Monopoly contest stirs up Jerusalem conflict

The company also pulled all country names from other cities on the site when even more people complained, including the Israeli government, because Jerusalem was listed as the only city without a country.

Hasbro Inc. issued an apology Thursday after an employee, responding to complaints from pro-Palestinian groups, eliminated the word “Israel” after the city in an online contest to select names for a new Monopoly board game: Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition.

Monopoly, the iconic game of capitalism, has been drawn into the dispute over Jerusalem.

Hasbro Inc. issued an apology Thursday after an employee, responding to complaints from pro-Palestinian groups, eliminated the word “Israel” after the city in an online contest to select names for a new Monopoly board game: Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition.

The company also pulled all country names from other cities on the site when even more people complained, including the Israeli government, because Jerusalem was listed as the only city without a country.

The Pawtucket-based company is asking people to vote at the Monopoly Web site on which cities will be included in the new edition. Until Tuesday, every city on the site listed a country, including Paris, France; Cairo, Egypt and Jerusalem, Israel.

But an employee based in London decided on her own without consulting senior management to pull “Israel” from Jerusalem after hearing complaints from pro-Palestinian groups and bloggers who argue that the city is not a part of Israel, Hasbro spokesman Wayne Charness said Thursday.

The issue has been a sensitive one for decades: Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem — home to Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites — in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of a future independent state.

David Saranga, consul for media and public affairs at the Israeli consulate in New York, said Monopoly has a lot of fans in Israel, especially this year with Jerusalem a candidate for a spot on the Monopoly board.

But after Israel was removed, he said the consulate started getting calls, first from Israeli fans, then fans elsewhere. He sent Hasbro a letter asking why Jerusalem had been singled out, he said.

“All the other cities had the country attached to their names,” Saranga said. “We felt very upset.”

Hasbro management was alerted to the change Wednesday when its London office saw a spike in traffic on the site and figured out what happened, Charness said.

The company then pulled every country name, so Paris and Cairo also are now listed alone, he said.

“It was a bad decision, one that we rectified relatively quickly,” he said.

“This is a game. We never wanted to enter into any political debate.

We apologize to our Monopoly fans.”

Saranga said Hasbro responded quickly and professionally.

While he wondered whether it was necessary to remove all the country names, he said he was satisfied with Hasbro’s response.

Charness added that the game, due out in the fall, was never meant to include countries.

The countries were added to the Web site to make it easier to vote.

Voting in the contest ends Feb. 2

America is to blame for the bloody violence in Jerusalem

Smoke rose above Jerusalem’s Temple Mount as a tree outside the Al Aqsa Mosque went up in flames on Monday.
Meanwhile, Israeli police used flash-bangs to disperse a crowd of Palestinian worshippers on a major night of Ramadan.

The pillar of fire and a large plume of smoke were clearly visible atop the Temple Mount as night fell on Jerusalem. 

Eyewitness footage from the scene showed a tree on fire just outside Al Aqsa, one of the three mosques on the plateau. 

Trump’s overzealous pro-Israel policy – endorsed by Joe Biden – emboldened Tel Aviv to push ahead with new settlements in East Jerusalem, which are the root cause of the clashes. But there’ll be no rebuke from Washington.

So, who is really to blame for the violent clashes in the city that intensified today as Israeli police oppressed Palestinian demonstrations, following a month of growing tensions surrounding controversy over an eviction order in favour of settlers in East Jerusalem?

Police attacked the demonstrators with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring hundreds.

Things were anticipated only to worsen, given that today is ‘Jerusalem Day’ – the holiday marking when the east of the city was captured in the 1967 war, leading to its present disputed occupation – and usually sees hundreds of flag-waving Israeli youths provocatively make their way through Muslim areas, chanting and singing patriotic songs.

Not surprisingly, there have been no calls from Washington to “stand with the Palestinian people” or to “push sanctions” on their behalf against Israel to “hold them to account” for their international obligations, as we frequently hear in relation to adversarial countries, such as, of course, China.

But with the United States and Israel, that’s how it has always been.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed “concerns” to his Israeli counterpart but only urged Tel Aviv to “ensure calm.” Obviously, there will be no serious or direct condemnation involved. 

The situation, of course, is one of America’s own making.

One must question how and why did Israel become emboldened to accelerate settlements in East Jerusalem and other disputed territories?

And how did this lead to the current spree of violence?

The answer lies in the unilateral and illegal foreign-policy shifts forced through by the preceding administration, arguably the most one-sided in favour of Tel Aviv ever.

It even recognised Jerusalem as the capital of all Israel, and Mike Pompeo visited the West Bank to state that settlements do not contravene international law.

This has allowed Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to essentially have a free hand, more so than usual, in doing whatever he pleases.

When the Trump administration came to power, it took the opportunity to lead the US into a new foreign-policy epoch and completely rewrite its strategy on a number of issues, largely by ripping up that of the Obama administration.

While criticising Israel remains a universal bipartisan taboo in American politics, nonetheless the Republicans have been more fanatically in its favour due to the influence of the Christian right lobby, the Israeli lobby, and the outsourcing of policy to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

All of this created a position that was more imbalanced than ever before. The administration in effect gave up attempting to mediate peace between Israel and Palestine, and instead gave all-out backing to Tel Aviv.

The Zionist ‘Uyghur’ Trap for China

After a series of secret meetings between Saudi and Israeli officials were exposed by a select few of mainstream press outlets, both the Saudis and the Israelis are now becoming more open about the relationship between the two governments. Although, for years, GCC countries like Saudi Arabia have held a public position of hostility toward Israel, many researchers and observers have long been aware of secret cooperation between the two and that public statements were largely designed to provide a cover of Arab identity and self-interest for the benefit of public consumption.

As valid as it seems that China may be cracking down on moslem Uyghurs, China is actually responding to a long standing secret build up of Islamic radicalism used by UK/US/Israel and funded by Saudi Arabia to destabilize China, and the Caucuses.

Throughout past two decades Islamic schools have been funded and built in order to rouse independent movements among the Chinese Uyghurs and use them as shock troops against Chinese government.

Islamic radicalism is being propelled by zionists for two main purposes:

1. As patsy destabilization tools to derail economic rivals; and

2. As a propaganda war of Israel against moslem states.

I recommend books by Chalmers Johnson (Blowback),

Robert Dreyfus (Devil’s Game) and

Mark Curtis (Secret Affairs) for more insight on western creation of Islamic Radicalism.

Zionists are running a terror INDUSTRY.

They use  subverted Islamic teachings and historical revisionism to recruit and train proxy forces to destabilize and destroy both Islamic and Economic rivals. 

This Islamic radicalization Operation has a long precedence in Middle East when two centuries ago British created Wahhabism and then The Moslem Brotherhood for same purposes.

Infamous Zionist and pseudo Middle East “scholar” Bernard Lewis provided the British foreign office the Balkanization plan of Middle East by conjuring up violent uprisings via deliberate promotion of sectarian and Islamic fundamentalism.

Thanks to Zionism the Muslims are spread all over the earth. Sharia Law is only something personal now. Lewis has always been a liar and fear monger.

All three western intel agencies (Mi6, CIA and Mossad) have independently produced volumes of Islamic radical teachings in parallel with Saudi Wahhabism and have set up hundreds of Madrases in Middle East, North and North Eastern Caucuses into China, Africa, and Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Thailand…

US foreign policy advisors Henry Kissinger and Zbignew Brzezinski were strong followers of the Bernard Lewis plan which Kissinger used in 1975 in Lebanon and Brzezinski used to defeat Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Bernard Lewis plan was “Lebanonization “, as in the manufacture “civil war” Kissinger unleashed in Lebanon in 1975.

The war pitted Lebanon’s Catholic, Palestinian, Shiite Moslem, Sunni Moslem, Druze, and Greek Orthodox populations against each other- with a steady supply of arms to all sides.

Lewis pushed for  “Islamic fundamentalism.”

“That British-run variant which he favors is opposed to modern science and technology and in opposition to tenets of Islam banning usury, AND is loyally committed to paying IMF debt.

Lewis sees fundamentalism as a battering­ ram against the nation-state.”

He writes,”Islamic fundamentalism is the most attractive alternative to those who feel there has to be something better, truer and more hopeful than inept rulers and  bankrupt ideologies foisted on from outside.”

He notes that British subversive movements acting under such a cover enjoy a practical advantage in Middle East.

