found.

Questions are now being raised about the effectiveness of the United States’ counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan.

“In past years, surges in opium poppy cultivation have been met by a coordinated response from the U.S. government and coalition partners, which has led to a temporary decline in levels of opium production,” according to SIGAR. “However, the recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of those prior efforts.”

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul admitted defeat in the drug arena when approached by the watchdog for comment on its report.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, speaking on behalf of the State Department and USAID, “acknowledged the significance of the poppy cultivation issue in Afghanistan,” according to SIGAR.

It “also acknowledged that, after more than a decade of taxpayer-funded counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan, U.S. government efforts to build Afghan government counternarcotics capability were still ‘in progress,’” according to their comments recounted in SIGAR’s report.

However, the embassy also maintained that some of its counternarcotics efforts “are yielding results.”

“There is no silver bullet to eliminate drug cultivation or production in Afghanistan or to address the epidemic of substance abuse disorder that plagues too many Afghans,” the embassy wrote in a statement to SIGAR.

As the drug problem grows worse, SIGAR is recommending that the DoD and other agencies reassess their game plan.

“I strongly suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counternarcotics efforts when planning future initiatives,” SIGAR wrote.

Hamas leader’s daughter received medical treatment in Israel

October 20, 2014 by  
Filed under World

ISIS has also been treated in Tel Aviv (according to inside sources) Women and Children of destitute Palestinians left to suffer and die.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (3rd L) flashes a victory sign as he appears for the first time since the start of a seven-week conflict during a rally by Palestinians celebrating what they said was a victory over Israel, in Gaza City

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A daughter of the leader of Hamas in Gaza was admitted to an Israeli hospital for emergency medical treatment this month after she suffered complications from a routine procedure, two sources familiar with the case said.

Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter’s week-long admission to a hospital in Tel Aviv – which Israeli and Palestinian officials declined to confirm or deny – shows humanitarian coordination between the sides continues just weeks after the Gaza war ended.

Haniyeh, who has 13 children, is the leader of the Islamist group in Gaza and one of its most senior figures overall, serving as a deputy to Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile.

Two sources – one Palestinian and the other a foreign diplomat with knowledge of the case – declined to name the daughter and, out of respect for her privacy, asked that details of her condition not be published.

Like many Hamas officials, Haniyeh spent the seven-week-long war largely in hiding. His home in the northern part of the Gaza Strip was destroyed by an Israeli air strike.

An Israeli official said he could not discuss specific medical admissions from Gaza.

But he said that in most cases a request by a Palestinian doctor to allow a patient across the border for urgent treatment was sufficient – indicating Haniyeh may not have been personally involved in his daughter’s application.

During the war and since it ended in late August, dozens of patients from Gaza have been brought to hospitals in Israel, where the resources and technology for advanced treatment and complicated operations are vastly better.

Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction but has voiced openness to a long-term truce and a measure of cooperation with Israel which, along with neighboring Egypt, controls access to the coastal enclave, home to 1.8 million Palestinians.

Israeli media has reported that one of Haniyeh’s granddaughters was treated in an Israeli hospital last November, while his mother-in-law sought treatment in a Jerusalem hospital in June.

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U.S. Humanitarian Aid Still Going to ISIS

October 20, 2014 by  
Filed under World


Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies—even clinics—going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS ‘taxes’ and putting ISIS people on their payrolls.

Daily Beast
GAZIANTEP, Turkey—While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “caliphate.”

The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.

The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink—doing so will “heap burning coals” of shame on his head. But there is no evidence that the militants of the Islamic State, widely known as ISIS or ISIL, feel any sense of disgrace or indignity (and certainly not gratitude) receiving charity from their foes.

Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion, and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.

“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.

“What are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”
And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war-making, say critics of the aid.

One of the striking differences between ISIS and terror groups of the past is its desire to portray the territory it has conquered as a well-organized and smoothly functioning state. “The soldiers of Allah do not liberate a village, town, or city, only to abandon its residents and ignore their needs,” declares the latest issue of Dabiq, the group’s slick online magazine. Elsewhere in the publication are pictures of slaughtered Kurdish soldiers and a gruesome photograph of American journalist Steven Sotloff’s severed head resting on top of his body. But this article shows ISIS restoring electricity in Raqqah, running a home for the elderly, a cancer-treatment facility in Ninawa, and cleaning streets in other towns.

