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I have a much better understanding of what’s going on in the Middle East, and wider region of the ME, thanks to Stephen Gowans. He is the author of “Washington’s Long War On Syria.” (There’s some quibbles I have with the book, which compares policing in the US with the policing in terrible places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt and concludes that the US is not a police state – until it needs to be. And, like other well-meaning journos reporting on Syria, he makes Assad out to be a saint, which can backfire. Also, As often as I ask Stephen and others about Maher Arar, I am met with only crickets. But his book is by no means a poor guide. ) Now, when I read other authors’ and journos’ accounts, I can pretty much know right away whether I’m reading bullcrap or honest reporting. And so, as I read the first part of Sarah Abed and Mark Talianos’ two-part report, I realize that they are the real deal. (I’ve read Mark before and found him to be a straight shooter.)
Again, Here’s genuinely independent journalists who others, like Paul Jay (The Real News Network) are ignoring, at the expense of truth, while they give far, far too much air time to deep state-connected journos like Max Blumenthal, Seymour Hersh and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. (I don’t think Paul has tapped Hersh that often, Still… Ironically, When I quote Hersh on JFK, I’m ignored or attacked!) Now, If progressive news sites feel that they have to do that, And what can we do about it other than NOT donate to them?, then at least we can examine the content of the reportage of their deep state-conneced guests. (Hersh’s reporting, for example, stands up pretty good, although he’s pathetic – but not the worst – on White Helmets propaganda.) Which requires us to be extra vigilant, which the genuinely independent, honest journos can help us with. And when they – the progressive, not so independent, news sites – start going funny, we will be informed enough that we can point that out, something of benefit to those who we talk to in person and via blogging.
For example, blogger Barbara McKenzie clues us into Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton’s fail, in regard to Syria. (They are ‘now’ saying mostly, but not entirely, true things about Syria, but only because enough of us know enough that if they didn’t, then their cover would be quite blown. And George Soros and his deep state friends wouldn’t want that. Leftwing assets are one of the Right’s most effective weapons in its war on light and God, along with television and corporate-owned media [on tv, radio and in print]). Then there are the out and out, and dangerous, fakers (like Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, whose organization is George Soros-funded), like Glenn Greenwald et al (Pierre Omidyar-funded), like Canadian Dimension magazine (publishing Jeffrey Sachs’s articles and doing White Helmets propaganda) and Rabble.ca (which carries Rwandan Genocide propagandist Gerald Caplan’s articles). There are some progressive sites that are really far gone, like Democracy Now (White Helmets propaganda), Mother Jones (who disappeared all of my Brexit comments) and Common Dreams. One; You look at their funders. Are they Ford Foundation or Rockefeller Foundation funded?, or Open Society (George Soros) funded?, or Lannan Foundation (attacking John Pilger) funded? or TIDES funded? John Stauber gives us a good overview of this problem in his CounterPunch article titled “The Progressive Movement Is A PR Front For Rich Democrats.” (As far as I can tell, the organization that John co-founded with Lisa Graves, namely the Center for Media and Democracy [CMD], is attempting to disappear him. I’ve emailed them many times about that and have never received a reply. Checking on who founded the Center for Media and Democracy, Lisa is mentioned but not John! “CMD was founded in 1993 in Madison, Wisconsin, and since mid-2009 it has been led by Lisa Graves, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice and Chief Counsel for Nominations for the Chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.”) Two; You interrogate the content. Common Dreams vacuums up everyone, Right (Jeffrey Sachs, Graham Fuller) and Left. They banned me when they got tired of my pointing it out.
An excerpt from the top of post linked-to article by Mark Taliano and Sarah Abed follows. In this first part, Sarah, who is American-Syrian, interviews a Syrian, living in Syria, named Samir:
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Question: How does the rest of the population feel about Kurdish aspirations for independence from Syria?
