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Total number of comments: 1458 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • Syria: The Mother of all Battles for Aleppo is Joined
    • "......I don't suppose it was the most inclusive election under the circumstances........."

      Thousands of Syrian citizens have been detained over the last several years at 27 "convenient" separate torture centers operated by the Baathist regime":

      link to hrw.org

      These detainees - if they had been permitted to vote - would likely not had voted for Assad.

    • ".........(Syrian government forces) advances on the battlefield....were in part made possible because the Russians tricked the U.S. into pressuring Turkey and Saudi Arabia to halt temporarily the resupply of the Aleppo rebels while the talks were going on........."

      If this statement is accurate it is yet another example of the utter incompetence of the Obama administration in dealing with the Syrian civil war.

      Geneva II was an utter failure and the recent Russian offensive actions are a slap in the face to the peace process - especially since FSA and local forces are being targeted currently. Syria's largest city may fall to the Syrian Arab Army while ISIS-controlled Raqqa remains unscathed.

      This kind of reminds me of those poor anti-Castro Cuban exiles wondering where air cover was at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

  • Israel Continues to Spray Crop-killing Chemicals on Gaza Farmlands; Cancer Fears
    • Ironically:

      (1) Gaza has severe problems in obtaining potable water sources;

      (2) Flint has a sizeable Arab-American community - including Palestinian-Americans who have been affected by the contaminated water supply in that municipality.

  • Moscow's Historical Relationship with Damascus: Why it Matters Now
    • Overall, a good article that emphasizes the long term bilateral relations between the former Soviet Union and the Syrian Baathists.

      Additional points:

      (1) most of the Christians in Syria are Orthodox, as are most Russian Christians, and the Syrian Christians have been a generally - though not always - a source of support to the Baathists, and thousands of Russian women have emigrated to Syria to marry in recent years;

      (2) Russia has educated in its universities a large number of Syrian professionals and has been a major source for providing the expertise in creating the civil infrastructure for Damascus and other urban areas in the country;

      (3) the Syrian Arab Army is heavily supplied, and to a large extent, trained with the assistance of the Russians;

      (4) the article above makes brief reference to the P.L.O. - the 4,500-member Palestinian Liberation Army, the "official" army of the P.L.O., is integrated as an distinct arm of the Syrian Arab Army under the leadership of Major General Tariq Khadra and is currently fighting alongside Syrian government troops in support of Assad;

      (5) even though the U.S. has a trade embargo against Syria, many European-based corporations have operations within Syria - including Mercedes-Benz, Royal Dutch Shell, and the Swiss-based Nestle.

  • Exasperated by Netanyahu, France Prepares to Recognize Palestinian State
    • Some people see President Ruby Rivlin as the "deKlerk" - seeking a workable one-state solution, acknowledging past Zionist misdeeds, and promoting citizenship for West Bank Arabs.

      Avinery - incredibly still active at 90 years of age - has described Daphni Leef's J-14 movement as the beginning of a "Second Israeli Republic" in which the national security structure that dominates the Israeli governmental system will give way to a true democracy for all.

  • Anne Frank's Stepsister: Donald Trump Is Another Hitler
    • One of the indicia that Trump is analogous to Hitler is the massive support he is receiving in America's white supremacist community, including praise from David Duke and an endorsement from the neo-Nazi periodical Stormfront as well as other extremist groups:

      link to rawstory.com real-sentiment-of-america/

      link to dailystormer.com

      Back in Louisiana about 25 years ago the leaders of the GOP - including President Bush - did everything to denounce David Duke's candidacy for a state representative seat. He won and later made runs for governor and the U.S. Senate in that state.

      The Republican leadership today should be giving similar vocal opposition to Trump's frankly embarrassing religious perspectives.

  • Gaza speaks: This is what the decade-long Israeli siege has done to us
    • This fine article underscores the fact that Gaza remains under IDF occupation despite the 2005 disengagement.

      It has been confirmed via WikiLeaks from cables from the Israeli government to U.S. Embassy personnel that Israel actively is attempting to sabotage the Gazan economy.

      About 50% of Gazans would emigrate that area if they could, according to a recent poll, and conversely 51% of Israelis polled support a military re-occupation of Gaza.

      Israeli armed forces during the recent incursions have failed to destroy Hamas or stop its smuggling tunnels, but have been very successful in damaging the Gazan economy. During Operation Defensive Edge they:

      (1) with ten artillery shells destroyed the factory of the largest employer in Gaza - a biscuit manufacturer that employed 600;

      (2) destroyed the Italian Mall, via missiles from an F-16 fighter jet, which had been the tallest building in Gaza.

      Once Gazans leave due to lack of habitability, Jewish settlers can return and whole Gaza can be colonized by these settlers - that is the goal of Likud theorists.

