On January 7, 2024, in collaboration with UK Column, IC911 held the symposium “Genocide and Empire: Examining October 7th and the Geopolitics of the War on Palestine.”
Five very knowledgeable speakers joined IC911 Research Director Piers Robinson to discuss the geopolitical motivations behind the unfolding genocide in Gaza and the possibility that Israel allowed the October 7th attacks to happen in order to create a pretext for its ongoing military campaign.
Below is the full video of the symposium followed by individual videos and transcripts for each speaker’s presentation.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of the speakers who volunteered their time and to everyone who tuned in.
Let us continue to fight for an immediate end to the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people and for a new era of peace, justice, freedom, and democracy in all parts of the world.
Note: Click on the presentation titles below to scroll directly to that presentation.
By Dr. Piers Robinson
By Professor Richard Falk
By Professor Atif Kubursi
By Kevin Ryan
By Dr. Aaron Good
Containing Escalation: How the Resistance axis is sabotaging US intent to escalate the conflict beyond Palestine
By Vanessa Beeley
Moderated by Dr. Piers Robinson
Individual Presentations and Transcripts
Note: If the presentation you wish to watch does not start where it should, please use the chapters in the video player timeline to scroll to the beginning of that presentation.
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Welcome, everyone. My name is Dr. Piers Robinson. I’m the research director for the International Center for 9/11 Justice. Today we are holding a symposium on geopolitics and the war on Palestine, titled Genocide and Empire.
Now, IC911, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this organization, is a nonprofit organization which has been set up in order to research and investigate issues surrounding 9/11—the 9/11 event. As you can see on the screen, we are engaged in a variety of activities, including public education—getting information out about what happened on 9/11 in a recent film, Peace, War and 9/11, on the late Graeme MacQueen, which people can view for free.
We’re also engaged in activism—supporting, for example, the Campbell family in their quest to gain a new inquest into the death of Geoff Campbell on 9/11.
And we’re also involved in facilitating and encouraging research into 9/11-related issues.
And we have The Journal of 9/11 Studies, hosted at IC911.
Now, one of our remits is to understand 9/11 better, to educate people about what happened on 9/11, but also to look at the consequences of 9/11. And, obviously, 9/11 itself was a key initiating point for a series of regime-change wars in the international system—in the Middle East primarily.
And you can see there on the slide—just as a little reminder here of the relevance of 9/11 to what we’re seeing today in the Middle East, in Israel and Gaza—these are two documents produced by or released by the Chilcot Inquiry in the UK and the communications between Tony Blair and President George Bush.
At the top there you can see discussion about Syria and Iran and a discussion about when it is optimum to engage each of these countries militarily. The quote there is: Well, if we’re going to topple Sudan, if that’s our priority, then we better do that with Syria and Iran in favor or acquiescing, rather than hitting all three at once.
And what you see there, obviously, is a discussion about the regime-change wars, which we know were being planned prior to 9/11 and which are documented in the Chilcot Inquiry and from other people who’ve spoken out about that. This was the planning that was going on in the immediate aftermath of 9/11—within weeks of that.
You can see below there’s another truth quote from the same document: Tony Blair talking about the Middle East being set for catastrophe—again, immediately in the aftermath of 9/11.
And this really goes to highlight the importance of 9/11, I think, in terms of setting the scene for what we’re seeing now in the Middle East. The conflict and the violence and the potential for escalation we have at the moment is very much part of events which were set in a process, which were set in train, around 9/11.
So, this is highly relevant for us as an organization to be looking at. We want to look at 9/11. We want to look at the consequences and also help people understand events today through an understanding of 9/11.
And so, this is what we have today. Today we’ve brought together a fantastic lineup of experts to speak about the current situation between Palestine and Israel and the situation in the Middle East.
We have Professor Richard Falk, who is an expert on international legal matters. He was UN rapporteur for Palestine in the United Nations.
We will also have Atif Kubursi, who’s a professor of economics—an emeritus professor from McMaster University. [Atif] also worked in the United Nations. He’s going to be talking through some of the resource and economic components of the conflict we see in the Middle East.
We have Kevin Ryan, who is a board member of IC911. He’s a 9/11 whistleblower and currently editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies. He’s going to be talking about structural deep events and state crimes against democracy.
We’re also going to have Dr. Aaron Good, who runs the American Exception podcast. His thesis, his PhD, was on American Exception, Hegemony and the Tripartite State. And he’s going to be talking about understanding October 7 and the current situation in the Middle East, as it potentially is a deep state event.