Answer: Syrians are not entirely surprised by these recent demands by the Kurds for autonomy. They are however upset by it. Syrians feel that the Kurds were allowed to come in and have lived in Syria for centuries and were treated fairly therefore the need to now take a part of the country and claim it as their own federation is quite frankly an insult to the hospitality they were shown. They feel as though the Kurds are being unappreciative and are only looking out for their own interest and not taking into account the Syrians that live in the area. Kurds are the minority yet their demands for autonomy and to take over the areas that they have alleged are now their property is very unfair to Syrians in the area. Kurds moved into Syria and called it home, but now they are acting like the Syrians in their areas are living in their federation and need to abide by their rules and share their views and follow their commands or else they will be driven out of their homes. This is a very harsh and criminal way to treat others. Lest we forget that Kurds are ultimately nomads and their alliance lies with Israel.
Question: Do all Kurds in the area want independence from Syria?
Answer: In the beginning of the war the Kurds fought alongside the Syrian army, they were paid, armed, and trained by the SAA. When the USA came in and basically created the SDF Syrian Democratic Forces that’s when the Kurds became more adamant about wanting independence and autonomy. This is a very important point that needs to be made clear, The USA’s involvement in Syria led to the Kurds demanding autonomy. Had the US military not given them weapons, training, armed vehicles, and most likely paid them wages as well there is a good chance that the Kurds would not have made these demands. Not all Kurds want independence but those who speak up against it are silenced and told to not say anything or else they will be sent out of the country. They have received threats that saying anything negative about the Kurdish desires for autonomy will have negative consequences.
Question: Why do they want independence? Did Assad government not treat them well? Did the U.S government promise support and democracy and other lies?
Answer: They have always wanted to establish Kurdistan, that has been a life- long desire of theirs stemming from centuries ago. They are originally nomads that moved into countries such as Syria, Iraq, Turkey but their origins are in Iran. It was brought up from time to time but recently it has been discussed more openly and adamantly. It has now become a demand and one they will stop at nothing to achieve. This is quite problematic and many people in the region are waiting to see how this will unfold. It is surely a battle, the end results are unknown. The Kurds were treated well and did not have any issues with the Syrian Government. They had equal rights, free education, free healthcare like the rest of the Syrians. Many do not have a passport which makes traveling legally an issue but it doesn’t seem to be a big concern for them.
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Here are the two online responses I offered to the above interview by Sarah Abed:
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By presenting themselves as democrats and fighters for justice and human rights, the Benefactors (Jesus’s description of those he said we are not to imitate) in power who lie, murder and plunder condemn themselves. They know what they are and they know they are evil. By selling those ‘leaders’ to us as democrats etc, journos, historians, campaign managers condemn themselves for the same reason.
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, and once it became crystal clear to me (thanks to Stephen Gowans’s recent, indispensable book on Syria), the Kurds are following very much in the footsteps of Nazi Israel. The fascist Israelis (and not all Israelis are fascist, but most are) were put through hell by Germany, and that did absolutely nothing to make them better people who would never do that to others. The Kurds were put through hell by Turkey and have now made a deal with the US, who needed non terrorist forces (for credibility purposes) to help with the destruction of Syria in return for lebensraum, showing that they’ve learned absolutely nothing positive from their treatment at Turkey’s hands. They jumped at the chance to have the promised lebensraum for their service to the world’s biggest terrorist state, turning themselves into terrorists, ironically. Assad should get very tough with the Kurds (and will have to get tough with Kurds who are innocent as well – for now – as he won’t know who is who), kicking them out of Syria and killing those who resist with force. I know that he is reluctant to do that. Score one for lawless, vicious uncle Sam, for the minute Assad acts to protect the national security of Syria, the entire Western corporate owned press will howl that it’s forces need to do humanitarian intervention.
