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Israel and Saudi Arabia: the rise of rogue states

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Israel

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On 10 July 1985, the bombing, sinking, and fatality aboard the Greenpeace ship, ‘Rainbow Warrior‘, taught New Zealand that as a small country we could be vulnerable to the perniciousness of foreign powers.

Despite being supposed allies; despite the blood of our soldiers shed for their liberation in two World Wars, faraway France sent a team of DGSE secret agents to our shores and committed what could only be described as an act of state-sponsored terrorism.

As a nation, we did not take kindly to being bullied by a foreign power. The NZ History website pointedly observed that;

This incident did much to promote what has been described as New Zealand’s ‘silent war of independence’ and was central to an upsurge in New Zealand nationalism. There was a sense of having to ‘go it alone’ because traditional allies such as the United States and Britain sat on their hands while France worked to block New Zealand exports. The failure of Britain and the United States to condemn this act of terrorism hardened support for a more independent foreign policy line.

Thirty three years later, and another nuclear-armed, aggressive nation is arrogantly throwing it’s weight around and trying to “have a go” at us – Israel.

NZ-Israel relations took a nose-dive last year when singer-entertainer Lorde decided to cancel her planned tour of Israel;

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The bitter reaction from Zionist individuals and organisations could only be described as  – at times – reaching levels of insane hysteria. A full page advertisement in The Washington Times by fanatic Rabbi Shmuley Boteach showed the intolerance to dissenting views by hardline Zionists;

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Obviously, Rabbi Boteach’s call to “support our campaign to defend Israel and promote human rights” (bottom of advert) didn’t extend to people having the right to make a decision on whether or not to tour the country he was “defending”.

Two young women who last year called on Lorde not to tour Israel have found themselves on the sharp, pointy-end of Israel’s hard-line extremism when it comes to criticising that country;

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Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab had appealed to Lorde in an open letter to join the cultural boycott of Israel.

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Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab wrote;

Since 1967, Israel has militarily occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza strip. The occupation is considered an affront to international law and Israeli settlements in the area explicitly violate the Geneva Convention. The military occupation of Palestinian territories has resulted in an apartheid state. Palestinians living in the occupied territories do not enjoy the same rights Israeli citizens enjoy, they are denied freedom of movement and often basic services and necessities.

Today, millions of people stand opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid. As part of this struggle, we believe that an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott is an effective way of speaking out against these crimes. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South Africa, and we hope it can work again.

Israel’s violations are so brutal, Nelson Mandela’s own grandson, Mandla Mandela, said: “The settlements I saw here [in the West Bank] reminded me of what we had suffered in South Africa because we also were surrounded by many settlements and were not allowed to move from one place to another freely. Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.” He added, “Israel is the worst apartheid regime” and called for the continued support of the boycott movement.

They called on Lorde to follow in our country’s tradition of standing up to injustice;

Israel might seem like a world away from New Zealand but that shouldn’t stop us from speaking out and being on the right side of history. In 1981 New Zealanders took to the streets to protest the Springbok tour and South African apartheid. It’s remembered proudly now, so it’s easy to forget that at the time this stuff was seriously fraught. Many argued the politics of apartheid shouldn’t be brought into sport. People will say the same about music.

We’re not just writing to appeal to the past. We’re writing this because we know you agree that our part in movements for justice and equality shouldn’t just be a memory that gathers dust. We can play an important role in challenging injustice today. We urge you to act in the spirit of progressive New Zealanders who came before you and continue their legacy. In 2017, Lorde, reignite the spirit of 1981 and show the world that New Zealanders are the progressive forward-thinking people we say we are. Please join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand. Your voice will join many others and together we can and will make a difference.

I am in awe of the courage of these two young women.

In the interests of fair, free speech, The Spinoff also published a counter-opinion, by Dane Giraud from the NZ Jewish community.

For their actions, a pro-Zionist group in Israel called “Shurat Hadin” has sued – and ‘won’ a legal case in an Israeli Court – seeking ‘damages against Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab. The award was for 45,000 Israeli New Shekel ($NZ18,976).

