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While You Were Otherwise Distracted

While the world was losing its small mind over refugees…..Russia has made in-roads into the Middle East…..for good or bad they are there…..or maybe you were buying into the falsehoods that the candidates are spreading……and then there is the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris……

My point is while you were letting the MSM do your thinking for you a development is taking place in Africa….and no this is not a post about Boko Haram or some other equally disgusting group….nope this is China.

China is establishing its first military base in Africa, according to a top U.S. general, providing yet another sign of its growing reach beyond the Asia-Pacific.

“They are going to build a base in Djibouti, so that will be their first military location in Africa,” U.S. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, recently told defense reporters.

Setting up a military base in Africa makes perfect sense given China’s vast economic presence in the region, said J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. The base would be cheaper than China’s current, temporary arrangements that allow for docking ships at Djibouti ports to conduct naval patrols, he said.

The base also gives China an airfield that could significantly improve its intelligence gathering capabilities over the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Eastern Libya and well into Central Africa.

The move into Africa represents a challenge to the dominance of the United States, which has its own military base in Djibouti, at Camp Lemonnier, from which it conducts intelligence, counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations.


China is spreading its wings into areas that they have never been interested in……why? Now China is on the Horn Of Africa…..that puts them very close to the Middle East……

The answer to that question could be found in a “white paper”…….In a May white paper, China said its army would “adapt itself to tasks in different regions, develop the capacity of its combat forces for different purposes, and construct a combat force structure for joint operations.”

This move should give the war hawks all they need to expand our interests and actions to try and control this situation…..

All that while you were otherwise distracted……and now you know… return to your normal viewing pleasure……

This concludes my day……if you are on the road for the holiday please be careful and be safe I want to see you all Monday…..I will be around for the next 4 days….just not as blog active as usual……

Turn the page!

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Croatia: Rebutting Accusations Against Blessed Aloysius Stepinac

Zagreb Croatia 24 November 2015 From Right: Zeljko Reiner, Croatian parliamentarian, dr Esther Gitman, historian and author, Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, Croatian Bishops' Confeence, Cardinal Josip Bozanic and Zeljko Tanjic, Rector Croatian Catholic University Photo: B. Covic

Zagreb Croatia 24 November 2015
From Right: Zeljko Reiner, Croatian parliamentarian,
dr Esther Gitman, historian and author,
Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, Croatian Bishops’ Confeence,
Cardinal Josip Bozanic and
Zeljko Tanjic, Rector Croatian Catholic University
Photo: B. Covic

Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998, Croatia’s WWII Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac – falsely and wrongfully accused and condemned as Nazi collaborator by Josip Broz Tito and his Yugoslav communists – still awaits canonisation. In this day and age of political correctness getting in the way of truth, a new element has been introduced – it seems – in the Catholic Church’s canonisation decision-making and that element has to do with what Serb and Serbia (who are predominantly of Orthodox Church) think about Stepinac being proclaimed a Saint of the Catholic Church. What an outrage! One finds it most difficult to comprehend why opinions are sought from Tito’s communists or their descendants who wrongfully accused Stepinac as Nazi collaborator were Serbs in many cases, as well as some communist Jews, and are not likely to admit today that they and/or their political predecessors were wrong and lied!
Hence the need to defend the innocent and good Blessed Aloysius Stepinac from lies, mud and concocted history – a sad fact of today’s mad political correctness by which one permits the propagation of falsehoods so that one avoids possibly insulting the emotions of the propagator of falsehoods. The Catholic Church, with his beatification, had examined thousands of documents and testimony, and had no doubts – (see Vatican insider) – today some Serbs and some Jews (all former communists or their allies as far as I can see) have made it their business to try and stop or obstruct Stepinac’s canonisation. The latest pathetic line of “criticism” is that although Stepinac did save Jews and others from peril during WWII he could have done more!

A world leader in historical research of the truth pertaining to the rescue of Jews in WWII Croatia, Dr Esther Gitman held a lecture in Zagreb, Croatia on Monday 23 November 2015 – ” Dr. Alojzije Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb in the trial organised by Tito’s regime, historians and current Serbian government” – as introduction to the one day conference held on 24 November 2015: “Archbishop Stepinac and Serbs in Croatia in the context of World War II and post-war period“. The conference was organised jointly by the Archdiocese of Zagreb and the Croatian Catholic University.

Introducing dr. Gitman, the Croatian Catholic University Rector, dr. Zeljko Tanjic, briefly talked about her 2011 book “When courage Prevailed – the Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945“, after which dr. Gitman has regularly addressed issues pertaining to Jews in Croatia during World War II and the matter of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s innocence. She was a visiting professor at the University during the 2013/2014 academic year where she held courses on rescuing Jews, and last summer published a notable study of rescuing Jews.
Dr. Gitman proceeded to say that her presentation, based on facts and scientific research, would defend Stepinac as the man who made great efforts in alleviating human suffering and, thus, refute the allegations made against him during the last seven decades. As the guiding foundation of her lecture she used Archbishop Stepinac;’s 1941 memorandum to the Catholic priests and parishes in Croatia in response to the Croatian government’s attempts to force conversions of Orthodox and Jewish people to Catholicism:

When you are visited by people of the Jewish or Eastern Orthodox faith, whose lives are in danger and who express the wish to convert to Catholicism, accept them in order to save human lives. Do not require any special religious knowledge from them, because the Eastern Orthodox are Christians like ourselves, and the Jewish faith is the faith from which Christianity draws its roots. The role and duty of Christians is, in the first place to save people. When this time of madness and of savagery passes, those who would convert out of conviction will remain in our church, while the others, after the danger passes, will return to their church.”

