The Avalanche – Snapshot 14 – May 30, ’18

“Wikipedia disappears article on “Philip Cross” & life-bans author” by ? (Off Guardian)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Wkipedia contributor “Mojito Paraiso” recently tried the experiment of creating an entry for “Philip Cross” the apparently pseudonymous editor/contributor who has been a persistent defamer/disinfo source, making rapid-fire and negative editing of the Wikipedia entries for many alt-media and “pro-Russia” journalists and commentators.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the article was disappeared very rapidly. And in what looks a lot like overkill, Mojito_Paraiso was then banned from editing in perpetuity. Apparently defaming John Pilger, George Galloway, Media Lens etc is acceptable Wikiconduct, but drawing attention to the persona responsible is a banning offence

From MEM:
Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American citizen and journalist working in Syria [Twitter]

“Journalists challenge their inclusion on a US drone ‘kill list’” by ? (Middle East Monitor)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Two journalists have today filed federal court cases in the United States to challenge their inclusion on a classified US “Kill List”, Reprieve said in a statement.

Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American citizen and journalist working in Syria, escaped being killed by drone strike on five occasions, including two strikes on cars he was travelling in. Two additional strikes were executed on his independent news agency, On the Ground News, while he was working in the studio.

Ahmad Zaidan, a senior reporter with Al Jazeera has appeared in a top secret SKYNET document, a US computer programme which has classified him as an Al-Qaeda courier based on “metadata”. Zaidan was the first person to interview Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda’s former leader in the 1990s.

“Bilal and Ahmed are journalists, not terrorists. All they are asking for is the chance to prove it. Yet, the government seeks to deny them that chance. In doing so, he is asking the courts to jettison the very value, which sets America apart from dictatorships and despots – due process,” Jennifer Gibson, head of Reprieve’s drones project, said.

Talk about killing unwanted communication!

From Briarpatch:
During Nakba Day demonstrations, Palestinian protesters carry keys, symbolizing the homes they have not been allowed to return to. Poster by Waleed Idrees.

“Who will commemorate the Nakba in Canada?” by Morgan Duchesney (Briarpatch)

=== == =
This week marks the anniversary of conflicting narratives: the founding of the Israeli state on May 14, and the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba on May 15. The word Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) is used by Palestinians and others to describe the period between 1947 and 1949, when over 700,000 indigenous Arabs were driven from their homes during Operation Dalet, to make way for the expansion of the nascent Jewish state of Israel. Since the Nakba is both dismissed and intentionally excluded from the official narrative, most Canadians receive a narrow version of history, one that facilitates the further marginalization of the Palestinian people.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently acknowledged the birth of Israel while blithely ignoring the Nakba, issuing a statement saying that “Canada is proud to stand with Israel. We will continue to oppose efforts to isolate Israel internationally, and work to expand the trade and security relationship between our two countries.” It is Trudeau’s closely guarded trade and “security” relationships that are both cause and symptom of Canada’s cozy relationship with Israel, and the state’s determination to ignore the Nakba.
= == ===

Frankie Boyle

“Frankie Boyle: Your new show betrayed Gaza” by Jonathan Cook (BSNEWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Dear Frankie Boyle,

I’d prefer not to be writing this as an open letter, but you didn’t leave me much choice: I can no longer engage with you on Twitter because you blocked me (and many hundreds of others, it seems) for criticising the first episode of your New World Order TV show on Friday…

There are a number of additional reasons why some of your followers are so angry with you over this episode. Rather than shutting them up, it might have been wise to listen to them.

1. You have spoken in the past about the BBC censuring you for jokes you made that were critical of Israel on the grounds that those jokes were supposedly anti-semitic. Remember what you wrote in an open letter eight years ago, before the media had set up Corbyn as the fall guy rather than you. Then, you stated:

I think the problem here is that the show’s producers will have thought that Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal, was an appropriate target for satire. The [BBC] Trust’s ruling is essentially a note from their line managers.

It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an entire people is fair game, you are mistaken. Israel is out of bounds.

Well, your prediction is fully vindicated. Now you don’t get censured by the BBC for anti-semitism; instead they pre-emptively censor your jokes on the assumption that they are anti-semitic (see point 2).

2. You admitted in a tweet that BBC executives cut sections of Friday’s show – in violation of promises to you that those segments would be kept in – in which you criticised Israel as apartheid state and spoke out against Israel’s actions in Gaza. It is commendable that you made such comments, and that you have alerted us to the fact that the BBC excised them. It is yet further confirmation that the British state-corporate media is deeply unbalanced and untrustworthy on issues relating to Israel.


“Promoters of Saudi Prince as Feminist Reformer Are Silent on His Crackdown on Women” by Adam Johnson (FAIR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

During his US PR tour in March, Saudi prince and de facto ruler of the absolute monarchy Mohammed bin Salman (often referred to as “MBS”) touted the progress the kingdom was making in the area of “women’s rights”—namely letting women drive and combatting nebulous reactionary forces that were somehow separate from the regime.