According to a Jerusalem Post report;

In January, Shurat HaDin filed a lawsuit on behalf of Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel. The three all purchased tickets to see Lorde, and were refunded when the show was canceled. The suit demanded NIS 15,000 in damages for each of the teenagers, claiming that their “artistic welfare” was harmed as was their leisure time, “and above all damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews.” The lawsuit said that Lorde’s response on Twitter to the letter Sachs and Abu-Shanab penned showed a direct connection to the concert cancellation.

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“This is a precedent-setting ruling according to the Boycott Law,” [Shurat HaDin lawyer] Darshan-Leitner said Thursday. “This decision makes it clear that anyone who calls for a boycott against the State of Israel could find themselves liable for damages and need to pay compensation to those hurt by the boycott call, if they’re in Israel or outside it.”

Shurat Hadin” makes no secret of their hard-line Zionism and willingness to exploit “legal avenues” to further their cause;

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As their website clearly states;

Shurat HaDin is at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide. We are dedicated to taking action to protect the State of Israel and its citizens. By putting terrorists and their supporters on trial to compensate victims and block funding of terror, by fighting to end the use of social media for inciting violence and promoting terror, by defending Israel, its leaders, and soldiers against claims of war crimes, and by battling lawfare, BDS and other efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State, Shurat HaDin is using court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.

Former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, Philip Giraldi, has accused ShuratHaDin as engaging in lawfare;

Lawfare, as the name suggests, is the concept of using the law itself as a weapon of war. What it has meant in practice is turning American courtrooms into battlegrounds between private actors and foreign litigants seeking leverage in international political disputes. As a court case just concluded this week [February, 2015] in New York against the Palestinian Authority highlights, the increasing abuse of Lawfare litigation in the U.S. courts may soon have dangerous and irreparable implications for American foreign policy interests in the Middle East.

Israel’s Shurat HaDin Law Center has featured in much of the Lawfare litigation, seeking to harass groups and individuals that it regards as hostile, tying them up with litigation so they become ineffectual or even bankrupting them when a friendly judge rules its way. Shurat HaDin is headed by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Avi, who have described their organization as a means of “fighting back,” particularly appropriate for Israel because “the Jews invented law.”

He pointed out;

More recently Shurat HaDin has been threatening to use litigation on American university campuses where it perceives that there is toleration of “an environment of intimidation and hostility” that fails to protect Jewish and Israeli students against alleged anti-Semitic harassment, by which it means demonstrations by Palestinian supporters and calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Shurat HaDin have links to Israel’s security agency, Mossad.

Clearly, Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab are the latest victims of Shurat HaDin’s ‘lawfare’ strategy to coerce  critics of Israel into silence.

Philip Giraldi‘s analysis is backed up by Waikato University law professor, Alexander Gillespie, who said this was an attempt to quell free speech;

“This is political theatre. This is not really a legal issue, this is about a court in Israel trying to create a precedent and it will have quite a large global impact.

A lot of people will start watching this because the fear will be that if you’re critical of Israel, no matter where you are in the world, you could be sued.”

However, Professor Gillespie said it would be difficult for Israel to enforce their Court decision to demand payment from the two women;

“In theory they can apply to the courts here to enforce their judgement, but it’s very unlikely that the judgement will be enforced because it’s completely contrary to our own laws.”

To their credit, Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab have bravely refused to cave to Israel’s abuse of legal process and have set up a ‘Givealittle’ page where donations toward their ‘fine’ will be forwarded to the  Gaza Mental Health Foundation.

Hopefully the New Zealand government will act decisively to defend two of it’s citizens from the brazen bullying by a foreign power. If our government fails to act to defend it’s citizen on our own soil, then it has become a weak vassal-state of a foreign regime.

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Saudia Arabia

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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia – another “ally” of the West – has taken it’s war from the bombing of Yemen to it’s Consulate in Istanbul where apparently it has murdered Washington Post columnist, and critic of the Saudi regime, Jamal Khashoggi.