And finally, we will have Vanessa Beeley, an independent journalist who has deep and rich expertise on the Middle East. She’ll be talking about the broader geopolitical picture and where things are going in the Middle East.
We will finish with a roundtable discussion.
Genocide and Self-Defense under International Law
As a supplement, read Professor Falk’s latest interview: “Probing the Depths: Roots of Unspeakable Crimes in Gaza–Criminality and Complicity”
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Now I shall turn straight to Professor Richard Falk, who is going to be talking to us about genocide and self-defense under international law. As I mentioned before, Richard is a renowned international expert, the rapporteur on the Palestine case for the United Nations, and he’s going to talk to us about the question of genocide, what we’re seeing at the moment, the question of self-defense, and where we’re going in terms of the International Court of Justice and the South African attempts.
So, Richard. . .
Professor Richard Falk:
Thank you, Piers. I’m very honored and pleased to be part of this panel, and I think it’s very crucial to link the genocidal events in Gaza—and in a sense in all of occupied Palestine—to the configurations of empire in the post-9/11, post-Cold War international environment. And not forgetting the Ukraine dimension while we focus on the Middle East.
The Hamas attack on October 7 is itself surrounded by suspicious circumstances of Israeli foreknowledge—and therefore allowing these horrific events to unfold and being very slow to respond to the actuality of the attack, and the quickness with which it converted a limited instance of Palestinian resistance under Hamas’ leadership into the pretext for launching this vengeful and genocidal onslaught on the civilian population of Gaza.
That’s a shocking sequence of events on its own. And then, when you consider the magnitude of the violence that’s been inflicted on Gaza and the population—the whole of the population—you have to understand that this is a horrific, transparent, and, in a way, original confrontation with the crime of crimes: genocide.
In the past, genocides have been known mainly in retrospect and indirectly. We have not had the experience unfolding before our eyes on nightly television. The imagery of bombing hospitals and refugee camps, of babies being buried in mass graves, is something grotesque that not only is occurring as a result of Israeli actions, but enjoys the complicity of important countries in what I would call the settler colonial states of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, plus the main members of NATO, which include Germany, the UK, and France, who are also colonial powers. And so, this has to be seen as part of the post -colonial effort by the global white West to maintain hegemonic control over the whole world system.
If we look at the casualties and the damage that has been done in Gaza up to this point, in the three months that these horrendous events have unfolded, and multiply them proportionately to the population of a country like the United States, which has supported, materially and diplomatically, at every stage so far, the occurrence of such violence, we would multiply the death totals of over 20,000 by 175 to take proportional account of the relative populations. That’s a shocking total and [is] predominantly civilians, and seemingly having only a marginal connection with Israeli security.
If Israeli security was the dominant motive, they would do differently what might prevent some similar act of resistance to take place in the future. They would, first of all, correct the bureaucratic process that led to the so-called “security lapse.” That would probably be sufficient to reestablish their security. They would also try to accommodate the needs of the people of Gaza by lifting the fifteen-year-old blockade and make any acts of resistance seem less like a jail breakout than an isolated instance of violence.
When we look at the Genocide Convention itself, we see that both Israel and the United States and the leading NATO members and those settler colonial states are all parties to that convention, which was viewed as a key element in creating a kind of wall against a repetition of what happened in the Holocaust. And what we’ve seen, not only in Gaza now but elsewhere, in Rwanda, in Myanmar, is an inadequate capacity to implement the intention of the Genocide Convention to prevent its recurrence.
But what is clear is that the facts of bombing so indiscriminately and so persistently and disproportionately, in opposition to international humanitarian law, the civilian population of 2.3 million Gazans creates the factual foundation of the genocidal allegation. That factual allegation is reinforced by the statements of the highest Israeli leaders—Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Herzog, and Minister of Defense Yoav Galant.
All of them have articulated views about the total decimation and devastation of Gaza, the destruction of up to 80% of the housing in northern Gaza, which was part of a deliberate policy of forced evacuation with the evident intention of ethnic cleansing. In other words, all the evidence we have points to the fact that the October 7 Hamas attack served as a pretext for the completion of the Zionist project by the dispossession by Israelis of Palestinians living not only in Gaza, but [also] in the West Bank, which has experienced unrestricted settler violence in this period and has also suffered unusually severe casualties during this time.