Since then, at least seven major women’s rights advocates—Eman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziz al-Yousef, Aisha al-Manea, Madiha Al-Ajroush, Walaa Al-Shubbar and Hasah Al-Sheikh—have been detained by Saudi authorities and, according to at least one report (Middle East Eye, 5/22/18), may face the death penalty.

Two of the biggest media corners that helped sell bin Salman as a feminist reformer during the trip and the months leading up to it—the New York Times opinion pages and CBS News’ 60 Minutes—have not published any follow-up commentary on bin Salman’s recent crackdown on women’s rights campaigners (Independent, 5/22/18)…

“US Gov’t Silent As Ally Saudi Arabia Kidnaps and Cages Women for Wanting to Drive” by Rachel Blevins (The Free Thought Project)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When Saudi Arabia announced last year that 2018 would be the year women were finally allowed to drive, the United States treated its close ally as if it was setting the standard for women’s rights. However, now that several of the women who were at the forefront of the movement have been mysteriously arrested before the new law goes into effect, the U.S. has refused to call out the Saudi government…

The United States refused to call out its close ally, and U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert summarized the ordeal by simply saying, “We support space for civil society and also free speech. But overall, we’re concerned about it and we’re keeping a close eye on it.”

The United States’ response is ironic, given the fact that if another country in the Middle East that was not considered a close ally—such as Syria or Iran—was arresting activists for supporting basic women’s rights, the U.S. would be calling for a full-scale invasion to bring that country the “freedom and democracy” it clearly needed, and to overthrow the dictator who was oppressing his people.

However, because Saudi Arabia is a friend of the United States—and it is partnered in the “single largest arms deal in U.S. history,” which guarantees the kingdom $350 billion in weapons over the next 10 years—the U.S. has apparently chosen to turn a blind eye to egregious human rights violations committed by the Saudi government.

“Journalistic Community Slams Kiev’s Ban on Russian media” by ? (Sputnik)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Ukrainian authorities on Thursday blocked the operation of Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency on the country’s territory in a move which Moscow and the international journalistic community have denounced as another step in the censorship and intolerance campaign against an alternative viewpoint.

Earlier on Thursday, Rossiya Segodnya was included in Ukraine’s sanctions list for three years, with the agency’s assets and websites blocked. The restrictions also apply to the RIA Novosti Ukraine portal, whose head, Kirill Vyshinsky, was arrested in Kiev earlier in May, and Россиясегодня.рф,,,, as well as websites.

Kiev has repeatedly limited the activities of Russian news outlets and journalists in Ukraine. In March 2015, Kiev published a list of 115 Russian media outlets, which could be denied or temporarily suspended accreditation by Ukrainian authorities as the outlets “posed threats” to national security. As the regulation came into force, a number of Russian journalists and television reporters were denied entry to Ukraine or deported to Russia, with a number of TV channels banned.

“YouTube restricts video exposing Israeli brutality” by ? (Middle East Monitor)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

YouTube on Wednesday decided to reinstate a video exposing Israel’s brutality towards Palestinians after receiving backlash on social media.

Claiming the content violated its terms of service, the video-sharing platform on Sunday deleted the video, which was posted by Palestinian academic and activist Sana Kassem to pay tribute to Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during recent demonstrations in Gaza.

Renowned American professor and activist Norman Finkelstein reposted the video, which was again removed by YouTube. Finkelstein appealed to YouTube in an email, asking for the reason for its decision.

“They will patiently wait until all the children in Gaza are murdered by Israel. Then they will repost the video,” Finkelstein told Anadolu Agency.

Shortly after his statement to Anadolu Agency, YouTube responded to Finkelstein, telling him they will be reinstating the video but placing it behind an age restriction.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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Harassment. Distraction. Anxiety

*edit, June 21, 2018 – I will give in and agree to whatever it is I’m agreeing to in order to use Disqus. I hate Disqus and always will. Are there no progressives out there who can create a Disqus-type business that doesn’t do data mining or some other nastiness? If I knew more – which would be the case if people cared enough to know about this and then talked about it to us so that I could know myself – I might not go along with the change. I can click on ‘agree’ without agreeing, if what I’m agreeing to is not explained in plain English, I believe, without risking losing my soul. This crap is on every cyber door I might want to enter, ergo.

I’m seeing this everywhere I go now:

For one thing, I don’t exactly what it means and therefore I have no interest in going along with it. Can NO ONE explain, in plain English, what this sudden opt-in is all about? Yes, I know that Europe has enacted some recent legislation and I even seem to recall that its not nefarious. But I’m not sure.

