Myanmar | Syria | Israel/Palestine | China

Jacob Judah: Myanmar: Rohingya insurgents declare month-long ceasefire (Guardian)

Rohingya insurgents declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire last night, saying it would allow aid to reach north-western Myanmar.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) had launched attacks on police posts and an army base last month, prompting retaliation by Myanmar’s military. The violence led to more than 270,000 refugees from the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community fleeing to Bangladesh over the last two weeks, according to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR).

Matt Young: Myanmar: Whole villages destroyed as satellite spots devastation from above (Guardian)
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The Rohingya Of Myanmar – Pawns In An Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought By Saudi Jihadists (Moon of Alabama)

While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia.

Mike Whitney: What the Media isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Tests (CounterPunch)

Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.
The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act” that showed the North’s defiance of UN resolutions and “contempt for its neighbors.” …
What the media failed to mention was that, for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill) the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep…
Imagine if Russia engaged in a similar operation over the border in Mexico while the Russian fleet conducted “live fire” drills three miles outside of San Francisco Bay.

Reuters: Israel strikes Syria’s Hama from Lebanese airspace (Daily Star)

Syria’s army said Israel targeted one of its positions in Hama province from Lebanese airspace early Thursday, which a war monitor said was a branch of the government agency accused by the U.S. of producing chemical weapons.

Amos Yadlin: How to Understand Israel’s Strike on Syria (New York Times)

Revital Hovel: Justice Minister Slams Israel’s Top Court, Says It Disregards Zionism and Upholding Jewish Majority (Haaretz)

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked criticized the Supreme Court on Tuesday, claiming that the justice system gives insufficient consideration to Zionism and the country’s Jewish majority…
“Zionism should not continue, and I say here, it will not continue to bow down to the system of individual rights interpreted in a universal way that divorces them from the history of the Knesset and the history of legislation that we all know,” Shaked told her audience, which included Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Military Advocate General Sharon Afek.
Shaked’s speech was momentarily interrupted when some of the lawyers in the audience yelled that Israeli was an apartheid state.

The Justice Minister Versus Democracy (Haaretz)

Alarm bells ring when the minister appointed to defend Israel’s courts announces that Zionism will ‘no longer bow its head to a system of individual rights’

Gideon Levy: Israel’s Minister of Truth (Haaretz)

Israel Justice Minister Shaked said the truth loud and clear: Zionism contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps racist movement…
What are today’s Zionist challenges? To “Judaize” the Negev and Galilee, remove the “infiltrators,” cultivate Israel’s Jewish character and preserve its Jewish majority. The occupation, the settlements, the cult of security, the army — which is primarily an occupation army — that is Zionism circa 2017. All its components are contrary to justice. After we were told that Zionism and justice were identical twins, that no national movement is more just than Zionism, Shaked came to say: just the opposite. Zionism is not just, it contradicts justice, but we shall cleave to it and prefer it to justice, because it’s our identity, our history and our national mission. No activist for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement would say it more sharply.

Gideon Levy: The Zionist Tango (Haaretz via Google News)

Why the racist honesty of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is preferable to the fake views of the Israeli left

Rogel Alpher: Israeli Minister Shaked Takes After Mussolini (Haaretz via Google News)

Don’t call the justice minister a fascist metaphorically, as hyperbole or a provocation – call her that because it’s literally what she is.

Israeli Minister: Independent Kurdistan Would Benefit Israel and the West (Haaretz)

Ayelet Shaked’s comments come exactly two weeks before Kurdistan’s planned independence referendum, which the U.S. and Russia fear will lead to regional destabilization.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told an international counter-terrorism conference on Monday that Israel supports Kurdish independence, “at least in the Iraqi part.”

AFP: China to ban production of petrol and diesel cars ‘in the near future’ (Guardian)

China, the world’s biggest vehicle market, is considering a ban on the production and sale of fossil fuel cars in a major boost to the production of electric vehicles as Beijing seeks to ease pollution.
The move would follow similar plans announced by France and Britain to outlaw the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 in order to clamp down on harmful emissions.