So, what we have is a transparently evident instance of genocide that has been defended very weakly and without substantive argument as a case of self-defense. We know from international law that self-defense does not allow the state that claims it to engage in disproportionate and unlimited violence or to commit what would otherwise be crimes under the cover of claiming self-defense.
And, in this instance, the claim of self-defense is particularly weak, because Gaza and the West Bank are occupied territories under the administrative responsibility of Israel as the occupying power since 1967. Israel has not implemented the unanimous Security Council Resolution 242 back in 1967, which called upon it to withdraw to the ’67 borders, and instead has used that period to engage in unlawful territorial encroachments on the occupied territory of the West Bank through its extensive settlement network, which has 650,000 Israelis living there and is really the death warrant of any realistic hope that a two-state solution could be achieved in light of this kind of territorial ambitious expansionism.
So, it’s questionable under any circumstances that a claim of self-defense is appropriate in an occupied territory governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention, because, in effect, self-defense is only tactically available if the combatants are both in some sense political actors of an international status.
You cannot defend yourself against part of what you are administering within your own territory. You can make reasonable claims to establish security or to reestablish security. But, as I’ve suggested, Israel has not tried to do that.
As shocking as these genocidal crimes have been, I find as disturbing the complicity of these countries in the world that have held themselves before international public opinion as models of democracy, as champions of human rights, as supporters of the rule of law. For the United States to undermine its own reputation by supporting this sort of transparent genocide should be shocking to the peoples of the world—and has been, if one takes account of the popular demonstrations all over the world.
These acts of complicity go against the obligations of the Genocide Convention, which require parties to the convention, all of which encompass both Israel and the US as well as the members of NATO and the settler colonial states. All of them are expected, as a matter of law, to take what action is reasonably possible in order to prevent or disrupt the continuation of genocide. They are all perpetrating crimes as an accessory to genocide.
It is an act of shame that they have done little to distance themselves or to actively oppose the continuation of these developments and to use their leverage at the United Nations to disempower the Security Council that sought, by an overwhelming vote of 14-to-1, to establish a ceasefire weeks ago.
This is not only failing to prevent genocide, it’s a matter of facilitating genocide. That should be taken into our political imagination and our moral imagination when we think about accountability for the crimes that are being committed.
South Africa has recently initiated, under Article 3 of the Genocide Convention, its right as a party to the convention to call for the International Court of Justice to impose provisional measures of a character that would instruct Israel, as a matter of International Court of Justice authority, to immediately cease any kind of violent activity that is part of the crime that is being committed and would also consider whether Hamas should fall within the scope of such a crime.
This is a serious challenge both to the complicit countries to stand aside if the rulings that are expected in the coming weeks of the World Court do uphold the South African application that is calling for these immediate measures as a prelude to a decision on whether the allegation of genocide, which is contained in a 94-page document that goes through, in agonizing detail, the facts of genocide that have transpired in this period, starting with the day after October 7.
There is also the question of who will endorse this South African initiative. Turkey, so far, is the only NATO member that has endorsed it. Jordan and Malaysia have joined in that endorsement. And we notice that none of the European colonial powers and none of the settler colonial states have seen fit to uphold a judicial determination of whether action should be taken to prevent this genocide from going on.
So, what is presented to the world is a crisis of implementation and accountability. There’s no doubt that a crime of a high magnitude is being committed and indeed is virtually confessed to be committed, despite Israel’s record of defiance of international law throughout its occupation and its allegations that any criticism, wherever it emanates from, is an instance of antisemitism.
It called the International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate crimes by Israel alleged by Palestine subsequent to 2014, before these recent events—Prime Minister Netanyahu reacted by saying, “This is pure antisemitism,” as if the respected international institution is motivated by such base intentions.
Similarly, they’ve attacked the South African initiative as a blood libel against the Jewish people.
A blood libel was the kind of anti-Jewish allegation made in the early Christian period—that the Jews were guilty of murdering Christian babies. And it was genuine antisemitism of an extreme sort to make these false allegations.
But to contradict what we see before our eyes and call that a blood libel is itself something that suggests an unwillingness of Israel to accept any authority that challenges its policies, however unlawful and criminal.
And it has done that throughout the occupation. It has made life miserable for people like me, who acted as special rapporteurs that were expected to report as honestly as we could on violations of human rights associated with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
So, we have a situation where the prospects of implementing a favorable International Court of Justice decision against Israel will depend on the willingness of the Security Council to use its authority and to take the steps necessary to implement that decision.