“Dictators can forbid parties, they can forbid meetings­, they cannot forbid public worship, and they can, to only a limited extent, control sermons.”

As such they represent a “network outside the control of the state . . .the more oppres­sive the regime, the greater the help it gives to fundamental­ists by eliminating competing oppositions.” 

It goes without saying that the Zionist plan provided both the radicalization from the bottom AND the dictatorship propaganda against their rivals. 

When you hold the megaphone and the mercenaries, nation after nation will succumb to the Zionist trap of Islamic radicalization.

This process continues today via ISIS and sectarian mercenaries like some Kurdish minorities, and in case of Uyghurs in an attempt to Balkanize and defeat China as an emerging super power.

For the World to See: Zionist Bolsonaro’s Failure to Protect the Amazon

The Brazilian government is trying to convince the international community that its support is needed to save the Amazon rainforest.

Israel is out to destroy the world. Israel’s friends play their role.

In Brazil, the popular historical expression “for the English to see” means “for the purpose of appearance, without validity”.

It emerged in the nineteenth century, when England, for economic reasons, tried to abolish slavery throughout the world, including in Brazil, whose economy was based on slavery.

To deceive the British, the Brazilian Empire placed ships on the coast with the supposed mission of going after slave ships.

In practice, however, nothing happened. It was just a staging “for the English to see.”

At the Leaders’ Summit on the Climate, held on Earth Day, April 22, the speech by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the forty world leaders is a clear example of the use of this popular Brazilian expression, this time expanded: “for the world to see.” 

Some 80 percent of the biodiversity of the entire planet is embedded within Indigenous territories, which include just 5 percent of the world’s population, But in a speech to the United Nations, President Bolsonaro blamed Indigenous people for Amazon forest fires.

The virtual meeting was an attempt by the Brazilian government to persuade the international community that Brazil needs financial support from other countries to save the Amazon rainforest.

Responsible for at least 10 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, the Amazon—threatened for decades by deforestation—brings moisture to all of South America, influences rainfall in the region, and contributes to stabilizing the global climate.

The Amazon also absorbs carbon, a benefit that has acted as a “brake” on the planet’s warming process, but which has decreased significantly over the past few years due to rapid deforestation. 

Now, due to this increasing deforestation, the Amazon may be heating up the global atmosphere instead of cooling it, according to a multi-author scientific study published in March.

For Carlos Minc, former Brazilian environment minister (2008-2010) and currently deputy of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro’s speech didn’t line up with the reality of the ongoing deforestation. 

“What is most striking is the total contradiction between words and facts. Bolsonaro used to say that this history of climate and emissions reduction is cultural Marxism,” Minc says.

“And now, he swears that he loves the climate since he was a child. The intention was to say what the others wanted to hear.”

In front of world leaders, Bolsonaro highlighted the commitment of the Brazilian government to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030, but he did not mention that the goal of ending illegal logging in Brazilian forests is an old obligation for the federal government, enunciated by the government of former president Dilm Rousseff (2011-2016) as a goal for 2020.

In fact, the Bolsonaro administration had withdrawn the previous target, when Brazil reformulated its contributions to the Paris Agreement in December 2020.

Ecologists criticize Brazil for performing maneuvers not contemplated under current legislation or agreements.

“A real trap was created based on the actual deforestation that occurred under Bolsonaro’s management, implying to achieve a deforestation volume of at least 8,700 square kilometers per year,” says environmentalist Carlos Bocuhy.

“That’s 16 percent more than the volume Bolsonaro found when he took office. So, the Brazilian government intends to increase deforestation with its own target.” 


In 2020, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest reached more than 11,100 square kilometers, with an increase of 9.5 percent over the previous year, according to the Brazilian Institute for Space Research. That represents about half of the area of the state of New Jersey.

For environmentalists, this means that 626 million trees were felled in just one year—nearly three trees for each Brazilian citizen.

As a result of this deforestation, more than 800 million tons of greenhouse gases were emitted into the atmosphere. Agriculture and the change in land use from forest to pasture are the main causes of these emissions.

In general, the cycle of deforestation and fire in the Amazon rainforest begins with the illegal removal of wood of high commercial value from Indigenous lands or conservation areas.

After that, if the land is public, there is the process of land grabbing and deforestation.

The group Greenpeace Brazil says about 80 percent of everything that has already been deforested today has some type of pasture, either for livestock or to give an impression of the legal use of that area, followed by a later claim of title to that land.

On the other hand, Brazillian school books are right when they say that Indigenous people do the best job of preserving nature.

Some 80 percent of the biodiversity of the entire planet is embedded within Indigenous territories, which include just 5 percent of the world’s population, But in a speech to the United Nations, President Bolsonaro blamed Indigenous people for Amazon forest fires.

The Brazilian constitution of 1988 recognized that Indigenous people are the first residents of Brazil.

This means that the right to live in their land of origin predates even Brazil’s existence as a nation.

The constitution also established the need to demarcate and protect these lands, but today there are no new demarcations, and the areas that already exist are suffering from the invasion of land grabbers, prospectors, loggers, and deforesters.

Environment minister Ricardo Salles, who in theory should be defending the environment, has already talked about loosening the laws to give more freedom to agribusiness, the main contributor to deforestation of the Amazon. 

In the most recent case, on the eve of the Leaders Summit on Climate organized by the White House, Salles was suspected of trying to cover up the actions of illegal loggers in the largest seizure of irregular wood in the history of Brazil.

An operation by Federal Police confiscated more than 40,000 logs from the Amazon rainforest.

On April 14, the superintendent of the Federal Police in Amazonas, Alexandre Saraiva, filed a crime report against the minister at the Supreme Federal Court.

The next day, he was fired and replaced. Later, after the Biden Summit, Saraiva rebutted Bolsonaro’s speech, tweeting: “By 2030, deforestation will end, due to the lack of forest.”


In the Climate Summit, Bolsonaro also highlighted the important role of measures to control damage to the Amazon.

“Despite the government’s budgetary limitations, I determined the strengthening of environmental agencies, doubling the resources allocated to inspection actions,” he said.

But in practice, the story is different.

Less than twenty-four hours after finishing the speech asking for the world to “count on Brazil,” the federal government announced a cut of about $45 million in the general budget dedicated to the Environment Ministry, the lowest amount in two decades.

Another example of how Bolsonaro’s vetoes affect crucial programs that are carried out by federal agencies.

In addition, the Environment Ministry has bureaucratized the work of inspectors, who have lost their autonomy to impose fines on those who commit an environmental crime, and must report first to their superiors before proceeding.

If all this continues, the only thing for the world to see will be a Brazil without an Amazon rainforest, and a further raging climate crisis.

 

Global Zionist Troll Uprising


“It is harder for them to say Human Rights Watch is anti-Semitic, but they’re trying it anyway.”

MintPress News, May 7 2021

NEW YORK — A recently released bombshell Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has made waves around the world.

For the first time, the New York-based non-governmental organization has categorized Israel as an apartheid state guilty of “crimes against humanity.”

The 213-page study goes into detail about a range of racist laws and policies carried out by successive administrations, concluding that there is an “overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The report accuses the state of Israel of widespread “institutional discrimination” and of “denying millions of Palestinians their fundamental rights … solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish.”

It further notes that, across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it has “sought to maximize the land available for Jewish communities and to concentrate most Palestinians in dense population centers.”

The organization’s executive director, Kenneth Roth said:

Prominent voices have warned for years that apartheid lurks just around the corner if the trajectory of Israel’s rule over Palestinians does not change.

This detailed study shows that Israeli authorities have already turned that corner and today are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.

Perhaps most importantly, HRW is now openly calling for global action to end the repression.

The report asks the ICC to investigate and prosecute those involved in Palestinian persecution. While not explicitly endorsing the BDS movement, HRW directly advocates:

States should impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against officials and individuals responsible for the continued commission of these serious crimes. Businesses should cease business activities that directly contribute to the crimes of apartheid and persecution.

The report was widely covered across the world and has been heralded by Palestine solidarity activists, with experts seeing it as a potential turning point in the struggle for Palestinian sovereignty. Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada told MintPress:

It was inevitable that Human Rights Watch would have to declare Israel an Apartheid state and, from what I hear, Amnesty International is going to be next to say it.