Portugal | Mali | Bradley Manning | Israel/Palestine | Ṣabrā and Šātīlā | Iran

Mark Bergfeld: Portugal: “I Prefer the Horses in My Lasagne to the Donkeys in the Government” (MRzine)

Franklin C. Spinney: Africa and AFRICOM. Neo-Imperialism and the Arrogance of Ignorance (CounterPunch)

Although recent reports have tended to focus on the French effort to kick Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) out of Mali — an effort that may now be devolving into a far more complex guerrilla war, that French operation is just one operation in what may be shaping up to be a 21st Century version of the 19th Century Scramble for the resources of Africa.

Map: Conflicts in Africa (Le monde diplomatique)

Marjorie Cohn: The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning (MRzine)

Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: What killed Arafat Jaradat? (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Amira Hass: After Palestinian dies in Shin Bet hands, time to question the interrogators (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
For years, Palestinian detainees and prisoners have complained about sleep deprivation, painful and prolonged handcuffing, humiliation, beatings and medical neglect. By international standards, this is torture.
Jodi Rudoren, Khaled Abu Aker: Palestinians Dispute Israel’s Findings on a Prisoner’s Death (New York Times)
Amira Hass: שופט קופי־פייסט / A copy-and-paste verdict for every Palestinian (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

On Jan. 14, a military judge heard nine appeals of administrative detention orders issued to Palestinian residents of the West Bank. In each case, the judge revoked the appeals, providing the same decision – word for word. …
The IDF Spokesman’s Office commented, “Judge Moshe Tirosh is a veteran jurist who has served in the reserves as a judge on the military court of appeals for many years. Every decision made by him includes a full and detailed discussion of every order, whatever it may be. …” …
The military courts are a conveyor belt that convicts every Palestinian in advance, because every Palestinian, in advance, opposes the military regime that has been imposed on him and that has given rise to the military court system. But administrative detention guarantees this military system a particularly easy time. A person is arrested without knowing what the suspicions against him are. The prosecution does not have to bother preparing an indictment, bringing in witnesses and evidence, or dealing with the defense’s questions.

Gideon Levy: 800 אלף / Eight hundred thousand (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

The same society that was so upset by the fate of a single prisoner, Gilad Shalit, does not even begin to grasp the depth of distress the Palestinians feel over the thousands of their people who are in prison. Eight hundred thousand. That is the number of Palestinian residents arrested and imprisoned in Israeli jails since the beginning of the occupation, according to The New York Times. Almost a million people.

Reuters: Israel mistreats Palestinian children in custody, UNICEF reports (Haaretz)
Alistair Dawber: Israel’s Palestinian-only buses prompt apartheid comparisons (Independent)
Chaim Levinson: ממחר: קווי אוטובוס נפרדים לפועלים פלסטינים ולמתנחלים | Israel introduces ‘Palestinian only’ bus lines, following complaints from Jewish settlers (Haaretz)

Starting on Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs. … Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

Roi Mandel: Sharon in 1983: Israel could be accused of genocide (Yedioth Ahronoth)
Ofer Aderet: אחרי סברה ושתילה: שרון חשש שיואשם ברצח עם / Ariel Sharon feared genocide charges over Israel’s role in Sabra and Shatila (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

Sharon read out to the cabinet the 1950 statute against genocide, and warned that in his interpretation they could all be considered accomplices to the massacre, according to the letter of the law. To illustrate this, he elaborated on the roles of accomplices.
“We all urged this, we all enabled it, by asking them (the Phalangist Christian militias) to enter the camps. We were present, we lit up the area and we evacuated casualties. It is common knowledge that we were in the area to keep the opposition away, and we did not isolate it from other areas. We kept forces in the area to ensure the mission was carried out, and in case they ran into trouble and needed help getting out.”

Setz Anziska: A Preventable Massacre (New York Times)

Contrary to Prime Minister Begin’s earlier assurances, Defense Minister Sharon said the occupation of West Beirut was justified because there were “2,000 to 3,000 terrorists who remained there.” Mr. Draper (U.S. envoy Morris Draper) disputed this claim; having coordinated the August evacuation, he knew the number was minuscule. Mr. Draper said he was horrified to hear that Mr. Sharon was considering allowing the Phalange militia into West Beirut. Even the I.D.F. chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, acknowledged to the Americans that he feared “a relentless slaughter.” …
Mr. Draper warned that critics would say, “Sure, the I.D.F. is going to stay in West Beirut and they will let the Lebanese go and kill the Palestinians in the camps.”
Mr. Sharon replied: “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism.”
Mr. Draper responded: “We are not interested in saving any of these people.”

