April 8, 2017

US Strike in Syria: Failed Strategic Attempt or Previously Planned Strike?

by mkleit

On Wednesday the 6th of April 2017, two days before the US strike on Syria, a Syrian opposition member called an Arab diplomat saying “America will conduct an attack on Shouairat airport (Homs).” The latter transferred the news to a Syrian diplomat that, in turn, transferred it early Thursday to the Syrian command.

This is what the Security Specialist Vadislav Sheurgen said, and added “The US informed Russia previously through diplomatic channels with its plans to target Syria, and in turn, Russia informed its Syrian counterpart to evacuate its soldiers and equipment.”

In return, other Russian officials confirmed that they knew nothing about the US strike before it happened, and Moscow described what happened as an “aggression on a sovereign state”, and it announced that it will enhance Syria’s aerial defenses and halting cooperation with the US that prevented aerial conflicts over Syria.

What are the background information before the happenings of Friday dawn?

The US airstrike came before any true and objective investigation was made for the claimed “Khan Shikhoun Chemical attack”. Moreover, it didn’t get any international accreditation from the UN’s security council nor the US Congress, which means president Donald Trump needed to hasten the strike.

 

The first vital question is “why this hastening”?

First of all, because the media outburst that was caused by the death of the children prepared the globe for that, exactly like what happened post-9/11 in 2001 (despite the slight difference). Trump must’ve taken the global emotional opportunity and present himself as a humanitarian hero. So in that case, there’s no need for an investigation, with the accusation ready and decision already made.

Second, Trump wanted to strike the Syrian airport after two hours from dinner with the Chinese president, to send a strong warning message to China, saying “if you don’t stop North Korea, our missiles and jets are ready to do the same thing that we did in Syria”. For the past weeks, POTUS has been sending warning after warning to North Korea, whom performed Ballistic missiles tests a while ago, and said that if “China doesn’t move, he will do so himself to stop North Korea… and all options are open”.

But the question here is: did Trump inform his Chinese guest about the strike? That’s unknown, but the Chinese reaction was bound by calling all sides of the conflict for negotiations and stressed on political solutions, denouncing usage of barred weaponry. This means that China didn’t have its usual reaction, such as its Russian counterpart, and did not denounce the strike that didn’t have the security council’s approval.

Third, the strike came one night after the failure of the security council to take a unified decision concerning the chemical attack issue. Trump wanted to say that he doesn’t give any importance to the international coalition, especially that he has been supported by several nations, especially Arab Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel. Unlike when Bush invaded Iraq with the opposition of France.

Fourth, the repercussions that the US airstrike on Mosul made, which killed tens of civilians, started to receive international condemnation, even calls to open a serious international investigation.

The key question here is “did the strike happen by mistake or was there someone who needed in get Trump involved into other options?” but the hastening of the strike on Syria was aiming to divert attention from Mosul’s “massacre” and shed light over Syria.

Fifth, the US strike came in midst of investigations with the Trump administration concerning cooperation with Russians, and there were several pressures being made and accusations of spying by some of the people close to Trump.

Sixth, the US strike also came after a meeting between both Iran’s and Russia’s presidents, where the latter two signed several military agreements with their Chinese counterpart.

 

 

After this, Trump would have two options left:

He, either, continues the battle with regional forces (Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia) to put pressure on Iran, Hezbollah, and tries to halt Russia, or he goes to negotiations and mutual understanding, especially that his secretary of state, Rex Tellerson, will visit Moscow soon.

This US intervention in Syria is the first major military development since the Russian direct intervention, with means that the war in Syria has shifted from its local and regional players to its international ones.

Washington wants to set a foot directly in North or Eastern Syria, through political, military, and security methods, and it’s impossible that Trump will retreat from that, and Russia will never back-down from Syria because that would damage its role in the ME region, as well as cause a national security threat.

Keep in mind that days before the US strike, there was a blast in St. Petersburg’s metro station, the Russian opposition moved on the ground, and the Russian Ruble price went down. Iran also sees that its retreat from Syria will cause great damage on its security, politics, and coming elections.

January 30, 2017

What Trump and Israel have in Common? Apartheid Walls

by mkleit

 

Source

By Ben White

In US President Donald Trump’s first week in office, three policy issues dominated the headlines: his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the President’s support for torture, and his executive order targeting refugees, residents and visitors from seven Muslim majority countries.

All three have prompted widespread outrage, in particular, the ban on refugees and blanket immigration restrictions being applied on the basis of national origin and religion.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, however, only issued a reluctant and mealy mouthed criticism of Trump’s scorched-earth approach to his first few days in the White House. May is one of only a handful of world leaders seemingly eager to position themselves at Trump’s right hand side.

One other leader, however, has gone even further than the British PM in seeking to praise Trump, both before and since his inauguration – and that’s Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu. There are a few reasons for this, including the tacit approval a Trump administration is expected to give to the settlement expansion bonanza already underway.

But there’s another element at play here, which goes deeper than Netanyahu’s political agenda. For what many do not realise, is that the policies – and their undergirding ideology – that Trump is unleashing on the US have been pursued by the state of Israel for decades.

 

fd9t0191ci

 

First, let’s take the wall. Israel began the construction of its Separation Wall in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) almost fifteen years ago. Justified in the name of “security”, some 85 percent of the wall’s route is built inside the OPT, to incorporate illegal West Bank settlements.

It was on that basis that, in 2004, judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague deemed the wall illegal, and called for its immediate dismantling.

Israel’s Wall is not even the security miracle that its defenders claim. None other than Israel’s own security services attributed a sharp decrease in “terror attacks” in 2005 to the “truce” unilaterally adopted by Hamas. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers without permits enter Israel every day, with some 200 miles of “gaps” in the Wall’s route remaining.

The real link to Trump’s ideas comes in the justification of Israel’s Wall on “demographic” grounds; in other words, keeping Palestinians out because they are Palestinians – and note that the idea of a wall aimed at “separation” actually pre-dates the Second Intifada.

An Israeli official admitted in 2010 that the Wall was “built for political and demographic reasons”, while the man who designed it revealed how “the main thing the government told me in giving me the job was to include as many Israelis inside the fence and leave as many Palestinians outside.”