And once again that will hinge on whether the permanent five members of the Security Council will either abstain or at least and thereby suspend their right of veto or actually vote in favor of implementing the findings and the orders of the International Court of Justice.
In the longer run, there seems to be a need for some kind of accountability procedure to address these crimes—both the crime of genocide as perpetrated by Israel and the crimes of complicity as led by the US and supported in various ways by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
So this is a crisis of not only conscience but of law and the protection of vulnerable people in a world that is beset by a variety of challenges, including the ongoing Ukraine War, and is seeking a new kind of managing the very power and security that doesn’t depend on the unipolar imperial authority that has been exercised by the United States since the end of the Cold War and the implosion of the Soviet Union. A new phase of international relations will emerge out of this crisis.
In bringing my remarks to a close, I would also say there’s a great danger that Israel will seek to widen the war in the region, because it will be cornered politically, which is beginning to be evident in some of the violence beyond the borders of Gaza itself.
And it’s cornered because it can neither prevail and convincingly declare some kind of victory that is credible nor can it afford to lose, given the investment it’s made in terms of its own law, the lives of Israeli soldiers and citizens, and the damage it’s done to its global reputation.
It’s no longer a legitimate state after this form of sustained behavior. It is condemned almost universally. The peoples of the governments that are condemning it are seeking to exert pressure for some sort of implementation. So, there is this moment of crisis and appeal to the peoples of the global West to rise in a way that exerts pressure on their own governments to take international law seriously, to promote, at this late toxic stage, justice for the Palestinian people.
Let me stop there.
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Thank you, Richard, for that forensic and unequivocal assessment of what is happening at the moment in relation to the question of genocide. We’ll also have many questions at the end in the panel discussion. It just strikes me that the weaponization of the term “antisemitism” I think is wearing thin given what we’re seeing in the Middle East at the moment.
That was a fantastic presentation. Before we turn to Atif Kubursi—for me to introduce him—I just want to send a quick reminder. People can ask questions for the panelists, and we will try to include some questions in the panel discussion at the end. And there’s an email link on the website showing where you can send the questions to. So please do feel free to send questions and we’ll try to field some of them at the end.
Oil, Canals and Trade Routes: Economic Factors Underlying the Ongoing Genocide
As a supplement, read Professor Kubursi’s latest article: “This Genocide is also about Oil, Canals and Trade Routes”
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Now, we turn to Professor Atif Kubursi, who is emeritus McMaster professor and an expert on economics.
We’ve had an extremely detailed and careful analysis of the legal situation, and Atif is going to talk to us about the economic underbelly of this conflict, trying to understand what we’re seeing at the moment in terms of questions of resources and so on.
To keep on time, I won’t go into too long an introduction to Atif. He’s a very renowned international expert in economics. As I said before, he’s worked in a United Nations capacity.
He has great expertise. We look forward to what you have to tell us now, Atif, about the economics of the situation.
Professor Atif Kubursi:
Thank you very much, Piers, for your kind introduction. I’m delighted to be part of this distinguished panel here, and I see that my presentation is quite complimentary to what Professor Falk had presented.
The issue here is that the events that happened on October 7 and the justification and the reactions call into question some of these events in a way that asks why they happened—why did they happen the way they did. How a country that has such sophisticated, advanced technology and that is very concerned about security would allow something like this to happen. And for the reaction to take so long to come forward. And then the scale of the reaction and the onslaught—the incredible toll of the civilians—particularly children and women and all people.
The issue, as Professor Falk mentioned, is part of the Zionist attempt to try, as much as possible, to complete, so to speak, the Greater Israel project and to expand and to grab more land. And then the declared objective is that we have to dismantle Hamas for the sake of the security of Israel and we have to liberate the hostages and we have to make sure that no future scale attempt of this sort would ever happen.
These are the declared objectives. But then, how would you explain this incredible carpet bombing, this huge reaction, this heavy toll, the likes of which we have never seen. Even Dresden did not suffer what Gaza has suffered. And the number of deaths and wounded. And the scale of transferring people from one side to the other is unbelievable.
But what’s more important are the undeclared objectives. What seems to be the case here is that there is an attempt to make Gaza unlivable. That there is really a way, in which Professor Mearsheimer, on December 12, has claimed that the objective here is to flatten, erase, destroy, make Gaza unlivable, transfer the population of Gaza, empty Gaza of its people.