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From Stephen Gowan’s article (on his blog) titled “The Myth Of The Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence,” the following:
US planners decided to eliminate Asia’s Arab nationalists by invading their countries…, which, like Syria, was led by the Ba’ath Arab Socialists… However, the Pentagon soon discovered that its resources were strained by resistance to its occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and that an invasion of Syria was out of the question. As an alternative, Washington immediately initiated a campaign of economic warfare against Syria. That campaign, still in effect 14 years later, would eventually buckle the economy and prevent Damascus from providing education, health care and other essential services in some parts of the country… Beginning in 2006, Washington worked with Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood to rekindle the Brother’s jihad against Assad’s secular government. The Brothers had two meetings at the White House, and met frequently with the State Department and National Security Council.
The outbreak of Islamist violence in March of 2011 was greeted by the PKK as an opportunity. As The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov recounts, “The PKK, once an ally of… Damascus… had long been present among Kurdish communities in northern Syria. When the revolutionary tide reached Syria, the group’s Syrian affiliate quickly seized control of three Kurdish-majority regions along the Turkish frontier… The “Syrian Kurds,” wrote [Yaroslav] Trofimov’s colleagues, Joe Parkinson and Ayla Albayrak, viewed “the civil war as an opportunity to carve out a self-governing enclave – similar to the one established by their ethnic kin in neighboring Iraq.” That enclave, long backed by the United States and Israel, was seen as a means of weakening the Iraqi state.
Damascus facilitated the PKK take-over by withdrawing its troops from Kurdish-dominated areas. The Middle East specialist Patrick Seale, who wrote that the Kurds had “seized the opportunity” of the chaos engendered by the Islamist uprising “to boost their own political agenda” speculated that the Syrian government’s aims in pulling back from Kurd-majority areas was to redirect “troops for the defence of Damascus and Aleppo;” punish Turkey for its support of Islamist insurgents; and “to conciliate the Kurds, so as to dissuade them from joining the rebels.” The PKK, as it turns out, didn’t join the Islamist insurgents, as Damascus hoped. But they did join a more significant part of the opposition to Arab nationalist Syria: the puppet master itself, the United States.
By 2014, the PKK had “declared three self-rule administrations, or cantons as they call them, in northern Syria: Afreen, in the northwest, near the city of Aleppo; Kobani; and Jazeera in the northeast, which encompasses Ras al-Ain and the city of Qamishli. Their goal [was] to connect all three.” This would mean controlling the intervening spaces occupied by Arabs…
At this point, the PKK decided that its political goals might best be served by striking a deal with Washington.
The State Department had “allowed for the possibility of a form of decentralization in which different groups” — the Kurds, the secular government, and the Islamist insurgents — each received some autonomy within Syria. Notice the implicit assumption in this view that it is within Washington’s purview to grant autonomy within Syria, while the question of whether the country ought to decentralize, properly within the democratic ambit of Syrians themselves, is denied to the people who live and work in Syria. If we are to take seriously Ocalan’s [Murray] Bookchin-inspired ideas about investing decision-making authority in the people, this anti-democratic abomination can hardly be tolerated.”…
The PKK “pressed U.S. officials” to act on the scheme, pledging to act as a ground force against ISIS in return. The group said it was “eager to join the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in return for recognition and support from Washington and its allies for the Kurdish-dominated self-rule administrations they [had] established in northern Syria.”
The only people pleased with this plan were the PKK, the Israelis and the Americans.
However, There also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them was considered to be the greatest. But he said to them: “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. You, though, are not to be that way.” – Jesus Christ, as recorded at Luke 22:24-26
edit, July 31, 2017 – I almost forgot to add in one more entry in my recent list of ‘fools who play with weapons of mass destruction’. I had come across it in a coffee shop and sent an email to myself so I wouldn’t forget it when doing my post later at home, but forgot to check my email for it. I found the article on a great website called Axis Of Logic.
“US Nuclear Arsenal Controlled By 1970s Computers With 8in Floppy Disks” by Staff writers of The Guardian
Note: Read The Guardian if you must. But it’s basically another state propaganda organ. I didn’t find this on The Guardian, but on a progressive website. An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
The US military’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by computers built in the 1970s that still use 8in floppy disks.
