Israel

CAA Chief Stephen Pollard Defends Tory Thug, Who Punched Girl Anti-Fascist Protestor at UWE

I’ve been watching Dick Coughlan’s video on YouTube, ‘Daily Mail Readers = Bonkers Mental Nazi Rapists’, in which Coughlan goes through the comments section on the on-line version of the Daily Heil, and shows you precisely why it’s got that nickname. Coughlan himself is very anti-racist and anti-Nazi, as well as pro-feminist and supports LGBT and trans rights. He’s put up a number of videos about the historical reality of the Holocaust, refuting the assertions of the various Nazis out there that it never happened. I’ve reblogged some of these here. And so it’s no surprise that the comments he reads out here are from Mail readers with extreme right-wing views ranting on about immigrants.

And one of them is Stephen Pollard, the head of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the foul group of liars that have libelled Mike as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.

Remember the fracas that occurred a few weeks ago when the Young Master, Jacob Rees-Moog – whom Coughlan says looks like Lord Snooty from the Beano – turned up to give a talk at the University of the West of England here in Bristol? A group of antifa were present to protest. Snooty, sorry, Mogg in 2014 attended a dinner of the far right Traditional Britain Group, which is very anti-immigrant, viciously anti-Muslim, and at least one of its members does have a fascination with the Nazis. They also want to sell off the NHS. When news of this was published in the Independent, Mogg issued a statement that he went ’cause he didn’t really know who were they were. They just issued him an invite, and so he went along. Well, that’s his excuse. I find it unconvincing. As other people have pointed out, you hardly go to a formal dinner of an organisation without knowing at least something about them. But the incident explains why the antifa were protesting him.

One of them, a young woman, shouted ‘Racist! Nazi!’ at Mogg as he walked past. One of Mogg’s Tory fanboys then stood in front of her and punched her in the mouth. He also tried to hit her again. Coughlan also makes the point that this character was also photographed wearing a Nazi uniform. This was at a fancy dress party, admittedly. However, you can’t hire Nazi uniforms from costume shops. You have to buy them online. This is another point Coughlan makes, which leaves it a good question about how much sympathy this thug really does have with the Nazis.

Amidst all the controversy, Pollard had a piece commenting on it published in the Heil. And guess what? He declared that the real Nazis were the left-wingers making accusations of racism.

This tells you all you need to know about Pollard and his grubby crew in the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. Pollard and his comrades have zero interest in tackling real anti-Semitism. As has been pointed out by Tony Greenstein, he’s true-blue Tory Jewish establishment. The CAA’s website has little to say about real Nazis and anti-Semites, like the BNP and National Action. Nor is there much criticism of the Tories. There is far more criticism of the Labour party for alleged anti-Semitism. And it’s the CAA and its counterpart in the Labour party, the Jewish Labour Movement, who are responsible for pushing the anti-Semitism smears and libels.

And their metric for deciding who is an anti-Semite is risibly simple: it’s support for Israel. It doesn’t matter how right-wing someone is, if they support Israel, Pollard will appear and defend them as not anti-Semitic at all. Like he did the Polish government, despite the anti-Semitic character of several pieces of legislation criminalising blaming Poles for the crimes of the Nazis. Among those the Israel lobby has smeared as anti-Semites are self-respecting Jewish people, who have, or whose families have, suffered real anti-Semitic abuse and racially motivated assault. But because they have been critical of Israel and its seven decades long campaign of persecution of the indigenous Palestinians, Pollard and his cronies have libelled them as anti-Semitic.

And so this squalid, amoral liar defends the Tory thug, who punched an anti-racist protester, and smears her, and people like her, as Nazis. Because she and they are left-wing, and so a threat to the Tories and his own organisation. The CAA desperately needs to position itself as the leading organisation tackling anti-Semitism. They aren’t, not by a very long chalk. They’re only interested in anti-Semitism in so far as accusations of it can be weaponised against Jeremy Corbyn, Momentum and the true Labour moderates, to defend Thatcherism domestically and Israel abroad. And they are afraid of Antifa as these people challenge their appropriation of anti-racism and anti-Fascism.

As for Antifa themselves, the Christian minister, Harvard lecturer and left-wing activist Cornell West stated that it was them who saved him and the other people from across the faith and ethnic spectrum, including Jews, from being killed by the Alt-Right and Nazi stormtroopers in Charlotteville as they attended an interfaith service.

Pollard and the Jewish Labour Movement couldn’t care less for real victims of anti-Semitism. They just wish to stamp out criticism of Israel, and so will smear decent non- and anti-racists, including Jewish victims of racist assault, and defend right-wing thugs, in order to do so.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at Pollard defending a right-wing thug and attacking left-wing anti-racist activists. Jonathan Hoffman, a former president of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, was photographed in the company of Paul Besser, Britain First’s intelligence office, when they were both out protesting against a Palestinian convention and expo in London.

Alleging that Something Is An ‘Anti-Semitic Trope’ Is No Argument against the Truth

One of the tactics used by the Israel lobby and the Blairites in the Labour Party to smear their opponents as anti-Semites is by denouncing anything they write, which is vaguely similar in theme to some of the malignant and poisonous myths about the Jews, as an ‘anti-Semitic trope’, even when it is solid, documented fact. The person reading or hearing these denunciations is thus meant to believe that those they’ve libelled as anti-Semites really are such, and that what they have written is also false, and based on the earlier murderous lies about the Jews.

Thus Mike’s coverage of the secret meeting between members of the Tory party and Shai Masot of the Israeli embassy, where they plotted which members of the Conservatives they wanted in the cabinet, was brought up at his hearing in the Labour party. Mike had described it as ‘a conspiracy’, which it was. it was a secret plot, and Masot and his friends in the Tories were conspiring to affect changes in the cabinet. But because Mike described it as a conspiracy, the Blairites and Israel lobby seized on it as anti-Semitic because of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. They wanted people to think that Mike had written about it, because he’s anti-Semitic Fascist loon, who believes all the stupid conspiracy theories about the Jews controlling international finance and politics to enslave gentiles. And with that, they were then expected to ignore the fact that Masot and co really had been caught conspiring on camera by Al-Jazeera.