Ofer Aderet: ‘Israel misled U.S. diplomats during Sabra and Shatila massacre’ (Haaretz)

Another Israeli official who feared a massacre was Deputy Prime Minister David Levy. On September 16, during a cabinet meeting at which the ministers learned that the Phalange had been allowed into the camps, he said, “I know what the meaning of revenge is for them, what kind of slaughter. Then no one will believe we went in to create order there, and we will bear the blame.” …
After Draper argued that Israel will be blamed for letting the Lebanese kill the Palestinians in the camps, Sharon replied, “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism…If you don’t want the Lebanese to kill them, we will kill them.”

Nima Shirazi: The Talented Mr. Takeyh (MRzine)

Mali | Egypt | Assange-Nasrallah | Iran | Britain

Firoze Manji, Amy Goodman: Tuareg Rebels in Mali Declare Independence: Part of an African Awakening for Self-Determination? (Democracy Now)
Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality: U.S. Hands Off Mali! (MRzine)

Harriet Sherwood: Egypt cancels Israeli gas contract (Guardian)
Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel: Egypt gas chief: Government not involved in decision to cut off supply to Israel / ראש הרשות המצרית לגז ודלק: הממשלה לא ידעה על ביטול ההסכם עם ישראל (Haaretz)

Julian Assange: Nasrallah (RT)

Seymour M. Hersh: Our Men in Iran? (New Yorker)

National Archives (Guardian)

Ian Cobain, Owen Bowcott, Richard Norton-Taylor: Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes Review finds thousands of papers detailing shameful acts were culled, while others were kept secret illegally | Owen Bowcott: Colonial Office files detail ‘eliminations’ to choke Malayan insurgency Documents transferred to National Archives lay bare how communist groups were targeted in long jungle war | Richard Norton-Taylor: Diego Garcia archives shed light on fate of deported Chagos islanders Foreign Office told its officials in 1970 to describe islanders as ‘contract labourers’ engaged to work on coconut plantations | Alan Travis: Thatcher government toyed with evacuating Liverpool after 1981 riots National Archives files reveal ministerial warning to PM not to spend money on deprived city, saying decline was largely self-inflicted | Richard Norton-Taylor: MI5 spied on Charlie Chaplin after FBI asked for help to banish him from US British agency concluded that actor – described by US counterparts as ‘parlour Bolshevik’ – was no security risk

Tunisia | Libya | Iran | Sri Lanka | Korea | Israel | Denmark

Sarah Ben Hamadi: Ennahdha-Qatar-United States: Dangerous Liaisons (MRzine)

Arundthati Roy: We are all Occupiers (Guardian)
Tom Ackerman, Slavoj Žižek: Capitalism with Asian values (Aljazeera)

In his distinct and colourful manner, [Žižek] analyses the Arab Spring, the eurozone crisis, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the rise of China. Concerned about the future of the existing western democratic capitalism Zizek believes that the current “system has lost its self-evidence, its automatic legitimacy, and now the field is open.”

Nathan Brown: Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (UCDavis Bicycle Barricade)

Seymour M. Hersh: Iran and the IAEA (New Yorker)

Robert Kelley, a retired I.A.E.A. director and nuclear engineer who previously spent more than thirty years with the Department of Energy’s nuclear-weapons program, told me that he could find very little new information in the I.A.E.A. report. He noted that hundreds of pages of material appears to come from a single source: a laptop computer, allegedly supplied to the I.A.E.A. by a Western intelligence agency, whose provenance could not be established. Those materials, and others, “were old news,” Kelley said, and known to many journalists. “I wonder why this same stuff is now considered ‘new information’ by the same reporters.” (…)Greg Thielmann, a former State Department and Senate Intelligence Committee analyst who was one of the authors of the A.C.A. assessment, told me, “There is troubling evidence suggesting that studies are still going on, but there is nothing that indicates that Iran is really building a bomb.” He added, “Those who want to drum up support for a bombing attack on Iran sort of aggressively misrepresented the report.”