It puts Israel’s backers in a difficult spot, because Human Rights Watch is really part of the establishment, so they cannot just dismiss it and it makes it impossible to ignore … It is harder for them to say Human Rights Watch is anti-Semitic, but they’re trying it anyway.

Trying indeed. Michigan Congresswoman Lisa McClain tweeted that “Human Rights Watch has shown again how they have an anti-Israel agenda,” suggesting they instead focus their attention on China or Iran’s repressive governments.

Below video, have to watch it on youtube bottom left corner

“Hostility and hypocrisy are HRW’s hallmarks when it comes to Israel,” wrote the AJC.

The JPost’s editorial board was equally condemnatory, denouncing what they saw as the “cynical appropriation of the suffering of the victims of the actual apartheid regime.”

Other Israeli journalists described the report as “a disgrace to the memory of the millions who suffered under that policy in South Africa.”

The news even made enough waves to force a response from the White House. Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied:

As to the question of whether Israel’s actions constitute apartheid, that is not the view of this administration.

Yet much of the online anger at the report was actually manufactured by an Israeli government-sponsored app, Act.IL, which organized supporters of the Jewish state to act in sync to create an artificial groundswell of opposition to it.

The app, which reportedly has a budget of over $1m/yr, instructed users to leave combative comments on Facebook, Twitter, and popular news outlets, and to like and promote others who did the same.

Human Rights Watch’s Facebook post announcing the report’s release has received over 1.4k comments, hundreds of them written in a similar, scathingly negative tone.

One that the app directly told users to signal boost, for instance, described Palestinians as a people “indoctrinated with hate for Israel and Jews for over 100 years,” and claimed they were paid salaries to murder Israelis.

It also presented the 1967 war and occupation as a humanitarian effort to bring electricity and other infrastructure to Arabs.

 

Another “mission” Act.IL gave its users was to promote a Facebook comment attacking the report as “nothing more than hate speech” and calling its lead author a “rabid anti-Zionist and Israel hater.”

One of the many images provided to Act.IL users for their astroturfing campaign against HRW

Act.IL is one of the chief tools in Israel’s online public relations enterprise. The app debuted in 2017 and is part of what Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan called an “Iron Dome of Truth.” Noting that public opinion in the US was beginning to turn against them, he explained:

Our cell phones are the number one weapon against us.

While most of the app’s nearly 20k users are volunteers, a core of them are paid operatives, with many students receiving scholarships as a reward for their work.

The app has been designed to feel like a game, with points assigned for completing “missions” such as sharing pro-Israel videos, reporting anti-Israel content, signing petitions, or attending online seminars.

Users can track their progress on leaderboards, earn badges and prizes, and chat with other members of the community.

While it might feel like Animal Crossing or World of Warcraft for some, its creators see this very much as a new front in the war against Palestine.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked categorizes BDS as “another branch of terrorism in the modern age,” and has been an important voice in taking the fight to a new front.

An Act.IL mission encouraging astroturfing of online discussions. Source @AntiBDSApp

There is also an online toolkit full of folders of responses to typical questions and issues that arise.

Users can, for instance, go to the BDS folder to find stock replies to their arguments.

Or they can go to a specific folder to find articles, images and videos they can use to demonize Hamas.

The missions are organized by outlet, so that for instance users can target solely Facebook, Telegram or other platforms they are most familiar with.

At the time of writing, there are 10 missions each to complete on Facebook and YouTube, 30 on Instagram, 25 on Twitter.

One current challenge is to upvote an answer to a question on Quora that asks about the validity and purpose of checkpoints in the West Bank.

The answer claims they are purely about protection from terror attacks, and claims that Red Crescent ambulances are used to ferry bombs around the area.

Other missions include pressuring an online store to remove a bag with a message stating “Make Israel Palestine Again.”

An Act.IL “mission” encouraging users to demand the removal of products with pro-Palestinian messaging

Winstanley said:

It is quite astounding how openly they do it. But, of course, when you see a comment online, you wouldn’t necessarily think that it was coming from the Israeli government, but this is essentially what is happening. Israel is not the only state to do this, but they do it fairly successfully.

For all this, however, it is clear that Act.IL has a serious problem with user retention and lacks the volunteer numbers for it to be truly game-changing.

In a time of heightened awareness about foreign government interference online, it is particularly surprising that these operations can be openly carried out across virtually every major platform.

Big tech companies like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are constantly deleting tens of thousands of Russian, Chinese, Iranian and Cuban accounts belonging to what they claim are organized, state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.

In an effort to gauge the legality of its operations, MintPress reached out to Facebook, YouTube, Quora, and other big platforms used by Act.IL.

We received no response from any of them.

While this is particularly noteworthy, as these companies have teams of public relations representatives and are extremely forthright and timely with responses on other issues, it is perhaps not surprising.

Facebook especially has long been working closely with the Israeli government in deciding which voices to censor.

As far back as 2016, Ayelet Shaked boasted that Facebook removed 95% of the posts her office asked them to.

Yet when Shaked herself called for a genocidal war against Palestine and its women, who give birth to “little snakes,” not only did the post remain online, it received thousands of likes and was widely circulated.

Nadim Nashif, co-founder of 7amleh, the Arab Centre for the Advancement of Social Media, said:

The concern is that Facebook is adopting Israeli policy and terminology when it comes to defining what incitement is.

7amleh was therefore dismayed when last year, Facebook appointed former Israeli Minister of Justice Emi Palmor to its Oversight Board, the council having the final say in the moderation of content on the platform used by 2.6b people worldwide.

In her role as justice minister, Palmor was directly implicated in the persecution and subjugation of Palestinians.

Earlier this year, an IOF soldier attempted to sue a Palestinian-American activist living in California over an allegedly slanderous Facebook post condemning her for participating in ethnic cleansing.

Remarkably, the plaintiff attempted to convince a California judge to apply Israeli law to the incident, despite the fact that both she and the defendant are American citizens.

Inside the world of academia, professors critical of Israel have found themselves pushed out of the profession.

In 2007, prominent critic of Israel Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University for political reasons.

Seven years later, the University of Illinois “unhired” Steven Sailata for his comments denouncing Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza.

Emails showed that wealthy donors put significant pressure on the university to pull the plug on him.

More recently, Cornel West was blocked from a tenured job at Harvard this year, despite having previously held tenure at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

West told Krystal Ball and Kyle Kulinski:

Being the faculty advisor for the Palestinian student group was the one that probably went outside of the line for many Harvard staff.

It’s a joke. It’s ridiculous. It’s ludicrous. It’s preposterous that it wouldn’t have something to do with politics.

Top media figures have also paid the price for their support of BDS. CNN fired commentator Marc Lamont Hill after he made a speech at the UN calling for a free Palestine.

Abby Martin was blocked from speaking at a conference at Georgia Southern University last year after she refused to sign a contract promising to renounce BDS.

Georgia is one of dozens of US states to have anti-BDS legislation, essentially forcing any would-be recipient of public contracts or funds, including government employees, to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.

Martin is currently suing the state of Georgia.

Perhaps the greatest PR victory for the Israel lobby in recent years was its defamation campaign against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The lifelong pacifist and anti-racist campaigner was transformed into a raging anti-Semite in the minds of many, thanks to a massive propaganda onslaught.

In the three months before the 2019 election, there were 1,450 articles in national British newspapers linking Corbyn with anti-Semitism, chiefly because of his support for Palestinian liberation.

Much of this was orchestrated by Israel and its lobby, which worked closely with journalists and politicians keen to see the socialist politician’s demise.

The media blitz succeeded. When media researchers asked the public what percentage of Labour members faced official complaints over anti-Semitism, the average guess was 34%.

The actual answer was less than 0.1%, and more than half of those complaints were made by one person.

Corbyn lost the election and the UK chose Boris Johnson. Winstanley, whose documentary “How they brought down Corbyn” premiered last week, told MintPress:

The most effective propaganda strategy against him was the fabrication that he was an anti-Semite on the basis of his past criticisms of Israel and his Palestinian solidarity.

In my view, the maliciously fabricated anti-Semitism crisis against the Labour Party was the main factor in his demise as Labour Party leader.

Without this factor, he would have made it to Number 10 Downing Street and become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

While HRW’s report is new, the charge of apartheid is not. In 2017, a UN report “clearly and frankly concludes” that Israel is “a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people.”

Earlier this year, Israeli human rights organization B’TSelem also used the word “apartheid,” claiming that Israel had established “a regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

In the wake of WW2 and the Holocaust, Israel was created by the UN in 1947, cutting a section of territory from the British mandate of Palestine to form a new state.