But such allegations are no argument or defence of Zionism and Israel, when the actions committed by them are documented fact. For example, in the 14th century Jews were accused of causing the Black Death, which is estimated to have killed 1/3 of the European population, by poisoning the wells. They did no such thing, but this lie was believed and led to terrible pogroms and violence against them.

But in the last days of the Second World War, or shortly afterward, a group of Jews did try to poison the drinking water in one of the lakes in Germany. They were led by a poet, Kovner, and wanted to kill six million Germans in retaliation for the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. There was a documentary on them broadcast on BBC 4 on Holocaust Memorial Day. I can also remember reading an article on them in the Daily Heil several years ago. This plot is documented fact, and as far as I know, no-one has accused the Beeb or Fail of anti-Semitism simply for covering this story. But it is similar to the medieval myth of Jews poisoning wells, and so, going by the logic of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, is an ‘anti-Semitic trope’.

Similarly, One of the methods the Israeli Defence Force uses to try to make life in the territories occupied by Israel unbearable for the indigenous Palestinians is to throw chemicals into the wells to make the water undrinkable. Again, this is documented fact. It’s similar to the lies about Jews poisoning the wells in the Middle Ages, but that lie has nothing to do with the reporting of this violation of the Palestinians’ human rights.

Just because something done by the Israelis now is similar to the poisonous medieval and Nazi lies, does not mean that the accounts of the Israelis’ crimes and conspiracies isn’t true. Nor does it mean that it is anti-Semitic to document and describe them.

Mike most certainly is not an anti-Semite, as his article on Shai Masot and his fellow co-conspirators shows. The allegation that what he wrote was ‘an anti-Semitic trope’ is a fraudulent lie, made by the Blairites and the Israel lobby to smear him, and cover up their own embarrassment at being caught. They are utterly disgraceful, and owe Mike a retraction and an apology.

The Nazis’ Collaboration with Zionists, and the Madagascar Plan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/02/2018 - 4:33am in

This is a bit more on the way the Nazis initially collaborated with the Zionists to send Jews to Israel, before they started murdering them in the ‘Final Solution’. I put up a piece yesterday about the British Fascist leader’s, Oswald Mosley’s qualified support for Israel, and another post this morning about another British Fascist and anti-Semite, Charles Gore, who supported the idea of a Jewish homeland in Madagascar. These are all historical facts, but it’s the type of information that the Israel lobby and their British thugs and libellers, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement really don’t want people to know about. It was because Ken Livingstone dared to say, quite accurately, that Hitler originally supported sending Jews to Israel, that he was libelled as an anti-Semite by the Israel lobby and the Blairites. And it’s because Mike wrote his pamphlet, The Livingstone Presumption, defending Red Ken and some of the others libelled by them, that the CAA has also libelled him as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, things he most definitely isn’t and which he finds utterly repugnant.

But the lies and libels of the Israel lobby and Blair’s faction in the Labour party don’t alter history. And the Nazis’ collaboration with the Zionists and the plan to turn Madagascar into a new homeland for the Jews are both mentioned in James Taylor’s and Warren Shaw’s A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton Books 1987). This is a work of respectable, orthodox scholarship, which contains many entries detailing the persecution of the Jews, the Holocaust, and the Nazi death camps, including separate entries for the most notorious, like Auschwitz. And the entry for ‘Anti-Semitism’ mentions the Nazis’ collaboration with the Zionists in a passage, which reads

At the outset the Nazis had tried to drive the Jews out of German living space, and were briefly in collaboration with the Zionist movement. Eichmann studied this aspect seriously and even, in May 1938, tried to curb Streicher’s excesses. There were fantasies like the Madagascar Plan (to turn that vast island into a Jewish colony) and, late in the War, Himmler’s attempts to trade Jewish lives for war materials. (p. 38).

Madagascar also has its own entry in the book, which reads

Madagascar. As a solution to what the National Socialists insisted was the ‘Jewish Problem’, the idea of deporting Jews to the large island of Madagascar came up from time to time before the war. As a proposal it was probably as serious as many of Himmler’s fantasies. By 1941, however, the Madagascar option was no more than a smokescreen for the true nature of the Final Solution.

The Nazis’ brief, initial collaboration with the Zionists, and their support, and that of British anti-Semites like them, such as Charles Gore, for a Jewish homeland in Madagascar as a way of purging the countries of Jews, is a fact of history.

The only people lying about it are the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Blairites.

Fascist Charles Gore’s Proposal for a Jewish State in Madagascar

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 7:43pm in

Yesterday I put up a piece quoting Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, who in 1961 gave his qualified support to Israel in his book Mosley-Right or Wrong? This is the kind of material the Israel lobby wishes to obscure or erase from history, as anyone who mentions that real anti-Semites and Fascists have promoted the idea of a Jewish homeland elsewhere as a way of removing them from their countries is immediately denounced as an anti-Semite. Thus, Ken Livingstone was smeared because he said, quite rightly, that Hitler initially supported Jewish migration to Palestine. This was under the short-lived Ha’avara Agreement between the Zionist authorities in Israel and Nazi Germany. And Mike has similarly been libelled as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier by the CAA because he dared to defend Livingstone and many of the other Labour party members, who have also been vilified and smeared for their support of the Palestinians.

But this doesn’t alter the facts of history. And Mosley certainly wasn’t alone amongst Fascists in supporting a Jewish state outside Britain.

One of the others was Charles Gore, a close friend and collaborator with Arnold Leese. Leese was a vicious anti-Semite, who founded a tiny Fascist group between the Wars, the Imperial Fascist League. He believed and promoted all the stupid, murderous conspiracy theories about the Jews, such as the myth that they were trying to enslave and destroy gentiles. In 1938 he was prosecuted for seditious libel after publishing a pamphlet repeating the ‘Blood Libel’ – the anti-Semitic myth that Jews murdered Christians in order to use their blood in the matzo bread at Passover. Gore wasn’t a member of the IFL, but he did collaborate with Leese when the latter wrote another pamphlet trying to justify himself after the trial, My Irrelevant Defence. And Gore also wrote a book arguing that a new homeland for the Jews should be set up in Madagascar.