    • Good article that emphasizes how Israel can damage Gazan society without need for direct military intervention.

      One aspect of Israel's conduct needing to be mentioned is the violence leveled against the Rafah Zoo - one of the few areas where Gaza's children can play and learn about exotic animals firsthand.

      In 2004 IDF tanks rolled over and killed tortoises and other animals were killed.

      During Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Israeli soldiers entered the Rafah Zoo and intentionally killed almost all the animals - leaving behind only a pony and some parrots; an ostrich was decapitated.

      Currently the Israeli blockade of Gaza has resulted in the starvation deaths of animals in the Rafah Zoo.

      Some links about the history of the Israel Defense Forces against zoo animals:

      link to theguardian.com

      link to cnn.com

      link to nypost.com

  • Are Palestinian-Israelis going from 2nd Class Citizens to 3rd Class?
    • There is one additional method of discriminating against Arab Israelis not mentioned in the article.

      Eligibility for payments from social welfare programs are often dependent upon service of a family member in the Israel Defense Forces. Since universal conscription exists for Israeli Jews, but only a very small percentage of Christian or Muslim Arabs actually serve in the IDF, this effectively bars most Arab Israelis from entitlement from eligibility in most social welfare programs administered by the Israeli government.

      Also, the Israel Supreme Court exists at the pleasure of the Knesset since there is no federal constitution in Israel. That court derives its authority from the Basic Law - which may be amended at any time from by the Knesset; therefore, the powers of that court can be diminished by the Knesset. In the past the Israeli Supreme Court has protected the rights of Israeli Arabs in running for the Knesset by striking down Knesset actions promoted by right-wing MKs.

  • Flint's water crisis is a blatant example of environmental injustice
    • Michigan has had the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act since the 1970s that bars discrimination on account of sex (and other protected characteristics) by employers, schools and places of public accommodation.

      There is therefore no need for an amendment to the State of Michigan Constitution.

  • Netanyahu demands more billions from US after Iran Deal, insults US Envoy, Steals more Land
    • Obama has only a year left in his presidency and it is my guess his administration will take a path of increasing criticism toward Netanyahu's actions.

      After he leaves office on Jan. 20th, 2017, I speculate that Obama shall take a path similar to former Pres. Carter and become an open critic of Israeli government policies.

    • "I wish our leaders would grow a spine............."

      I recently saw a televised British House of Commons debate on the Israel/Palestine issue and was amazed at how publicly critical those MPs were toward Israeli misconduct - even Jewish MPs.

      Those MPs appeared even-handed as they were equally critical of Hamas' conduct in the conflict - without attacking the Palestinians.

      It would have been shocking to such critical discourse in U.S. Congress.

    • Regarding "inhuman conditions", Palestinian children are being tortured and placed in outdoor iron cages during winter:

      link to mintpressnews.com

  • No, Gov. Snyder, Flint's water wasn't poisoned by "Government": It was by your Appointee
    • Miguel Del Toral, an EPA official, is emerging as a hero in this tragedy. In June of 2014 he raised red flags in a report disclosed to Michigan state officials and city officials in Flint.

      He indicated the test results of the home of Leann Walters "blew his mind" as lead readings were highly elevated. EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman had been angered that the report was leaked outside the agency before being examined and cleared by higher-ups at the EPA.

      Dr. Hedman has since resigned from the EPA.

      Del Toral has objected to being called a hero - instead claiming it was Ms. Walters, the Flint mother who tried to expose the water problems, whose actions should be deemed heroic.

    • The Sugar Law Center filed that suit in United States District Court in Detroit and plaintiffs include board members of the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district, who was placed under emergency manager control.

      Here is a link to the lawsuit information:

      link to sugarlaw.org

      The DPS was rife with corruption, violence and mismanagement prior to the state EM appointment with students bringing toilet paper to school since the district ran out, the district running up a $160 million-dollar deficit, rapes and shootings of students rampant on school grounds - one of the most absurd news reports were that school board members received chauffer-driven transportation as a perk while the district teetered on the brink of financial collapse.

      City of Detroit and Wayne County government were so bad that the FBI obtained corruption convictions of over 30 city and county officials. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick received a 28-year prison sentence and longtime Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano received only 6% of the Democratic primary vote in a failed re-election bid.

      Under this backdrop, many Detroit residents saw Governor Snyder as a liberator when Kevyn Orr was appointed as emergency manager. The City of Detroit, whose population approaches 90% minority residents, elected, in a landslide, a successful white hospital executive from the suburbs, Brian Duggan, who established Detroit residency and pledged to cure the mismanagement that plagued the Motor City.