A report into the state of the US government, released by congressional investigators, has revealed that the country is spending around $60bn (£40.8bn) to maintain museum-ready computers, which many do not even know how to operate any more, as their creators retire.
The Defense Department’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System (DDSACCS), which is used to send and receive emergency action messages to US nuclear forces, runs on a 1970s IBM computing platform. It still uses 8in floppy disks to store data.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
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The HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of Britain’s two brand new aircraft carriers which left port on Monday for sea tests, runs on outdated Windows XP software which is vulnerable to cyberattack.
It is the same software controversially used on the UK’s nuclear armed Vanguard submarines. Windows XP has not been supported by Microsoft since 2014.
In May, a massive cyberattack struck the National Health Service (NHS), which also uses the software.
During a press visit to the 65,000-tonne carrier ahead of her test launch on Monday, journalists from the Times noticed the software was in use.
“If XP is for operational use, it is extremely risky,” Professor Alan Woodward, an IT expert at the University of Surrey, told the Times.
“Why would you put an obsolete system in a new vessel that has a lifetime of decades?”
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“Trump lauds new ‘carrier’ as it produces ‘FEAR’!” by Donald Swenson
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
The new $12.9 billion USS Gerald Ford is being deployed into our Atlantic ocean. Our new President claims this will make our enemies “shake with fear”. President Trump says “American might is second to none and we’re getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration”. What does this image and rhetoric create for Americans? To me this creates the image that MIGHT makes RIGHT for America. The article in the Arizona Daily Star, July 23, 2017, is headlined with “New Carrier will make enemies shake with fear”.
The history of America from its beginning is one of solving problems mostly with the use of MIGHT.
From Richard Preston’s “The Defence of the Undefended Border,” the following, on page 4:
President Ford warned oil-producing states that nations have often gone to war to obtain vital natural resources (a pronouncement that was, incidentally, made in Detroit close to the Canadian border); Henry Kissinger stated that force could not be ruled out if the industrial states were being strangled; and the CIA revealed past plans to assassinate heads of state.”
You can’t do a simple Google search and find that entire speech by slime ball Gerald Ford, but we don’t need it here. Richard Preston gives us no additional info.
“70,000 Tonnes of Hubris” by Craig Murray
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
There is no defensive purpose to an aircraft carrier. Its entire purpose is to move aircraft to a position where they can attack other countries. As soon as they are equipped with attack aircraft, these carriers will spend most of their time around the Middle East, including at the UK’s brand new naval base in the vicious despotism of Bahrain. Having spent £7 billion on these behemoths, politicians will seek to enhance their prestige and demonstrate that they control a nation which is a “major power”, by using them. The very fact of their existence will make bombing attacks such as those we saw on Syria, Libya and Iraq more likely.
That further twist in the cycle of violence will lead to more terrorist attacks in the UK. There is no sense in which this aircraft carrier is anything to do with defending the United Kingdom. It is a device to attack foreign countries. The result is it makes us a lot less safe at home.
Craig must be referring to the recent launching of The HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier that, above, RT is talking about. Speaking of Queen Elizabeth, and the uses of weapons of mass destruction like this, see Stephen Gowans’s blog post titled “Western Hypocrisy Going Naked in the Middle East.” Here’s an excerpt from it:
The dictator of Bahrain—who, with the help of Saudi troops and tanks, ruthlessly crushed an Arab Spring uprising that demanded a representative democracy—is spending a leisurely day, today, in Britain, one of the world’s oldest parliamentary ‘democracies’, visiting a horse show with his fellow parasite Queen Elizabeth II. Britain is neck deep in the undemocratic campaign to topple the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, amply assisted by Saudi Arabia and other tyrannies of the Persian Gulf, who have provided arms, training and money to al-Qaeda and other Sunni religious fanatics to wage jihad against the secular, anti-sectarian, anti-imperialist, and anti-Zionist government of Assad. Assad must be toppled, the misnamed Friends of Syria aver, because he is a dictator who thwarted an Arab Spring uprising.