Dr Esther Gitman Screenshot 24 November 2015 Croatian HRT TV

Dr Esther Gitman
Screenshot 24 November 2015 Croatian HRT TV

Dr Gitman made a point of saying that the foundation of anti-Semitism in the region that includes Serbia between the two World Wars does not lie in the Croatian Ustashe movement as some would want us to believe but in the media organisations and publishers that published and promoted books such as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion“. Brochures were published in Serbia, despite a court ban. She reminded the audience at the conference that in 1938 Anton Korosec, Yugoslav minister of interior affairs, stated that in (Kingdom of) Yugoslavia (which by the way was under Serbian King rule) the Jewish question does not exist but pronounced the fleeing Jews as undesirables. In contrast to Korosec, Archbishop Stepinac in 1939 appealed to the faithful to help Jews, because it is a Christian duty to do so. In 1938 Stepinac hoped that Germany’s interest in Russia would keep war away from the South Slavs, and that Croats will have the opportunity to fight for their own state ruled by law and justice. In a meeting with students he said: “The love of man towards his people should not turn him into a wild animal that crashes all and acts in revenge, but rather enrich him so that he may obtain respect and love for his people from others.

Sarcophagus of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac in Zagreb, Croatia

Sarcophagus of
Blessed Alojzije Stepinac
in Zagreb, Croatia

Dr Gitman pointed out that some historians have criticized Stepinac’s behavior during the Ustasha regime. Their claim was that a person in his position could do and could have done much more (to save Jews and others from death…). Such statements do not prove or support the facts. Can any historian today point to any concrete action that could have been implemented then and have resulted in positive outcome? I say no, Dr Gitman was resolute and concluded: “My goal today was to portray Stepinac in his role as Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII. His position was unenviable because he found himself between ‘a hammer and an anvil’, between the Nazis and the Communists. He acted as a loyal servant of the Roman Catholic Church and humanity, never abandoning his faith, moral law as his guidance. He condemned the inhumane behaviour of the Ustashe regime at every occasion“.

She concluded her lecture with the word of the Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg: “the Churches, once with powerful presence in Europe, reached the lowest point of their influence during WWII, incapable of retaining their independence against secular regimes. Despite that, during the War years, Stepinac followed only one maxim, and that was: only one race exists, and that is God’s race“.

Other participants in the conference on 24 November 2014 were: dr Ivica Sute (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb), dr Tomislav Anic (Croatian Catholic University) dr. Mario Jareb (Croatian Institute of history), dr. Milan Koljanin (The Institute of Modern History, Belgrade, Serbia), dr. Radmila Radic (Institute for Newer History of Serbia, Belgrade), dr. Miroslav Akmadza (Croatian History Institute), dr. sc. Jure Kristo (Croatian History Institute and Croatian Catholic University), dr. Mario Kevo (Croatian Catholic University), dr. Robin Harris (journalist and author, Centre for culture restoration, Zagreb/ former member of UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher policy unit), mons. Juraj Batelja (head of cause of beatification of Alojzije Stepinac).

Celebrating the wonderful truth of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac and his work on saving and rescuing the Jews should not be this difficult but it is. It is difficult because others tied to Tito and Yugoslav communists – lied; the lies stick. Truth does prevail in the end, though, and that is comforting. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

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Some Veterans Figure It Out

I seems like every week we creep closer and closer to yet another “war”…..I will admit that I am an anti-war person or as I was called back in the day a ‘peace-nik”…..when I returned from Vietnam I started down my path to try and get people to see that wars are not always what they are told…..that there were nefarious reasons for war…..and it had little to do with “God and country”….

I read this piece in the LA Progressive and thought that it was something that everyone should read….

Source: Some Veterans Figure It Out

My two tours of duty in Vietnam helped me to become an activist….war changes people sometimes for the better…..only someone that faced death in a war zone will understand what I am saying….it is not something that can be explained to someone who was not there….when I was sent to talk with a therapist I would ask one question…..”were you there”? If the answer was no then I would walk out…..opinions are like assholes….everybody has one but if you have no first hand knowledge then your opinion carries NO weight.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox…..any comments?

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Croatian Knowhow Vital Role In Saving Venice

Steel barriers/floodgates ready for shipment from Croatia to Venice Italy Photo: Brodosplit

Steel barriers/floodgates
ready for shipment from
Croatia to Venice Italy
Photo: Brodosplit

Italian city of Venice is under serious threat due to the rise in sea level and sinking of land at an alarming rate. The MOSE project will protect the Venetian Lagoon from being submerged by the Adriatic Sea and protect the famous city of Venice and the neighbouring areas from flooding. MOSE, the Italian word for Moses, is an acronym for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, which means Experimental Electromechanical Module. The name aptly alludes to the story of Moses parting the Red Sea.

Steel Floodgates to save Venice Italy Photo: adapted

Steel Floodgates to save
Venice Italy
Photo: adapted

After being successful at its tender to undertake the building of steel barriers/gates that are an important part of the very complex MOSE project, Brodosplit from the city of Split (Split Shipbuilding company) is well on the target and course to complete the building of 41 steel barriers worth 50 million Euro, reports the daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija. 2 barriers have been completed and are ready for delivery while 19 are in various stages of completion.
The buyer requests high precision in the making of the steel gates and long-term anticorrosion protection. Very limited tolerances, the highest quality class and the amount of accompanying documentation make this Project much more demanding in technical-technological sense than what shipbuilding is. Brodosplit will deliver gates with dimensions 27-30 x 20 meters, 4.5-5 meters height and with weight of 300 tons.