 

800x-1

ORACIÓN DEL VIERNES EN A RAM

 

Then there’s torture. Trump’s unabashed endorsement of torture has horrified politicians, human rights activists and former prisoners alike. In Israel, however, the torture of prisoners is routine – and rubber-stamped by not just the state, but also by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Just last week, Israeli interrogators confirmed in Haaretz some of the methods used on detainees – including physical and psychological abuse. The revelations came as no surprise to Palestinians, nor those Israelis who have documented practices such as sexual torture.

This grim reality is also well-known to international human rights groups – Amnesty’s most recent annual report described how “Israeli military and police forces, as well as Israel Security Agency (ISA) personnel, tortured and otherwise ill-treated Palestinian detainees, including children.”

“Methods included beating with batons, slapping, throttling, prolonged shackling, stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats”, Amnesty added, further noting how despite almost 1,000 complaints since 2001, the authorities have not opened a single criminal investigation.

And finally, what about immigration? As horrendous as Trump’s orders have been, thus far they pale in comparison in scale and duration to what Israel has been implementing for some seven decades.

Since 1948 Israel has enforced a “Palestinian Ban” (Muslims and Christians), designed to ensure that no refugees can return to the lands and homes from which they were expelled. In parallel, the state’s borders are open for any Jewish person, from anywhere in the world.

Not only that, but in more recent times, Israel has also passed legislation – backed again by the Supreme Court – that prevents Palestinians with Israeli citizenship from family reunification – purely “on the basis of the ethnicity or national belonging of their spouse.”

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said of the law: “There is no need to hide behind security arguments. There is a need for the existence of a Jewish state.” Trump – and the likes of Steve Bannon – would approve. Just as they would, no doubt, of the fact that Israel approved just eight requests for asylum, out of 7,218 requests filed by Eritreans from 2009 to 2016.

Writing in +972 Magazine, Edo Konrad noted the double standards of those who condemn Trump, but who back institutionalised racism in Israel. Here in Britain too, Trump’s critics include those who justify, or ignore, Israel’s own toxic mix of walls, discriminatory immigration system and torture.

This dissonance is only likely to become more publicly uncomfortable for Israel’s friends in the West. For Netanyahu’s embrace of a Trump White House is not just political manoeuvrings – it is reflective of a disturbing reality with which the Palestinians are only too familiar.

 

January 4, 2017

How We Were Misled About Syria: the role of Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF)

by mkleit

Original is from Tim Hayward wordpress

Source

msf-blames

 

I have unbounded admiration for the doctors who volunteer for the invaluable and often dangerous work of Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF). The question concerns MSF’s policy of ‘bearing witness’. MSF will speak out – even against governments – when it thinks a humanitarian situation could and should be dealt with differently by those it holds responsible.[1] It has done so in Syria.

But if none of MSF’s international doctors have been on the ground in Syria’s war zones since 2015,[2] how can MSF claim to bear witness for what is happening there?

MSF has relayed reports from the rebel-held areas to which, exclusively, its supplies and support have been dispatched. The reports – including allegations of government attacks on hospitals and civilians – come from people working with the permission and protection of such groups as Al Nusra, Isis and other foreign jihadis and mercenaries. These anti-government forces are known to exercise a rule of terror and to be not overly concerned about ordinary citizens’ access to medical attention. That is precisely why the MSF doctors withdrew from the areas under their control.[3] So there is scope to ask who the medics on the ground were, and who they were treating.

 

My question, though, simply concerns the reliability of uncorroborated witness statements coming from potentially compromised sources. For while press statements have been issued from various MSF offices around the world, it appears MSF had no independent access to verifiable information from Syria.

In fact, the public unavailability of detailed or verified information is a matter of record: even John Kirby of the US State Department could only assert that ‘relief agencies that we find credible are levelling these accusations’.[4]

The most prominent relief agency, and visible in all video footage linked to the alleged bombings, is the White Helmets.

It is a matter of record that the White Helmets are funded by the NATO and Gulf states whose avowed aim is regime change in Syria; or-38096it is generally believed that they work closely with terrorist organisations (how else could the Netflix documentary have shown them roaming so freely in a zone where MSF and Western journalists dared not set foot?[5]). Their independence and integrity are widely questioned.[6]

So while MSF has often been cited as an independent source of support for White Helmet testimony, its press statements have in fact merely repeated White Helmet claims![7]

Whether intending it or not, MSF thereby became complicit in purveying a particular narrative that suffused the Western media during the period from 22 September to 22 December 2016.[8] Before September, the media had been perfectly clear that the citizens of eastern Aleppo were being held captive, effectively as human shields, by forces dominated by jihadist terrorists.[9] That changed following the uncompromising statement by Samantha Power to the UN Security Council, in which she invoked the White Helmets as victims and witnesses of Russian and Syrian aggression.[10]

Western governments and media re-designated the terrorist groups as ‘moderate rebels’.[11] Concurrently, anti-government activists like Lina Shamy started tweeting in English, the celebrated twitter account in the name of the child Bana was created, and there followed a flow of ‘famous last webcams’ from purported ordinary civilians voicing fears of impending massacre by the Syrian government.

Those of us in the West who were uncertain about the authenticity of all this social media activity in a zone lacking basic infrastructure, let alone wifi,[12] were coaxed to accept the mainstream narrative because a respected organisation like MSF apparently bore witness to it.[13] Few of us realised that MSF was merely repeating White Helmet testimony, not independently verifying it.

The consistent testimony now coming from the people who have been liberated in eastern Aleppo suggests a quite different story from the one that Netflix and our media have promoted.[14] The Helmets themselves appear to have melted away with the departure from Aleppo of the jihadists and mercenaries. If there were any genuinely independent doctors working with them in Aleppo, they too have yet to be heard from. But most telling, in view of White Helmet claims to have saved some 70,000 lives (or whatever exact number we are invited to believe), is that not a single person interviewed in liberated Aleppo has thanked them.

 

So, in seeking to bear witness against the Syrian government, MSF has made claims on a basis that is uncertain and contested.[15]  By so publicly associating itself with the White Helmets and their narrative it may have risked compromising the reputation it relies on to attract international doctors.