    • In a late-breaking story carried by the Detroit News, Flint's McLaren Hospital has confirmed that their water supply was contaminated with the Legionella bacteria in 2014 and an expert they hired has opined that the Legionella contamination likely emanated after the City of Flint changed their water source from the City of Detroit to the Flint River.

      There had been a spike of Legionnaire's Disease deaths in Genessee County and its county seat Flint shortly following the city changing its water source to the Flint River. Some estimates are as high as 10 Flint-area deaths due to Legionella contamination that may be water-related.

    • ".........Snyder's rather arrogant state government... delights to take over a city........"

      In fact, residents of a municipality or its city council may initiate the process for state financial review under the emergency manager law.

      In the City of Hamtramck, its City Council requested the governor appoint an emergency manager. The reason for this is that the emergency manager may invalidate collective bargaining agreements negotiated by public service unions and save the municipality millions of dollars per annum; this was the impetus for the Hamtramck City Council in requesting an emergency manger to take over operation of its government.

      "....this measure typically entailed white politicians from the west and center of the state being appointed by the white, Republican governor to take over cities with a big African-American and working class population......."

      This is incorrect.

      The City of Hamtramck is about 13% black and has a white mayor, but had an African-American appointed as emergency manager, Cathy Square, who served for about 18 months.

      Detroit has had a black emergency manager - Kevyn Orr.

      Benton Harbor has had a black emergency manager.

      The legality of the emergency manager law in Michigan is being tested by a federal court lawsuit on the grounds it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment since its allegedly being used against predominantly black communities on a frequent basis and, also, it violates the voting rights of residents to the representation of their choice.

      The Flint tragedy is sad - but blame can go around to many in state and local government.

  • Israeli Squatters scrawl hate graffiti on Jerusalem Church
    • The Netanyahu government has winked a condescending eye to these extremist attacks by failing to investigate them thoroughly and being more concerned about the welfare of the criminal suspects themselves.

      Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked - who as an MK is considered the most right-wing member of that elected body - pressured the Israeli Attorney General to vigorously ensure that the suspects held in a deadly arson attack against an Arab child received all legal protections allowed by law.

      In 1999, just months before then-PM Netanyahu left office, his Justice Minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, the son of the former operational commander of the terrorist Stern Gang in the 1940s, issued a recommendation to the Israeli president for a sentence reduction to Ami Popper, a prisoner who was serving seven life terms plus 20 years for machine-gunning Gazans at a bus stop - killing seven and wounding eleven in 1990.

      Based on this recommendation, Popper's sentence was commuted to 40 years. He also received over 120 furloughs, due to the efforts of the Shin Bet intelligence service, and married three times. On a 2007 furlough he got into a car accident, killing his wife and a son.

      PM Netanyahu last year delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Rabbi Moshe Levinger, an extremist leader who served time for killing an Arab shopkeeper - calling him a "great example".

      It is not surprising that terror attacks occur against Palestinians by Jewish extremists - it is however even more disturbing to see the cabinet ministers and the Israeli law enforcement community give the level of support they do to help violent extremists.

  • Sanders: Michigan Governor Must Resign over Flint Lead-Poisoning Crisis
    • The Governor has expressly welcomed the U.S. Attorney's Office investigation.

      The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade, is an Obama appointee and has no reason to protect either Governor Snyder or his administration. She obtained the indictment and conviction of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and dozens of other city and county officials on public corruption charges.

      The Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has commenced his own investigation.

      From what I have seen so far, lead contamination was known to government officials but the extremely high levels of toxicity posing imminently serious health dangers were not until a Virginia Tech researcher was stunned by his own test results.

    • Governor Snyder's longtime chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, has announced his resignation, effective January 20th - without stating any reason.

      A safe level of lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion (pbb), per EPA rules, however the generally recognized level that causes concern where children are involved is only 5 pbb.

      A Virginia Tech professor took multiple tests from a number of Flint homes at various flow levels.

      He was astonished when the highest lead content test result was 13,000 ppb. This level of lead toxicity was unprecedented in his 25 years as a researcher. The children in that household had been diagnosed with lead poisoning.

  • Swedish FM: Israel Extrajudicial killings; Netanyahu: OK to Kill Assailants
    • The only case I have ever seen when an IDF soldier was prosecuted for extrajudicial killing, convicted and sent to prison was the homicide of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Thomas Hurndall, a Briton; in that situation Hurndall's estate received a large wrongful death settlement payout from the Israeli government as well.

      The differences in the Hurndall case as opposed to other similar events:

      (A) the IDF sergeant (charged and convicted of only manslaughter) was a Bedouin Arab;

      (B) the victim not Arab and was a citizen of a foreign government;

      (C) the British government was applying significant diplomatic pressure against Israel to exact accountability.