Not content with bombing and mass-killing in Yemen that has resulted in at least ten thousand killed and tens of thousands more dead from starvation, the Saudi regime has adopted Mossad-style techniques of using execution teams to kill critics. The weapons used to kill innocent men, women, and children in Yemen – such as forty children in a school bus – are American-made;

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Munitions experts said the numbers on this piece of shrapnel confirmed that Lockheed Martin was the maker of the bomb. – CNN

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Sensitive to ongoing reports of mass deaths of Yemeni civilians, Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, tried to “make good” on assurances that Saudi Arabian warplanes would take better aim in attacks on so-called rebel targets;

Pursuant to Section 1290 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA), I certified to Congress yesterday that the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.

In the same statement, Pompeo  also said how much the US government wanted peace in Yemen;

The Trump Administration has been clear that ending the conflict in Yemen is a national security priority. We will continue to work closely with the Saudi-led coalition to ensure Saudi Arabia and the UAE maintain support for UN-led efforts to end the civil war in Yemen, allow unimpeded access for the delivery of commercial and humanitarian support through as many avenues as possible, and undertake actions that mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Oxfam America’s  Scott Paul responded the only way possible to US support of Saudi bombing of Yemen;

“Today, the Trump administration once put its Gulf allies ahead of Yemeni families who are struggling to survive. With Secretary Pompeo’s certification, the State Department demonstrated that it is blindly supporting military operations in Yemen without any allegiance to facts, moral code or humanitarian law.”

Many of the horror-weapons used in Yemen were banned from sale to the Saudis by the previous Obama administration.  Trump reversed that ban in March 2017.

Trump has promised a controversial US$110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia will proceed – regardless of the current storm of international condemnation over the mysterious disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi; regardlss of the fact that the Saudi regime may be engaging in extra-judicial killings; regardless of the the alleged murder taking place within the borders of another country.

In a statement that shows – yet again – the utter moral bankruptcy of the man, Trump explained;

“I know they’re talking about different kinds of sanctions, but they’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs, like jobs and others, for this country. I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States. Because you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China, or someplace else.”

And Americans wonder why they are hated throughout much of the Middle East?

Israel and Saudi Arabia – two regimes that brook no dissent. Both thumb their noses at free expression; democracy; and respect for human life. Neither are hesitant at using lethal violence to pursue their aims.

We certainly have no moral grounds to complain when Russia supports one of their own allies in the region. Russia has Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. The US has Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi ‘Crown Prince’ Mohammed bin Salman.

Russia’s RT News may be a government mouthpiece, but on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Yemen,  and continuing arming of the Saudi regime, they make a valid point;

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The West should choose it’s friends in the Middle East more carefully.

And New Zealand should have as little as possible to do with Israel and Saudi Arabia as possible. They are both rogue states.

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References

NZ History: Nuclear-free New Zealand – Sinking the Rainbow Warrior

Rolling Stone: Lorde Cancels Tel Aviv Concert After Calls to Boycott Israel

Radio NZ: Rabbi continues criticism of Lorde

The Spinoff: Dear Lorde, here’s why we’re urging you not to play Israel

Shurat HaDin: Main Page

Jerusalem Post: New Zealand BDS activists ordered to pay damages over Lorde Israel boycott

The Hill: U.S. legislation abused by foreign entities

Radio NZ: NZ activist being sued in Israel calls it ‘publicity stunt’

Givealittle: Help Justine and Nadia raise money for Mental Health in Gaza

Jerusalem Post: Op. Harpoon – How the Mossad and an Israeli NGO destroyed terrorist money networks

Chicago Tribune: 50,000 children in Yemen have died of starvation and disease so far this year, monitoring group says

The Telegraph: Dubai Hamas assassination – how it was planned

CNN: Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US

US Department of State: Certification to Congress on Actions of Saudi Arabia and UAE in Yemen Under the NDAA

NPR: U.S. Stands By Saudi Arabia, Despite Criticism Over Civilian Casualties In Yemen

NY Times: Why Are U.S. Bombs Killing Civilians in Yemen?