Those of us who deeply appreciate the service to humankind of MSF’s international doctors are left to hope the organisation coordinating their work can be more sure to avoid bearing false witness.[16]

The problem with the false narrative is no trivial one, for it perpetuates a fundamental misrecognition of the causes of the war – and thus of all the casualities the doctors have to deal with.  A false narrative not only gives impunity to the guilty but it supports them in moving ever onwards with their murderous designs. It distracts from the ethical truth, too, that the jihadis and the states supplying them with arms and opportunity are in fundamental breach of the law and morality of just warfare.

oberg-5

oberg-6

 

 

[1] The background for this founding principle – of témoignage (‘bearing witness’) – is cited on their website: ‘Hundreds of thousands of people died in the Biafran war because of a deliberate government policy. On their return from the region, a group of young French doctors were frustrated and outraged by the inability of the Red Cross to say publicly what had happened.’ https://www.msf.org.uk/advocacy-and-temoignage

[2] MSF Voice from the Field in Syria: Dr. Nathalie Roberts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61cmnPLk6uE

[3] Dr Nathalie Roberts has described how in the earlier days of the war in Syria, MSF had followed its usual working procedures in opposition-held areas but with the arrival of Islamic State group that became impossible: “they were not allowing all the patients to access the hospital”, they then started appropriating MSF supplies and even kidnapping MSF staff. They could not continue to work in a place where the occupying groups would not allow the doctors to do their medical job. (Dr Roberts interviewed on 13 March 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oQVUssxK-U

[4] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-spokesperson-loses-temper-with-rt-journalist-over-syria-bombing-questions-a7423146.html

[5] I personally first became curious about the White Helmets from viewing the Netflix documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wj4ncIEDxw), and the question I mention in the text here is the one I simply could not get past. I was therefore not surprised to find that others had already offered powerful critiques of the organisation.

I also had trouble imagining how people working in such desperate conditions would have the leisure to keep up with the latest Western craze of the Mannequin Challenge, and also the insensitivity to do a facsimile rescue for the purpose. The video of this PR own goal was quickly removed by the White Helmets’ promoters but remains available elsewhere at time of writing, e.g.:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgl271A6LgQ

A discussion of it is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8bIupYSZeU

[6] The critical sources now on the internet are far too numerous to mention, but indicative examples include:
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/361957-syria-white-helmets-un/
http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/10/exclusive-president-raed-salehs-terrorist-connections-within-white-helmet-leadership/
https://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmFFvu5H4f4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_bObdZhqyE
http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/23/exclusive-the-real-syria-civil-defence-expose-natos-white-helmets-as-terrorist-linked-imposters/

[7] The spokespersons bearing MSF witness to the public are quite numerous and remote from Syria. They seldom make explicit the source of their information, but when they do we find it is the White Helmets.

Sam Taylor, for instance, who is Syria communications coordinator for MSF and is based in Jordan, uncritically reproduced White Helmets material: ‘The civil defense, also known as the White Helmets, said the hospital and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes.’ ‘Video posted by the White Helmets showed lifeless bodies, including children, being pulled from a building and loaded into ambulances amid screams and wailing. Distraught rescue workers tried to keep away onlookers, apparently fearing more bombs.’ http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/airstikes-aleppo-hospital-1.3556632

Taylor does mention another authority: ‘Shortly after midday Thursday, new airstrikes in rebel-held areas killed at least 20 people in two neighbourhoods, the Syrian Civil Defense and the Observatory said.’ By ‘Observatory’, he presumably means the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although this sounds like an independent organisation, it is in fact a single individual named Rami Abdulrahman (sometimes referred to as Rami Abdul Rahman) living in Coventry in the UK; and he is presumably as independent as one can expect from an opposition exile whose small network of informants in Syria consists largely of anti-government activists.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

Certainly, he is no more directly a witness than is MSF’s spokesperson. Needless to say, the Observatory’s credibility and independence is disputed: http://russia-insider.com/en/media-criticism/man-behind-vaunted-syrian-observatory-human-rights-shown-all-his-full-absurdity; http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/syrian-ngos-working-directly-with.html; http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/12/the-syrian-observatory-for-human-rights-is-a-tool-of-western-propaganda/

Despite this lack of verified independent evidence, Taylor was prepared to state on behalf of MSF that a hospital attack ‘was deliberate’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebrpj689Ib8. While the basis for the accusation is not given, the cumulative effect of this sort of public statement is evident.

Pablo Marco Blanco, MSF’s Operations Manager for the Middle East in Barcelona, effectively endorsed the accusation, while admitting that the basis of the information was unconfirmed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI5KMAvfYDU.

Similar communications came from Muskilda Zancada, ‘MSF head of mission in Syria’ in Barcelona. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4s9uEp6Ujs). Zancada also stated that ‘civilians are targeted’ http://www.msf.org/en/article/syria-update-airstrike-al-quds-hospital. Paul McPhun, Executive Director MSF Australia, speaking from Australia (10 October 2016) likewise makes categorial statements about targeted bombings in Aleppo, but without indicating the source of his knowledge.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHyPtcG5a6M

It is even possible that the accusations are true. Yet it is also possible that they are not. The fallibility of MSF sources has been illustrated by how Teresa Sancristoval, Head of MSF’s Emergency Unit for Aleppo, was clearly being fed her information in Barcelona from people with an oppositional stance towards the Syrian Government because they were ‘afraid of the retaliations they can suffer’ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/east-aleppo-ceasefire-fails-shelling-resumes-and-hope-fades (see note 7).

While I have no doubt that all MSF statements are made from a standpoint of agonised human sympathy, and in good faith, they take on a life of their own when picked up by the media and disseminated for further purposes.

In the end it is clear that what matters from the humanitarian point of view is that the bombing should stop. When MSF call for all sides to stop, they can claim to speak for humankind. When they complain of ‘targeted and indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian and Russian armed forces’ (http://www.msf.org/en/article/syria-crisis-update-28-november-2016) they create unnecessary controversy: if bombing both targeted and indiscriminate is to stop on the government side, that is as much as to say – from the government’s perspective – that it should simply allow the ISIS and Al Nusra terrorists free rein over the people and sovereign territory that it has a duty to defend. MSF do not want to say exactly this, I assume, but my point is that the organisation seems not to have a firm enough grip on its communications policy or a sufficiently coherent approach to defining its extra-medical mission.