While it was immediately recognized by the international powers, Arabs who lived in the region were dead against it, leading to a war in 1948.

David Ben Gurion and the founding fathers of Israel immediately began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the local population, razing their villages and forcing them to flee.

Today there are more than 5m Palestinians registered as refugees.

While many defenders of Israel today balk at the comparison to apartheid South Africa, the two countries were close friends for much of the late 20th century, seeing themselves as similar settler colonial projects surrounded by hostile nations.

Furthermore, leaders of the African liberation movement saw themselves as part of the same struggle as those in Palestine. Nelson Mandela said in 1997:

We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a statement endorsing BDS:

I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces.

Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.

The HRW report is the latest reference point showing Western public sympathies swaying towards Palestine.

During the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race, a number of top-tier candidates very publicly shunned AIPAC, refusing to attend tits annual conference.

Last week, the Pilsbury family called for a global boycott of the food company that bears its name. Denouncing the building of a factory on illegal settlement land, they stated:

As long as General Mills [which owns the Pilsbury brand] continues to profit from the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinian people, we will not buy any Pillsbury products.

Advocates for Palestine hailed HRW’s study. Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies wrote:

There can be little doubt that much of HRW’s decision to issue this report now was based on the recognition that not only is it no longer political suicide to call Israeli apartheid what it is, but that we are now at a tipping point whereby failing to call out apartheid risks losing credibility for a human rights organization.

It’s a huge victory for our movement.

The battle, however, is far from won, and it is clear that the Israel lobby will continue to fight to hold back the tide until it is insurmountable.

The history of the Shin Bet’s use of torture, and what it says about Israel today

Israel outlawed torture more than two decades ago, yet years later evidence of the state’s security services exerting rampant physical and psychological abuse continue to surface.

Human rights groups representing Palestinians who have filed more than one thousand suits alleging torture by the Shin Bet, also known as the Shabak or General Security Service, claim the practice is still endemic and continues in a system with little oversight.

How can torture be both banned and common practice? The answer lies in the organization’s longitudinal development, where secrecy has prevailed.

It is governed by policies that are classified and have never been examined by an independent or external body, shielding it from media and public scrutiny.

On 8 February 1949, the Shin Bet was officially formed but it was not until 1957 that the general public became aware of its creation.

Its inception fell upon a period where many “threats” were looming overhead for the newly formed state, in the wake of the 1948 war against five neighboring Arab countries and the Palestinian Nakba, the start of the Palestinian refugee crisis where 700,000 vacated their homeland and were either forcibly driven out or left due to fear.

Another 156,000 Palestinians remained within Israel – the new government took this as a potential threat.

Initially, the Shin Bet constricted its focus towards half a million Palestinians who had become Israeli citizens in the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Today, its mandate covers ensuring state security, dismantling terrorist groups, and counter-espionage.

In this turbulent context, the existence, operations, and tactics of the Shin Bet were kept in the shadows.

The organization became the embodiment of its motto – “The defender that shall not be seen.”

The early years


In 1948, Ezra Danin – head of the Haganah’s “Arab Section” – was in charge of “destroying Arab villages.” The Hagana, a Zionist paramilitary force, was the forerunner to the Shin Bet as the former’s forces were drawn from to create the latter after Israeli independence.

In his quest to maintain state control, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, sustained the British Mandate appointed The (Emergency) Defense Regulations, 1945.

These regulations gave Israel, like the British before them, an inordinate degree of powers relating to detention, intelligence, and other law-related matters.

In essence, a military government system was present in Israel following independence.

This added with the fact that Israel has been in a perpetual state of emergency since independence has legitimized many insidious actions against the Palestinian minority that includes a range of surveillance-based methods adopted by the Shin Bet and police.

The objective was to constrain the Palestinian refugees from re-entering Israel.

To achieve this, the Shin Bet, the army, and other agencies used intelligence received from their collaborators which allowed security agencies to drive the refugees back to their camps.

In the 1950s, the government of Mapai (The Workers Party) used the Shin Bet to coerce people into voting for the Mapai’s Arab satellite parties.

The Mapai used their satellites politically to keep their Arab allies contented and also to use their Arab puppets in the Knesset (parliament) for propaganda purposes.

Although the Shin Bet achieved its goals on various occasions, it was unregulated, during this period, by any law.

The Shin Bet was not only considered untouchable but for many years since its formation, remained a secret organization – hidden from the public’s eye.

Its clandestine behavior was and still is abetted by Israel’s Military Censor, which aims to restrict the media from revealing sensitive information.

In this period, the organization was only answerable to the prime minister; and the masses were not supposed to know the name of the organization’s head and the death of an agent remained unreported.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Shin Bet would also monitor if the Palestinians celebrated Independence Day with enthusiasm or distaste, and would take action accordingly.

In this same period, Palestinians had to get permission from the Regional Arab Committees of Arab Affairs to do rudimentary tasks such as receiving loans, obtaining jobs in the public sector, shifting their residence etcetera – this committee comprised of a Shin Bet officer, military governor, government representative, and a police officer.

The Shin Bet was also invasive in suppressing anti-Israel or anti-government insinuations.

The agency was active in the vetting of teachers and principals in the Palestinian school system. 

Furthermore, the Shin Bet monitored teachers who were seen as being too nationalistic, and if these tendencies proliferated, the agency would intervene and threaten their dismissal.

The Shin Bet also used to monitor various aspects of education which included teachers speaking against security agencies; discourses that had anti-Semitic implications; and criticisms of the military government.

Concerning Palestinian politics in Israel, Israel and its agencies used to monitor local elections and education.

In local elections, the Jewish government supported the Palestinian clans who were loyal to them by allowing the heads of clans to run the local councils.

Furthermore, local authorities, which comprised elected Palestinians, were initiated to provide educated Palestinians with jobs and impede them from adopting undesirable political behaviors.

In fact, professor of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University, Ahmed Sa’di, contends that the plan was to include the Palestinians on the fringes of the economy so that their financial survival becomes more valued than their political or moral beliefs.

From 1958-1969 and beyond, the government used ploys such as incentivizing Palestinian youth to study abroad then making their return home challenging; implementing harsher laws; and reducing the Palestinian numbers in integral economic zones etcetera.

The government entrusted the Shin Bet and others to gather intelligence to execute said plans.

The military government that was in effect since 1948 was finally discontinued in 1966. In 1967, the Six-Day War erupted between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

It changed the socio, political, and geographic landscape of the Middle East. Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

In 1976, Israel announced that they would be confiscating Palestinian land for settlement and security reasons – the tragedy that ensued would be remembered as Land Day.

This decision was met with massive protests by the Palestinians which caused the IDF and police to be deployed.

In the subsequent clashes between the Palestinians and the security forces, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed and around 100 were injured.

Hillel Cohen, an Israeli scholar, mentions a specific instance leading up to the protests in his book on informants “Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948-1967.”

He states that Tareq ‘Abd al-Hayy, then the mayor of the Arab village of Tira in northern Israel, called the police on the Land Day protesters after he attempted to disband the marchers, but was thwarted by local shop owners.

Cohen called this “the swan song of his close relationship with the security forces.”

Following instances like this, the Shin Bet would either intimidate to incentivize working for them as informants, locally referred to as “collaborators.”

Possible benefits for informants include a government job or a permit to open a business.

This point is reinforced in the documentary, “Inside the Shin Bet,” by Hussein Abu Hussein, a lawyer, who highlights that due to the poverty-stricken conditions of the Palestinians.

He said they become perfect candidates for conscription and Avigdor Feldman, a human rights lawyer, claimed that Arab spies are present in all Palestinian towns.

In 1984, an event unfolded that had grave repercussions for the Shin Bet.

The Bus 300 affair shocked the Israeli public and demonized the Shin Bet in the mainstream’s eye.

A bus departing from Tel Aviv to the town of Ashkelon was hijacked by four Palestinians who demanded the freedom of 500 Palestinian inmates.

The military was involved and in the ensuing operation, two of the four Palestinians were killed, while the other two were captured alive and handed over to the Shin Bet.

A military spokesperson lied to the public however that all four perpetrators had been killed in the operation.

It was only later that Hadashot, an Israeli newspaper, published a photograph that showed one of the terrorists being taken alive by security agents.