CNN: Trump’s $110 billion Saudi arms deal has only earned $14.5 billion so far

Twitter: RT News – Yemen, Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia

Additional

The Electronic Intifada: Israeli lawfare “backfires” in New Zealand

NZ Herald: Israeli court – NZ activists must pay for Lorde cancellation

Other Blogs

The Standard:  Concert Woes

Previous related blogposts

Exclusive: Provocateurs attempt to disrupt March for Palestine, in Wellington!

New Zealand’s OTHER secret shame

Barbarians at the Gates

To any Israeli solidiers reading this

Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression

What to do with the Israeli Ambassador?

Do our bit: boycott Israeli goods and commercial interests!

Trumpwatch: One minute closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock

One minute to midnight?

It is ten seconds to midnight

Syria: the mendacities of the mainstream media (part rua)

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 October 2018.

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Afghanistan, Russia, and US hypocrisy on a breath-taking, cosmic-scale

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That was then…

In December 1979, the then-Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to prop up a pro-Moscow, communist government. The reformist communist government of Babrak Karmal was threatened by insurgent groups, which were funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and… the United States.

The US became a major supporter of Afghan rebels;

And the CIA began one of its longest and most expensive covert operations, supplying billions of dollars in arms to a collection of Afghan guerrillas fighting the Soviets. The arms shipments included Stinger missiles, the shoulder-fired, antiaircraft weapons that were used with deadly accuracy against Soviet helicopters and that are now in circulation among terrorists who have fired such weapons at commercial airliners. Among the rebel recipients of U.S. arms: Osama bin Laden.

Then-US President, Ronald Reagan in February 1983,  met with Afghan Mujahideen leaders;

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In March 1983, Reagan praised Afghan rebels as freedom fighters;

“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson — that there are things in this world worth defending.

To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.”

By 1991,  Washington matched its rhetoric with cold, hard American dollars,  committing $250 million annually for the mujahidin;

Initially, the CIA refused to provide American arms to the resistance, seeking to maintain plausible deniability.(25) (The State Department, too, also opposed providing American-made weapons for fear of antagonizing the Soviet Union.(26) The 1983 suggestion of American Ambassador to Pakistan Ronald Spiers, that the U.S. provide Stingers to the mujahidin accordingly went nowhere for several years.(27) Much of the resistance to the supply of Stinger missiles was generated internally from the CIA station chief’s desire (prior to the accession of Bearden to the post) to keep the covert assistance program small and inconspicuous. Instead, the millions appropriated went to purchase Chinese, Warsaw Pact, and Israeli weaponry. Only in March 1985, did Reagan’s national security team formally decide to switch their strategy from mere harassment of Soviet forces in Afghanistan to driving the Red Army completely out of the country.(28) After vigorous internal debate, Reagan’s military and national security advisors agreed to provide the mujahidin with the Stinger anti-aircraft missile. At the time, the United States possessed only limited numbers of the weapon. Some of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also feared accountability problems and proliferation of the technology to Third World countries.(29) It was not until September 1986, that the Reagan administration decided to supply Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the mujahidin, thereby breaking the embargo on “Made-in-America” arms.

Support for the rebel groups with money and weapons succeeded. Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan by 1988/89. Following from America’s humiliating defeat in Indo-china in the 1970s, this was pay-back for the Soviets having supported North Vietnam in the conflict.

In the power-vacuum that followed, the anti-Western Taliban seized power.

Own goal, Washington!

This is now…

History seems to be repeating;

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Trump appointee,  Defense Secretary ‘Mad dog’ Mattis has accused Russia of supplying weapons to Afghan rebels;

Asked about Russia’s activity in Afghanistan, where it fought a bloody war in the 1980s and withdrew in defeat, Mattis alluded to the US’ increasing concerns.

“We’ll engage with Russia diplomatically,” Mattis said. “But we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries. For example, any weapons being funneled here [to Afghanistan] from a foreign country would be a violation of international law.””

Violation of international law“?!

When did the US worry about violating international law when it supplied $3 billion worth of weapons and other support for Afghan rebels to over-throw the Soviet-aligned government in Kabul?