Last year, a polio outbreak in Deir ez-Zor raised concerns throughout the region about the spread of an epidemic. The World Health Organization worked with the Syrian government and with opposition groups to try to carry out an immunization campaign. This has continued. In response to a query by The Daily Beast, a WHO spokesperson said, “Our information indicates that vaccination campaigns have been successfully carried out by local health workers in IS-controlled territory.”

“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”
U.S. and Western relief agencies have been caught before in an aid dilemma when it comes to the war on terror. Last December, the Overseas Development Institute, an independent British think tank focusing on international development and humanitarian issues, reported that aid agencies in Somalia had been paying militants from the al Qaeda offshoot al-Shabab for access to areas under their control during the 2011 famine.

Al-Shabab demanded from the agencies what it described as “registration fees” of up to $10,000. And in many cases al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid, keeping much of it for itself, according to ODI. The think tank cited al-Shabab’s diversion of food aid in the town of Baidoa, where it kept between half and two-thirds of the food for its own fighters. The researchers noted the al Qaeda affiliate developed a highly sophisticated system of monitoring and co-opting the aid agencies, even setting up a “Humanitarian Co-ordination Office.”

Something similar appears to be underway now in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.

Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”

That isn’t the case with other Syrian rebel groups, where arguments over convoys can erupt at checkpoints at main entry points into Syria, where aid is unloaded from Turkish tractor-trailers and re-loaded into Syrian ones.

Many aid workers are uncomfortable with what’s happening. “A few months ago we delivered a mobile clinic for a USAID-funded NGO,” says one, who declined to be named. “A few of us debated the rights and wrongs of this. The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well. So what are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”

What becomes even more bizarre is that while aid is still going into ISIS-controlled areas, only a little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria. About every three or four months there is a convoy into the key city of Qamishli. Syrian Kurds, who are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes, have long complained about the lack of international aid. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that Syria’s Kurdistan was not included in a U.N. polio-vaccination campaign. U.N. agencies took the position that polio vaccines should go through the Syrian Red Crescent via Damascus when it came to the Kurds.

The origins of the aid programs pre-date President Barack Obama’s decision to “degrade and defeat” ISIS, but they have carried on without major review. The aid push was to reach anyone in need. A senior State Department official with detailed knowledge of current aid programs confirmed to The Daily Beast that U.S. government funded relief is still going into Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor. He declined to estimate the quantity. But an aid coordinator, when asked, responded: “A lot.”

The State Department official said he, too, was conflicted about the programs. “Is this helping the militants by allowing them to divert money they would have to spend on food? If aid wasn’t going in, would they let people starve? And is it right for us to withhold assistance and punish civilians? Would the militants turn around, as al-Shabab did when many agencies withdrew from Somalia, and blame the West for starvation and hunger? Are we helping indirectly the militants to build their caliphate? I wrestle with this.”

Western NGO partners of USAID and other Western agencies declined to respond to Daily Beast inquiries about international relief going to ISIS areas, citing the complexity of the issue and noting its delicacy.

Mideast analyst Schanzer dismisses the notion that ISIS can use an aid shutdown as leverage in its PR campaign: “I think this is false. In areas they control, everyone understands they are a brutal organization. This is their basic weakness and by pushing in aid we are curtailing the chances of an internal revolt, which is the best chance you have of bringing down ISIS.”

Gardeners discover bag of ISIS flags in northern Israel

October 19, 2014 by  
Filed under World

Literally False Flags? 


Jewish Journal 

Gardeners in the Israeli city of Nazareth Illit discovered a bag containing about 25 ISIS flags.

Israel Police have opened an investigation into the discovery of the flags on Tuesday in an industrial area of northern Israeli city. The possession of materials from the jihadist group was outlawed in Israel several weeks ago.

“When something like this is discovered in the heart of a Jewish city, it needs to light up many warning signs,” Nazareth Illit Mayor Alex Gadalkin told Ynet.

In late September, a 24-year-old Arab-Israeli from Kfar Kana who was suspected of being associated with ISIS was arrested and questioned.

Earlier in the month, another Arab-Israeli was arrested for allegedly traveling to Syria and training with ISIS. Contact with the group also was made illegal.