This is discussed by Richard Thurlow in his book, British Fascism 1918-1985 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1987). He writes

Although not formally a member Gore had a profound influence on Leese. He thought that Fascism was played out in England and that the IFL should merge into a new organisation that he planned called the ‘National Union of British Workmen’. His literary pretensions were further highlighted when he sent a copy of his unpublished manuscript ‘The Island of Madagascar as a National State for the Jewish People and Why’ to Lord Rothschild, who forwarded it to the Board of Deputies in 1938. By this time Gore had split with Leese and offered information on the IFL to the Board of Deputies, which was declined. (P. 73).

I don’t think Gore was alone in arguing that Madagascar should be the new home of the Jews. I think it was considered at times by various other groups, including the early Zionists themselves, before they settled on Palestine. Other suggested locations for an independent Jewish state included Uganda.

It doesn’t matter what the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism or the Jewish Labour Movement (formerly Paole Zion) or indeed the rest of the Israel Lobby says. At various times anti-Semites and Fascists did support the demand for a Jewish homeland. And the above passage shows that Gore tried to interest the British community itself in his idea. It’s simple historical fact, and it is very definitely not anti-Semitic to mention it.

Oswald Mosley’s Qualified Support for the State of Israel

Okay, it’s been a few days since I put up anything critical of the Israel lobby and their libellous mouthpieces in this country and the Labour Party, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, previously Paole Zion. So here goes.

The fanatics in the Israel lobby have a very simple metric for determining who is and who isn’t an anti-Semite: support for Israel. Or at least silence over its 70 year long campaign of violence, massacre and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinians. Within limits, a European politician can be as anti-Semitic as they like, provided that they support Israel. Concerns have been raised about the increasingly anti-Semitic and racist policies of the current Polish government. This has recently outlawed blaming Poles for the crimes of the Nazis, and the Polish authorities have also given their backing to a campaign to whitewash the village of Jedwabne of its part in an anti-Semitic pogrom during the Second World War. This was when the villagers rounded up the local Jewish community, and burned them alive in a barn. But there is now a campaign ‘to preserve the good name of Jedwabne’ that denies this occurred, which is receiving official backing.

Despite this, Andrew Pollard, the head of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, stuck his head up and appeared in the pages of the Groaniad a little while ago to declare that the current Polish president was not an anti-Semite, because ‘he is a good friend of Israel’.

What Pollard and his chums overlook, and desperately hope everyone forgets, is that anti-Semites and Fascists did back initially Jewish emigration abroad and a separate homeland for the Jews as way of removing them from this country. But they want this covered up. When anyone mentions the Ha’avara Agreement between Nazi Germany and the embryonic Jewish state in Palestine to send Jews there, as Ken Livingstone did, the CAA and JLM go bug-eyed with rage and start libelling them as ‘anti-Semites’. Just as they’ve done to Mike, for daring to point out that Livingstone and the others were historically correct on this issue.

So where did the British Fascist leader, Oswald Mosley, stand on the issue of Israel and Palestine? Mosley was the leader of the British Union of Fascists, which later in the 1930s under the influence of the rise of the Nazis renamed itself the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists. Mosley was interned during the War, but attempted to return to British politics as head of a new Fascist movement called British Union during the 1950s and ’60s. His opinion on Israel in this later phase of his political career can be found on pages 137-8 of his 1961 book Mosley-Right or Wrong (London: Lion Books). This reads

Question 136. What is your attitude to Israel?

Answer. I adhere to the policy of a Jewish national home, which I suggested in The Alternative (published in 1947) as follows: –

” For over two thousand years the Jews have asked for a national home, and sought again to become a nation … To this end I propose the partition of Palestine and the placing of Jerusalem under a super-national authority which will afford Christian, Arab and Jew impartial access to their Holy Places. It is plain that even the whole of Palestine would not afford an adequate home to the Jewish population, even if it all were available without outrage of justice in the treatment of the Arabs. Such statesmanship would, therefore, in any case, be confronted with the problem of finding additional living room for the Jews. It is, naturally, desirable to provide such accommodation as near as possible to the Home Land of Palestine. But this consideration is not now so pressing in view of the rapid facilities for travel provided by modern transport… No insuperable difficulty should be encountered, therefore, even if the main bulk of the Jewish population had to live at some distance from the traditional national home. Palestine would remain a home to them in the same sense that the Dominions regard England as home.”

And I have emphasised repeatedly that this entire problem must be solved in a manner that humanity, as a whole, will approve.

Unfortunately, comprehensive settlements, which combine morality with foresight, are not customary in the world of the old parties, and the Jewish state of Israel was born amid the savage brutality which occurs when such governments yield to force what they refuse to reason. The consequence has been a legacy of cumulative hatred, perpetuated by western incompetence and aggravated by Soviet arms-dealing. But we still seek a progressive and peaceful solution for the future.

First, we must eliminate all possibility of another armed conflict in that area, especially in view of the increasing availability of atomic weapons. We should make it clear that we shall not permit any Arabs to cut two million Jewish throats. And equally we cannot allow aggressive expansion of the Israelis into neighbouring lands; they already have a million dispossessed Arabs on their conscience and our hands. it is quite possible to keep order in these easily accessible regions, without plunging about in the minor military operations that have previously disgraced a British government, slow to defend the interests of our own people but hysterically eager to act on behalf of others.

A united Europe-co-operating with a friendly and helpful America- would have little difficulty in developing new lands and organising any required sorting out of populations. Large-scale migration may well be inevitable, if friction between various unsuitable peoples is not to degenerate into chaos and bloodshed; this has become pressing in Africa. As I wrote in The European in December 1953: “There is plenty of room for both Jews and Arabs in the great area of the middle-East, all that is lacking is union, will and energy to accomplish the task. Whatever policy emerges must be based on reason, justice and the consent of the leading minds in both the Jewish and Arab peoples; all parties and opinions have behind them errors in this sphere which must never be repeated. Let us never again clash with the conscience of the world.”