[8] MSF statements from Syria condemning the Syrian and Russian governments have been demonstrably lacking in certainty or detail. For instance, in relaying reports of attacks on hospitals around Aleppo in May they note that ‘one was the MSF-supported al Sakhour hospital in Aleppo city, which was forced to suspend activities after being bombed at least twice on consecutive days.’ (https://www.msf.org.uk/country/syria) An inexact statement like this – being equivocal as to whether the number of bombings was two, three, or some other number – may or may not be true; it cannot claim to have been properly verified, since a verification would make clear whether or not a third or further bombings had occurred.

MSF uncritically accepted the veracity of the ‘famous last webcams’ coming out of besieged eastern Aleppo. As late as 14 December 2014 MSF wrote on their own website: ‘Whatever hope remained is rapidly dissipating. People are terrified, almost certain that their own deaths are near. Messages in which they say goodbye to their love ones are proliferating.’ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/east-aleppo-ceasefire-fails-shelling-resumes-and-hope-fades ]

MSF do not appear to have known as much as one might hope or expect about the doctors they supported in terrorist-held Aleppo and whose words they relay to the public. The doctors communicating from terrorist-held Aleppo whose testimony the MSF publicly cited just prior to the liberation of Aleppo were apparently not looking forward to the end of the siege, and MSF even believed that their forebodings were shared by the ordinary people of Aleppo: ‘Like the rest of the population, “doctors are terrified and losing hope,” says Teresa Sancristoval, Head of MSF’s Emergency Unit for Aleppo. “They are afraid of the retaliations they can suffer. For the last two days, our exchanges have been more about goodbye messages and requests for evacuation than anything else. They feel abandoned to their fate and with no way out.”’ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/east-aleppo-ceasefire-fails-shelling-resumes-and-hope-fades

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/02/us-syria-policy-tatters-moderate-rebels-disband

[10] As Stephen Cohen has pointed out, the sea change came with the breakdown of negotiations between Obama and Putin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPp8eKBjcyA&t=974s

The view was then forcefully asserted against Obama by Samantha Power.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/22/syria-obama-us-president-putin-russia

In her speech to UN Security Council she singled out the White Helmets as victims and witnesses of Russian and Syrian attacks. She declared: ‘This is not the day, this is not the time to blame all sides, to draw false equivalencies. It is not the time to say that “airstrikes took place,” or “civilians were killed.” It is time to say who is carrying out those airstrikes, and who is killing civilians.’ https://usun.state.gov/remarks/7453
[11] Some insights into the unreliability of the mainstream narrative have occasionally been heard from within mainstream media outlets.

For instance:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-aleppo-iraq-mosul-isis-middle-east-conflict-assad-war-everything-youve-read-could-be-wrong-a7451656.html
http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/time-judge-assads-aleppo-campaign-standards-set-mosul/
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/aleppo-falls-to-syrian-regime-bashar-al-assad-rebels-uk-government-more-than-one-story-robert-fisk-a7471576.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1B2xFqfEgY (‘Tulsi Gabbard tells the truth about Syria’ on CNN)
Carla Ortiz Speaks about her Experience in Aleppo and The Little Syrian Girl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAE3WawgOX0&feature=share

Criticisms have of course been extensive in the Russian media. Since promoters of the Western narrative do not regard the Russia Today (RT) channel as a reliable source, I mention just a couple of interviews that they might concede have some credibility – one from a Church of England clergyman and one from a former UK ambassador to Syria:
‘Consistent stories of brutality at the hands of the Syrian rebels’ – Rev. Andrew Ashdown
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8iM_eY2viQ

US effectively siding with Al-Qaeda in desire to get rid of Assad – former UK ambassador to Syria
https://www.rt.com/news/345636-us-siding-al-qaeda-ford/

[12] Common sense scepticism on this point is supported by the first hand testimony of Carla Ortiz about trying to get internet connections in Aleppo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il7I1FTRSwY.

[13] I have seen MSF cited as a source to discredit the account of Syria given to the UN by Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uap0GwBYdBA
In fact, I was first prompted to do the research that led to writing this blog because a respected and well-informed friend on Facebook invoked MSF as a refutation of Bartlett’s claims. I believe it has since become clear that events have entirely vindicated Bartlett.

[14] Some examples of interviews with newly liberated citizens in Aleppo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjPpREHEF1Y
https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/posts/10155907018683868
https://www.sott.net/article/337545-East-Aleppo-Diaries-Testimony-from-Hanano-Shatters-Corporate-Fake-News
https://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo
https://www.sott.net/article/338019-Bolivian-actress-Carla-Ortiz-exposes-what-went-wrong-with-Western-media-coverage-of-Syrian-conflict

[15] Stronger criticism of MSF than I am making is found in Miri Wood’s ‘Guide to Understanding How ‘Unhospitals’ Cannot Be Bombed’ http://www.syrianews.cc/guide-understanding-unhospitals-cannot-bombed/ ; MSF’s relationship with the Syrian Government is known to be an uneasy one: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/12161437/Medecins-Sans-Frontieres-run-by-French-intelligence-says-Assad-regime.html

[16] MSF takes a certain pride in fostering debate and allowing some plurality of political views to be aired within the organisation: it does not attempt, as ICRC does, to hold a single public line. (Rony Brauman, ‘Médecins Sans Frontières and the ICRC: matters of principle’, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 888, 31 December 2012: https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/article/review-2012/irrc-888-brauman.htm)

Yet the public hears MSF-branded messages and thinks they represent the honest and considered position of a respected organisation. They are encouraged to do so by the fact that press releases and comments are issued by the organisation and not as independent opinions of particular members.

While it is not my place to tell MSF how to conduct its affairs, I would say that their internal plurality of opinion is not necessarily a virtue: if they cannot agree on certain matters of principle about bearing witness, then the wise option might be simply to refrain, as ICRC do. At any rate, some of their internal philosophical debate strikes this reader as unhelpfully verbose and analytically unclear. More specifically relating to Syria, it is reasonable to believe that the geopolitics of the region and the machinations of its various protagonists are as complex and challenging, in their way, as are the medical emergencies in a war zone. Even the most judicious political analyst would not be much use in dealing with the latter. The people in MSF offices might reflect on whether the converse does not also apply.