More evidence of clandestine operations to poison water wells in Liberia (Photos)

October 16, 2014 by  
Filed under World

There have been more reports of perpetrators caught poisoning water wells in Liberia. Around the same time the as the incident in Schieffelin, more wells were being poisoned in New Georgia, Montserrado County and even right outside of Monrovia. The incidents were well coordinated as they took place at around the same time, which was around the first week of August, and in different towns and cities. Was it another coincidence that these villagers (from different parts of the country) reported these incidents at the same time?

According to villagers, some wells were poisoned by armed men driving government vehicles, other similar incidents were carried out by single individuals. The online journal Front Page Africa published the following eyewitness account from Mamba Point:

Ericson Bright, a resident of the Robert Street Community in Mamba Point explained that last Sunday morning, two bottles of formaldehyde was found closed to the area well. “We saw a fella who was very strange, standing close to the well, so we got hold of him, and ask him were did he come from. He give conflicting statement, that he is an Argo oil seller who lives Johnson street, but came to find a customer who buys his Argo oil in Mamba Point.”

The area resident explained: “We told him let’s go to the place, forgetting to know that I live in the community, and he took me to where I live and when I said this was where I live and I have been sitting here for the pass three to four hours, it could not be me. Then I said your story is fake, so I started to check him and found tide soap in his pocket, and when somebody yell and said these were the people who are going around poisoning wells to kill people, the crowd started to beat him and he started running then the crowd follow after him but he Managed to escape.” He said.

There seems to be a coordinated effort to poison the drinking water in Liberia to make the Ebola pandemic appear worse than what it really is. Residents have seen individuals pour a mysterious powder into the wells. Other residents have seen armed men pouring liquids into the wells using syringes.

There have been confirmed reports that some of the substances used are formaldehyde. According the the U.S. National Institutes of Health, formaldehyde poisoning can create symptoms similar to Ebola. The following statement describing the symptoms of formaldehyde ingestion was published on the NIH website:

Ingestion can lead to immediate deleterious effects on almost all systems of the body including gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, cardiovascular system and hepato-renal system, causing gastrointestinal hemorrhage, cardiovascular collapse, unconsciousness or convulsions, severe metabolic acidosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. No specific antidote is available.

After being caught poisoning a well, one perpetrator confessed that there are about 250 men that were trained to carry out these criminal acts. After another poisoning incident, residents in New Georgia took photos of the crime scene. Since they lock the wells at night, the men came in and punctured the well head (as seen in the photo) and poured the substance in the water, according to Monrovia’s newspaper, the Daily Observer.


Some suspects have been apprehended and turned over to the Liberian National Police. The LNP officials have stated that they haven’t found any evidence of poisoning substances in the water, calling all these reports ‘rumors.’ Nevertheless, the locals don’t seem to trust their official statement since they have seen armed individuals with government vehicles being involved in these crimes.

Panetta reveals US nuke strike plans on N. Korea, spurs controversy

October 16, 2014 by  
Filed under World

For MORE on Mr Panetta and his Globalist connections and ideology … see our article CIA / Pentagon… Whats the Difference? Petraeus to CIA, Panetta to DOD



US war plans against North Korea recently included the option of a nuclear strike, former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta revealed in his memoirs, triggering major controversy.

READ MORE: The Kim is Back: North Korean leader makes first public appearance in a month

Panetta described a 2010 briefing in Seoul by General Walter L. ‘Skip’ Sharp, the commander of US forces in South Korea, where it was made clear that the nuclear option was on the table if North Korean forces crossed into the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the North and the South.

“If North Korea moved across the border, our war plans called for the senior American general on the peninsula to take command of all US and South Korea forces and defend South Korea— including by the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary,” Panetta wrote in ‘Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace’.

Panetta added that he left the briefing with “the powerful sense that war in that region was neither hypothetical nor remote.”

Panetta’s revelations sparked various responses, ranging from surprise to indignation.

Opposing statues of the emblems of the two major U.S. political parties, an elephant and a donkey, sit near a display of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's new book 'Worthy Fights' at George Washington University, where Panetta was discussing the book, in Washington October 14, 2014 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Opposing statues of the emblems of the two major U.S. political parties, an elephant and a donkey, sit near a display of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s new book ‘Worthy Fights’ at George Washington University, where Panetta was discussing the book, in Washington October 14, 2014 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

“Typical wooden-headedness on the part of a US official,” a former top CIA expert on Korea told Newsweek. “How in the world do we think South Koreans will react to the news that the US is prepared to use nuclear weapons on the peninsula? It doesn’t reassure them, only makes them think having the US bull in their china shop is maybe not such a good idea.”