      In contrast, when fellow ISM activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an IDF bulldozer operator, the U.S. Congressman from her district was alone and unsupported in his calls for action against Israel. Her family filed an action in the Israeli court system which was dismissed following trial in which the judge blamed Corrie for standing in front of a bulldozer.

      ISM has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

      The failure of Israel to prosecute extrajudicial killings is a basis for International Criminal Court jurisdiction.

  • Noam Chomsky slams Turkish Pres. Erdogan for Arresting Academics, supporting Extremism
    • PKK has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terror organization - their leader, Abdullah Ocalan is imprisoned in Turkey. Other nations - such as Switzerland - have declined to identify PKK as a terror group.

      That said, they have been an effective opponent to ISIS on the battlefield. They have also been a thorn in the side of the Turkish government.

      Other Kurdish groups fighting within Syria - YPG and some Peshmerga - are cooperating with American interests as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

      Overall, the Kurds in both Iraq and Syria have been historically friendly to the United States.

  • The Fifth Anniversary of Arab Uprisings: A Turning point in Modern History?
    • #8 "Soviet defeat in Afghanistan.........led to its collapse a few years later......."

      Actually, the Gorbachev commitment to both glasnost and perestroika - as well as the popularly-elected Congress of Peoples Deputies - in the late 1980s allowed for the exercise and expression of long-suppressed public sentiment for democratic reforms and free enterprise that gave rise to the Boris Yeltsin presidency and the eventual outlawing of the Communist Party.

      The Afghan conflict had little to do with public sentiment in the Soviet Union for an end of the Communist Party monopoly on power there.

      #9 "......the fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th of November 1989, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991 and the end of the Cold War........."

      In reality, the fall of the Berlin Wall was a product - not a cause of the end of the Cold War.

      Pope John Paul II and Lech Walesa's joint effort to oppose the Polish government and - via the Solidarity Union - create a populist democratic alternative in the early 1980s inspired the eventual removal of the Communist Party from power in 1988 and inspired later revolts in Romania, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union - as well as other countries - that doomed the primacy of Marxist forces of governance in Eastern Europe.

      #11 "The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington marked the first time the US mainland had been attacked since the War of Independence.........."

      This is inaccurate:

      (A) the War of 1812 was fought extensively on U.S. soil - recall the British army burning the U.S. Capitol building?

      (B) the Confederacy attacked Gettysburg, PA in 1863 during the Civil War;

      (C) the Japanese released a limited number of deadly bomb-laden balloons on the U.S. mainland during World War II.

  • Why Arson was suspected in Fire at Offices of Israeli Human Rights & Peace Group B'Tselem
    • A fire investigator has revised the original arson suspicion to a probable faulty electrical circuit as the cause of the blaze.

      However, many right-wing Israelis had initially accused B'Tselem of staging an arson attack against itself for political gain. One was a spokesman for the conservative Otzma Yehudit political party.

      Some "witnesses" even reported B'Tselem workers were removing B'Tselem's mailbox and other equipment from their office shortly prior to the fire.

  • Majority of Jerusalem Palestinians detained in 2015 were minors
    • The UN Committee on the Rights of Children issued a report documenting torture of Palestinian children that has been corroborated by lawyers of the Israeli Public Defender Office that includes:

      (A) keeping child detainees in external iron cages during winter;

      (B) committing and threatening to commit acts of sexual violence against the children.

      Many of those child detainees are being held for stone throwing.

      link to mintpressnews.com

  • People in Lead-Poisoned Flint Still without clean Water
    • According to some Internet sources I just checked - Governor Snyder and various state and local officials were sued by some Flint residents in November over the contaminated water.

      The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan has commenced their own investigation.

      There has been almost NO recent Michigan coverage of the matter in the media - although the discoloration and health problems linked to the water were reported by the Detroit Free Press about a year ago.

    • I am a member of the Michigan Bar and was a state resident when the PBB cattle contamination scandal occurred in the 1970s in rural Michigan. The plaintiffs lost those product liability lawsuits and it was EPA Superfund monies that paid for the clean-up at the site where the contaminated cattle were buried in St. Louis, Michigan. Contaminated dairy and meat products due to accidental mixing of PBB with cattle feed resulted in thousands of Michigan consumers ingesting toxin-laded food.

      Years of Republican-controlled legislatures in this state have resulted in the Michigan Tort Reform Act and broad scope of governmental immunity legislation that significantly limits the rights of injured parties to sue for just about anything - especially against the state and its political subdivisions.

      Any plaintiffs' legal counsel suing the state will find themselves facing a phalanx of attorneys from the Michigan Department of Attorney General who will vigorously assert immunity defenses.