We are not in a position to know if Syria or Russia should answer any charges in respect of the conduct of war.  We do know that their enemies must, and, more crucially, that they face the more fundamental charge of having attacked Syria and its people without just cause.

I find a rather bitter irony in the MSF position that they distinguish themselves from the ICRC in not being willing to patch up victims simply in order to make possible further harm to them; for that could be said to be what they are doing by wishing that a sovereign people should not use full lethal force against merciless invaders on its soil.

November 25, 2016

Analysis: Why Sweden is giving an award to White Helmets?

by mkleit

 

 

Sweden did not succeed in getting Bob Dylan to come to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Literature Prize. As a consolation Sweden got nevertheless the “White Helmets”; they were bestowed today the Right Livelihood Award.

 

This article examines a likely geopolitical rationale that the Swedish elites had for selecting that organization. Also, facts suggest a congruence between the stances of those elites on Syria and the declared political aims of the organization White Helmets. The reviewing of the institutions involved in the award-decision and process can also result relevant in pondering the reason for the event. Finally, to inquire into the role of Carl Bildt, as member of the board of directors in the institution ultimately deciding, is interesting against the backdrop of his opposition against the participation of  Julian Assange and Edward Snowden in previous international events organized by the same institutions –all of them under the umbrella of the Swedish Foreign Office.

 

However, Sweden’s awarding a prize to this organization –called the  “murky Withe Helmets’ by Professor Jan Osberg– it might reveal a semi-concealed intervention in support of Hillary Clinton’s doctrine in the dirty war against Syria. In concrete, another means used by Sweden’s elites in uttering their view, and gathering support, for the No-Fly Zone campaign in Syria.

 

A main purpose of what I have called the Hillary Clinton doctrine in the Middle East is the ending –by violent means– of the secular governments in the region, to be replaced by fundamentalist dictatorships. That happened in Egypt, Libya, etc. Now it was Assad’s turn. A valuable testimony of both the origin and purpose of this stance by Clinton was given by US Senator Richard Black, who declared in video:

 

“Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, put into place a series of actions to overthrow the secular governments in the Middle East and to replace them with radical Islamic regimes. Why she was doing this? I know she has great connections, financial and otherwise, with Saudi Arabia, with Qatar, with Kuwait, with tyrants of the Arab world”.

 

To these ends in Syria, the Swedish establishment has comprehensively supported the establishment of a No-Fly zone –precisely as advocated by Hillary Clinton. Beside illustrating Hillary Clinton’s stance on the No-Fly Zone issue, the video below shows also the risk of an all-out war against Russia and Syria, and what such measure would signify for the US Armed Forces (and others supporting the No-Fly Zone, such as the Swedish establishment).

 

 

 

 

 

It would be worth to mention in this context the participation of the “neutral and nonaligned” Swedish air Force in the No-Fly Zone operation masterminded by Hillary Clinton –the ultimate responsible for the bullets fired a close range against the head of the secular Libyan government, Omar Kaddafi, while he was held prisoner and immobilized. “We came, we saw, he died“, says Hillary Clinton on video, while she laughs.

 

Also, it should be reminded that the decision regarding the military participation of Sweden in Libya was taken at the Parliament after a proposition presented by Carl Bildt; a proposal that found uncontested support in ALL political parties of the Swedish political establishment, including the Left Party (the former ‘euro-communists’). Only the Sweden Democrats opposed.

 

For the Swedish rulers, as it was for Hillary Clinton, it is not about religion or ideology, or about an “idealistic” solidarity with refugees from the Syrian war (in fact most of those migrants are not ). It is only about money.

 

While those Sunni governments financially backed Clinton and the Clinton Foundation (mentioned in the above-quoted testimony by Senator Richard Black), the role of Sweden was to contribute either with direct public funds or with donations by important Swedish companies, such as Lundin Oil or Ericsson. In retribution, they got the kind of favours from Clinton’s State Department, which permitted further expansion of Swedish business in the area, such as  Ericsson. Meanwhile, the business of Sweden with Saudi Arabia, or Sweden’s arms export to the United Arab Emirates, continues unabated [See my recent articles in “The Indicter” and “Global Research”].

 

 

Another promoter for a No-Fly Zone in Syria is the organization “White Helmets”. Undoubtedly, there are in that organization, like in any of that kind,  true volunteer-individuals trying to do a humanitarian contribution. However, as organization at large, “White Helmets” is in fact another operation set up and financed by the same forces pressing for an escalation in the military conflict in Syria. In other words, the same factions that financed armed and trained the ‘moderate’ rebels –as the New York Times and the Washington Post call them (also called non-partisan media, also call them “moderate” terrorists, or “moderate jihadists”).

 

This organization has been boosted and financed by a number of State-donors, all of them implicated in the US-led (Clinton/Obama) political and/or military coalition aimed to depose the presidency of Assad in Syria. Most of these countries count with economic benefits in the planned oil-pipe construction designed to pass through Syria and that Assad opposed; the real cause of the war. For instance, Germany raised recently its financing to the “White Helmets” up to $7.85 million. Other examples of funding governments to this so-called “non-governmental organization”: The US government has contributed with $23 million; the UK government with $4.5 million.

 

 

One conclusion emerging in this analysis, considering also White Helmets own statements done previously in its home page, is that a main aim of its propaganda endeavour is bringing public opinion’s support to the ‘necessity of establishing a No-Fly Zone in Syria’. This is the geopolitical item that coincides with the one of Sweden’s political establishment pursuing a confrontation of “West” against Russia. And it is in this context where the Swedish award  to “White Helmets” should be understood.

 

The claims for a No-Fly Zone in Syria have been passed through standard psy-op  by the pro-Clinton corporate-owned press. This has been directed not only at American audiences, but also echoed among EU countries  viewed as potential proxies for the escalation of the Syria military conflict. Sweden is, historically considered, the primary government in Europe to react positively to such calls.