I already hate Disqus, which progressives just go along with, not solely because it’s big and hard to get around, like Google, but because, in my view, they are too laissez faire about the State and its tools and their interactions with us. (As for too big, You can expect that if it’s big, then the war-making State, or Corporatocracy, will view that big org or institution as a big weapon. And you, dear people, are actually the enemy. Ergo, Absolutely don’t trust fully any big org until that org or institution has fully given you reasons to.) That criticism isn’t directed, mainly, at those who just surf or those, who, like myself, are amateur bloggers. I’m a permanent amateur. I’m a veteran blogger, but that doesn’t make me tech smart. I work – for less than a living wage – full time and can’t buy training that I need to learn much that I would use to blog better. I accept that. I have no funds to buy skills and no associates (professional or non professional) with tech smarts who I might utilize so as to take it to the next level. So, ‘progressives’ (with important, supposedly, info that you think I just have to have), If you don’t ditch Disqus and implement your own in-house commenting features or at least explain to me how using Disqus is something we all ‘have’ to do and ‘can’ safely do, I’m outta here. I don’t absolutely need to attach comments to your hosted articles. I am not the one who is going to destroy this system of things and I’m not anyone’s savior. But He is there and correction ‘is’ coming.

I’ve used Disqus until now. If I become less visible online because of my lack of willingness to go along with the evil Disqus, so be it. It will make no difference. I will miss the interaction. (My behavior is always more important than my situation.) But my view is that I have no right to expect anything to go smooth, for myself or others, in this hellish, but temporary world. The way I look at it is; I have it very good compared to millions of others. And I give thanks to Jehovah for that. But I know the score. Paradise is later.

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Professional Scam Artists – part 16

“E-Waste Recycler Sentenced To Over A Year In Prison For Fixing Old PCs and Selling Them” by John Vibes (Activist Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
Computer technician and E-waste recycler Eric Lundgren is going to prison for 15 months for selling restore disks for computers, which would extend their longevity and allow them to be resold to new users. A federal appeals court in Miami rejected the appeal in his case this week, upholding a federal district judge’s ruling that Lundgren violated Microsoft’s copyright by selling the disks.

Although these restore disks come free with every computer, there is a license key that is tied to the first buyer, which makes it effectively impossible to restore these computers for private sale, that is, unless you want to pay Microsoft for an entirely new license, at which point most people would just choose to buy a new computer…

However, since the case has gotten so much media attention and many are seeing Lundgren as a hero, Microsoft has changed their tune and are saying that this is a measure that was taken to protect people from malware…

The court gave Lundgren a few weeks to make his business transition arrangements before he will surrender to police custody, but he was warned that if he created too much media attention he would be taken in immediately.

“I was told if I got loud in the media, they’d come pick me up. If you want to take my liberty, I’m going to get loud,” Lundgren said.
= ===

Proposed expansion of Trans Mountain Pipeline, map by Kinder Morgan

“In orchestrated ploy, Kinder Morgan announces halt to all but non-essential work on Trans Mountains tar sands pipeline expansion” by Roger Annis (A Socialist In Canada)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

As matters stand, the BC government is preparing a reference to the BC Supreme Court deciding whether it has the constitutional power to undertake its proposed studies. [The preceding sentence was corrected from the orginal.] That court’s decision is the beginning and end of the government’s stand. Environment Minister George Heyman told the BC Legislature last month, “Neither I, the premier nor any member of our government has said that we would use every means available to delay, to deny the pipeline. What we’ve said is that we’ll use every tool in the tool box to defend B.C.’s coast, our economy and our interests.”

The government is otherwise a full participant in fossil fuel extraction expansion in Canada, notably though its promotion of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, expansion of related natural gas fracking in the northeast of the province, and the decision to proceed with construction of the $10 billion-plus ‘Site C’ hydroelectric dam on the Peace River, also in the northeast. The dam does not have an assured market for its product, but tar sands extraction in Alberta is a key potential market.

Vancouver also happens to be the largest coal-exporting port in North America, much of that delivered by rail from faraway Wyoming and Montana in the United States. Vancovuer serves as a doormat for the coal industry in the western U.S. The industry has been unable to overcome citizen opposition in Washington and Oregon states to expanded coal exports from ocean export terminals in those states…

The conservative Globe and Mail national daily has weighed into the fray with an editorial on April 9 calling the pipeline obstacles nothing less than “an economic and constitutional disaster” for Canada. “The federal government cannot let this stand. It must use whatever tools it has, courts included, to re-establish its jurisdiction and get Trans Mountain back on track.”

Roger Annis calls the Globe And Mail ‘conservative’. It is, if ‘conservative’ means rightwing. And Roger mentions ‘liberal environmentalists’. I don’t really know what that means.

“Theresa May’s husband’s Investment Firm made a financial killing from the bombing of Syria” by Tom D. Rogers (Evolve Politics)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Whilst it is pretty obvious that almost all married couples act as informal advisors to each other in come capacity, [Andrew] Tyrie’s admission that the Prime Minister’s husband has such a great influence over his wife’s decisions is made all the more worrying by the fact that Mr May – who is a Senior Executive at a £1.4Tn investment firm – stands to benefit financially from the decisions his wife [Elizabeth], the Prime Minister, makes.