Others said Panetta did not write anything unexpected. A ‘Joint Vision’ statement signed between US-South Korea in 2009 “references extended deterrence to include the nuclear umbrella … in many respects, the information is not new,” Korea expert at the Naval War College Terence Roehrig said. “The United States has long had a position that South Korea was under the US nuclear umbrella.”

The US sent over tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula in 1958, but their deployment was only revealed in mid-1970s.

The Korean War took place in 1950-1953, with no peace deal ever signed between North and South Korea. Thus the two countries remain technically at war.

High-level military talks

Meanwhile, the relationship between the North and the South remain tense. On Wednesday senior-level military talks were held between them to resolve a series of recent live-fire incidents in South Korea and maritime borders, AFP quoted Seoul’s Defense Ministry as saying.

The meeting was referred to as the highest-level military exchange in seven years. It lasted for five hours and included officers up to the rank of general.

The main focus of the talks was Friday’s incident involving an exchange of gunfire after North Korea’s military shot at balloons launched by anti-Pyongyang activists. Tuesday’s fire exchange between North and South Korean naval patrol boats near the disputed Yellow Sea border was also discussed.

“Our side clarified our position that North Korea should respect (the maritime boundary) … and that as a democratic nation, we cannot regulate balloon launches by civilian groups,” South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

READ MORE: Surprise talks: North Korea officials arrive to South for highest-level visit in years

UK Parliament Supports Palestinian Statehood

October 14, 2014 by  
Filed under World

This wave is seemingly sweeping Europe. Will the USA ever do the same? Not Bloody likely. 

MPs back Palestinian statehood alongside Israel

by Stephen Lendman

It did so overwhelmingly. Symbolically. Voting 274 to 12. A PR victory only. Yet significant because it happened. A first in Britain.

It followed Sweden’s newly-formed center-left Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, announcing his intention to recognize Palestinian statehood.

The first EU country to do so. The 134th to recognize what’s long overdue.

Parliamentary approval doesn’t commit Britain to officially extend recognition. A UK Foreign Office spokesman said:

“We continue to believe that negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground.”

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague added:

Britain “reserves the right to recognize a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace.”

Expect business as usual to continue. Britain’s parliamentary vote grants Palestine symbolic recognition only.

Israel’s genocidal Operation Protective Edge high crimes against peace perhaps influenced parliamentarians. So does continued land lawless settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land.

Conservative foreign affairs select committee chairman Richard Ottaway said recent large-scale annexation of West Bank land infuriated him. Angered him more than anything else in politics.

He’s been a loyal Israeli supporter. His family is connected to the generation involved in creating Israel.

“The Holocaust had a deep impact on me growing up in the wake of the second world war,” he stressed.

“Looking back over the past 20 years, I realise now Israel has slowly been drifting away from world public opinion.”

“The annexation of the 950 acres of the West Bank just a few months ago has outraged me more than anything else in my political life. It has made me look a fool and that is something I deeply resent.”

“(S)uch is my anger with the behaviour of Israel in recent months that I will not be opposing this motion.”

“I have to say to the government of Israel: if it is losing people like me, it is going to be losing a lot of people.”

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the vote more than a simple gesture. If it was, Israel wouldn’t have expressed as much concern, he said.

Its government wants bilateral negotiations only to determine Palestine’s fate. According to Straw, “such an approach would give the Israelis a veto over whether a Palestinian state should exist.”

“The only thing that the Israeli government, in my view, in its present demeanour under Bibi Netanyahu understands is pressure.”

Tory MP James Clappison opposed the measure, saying:

“I believe that international recognition of a Palestinian state in the terms of the motion would make a two-state solution less likely rather than more likely.”

“I don’t see Israel, having faced the challenges it has over the years, caving in to this backbench motion. It might be a gesture on behalf of this house, but it would take the process no further.”

He lied claiming Hamas opposes peace and conducts a “campaign of terror.” Truth is polar opposite. Previous articles explained.

Hamas numerous times expressed willingness to cede 78% of historic Palestine to Israel. In return for an independent Palestinian state within June 1967 borders.

These and other inconvenient facts are buried. Including explaining that Hamas is Palestine’s legitimate government. Democratically elected in January 2006.