 

As Sweden now is giving its prestigious award to the White Helmets, the Swedish media has relentlessly reported in the most positive terms the deeds of the organization. None of the international reports denouncing a variety of manipulation techniques in constant use by the White Helmets has found space in the Swedish media. The image and video below shows how this is done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The appeals by “White Helmets” are done by fabricating or drastically exaggerating news on ‘war atrocities’. Hence, the suggestion of demolishing ‘air raids’ directed at civilian populations is a favourite number, for instance, in videos uploaded in YouTube. In the videos I have seen, however, such attacks never appear; what we see instead, solely, are rooms filled with smoke, dust, etc., where same “patients” move constantly in the scene with or without anti-dust protection masks.

 

In the Swedish version of “Swedish Institute of International Affairs” that I have access to, I found that the largest single entity financing this ‘independent’ institution is ultimately the Swedish State.

 

Right now, as I am typing these lines, the Swedish Institute of International Affairs has removed its web page in English. There is a growing focus on that institution right now because of the Right Livelihood Prize to the White Helmets. So, one reason might be that they are ‘cleaning up’ the page. And they should.

November 6, 2016

Islam without Extremists

by mkleit

Once in a while the news are filled about a group of extremist Muslims who slaughter people and commit the most unthinkable crimes under the name of Islam. ISIS is a recent example.

 

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If you ask such people that why they are committing such obvious wrong deeds and still consider it the command of the God, they would answer that they are trusting a Muslim scholar and that they receive the commands of the God through him. Based on this trust they consider the scholar’s commands equivalent to the God’s commands and blindly follow the scholar’s instructions to make the God happy.

But does not this method sound too similar to shirk, the exact opposite of Islam’s primary message, which is not following anybody except the God? How did this happen? How did that origin with the most clear message came to this obvious contradictory point?

 

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In the “Belief vs. Trust” article, we show that similarly to all modern religions, in the current understanding of Islam also believing in God is interpreted as trusting a religious package preached by the local religious scholars.

After analyzing the roots of such interpretation in all religions, the article shows that key element that legitimizes the incorporation of trusting scholars into islamic practice is considering Hadith as a pillar of Islam.

The current Islam which is mixed with Hadith has become so complicated that leaves an ordinary Muslim with no solution but seeking the advice of some Hadith experts (or scholars) about “what Islam says”. This blind obedience creates potential for extremism: if the religious scholar is extremist, the blind followers also apply the extremism in the name of religion.

 

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Then in the “Islam without Hadith” article, we list the pros and cons of existence of Hadith in the current Islamic practice, and show that by eliminating Hadith not only we do not lose any of the core Islamic values but also we are given the chance to rediscover the Simple Islam, the religion which guides us to nothing but reasonable, beautiful deeds. In Simple Islam, which is free from the complexities of Hadith, there is no space for religious scholars to instruct their blind followers to such unbelievable crimes.

In the “Scope” article, we then revisit some of the controversial topics in Quran, such as slavery and women rights, and observe a Quran very different from what the scholars have been preaching for years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q1: Those are bad scholars. But I am obeying good scholars!
A: Quran warns about blind obedience. Read Section D of Trust article.
Q2: Some extremists claim obeying no scholar and just following Quran!
A: They adopted a particular perverted interpretation of Quran stemmed from Hadith and backed by past scholars. They are essentially obeying those scholar’s viewpoint.
Q3: I read Quran myself. It says “kill the infidels”!
A: Taken out of context! Such verses are about a particular war with the criminals of Mecca. There were refereed to as “Kafir”, which means ungrateful, as they were ungrateful for the gift of the messenger. Quran uses the word “Kafir” sometimes even for Muslims. Mainstream translations offered by scholars however translate “Kafir” as “infidel” causing this confusion.
Q4: Extremists are using perverted Hadiths. There is a huge science of telling which Hadith is reliable. I am obeying good scholars who know this science well!
A: Extremists say the same about you. The bottom line is that both of you blindly obey, and both of you think that your scholar is the right one. Read trust article about blind obedience.
Q5: Why should I trust your article? are you a scholar?
A: Do not trust people. Read their arguments and decide by yourself
Q6: Without Hadith how could we know the details of rituals?
A: Section 4 of the article Islam without Hadith
Q7: Does not Quran itself tell us to follow Hadith?
A: No. Read here.
Q8: Ignoring Hadith is ignoring Muhammad (s.a.a.w.)?
A: No. Read Hadith-less Muhammad.
Q9: Can we understand Quran without Hadith?
A: Yes. Read Quran is understandable without Hadith
Q10: Did not Quran force conversion?
A: No. Islam in Quran means meeting the God with a heart filled with peace. What Muslims did along the history has nothing to do with what Quran describes.

October 13, 2016

An Open Letter That Matters

by mkleit

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When I was six years old, I gave my first bl*wjob.
“It’s a game”, said He. “Don’t you want to play?”
It was too big, and I threw up on him.
He said I’d do better the next time.

When I was seven years old, I watched a group of fellow second graders cheer as a boy in my class tried to kiss me. He hugged me from behind, giggling all the while.
I threw sand in his eyes, and was sent to the Principal.

When I was eight years old, I had an elderly teacher ask me to stay behind in class. He carried me on his shoulders, and called me pretty.
“Teacher’s Pet!” my friends declared, the envy visible on their faces.
They ignored me at lunch that day.

When I was nine years old, an older girl on the school bus would ask me to lift my skirt up for her. She was pretty and kind, and told me that I could only be her friend if I did what she said.
I wanted to be her friend.

When I was ten years old, a relative demanded that he get a kiss on the cheek every time we met. He was large and loud, and I proceeded to hide under my bed whenever I learnt that he was visiting.
I was known as a rude child.

When I was eleven, my auto-man told me that we would only leave if I gave him a hug every day.
He smelled like cheap soap and cigarettes.

When I was twelve years old, I watched as a man on the street touched my mother’s breast as he passed us. She slapped him amidst the shouts of onlookers telling her to calm down.
She didn’t calm down.

When I was thirteen years old, I exited a restaurant only to see a man visibly masturbating as he walked towards me. As he passed, he winked lasciviously.
My friends and I shifted our gazes down, aghast.

When I was fourteen, a young man in an expensive car followed me home as I walked back from an evening class. I ignored his offer to give me a ride, and I panicked when he got out, only to buy me a box of chocolate that I refused. He parked at the end of my road, and didn’t go away for an hour.
“It turns me on to see you so scared.”