The fact that Philip May is both a Senior Executive of a hugely powerful investment firm, and privy to reams of insider information from the Prime Minister – knowledge which, when it becomes public, hugely affects the share prices of the companies his firm invests in – makes Mr May’s official employment a staggering conflict of interest for the husband of a sitting Prime Minister.

However, aside from the ease at which he is able to glean insider information from his wife about potential decisions which could go on to make huge profits for his firm, there is a far darker conflict of interest that has so far gone undiscussed.

Philip May is a Senior Executive of Capital Group, an Investment Firm who buy shares in all sorts of companies across the globe – including thousands of shares in the world’s biggest Defence Firm, Lockheed Martin.

Theodore Postol vs Eliot Higgins

“War Propaganda Firm Bellingcat Continues Lying About Syria” by Caitlin Johnstone (Caitlin Johnstone Rogue Journalist)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In December of 2016, the war propaganda firm Bellingcat ran an article assuring its readers that Twitter star Bana Alabed is a perfectly legitimate little Syrian girl and not at all a psyop designed to manufacture support for military interventionism against Bashar al-Assad. In April of 2017, CNN’s “New Day” staged a fake, scripted interview featuring the child condemning Assad and pleading for the world to intervene in Syria. CNN passed it off to its unsuspecting audience as a real interview, and later used the footage against congressman Thomas Massie for his opposition to Syrian interventionism.

Bellingcat churns out such tripe constantly, and there’s a new article published yesterday that has all the usual warmongers salivating with particular enthusiasm…

Higgins is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, an extremely shady think tank with ties to powerful oligarchs. Its name seems to come up whenever you investigate any of the mainstream media’s favorite Russia conspiracy theories, from the DNC hack to Russian trolls to the PropOrNot blacklist publicized by the Washington Post which normalized the smearing of alternative media outlets as Kremlin propaganda. It’s a very influential organization with a very clear agenda, and it is Higgins’ job to advance that agenda.

We are being lied to about Syria to manufacture support for a regime change agenda which has been planned since long before the outbreak of violence in 2011…

Craig Murray

“Where They Tell You Not to Look” by Craig Murray (Craig Murray)

At the very beginning of the of the Skripal incident, the security services blocked by D(SMA) notice any media mention of Pablo Miller and told the media not to look at Orbis and the Steele dossier on Trump, acting immediately to get out their message via trusties in the BBC and Guardian…

MI6’s most important media conduit (after Frank Gardner) is Luke Harding of the Guardian…

A number of people replied to Harding’s tweet [claiming that there was no connection between Christopher Steele’s company, Orbis, and Sergei Skripal] to point out that this was demonstrably untrue, and Pablo Miller had listed his employment by Orbis Business Intelligence on his Linkedin profile…

You might think that any journalist worth his salt would want to consider this interesting counter-evidence. But Harding merely tweeted again the blank denials of the security services, without question.

This is an important trait of Harding. Last year we both appeared, separately, at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Harding was promoting a book and putting the boot into Wikileaks and Snowden. After his talk, I approached him in an entirely friendly manner, and told him there were a couple of factual errors in his presentation on matters to which I was an eye-witness, and I should be very happy to brief him, off the record, but we could discuss which bits he might use. He said he would talk later, and dashed off. Later I saw him in the author’s lounge, and as I walked towards him he hurriedly got up and left, looking at me…

…A journalist who positively avoids knowledge of his subject is an interesting phenomenon.

“Goldman Sachs Report Warns Pharma Companies That Curing Disease Is Bad For Business” by John Vibes (The Free Thought Project)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

There has always been some suspicion that pharmaceutical companies would rather keep people sick and on drugs than cure them in one shot and lose the ability to create return customers…

The idea that these companies would want to keep us sick is dismissed by many as a “conspiracy theory,” but let’s not forget that these companies and their high-level investors are here to sell drugs, not save lives. This point was brought up openly earlier this month in a memo that Goldman Sachs analyst Salveen Richter sent out to clients of the firm, about the potential of curing diseases with gene therapy…

In the memo, Richter plainly said, “The potential to deliver ‘one-shot cures’ is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy, and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies. While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.”

“‘Poison Papers’: US and Canadian Regulators Colluded with Manufacturers of Highly Toxic” [sic] – Dimitri Lascaris interviews Dr. Jonathan Latham (The Real News Network)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Since former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was appointed by President Donald Trump to be head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a great deal has been written, and rightly so, about the EPA’s regulatory failures and Scott Pruitt’s conflicts of interest. Some of the criticism directed at Scott Pruitt’s EPA seems, however, to presuppose that before the appointment of Pruitt, the EPA was a vigorous enforcer of America’s environmental laws. But a trove of documents published in late 2017 known as the Poison Papers demonstrate that the EPA failed to fulfill its mandate long before Donald Trump was elected.