The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article by :
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Of course, it is only sane to want a peaceful co-existence in a world where any war between the super powers would almost assuredly escalate to a nuclear shootout, but China is actually leading the way out, by 3 times offering for the US, and ‘relevant countries’ to join the New Silk Road via the Bering Strait, as part of a new paradigm where development is put first, where instead of the “Clash of Civilizations” where it is ‘each against all’ fighting over control of a dwindling resource base, you can instead have a community of sovereign nations, voluntarily engaging in win/win agreements building “towards the common aims of mankind” and in the Westphalian spirit of “the benefit of the other”
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I tossed in a few (3) comments in the discussion attached to this article. Two were in response to other posters. The second comment was in response to Eric Blair. And the third comment was in response to Anna Zimmerman. My comments:
Building dams is damn problematic.
You make a lot of good points. I have been learning in recent months, perhaps years (I lose my sense of time), that even as someone who pays attention and has sensitive bullcrap sensors, I’m still amazed by how much crap I probably have floating around in my brain, put there by our ‘benefactors’ in power and their tools.
There’s a few things I would point out though. I’m turned off by counter arguments from the real Left that are completely one-sided. True, there’s often the obligatory (for people like me who make arguments like this) ‘China’ (or your US-targetted country of choice) ‘is not perfect, but…’ Instead of a ‘but’, I’d like to see an actual, factual, balanced report.
And bravado, which wasn’t terribly in evidence in your post, but often is in articles and commentary like this, is a bad idea. Never, never mislead the people. It isn’t good for them and it will only hurt your rep in the long run. A high regard for simple, as opposed to worldly, honesty will ensure that the progressive’s reportage will be the best that it can be. In my opinion.
Not only that, I don’t see how states that want to go their own way, and not be under the global dictatorship of the United States, can do so when the entire world is caught in the global capitalist system designed by the US and dominated by it. It is important to note the way the US dominates. It’s by rule-breaking. We should know this by now. But not only do those leaders (Saddam, Gaddaffi, Moddadegh, Assad, Chavez and Maduro for example) who want independence from uncle Sam’s “leadership” still want to play by his rules, by employing ‘his’ money system, but they act as though they are in a parallel universe, where there’s an honorable uncle Sam, where they can win if they play their cards right. There is only this universe, with a lawless, vicious American superpower in it, and you can NOT win when that superpower, who is the biggest, baddest player, is ready, willing and able to break the rules the minute its deep state thinks its class might lose if its agents don’t break those rules! Iran is under sanctions – that should not be legal, which is another way of saying that they are lawless. Russia is under sanctions and the devious Magnitsky Act. Syria is under sanctions. The sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi children were stamped “legal” – by the lawless, bloodspilling, Constitution-breaking United States.
That’s bad enough. But you can’t even opt out of the money system. Uncle Sam won’t let anyone have freedom from his dictatorship. That being the case, How can anyone truly have independence in this dark world? Not that anyone is trying to – while they pretend that they can. To my mind, a genuine effort would involve not just getting out of uncle Sam’s money system, but getting out of money altogether!
Also, There’s things I don’t get. Socialism (by which I mean worker ownership ‘and’ independence from the global dictatorship of the US and all imperialism) isn’t divorced from money, as far as I know. (When I ask about it, I never get an answer. One time, I got another question, as an answer, from someone on ZNet, which I just ignored, partly because I didn’t really understand the question.) Personally, I don’t believe for a minute that if a large part of humankind, say for example the 400 million strong Arab bloc (that isn’t one but could have been), succeeded in keeping uncle Sam out and using its natural resources to benefit all Arabs, firstly, and managed to run its own economy and have control over its monetary policy etc, it would end up benevolent or different than its competitors. (What Stephen Gowans’s book, “Washington’s Long War On Syria,” shows me is not that the realization of the secular, national Arab leaders’ [who Washington is one by one disappearing] goal of being part of a powerful Arab bloc in the same league as the other blocs means salvation for humankind, but only fairness and a welcome absence of the destruction of regime change that we see now; but not freedom from the imperfection that leads people to self-modify into monsters who oppress and exploit others.) That Arabs have been victims of rampaging lawless imperial powers and others doesn’t change their fundamental, imperfect, character as human beings. (What do you call imposing a dress code on every single female in the country?)