      Flint, Michigan is rife with abandoned buildings, high crime and unemployment rates - much like the City of Detroit. It was the subject of the $150,000.00 budget "Roger and Me" documentary hit that made filmmaker Michael Moore a household name in the late 1980s by his exposing the effects of General Motors shutting down of a plant in that municipality.

    • I am from Metro Detroit and this is the first time I heard of the story.

  • Airline apologizes for letting Racist Israelis force Palestinian-Israeli passengers off Plane
    • An op-ed piece in one of Israel's largest newspapers slammed the Greek airline employees for caving into a "mob" mentality and also referencing that ultraorthodox Jews have, in similar situations, objected to being seated next to women:

      link to haaretz.com

  • Separating anti-Semitism from Anti-Zionism
    • "I feel particularly as Jews we have a responsibility to remain vigilant and to speak out against the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The pursuit of a just society is a fundamental concept of Judaism......................................."

      B'tselem, the Jewish human rights organization that investigates Israeli government human rights violations against both Jews and Palestinians, had their Jerusalem office building today burn in a suspected arson. Firemen are evacuating persons trapped on upper floors.

  • Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric Nimr Al Nimr Under “Terrorism” Charges
    • ".........we don't want to say things that might seem to reflect badly on our 'friends'."

      Back in 1980 the Public Broadcasting System aired "Death of a Princess", the true story of a Saudi princess executed due to her failure to consummate an arranged marriage due to her relationship with another man. That docudrama created an international furor.

      Mobil Oil Corporation purchased newspaper ads denouncing the production as an inaccurate representation and other entities with Saudi ties likewise condemned the decision to air the critically-acclaimed drama.

      In 1983, a Harvard University study researched the film's impact on the interdependence of various entities to the Saudi government:

      link to pbs.org

      The same forces are at play here 35 years later - deserved public criticism takes a back seat to economic pressure.

    • ".....there is no reason the USA can't just walk away from Saudi Arabia........"

      Saudi Arabia has $10 trillion invested in American real estate, blue chip stocks, and other financial vehicles that are easily capable of quick liquidation and withdrawal from the U.S. if effectuated. These vast holdings represent the reinvestment from proceeds of crude oil sales from KSA. If KSA were to divest such holdings in the U.S. it would trigger severe repercussions on the U.S. economy.

      Even though the 9/11 hijackers were mostly Saudis, the Bush administration did not make much of a protest or issue public ultimatums to KSA due to these reasons.

      Likewise, the powerful Israel Lobby that has existed since the 1940s has had the perceived power to make or break the candidacies of U.S. presidents or challengers, so American politicians are unlikely to see it to their advantage to criticize Israel.

      Both Saudi Arabia and Israel get free passes for their misdeeds and odious policies from the U.S. government.

  • Palestinian population to exceed that of Jews by 2020 in Israel/Palestine
  • Most important Neglected Middle East Stories of 2015
    • Re#7: "....we need to consider...the evidence that the Taliban are back...."

      What needs to be emphasized is that the opium production out of Afghanistan has, according to one source, increased fortyfold since the initiation of Operation Enduring Freedom to topple the Taliban, who had previously eradicated much of the trade in that narcotic since acceding to power in that nation in 1996.

      Opium production generates about 3 to 4 billion dollars per annum and about 4% of the GNP of Afghanistan. Afghan-cultivated opium poppies have represented 80-90% of the world total production of that narcotic in recent years.

      The U.S., due to its heroin abuse levels of its population, have a compelling interest in eradicating opium cultivation and have spent 7.6 billion dollars in taxpayer dollars since 2001 for eradication programs directed toward Afghan farmers, who have been encouraged to grow such crops as wheat and pomegranates.

      To avoid these eradication programs, farmers have sought refuge in Taliban-controlled areas so that they may harvest opium as a crop - with the Taliban raking in a percentage of opium revenues. It has been estimated that about 89% of Afghan opium produced emanates from Taliban-controlled regions of the Afghan countryside.

      Here are some links:

      link to rt.com

      link to csmonitor.com

      link to theguardian.com

      link to pbs.org

      link to voanews.com

      The withdrawal of foreign troops has exacerbated the opium farming problem and the Taliban are content to live with a stalemate militarily with the Afghan government while they share in the profits of the cultivation of opium poppies generated from areas they control in the Afghan countryside.

  • Israeli PM: 'Arab terror and Jewish terror' are different
    • "Netanyahu stated that.....Israeli leadership condemns terror attacks........"

      "The Shin Bet last week warned that the case revealed the growing threat of Jewish terror organizations....."

      The Israeli leadership and Shin Bet have a history of ongoing support to one of the most notorious Jewish terrorists in Israel's history: Ami Popper, whose name repeatedly surfaces in the news despite the fact he is "officially" in prison.