Brodosplit Croatia Split Shipbuilding Company Yard

Brodosplit Croatia
Split Shipbuilding Company Yard

Project is an integrated protection system consisting of a number of mobile gates that are capable of closing off Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when the tide exceeds established level (110 cm) up to maximal three meters. These are mouths of Treporti, Malamocco, Chioggia and San Nicolo. For construction of steel gates for sea Mouth of San Nicolo, the tender is currently open and Brodosplit submitted its proposal.

A set-up of 78 gates designed as special reservoirs filled with air or water, is foreseen. They will lay at sea bottom when filled with water, and rise towards the surface to close the Lagoon entrances when filled with air. After air is released, they will get filled with water again and lie at the sea bottom. During these several hours, Venetian Lagoon would be closed and ships could not enter it freely.

Steel barrier for Venice, Italy Ready at Brodosplit Croatia Photo: brodosplit

Steel barrier for Venice, Italy
Ready at Brodosplit Croatia
Photo: brodosplit

Brodosplit is extremely proud of this Project, just as whole Croatia, because it will remain forever registered on the list of countries that participated in one of the biggest construction projects in Italian history with overall value of more than 7 billion euro and thus contributed to saving Venice from big problems caused by tide.

This project proves that Brodosplit is capable to build not only ships, but very complex and demanding steel constructions and that it can compete with majority of world shipyards with its knowledge and experience,” states on the Brodosplit/ Split Shipbuilding Co, website.

Landsat image Venice

Landsat image Venice

Landsat image Venice depicting MOSE project

Landsat image Venice
depicting MOSE project

The natural-colour Landsat images above show some of the MOSE engineering efforts that are visible above the water line near the Lido Inlet. The top image was acquired on June 20, 2000, by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper+ on Landsat 7. The second image, from the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8, was collected on September 4, 2013. In 2013, a curved breakwater stands just south of the inlet’s south jetty. On the lagoon side of the Lido Inlet, a new manmade island appears; it houses the buildings and plants that operate the gates, which are underwater in two arrays on either side of the island. On the north side of the inlet, a manmade harbour for small vessels includes a small lock system that allows boats to pass from the lagoon to the sea when the gates are raised.

Since the beginning of MOSE construction, five million cubic meters of sediment have been excavated from areas adjacent to the lagoon’s three inlets. The $8.8 billion dollar project has encountered some scientific, environmental, and political objections about disrupting the natural water exchange between the lagoon and Adriatic.
The Lido Inlet gates were successfully tested on October 12, 2013, and operators aim to have the MOSE system fully functional by 2016. Certainly, all indications are that Croatia’s Split Shipbuilding Company “Brodosplit” is keeping its role in the project to save Venice up-to-date and on time, having signed the contract to construct the steel floodgates with the Italian company Costruzioni Mose Arsenale, COMAR, in January 2015.
After international tender, Consortium Venezia Nuova decided that Brodosplit was the best tenderer among the strong competition and it was officially selected as builder of steel gates for the two mouths. Total project that will be executed by Brodosplit includes over 12,000t of built-in steel.

Under threat of sea level rise, endangered architecture and numerous floods at Piazza San Marco and surrounding streets, Venice could become the dying relic. However, with Brodosplit in action there is a realistic and definite chance that this gem of culture in the Adriatic would be preserved for the centuries to come, “ Tomislav Debeljak, Brodosplit Chief Executive Officer, pointed out.
Well done, Brodosplit!

Korcula Croatia House where Marco Polo Was Born

Korcula Croatia
House where Marco Polo Was Born

Croatia’s participation in saving Venice also has historically-emotional significance as several parts of the Dalmatian coast had once and for number of decades been taken over by the Republic of Venice (696 – 1797) where on the Island of Korcula, in 1254, Marco Polo was born to parents who were Venetian merchants living in the old town of Korcula for several of Marco’s early childhood years. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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Pride in being a terrorist

My words could be confusing, but I will try to tell the story behind…

I actually read haaretz and ynet when I want to know about accurate happenings. Palestinian media actually takes its sources from them, and somehow it’s a bonanza in the Palestinian media. It feels like being trapped in a traffic jam not knowing what caused it’s jam and speculations and rumors are the only feedback you receive… but the Israeli media is an outcome of a Zionist fostered engine that no matter what the approach they use is, remain energized by the system that feeds it.

So I read about us in the Israeli media, and usually I am more conscious when I read ynet knowing its less leftist approach than haaretz. So I would be prepared. But haaretz always surprises me in times of conflicts like this one. No matter what the story is, inside the Israeli media the Palestinian is the terrorist. It feels like an organized gang that called it terrorists in front of the soldiers that defend the country.

It is a soldier versus a settler.

Luckily they make a distinguish. In an article in ynet yesterday. It was a teenager girl who was underage and a terrorist who stabbed some people among them was a Palestinian.

It sounds like we are called Palestinians until we become terrorists.

I identified so much with this word in the last two months and I feel like walking with a band saying “ terrorist”. I seriously feel like walking and saying; hello there I am a terrorist.

As if being a Palestinian and being a terrorist is the same.

So somehow, I am becoming fond of the word. I am Palestinian until I become a terrorist. And it is so easy to become one.