Mosley by this time was trying to deny that he’d ever been an anti-Semite, and the first part of the chapter containing this passage contains his denials. Richard Thurlow, in his Fascism in Britain 1918-1985 argued that Mosley himself had originally not been an anti-Semite, and was genuine puzzled by the Jewish community’s hostility to his movement. He gave the issue over to one of his lieutenants to explain. This Nazi came to the BUF from one of the smaller, anti-Semitic Fascist groups, and so eagerly explained it to Mosley as part of the supposed Jewish conspiracy theories flying around in those groups. This then caused Mosley to make anti-Semitism an integral part of BUF policy. In fact Stephen Dorril, in his biography of Mosley, Blackshirt, has shown that Mosley was an anti-Semite from the start.

And a few years ago I remember reading an article in the Heil by a Jewish journalist, who had interviewed Mosley in Nice in the 1970s. He stated that the wannabe British Fuhrer was still very anti-Semitic, with deeply abhorrent views about the Holocaust.

Mosley’s own views in the 1930s on the ‘Jewish problem’ were expressed in his pamphlet Tomorrow We Live. In it, he stated that under his Fascist regime, the majority of the Jewish population would be deported. A few Jews would remain after being carefully examined to make sure they conformed to British values and civilisation, but would be kept away from gentile Brits through a system of apartheid.

Regarding his later views on Israel, this largely follows the UN recommendations at the time. The only exception is his statement that the Middle East could be developed as a home for both Jews and Arabs. This seems to follow his general plans to develop the world’s resources through careful planning. Which included developing East Africa for White Europeans.

Mosley was the leader of the largest, and most infamous of the British Fascist groups before the Second World War, and despite ‘Mosleyite’ being used as a term of abuse within Fascist circles today, his influence in the British Far Right is still extremely strong. But after the War he gave his qualified support to the creation of the Jewish state, at least in his rhetoric and published statements.

This is a fact of history. And the question is, do the CAA, JLM and the Israel Advocacy Movement want people to know about this? Or would they scream and libel as anti-Semitic anyone who dared to point this out?

Answers on a postcard please.

As you can guess, it’s almost certainly the latter.

It’s about time we all admit that Putin has prevailed in Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 4:49am in

The end game is clear: Assad, Russia and Iran will emerge victorious.

lead lead Syrian Presidency/Xinhua News Agency/Press Association Images. All rights reserved. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (2nd L, Front) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (2nd R) view a military parade in the Russian-run Hmeimim Air Base in the coastal city of Latakia, Syria, on Dec. 11, 2017. Syrian Presidency/Xinhua News Agency/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.The conflict in Syria has been the most vicious in contemporary history, creating a geo-political hall of mirrors pitting Syrian against Syrian, Saudi Arabia against Iran and Russia against the United States.

To say that it is the most complicated proxy war of our times is an understatement. The war has had international and regional dimensions which have served to prolong, fuel and perpetuate the crisis.

The latest of which, a dramatic clash between Syria and Israel leading to the unprecedented downing of an Israeli F-16 after the latter targeted a group of Iranian installations in Syria, has threatened to further escalate to conflict. But in stepped Russia, and after promises made to either side, the situation calmed down, for now.

This only highlighted the growing importance of Moscow in Syria and the increasingly brave power plays Putin is making in the region.

In Syria, Russia strode in where the west was hesitant, and just over two years on from the riskiest move in post-Soviet Russian foreign policy, the end game is clear. Assad, Russia and Iran will emerge victorious, and that is a direct result of Moscow’s decision to intervene in 2015 when its long-term ally, Assad, was on the ropes and struggling to survive.

Any hopes the US had of being a powerbroker in Syria ended in September 2015. The presence of Russia immediately limited almost all western policy options that sought to oust Assad.

Russia didn’t have to worry about the Turkish-Kurdish dimension, it was too busy steamrolling Syria’s disjointed opposition. ISIS to Russia was no different to other rebel groups; in the eyes of Moscow they were all a threat to Assad and warranted an iron fist.

As Russia began to crush the anti-Assad opposition, the west could only watch from afar as the balance of power tilted in favour of the Syrian government.

The lack of western policy decisiveness is due to many factors; the emergence of a US backed Kurdish powerhouse in the north of Syria and Turkish efforts to quell that rise. The sharp rise of ISIS and other Jihadist groups further muddied the waters, creating an extra element of risk for a possible US intervention. This all played into Putin’s hands.

Over two years on from Moscow’s much maligned decision to intervene and prop up its long term Syrian ally, the Russians have been vindicated, insofar as the so-called Islamic State has been defeated and expelled from all Syrian cities, the last of which in Deir-Ezzor broke the back of the terror group.

The Syrian army, with assistance from Iranian backed militias, Hezbollah and Russian firepower is now on the victory march towards the remaining opposition strongholds in Idleb, Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Qunaitra, possibly finishing the military side of the conflict by the end of 2018.

In December 2017 President Putin victoriously declared a withdrawal of a "significant part" of Russia's military forces in Syria, and heralded a successful end to the military operation.

The echoes of negativity and criticism of Russia by the US seem but a distant memory, and President Obama’s claim that Russia would be caught in a "quagmire" never truly transpired.

Putin’s bold remarks came during a visit to Hmeymim air base in Latakia where he told his forces that they had “fought brilliantly” and that the operation to destroy terrorism in Syria had neared a successful completion.

Russia has a new found appetite for power politics in the Middle East. 

The Russians had an official casualty list of 41 soliders, though the real number may be higher, it is far removed from the thousands killed in the Soviet Union’s long and brutal insurgency war in Afghanistan.

Most important of all, Russia saved its only genuine ally in the Middle East, maintaining and expanding its power and military bases whilst sending out a strong message to the world: Russia has a new found appetite for power politics in the Middle East.   