      Popper was convicted in the 1990 machine-gun slayings of seven Gazans , eleven more were wounded, at a bus stop. He received seven terms of life imprisonment plus an additional 20 years. Former Knesset member Meir Kahane held a celebration near the bus stop later and one of Kahane's followers married Popper while he was in prison.

      In 1999, President Ezer Weizman commuted Popper's sentence to 20 years.

      In 2007, the public was shocked when it was reported that Popper was involved in a car accident in which his wife and son were killed when he was driving a vehicle that struck another oncoming car. The Israeli prisons bureau indicated that the Shin Bet intelligence service had authorized Popper 120 previous furloughs, and that Popper - who had no driver's license - was on a furlough when he caused the 2007 accident by swerving into oncoming traffic.

      In 2013, Popper made news again when he was granted a furlough to attend a wedding in Jerusalem to a third wife.

      In later years, Popper has made news by his attempts at a pardon and his son appearing before the Knesset to advocate for his release.

      In late 2015, several investigative journalists have shown that Popper receives financial support from U.S. non-profit tax-exempt organization sources.

      Here are some links:

      link to timesofisrael.com

      link to thestruggle.org

      link to jpost.com

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      link to thejewishweek.com

      link to haaretz.com

  • The Regime Strikes Back: Syrian Gov't advances, Bolstered by Russia
    • Thanks for the link.

      It reveals that many in the Pentagon leadership wish that the U.S. would join Russia and China in an-anti-terror coalition - in direct contravention of the Obama administration policy.

  • The rise of Daesh/ ISIS, explained in 6 minutes
    • There is no conclusive proof that the CIA had direct ties to Bin Laden in Afghanistan while fighting the Soviets (although it is debatable).

      Bin Laden was, however, clearly allied with other rebel groups within Afghanistan receiving vast weapons resources and training by the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies.

      What is also clear hat Bin Laden had not only extensive Saudi funding at that juncture, but (A) returned to Saudi Arabia a national hero, and (B) received an audience with the Saudi king after the Soviets had been defeated.

  • Shin Bet: Jewish Terrorists Out to 'Violently Overthrow' Israeli Government
    • Non-profits in the U.S. have donated 220 million dollars in financial support for West Bank Jewish settlements, including legal aid to Jewish terrorist elements.

      Investigative reporter Uri Blau of the Israeli periodical Haaretz had revealed the money trial in a recent article published just days ago in Israel:

      link to haaretz.com

    • "...........lawyers representing the suspects held a press conference accusing the agency for using methods of torture during interrogation......."

      There have been numerous angry Jewish right-wing protestors demonstrating in front of the home of the Shin Bet intelligence service director over these allegations of torture:

      link to timesofisrael.com

      Shin Bet has long been accused by human rights watchdog groups of engaging in interrogation methods that are in violation of international law as to Palestinian detainees, including children.

  • Where are women’s voices in the Syria peace talks?
    • Suheir Atassi had been a vice-president of the Syrian National Coalition, who the U.S. recognizes as the legitimate government-in-exile of Syria.

      She has been called the "Lady of the Revolution".

      She was a negotiator on behalf of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva II Conference.

  • Int'l Criminal Court group will fact-find in Israeli-Occupied Palestine
    • In a rare public attack in the Israeli Knesset against misconduct of the Israel Defense Forces, MK Zehava Galon accused the Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon of "McCarthyism" in attempting to exclude the group "Breaking the Silence" - an organization dedicated to exposing misconduct of the IDF, from traditional IDF soldier functions.

      MK Galon, chairwoman of the Meretz Party, indicated that her party supported Breaking the Silence, its members were "heroes, not traitors", and urged Yaalon to "stop persecuting them" as "civil society should be proud of such soldiers".

      These statements created an uproar in the Knesset and resulted in several MKs being removed from the Knesset plenum.

      Here is a link:

      link to knesset.gov.il

  • Should an al-Qaeda Ally have a seat at the Syrian Table? Al-Assad rejects talks w/ any armed Group
  • 10 facts the government doesn’t want you to know about Syria
    • "The guy (Alloush) is hardly a minor figure in the movement."

      He is chief of military operations for the Islamic Front.

      "He is allied to a movement we are supposedly at war with."

      America is not "at war" with the Islamic Front, who declined several invitations from U.S. diplomats to join the Geneva II conference and who further declined U.S. aid during the Ankara Conference - preferring to keep its distance from America and rely upon donations from Persian Gulf states.

      ".........the west has no rationale for backing this movement that could possibly withstand public scrutiny."

      Some U.S. officials view the Islamic Front as a "swing vote" that could tip the balance of anti-Assad forces away from the jihadist extremism of the al-Nusra Front and ISIS.