I promise I wont do it intentionally … I am too much of an idealistic, pacifist, and non violent deep within me. But accidents can happen.

It happens to me each time I am driving my car through Israeli streets. Which is practically crosses all my paths. Each time I stop at a traffic light. Each time I am less careful. Each time I see a passerby or someone stopping at a bus stop. I think what if anything happened now and an accident took place…

I will be in an instant a terrorist …

My mind quickly carries me within an imagination of a scene of my Israeli friends who would say, we were friends of the terrorist. They will still say good words about me, but I will be the terrorist.

Terrorist sounds like a new synonym to a martyr in our vocabulary … and actually worse… a synonym with being a Palestinian.

I am receiving it with pride. ( I have to admit that I am even worried in posting this .. i don’t want to become a terrorist prisoner after all )

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A generation of Stabbers

Two months in this bloody shed of knives and bullets, it is only getting worse. Everyone failed to analyze the situation building on the assessments of the hundreds if not thousands of reports and need assessments that have been injected in the lives of this nation for the last two decades in different projects types and sizes.

What everyone failed to realize, that all what was done was performed and applied successfully on a generation of Oslo consumers not Oslo generation.

My generation, that’s of the first intifada that seriously and genuinely believed it ignited the first flash in the liberation movement after years of denial and marginalization to the cause. Is the same generation that accepted Oslo as compensation to the lost dream and the disappointment of the consequence of a real strive for liberation that really accompanied those years? People, who spent years and decades in prisons for their plight, found themselves not just heroes but on top of decision making positions and those years of sacrifice were compensated with high positions and fixed salaries. Families who lost a son, a husband, a brother, a father, secured a lifetime positions and salaries in leading positions and benefits. Many kept the pain of the loss in their hearts and minds and refused the compensation, and many became the strong shield of the new leaders of the Palestinian nation. At the beginning, former prisoners, former fighters, former, refugees, …where welcomed and embraced with great passion and full convincing that they deserved a payback. There was no suspicion that the nation, the cause will be a second demand or priority. Somewhere the gap increased between the people, and the new reality that was formed after Oslo. The new form of leadership that comprised of former exiled, prisoners, and fighters. The naivety of this people is the key component to its continuous miseries.

I strongly believe that there is a consensus today among the Palestinians that the outcome of Oslo that can only be defined by corruption, hostility, inequity and of course a complete loss of territorial landscape is not coincidently related to the very leadership that took charge from exile.

It is also not a coincident that the years of prisons or months or days were compensated for those who stayed.

From one side this is understandable and legitimate, from another side; the result is understandable and illegitimate.

In-between there is a generation that was produced. Those, the outcomes of disappointed people who finally realized that Oslo was never intended for the welfare of the Palestinians, and whether those involved in forming it from the Palestinian side are absolute naivetés or collaborators it doesn’t matter anymore. This new generation of the real people of the first intifada that included all the population form all cities and villages. That generation of a nation that mobilized it within itself in a real courageous heroic act couldn’t but produce a generation with the genes of pride and anxiousness to freedom. Even if we the parents were corrupt with the new system that mobilized our consuming side. This generation managed to wire itself within those tubes that we locked inside us.

It is no wonder that a Palestinian who lived all his life on this land, in a city, a village or refugee camp, is different than the Palestinian who grew up in exile and turned on the boats that roamed in the sea of the desert within a moving sand. The sense of illusion and delusion of a history of struggle that was implemented on the ground, and that of history of exile, which sea was nothing but a mirage in a desert.

The unexpected numbers of young girls and boys, young men and women, taking a knife and roaring fiercely in the face of an occupier is a striking scene that everyone is refusing to see for what it is.

It is the only normal sign of a nation that is still breathing life.

It is a scream against inequity. A scream against corruption.

It is a refusal to life of oppression. It is a refusal to a life of a loss of a cause.

It is a consensus on the failure of a pretentious peace. It is a consensus on the failure of a pretentious state.

The reaction on the street, mixed with sadness and fulfillment.

Loss and victory.

Despair and hope.

The complexity of the Palestinian life is being responded to by a Palestinian child … who maybe have been fed with dreams of liberation and a homeland on the couches of the closed living rooms, of a father who remembers throwing a stone and a mother who remembers filling a barrel with stones and covering it with a sheet pretending to pass by an Israeli checkpoint. A child who grew up on PlayStation and video games, with notions of good and evil. Warriors and defeaters. Movies of tom cruise and Angelina Jolie, where regardless to the means you use, the violence, the crimes you implement, the number of people you kill. Nothing counts in the name of justice. Of good winning evil.

It is as much as the Israeli, the American, see tom cruise and Angelina in their soldiers. These children decided to make their own stories of heroic stories.

These children are an outcome of a security system that wasn’t created to protect them. An authority that wasn’t formed to serve them. An apartheid regime that has been mobilizing since its creation to exclude, secludes, separate and kill.

These children have been witnessing the deaths of their friends, colleagues and neighbors.

These children have lost fathers, brothers, and mothers and loved ones.

These children have been used as shields by occupation soldiers and as numbers for bigger compensations by the Palestinian leadership.

These children have been walking to schools for al what they know in their young lives through a checkpoint, or by jumping over a wall, or running through a field to avoid a settler that may shoot or lynch, or a soldier who may abuse and oppress.

These children have been witnessing homes being demolished and families being displaced.

These children have been witnessing inequity and expulsion.