Russia's decision to intervene in Syria marked a culmination of sorts, this was the first real 'great power' involvement in the conflict on a large scale. Moscow had seen the anti-Assad opposition grow and weaponise, and it didn't act for some time, save for some strong language and the use of Veto’s at the UNSC.

September 2015, however, marked a new stage of the Syrian war, one where Moscow would emerge as victor and powerbroker. 

As the US failed in creating a consistent and well defined policy towards the crisis, the Russians saw an opportunity and were prepared to step in.

Moscow’s intervention in Syria was timely, it checked a large-scale rebel advance on Assad’s coastal heartland and utilised the international mood towards groups such as ISIS and Al-Nusra, at a time after atrocities in Paris, San Bernardino and Ankara were committed. Moscow played on the west’s fear of the influx of refugees and terrorism.

The legitimate fear the coastal areas in Syria may be overrun, thus placing the Russian Naval base in Tartus under direct attack spurred Moscow on to take matters into their own hands. The naval base is not large or incredibly sophisticated, it generally holds around ten Russian ships and other auxiliary vessels at any one time. Its significance is mainly due to the huge distance between Russian sea ports and the Mediterranean.

Russia also has one eye on the future. In December it confirmed it will maintain a permanent military presence at its air and naval bases in Syria. The agreement signed for 49 years with Damascus will allow Moscow to harbour eleven warships in Tartus including nuclear ships.

Russian intervention, in the words of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, prevented the collapse of a “country whose capital was two to three weeks away from being seized by the terrorists.”

Although this admission may have been slightly exaggerated, it still cemented the fact that Russia felt the necessity to act and did so.

Had the US been brave and acted in either 2013 after the chemical weapons accusations or in 2015 when the Syrian government was flailing and desperate, it could have been in Russia’s position today.  

Moscow didn’t act without reason, it waited for one year of western airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, and years of support for anti-Assad groups before acting. With a swift and brutal intervention, led by thousands of attacks and airstrikes against rebel groups, and at times unfortunate civilians, of which hundreds if not thousands have been killed, Russia turned the tide of the conflict towards Assad.

Moscow ensured a position of strength for itself in Syria’s geo-political war, in the greater scope of things, it emerged victorious from a risky and dangerous decision to enter a foreign conflict.

Russia has secured its long term interests in Syria

By decisively backing President Assad Russia has secured its long term interests in Syria, gained considerable more influence in the region and sent a powerful message to the world, that Russia is growing in strength and ambition.

Russia’s firepower was also aided by soft diplomacy; the Russians helped to broker a ceasefire in Al-Waer district in Homs, the last remaining anti-government stronghold in the city, which was the nucleus of the uprising.

The agreement on 2 December 2015 entailed 300 rebels leaving the district with aid going the other way. Since then Aleppo, Daraa and areas around Damascus have all seen Russian brokered ceasefires. Russia established a center for reconciliation at the Hemeimim air base in Lattakia in 2015 to negotiate rebel surrenders and defections.

Russia is also set for a long term economic investment in the country and has secured a long-term foothold in Syria’s energy sector potentially making Syria a future long term transit hub for oil and gas shipments to Europe. This allows Russia to expand and cement its control over a European gas supply.

Soyuzneftegaz, the Russian energy giant, obtained exclusive rights to explore offshore gas reserves off Syria’s coastline, while contracts, both current and pre-war, between the two countries are worth $1.6 billion alone.

It is no surprise that President Putin declared “mission accomplished” in a visit to Syria in early December. Russia has no doubt altered the trajectory of the Syrian conflict, ultimately dictating a winning outcome.

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It’s about time we all admit that Putin has prevailed in Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 4:49am in

The end game is clear: Assad, Russia and Iran will emerge victorious.

lead lead Syrian Presidency/Xinhua News Agency/Press Association Images. All rights reserved. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (2nd L, Front) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (2nd R) view a military parade in the Russian-run Hmeimim Air Base in the coastal city of Latakia, Syria, on Dec. 11, 2017. Syrian Presidency/Xinhua News Agency/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.The conflict in Syria has been the most vicious in contemporary history, creating a geo-political hall of mirrors pitting Syrian against Syrian, Saudi Arabia against Iran and Russia against the United States.

To say that it is the most complicated proxy war of our times is an understatement. The war has had international and regional dimensions which have served to prolong, fuel and perpetuate the crisis.

The latest of which, a dramatic clash between Syria and Israel leading to the unprecedented downing of an Israeli F-16 after the latter targeted a group of Iranian installations in Syria, has threatened to further escalate to conflict. But in stepped Russia, and after promises made to either side, the situation calmed down, for now.

This only highlighted the growing importance of Moscow in Syria and the increasingly brave power plays Putin is making in the region.

In Syria, Russia strode in where the west was hesitant, and just over two years on from the riskiest move in post-Soviet Russian foreign policy, the end game is clear. Assad, Russia and Iran will emerge victorious, and that is a direct result of Moscow’s decision to intervene in 2015 when its long-term ally, Assad, was on the ropes and struggling to survive.

Any hopes the US had of being a powerbroker in Syria ended in September 2015. The presence of Russia immediately limited almost all western policy options that sought to oust Assad.

Russia didn’t have to worry about the Turkish-Kurdish dimension, it was too busy steamrolling Syria’s disjointed opposition. ISIS to Russia was no different to other rebel groups; in the eyes of Moscow they were all a threat to Assad and warranted an iron fist.

As Russia began to crush the anti-Assad opposition, the west could only watch from afar as the balance of power tilted in favour of the Syrian government.

The lack of western policy decisiveness is due to many factors; the emergence of a US backed Kurdish powerhouse in the north of Syria and Turkish efforts to quell that rise. The sharp rise of ISIS and other Jihadist groups further muddied the waters, creating an extra element of risk for a possible US intervention. This all played into Putin’s hands.

Over two years on from Moscow’s much maligned decision to intervene and prop up its long term Syrian ally, the Russians have been vindicated, insofar as the so-called Islamic State has been defeated and expelled from all Syrian cities, the last of which in Deir-Ezzor broke the back of the terror group.