Abbas and other Fatah Israeli collaborators have no legitimacy whatever. Why Palestinians put up with them they’ll have to explain.

Labour Friends of Palestine proposed what parliamentarians approved, stating:

“This House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the State of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state-solution.”

While UK MPs debated, Palestinian supporters outside parliament held banners saying:

“Yes Vote for a Palestinian State.”

“Time to start giving back what we had no right to take.”

It referred to Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration. Committing it to establish a Jewish “national home” in Palestine where it doesn’t belong.

To establish Western influence. To do so for the usual imperial interests. For resource theft. For regional dominance.

According to Middle East minister Tobias Ellwood:

Britain remains a “staunch supporter” of Israel’s right to defend itself. But settlement-building makes “it hard for Israel’s friends to make the case that (it’s) committed to peace.”

He believes de facto Palestinian statehood is only possible when occupation ends. Cameron’s government claims only through bilateral negotiations.

Empowering Israel this way eliminates any possibility of Palestinian self-determination. Netanyahu’s government and others preceding him categorically oppose statehood.

They’ve gone all-out to prevent it. Expect nothing different ahead. Israel wants virtual total Judea and Samaria control.

It wants Palestinians denied all rights. It considers them subhumans. Institutionalized racism is official policy. So is state terror.

Reactions to Britain’s vote came swiftly. Israel’s was unsurprising. Its Foreign Ministry lied, saying:

“Premature international recognition sends a troubling message to the Palestinian leadership that they can evade the tough choices that both sides have to make, and actually undermines the chances to reach a real peace.”

Tory MP Nicholas Soarnes is Winston Churchill’s grandson. He called recognizing Palestinian statehood “both morally right and in our national interest.”

Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, called the vote “a sign of shifting public opinion in the UK and indeed beyond.”

Prime Minister David Cameron abstained. So did other government ministers. A number of high-profile MPs were absent during debate.

Ahead of Monday’s vote, Britain’s Observer editors  headlined “The Observer view on Palestine. Formal British recognition would be a powerful, progressive step in the right direction.”

They called supporting Palestinian statehood “a rare opportunity (for) peace and justice in the Middle East.”

Parliamentarians “should seize it with both hands.” Though symbolic and non-binding, it sends “a powerful message to a region where unseeing violence often usurps legitimate political action.”

“The message, in its simplest form, is that in even the most long-running and intractable disputes (and the Israel-Palestine conflict certainly qualifies on that score), positive progress is possible when democrats of all parties and persuasions find the courage to fight for the principles they were elected to uphold.”

“(F)ormal British recognition of Palestinian statehood would be a powerful progressive step in the right direction…(It) cannot be sensibly disputed.”

Even by Israel’s staunchest supporters. Claiming otherwise is duplicitous.

“A parliamentary vote in favour of statehood would put Israel on notice that while its right to exist in peace and security as an independent state remains a fundamental, undisputed tenet of British and western policy, its apparently endless foot-dragging on the question of equivalent Palestinian rights is no longer acceptable to a growing segment of British and European opinion,” said Observer editors.

It’s unacceptable to say resolving longstanding intractable issues must precede recognition, they added.

Nor should Israel ignore “tangible momentum” building for Palestinian statehood. It’s inevitable. Growing world public opinion demands it.

Labor party leader Edward Miliband called Cameron “wrong not to have opposed Israel’s incursion into Gaza.”

He criticized his “silence on the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel’s military action.”

He said he’ll “fight with every fibre of my being to get the two-state solution, two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side.”

“That will be a very, very important task of the next Labour government.” It remains to be seen if his word is his bond.

In August, Tory MP Sayeeda Warsi quit her senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office involvement over Cameron’s failure to hold Israel accountable for its war on Gaza.

She called government policy “morally indefensible.” Former Labour MP Martin Linton serves as editor of the Palestinian Briefing.

He believes events are catching up with public opinion. They’re shifting significantly towards recognizing Palestinian statehood.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said “France will have to recognize Palestine.”

It’s inevitable sooner or later for most countries. It’s just a matter of time. Perhaps America, Israel and a few Pacific islands dominated by Washington will become final holdouts.

Whether Britain’s overwhelming vote proves catalyst enough for change remains to be seen.