These children have been witnessing prison becoming an unavoidable destination in the path of occupation. For a wrong move, or an unintended statement.

These children have been suffocated with burdens of an aspiration to a freedom. Like an inheritance, or a will … they very much aspire to achieve.

These children have been carried away with the disappointment, with despair, with rage that turned them into ninja fighters in their heads filled with despair and…

by carrying a kitchen knife, or a paper scissor, or a broken wooden ruler….

have become a new generation of stabbers…

A generation of children leaving behind bereaving mothers and fathers … whose lives will always be damned in an eternal sorrow and despair … a bereaved nation that will always think of them and remember it’s weakness, it’s inability, it’s humiliation that a child in the age of roses has to bleed for a nation of despair.

These children are not sacrificing their lives for the liberty of a nation. They are washing the subservience of a generation that brought them to life, and their bodies will always be a reminder of a leadership that fed itself and the people with servility and pretentious lies of a nation that can live peacefully with freedom.

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#US and #Saudi armed & funded #ISIS!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015.

Two days after the Paris attacks, President Obama met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday. The following day, the Pentagon revealed the US State Department has approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia for its attack on Yemen. We speak to Abdel Bari Atwan about how the US invasion of Iraq and the Saudi funding of jihadist movements helped the Islamic State grow.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the role of Saudi Arabia? President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman at the G20 summit in Turkey Sunday.

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: You know, Saudi Arabia is the origin of radicalism, Islamic radicalism, in the Middle East and the whole world and the whole Islamic world. Why? Because al-Qaeda ideology – sorry, Islamic State ideology is the same Wahhabi ideology which adopted by the Saudi kingdom. This is – you know, they go back to the time of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in 1704, you know, so they are doing – doing exactly the same. They are doing in Syria and Iraq this brutality, this savagery, the Wahhabism of the Saudi regime in 1705 and ’06, when they actually invaded Karbala and Najaf. They committed the same massacres.

So, Saudi Arabia, actually, now, they are – they are, actually, with Qatar and with Turkey. They have some sort of alliance. And they started the problem in Syria. They poured billions in Syria, hoping to topple the Assad regime for personal revenge, not for political means, not for actually, you know, a strategic move from their side. They just want to take revenge, personal revenge, because Assad insulted them in a way or another, and also because they thought that they can topple him in a few weeks, few months maximum. So they poured billions of weapons. And also, they encouraged a hundred – sorry, tens of thousands of volunteers to go through Turkey to Syria to fight against the Assad regime.

This is – all this was happening while the West actually don’t understand. They were misled by Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This is a fact. When I said they misled, because they did not actually manage to understand this phenomena. They underestimated the emergence of such a radical organization or a state like the Islamic State, which we are witnessing now. This is – this is the problem. Saudi Arabia, until now, they are saying, “We must topple Assad regime.” You know, OK, topple Assad regime, you topple the Gaddafi regime, you topple the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime in Yemen. So what happened? Where is the plan B? Have you built – rebuilt Libya, for example? Did you set a good example in Iraq, in Libya, in Yemen, in Syria? What’s the plan after Assad, for example? Who will rule Syria? Is it going to be democracy? Or is it going to be like Libya? Is it going to be like Iraq, divided on the sectarian lines? This is the problem.

Yes, Saudi Arabia now, they managed to influence the American White House, the American position, because in your country – this is the problem. Now – you know, until now, the American policy in the Middle East is a complete shamble. You know, there is no policy, honestly. In six months ago, they said we should give the priority of rooting out the Islamic State. Said, “OK, great.” And then, now, because of the Saudi-Turkish-Qatari influence, they said, “No, we have to actually – there is no future for Assad in the political process.” Where is this political process? Has it started? Why didn’t it start, say, five years ago, when the problem started in Syria? Why we are waiting until now? You had five years to sort it out. You know, you did not sort it out.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s not only –

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: And then, when the Russians intervened in Syria to protect their man –

AMY GOODMAN: It is not only –

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: – now they are saying – sorry, yes?

AMY GOODMAN: It’s not only, Abdel Bari Atwan, that the US is working with Saudi Arabia. I mean, they just sealed the largest weapons deal in history with Saudi Arabia.

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: Yes. Yeah, you are absolutely right. You know, it’s a history there. The problem is, you know, when they were feeding radicalism in the Islamic world, introducing the Wahhabism as the Puritan interpretation of Islam and sharia law, the West used to work with them. They worked with them in Afghanistan, and it was very clear. And what happened after that? They toppled the communist regime in Kabul, and then, you know, they left anarchy there, bloody anarchy, Arab – so-called Arab mujahideen. And al-Qaeda emerged. Now, you know, they intervene in Syria. What happened? The Islamic State emerged. They intervened in Iraq. The same thing, al-Qaeda again, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Tawhid wal-Jihad organization emerged. So, usually, when there is uncalculated and underestimated intervention, actually, that’s what will happen in the Middle East. This is the problem.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you think the US –

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: And we keep repeating the same mistakes, one after one. Yes?

AMY GOODMAN: How do you think the US can put pressure on Saudi Arabia?

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: Oh, yes, they can. You know, they can. You know, President Obama was actually absolutely correct when he told to the Saudis, “Look, you know, we are not going to bomb Iran, you know, because you want us to bomb Iran. You know, OK, yeah, we can protect you from any Iranian danger. But, you know, your problem is your people. It is an internal problem. You have a population which is dissatisfied, those population completely marginalized. You know, those people are unemployed, and they have no future. They don’t have any role in actually determining their future.” So, this is – this is the problem. There are huge problems inside.