Those are still imperfect human beings. And they are, in fact, too without God (even if they are as decent as imperfect humans can be) and are therefore lacking his blessing (as is the rest of the world), without which success can’t be achieved. (As the Christian Bible notes, at Pslam 127:1, “Unless Jehovah builds the house, it is in vain that the workers have worked hard on it.”) Reasonable, rational Arab nationalists (‘nationalist’ being a difficult term because there’s so many bad examples of “nationalism”), who were free to run their own affairs, could not, on their own, ensure that they would not end up imitating the lawless, violent imperial powers. Maybe not immediately. Nevertheless. Just by having a money system, they are doomed, in my view. Let alone the reality, as far as I am aware, that no leader or state that contemplates or contemplated socialism (all of the Arab leaders I listed above) envisioned cutting itself off from the wider world. Trade means integration into the global money system. And you are right back to the problem of lawless, vicious uncle Sam. And if it wasn’t him, it would just be another godless state – while this dark world is with us.
Eric might have benifitted from being directed to William Engdahl’s new book about nefarious NGOs. The problem is that it’s not in English yet. I very, very much would like to read it but cannot read German.
And here’s the real issue facing humankind at this time, whether individuals know it or not and whether they acknowledge it or not. We must all – and those who can, will – respond to the Issue Of Universal Sovereignty, whether or not some think I’m not sophisticated enough to have this right.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Thomas Walkom follows:
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His supporters — and Singh himself — argue that the 38-year-old Brampton politician is best-positioned to persuade younger voters, as well as those from the ethnically diverse ridings of suburban Canada, to vote NDP.
But Singh has also shown on an unusual willingness to take on established party policy. In particular, he is breaking with the NDP’s long-held support for universal Old Age Security.
His Canada Seniors Guarantee would scrap OAS and roll it, along with three other programs aimed at those 65 and over, into one means-tested benefit for the elderly poor…
On the other side are those who argue that social programs must benefit a broad swath of the middle class, as well as the very poor, if they are to have political legitimacy.
Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent used to make this case eloquently when defending universal programs, such as OAS and the baby bonus.
The easiest way to erode social programs, he would say then, was to limit them to people like the very poor that most voters don’t care about.
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I’m an honest person. I believe in simple, as opposed to worldly, honesty. Jesus said “Just let your word ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, your ‘no’, ‘no’, for what goes beyond that is from the wicked one.” In other words, what goes beyond that simple honesty is wicked. (Matthew 5:37) Jesus also said “By their fruits you will recognize them… A good tree cannot bear good fruit nor can a rotten tree produce fine fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
Therefore, I have no use for Ed Broadbent’s argument which amounts to ‘We must con the rightwingers’. I personally don’t view rightwing as a moral equivalent to leftwing. Rightwing, in my cosmology, is evil. And it includes fake leftwingers, like NDP members, including Jagmeet Singh who is kidding us that he’s a people’s champion. You can’t be the leader of a rightwing Party and a people’s champion. But Jagmeet’s clever, if you like that sort of thing and don’t require substance.
I am not following this leadership contest closely because I can’t ever support the NDP, at any level, again. I pop into Canadian Dimension from time to time where they happen to be following the contest. I don’t visit the site solely for updates on the contest but I will sometimes read a new report about it. This post is by no means anaytical because I don’t know the full programs of each contender. I don’t know the details about Singh’s positive proposal. I’m only looking at this one negative position he takes, which I agree with. I don’t even know why he’s taking it. But it doesn’t matter. Anyone wanting to be a part of this neoliberal Party, inlcuding Niki Ashton, whose position on Palestinian human rights I applaud, will not have my support.