Outraged by this, the public demanded an investigation into this issue. The Zorea Committee, and following it, the Blatman Committee, was appointed to find out the truth, but both failed.

It was not until two years later that high-ranking Shin Bet officials revealed agents had lied to the Committee and erroneously faulted a high-ranking IDF official for the murder of two terrorists.

The director of the Shin Bet at the time, Avraham Shalom, was heavily involved in the cover-up, as was later disclosed in 1986 when it was discovered that the pair were killed under interrogation.

In May 1986, details were made public regarding the involvement of Shalom in the murder of the two terrorists and his authorization to Shin Bet officials to lie under oath but despite this, the President shockingly pardoned him.

Commenting on this incident, Yossi Beilin, the former Israeli Justice Minister, remarked that the general public comprehended that the Shin Bet could be liars and killers.

The event brought the elusive agency and its approaches into the public eye for the first time.

The 1980s also witnessed the Nafsu Affair in which IDF officer, Izat Nafsu, confessed to his crimes of improper interrogation methods such as insulting, beating, sleep-depriving, shaking, etcetera.

The Nafsu Affair coupled with The Bus 300 affair forced the Israeli government’s hand and it moved towards the regulation of the Shin Bet.

Shin Bet and the legal framework, the 1980s to today
In 1987, the Landau Commission was established by the Knesset to deliberate on Shin Bet’s interrogation methods.

The Landau Commission concluded that: the Shin Bet did use violent interrogation techniques, which it must refrain from, but a “moderate level of physical pressure” could be applied in some cases.

Israeli forces, including soldiers disguised as Palestinians, violently arrest a Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem on October 24, 2014.

Initially, the results were looked at in a positive light, although the Commission was and is still criticized for numerous reasons.

Firstly, the report has a secret annex, which contains rules for permitted interrogation techniques  – this annex has never been made public.

Furthermore, Dr. Ishai Menuchin – Public Committee Against Torture in Israel – comments that this “moderate physical pressure” exemption was eventually subjected to all Palestinians.

The “moderate physical pressure” rule was too ambiguous and the Ben-Porat Report exposed that the Shin Bet frequently broke this rule.

Moreover, the allowance of “moderate physical pressure” in Shin Bet interrogations was the essence of the problem and made effective supervision useless.

In hindsight, the Landau Commission was counterproductive as the jargon of the regulations allowed the Shin Bet to manipulate it to its desired outcome.

In 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice intervened and stated unequivocally that “physical pressure” is forbidden except in “ticking time bomb” scenarios.

In the documentary “The Gatekeepers,” six former Shin Bet directors – Avraham Shalom, Yuval Diskin, Avi Dichter, Yakkov Peri, Ami Avalon, and Carmi Gillon – were interviewed for the first time. In the film, Gillon explains the ticking time bomb justification: the scenario involves a possible terrorist attack and the person the agency is interrogating has information that can foil said attack.

This is the only exception to using “physical pressure” according to the court.

What was astonishing is that all of the former heads of the spy agency concluded that violence will beget more violence and that dialogue is the solution for long-term peace.

Even Shalom – the infamous director of the Shin Bet during the Bus 300 affair – claims that there is no substitute for “talking.”

Dichter says that peace must be built on a system of trust and cannot be obtained militarily while Gillon mentions that Israel would be remiss if they do not engage in peace talks.

If former Shin Bet directors believe that force is not the solution then there must be some credence to their thoughts.

In 2002, new legislation was finally approved by the Knesset which was the first law that centered on the intelligence community.

The legislation called the “Shin Bet Law,” took many years to finally approve.

After the law, the Shin Bet and other agencies were no longer shrouded in secrecy and under the aegis of this law, Shin Bet’s internal and external supervisions became regulated.

Yet tragically, the most controversial aspect of interrogation methods was surprisingly untouched by the law.

The Knesset was content with the ruling made by the Israeli High Court of Justice and that this was to remain the ruling on Shin Bet’s interrogation techniques.

The Shin Bet still works under the Prime Minister but its actions have become regulated than in the past – at least on paper.

The Knesset Foreign and Security Committee is the body that makes sure if the agency is functioning within the framework of the law.

B’Tselem reports that Palestinians who have undergone Shin Bet interrogations state that “they are held in inhuman conditions, including narrow, windowless cells…” – others “reported exposure to extremes of heat and cold, as well as sleep deprivation.”

Tal Steiner wrote in Haaretz the case of murder suspect Palestinian Samer Arbid who was hospitalized in September 2019 due to multiple broken ribs and kidney failure.

She states that he was tortured by the Shin Bet and when an investigation was conducted, it was, like hundreds before it, found that there was no wrongdoing by the agency.

She writes that “This sends a resounding message to every Shin Bet interrogator: It doesn’t matter what you do during the interrogation, how much violence you use against the interrogee or what the results are, the system will defend you.”

Since 2001 around 1,200 complaints of allegations of agents using violence during Shin Bet interrogations have been filed, yet there have been no indictments, according to the Israeli Committee Against Torture.

The group estimates that it takes around 39 months for each claim to be processed, which is done by an evaluation of statements from the complainant and the interrogator. The Shin Bet does not record or keep records of tactics used during interrogation.

The volume of complaints quadrupled between 2012 and 2015, according to information supplied by the Israeli government to its high court.

The influx came after the court allowed for allegations of torture to be perused in criminal proceedings.

Even so, a group of human rights organizations representing Palestinians in torture cases, logged over  850 torture complaints that were sent to the attorney general between 2001 and 2014, of which were not investigated.

Unfortunately, the Shin Bet did not heed the advice of these ex-heads, and human rights abuses continued.

Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s eminent 1968 prediction of Israel’s occupation careening the country towards authoritarianism resonates today.

He prophesied, “A state ruling over a hostile population of 1 million foreigners will necessarily become a Shin Bet state.”


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The Middle East is reorganizing

In Athens on February 11, 2021, Bahrain, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Greece participated in the Philia Forum (Brotherhood Forum). Egypt was invited to represent the Arab League, and France to represent the European Union. Israel soon followed.

Since the end of the Second World War, the political landscape of the Middle East had become fixed around a few crises:

The expulsion of the Palestinians from their land (1948), the weakening of the British and French empires in comparison to the USA and the USSR (Suez, 1956), the surveillance of Gulf oil by the USA (Carter, 1979), the disappearance of the USSR and the hegemony of the USA (Desert Storm, 1991), the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy (2001), and finally the return of Russia (2015).

Israel’s secret department Malmab hides documents containing reality of the country’s brutality on Palestinians during Nakba. | Photo: Reuters

What makes the Middle East difficult to understand is that it comprises a multitude of actors with different logics who, depending on the circumstances, make or break alliances.

We often think we know the region politically, who our friends and enemies are.

But when we return to the same place years later, the landscape has changed dramatically: some of our former friends have become enemies, while some of our former friends want us dead.

This is what is happening now. In a few months, everything will have changed.

- 1) First of all, we have to understand that some of the protagonists, who lived in desert regions, organised themselves into tribes by force of circumstances.

Their survival depended on their obedience to the chief.

They are alien to democracy and have communitarian reactions.

This is the case, for example, of the Saudi and Yemeni tribes, the Iraqi Sunnis who come from the latter and the Kurds, the Israeli and Lebanese communities or the Libyan tribes.

These people (except the Israelis) were the main victims of the US military project: the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy of destroying state structures.

They did not understand what was at stake and now find themselves without a solid state to defend them.

- 2) A second category of actors is driven by self-interest.

They are only interested in making money and have no empathy for anyone.

They adapt to all political situations and always manage to be on the winning side.

It is this category that provides the contingent of die-hard allies of the imperialists of all stripes who have dominated the region (recently the Ottoman Empire, then the British and French Empires, now the United States).

- 3) Finally, the third category acts to defend its nation. It has the same courage as the tribal populations, but is able to perceive things in a broader way.

It is this group that, over the millennia, has created the notions of the city and then the state. Typically, this is the case of the Syrians, who were the first to form states and are now dying to keep one.

Seen from the West, we often think that these people are fighting for ideas: liberalism or communism, Arab unity or Islamic unity, etc.

But this is always false in the case of the Syrians. But this is always wrong in practice.

For example, the Yemeni communists have now become almost all members of al-Qaeda.

Above all, we judge these people as if they were not capable of being on our level.

The opposite is true: Westerners, who have lived in peace for three quarters of a century, have lost touch with simple realities.