But why would Israel seek this type of objective? The story here is that it’s only presented as if it’s part of that Greater Israel—the Zionist project that would not be completed until Israel is from the Euphrates to the Nile, as it has been expressed in many areas.
But the story is, there are a number of very credible and very substantive reasons that would make this project to be also in pursuit of the colonial economic advantages. I’m going to mention three major objectives and three major projects that would point out that Israel is seeking some economic gains here. The colonial advantage that has always been part of any colonial project is at play here.
The first and foremost objective is the control of gas in—where you see in the map—the Levant Basin. This Levant Basin is now home to about 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. And this is from the US Geological Survey. This has become extremely valuable, particularly in the aftermath of the destruction of Nord Stream 2 and the withdrawal of any supply coming from Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine-Russian War.
And this area has also about 1.7 billion barrels of oil. It’s a shared resource. It’s shared between, as you can see, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus. And in this respect, one would have expected that this shared resource would be one that would be managed collectively and in the interest of the collective number of countries that are riparian to this.
There are some very important characteristics about gas and oil and about energy that are really quite serious and fundamental. First and foremost, oil [and] gas as fossil fuels are nonrenewable, which means that any time you exploit them today you’re denying, forfeiting the right of future generations to exploit them.
The second, that because they are shared resources, it means, given that they are finite, nonrenewable, that if one party exploits this resource, less is available for the rest of us. And there is no question about it. This seems to be at play here, as I will show what happened with Israel exploiting the Meged oil fields in Area C in the West Bank.
And the other thing is that it’s a fugitive type of resource. Especially gas. It doesn’t stay in one place. The other thing: Being basically underwater, there is no guarantee that there is any consistency of the existence of the resource in terms of the political borders. It straddles all these borders, and they are shared things, in the sense that there was an agreement between Israel and Lebanon about the Karish and Qanaa. And many people felt that this was not really a very good agreement, because there is no way Lebanon, which would become able to produce and lift some of this gas and oil in five years’ time, would find anything. Because if these are really shared resources and Israel is using it now, by the time the Lebanese are able to lift, there would be probably nothing left. There’s no way you can prevent a party to use its only share.
The United States has the same similar situation in Oklahoma and Texas, where oil was found under the ground of many farmers and [other] parties. What they really found to be important—and this really was according to a great economist, Ronald Koz, who got Nobel Prize for it—is that you have to unitize. Unitize: By this we mean that no party is allowed to lift or to use this resource without the acquiescence and sharing with the rest.
And what would you do is you allow one party, on behalf of the collective, to exploit it in the most efficient way. Because if each one were to pierce a hole and lift it, it would dissipate the natural flow and become extremely expensive to do that. There would be basic, major reasons for conflict. Unitization would mean that it would be exploited on behalf of all. All the resources are now exploited by one party and representing everybody, and it would exploit it in the most efficient way. It would lift all the resource and sell it and put it in a kitty, in an escrow fund that would be divvied up among the different parties.
This is not what Israel is doing. Israel is trying to basically and fundamentally make sure that the Lebanese are not getting their fair share and making sure that Gaza is not getting any of its share.
And this is exactly what we see here. It is a situation in which Gaza . . . there are [see map] Marine 1 and Marine 2, and there is an incredible amount of gas, and it’s about only 20 nautical miles from Gaza. Also, in the Oslo II Accord, the Palestinians were given the right to exploit in their economic zone all the way, as you see in this picture, to the very end of that triangle. That should really be the amount that the Palestinians would use.
There were negotiations once it was discovered in 1999. The Ehud Baruch government tried to see that maybe there would be a way in which we could take this gas from the Palestinian wells and send it to Israel—to the Israeli electric company. And the contract was signed with the parties. At one time, Arafat took a group and there was a Lebanese group called CCC—the Consolidated Contractors Company—who invested money to build this pipeline. They would send it to Israel, and this would be put as part of the money that the Palestinian National Authority would use.
Then Sharon came and said, “No way, we’re not going.” And there was a very evident group of Israeli companies that had lobbied the government, [paraphrasing], “You should not allow them to produce anything, because the money they’re going to get would be used to fund terrorism against us. No country should allow a pipeline of wealth that would be used against it.”
This was at the time where the Oslo Agreement was with the Palestinian National Authority, and they had already arrived at some arrangement. The story of the negotiations—they are detailed in my paper, and I can make it available for anybody to look at—suggests that Israel was trying basically, fundamentally, to deny the Palestinians any use of this resource, in much the same say it denied the Palestinians the use of their oil, which was in Area C of the West Bank. Many residents of the area near Meged said that houses were shaking and were damaged because Israel was literally drilling for oil, siphoning this oil that should really be legitimately used for the economic development of the Palestinians.