The poison papers were analyzed and published by the Center for Media and Democracy and Dr. Jonathan Latham. They are a compilation of over 20000 documents obtained from federal agencies and chemical manufacturers via open records requests and public interest litigation. They include internal scientific studies and summaries of studies, internal memos and reports, meeting minutes, strategic discussions, and sworn testimonies.

“New info has come to light about BP’s risky offshore drilling” by Maude Barlow (The Council of Canadians)

BP’s offshore drilling project didn’t have a full risk assessment before drilling started, according to a long-time industry expert.

Dr. Robert Bea has 48 years experience in marine systems, including offshore platforms, pipelines, and floating facilities. He reviewed BP’s environmental assessment and revealed in a recent op-ed published in the National Observer on May 8 that the “risks of accidents and malfunctions” have not been properly assessed, documented and validated by BP.”

Right now BP is drilling near Sable Island National Park Reserve, putting this treasured place, Nova Scotia’s multibillion-dollar fisheries and tourism industries – which drives the province’s economy and provides people with good, sustainable jobs – and marine life at risk.

From Michael Geist’s website:
Arty Shot #1 by Damien D. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“World’s Worst Wireless Pricing?: Report Finds Canadian Wireless Broadband Pricing Offers Least Bang for the Buck in Developed World” by Michael Geist (Michael Geist)

The sad state of Canadian wireless pricing is old news for consumers and the government, but a new report graphically demonstrates how Canadians face some of the least competitive pricing in the developed world. The Rewheel study measured pricing in EU and OECD markets by examining how many gigabytes of 4G wireless data consumers get for the equivalent of 30 euros. This chart from Rewheel says it all:

Canada is at the far left of the chart with consumers getting less for their money than anyone else. While many countries offer unlimited mobile data at that price, the report says Canadian carriers offer a measly 2 GB. The smartphone data plans aren’t much better, with nearly all countries offering better deals and many shifting to unlimited data at that price.

The image I used, above, is similar to the image used in Michael’s post, but not identical. Michael’s is dated April 2017. The one I just grabbed from Rewheel’s website is dated November. I just wanted a better image. The two charts are similar enough to not impair at all the content of Michael’s post.

Brian Hutchings

“Bell Backroom Pressure: Internal Documents Reveal How a Brock University Executive Came to Provide Support for Website Blocking” by Michael Geist (Michael Geist)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== === == =
Among the thousands of interventions at the CRTC to the Bell coalition website blocking plan, one of the submissions that stands out comes from Brian Hutchings, Brock University’s Vice-President, Administration. The submission claims that “Brock ardently supports the FairPlay Canada coalition” adding that “we are committed to assist the members of the coalition and the CRTC in eliminating the theft of digital content.” The submission sparked an immediate campus backlash. The Brock University Faculty Association filed a submission with the CRTC noting:

we stand in opposition to the intervention by Vice President, Administration on behalf of Brock University. Vice-President Hutching’s intervention was undertaken without consultation with the wider Brock University community, including faculty, librarians, and Senate; therefore, his submission should not be seen as indicative of the views of Brock University as a whole.
= == === ====

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Beautiful Creations

From Middle East Eye:
A Syrian policeman stands amid the Palmyra ruins, a UNESCO world heritage site, in March 2014 (AFP)

“Palmyra” by Charles Glass

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
The young man betrayed no emotion as he told the story: ‘They asked him to kneel. He refused. He said, “If you are going to kill me, it will be while I am standing. I will die like the date palms, upright.” Because he refused to kneel, they hit him behind the knees.’ The man’s legs collapsed, and he fell. A sword swept through his neck, severing his head.

The young man, Tarek Assa’ad, hesitated. This was not a distant memory, and the murdered man was no stranger. It was his father, Khaled Assa’ad. The 81-year-old archaeologist died on 18 August 2015 within sight of the house where he was born on 1 January 1934. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), then at the summit of its conquests, decapitated him with the same destructive fury that characterised its demolition of the Hellenic and Roman treasures that Khaled Assa’ad had dedicated his life to protecting. In the burning summer of 2015, the guardian and his city, called Palmyra for its stately palm trees, were dying together…

Meanwhile, the trade in stolen artefacts from Palmyra and elsewhere was flourishing. Stolen statues, manuscripts, jewellery and ceramics turned up in Europe via Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. It was not as bad, however, as Dr Abdul Karim had feared: ‘We found that more than 70 per cent of the traffic outside Syria is fake.’ Many items, when their provenance was revealed, went back to Syria with the help of Interpol and other police agencies. ‘It’s not just our culture,’ Dr Abdul Karim said. ‘It is a universal heritage.’
= ===

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

The world needs Jehovah’s culture, where death isn’t glamorized and where education is true.