The world is full of dangers and we need alliances to survive.

We choose to join a group (tribal or national) or to go it alone among our enemies, abandoning our friends and family.

Ideologies exist, of course, but they are only to be considered after we have positioned ourselves against these three categories.

Since the end of the Second World War, the political landscape of the Middle East had become fixed around a few crises:

The expulsion of the Palestinians from their land (1948), the weakening of the British and French empires in comparison to the USA and the USSR (Suez, 1956), the surveillance of Gulf oil by the USA (Carter, 1979), the disappearance of the USSR and the hegemony of the USA (Desert Storm, 1991), the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy (2001), and finally the return of Russia (2015).

Israel’s secret department Malmab hides documents containing reality of the country’s brutality on Palestinians during Nakba. | Photo: Reuters

All political and military events, including the Iranian revolution or the ’Arab Spring’, are only epiphenomena in this framework.

None of them have created new alliances. On the contrary, all have strengthened existing alliances in a vain attempt to give one or the other a victory.

President Donald Trump, whose sole task in the Middle East was to stop the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski ’war without end’, did not have time to complete his project.

He did, however, succeed in convincing the Pentagon to stop using jihadis as mercenaries in its service (although the Department of Defense is now going backwards).

Above all, he turned the tables by questioning the validity of the Palestinian cause.

Contrary to what one might say at first glance, it was not a question of favouring Israel, but of acknowledging the lessons of the past: the Palestinians have lost five successive wars against Israel.

During this time, they tried twice to move and to conquer by force new lands (Jordan and Lebanon).

Finally, they signed an agreement with Israel (Oslo). Under these conditions, how can we still talk about their inalienable rights when they themselves have violated them?

Whether one agrees or not with this reasoning, it is clear that it is shared within the Arab world, although nobody admits it.

Everyone can see that the powers that pay lip service to the Palestinian cause do absolutely nothing for it; that it is a legal posture to keep things as they are, to their benefit.

It so happens that President Trump has managed to get the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel to sign the “Abraham Accords”.

Yesterday’s enemies have agreed to make peace. Contrary to popular belief, it was not easier for Israel than for its Arab partners.

Indeed, peace forces Israel to stop being a colonial state inherited from the British Empire, but a nation like any other called to live in harmony with its environment.

These changes, if they can be sustained, will take time.

However, the United Arab Emirates and Israel on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia and Iran on the other, are now facing a new question: should they not all be prepared for a new danger: the expansionism of Turkey and Qatar?

This is why the United Arab Emirates and Israel have formed an alliance with Greece and Cyprus, while Saudi Arabia and Iran have entered into secret talks.

Egypt (representing the Arab League, of which some of these countries are members) and France (representing the European Union, of which the other participating countries are members or partners) were involved in a preparatory meeting, the Athens Philia Forum.

This complete and brutal reversal of alliances is being done as quietly as possible. But it is happening.

The most important event is the military alliance between Greece and Israel on the one hand and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on the other.

The totality of the agreements is unknown, but it is known that the Israel Defense Forces will train the Greek military aviation for 1.65 billion dollars, while Greece will send Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates may hand over some of their fighter planes to Greece.

Relations between Israel and the UAE have been formalised since a so-called Israeli “representation” at a UN office in Abu Dhabi was opened, unofficially acting as an embassy.

While those between Israel and Saudi Arabia date from their secret negotiations in 2014-15.

The negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Iran demonstrate once again that the Sunni/Shiite opposition is perfectly artificial.

Let us remember that in 1992, far from hating each other, the two countries fought together under US command to support Muslim Bosnia-Herzegovina against Orthodox Serbia.

Is the Shine Starting to Come Off Bill Gates’s Halo?

The billionaire’s role in perpetuating vaccine apartheid in the name of protecting intellectual property rights has begun to draw criticism.

The announcement earlier this week of Bill and Melinda Gates’s divorce was a bombshell headline, but it shouldn’t distract us from an even more interesting development in the news media in recent weeks.

Bill Gates, long heralded as a global hero in the pandemic response, is becoming an increasingly popular target of criticism for his role in the unfolding vaccine apartheid around the world.

News outlets from Salon to the Observer to The New Republic have taken aim at Gates’s efforts to defend Big Pharma’s monopoly controls over Covid vaccines—even in the face of growing humanitarian calls to suspend patents and to compel these companies to share the recipes and technological know-how needed to expand vaccine production and immunize the poor.

The reporting has highlighted the former Microsoft CEO’s hard-wired ideological commitment to patents, intellectual property, and the private sector, but may have understated the full scope of the Gates Foundation’s interests in this debate—like the sprawling array of intellectual property the charity has acquired access to through its grants and investments.

Or the fact that the foundation co-owns a vaccine company.

Last October, The Nation reported on a $40 million investment the Gates Foundation made in 2015 in a start-up company called CureVac, which is currently wrapping up clinical trials for its Covid vaccine. The Gates Foundation at one point was the second largest shareholder of the company and had the ability to nominate a member to CureVac’s supervisory board.

The foundation is no longer a leading shareholder, but its 2015 investment may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars today, as last November CureVac agreed to supply up to 405 million doses to the European Commission—a deal that seems to raise new questions about Gates’s role in perpetuating vaccine apartheid.

While the Gates Foundation currently stands to financially benefit from CureVac’s prioritizing sales to the wealthiest nations and preserving its intellectual property and patents, doesn’t the foundation’s charitable mission—and related tax benefits—require it to direct immunizations into the arms of the global poor? CureVac and the Gates Foundation both failed to respond to questions about if or how they plan to do so.

But the larger questions raised by their business partnership concerns how Bill Gates, one of history’s most storied monopolists, has found himself so deeply involved in what may be one of the most potent monopoly markets ever devised: a vaccine that virtually everyone on earth needs.

Beyond co-owning a vaccine company, the Gates Foundation has other far-reaching means to influence how vaccine markets work—or don’t.

This includes helping direct the WHO’s efforts to deliver Covid cures to the global poor, advising the G7 delegation on pandemics preparedness, meeting with the US Office of the United States Trade Representative to discuss intellectual property related to Covid vaccines, holding regular calls with pharmaceutical company CEOs and Anthony Fauci, and brokering vaccine deals between the University of Oxford, AstraZeneca, and the Serum Institute of India.

It is increasingly urgent to ask if Gates’s multiple roles in the pandemic—as a charity, a business, an investor, and a lobbyist—are about philanthropy and giving away money, or about taking control and exercising power—monopoly power.

“What we’re seeing is the accumulation of 20 years of very careful expansion into every aspect in global health—all of the institutions, all of the different companies that often have these early-stage technologies, as well as all of the advocacy groups that speak to these issue, and all of the research institutions,” notes Rohit Malpani, a global health consultant and board member of the global health initiative Unitaid.

“It also therefore reflects the failure of the Gates Foundation.

The fact that they exert so much influence and even control over so many aspects of the [pandemic] response…and the fact that we are seeing so much inequity speaks to the influence that they have, and [suggests] the strategies that they’ve set out have not worked. And they have to own that failure.”

CureVac

Because the Gates Foundation’s investment in CureVac is considered part of its charitable activities—through a little-studied IRS provision governing “program related investments”—the Gates Foundation is required to ensure that its investment supports the foundation’s charitable mission “to help all people live healthy, productive lives.”

A partially redacted “global access commitments agreement” the Gates Foundation signed with the company in 2015—made public through Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings when CureVac became a publicly traded company last year—stipulated that CureVac was to use the foundation’s money to fund a manufacturing facility and develop its vaccine technology, and that CureVac was to make its vaccines “available and accessible at reasonable cost to people most in need.”

The agreement also appears to give the foundation legal rights to make sure this happens, including some claims to a “a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, fully-paid up, royalty-free license” to products and “background intellectual property” developed with the foundation’s money—for example if the company defaults on its charitable obligations or goes bankrupt.

Neither the Gates Foundation nor CureVac responded to questions about the agreement, leaving it unclear what additional leverage it may give the foundation—beyond its financial investment—over CureVac’s work in the pandemic.

Yet The Nation has also uncovered SEC documents from last July—in the middle of the pandemic—in which the Gates Foundation appears to release CureVac from some aspect of its charitable obligations.

Of Plutocrats and Oligarchs: Blackwater, Monsanto, Bill Gates: War Machines

Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.