And this is in contravention, as Dr. Falk has written and explained, that the occupier has no right to use the resources of the occupied people, only if it will be used to benefit the people under occupation. But here is Israel taking, siphoning all this oil for its own interest at the expense of the Palestinians’ ability to use this resource.
If this was not sufficient, there are other reasons, and these reasons are incredibly becoming now important and becoming very substantive.
At one time in the 1960s, the US had underwritten a project and got an American company to study the development of an alternative to the Suez Canal. At the time, Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal and there were troubles from the French and British, who had attacked in 1956. But the story was that the Americans felt that there is no way they can live, accept, and feel comfortable about a very important canal such as the Suez Canal, to be in a way that would be totally outside the command and control and the full exercise of sovereignty of the Egyptians.
The Suez Canal is only 196 kilometers [in length], only 100 meters wide, 50 meters—sometimes less—deep, and allows only one-way traffic. If the traffic is going from south to north, from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, then there would be no chance for ships to come from the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea.
And there was a big problem—the problem being that it needs dredging very often, because it’s in a sandy geological situation and any sandstorm will really fill it up. It needs to be dredged, and it’s becoming quite costly to do that. As you can remember, just a few months back, a very important ship ran aground, and it took days and weeks and big losses, estimated at 10 billion dollars, to clear the canal. 12% to 15% of the world trade goes through this canal. And about 30% of the total container traffic goes through this canal. A bit of the oil that comes from the Middle East, particularly from the Gulf of Saudi Arabia, from Kuwait, from Iran and other countries in the Gulf, goes through the canal as it goes to Europe. And it saves three weeks of travel. I mean the area from Mumbai in India—or take it to China—all the way to London is about 17,000 nautical miles if you go around Africa, but if you go through the canal, you will find that there is really a major saving in time. You will be saving around literally 4,000 nautical miles, which would be about literally three weeks, as I mentioned.
And this is really a major saving in terms of the cost of transporting all these products and energy from the Gulf or from India or from China or from Japan or anything that world trade would be in a very substantive way impacted in the course [inaudible]. Some people are really saying that now, with the Yemenis trying to interfere into the free flow of these commodities going through the canal, are basically and fundamentally imposing a very high cost for the rest of the world. Most people are saying that prices of oil that had dropped to a very low level, now below 70 dollars, may really start to rise—and rise in a significant way.
The Ben Gurion Canal that was conceived in the ’60s, then lay dormant, and then, all of a sudden, the Israelis now are saying, Look, we’re going to build this Ben Gurion Canal, and it’s going to be 200 meters wide, which would allow two-way traffic. It’s going to be deeper by about 10 to 15 and some people say another 50 meters deep, and this would allow much larger, the largest ships that are now unable . . . particularly for the Americans and the Imperial West to have a free flow of their aircraft carriers going through.
Now this is a situation where, if you really build it, which would completely compromise the ability of Egypt to take advantage of it, Egypt derives about 9.7 billion dollars a year, 2% of the Egyptian GDP, and this is not a small amount, and the absence of other alternative, important economic drivers, Egypt would be hurt in a very fundamental way.
The story here is that, if you look at this map that I have, the original plan was to go from Eliat, which is on the Red Sea, all the way to Ashkelon. But it is still within the reach of weapons in Gaza. And the best and most efficient way you could get this canal would be to go to a straight line, which is the shortest distance, and this would have to go through Gaza.
To a great extent some people are saying, “Okay, what does it really do?” It would save about 40 to 50 kilometers in space. But more important, if you go through the Negev, you’re going through sand. If you go directly through Gaza, the geological structure of the canal would be primarily into a rocky area, which would save all this incredibly cost of dredging, which would be continuous and would allow also to have a wider canal, a deeper canal.
In this respect, there is really a very serious threat that would be presented by this canal. And this canal could really be the most optimal geologically and the shortest distance, which is a straight line, to go directly to the north and Gaza or even southern Gaza, but this would require emptying Gaza.
So, emptying Gaza has now two dimensions:
One, you prevent anybody from Gaza ever claiming gas that would now be totally exploited by Israel in a very serious situation where now gas has become three to four times more valuable than it was a few years back because of the incredible need. Europeans are all coming to Israel in a way they never really came [before] in the hope of laying claim to some of this to replace the gas that they have missed because of the destruction [of Nord Stream], which raises the question of who destroyed Nord Stream and who will benefit from this destruction.