The United States can put pressure on Saudi Arabia, and they can put pressure on Qatar, and they can put pressure on Turkey and say, “Look, listen, you know, we can’t actually, you know, to continue argument with which is first, the chicken or the egg? The Islamic State or Assad regime?” They have to make up their mind. You know, if it’s the Islamic State is a priority, go for it. If Assad is a priority, go for it.

But you cannot actually keep arguing, and while thousands – hundreds of thousands of people are killed, and 7,000 sorties. We don’t know what these air sorties are killing, for example. How many innocent people are killed because of it? I don’t believe there are these 7,000 air sorties killing al-Qaeda – sorry, Islamic State members. Definitely they are killing innocent people, civilians. Who will tell us how many civilians were killed? It is a completely taboo to talk about the deaths, civilian deaths, because of this allied bombardment of Syria and Iraq, you know, the Islamic State areas, while until now, also, in the same time, we don’t have any accurate figures by US administration about how many people were killed in Iraq because of the American invasion of Iraq. This is the problem. You know, once – if the death among your enemy, nobody counts. If the death among the American, among the British, among the French, it is well calculated, one by one. You know, this is discrimination. How can the people of the Middle East believe this kind of policy? How they are not going to fight this kind of hypocrisy in a way or another? We are giving, actually, ammunition to radical terrorist organization like al-Qaeda, like the Islamic State, by this kind of policies.

AMY GOODMAN: Abdel Bari Atwan, I want to get your response –

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: We have to be truthful to our people.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to get your response to the comment made by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq – something that I strongly opposed – has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and to ISIS.

AMY GOODMAN: Abdel Bari Atwan, can you respond, you who interviewed Osama bin Laden twice?

ABDEL BARI ATWAN: Yes, Amy, he is absolutely correct. I am personally proud to have American candidate saying the truth. We need the truth. Yes, the American invasion of Iraq created al-Qaeda, or strengthening al-Qaeda and created – or it created the incubator for the Islamic State, because, you know, they – as I said, under the banner of de-Baathification, they thrown millions of Iraqi ex-soldiers, ex-officers on the streets, without any hope, without any dignity, without any pension, nothing at all. And this is the hardcore of the Islamic State. That’s why those people are full of revenge, full of anger, full of blood. So, this is – yes, the American – I agree with Sanders. This is the invasion which created most of the problems.

OK, maybe it solved one problem – toppling a dictator, who – he was a dictator, no question about that. But what’s – how is Iraq now? Iraq is completely dismembered. Iraq is a failed state now. This is the problem. Do you believe that the Americans, the greatest superpower, the most sovereign, the most actually modern power, cannot actually fix Iraq, cannot create a democracy there, cannot create coexistence among the people? And what happened is the opposite, dividing them – this is Sunni, this is Shia. So, this is – this is the problem. Yes, it is – you know, we have to say the truth. The American invasion of the Middle East – Iraq, in particular – creating the environment, the best environment for the Islamic State and for al-Qaeda to continue their savagery, their terrorism, their brutalism against the people of that region.

AMY GOODMAN: Abdel Bari Atwan, I want to thank you for being with us, author of the new book, The Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, longtime journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the London-based daily Al-Quds al-Arabi for 25 years, now runs the Rai al-Youm website, recently wrote an article, and we’ll link to it, at Salon, “America Enabled Radical Islam: How the CIA, George W. Bush and Many Others Helped Create ISIS.” We’ll have Part 2 of our discussion later this week. We’ll be back in a minute.

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Croatia Remembering Victims Of Vukovar And Skabrnje

Fountain in Zagreb lights up as Vucedol Dove the symbol of Vukovar Croatia 24th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar

Fountain in Zagreb
lights up as Vucedol Dove
the symbol of Vukovar
24th anniversary of the
fall of Vukovar

On the night of November 17th people of Croatia’s capital Zagreb and their friends and visitors lit up the city with candles lining its long and wide artery called Vukovar Street! This was in memory and honour of all those who perished and died defending the Croatian city of Vukovar from brutal and genocidal Serb aggression in 1991 until the city fell on its knees on 18 November 1991, suffered genocide and ethnic cleansing committed against the Croats and other non-Serbs and became occupied by Serb-led forces.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Lights the candles along Vukovar Street in Zagreb 17 November 2015 Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Lights the candles along
Vukovar Street in Zagreb
17 November 2015
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

More than 10,000 candles were lit last night in the capital Zagreb along the 10-kilometre Vukovar Street to remember victims from the 1990s homeland war in the eastern town of Vukovar.

The damage to Vukovar during the long siege prior to that date in 1991 has been called the worst in Europe since World War II, drawing comparisons with the World War II–era Stalingrad. The city’s water tower, riddled with bullet holes, has been retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events of the early 1990s.

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 - brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 – brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence. Approximately 2,000 self-organised defenders (the army of Croatia was still in an formative stage at that time) defended the city for 87 days against approximately 36,000 Yugoslav People’s Army/JNA troops commanded by Serbia supplemented with 110 vehicles and tanks and dozens of planes. The city suffered heavy damage during the siege and was eventually overrun. Untold cruelty was suffered by the Croatian people of Vukovar during the siege – massacres, murders, tortures, rapes, forced deportation, humiliation, forced detention… Some 2,000 defenders of Vukovar and civilians were killed, 800 went missing (more than half of which are still missing to this day in 2015) and 22,000 Croat and non-Serb civilians from Vukovar were forced into exile.