The Syrian army, with assistance from Iranian backed militias, Hezbollah and Russian firepower is now on the victory march towards the remaining opposition strongholds in Idleb, Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Qunaitra, possibly finishing the military side of the conflict by the end of 2018.

In December 2017 President Putin victoriously declared a withdrawal of a "significant part" of Russia's military forces in Syria, and heralded a successful end to the military operation.

The echoes of negativity and criticism of Russia by the US seem but a distant memory, and President Obama’s claim that Russia would be caught in a "quagmire" never truly transpired.

Putin’s bold remarks came during a visit to Hmeymim air base in Latakia where he told his forces that they had “fought brilliantly” and that the operation to destroy terrorism in Syria had neared a successful completion.

Russia has a new found appetite for power politics in the Middle East. 

The Russians had an official casualty list of 41 soliders, though the real number may be higher, it is far removed from the thousands killed in the Soviet Union’s long and brutal insurgency war in Afghanistan.

Most important of all, Russia saved its only genuine ally in the Middle East, maintaining and expanding its power and military bases whilst sending out a strong message to the world: Russia has a new found appetite for power politics in the Middle East.   

Russia's decision to intervene in Syria marked a culmination of sorts, this was the first real 'great power' involvement in the conflict on a large scale. Moscow had seen the anti-Assad opposition grow and weaponise, and it didn't act for some time, save for some strong language and the use of Veto’s at the UNSC.

September 2015, however, marked a new stage of the Syrian war, one where Moscow would emerge as victor and powerbroker. 

As the US failed in creating a consistent and well defined policy towards the crisis, the Russians saw an opportunity and were prepared to step in.

Moscow’s intervention in Syria was timely, it checked a large-scale rebel advance on Assad’s coastal heartland and utilised the international mood towards groups such as ISIS and Al-Nusra, at a time after atrocities in Paris, San Bernardino and Ankara were committed. Moscow played on the west’s fear of the influx of refugees and terrorism.

The legitimate fear the coastal areas in Syria may be overrun, thus placing the Russian Naval base in Tartus under direct attack spurred Moscow on to take matters into their own hands. The naval base is not large or incredibly sophisticated, it generally holds around ten Russian ships and other auxiliary vessels at any one time. Its significance is mainly due to the huge distance between Russian sea ports and the Mediterranean.

Russia also has one eye on the future. In December it confirmed it will maintain a permanent military presence at its air and naval bases in Syria. The agreement signed for 49 years with Damascus will allow Moscow to harbour eleven warships in Tartus including nuclear ships.

Russian intervention, in the words of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, prevented the collapse of a “country whose capital was two to three weeks away from being seized by the terrorists.”

Although this admission may have been slightly exaggerated, it still cemented the fact that Russia felt the necessity to act and did so.

Had the US been brave and acted in either 2013 after the chemical weapons accusations or in 2015 when the Syrian government was flailing and desperate, it could have been in Russia’s position today.  

Moscow didn’t act without reason, it waited for one year of western airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, and years of support for anti-Assad groups before acting. With a swift and brutal intervention, led by thousands of attacks and airstrikes against rebel groups, and at times unfortunate civilians, of which hundreds if not thousands have been killed, Russia turned the tide of the conflict towards Assad.

Moscow ensured a position of strength for itself in Syria’s geo-political war, in the greater scope of things, it emerged victorious from a risky and dangerous decision to enter a foreign conflict.

Russia has secured its long term interests in Syria

By decisively backing President Assad Russia has secured its long term interests in Syria, gained considerable more influence in the region and sent a powerful message to the world, that Russia is growing in strength and ambition.

Russia’s firepower was also aided by soft diplomacy; the Russians helped to broker a ceasefire in Al-Waer district in Homs, the last remaining anti-government stronghold in the city, which was the nucleus of the uprising.

The agreement on 2 December 2015 entailed 300 rebels leaving the district with aid going the other way. Since then Aleppo, Daraa and areas around Damascus have all seen Russian brokered ceasefires. Russia established a center for reconciliation at the Hemeimim air base in Lattakia in 2015 to negotiate rebel surrenders and defections.

Russia is also set for a long term economic investment in the country and has secured a long-term foothold in Syria’s energy sector potentially making Syria a future long term transit hub for oil and gas shipments to Europe. This allows Russia to expand and cement its control over a European gas supply.

Soyuzneftegaz, the Russian energy giant, obtained exclusive rights to explore offshore gas reserves off Syria’s coastline, while contracts, both current and pre-war, between the two countries are worth $1.6 billion alone.

It is no surprise that President Putin declared “mission accomplished” in a visit to Syria in early December. Russia has no doubt altered the trajectory of the Syrian conflict, ultimately dictating a winning outcome.

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Related stories: 

Syria's wars: a new dynamic

The Kremlin as seen from Kobane

Syrian refugees in Russia have to fight for their rights

To the victors, the ruins: the challenges of Russia’s reconstruction in Syria

Russian soldiers in Damascus: politics isn’t everything

A refugee family’s ordeal in Russia

Why sectarianism fails at explaining the conflict in Syria

Why are Russians indifferent to the Syrian conflict?

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Mueller Indictments: truth v lies in“The Observer View”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 3:00am in

Today’s Observer View focuses on the Announcement by Robert Mueller that they are indicting 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies for “interfering” in the 2016 Presidential election. It is, unsurprisingly, full of misleading language, lies by omission and just straight up lies.