Alternative media has shown that it’s not alternative enough. But it does have its own flavor. There are more facts for one, good, thing. But in the area of Palestinian – Israeli relations, where one side oppresses and slaughters the other side, the real need, for those whose education includes the idea that human life is not meant to be thrown away carelessly, is for the victims of Israeli aggression to be removed to safety. The alt media is right to stay fixed on Israeli atrocities in connection with the March of Return. But it’s deadly wrong to not point out that what the Palestinians needed to do long ago, and now if they can, is leave for safety. But the world, victims, non victims, violent criminals and (relatively) innocent victims, lacks faith. Faithless supporters of human rights and the Palestinian struggle, along with those Palestinian victims, take the position that if we imperfect humans can’t fix it, then it can’t be fixed, because we are our own savior. They take the view that Palestinians have more claim to the land that they’re on than the Israelis, and they’re right and wrong. They leave God out of the picture.

No one has ‘unconditional’ ownership of the land they live on. Two things are required for the grant of life in paradise: 1. Loyalty to the Creator (who, I’m sorry to report, isn’t evolution or imperfect humankind) and 2. Adherence to his standards, which would rule out murder, lying, stealing, coveting, adultery.

Those who carelessly throw away their lives, and their childrens’ lives, will have to account to God for their actions. As for the uneducated – sometimes truly and sometimes voluntarily – world, abnormal and violent is normal, unfortunately. The world’s faith in itself ensures that abnormal will continue until it can’t.

Human life, when lived normally, is beautiful.

And the Syrian people need all the support the world can give it, not wishy washy and endless debates about the evil Assad. I wouldn’t say he’s not evil. But right now, he’s defending his people from much greater evil and some of that evil is called progressive.

Faithless people think that unless Israel changes its mind about things, willingly or by force, then the cruel destruction of the Palestinian community within its borders will continue. They give no thought to the idea that Jehovah God will eventually (in fact soon) destroy this evil, anti-life system of things, including all people who oppose him and including nation states, all of which oppose him. Palestinians are sacrificing themselves and their innocent children because Israel is taking their land and culture from them, and they won’t allow that, when, in fact, that’s unnecessary, as Israel will soon be removed by God. Palestinians are faced with same challenge as Israelis and all of humankind, namely the force of darkness unleashed by a world temporarily led by Gog (meaning darkness), aka Satan. All of us will, sooner or later, respond to the Issue of Universal Sovereignty and that response will determine our everlasting future. We will either have one or we won’t, depending on whether we stick with the Creator or reject him. And he will force no one to be loyal to him. He will force no one to live. Are Palestinian parents teaching their children that? Are those who are defending Palestinian victims of evil Israelis learning anything important that they can pass on to those who they are supporting?

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 8

“Report: Pro-Israel Groups Demand Changes to Virginia Textbooks” by Richard Edmondson (Fig Trees and Vineyards)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
Grant Smith and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) have released a report on efforts by Israel advocacy groups to effect changes in textbooks used in public schools in Virginia…

A group calling itself the “Institute for Curriculum Services” proposed the changes to the Virginia Department of Education on February 28…

IRmep also outlines a number of “common themes” which emerge in the requested textbook changes. These include eliminating or replacing historical artwork created for predominantly Christian audiences; deletion of all references to “Palestinian territories”; as well as characterization of Judaism, i.e. Old Testament theology, as “God’s covenant” while relegating the tenets of Islam to mere expressions of “Muslim religious belief.”

Apparently the changes being sought in Virginia textbooks are a part of an overall nationwide effort. IRmep cites a spokesperson for the “Institute for Curriculum Services” who claims to have successfully made more than 11,000 changes to textbooks in US public schools.
= ===

From Mondoweiss:
Boy in Umm al-Hiran prepares for demolition of his village by Israeli government to make way for Jewish settlement. (Photo: Mati Milstein)

“Umm Al Hiran is ethnically cleansed ‘voluntarily’” by Jonathan Ofir (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Last month, residents of the Israeli Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hiran, have finally “agreed” to be “relocated” to the Bedouin town (or what could be called a township) of Hura. Last year, they had experienced the police-execution of the teacher Yaqoub Mousa Abu Al Qia’an, during an ethnic cleansing operation there. All this is done in order to make space for a Jewish-only town under the name of Hiran.

And not just any kind of Jewish town. These are West-Bank religious-nationalist settlers, whose cooperative bylaws determine that a member must be “a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident of Israel who observes the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values”, as Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights has pointed out…

The residents have been fighting in the courts for nearly 15 years, but threats of an imminent new massive wave of demolitions to be executed promptly, coupled with the painful murderous experience of last year, left them feeling that they had no choice. In the early dawn hours of the 10th of April, Israeli police and demolition teams stood in the midst of the village. A community leader, Raed Abu al-Qia’an, said that the families of about 170 residents were forced to sign the ‘relocation’ agreement, fearing a repeat of the “blood and murder” of January 2017.

“Woman yelling at group of men in Alberta Denny’s shows racism is part of Canada’s character” by Shree Paradkar (Toronto Star)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“You’re dealing with a Canadian woman right now and I will leap across this table and punch you in the f–ing mouth,” she says. “Ignorant prick.”