Remembering those that perished Vukovar Street in Zagreb 17 November 2015 Remembering Vukovar of 1991 Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Remembering those that perished
Vukovar Street in Zagreb
17 November 2015
Remembering Vukovar of 1991
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX

On that same day – 18 November 1991 – on the other end of Croatia – in the seaside village of Skabrnje near Zadar – another terrible crime was committed by Serbs, under the command of Ratko Mladic (held also responsible for Srebrenica genocide 1995), against innocent Croatian civilians. Moving from house to house, Serb butchers tortured, murdered and massacred 43 civilians and 15 Croatian defenders. The Croatian villagers that survived were forced into exile and their property burned and pillaged.

Memorial to victims of massacres in Skabrnje Serb aggressors were most brutal 18 Nov 1991

Memorial to victims of
massacres in Skabrnje
Serb aggressors were most brutal
18 Nov 1991

Today on the 18th of November 2015 the 24th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar is marked in Vukovar and the 24th anniversary of the Skabrnje massacre.
On the main road in Vukovar, along the road where on 18 November the procession will pass, a banner with the names of the deceased Croatian soldiers has been put up. The banner is over 200 metres long and includes 1,145 names. This is the first time that the names of all those who have laid down their lives for independent Croatia in Vukovar have been publicly presented.

Vukovar Tower and banner with names of the victims of 1991 Serb aggression Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar Tower and
banner with names of the victims of 1991
Serb aggression
Photo: Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Vukovar and Skabrnje from 1991 are a sad, terrifying reminder and distressing symbol of hatred and aggression the whole of Croatia was made to suffer because it wanted freedom from communist Yugoslavia; because it wanted democracy for its people!

Croatia and Croats Will Always Remember!

Croatia and Croats
Will Always Remember!

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Bows to the victims of Skabrnje 18 November 2015 Photo: HINA

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Bows to the victims
of Skabrnje
18 November 2015
Photo: HINA

May the victims of the heinous Serb aggression rest in eternal peace and honour. Lest We Forget. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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Why Abolish The UN?

The UN is in the news more and more but there are those that want to ban it….my take on that idea….

I know that one of the biggest bitches on the Right is that of the United Nations…..their problem is that they say it is an ineffective organization…..and then there are those that think it is the “One World Government” that we have been warned about….mostly the warnings came from those nut jobs of the Right…..

But to be honest it is an ineffective organization……mostly because of the Security Council…… 15 members: five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. And the rub…..any vote can be nullified by a NO vote from any one of the 5 permanent members….and those are….US, France, UK, China, Russia….there is the problem. When was the last time those 5 agreed on anything?

No matter what the situation is there will be a NO vote from one of the 5 permanent members…NOTHING will get done….no matter the urgency.

There is a movement to change this situation…..

Dozens of nations signed on to a French proposal on Wednesday that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council refrain from exercising their veto in cases of mass atrocities and genocide.

Read on……..

Source: Dozens of nations back French appeal to limit use of U.N. veto | Reuters

It is a start but I would like to see the whole process of one member being able to complete kill any measures be eliminated…….totally eliminated.

It is moronic to allow one vote to kill any progress in the international realm…..

But if that is too hard to accomplish then maybe it is time to consider a new United Nations……

October 24 marked the 70th birthday of the United Nations. The U.N. Charter came into effect when ratified by a majority of the 50 original signatories and the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States). The ratification process, like the U.N. itself, combined hope for a better future with a large membership and power politics. Although the U.N. is not a perfect institution, it provides enormous net benefits to the world and to the United States.

Created in the shadow of the Second World War, the purpose of the United Nations was to prevent war and sow the seeds of peace. Speaking at the conclusion of the convention that drafted the U.N. Charter in San Francisco in 1945, President Harry S Truman stressed, “Experience has shown how deeply the seeds of war are planted by economic rivalry and by social injustice. The charter recognizes this fact for it has provided for economic and social cooperation as well. It has provided for this cooperation as part of the very heart of the entire compact.”

View full text of article.

Either way….there is something fundamentally wrong with the UN…..I have given two examples to improve the track record of the organization……if you have a good idea….then please share it here and we will talk about it……

Chuqs News 

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Croatia: Forming New Government Still A Troublesome Affair

Bozo Petrov (Centre) and members of Bridge/Most At Plitvice Croatia 14 November 2015 PHOTO: R.FAJT/CROPIX

Bozo Petrov (Centre) and members of Bridge/Most
At Plitvice Croatia 14 November 2015

Bozo Petrov, the head or the front-man of Croatia’s new reformist political group Bridge/ (“MOST” in Croatian language), which is likely to hold the balance of power in forming a new government as it won 19 seats on 8 November and neither of the two big parties with coalitions won enough to form government, said last Wednesday 11 November 2015 Bridge/ MOST wanted a government of national unity that included itself and the two major parties (Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ and Social Democratic Party/SDP), the governing centre-left and the opposition centre-right coalitions. So, after gaining a possibly pivotal position that could make or break the government of Croatia the members of the Bridge of Independent Lists, MOST, appeared to have grown wings of inflated egos and began calling the shots and dictating, including that neither Tomislav Karamarko (leader of centre-right) or Zoran Milanovic (leader of centre-left) should become the next Prime Minister of Croatia but that MOST will have the decisive say as to who should be the next Prime Minister.
Furthermore the sudden fame seemed to have affected one of the Bridge/MOST prominent leaders, Drago Prgomet, in a destructive way so much so that he was caught meeting in secret with leader of centre-left Zoran Milanovic and Ante Kotromanovic (minister of defence in outgoing government) supposedly attempting to negotiate “private” deals MOST may want if it went with SDP to form government! Prgomet was swiftly booted out of the Bridge group and I am actually glad for that because his actions demonstrate a lack of political responsibility for the nation and a still-present repulsive inclination to act on personal friendship level rather than with professional distance at critical times such as these.