When I was fifteen, I was groped on a bus. It was with a heart full of shame that I confided in a friend, only to be met with his anger and disappointment that I had not shouted at the molester at the time when it happened. My soft protests of being afraid and alone were drowned out as he berated my inaction. To him, my passiveness and silence were the reasons why things like this continue to happen.
He did not wait for my response.

When I was sixteen, I discovered that Facebook had a section of inbox messages named ‘others’, which contained those mails received from strangers, automatically stored as spam. Curious, I opened it to find numerous messages from men I had never seen before. I was propositioned, called sexy, asked for nudes, and insulted.
Delete message.

When I was seventeen, I called for help as a drunken man tried to sexually harass me in a crowded street.
The people around me seemed to walk by quicker.

At eighteen, I was told that sexism doesn’t exist in modern society.
I was told that harassment couldn’t be as bad as us women make it out to be.
That I should watch what I wear.
Never mind you were six, never mind you were wearing pink pajamas.
That I should be louder.
But not too loud, a lady must be polite.
That I should always ask for help.
But stop overreacting, there’s a difference.
That I should stay in at night, because it isn’t safe.
You can’t get harassed in broad daylight.
That I should always travel with no less than two boys with me.
You need to be protected.

That it can’t be that hard to be a girl.

I am now nineteen years old.
I am now tired.

By Anonymous

August 31, 2016

الاقتصاد السياسي للطائفية في الخليج

by mkleit

معهد كارنيجي للشرق الأوسط

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يُواجه حكّام الخليج العربي حوافز تدفعهم إلى تطوير مصادر غير اقتصادية للشرعية، بهدف الحفاظ على الدعم الشعبي مع زيادة الإيرادات الشحيحة من الموارد. ومن خلال زرع بذور الريبة المجتمعية، وتسليط الضوء على التهديدات، والتأكيد على قدرتها على ضمان الأمن، يمكن للأنظمة تعزيز التأييد المحلي والحدّ من الضغوط التي تطالب الإصلاح بتكلفة أقلّ من توزيع إعانات الرعاية الاجتماعية. وتُظهر بيانات الدراسة المسحية من دول خليجية أربعة (البحرين والكويت وعُمان وقطر) أن في وسع الحكومات إرغام السكان على القبول بالجمود السياسي، حتى في الوقت الذي تتضاءل فيه الفوائد الاقتصادية التي يحصل عليها المواطنون.

الأفكار الرئيسة

  • سنّت أنظمة الخليج قواعد انتخابية وتشريعية تضفي طابعاً مؤسسياً على الانقسامات القائمة على سياسة الهوية.
  • كثيراً ماتقتصر السرديات الوطنية الرسمية في الخليج على فئة معينة، بحيث تبرز الاختلافات بين المواطنين، ويتم تمييز بعض فئات السكان على الفئات الأخرى.
  • تعامل الأنظمة الخليجية المعارضة السلمية والاحتجاج على نحو متزايد باعتبارها تشكّل تهديدات حقيقية للأمن القومي، وليس على أنها تحدّيات سياسية عادية.
  • مارست بعض دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي سياسة خارجية حازمة ومغامرة، ساهمت في زعزعة الاستقرار الإقليمي وعزّزت النزعة الوطنية العسكرية.
  • تتزايد مشاعر عدم الأمان بسبب الوعود الحكومية بالقيام بعملية إعادة تنظيم اقتصادي جذرية، في مواجهة تراجع عائدات النفط والغاز.

النتائج

  •  يكشف تحليل بيانات الدراسة المسحية المستقاة من المنطقة عن أن المزيد من المواطنين الخليجيين ذوي التفكير الأمني، مستعدون للقبول بمستويات أقلّ من الأداء الاقتصادي من جانب الحكومة في مقابل توفير الاستقرار. إذ يمثّل توفير الدولة للأمن، بالنسبة إلى هؤلاء، بديلاً عن الفوائد المالية التي يتوقع المواطنون الحصول عليها في الدول الغنية بالنفط.
  • بهذه الطريقة، يمكن لحكومات دول الخليج الاستفادة من المخاوف الأمنية للمواطنين لشراء الدعم السياسي الشعبي بتكلفة أقلّ من تكلفة توزيع المنافع المادية.
  • وبالتالي، لدى أنظمة الخليج أسباب اقتصادية وسياسية لتلوين أو اصطناع التهديدات الداخلية والخارجية، بهدف تأجيج المخاوف الشعبية على الأمن وبالتالي خفض تكلفة زيادة الدعم السياسي
  •  حكّام الخليج غير قادرين في الغالب على إدارة التوترات الاجتماعية حين تنطلق، وقد انتهى الأمر ببعضهم إلى تأجيج المعارضة ذاتها التي رغبوا في قمعها. وهذه الاستراتيجية الخطرة تنطوي على مخاطر جدّية لرفاهية المواطنين ولبقاء الأنظمة على المدى البعيد.
July 17, 2016

Turkey’s Coup That Wasn’t

by mkleit

by 

Source

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As coups go, the Turkish effort was a study in ineptitude: No serious attempt to capture or muzzle the existing political leadership, no leader ready to step in, no communication strategy (or even awareness of social media), no ability to mobilize a critical mass within either the armed forces or society. In their place a platoon of hapless soldiers on a bridge over the Bosporus in Istanbul and the apparently uncoordinated targeting of a few government buildings in Ankara.

It was enough for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking on his cellphone’s FaceTime app, to call supporters into the streets for the insurrection to fold. That Erdogan will no doubt be the chief beneficiary of this turmoil, using it to further his push for an autocratic Islamist Turkey, does not mean that he staged it. The Turkish army remains isolated from society. It is entirely plausible that a coterie of officers believed a polarized and disgruntled society would rise up once given a cue. If so, they were wrong – and the error has cost more than 260 lives.

But in Erdogan’s Turkey, mystery and instability have become the coin of the realm. It is no wonder that conspiracy theories abound. Since an electoral setback in June 2015, the president has overseen a Turkey that is ever more violent. This dangerous lurch has enabled him to bounce back in a second election in November and portray himself as the anointed one averting mayhem. His attempt to blame, without any evidence, the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric and erstwhile ally living in Pennsylvania, forms part of a pattern of murkiness and intrigue.