Then the inevitable: “Go back to your own f–ing country. We don’t need you here.”

“You’re not Canadian,” she tells them. “No, you’re not Canadian.”

“Yes, we’re all Canadian,” says a male voice, now placed in a position of having to stake his humanity. “You’re a human being, I’m a human being. There’s nothing special about you.”

“No you’re not Canadian,” she keeps saying as he speaks, as if saying it often enough would make it true.

“Do you pay taxes here, my friend?” she asks.

“F–ing of course I pay taxes,” says the male voice. [Monir] Omerzai confirmed to me it was him.

“Really?” she says. “You pay our taxes?”

“White Yale Graduate Student Reported Black Classmate for Napping in Common Room” by ? (Alternet)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A black graduate student at Yale spent more than 15 minutes being interrogated on her own campus because a white classmate reported her to campus police for napping in a common room…

The white student who reported [Lolade] Siyonbola is said to have called the police months prior when she witnessed a black friend of Siyonbola lost in the building.

From CBC:
Stephen Harper is shown at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington on March 26. Canada’s former prime ministers and others signed a full-page ad in Wednesday’s New York Times that said U.S. President Donald Trump is ‘right about Iran.’ (Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press)

“‘You are right about Iran,’ Stephen Harper and other former PMs tell Trump in ad” by Catharine Tunney (CBC)

An excerpt from the above linked-to post follows:

Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has added his name to a full-page ad in the New York Times with a message to U.S. President Donald Trump: “You are right about Iran.”


“I am tired of ‘unending expert witnesses’, pro-FGM doctor tells court” by Andrew Mbuva (Pambazuka News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A doctor pushing for the legalisation of FGM told a court on Thursday that she was tired of “unending expert witnesses”.Tatu Kamau told a Machakos court that she had been receiving affidavits from these witnesses by email almost every day. It has become difficult to respond to them, she said when the case was mentioned, noting they have been sent since she filed her petition.

“I don’t know when this will stop because I am beginning to get tired.”

Presiding Judge David Kimei was quick to inform the petitioner that she ought to have prepared for such as the case is of much public interest. “It’s okay for interested parties to file affidavits since we are still in the pre-trial process. This is a matter of public interest so we cannot lock out anyone interested in the matter,” Kimei said.

Readers: FGM stands for female genital mutilation and that’s exactly what it is. I am against oppression, whether it’s mild (burqas etc) or severe (FGM).

Syrian Special Envoy Ghassan Obaid

“Syrian Witnesses Testify at OPCW Briefing in the Hague -No Chemical Weapon Attack in Douma- White Helmets Fabrication” – by ? (The Rabbit Hole)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Today the OPCW held a Russian-organized briefing in The Hague with Syrian witnesses of the alleged Douma “chemical attack”.

“Syrian and Russian missions to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) brought 17 eyewitnesses to the OPCW HQ in The Hague to prove that the alleged chemical attack in Douma city is a fabricated play.” – SANA

It was stated that the doctors in the Douma hospital did not witness any patients with chemical weapons poisoning. Men rushed in screaming about chemical weapons and caused a big stir. They took advantage of a situation where patients were suffering from hypoxia or asphyxiation and tried to manipulate it into looking like a chemical weapon attack had taken place. The little boy that was shown in the White Helmets video was unnecessarily doused with cold water. One of the eyewitnesses testified that he noticed three individuals filming the chaos that was created on their cellphones.

From 21st Century Wire website:
Screenshot from leaked video showing murder of Syrian troops by armed smugglers in Israeli-occupied Golan territories, 2o12

“Did UN Peace-Keeping Troops Send Syrian Soldiers to Certain Death in Occupied Golan Territories in 2012?” by ? (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
Shocking video footage has been leaked to Austrian media outlet “Falter”. An incident recorded in September 2012 has been sent to Falter by what appears to be a whistleblower. The video shows the Austrian UN “blue helmets” sending a Syrian border patrol to certain death in the occupied Golan territory close to the border between Syria and the Zionist state.
= == ===

Hassan and Jena

“Join Us in Calling for a Public Inquiry and Reforming Canada’s Extradition Law” by ? (Justice For Hassan Diab)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Recent CBC coverage of Dr. Hassan Diab’s ordeal highlights the role the Canadian Department of Justice played in facilitating Hassan’s extradition to France. When the case against Hassan was falling apart, after the defense discredited the French handwriting analysis, Senior Department of Justice lawyers urged French authorities to produce “new” handwriting analysis. Justice Department lawyers also suppressed fingerprint evidence showing Hassan’s innocence.

We urge you to join us in calling for an independent public inquiry into Hassan’s case and reforming Canada’s extradition law so that no other Canadian is subjected to such a flawed and unfair process. We do not have faith in an internal review by the Department of Justice which, in the first place, was responsible for Hassan’s ordeal.