Many of the political analysts in Croatia say a government of national unity, including such traditional rivals as the SDP and HDZ, will not work. Tomislav Karamarko refused the coalition for a national government idea, saying that it was “not a good idea” to include the SDP in any future government after it ruined the economy. Zoran Milanovic also refused the idea and SDP rejected any such coalition for government that would include SDP and where he would not be the Prime Minister.

Governments of national unity are seen these days in countries of war and unrest and they occurred in the past in various countries in times of war but in days of democracy or when democratic processes should be working well and seen to be working suggesting a government of national unity is a backward step for democracy and for the inherent weight of decision making and political choice and competition within it. Croatia did form a national unity government in 1991 under Prime Minister Franjo Greguric in response to the outbreak of Serb led aggression against Croatia and the Croatian War of Independence. Even though the cabinet included ministers from minority parties, all heads of ministries were either from the majority Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ or soon defected to it; but of course it’s difficult to imagine the composition of such national government could have been different for HDZ was a politically sweeping popular movement and the left-sided League of Communists and their political allies did not want an independent and democratic Croatia in the first place. But when the war situation stabilitised on the battlefields that national unity government was dissolved and new elections held in August 1992.

So Bridge/MOST group would want us to think that Croatia is in a crisis of similar intensity and threat as it was in 1991 and that national unity government is essential in order to move forward. According to the Croatian news agency HINA, A professor of economics and member of the Bridge coalition of independent candidates, Ivan Lovrinovic, said on Friday 13 November that Croatia only had the year 2016 to make significant changes in its economic policy and a radical turnaround in reforms, otherwise it risked bankruptcy.

If no radical reforms are launched next year in the monetary and tax systems, the judiciary, public administration and public companies, the system will collapse and Croatia will have a situation similar to that in Greece, Lovrinovic said.

Members of Bridge/MOST met on Saturday 14 November 2015 in the Ethno Houses Village at Plitvice National Park presumably to align a united front – after the embarrassing ousting of Prgomet during the week – ahead of meeting with both centre-right HDZ and centre-left SDP coalitions with view to forming the new government in Croatia.

Asked on Saturday 14 November at the Ethno Houses Village whether Bridge/Most will continue insisting on a government of national unity for Croatia or move ahead by negotiating individually with each of the two big political coalitions (centre-right and centre-left) Bozo Petrov replied that Bridge continues with “same consistency” vis-à-vis the need for reforms while others called for “an absolutely different program, and today they are absolutely for reforms”. “That pleases us, just as we are pleased that the voters have shown how much they care for reforms…For the general well-being it’s very important that we have a two-thirds majority, because voting for some reforms will require constitutional changes,” said Petrov.

Two thirds of the 151-seat parliament equals 100.3 seats! So even if Petrov did avoid answering the question put to him by journalists one can conclude that Bridge is still after a government of national unity as with current election results it is impossible achieving a two-thirds majority by striking a deal with only one of the two possible large sides (HDZ or SDP). While reforms are necessary for Croatia, concepts such as “crossing the floor” to vote in parliament (for or against matters on agenda) may be alien to the seemingly and relatively young politicians and inexperienced democratic parliamentarians such as Petrov and members of the Bridge/MOST? Perhaps negotiating and lobbying to achieve a greater goal for the nation are skills a tad or two foreign to Croatian democratic thought and practice – in general? It’s difficult to interpret MOST’s insistence on two-thirds majority government in any other way – they should know that securing two-thirds of parliament seats for a government does not necessarily secure the success of voting for reforms within the parliament.

One thing also niggles: given that Bridge/MOST group had campaigned in their election campaign against the Zoran Milanovic SDP government, on the premise that it had proven an incompetent government which destroyed and devastated the Croatian economy, why would the same group now want to seek that the same Social Democrat/SDP politicians are taken into a new government whose main task would be to work on reforms that would lift up the economy away from the threatening bankruptcy!? Petrov had said that Bridge/MOST would be talking to HDZ and SDP during the coming week.

It seems to me that Bridge/MOST or rather some of its members who have been elected have bitten off the needed-reforms cake more than they can chew, as it seems clear that coming up with strategies for achieving the needed reforms are not within the items of their strengths.

Petrov, the Bridge leader, is seeking to commit both the HDZ and SDP to drastic austerity measures. He has agreed to tolerate a minority government, but only if it implements harsh reforms and yet he insists on two-thirds majority government! If the government wavers from this course it will be toppled, he asserts. But, if new elections are called due to lack of agreements and consensuses in forming the new government in the coming week or so the results could, of course, go against Bridge/MOST – perhaps if because of nothing else then because of its lack of resolve and details in their vision of how to make Croatia a place of better living standards. Bridge/MOST has not demonstrated it has the skills to achieve the reforms it so skilfully listed on its election campaign agenda. Indications are that new general elections are imminent for January 2016 – unless a turnaround occurs and Bridge’s/MOST’s political appetites simmer down. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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