John Wycliff’s Arguments for Pacifism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 18/02/2018 - 8:25pm in

Last Sunday I put up a piece about the Lollard sermon, The Perversion of the Works of Mercy. The Lollards were the late fourteenth-early fifteenth century followers of the English theologian and reformer, John Wycliffe. Wycliffe was a kind of proto-Protestant, who denounced the corruption of the church, rejected the papacy and maintained that the Bible should be the sole authority for Christian doctrine. The Perversion of the Works of Mercy attacks the way people have turned away from performing their Christian obligations to feed, clothe, give drink to the poor, visit and care for the sick and prisoners, and instead do this all for the rich and powerful. It’s a powerful message for today, when the Tories’ official policy is to increase the tax burden of the poor, in order to give massive tax cuts to the rich. The Tories are also cutting benefits to the poor, unemployed, sick and disabled as part of this programme of making the rich even richer, while at the same time claiming that the destruction of the welfare state is all for the benefit of the poor themselves. It’s saving them from ‘welfare dependency’, and is encouraging them, in the notorious words of Norman Tebbit, to get on their bikes and look for work. It’s all part of the Tory and Thatcherite embrace of the Victorian attitude of ‘less eligibility’, which stated that conditions of state aid should be as harsh as possible in order to deter people from taking it up, and encourage them to take any job, no matter how low paid or exploitative.

Wycliffe was also a pacifist. I also blogged a month or so ago about a book I found on his pacifism in the Oxbow Bargain Book Catalogue. Wycliffe’s pacifism is also discussed by Basil Cottle in his The Triumph of English 1350-1400 (London: Blandford Press 1969). Here’s the passage where he discusses Wycliffe’s rejection of war, quoting the medieval theologian himself:

In each particular, Wyclif’s views are revolutionary, and his treatment of of war is typical of this: those who go to war cannot with justice say the Lord’s Prayer. ‘And before the seven axingis that Crist techith in the Pater Noster meneth … algatis to axe in charite, and thefore men that liven in werre ben unable to have their axinge; but thei axen ther owne dampnynge in the fifte peticioun, for ther thei axen that God for3yve hem ther dettis that thei owen to Hym, ri3t as thei for3yven men that ben dettours unto hem.’ [And for this reason the seven askings that Christ teaches in the Lord’s Prayer mean… at all events to ask in charity, and therefore men that live in war are unable to have what they ask; but they ask for their own damnation in the fifth petition, because there they ask that God may forgive them their debts that they owe to Him, even as the forgive men that are debtors to them.] But what was the situation in which the divided Church now found herself?-the Pope offering indulgences t6o those who would fight against the antipope (a subject extensively treated in a sermon on Martyrs) , and Bishop Despenser of Norwich leading his beastly and futile ‘crusade’ of 1383 against Flanders: ‘now men seyen that thei shulden, bi lore of ther feith, werre upon Cristen men, and turnen hem to the Pope, and slee ther persones, ther wyves, and ther children, and reve hem ther goodis, and thus chastise hem. But certis this came nevere of chastyment of Crist, sith Crist seith He cam not to lese lyves bu save hem. And hefore this is chastyment of the fiend, and never chastyment of Crist, that uside pacience and myraclis.’ [Now men say that they should, by the teaching of their faith, war upon Christian men, and win them over to the Pope, and kill their persons, their wivs, and their children, and rob them of their goods, and thus punish them. But certainly this kinid of punishment never came from Christ, since Christ says He came not to destroy llives to save them. And for this reason this is a punishment from the dreadful fiend, and never a punishment from Christ, who used patience and miracles.] Yet ‘blynde heretikes wanten witt as ydiotis, whan thei seien that Petre synnede not in smytynge of Malcus ere, but 3af ensaumple to preestis to fi3t’ [blind heretics lack understanding, like idiots, when they say that Peter did not sin in striking off Maclhus’s ear, but set an example for priests to fight]-though Christ prevented him from fighting further. ‘Lord, where this Pope Urbane hadde Goddis charite dwelling in him, whan he stired men to fi3te and slee many thousaund men, to venge him on the tother People and of men that holden with him?’ [Lord, did this Pope Urban have ~God’s charity dwelling in him, when he incited men to fight and kill many thousand men, to avenge himself on the other Pope and on men who belong to his side?] The friars, says Wyclif, preach to a bellicose text- that the English must get in first with their attacks on their enemies in other countries, for fear they do the same and sin be increased on both sides; a hideous doctrine of sinning so as to good.)

Cottle goes on to observe that ‘This new pacifism may have distasteful to readers who still enjoyed the memory of Crecy and Poitiers and to the old soldiers who must have figure among the 1381 malcontents’ (the Peasant’s Revolt). (pp. 235-6).

This hatred of war was shared by Sir John Clanvowe, soldier, diplomat, courtier, poet, crusader, and the author of the Boke of Cupide. This was so similar to Chaucer’s works, that for a time it was accepted as that great poet’s own composition. Clanvowe himself died in a village near Constantinople. Clanvowe wrote

‘The world holt hem worshipful that been greet werryours and fi3teres, and that distroyen and wynnen manye londis, and waasten and 3even muche good to hem that haan ynou3, and that dispenden oultrageously in mete, in drynke, in clothing, in building, and in lyuyng in eese, slouthe, and many oothere synnes.’ [The world considers them honourable who are great warriors and fighters and destroy and conquer many lands, and waste and give much property to them that have plenty, and spend outrageously on food, drink, clothing, building, and living in ease, sloth, and many other sins.] (Cottle, op. cit., p. 253).

Cottle himself says of this passage that ‘the attack here is almost on rank, and Clanvowe is disgusted that it is of these proud and vengeful people that ‘men maken books and soonges, and reeden and singen of hem for to hoolde the mynde of here deedes the lengere here vpon erth’. [Men make books and songs, and recite and sing of them so as to keep the memor of their deeds the longer here on earth.] (p. 254).

As I said with my earlier post about the Perversion of the Works of Mercy, I’m not putting this up to attack Roman Catholicism. I despise religious intolerance and don’t want to provoke any more sectarian religious hatred. I’m also deeply impressed with the various Roman Catholic organisations, clergy and lay people that genuinely work for the poor and those in the needy, and radical groups like Doris Day’s Catholic Workers. My point here is to show merely that religious radicals, like Wycliffe and Clanvowe, despised the way the poor were ignored and treated by the rich, and condemned war as fundamentally unchristian.