Buried in CureVac’s SEC filings is an agreement between the Gates Foundation, CureVac, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), noting, “Subject to the other terms of this agreement, BMGF hereby releases CureVac of any and all Global Access Commitments” concerning the use of the company’s “mRNA technology platform” in developing one or more vaccines that are redacted.

The release stipulated that it would go into effect only when CureVac cemented its business relationship with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline—the two companies are working together to bring an mRNA Covid vaccine to market. GSK said the release doesn’t relate to Covid but rather to “five different pathogens,” the identities of which are confidential.

However the redactions, confidentiality and lack of transparency make it impossible to really see what the Gates Foundation has ceded in this release—or for the public to verify that the foundation’s work with CureVac is clearly serving a charitable mission.

‘These inside the cartel secret agreements are deeply problematic, with no assurance that…[charitable obligations] have been preserved nor that technology transfer to additional producers will be forthcoming,” notes Brook Baker, a professor of law at Northeastern University.

Bill Gates doubts FDA & CDC can be trusted on Covid & vaccines. Sure, let's trust a non-doctor ...

The “global access agreements” that the Gates Foundation signs with its charitable recipients, like CureVac, have long been the linchpin of Gates’s expansive charitable work with the private sector—serving as both a response to critics who say the philanthropy is too closely aligned with Big Pharma and a justification the foundation can offer to the IRS to rationalize the tax benefits it gets from donating money to multinational companies—like the tens of millions of dollars it has given to GlaxoSmithKline.

Broadly, the agreements give the foundation a tool to compel grantees to direct whatever products, tools, and technologies they develop with the aid of Gates’s funding to the developing world—to meet the Gates Foundation’s charitable goals.

When my reporting last year uncovered $2 billion in charitable donations the Gates Foundation had given to private companies, the foundation pointed to its global access policies and noted that its private-sector partnerships produce “public goods” and “yield products that are safe, effective, affordable, and accessible for communities in low- and middle-income countries.”

Yet some see these access agreements as designed less to promote equity or “global access” and more focused on promoting the Gates Foundation’s access to intellectual property. Securing IP rights has long been a central, if rarely scrutinized, part of how the Gates Foundation does business.

For example, in 2011, the Gates Foundation began a financial relationship with a company called Zyomyx, which was working on HIV diagnostics.

The Gates Foundation at one point held a 48 percent stake in the company, and also secured some rights to the company’s intellectual property.

When the company later went bankrupt, the foundation took over this IP, housing it in the “Global Good” arm of a business called Intellectual Ventures, run by a former Microsoft executive and widely viewed as a patent troll (a company that uses the threat of patent litigation as a principal source of revenue).

In September of 2020, the Global Good project was moved out of Intellectual Ventures and handed off to the Gates Foundation and Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’s personal office.

Given the tens of thousands of charitable grants and investments the foundation has made over the last two decades, the charity may have acquired access to or ownership of a stunning level of technology and intellectual property, which translates into the unprecedented level of influence Gates has not just over global health but also the pharmaceutical industry.

“Think of intellectual property as a bundle of sticks,” Malpani explains. “Nobody owns the entire bundle of sticks.

If there’s 10 sticks in the bundle, maybe the company owns seven, the NIH owns two sticks, and maybe the Gates Foundation owns one.

And that one stick might be march-in rights [like licensing the patent to a third party] or a limited license to exploit the technology for these countries.

So, for all of these investments the Gates Foundation has made over the years, they’ve acquired a lot of different forms of intellectual property.

And all of that intellectual property provides them with a certain amount of, not only visibility as to what the technology domain looks like, but also to exert control and influence over how that intellectual property is exercised.”

Malpani draws parallels to recent reports that Bill Gates is the single largest private farmland owner in the United States, saying that Gates and his private foundation may have quietly become one of the “most important owners of intellectual property for different therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines in the world today.”

“That gives them enormous responsibility and influence over how these technologies develop and evolve,” Malpani says, “That means a waiver of intellectual property rights [as is being called for in the pandemic]…affects their own holdings of intellectual property.

It also affects their ability to control how this intellectual property is developed and distributed around the world.

“In many ways, this mirrors very much the strategies that Microsoft had [which led to the company being sued by the Justice Department during the 1990s].

The whole basis of the company was based on the accumulation of intellectual property, so in some ways it’s not surprising the Gates has adopted this same approach, nominally for philanthropic ends, but ultimately still it’s about having certain level of control and influence.

It’s a recognition [by Gates], before many others, that intellectual property was going to have a very central role in how global health is managed.”

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‘Abraham Accords’ Discredit the US

Corrupt side deals and more payoffs to Israel

AIPAC is now quickly advancing relations operating almost as a “shadow” US State Department.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) continues to lobby Congress for more support for the so-called “Abraham Accords.”

This Trump administration initiative sought to transcend the spectacular failure of the “Deal of the Century” initiative that called for Palestinian acquiescence to annexation and renunciation of sovereignty rights in exchange for vague and uncertain economic development projects.

After Palestinians rejected the deal, the Trump administration pivoted to forging a string of spectacularly corrupt deals with Arab dictatorships.

The so-called Abraham Accords attempt to fracture their formerly unified but tepid and inconsistent opposition to recognizing Israel until there was just solution to the violent settler colonization and expulsion of Palestinians that brought Israel into being.

To date UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have signed onto the Abraham Accords because of corrupt “side deals” that further degrade the already rock-bottom international reputation of the United States.

The deals accurately boost the perception that Israel’s U.S. lobby exercises vast and undue influence over American foreign policy.

There was initial hope that the Biden administration would take a principled stand and refuse to honor the side deals. That hope has been dashed.

For UAE the side deal was approval of a $23 billion advanced jet fighter sale to UAE. On April 13, 2021 the Biden administration approved the deal.

Members of the Israel affinity ecosystem such as the American Jewish Committee are fighting hard for the Biden administration to not abandon other equally unsavory Abraham Accord side deals.

Sudan signed onto an accord in a joint ceremony with former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after the US promised to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

This “removal in exchange for Israel recognition” revealed yet again the entirely political, rather than fact-based, nature of such US designations.

The US further promised a $1 billion bridge loan to help move Sudan back into the realm of acceptable international borrowers.

In the case of Morocco, the “side deal” was recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

When Spain left its former desert colony in the 1970s, Morocco secretly negotiated to take over half the territory with the other going to Mauritania.

An ensuing guerilla war by Western Sahara inhabitants and Morocco’s occupation led to the deaths of tens of thousands.

The Trump administration exited a longstanding policy of considering the area disputed territory and intervened to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The overarching reason was to win Morocco’s signature on an Abraham Accord rather than any US interest or new diplomatic breakthrough.

The US thus became the only country in the world to recognize sovereignty, while upending any hope for UN efforts to secure a more just and fair outcome.

In January David Schenker, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs opened a US consulate in occupied Western Sahara, even as Western Sahara renewed a request for U.N. membership.

The US also pledged $5 billion in US International Development Finance Corporation funds to Morocco.

The US State Department under Anthony Blinken has “welcomed Morocco’s steps to improve relations with Israel and noted the Morocco-Israel relationship will bring long-term benefits for both countries.”

Clerk of the House of Representatives AIPAC Quarterly Lobbying Reports

The irony is, that even as American pundits continue to fret over Russian and Chinese influence, Israeli foreign influence in the US has only grown.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) quietly raised $1.1 billion over the past decade to advance Israeli government policies from within the US.

Far too few Americans know AIPAC was ordered to register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962 when it operated as the unincorporated lobbying division of the American Zionist Council.

This order came after millions in Israeli funds gushed into US public relations and lobbying campaigns.

Although AIPAC directors maintain close and ongoing ties to Israeli government officials in order to better translate their aid and policy requests into US law, the US Department of Justice has long refused to properly enforce its own order and regulate the lobbying group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Combined with overt coordinated and stealth political action committees funding Congressional candidates, AIPAC has achieve massive undue foreign influence over Congress, making Israel the leading recipient of US foreign aid, even though it is unlawful under US law regulating aid to rogue nuclear weapons states.

Although US opinion polls continually signal public opposition to foreign aid to Israel, Congress remains captive to what historian Walter Hixson has recently determined is “the most powerful lobby advancing the interests of a foreign country in all of American history.”

Israeli Knesset member briefs AIPAC’s Board of Directors on January 12, 2021, Source: Twitter

It is doubtful the US would have recognized Moroccan claims over Western Sahara if Israel and its US lobby had not gotten involved.