The other one is that this canal would become really optimal and would be a real substitute for the Suez Canal to the extent that it is in that rocky area that would allow two-way traffic that would be deep and would not be requiring all this dredging on a continuous basis.
If these two [dimensions] are not enough to empty Gaza and to explain why the Israelis have been very adamant about making Gaza unlivable, destroying all the housing infrastructure . . . I mean, one of the ministers has suggested that now when we finish, we should not allow the Gazans to get to a single commodity that would be required for reconstruction. We should make sure they cannot reconstruct, because what we really want is for them to leave. And it would be—this is the farce—a voluntary departure. Of course, they don’t have any homes. But, hey, when you control the borders, you control access to everything coming in. That is really the genocide that Professor Falk was talking about.
This is basically—the intent of the Israelis is to make Gaza an empty space, to make it unlivable, to make sure that people are driven out. They have already . . . the day before yesterday, Israeli delegations went to Rwanda and went to Chad trying to persuade these two countries to accept massive transfers of Palestinians to them, promising them money, promising them weapons, promising support in any shape or form that would allow these to accept this transfer.
The Israelis are still bent on emptying Gaza—emptying Gaza by destruction of the people continuously. Every day you see this violent onslaught of killing en masse—a huge number of children and women.
One would wonder if this attack of “self-defense” is to prevent future events from happening. There is no question this violence is sowing the seeds of future violence. The only one certain aspect about violence is, it breeds violence. What you do today is likely to come back at you in the future. History is rife with examples.
If these two projects are not sufficient reasons to explain why the Israelis—though they have not declared it—have continued to be adamant about occupying Gaza, emptying Gaza, erasing Gaza, making it unlivable so that it would become a very safe place for the Israelis, to prevent them from using their gas, to prevent them from obstructing the most efficient possible way to replace the Suez Canal, there is the third one that’s coming also.
[This third project] is also playing into the hands of the American Empire. The Americans are adamant about creating an alternative to the Silk Road. The Silk Road is a project that China has sponsored and has invested heavily in and has devoted literally billions if not trillions of dollars to create this route that would take it from China all the way to Europe and the Middle East and Africa in a way that will allow the Chinese to sell their goods and services unimpeded and in no way to be subject to any control of the seas.
Iran was also one of the hubs on this Silk Road that would go from China through Asia, Pakistan, and then Iran and then Syria. These are the countries that the United States does not want to get any benefit from. And they persuaded, in some sense they succeeded, but they [inaudible] some doubts about this, that there will be now a multimodal connection between India. It goes all the way to Dubai, from Dubai to Israel, Israel to Europe, bypassing Iran, bypassing Syria, bypassing Egypt, bypassing many of the Arab countries in this.
And why would the Israelis go on such an expensive one? It’s because it’s underwritten by the Americans. The Americans seem to completely have an open hand when it comes to Israel.
At one time, and if you think I’m exaggerating, our friend, Mr. Biden, said that investing 3.6 billion dollars — this is only the amount of money that’s given to the military — is a gilt-edged investment and is purely a good investment. Good in terms of what? Investment is cost. But then it’s really returns. What are the returns America is expecting? They’re basically funding and using Israel as a hegemonic power in the Middle East that would serve to suppress and to contain and to emasculate any possible group that might really work with the Russians or Chinese or any contending and contesting power.
This is part of the hegemonic exercise of the empire and unipolar world. And they find in Israel and the UAE a very willing partner. And some people said that this alternative to the Silk Road has worked in the past few weeks. There are now some concerns that UAE has been sending multiple trucks with fresh food and everything to Israel that goes from Dubai into Saudi Arabia and into Jordan and then into Israel.
The other parties have denied this, but to some extent, the Israelis have been very adamant that this is happening. And now we’re seeing that this route, this alternative, is not an imaginary one but that they are basically, fundamentally implementing it and taking the benefits that could come from it.
What does this all mean? What it really means is that this war is definitely motivated by Zionist ideology and Zionist aims and designs. But that’s not mutually exclusive with some of the arguments I’m presenting. There are colonial economic and material advantages that Israel is seeking as a return on its investment in this war. And, in addition to eliminating any competition or action from the Palestinian people in Gaza, there would be returns. And these returns are very lucrative.