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Through Erdogan’s fog this much seems clear: More than 35 years after the last coup, and almost two decades after the 1997 military intervention, Turks do not want a return to the seesawing military and civilian rule that characterized the country between 1960 and 1980. On the contrary, they are attached to their democratic institutions and the constitutional order. The army, a pillar of Kemal Atatürk’s secular order, is weaker. Every major political party condemned the attempted coup. Whatever their growing anger against the president, Turks do not want to go backward.

A successful coup would have been a disaster. Erdogan has massive support in the Anatolian heartland, particularly among religious conservatives. Mosques all over the country were lit through the night as imams echoed the president’s call for people to pour into the street. There can be little doubt that any military-controlled administration would have faced a Syria-like insurgency of Islamists and others. The blow to what is left in the Middle East of democratic institutions and the rule of law would have been devastating.

No wonder President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry “agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected Government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence of bloodshed.”

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The problem is that “restraint” is not part of Erdogan’s vocabulary. As Philip Gordon, a former Special Assistant to Obama on the Middle East, told me: “Rather than use this as an opportunity to heal divisions, Erdogan may well do the opposite: go after adversaries, limit press and other freedoms further, and accumulate even more power.” Within hours, more than 2,800 military personnel had been detained and 2,745 judges removed from duty.

A prolonged crackdown on so-called “Gulenists,” whoever Erdogan deems them to be, and the Kemalist “deep state” (supporters of the old secular order) is likely. An already divided society will grow more fissured. Secular Turkey will not quickly forget the cries of “Allahu akbar” echoing last night from some mosques and from crowds in the streets.

A rapid push by Erdogan to reform the constitution through a referendum and create a presidency with sweeping executive powers is possible. He now has a case to say only such powers will keep enemies at bay.

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“It may well be that democracy has triumphed in Turkey only to be strangled at a slower pace,” Jonathan Eyal, the international director at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, told me. There can be little doubt the expressions of support for Erdogan from western capitals came through gritted teeth.

For the Obama administration, the dilemmas of the Middle East could scarcely have been more vividly illustrated. When an Egyptian general, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, led a coup three years ago against the democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, Obama did not support the democratic government, as he has now in Turkey. The administration even avoided use of the word “coup” in Egypt. In effect, the president sided with the generals in the name of order.

True, Morsi was deeply unpopular. The Egyptian coup had massive support. It was a fait accompli by the time Obama weighed in. Still, principles in the Middle East are worth little. Policy often amounts to choosing the least bad option.

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In Turkey, the least bad – Erdogan’s survival – has prevailed. That does not mean much worse will not follow. A failed coup does not mean democracy is the winner. In fact, the worst of this prickly autocrat may now be unleashed upon Turkey, with America and its allies able to do little about it.

July 14, 2016

Three Men Shot In Virginia While Streaming Live On Facebook

by mkleit

 

Buzzfeed

A Facebook live stream ended abruptly on Tuesday when three men listening to music inside a car in Norfolk, Virginia, were suddenly shot, authorities said.

Police said three men — two age 27 and the other age 29 — were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, with two suffering life-threatening injuries.

In a statement Wednesday morning, police said two of the men were “doing better, but one is still listed in critical condition.”

“During the shooting incident, one of the men inside the car was broadcasting a live video to Facebook,” police said. “This video has been confirmed to be of the actual shooting incident.”

The video, posted on Facebook by T.J. Williams, shows the trio smoking in a car while listening to music. After about five minutes, a string of gunshots are heard and the camera falls to the ground.

After the gunshots stop, a man can be heard saying, “Call an ambulance, please.” Moments later, a person is heard again asking for an ambulance and providing an address.

A man is then heard repeatedly telling another person to “stay calm, stay relaxed.” He says to “stay with me. They’re all good — we called the paramedics already.” He continues to talk with the presumably injured victims until the ambulance arrives, saying “they are breathing and keep focused on me.”

After about 10 minutes, emergency responders can be heard in the background.

The video continues to roll for more than an hour until the phone appears to run out of battery.

July 11, 2016

The Surreal Clashes Between French Police and Protests at EURO2016

by mkleit

“If the A-bomb was the most dangerous weapon in the 20th century then so is the media in the 21th century … the two sides of the screen” – Yeghia Tashijian, Armenian journalist

Video of clashes in Paris during Euro 2016 final:

 

 

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French fans watch final EURO 2016 game on big screen under Eiffel tower while others protest near by

 

 

 

 

Water cannon has been used against protesters gathered outside the fan zone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The mob clashed with officers after they shut down the fan zone fearing overcrowding.

Earlier French police fired tear gas to drive back dozens of fans as they tried to enter the ‘fan zone.’

Fans apparently began the standoff with police by throwing smoke grenades, a Periscope video from the scene showed. Officers responded with tear gas and pushed the crowd back.

The standoff between police and protesters went on throughout the entire match. The mob chanted incomprehensible slogans, waving both French and Portuguese flags.

Angry attendees, who had been pushed back from the fan zone, started burning garbage and tossing objects at police. Officers had to deploy water cannon to douse the burning garbage.

Protesters also set several scooters ablaze just outside the fan zone.”The fire is being handled,” a police source told Reuters.

Smoke was seen rising around the main Parisian landmark from blocks away, as Twitter posts show. The fan zone, set up for crowds to watch the Euro Championship games on large outdoor screens was closed after reaching its maximum capacity of 90,000 at around 7:00pm local time (5:00pm GMT), an hour before the match began, police said, as reported by Reuters.

The Eiffel Tower fan zone has already been a hot spot for disturbances during the football championship. On July 2, a stampede marred the Italy-Germany Euro 2016 quarter-final. The panic was said to have been caused by fireworks, which some of the fans mistook for bomb explosions, before they dispersed in different directions.

Euro 2016 initially began with violence and disturbances, with fans clashing throughout the first two weeks of the championship. Hundreds were arrested and dozens hospitalized. The most brutal standoff took place in Marseille in June, when several British and Russian fans clashed, with two people left in a coma after the standoff.

 

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