UK Shadow Minister for Africa and the Middle East, Ian Lucas, believes “(s)tatehood will be decided by Labour when it comes to power if it has not been decided by (Cameron’s) government.”

Pollster Dahlia Scheindlin said “(i)t used to be understood that political support for Israel was bipartisan and goes across political party lines.”

Recent survey results show “people are now looking at the issue through the prism of their political ideology.”

On October 13, Reuters  headlined “UK lawmakers pass symbolic motion to recognise Palestine as a state,” saying:

Doing so won’t change UK policy. “(B)ut (it) carries symbolic value for Palestinians in their pursuit of international recognition.”

The New York Times  highlighted Palestine’s symbolic victory. It called it a “potent indication of how public opinion has shifted since the breakdown of American-sponsored peace negotiations and the conflict in Gaza this summer.”

Parliament’s vote “was the latest evidence of how support for Israeli policies, even among staunch allies of Israel, is giving way to more calibrated positions and in some cases frustrated expressions of opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance toward the Palestinians.”

The Washington Post and Wall Street both ran what AP News reported . It covered the ground explained above in abbreviated form.

London’s Independent  called parliament’s vote “a historic decision to recognise Palestinian state(hood).”

It quoted former UK international development minister Alan Duncan saying:

“Refusing Palestinian recognition is tantamount to giving Israel the right of veto.”

“Recognising Palestine is not about recognising a government. It is states that are recognised not governments.”

“It is the recognition of the right to exist as a state – it is not about endorsing a state that has to be in perfect working order.”

“It is the principle of that recognition that this House should pass today.”

A previous article explained why Respect party Bradford West MPGeorge Galloway  abstained from voting. He’s Palestine’s best friend in Parliament.

He forthrightly supports their rights. He’s done so for decades despite harsh criticism against him.

He’s fully able to give more than he takes. He stresses vital hard truths most others suppress.

He regretted not being able to support Parliament’s Palestinian statehood motion.

It “accepts recognition of the state of Israel, does not define borders of either state, or addresses the central question of the right of return of the millions of Palestinians who have been forced to live outside Palestine,” he said.

He “continue(s) to support the only realistic solution, one democratic and secular state, called Israel-Palestine or Palestine-Israel.”

“The proposed two-state solution is to all intents and purposes dead and is only used in order to provide Israel further breathing space to consolidate the illegal settlements and expand its land grab further.”

“For these reasons,” he said, he’d “abstain on Monday.”

At the same time, if UK Parliament’s vote kickstarts other EU states to follow suit, it’s a good start toward recognizing Palestinian statehood officially.

It’s just a matter of time!


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” 

Visit his blog site at . 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

3rd video of British Islamic State hostage raises question of when it was recorded

October 13, 2014 by  
Filed under World


Video of (fake) beheading, purged from you tube….

— The Islamic State on Sunday posted the third installment of what it says will be a seven-part video series featuring British hostage John Cantlie that raises anew the issue of when the videos were recorded.

In the new posting, Cantlie references the videotaped murder of British aid worker David Haines, which was posted to the Internet Sept. 13, but makes no reference to the beheading of another aid worker, Alan Henning, whose murder-video was posted Oct. 3.

The nearly seven-minute rambling statement, which criticizes U.S. and British policy toward the Islamic State, also makes no reference to a number of events that have happened since early September, indicating that the tape was made more than a month ago.

In referencing the murder of Haines, who was beheaded on video at some point before the Sept 13 video release, Cantlie says that he had not yet seen British Prime Minister David Cameron’s response to Haines’ death, although the British prime minister had made strong condemnations of both Haines’ and Henning’s deaths.

Cantlie also quoted heavily from foreign affairs columnists and blogs but, again, only used citations from early September, including statements by President Barack Obama about the potential cost of the air war against the Islamic State made around the time of his address to the U.S. people on Sept. 10, when he announced that that he had ordered the U.S. military to begin a widespread program to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State’s military capability.

Cantlie also mentioned what has been a long-running theme, the refusal of the United States and Great Britain to “negotiate” with the group for the lives of the hostages. Each of the four murder-videos – which include those of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff – have mentioned the refusal by both governments to attempt to negotiate a release. That policy is in stark contrast to that of several European countries whose hostages have been released in exchange for millions of dollars in ransom payments.

The Islamic State kidnapped Cantlie, a freelance photographer, Nov. 22, 2012, near the Turkish border in Syria while he was traveling with Foley. It was Cantlie’s second abduction; he was briefly held by foreign jihadists in Syria in July 2012.