“US Admits It “Lost” 1,500 Immigrant Children, Handed Many of Them Directly To Human Traffickers” by John Vibes (Activist Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

According to a Senate subcommittee testimony last week, nearly 1,500 immigrant children were lost in government arranged foster homes last year, with the suspicion that many of them were kidnapped by human traffickers.

During the hearing, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota told child protection representatives with the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) that they were “the worst foster parents in the world.”

“You are the worst foster parents in the world. You don’t even know where they are. We are failing. I don’t think there is any doubt about it. And when we fail kids that makes me angry,” Heitkamp said.

Many of the children are still unaccounted for, but some of them who have been found were held captive by human traffickers in terrible conditions.

Julian Assange

“Ecuador hints it may hand over Julian Assange to Britain and the US” by James Cogan (BSNEWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== —
Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities…

In 2010, WikiLeaks courageously published information leaked by then Private Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning that exposed war crimes committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. WikiLeaks also published, in partnership with some of the world’s major newspapers, tens of thousands of secret diplomatic cables, exposing the daily anti-democratic intrigues of US imperialism and numerous other governments.

For that, Assange was relentlessly persecuted by the Obama administration…
— ===

From Independent:
Shekh Qamber and his wife Adula Mahmoud Safar, Kurdish Yazidis facing persecution in Afrin Supplied

“Yazidis who suffered under Isis face forced conversion to Islam amid fresh persecution in Afrin” by Patrick Cockburn (Independent)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Yazidis, who were recently the target of massacre, rape and sex slavery by Isis, are now facing forcible conversion to Islam under the threat of death from Turkish-backed forces which captured the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on 18 March. Islamist rebel fighters, who are allied to Turkey and have occupied Yazidi villages in the area, have destroyed the temples and places of worship the Kurdish-speaking non-Islamic sect according to local people.

“The Great March of the Return: Will the International Criminal Court Prosecute Israel for War Crimes?” by Dimitri Lascaris (Dimitri Lascaris)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Al Haq, a human rights organization founded in 1979 and based in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has been meticulously documenting the Israeli military’s shooting of unarmed Palestinian protesters during the Great March of the Return, which began on March 30.

For the Real News, I speak to Al Haq researchers Rania Muhareb and Tareq Zaqqoot about Al Haq’s observations on the ground in Gaza.

As Rania and Tareq explain, Al Haq has compiled a compelling case of war crimes and has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s killing and wounding of children, medics, journalists and hundreds of other unarmed civilians.

From Mint:
Journalists attend a press conference of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, at the Royal Terminal of King Khaled airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, April 29, 2018. Pompeo is using the Middle East leg of his first trip abroad as America’s top diplomat to call for concerted international action to punish Iran for its missile programs. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

“Judge Who Gave Saudis a Free Pass Orders Iran to Pay $6 Billion to 9/11 Families” by Whitney Webb (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

NEW YORK – Iran has been ordered to pay a total of $6 billion to families of September 11 victims as part of a U.S. District Court ruling handed down on Tuesday. The ruling, ordered by U.S. District Judge George Daniels, blames Iran as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the country’s central bank for the deaths of the more than 1,000 victims of the terror attack whose families were part of the lawsuit.

Iran, however, has never been found to have any responsibility for the attacks, even by the U.S. government’s 9/11 Commission, and none of the 19 hijackers who participated in the attacks were Iranian citizens. Despite the lack of evidence linking Iran to the attacks, top media outlets – such as The New York Times – have erroneously called the terror attacks “Iranian-sponsored,” with little consequence.

“A Disturbing War Crime: Saudi Coalition Bombs Yemen Refugee Camp Killing Many Children” by Randi Nord (Geopolitics Alert)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Warplanes belonging to the U.S.-Saudi coalition carried out a series of airstrikes on a camp for displaced people in Yemen’s Hodeidah province on Monday. Out of the 14 fatalities, seven of which were children — some appear to be infants. The crime also killed three women and injured an additional nine civilians. Rescuers struggled to retrieve scattered bodies from the rubble for hours after the terror attack.

UNICEF called this crime “one of the deadliest attacks on children since the conflict in Yemen escalated in March 2015.” Saudi Arabia began their airstrike campaign against Yemen in March of 2015 with full military and intelligence support from the United States and several other countries. This means that not only does the U.S. provide bombs, but Washington also provides logistical support for selecting airstrike targets.

© Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

“Saudis to shut female gym after ‘controversial’ video emerges of woman wearing Lycra” by ? (SOTT)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority has shut down a women’s fitness center in Riyadh after a video showing a woman working out in figure-hugging lycra unleashed a storm of controversy.

The video shows a woman, whose head, arms and chest aren’t covered, demonstrating kickboxing moves while wearing brightly colored sportswear in the Fit You fitness center.

“We are not going to tolerate this,” the head of the General Sports Authority, Turki al-Sheikh, tweeted along with a statement ordering that the center’s license be withdrawn.

“”Law as Farce””

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