Methinks our American cuzzies doth protest too much. International law seemed not too high on their list of priorities when they armed Afghan rebels in the 1970s and 80s.

Secretary Mattis should study recent history – or stick a big, bold “H” on his forehead.

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“H” being for hypocrisy.

Postscript

Meanwhile, according to Russian government-aligned RT News, ” President Donald Trump [is] contemplat[ing] sending more troops to Afghanistan“.

Because sending more troops will help.  Remind us again how that turned out for the US in Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s?

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References

Wikipedia: Afghanistan

Time: The Oily Americans

Wafflesatnoon: Misquote – Reagan Didn’t Compare Taliban to Founding Fathers

Reagan Library: Message on the Observance of Afghanistan Day

The Washington Institute: Who Is Responsible for the Taliban?

Google books: False Flags, Covert Operations, & Propaganda By Robert B Durham (p242)

CNN: Encore Presentation – Soldiers of God

Al Jazeera: US officials in Afghanistan suggest Russia arms Taliban

RT News: Bomb attack hits US base in Afghanistan as Defense Sec Mattis visits Kabul, casualties reported

Additional

Snopes.com: Freedumb Fighters

Al Jazeera: Afghanistan – The Soviet Union’s Vietnam

Previous related blogposts

PM unimpressed by protest outside his house – Afghans unimpressed by mass murder at weddings

The Sweet’n’Sour Deliciousness of Irony: Russia accused of meddling in US Election

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 26 April 2014.

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What would Jesus do?

3 January 2012 6 comments


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The U.S. economic recovery – based on what amounts to a trade in death,

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Full Story

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Aside from the morality of selling weapons of destruction to other nations,  is the seemingly crazy notion of providing more arms to the planet’s “tinder box” – the Middle East.  Just what the world needs; more destructive fire power in one of the most unstable regions of the world.

With several of these nations at war with their own people, one has to wonder if the governments of arms-exporting nations are not, themselves, a little bit crazy. (Or a helluva lot crazy.)

The major arms exporters,

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Source

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Who in turn sell to the biggest clients,

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So many of the weapons from the West end up being used against ordinary  citizens,  by repressive regimes in the growing Arab Spring,

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The tear-gas cannister above contains first-aid instructions. How very “civilised“.

I cannot convey to you the disgust I feel, knowing that our allies in America and Britain are selling deadly weapons to repressive regimes, who in turn,  feel no qualms at turning them against their own people,

Global spending on arms in 2010 were an estimated 1.6 trillion dollars, with governments in the Middle East dishing out more than 111 billion for weapons – raising questions as to whether Western arms suppliers circumvented international treaties by exporting to repressive regimes.

Last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt accounted for over 75 percent of U.S. arms sales – with Saudi Arabia ordering more than 60 billion dollars in weaponry, making it the leading buyer.” – Ibid

At the same time, poverty continues to blight our entire Human civilisation – including what should be the richest, most prosperous nation on Earth.

This is a trillion-dollar business.  Those involved are politicians; arms manufacturers; military leaders; arms exporters; and the good people of America, Britain, France, Germany, etc, who permit it to happen.

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I’m under no illusion that there would also be a number of New Zealanders who would gladly support a domestic arms-industry, if it meant turning a profit. For some people, money is more important than anything else – including lives.

Perhaps the great irony, though, is that the USA is supposedly a Christian nation. They pride themselves on their “special relationship” with their god.

They swear allegiance to their Constitution, invoking their god,

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

It’s  on their currency,

In God We Trust

And it is part of their patriotic fervour,

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Yet, in 2010  the United States exported US$8.6 Billion worth of deadly weapons to various clients around the world. Much of this firepower is often levelled against innocent people.

And just as obscene – $8.6 billion could have been used to alleviate drought, famine, and poverty in many parts of the world. How many lives could have been saved and made better with $8.6 billion?

Which leads me to the obvious question that begs to be asked,

What would Jesus do?

Because this is an apparent contradiction that I fail to understand…

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Additional

World’s Largest Weapons Exporters

NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Export Controls

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Categories: Global Tags: , ,