Hugh Roberts: Who said Gaddafi had to go? (London Review of Books)

Presented by the National Transitional Council (NTC) and cheered on by the Western media as an integral part of the Arab Spring, and thus supposedly of a kind with the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, the Libyan drama is rather an addition to the list of Western or Western-backed wars against hostile, ‘defiant’, insufficiently ‘compliant’, or ‘rogue’ regimes: Afghanistan I (v. the Communist regime, 1979-92), Iraq I (1990-91), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (over Kosovo, 1999), Afghanistan II (v. the Taliban regime, 2001) and Iraq II (2003), to which we might, with qualifications, add the military interventions in Panama (1989-90), Sierra Leone (2000) and the Ivory Coast (2011). An older series of events we might bear in mind includes the Bay of Pigs (1961), the intervention by Western mercenaries in the Congo (1964), the British-assisted palace coup in Oman in 1970 and – last but not least – three abortive plots, farmed out to David Stirling and sundry other mercenaries under the initially benevolent eye of Western intelligence services, to overthrow the Gaddafi regime between 1971 and 1973 in an episode known as the Hilton Assignment. (…)
Libya was part of the wider ‘Arab awakening’ in two respects. The unrest began on 15 February, three days after the fall of Mubarak: so there was a contagion effect. And clearly many of the Libyans who took to the streets over the next few days were animated by some of the same sentiments as their counterparts elsewhere. But the Libyan uprising diverged from the Tunisian and Egyptian templates in two ways: the rapidity with which it took on a violent aspect – the destruction of state buildings and xenophobic attacks on Egyptians, Serbs, Koreans and, above all, black Africans; and the extent to which, brandishing the old Libyan flag of the 1951-69 era, the protesters identified their cause with the monarchy Gaddafi & Co overthrew. This divergence owed a lot to external influences. But it also owed much to the character of Gaddafi’s state and regime.

Rory Stewart: Because we weren’t there? (London Review of Books)
Martin Chulov: Free Syria Army gathers on Lebanese border (Guardian)
Michael Doliner: Why the U.S. Can’t Do Anything Right: China’s Game (CounterPunch)

Umakant Delhi: Sri Lanka: The Siege Within Continues… (HardNewsMedia)

With more than two decade long Civil War over, annihilation of LTTE, a farce called democracy in the form of Constitutional Dictatorship and amidst growing militarisation the siege within continues in Sri Lanka

Conn Hallinan: Playing With Fire in Korea (CounterPunch)

Gideon Levy: A new Israel in the making / המדינה שבקרוב תהיה כאן (Ha’aretz)
Jonathan Lis: Israeli ministers back bills to limit funding for human rights groups / השרים אישרו את הצעות החוק המיועדות להגביל מקורות מימון לארגוני זכויות אדם (Ha’aretz)

Bills set for preliminary vote in Knesset would cap foreign governments’ contributions to ‘political’ NGOs; EU, U.S. say legislation could harm Israel’s standing as a democratic country.

Jonathan Lis, Ophir Bar-Zohar: Netanyahu is working to limit free speech in Israel, Labor leader says / לבני: הקואליציה סותמת פיות; דנון: השמאל הקיצוני הוא נגע שיש להסירו (Ha’aretz)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has set upon itself to limit free speech and declare war on Israel’s judicial system, Labor leader MK Shelly Yachimovich said on Sunday, adding that a wave of recent Likud bills was pushing Israel away from the democratic world.

Rob Evans, Paul Lewis: Undercover policeman admits spying on Danish activists (Guardian)

The controversy over the [British] undercover policeman Mark Kennedy has deepened after he admitted spying on and disrupting the work of activists in another European country.
Kennedy has admitted that he infiltrated a Danish community centre that had housed progressive causes for more than a century, obtaining intelligence that helped police to storm it and close it down in violent raids. (…)
Details of his deployment in Germany, Iceland, and Ireland have previously been revealed, leading to criticism that British police were interfering in the democratic affairs of other countries.
Kennedy said he went to 22 countries in total during his seven years under cover, pretending to be an environmental activist. The list also includes Spain, Poland, France, and Belgium.