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Friday, June 2, 2023

The director of the International Organization for Migration warns against "demonization" of migrants and their use as "weapons" for political gain

    8:32 AM   No comments

The incoming director-general of the International Organization for Migration, Amy Pope, has denounced the tendency to "demonize" migrants who are considered among the most vulnerable for political gain, saying she aims to bring about a shift in this regard.

Pope, 49, last month became the first woman elected director-general of the organization, and said in an interview this week that she was deeply concerned about the way some countries and groups use migrants as "weapons" to win political points at home.

Several countries in Europe are facing criticism for their harsh and even illegal dealings with migrants, including Britain, following its plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and Greece, where a video recording spread last month showed what appeared to be a forceful expulsion of migrants who were left to go to sea without a specific destination.

A group of migrants, including women and children, was also stuck this week at the border between Poland and Belarus, while border guards were accused of preventing them from seeking asylum.

"What we've seen in recent years is people in extremely desperate situations being turned into weapons and using their vulnerability as a way to fuel what would normally be seen as a political conflict," Pope said, when asked about this case.

"I find this tactic very disturbing because it is above all inhumane, and I think in the end it does not lead to a better outcome for any party," she added.

"The main concern is that people have an opportunity to seek protection," said Pope, who will take up her new position in October. "The matter should be considered fairly rather than being used as political leverage."

And when the agency's current deputy director last month won the race to take over its presidency against its current director, Antonio Vitorino, she pledged to adopt a more positive narrative on migration and stress that "the people we talk about are human beings".

"We've all seen that when people acknowledge others as human beings, which I think is the lesson we learned from Ukraine, they show goodwill and a lot more openness," she said.

Pope stressed that more needs to be done to show that immigrants can be the solution, not the problem.

Along with warnings about how immigration can cause stress and pressure on governments, Pope points to the pressures of labor shortages.

"This is a good window," she said, noting that the organization can help connect migrants with opportunity and emphasize "the benefit of migration for economies."

"It must start with identifying the existing labor needs and then the available skills," she said, adding that the United Nations organization can help facilitate skill training, warning that unless this happens, "that demand for labor will fuel irregular migration."

Thursday, May 18, 2023

The cost of the War On Terror

    10:03 AM   No comments

The war in Ukraine cannot be seen just as the war in Ukraine; precedent setting has consequences. The reluctance in Muslim majority countries to condemn the armed conflict in Ukraine can be explained by the illegal invasion of Iraq and the recklessness of western governments with the blood and property of Muslims.

About twenty years since the launch of the War on Terror, which practically was a war on Muslims, and the effect of the military campaign is yet to be fully felt and the facts about this war on terror is yet to be revealed. But some information is now emerging.

The Washington Post reported on a new report by researchers that the number of victims of the US "war on terrorism" after September 11, 2001 is estimated to be around 4.6 million.

The referenced study is likely to be a low count since it estimates only the deaths caused directly by activities the US government labels as part of the War on Terror. However, the War on terror has had far destabilizing effect on the entire region and perhaps the world. In fact, even the war in Ukraine can be attributed to the war on terror. In fact, many of the groups designated as terror groups are in Ukraine now.

It is difficult to calculate the minimum number of deaths associated with the war on terrorism in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, because the consequences are "so extensive and complex" that they ultimately cannot be quantified.

 According to estimates, the death toll ranges from 4.5 to 4.6 million people, from 3.6 to 3.7 million of whom died for "indirect reasons" caused by the deterioration of economic, environmental, psychological conditions and health conditions. But it says nothing about NATO’s war in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Report: During the Nakba, Ben-Gurion ordered that Palestinian wells be poisoned to prevent Palestinians from returning home

    6:31 AM   No comments

Haaretz newspaper revealed that during the Nakba, Ben-Gurion ordered that Palestinian wells be poisoned to prevent people from return. Wells in Acre, Gaza, Beersheba, Jericho, Galilee, Bedouin, & Jerusalem were poisoned. Zionist gangs spread germs that caused typhus and dysentery. The paper revealed the existence of documents that officially confirm that Israel poisoned Palestinian water wells in Acre and Gaza in 1948.

The paper reported in its Friday edition the discovery of official documents proving Israel’s poisoning of Palestinian water wells in 1948, in which prominent and well-known Israeli figures participated.

The disturbing story behind them was recently uncovered by historian Benny Morris and historian and Israel Prize laureate Benjamin Z. Kedar, following extensive archival research, the paper said.

This operation was partially exposed decades ago when rumors and oral testimonies were reported in newspapers and books about an attempt in 1948 by Israeli forces to poison wells in Acre and Gaza, contaminating drinking water with bacteria. However, only now, in Morris and Kedar’s research, has the “smoking gun” been revealed in the form of official documentation, according to Haaretz. The newly unearthed documents show that this operation was much broader in scope than earlier believed, and that other top military and political figures besides David Ben-Gurion were involved.

“We uncovered a lot of new information. We deciphered how the operation developed through its various stages; we discovered who authorized, organized, and controlled the operation; and how it was carried out in different areas,” Morris says. “We have a much fuller picture now, and one that is based in part on army documentation,” Kedar adds.

The pair recently published an article in the journal Middle Eastern Studies titled “‘Cast Thy Bread’: Israeli Biological Warfare during the 1948 War.” “Cast Thy Bread” was the operation’s code name. Naturally, most of the material related to the episode is censored, but when Morris searched through the Israeli army archives for any mention of the operation by name, he was surprised to discover numerous documents. Morris writes in the article that the censor apparently was not aware of what the code name referred to.

On April 1, 1948, David Ben-Gurion wrote in his journal about “the development of science and speeding up its application in warfare”. A month and a half later, he wrote about “biological materials” that were purchased for $2,000, the paper said.

It pointed out that now it became clear the extent of the link between what Ben-Gurion wrote and Israel’s purchase of biological materials, which appear to be a specific powder or liquid used to poison Palestinian well water.

The new documents revealed that these operations were supervised by well-known Israeli figures, led by: David Ben-Gurion, former defense minister Moshe Dayan, and former Israeli president Ephraim Katzir, among others.

The operation began in April 1948, when fears of an invasion by Arab armies were mounting. The plan was to poison wells in abandoned Arab villages as well as in Jewish locales that were due to be evacuated by new Israeli state. The idea was to prevent Arabs from returning to their villages and from settling in Jewish locales that would fall into their hands.

The documents show that Ben-Gurion was at the top of the pyramid. Below him was Yigal Yadin, who oversaw the military side of the operation. The operation was commanded by Yohanan Ratner. Initially, the top man in the field for the group was Dayan, who went on to become the Israeli army chief of staff and defense minister. The documents indicate that Dayan served as the smuggler who conveyed the bacteria from the science corps to different points throughout the country.

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