This is an attitude that attacks and refutes the vicious opinions of the religious right, with their prosperity gospel – that Christ wants everyone to be rich, and if you’re poor, it’s your fault – and is solidly behind the wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. These wars aren’t being fought to protect America, Israel or anyone else. They’re fought purely for the profit of immensely rich multinational corporations, who hope to profit from the theft of these nations’ state industries and oil reserves. As the above texts show, they would have been thoroughly condemned by Wycliffe and Clanvowe.

Jewish Organisation Launches Campaign Against Islamophobia

On Wednesday, Mike posted a story reporting that Jewish Voice had launched a campaign against Islamophobia, called appropriately enough, #JewsAgainstIslamophobia. They are not only campaigning against Tommy Robinson and the EDL, but also against right-wing Jews, who ally themselves with these Fascists.

Mike then went on to ponder whether they would take on the authors of a statement that British anti-Semites were mostly like to be Muslim, and that this country should not shy away from tackling the immense anti-Semitism in the Muslim community as well as the general population. This statement comes from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the extreme right-wing Zionist organisation that smeared Mike as an anti-Semite. The identification of Muslims as being more anti-Semitic than the rest of the population is itself racist, as Mike pointed out. He asked

If anybody had written, for example, that British Jews are Islamophobic and sympathise with terrorism, violence and extremism, how do you think that organisation would react?

Clearly the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism would have gone berserk with rage, which shows the hypocrisy and double standards of this organisation.

He then goes on to discuss the case of one of the Campaign’s individual members, the odious, repugnant and utterly mendacious Jonathan Hoffman. Mike states that when the CAA attacked Mike, which he believes was part of a plan to stop him being elected a Labour councillor for Powys, Hoffman and his fellow trolls turned up on the Labour Party campaign facebook page to make the same accusation of anti-Semitism.

He then links to three websites that provide information on this individual, including various incidents in which he has tried to close down free speech on Israel through screams, insults, smears and intimidation.

Mike’s article can be read at: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/02/14/jewish-group-launches-campaign-against-islamophobia/

This first links to a story published in the Middle East Monitor in November last year, about how Hoffman and his mates in the Jewish Defence League turned up to disrupt a showing of the film, From Balfour to Banksy: Visions and Divisions in Palestine, shown at the Centre for Palestine Studies at SOAS. The film was intended to be part of an academic discussion of the history of Palestine, and the legacy of the Balfour declaration, which gave British support to a Jewish state.

This was too much for the precious snowflakes of the JDL to handle, and they began shouting and screaming, and waving Israeli flags around, in order to intimidate the organisers and drive people out of the film. Afterwards Hoffman issued a Tweet accusing the producer, Miranda Pinch, of anti-Semitism and trying to suppress free speech. When asked about this by the Middle East Monitor, Pinch stated that there was an attempt to suppress free speech, but it wasn’t by them. It was by the JDL. She said that she got the impression that they didn’t have any arguments, and so just wanted to shout them down. A student who was there described them as behaving like a bunch of football hooligans. Pinch also stated that she doesn’t have any issue with existence of the state of Israel, she just campaigns for justice for everyone there, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. She said

“I have ALWAYS made it clear that I stand for equality and human rights for all in that region and that includes Jews, Christians, Muslims and anyone else living there. I am a signatory of Jews for Justice and have many Jewish friends, both practising and non-practising. My view, as most of theirs, is that Israel does not represent the Jewish religion at all. The Old Testament exhorts the Jews again and again to care for the stranger in their midst and to love justice. Israeli policies bring Judaism into disrepute,” said Pinch.

See: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171121-pro-israeli-mob-with-ties-to-edl-causes-mayhem-at-balfour-event/

The comparison with football hooligans is very apt. The Jewish Defence League are the Jewish division of the far-right, Islamophobic English Defence League, which does have links to various firms of football hooligans, allegedly. Quite apart from the fact that a Channel 4 documentary screened a little while ago when the organisation seemed to be gaining strength showed that, while Robinson and the leadership tried to project an image of being non-racist, the grassroots membership were the usual Nazis and Fascists from organisations like the BNP and so on.

The second link goes to a page, Hoffman Chronicled, which reveals that Hoffman is a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and is a prolific contributor to the Jewish Chronicle website. It also shows him in the company of Kevin Carroll, the cousin of the EDL’s founder, Tommy Robinson, who’s also in the EDL. There’s also a photo of him in the company of Roberta Moore, the founder of the EDL’s Jewish Division, and one of the European organisers of Victor Vancier’s Jewish Task Force.

https://hoffmanchronicled.wordpress.com/

The third link goes to the website of David Cronin, the author of several books about Israel and its long campaign of violence and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. This describes how Hoffman repeatedly turns up at his talks and makes baseless accusations of factual inaccuracy. It also describes how he also insults and smears other activists against the Israeli oppression of Palestinians, like Jackie Walker, Thomas Suarez, the author of another book about Israel, and even Hajo Meyer, a survivor of Auschwitz. Hoffman described Meyer as ‘an amazing dancing bear’ because he had the temerity to state that Israel was dehumanising the Palestinians the way the Nazi dehumanised Jews.

But the Zionists love him. He has been consulted by the Reut Institute, a think-tank founded by a former adviser to the Israeli government. In 2011 he attended a conference, partly organised by them, on how to discredit criticism of Israel. The following year he failed to get re-elected as a vice-president of the Zionist Federation. And in 2016 he and his mate, Jonathan Newmark, who also makes spurious accusations of anti-Semitism against critics of Israel.

That isn’t the only company he keeps. He was also photographed with Paul Besser, the intelligence officer – if that isn’t an oxymoron – of the Far Right, islamophobic group, Britain First.

Cronin concludes

Hoffman is undoubtedly a bully but nobody should allow themselves to be intimidated by him or by similar lobbyists. Their belligerence illustrates that Israel feels discomfited by Palestine solidarity activists.

They don’t like the message, so they slander the messengers.

This is absolutely true. And clearly they feel very threatened by Mike, otherwise Hoffman and his fellow thugs and bullies wouldn’t have tried to smear Mike as an anti-Semite. They’re scared, and more people are becoming aware of how scared they are, and how their accusations of anti-Semitism are nothing but baseless smears and gross libel.

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