After giving testimony about one of his abductors, a British doctor who was arrested when he returned to the United Kingdom, Cantlie returned to Syria and disappeared. The British doctor was acquitted last year after Cantlie, by then a hostage, failed to appear at his trial.

More at McClatchy DC

War against Isis Backfires: US air strategy in tatters as militants march on

October 13, 2014 by  
Filed under World

Failing On Purpose?

World View: American-led air attacks are failing. Jihadis are close to taking Kobani, in Syria – and in Iraq western Baghdad is now under serious threat

London “Independent”

America’s plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group’s fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad.

The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting.

Isis reinforcements have been rushing towards Kobani in the past few days to ensure that they win a decisive victory over the Syrian Kurdish town’s remaining defenders. The group is willing to take heavy casualties in street fighting and from air attacks in order to add to the string of victories it has won in the four months since its forces captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, on 10 June. Part of the strength of the fundamentalist movement is a sense that there is something inevitable and divinely inspired about its victories, whether it is against superior numbers in Mosul or US airpower at Kobani.

In the face of a likely Isis victory at Kobani, senior US officials have been trying to explain away the failure to save the Syrian Kurds in the town, probably Isis’s toughest opponents in Syria. “Our focus in Syria is in degrading the capacity of [Isis] at its core to project power, to command itself, to sustain itself, to resource itself,” said US Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, in a typical piece of waffle designed to mask defeat. “The tragic reality is that in the course of doing that there are going to be places like Kobani where we may or may not be able to fight effectively.”


Unfortunately for the US, Kobani isn’t the only place air strikes are failing to stop Isis. In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.

The US’s failure to save Kobani, if it falls, will be a political as well as military disaster. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding the loss of the beleaguered town are even more significant than the inability so far of air strikes to stop Isis taking 40 per cent of it. At the start of the bombing in Syria, President Obama boasted of putting together a coalition of Sunni powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to oppose Isis, but these all have different agendas to the US in which destroying IS is not the first priority. The Sunni Arab monarchies may not like Isis, which threatens the political status quo, but, as one Iraqi observer put it, “they like the fact that Isis creates more problems for the Shia than it does for them”.

Of the countries supposedly uniting against Isis, by the far most important is Turkey because it shares a 510-mile border with Syria across which rebels of all sorts, including Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra, have previously passed with ease. This year the Turks have tightened border security, but since its successes in the summer Isis no longer needs sanctuary, supplies and volunteers from outside to the degree it once did.

Sweden to recognize Palestinian state

October 7, 2014 by  
Filed under World

Sweden has just elected a new centre-left government led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (second left)


Sweden is to “recognise the state of Palestine”, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has said, the first long-term EU member country to do so.

“The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution,” he said during his inaugural address in parliament.

It should be “negotiated in accordance with international law”, he said.

Sweden last month voted out the centre-right Alliance coalition of Fredrik Reinfeldt after eight years.

That allowed the Social Democrats led by Mr Lofven to form a government with other parties on the left including the Greens.

“A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognise the state of Palestine,” Mr Lofven said on Friday, without giving a timeline for the recognition.

Sweden will join more than 130 other countries that recognise a Palestinian state.

Most of the EU’s 28 member states have refrained from recognising Palestinian statehood and those that do – such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – did so before joining the bloc.

Long campaignThe Palestinians have long sought to establish an independent, sovereign state in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem as its capital, and the Gaza Strip – occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.

Correspondents say Sweden’s move is likely to be strongly criticised by Israel and the US, who argue that an independent Palestinian state should only emerge through negotiations.

Palestinian protesters wave the national flag, in front of the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit. 26 Sept 2014
Palestinians say the peace process is hampered by Israeli settlements like this one in the West Bank

In 1988, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat unilaterally declared a Palestinian state within the pre-June 1967 lines.

This won recognition from about 100 countries, mainly Arab, Communist and non-aligned states – several of them in Latin America.

The 1993 Oslo Accord between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Israel led to mutual recognition. However, two decades of on-off peace talks have since failed to produce a permanent settlement.

In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade the status of the Palestinians to that of a “non-member observer state”.

It followed a failed bid to join the international body as a full member state in 2011 because of a lack of support in the UN Security Council.

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