      Some relevant links on these issues:

      link to washingtoninstitute.org

      link to carnegieendowment.org

      link to carnegieendowment.org

      link to carnegieendowment.org

      link to carnegieendowment.org

    • Several points:

      (1) the genesis of the Islamic Front (IF) was the rejection of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as the representative of the Syrian people as a government-of-exile - they formerly fought alongside the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army who owed their allegiance to the SNC;

      (2) the Islamic Front is an umbrella group of dozens of constituent brigades whose primary purpose is to coordinate military action and facilitate distribution of arms - Alloush whom you quote is merely a leader of a subgroup (Jaysh al-Sham) within the IF, however the political office of IF is controlled by Ahrar-al-Sham, who was wooed for support by Western diplomats at the Ankara Conference - but rejected such proposed support - neither the IF nor Ahrar al-Sham has been designated as a foreign terror organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department and has been described as subscribing to "Revisionist Jihadism" - a "softer" version of Islamic fundamentalism by at least one observer:

      link to warontherocks.com

      (3) agreed that the IF membership does not generally embrace democratic principles, but rather adherence to Muslim fundamentalist forms of governance - but they have eschewed the violent suicide attacks that have been the hallmark of the al-Nusra Front and ISIS;

      (4) the Free Syrian Army have generally been allied with the IF, and the Islamic Front has clashed extensively with ISIS on the battlefield - the IF has been a key restraining force against ISIS within Syria.

    • Overall, this is a good article that quotes the eminent authorities in the field of the Syria situation, including Professor Landis of Syria Comment.

      Additional points:

      (1) there is a general fear in the West that if adequate intervention is not effectuated that the flag of ISIS or the al-Nusra Front will eventually fly over Damascus and cause a grave threat to U.S. foreign policy interests in the region;

      (2) Russian military intervention has been inevitable as the Assad regime nears financial collapse - its monetary reserves during the civil war have dwindled from $30 billion to $1 billion;

      (3) Russia's diplomatic assistance is needed to persuade Assad to transfer limited power to opposition representatives as part of a transition government - currently Assad and his extended family members enjoy effective dictatorial control over the areas of Syria controlled by government forces;

      (4) coordinated airstrikes worked against the Taliban in Afghanistan and can be used against Islamic extremists in Syria with equal success - "collateral damage" is always a by-product of such air power as is adverse reaction from civilians in the areas targeted for air strikes;

      (5) ISIS has become a major player in the international opium trade from poppies grown in Afghanistan - this an additional reason the U.S. has an interest in targeting ISIS;

      (6) the Geneva II conference mediated by Lakhdar Brahimi was a failure due to the Assad regime's failure to negotiate in good faith - it came on the heels of key Baathist government victories against rebel forces that ensured the viability of the Damascus-to-Latakia supply corridor;

      (7) There is a command center headquartered near Amman, Jordan of Western intelligence services from the U.S., Israel, and other friendly nations that are attempting to coordinate and support the rebel opposition to the Baathist government in Damascus;

      (8) international financial sanctions against Syria have been devastating and have caused Syria to utilize Russian and Qatari financial institutions - who have also been investigated for possible sanctions, with one Russian bank being sanctioned;

      (9) the "Islamic Front", heavily financed by Saudi and Qatari interests to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, have fought ISIS and are not traditional "jihadists" in the mold of al-Qaeda - the Islamic Front could play a key role in advancing Western interests;

      (10) various Kurdish forces (YPG, and limited numbers of Peshmerga from Iraq) within Syria have fought ISIS and have been generally friendly to Western interests - including a support role in Operation Inherent Resolve;

      (11) Robert Ford, who served as U.S. ambassador to Syria in Damascus during the Obama administrations, became a critic of the U.S. State Department's handling of the Syria situation and emphasized that arming moderate rebels in Syria posed a danger that those arms could likely wind up in the hands of Islamic extremist forces;

      (12) the Baathist government in Damascus has sponsored 27 "convenient" torture centers throughout Syria that kill an average of four Syrians per day - primarily political prisoners - the Baathist military and police forces regularly target civilians and are responsible for 76% of the total civilian deaths that have occurred as a result of the civil war.

  • Western Invasions can't fix the Middle East because they wrecked the Middle East
    • "Who funds the terrorists?"

      The media has focused heavily on oil revenues and theft as the key sources of the financing of ISIS, however the international drug trade, as with many groups designated by the U.S. State Department as foreign terror organizations, plays a very significant role in generating income for ISIS:

      link to rt.com

      link to nytimes.com

      link to globalresearch.ca

  • Israeli Occupation Court Sentences Palestinian Legislator for Thought Crimes
    • A Palestinian Liberation Organization spokesperson confirmed that Ms. Jarrar, a senior legal counsel of the P.L.O., played an instrumental role in the application to the International Criminal Court to have Israeli officials investigated for war crimes.