AIPAC is now quickly advancing relations operating almost as a “shadow” US State Department.

On May 6, AIPAC will hold a three-way video conference between Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water and the Israeli Ministry of Defense and an official from Nobel Energy which is developing liquid natural gas from the Israeli Leviathan fields.

AIPAC has ramped up Abraham Accord direct lobbying expenditures over the past three quarters as a top priority and it is no wonder why.

Most of the proposed US expenditures on the Trump-era “peace” accords were destined to accrue mostly to Israeli recipients.

An opaque fund arranged by the US International Development Finance Corp based in Israel received 25 applications and chose 15 projects for funding.

By September of 2020, Israel had three active projects totaling $580 million in US backed loans.

In 2019, DFC committed $480 million to two “Egyptian projects” – except they were not truly projects accruing to Egyptian interests but rather schemes to transport and sell Israeli liquid natural gas from the Leviathan fields being developed by Noble Energy.

Morocco is now surely in line for even more US taxpayer – backed Israeli energy export projects.

The plurality of Americans would cut aid to Israel after compelling studies released by Israel’s B’Tselem about its apartheid practices and more recently Human Rights Watch.

The White House has already dismissed those findings. But even as it touts itself as a leader in racial justice, the unconditional support the Biden administration and Congress give Israel are actions that speak far louder than words.

Grant F. Smith is the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington which is co-organizer of the 2022 Transcending the Israel Lobby at Home and Abroad conference at the National Press Club and publisher of the new book “Architects of Repression: How Israel and Its Lobby Put Racism, Violence and Injustice at the Center of US Middle East Policy.”

May 2 is anniversary of Israel’s killing of documentary maker James Miller

Dispatches Killing Zone, Gaza Palestine. Click on ‘Watch on YouTube’ to avoid being misdirected.

14 years ago today, Israeli bulldozers killed ISM activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza | PNN

On May 2, 2003 Israeli forces “consciously and deliberately targeted” James Miller and his crew while they were in Gaza making a documentary for HBO.

See this British TV report from the time: “Dispatches: The Killing Zone.” The gripping report covers the IDF’s killing of Rachel Corey, Tom Hurndall, James Miller, and numerous Gazan men, women, and children.

Foreigners and outsiders are normally warmly welcomed in Palestinian communities, who regard them as allies against Israel.

Previously the greatest risk for foreigners was seen to be from the Israeli army.

Rachel Corrie from the US and Tom Hurndall from London were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2003 and 2004 while volunteering for the ISM.


Broken Environmental Pledges in Brazil

Do not trust friends of Israel! They are just as evil as one another. There is no such thing as a good Zionist or a good friend of Israel.

far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited Israel, both to strengthen ties with the country and as a courtesy to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Bolsonaro admires and has said he considers to be a “brother.”

The U.S.-Brazil deal, touted by U.S. President Joe Biden as a possibility to induce Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to tackle deforestation has not materialised.

Environmental activists and indigenous leaders had expressed themselves against the financial arrangement which would have seen $20 billion boosting the governmental offices protecting the entities responsible for the Amazon’s deforestation.

U.S. Senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, also cautioned against billions being awarded to Bolsonaro without any conditions, given that under his government, deforestation has soared.

The 15 senators who penned a letter to Biden noted the Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2019 report which attributed deforestation to “powerful criminal networks that use intimidation and violence – with near total impunity – against those who seek to defend the rainforest.”

Speaking at the climate summit held last week, Bolsonaro pledged to end illegal deforestation by 2030 and to double the funds for environmental reinforcement.

Bolsonaro was stridently anti-leftist, anti-socialist, and anti-liberal. Like his North American counterpart, Bolsonaro was a strong supporter of Israel and the Jews. He appeared in public holding an Israeli flag and stated that, if elected, his government he would move Brazil’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, which he openly referred to as “the capital of Israel.” It was later revealed that the attacker was affiliated with Brazil’s far-left political party that had an openly anti-Israel platform.

However, Bolsonaro’s proposals were not novel. In 2015, former President Dilma Roussef had already set 2030 as the date by which Brazil aimed to reach “zero illegal deforestation.”

By 2020, however, Bolsonaro had dropped the pledge from the updated strategy in terms of the country’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Three weeks ago, Bolsonaro’s son and lawmaker, Eduardo Bolsonaro, erroneously claimed that agribusinesss – one of the main culprits of deforestation – “generates clean energy and helps to conserve the forest that occupies 61% of Brazil’s territory.”

Not only was the data proved statistically inaccurate. Deforestation has contributed to the Amazon rainforest being depleted by 20%.

In 2019, 99% of deforestation in Brazil was carried out illegally. Indigenous terrain accounted for 6% of the targeted land, while 11% including conservation areas.

A 2020 report confirms agribusiness as the main culprit of deforestation. In 2018, Bolsonaro lamented the presence of indigenous communities preventing agribusiness exploitation.

The refusal to include indigenous communities and environmental organisations in policy making has been one of the main contentions raised to the U.S. government.

“No talks should move forward  until Brazil has slashed deforestation rates to the level required by the national climate change law and until the string of bill proposals sent to Congress containing environmental setbacks is withdrawn.

Negotiating with Bolsonaro is not the same as helping Brazil solve its problems,” the letter partly stated.

Deforestation and progress are only linked together by agribusiness companies and the Brazilian government, as in the case of Acre where 688 square kilometres were lost to deforestation.

“Acre doesn’t have minerals. It has no potential for tourism. What it does have is some of the best land in Brazil.

But this land has one problem: it’s covered in forest,”Assuero Doca Veronez, the President of the Acre Agriculture Federation stated in 2020.

What Veronez was aiming at was the establishment of agricultural territory combined with industrial development.

Following the climate summit, Bolsonaro was not deterred, criticising external opinions about Brazil while once again requesting foreign assistance for the Amazon rainforest protection.

Citing comparisons in global emissions, Bolsonaro claimed that scrutinising Brazil was “absurd”, while stating that since Brazil’s global emissions amounted to less than those of other countries including China and the U.S., less environmental restrictions should apply to the country.

One main concern raised by Bolsonaro, once again, was tied to agribusiness.

Countries seeking Brazil’s contribution on environmental protection, according to Bolsonaro pose a hindrance to agribusiness profit and expansion.

It remains to be seen whether the international community can curb Brazil’s neoliberal profit upon environmental exploitation.

International warnings over trade deals with Brazil – the EU-Mercosur pact has not yet been ratified and this may have implications for Brazil which relies heavily on agricultural exports.

However, if the deal goes through, it would not be the first time that the international community pays lip service to environmental concerns, while turning a blind eye when it comes to economic expansion.

Broken Environmental Pledges in Brazil

Zionist Regime to Double Death Squad Numbers in Occupied Palestine

It’s the Palestinians who are exposing the Zionist agenda for the rest of the world.

Turn down volume before listening to this video.

آريل شارون قصاب صبرا و شتيلا

Zionists have had death squads the world over including Palestine which is currently occupy. [see video bottom of page]

Israeli occupation forces are to increase the number of troops in the occupied West Bank in preparation for a possible escalation, Israeli media reported an army official saying yesterday.

“The IDF [Israeli army] will increase its forces and expand its operational activities in the coming weeks in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] as part of its readiness for escalation,” Chief of Staff of Israeli Army Aviv Kochavi said during a visit to the occupied West Bank.

This came during a manhunt campaign being conducted in the West Bank to look for suspects who opened fire at Israeli settlers near Zaatara checkpoint near the city of Nablus.

Sources reported that occupation forces used live ammunition to deter protests and gatherings of Palestinians who attempted to stop the Israeli occupation army from attacking their neighborhoods.

OPINION: If Israel has committed no war crimes, then why does it refuse the ICC probe?

“Many forces, with the help of intelligence officials and the Shin Bet [Israel Security Service] have been working since yesterday [Sunday] to find the terrorists, and will continue to do so until the mission is completed,” Kochavi added.

“The IDF will continue to act as required in all sectors in order to ensure the security of Israeli citizens,” Kohavi said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“We will not allow terrorism to raise its head and we will strike our enemies with force,” he said.

Zionist Israelis Slaughter School
Kids With Phosphorus

UNRWA SCHOOL IN BEIT LAHIA, GAZA, PALESTINE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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