      One suspects it was this activity that led to her "administrative detention" - a legal theory extensively employed by the former Soviet Union to commit its citizens to concentration camps without any formal criminal charges.

  • Top Seven Myths about Muslims
    • Many good points in the article.

      While many states in the Near and Middle East are perceived as "Arab Muslim" the demographics and governments belie such a characterization:

      (A) Lebanon has had Christian presidents since their 1943 independence until the present and French, Armenian and Aramaic are additional languages spoken there in addition to Arabic, additionally ethnic Armenians make up about 5% of the country's population;

      (B) Syria has had substantial (non-Arab) Kurdish, Assyrian, and Turkmen populations, and during the 1950s had an ethnic Kurdish president, Adib Shishakli, and it is subject to debate whether the Alawite minority that currently rules Syria is even "Muslim" considering its beliefs are so far from that of mainstream Islam;

      (C) recent Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is Kurdish and about 3% of Iraqis are Christian - former Baathist Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz had been Catholic.

      Additionally, Islam has many adherents outside the Arab world:

      (A) most Muslims in the U.S. are black;

      (B) there are substantial non-Arab Muslim populations in Malaysia, the Philippines and China and throughout sub-Saharan Africa;

      (C) a significant percentage of the populations of the former Soviet Union constituent republics include non-Arab Islamic adherents - including Kazakhstan, Tajikstan, and Turkmenistan.

  • Beyond ISIS: Suicide by World War IV
    • "........how do we get off the bus regarding the Middle East?"

      (A) use all available diplomatic leverage with the Israelis and Palestinians to forge a final status agreement - as Pres. Carter did with Sadat and Begin at Camp David in 1978 to create a lasting peace between Egypt and Syria;

      (B) limit involvement in Syria to current levels - humanitarian relief, assistance to the pro-democracy FSA, plus aerial bombing runs against ISIS until ISIS is defeated;

      (C) after (A) and (B) are accomplished - stay out of Middle Eastern affairs as much as possible where no compelling U.S. foreign policy interest exists.

      The non-democratic minority Alawite rule of the Syrian regime traces directly back to French colonial rule where the Alawites administered the occupation government installed by the French. The Assad family is Alawite and this continuation of inequitable minority rule is the root cause of the conflict within Syria - the Alawites are less than 15% of the total population within Syria.

    • America has had its fingers in the Middle East since the end of WWII in a number of ways, including:

      (A) overthrowing, via CIA officers Stephen Meads and Miles Copeland, popularly-elected Shukri al-Quatli. a Sunni Muslim, as president of Syria in 1949. after the Syrian government refused to allow an oil pipeline to run through the country - a military junta was formed and a series of unelected authoritarian regimes ruled Syria to the present;

      (B) the CIA overthrew governments in oil-producing states Iran in 1953 and Iraq in 1963 which led to repressive regimes in those nations and subsequent political upheavals;

      (C) the CIA propped up the political forces of Camille Chamoun in Beirut in 1958 and the U.S. Marine Corps occupied Lebanon during that period;

      (D) the U.S. promoted Turkey as a member of NATO and had installed nuclear missiles there as a deterrent against Soviet aggression;

      (E) the U.S. had funneled massive amounts of high-tech military hardware to both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

      It has been estimated that 10 trillion dollars has been expended as the economic cost of armed conflict in the Middle East since 1990.

  • Upheaval in Palestine and Israel: Occupation and beyond (96 Palestinians, 17 Israelis Killed since Oct. 1)
    • A recent study by an Israeli think tank headed by Avner Halevi and Gilead Sher has given the recommendations that Israel unilaterally withdraw about 100,000 settlers from the West Bank and leave those near the de facto Israeli border to stay pending a final status agreement.; the IDF would maintain current positions.

      Haaretz columnist Rogel Alpher has opined that if an adequate remedy is not implemented forthwith Israeli society will descend into an environment of fear, hatred, knifings and increased international isolation and sanctions activity.

  • Putin: Turkey was protecting ISIL oil Smuggling; Russia urges Assad-Kurdish Alliance
    • Several points:

      (1) Turkey did not kill two Russians - the pilot and co-pilot ejected safely but the pilot and a Russian marine in a rescue unit were killed by Turkmen rebels inside Syria;

      (2) an audiotape has surfaced warning the Russian jet crew that they were approaching Turkish airspace and to turn south immediately;

      (3) the primary concern that appears to have triggered the shootdown was that Turkmen rebels within Syria - whom the Turks see as brethren - and NOT ISIS were being targeted.

  • Two Israelis Found Guilty of Burning Alive Palestinian Teen
  • Muslims are our Scientists, Physicians, Philanthropists & are critical to American progress

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