There is no question. The total value of the Levant Basin: The oil prices of 2019 were about 350 billion dollars. And if Israel prevents Lebanon — or makes it wait and they can siphon it and slant the drilling — and if they can prevent the Palestinians from exploiting their own natural resources and if the Israelis can use them and if they would get their hands on a very lucrative bundle here and the amounts that are some people really saying with the rise of the price of gas due to the Ukraine-Russian War that these values have risen more than three to four times and then the oil that you will get.
That’s not only energy sufficiency but creating Israel as a petro-state or a gas state with an empire and an important, lucrative investment that would return a huge amount of rents to the Israelis. And if this was not sufficient then add to it the alternative of the Suez Canal, and that may be about 10-to-20 billion dollars in terms of shipping fees and the control on being a major power that would connect the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
And if these two are not sufficient, let’s go to the third one, which is the alternative to the Silk Road, undermining the capacity of the Chinese to supply routes all the way through Asia, to Europe, and to Africa. In a way, Israel has positioned itself by emptying Gaza as a major economic driver and hegemonic control over trade routes that would serve the empire.
I’ll stop there. Thank you.
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Thank you very much, Atif. Economic or resource analysis of what’s going on is so particularly essential because so much of the mainstream popular discussion of these conflicts is purely in terms of identity and so on, and the economics is always hidden from view, certainly for a large section of the public. So, I think that’s extremely useful.
Thank you, Atif, for that presentation.
Identifying Structural Deep Events and State Crimes Against Democracy in Real Time
As a supplement, read Kevin Ryan’s latest article: “Puzzling Out the Pattern of State Crimes”
Dr. Piers Robinson:
We’ve had a discussion, we’ve looked closely at legal issues, we’ve looked at the resource economic underbelly of the conflict, and we’re now going to move with Kevin Ryan into thinking a little bit more about some of the other hidden, deep state, deep event aspects of this—the question of deception, the question of instigation or exploitation of events, for various purposes.
Kevin is a whistleblower from the 9/11 event. He is a board member of International Center for 9/11 Justice, editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, and author of Another Nineteen, looking at suspects regarding 9/11.
He’s going to be talking to us for about 20 minutes, looking at, in a sense, some wider conceptual theoretical ideas about structural deep events, state crimes against democracy.
I’d like to welcome you and hand it over to you, Kevin.
I’m very grateful to be here among such distinguished company. And as Dr. Robinson said, I’m a member of the board of the International Center for 9/11 Justice that’s sponsoring the symposium along with UK Column. The International Center is dedicated to, among other things, establishing an accurate account of the crimes of September 11, 2001. We’re also committed to identifying and studying similar events. If anyone listening is not aware of the evidence that 9/11 was a deception, please go to our website, IC911.org, where you can find much information about that.
I’d like to begin the day, though, with a quote from a physicist. Paul Davies is a quantum theorist who said: “It’s a new perspective, not a new piece of information, that leads to intellectual revolutions.” Many of us have found that studying 9/11 and the crimes of 9/11 provides that sort of new perspective. But it’s not comfortable.
One way to describe part of this new view is that the oligarchy that rules us terrorizes us on occasion to facilitate its own objectives. And this leads to the questioning of every new narrative that we receive from the mainstream media and from government.
After 9/11, I began to question every terrorist act that occurred over a period of twenty years. For example, in 2015, I evaluated all of the terrorist acts across the world, including in France and Denmark and Australia and the United States. I found that there was a pattern to these terrorist acts that included the fact that the evidence for the official account was very weak and very convenient, that any other evidence that didn’t support the official account was ignored, [that] the suspects were of course dead immediately, and [that] there was an immediate attempt to associate them with Islam. There had been military or law enforcement exercises that mimicked the events, either coinciding with the events or preceding them, and, of course, there were very quick actions in response, without thorough investigation.
So, what I found is that 9/11 and the other terrorist events during the global war on terror fit this pattern. They’re called “false flag events,” which are acts committed with the intent of hiding the true culprits and blaming others.
Now, false flags are a subset of something called “state crimes against democracy,” which are a subset of what are called “deep events.” But I’ll generally call them “state crimes” in this talk. Or, as with 9/11, I might call them “global state crimes.”
My question is: Can we detect a false flag, a state crime against democracy, or a deep event as it’s happening? It’s important for peace and security to do so, as well as for our own personal safety and liberty. We also don’t want to be part of the harm that’s being caused by any state crime.
And for these purposes, this is not just an academic exercise. But we do have to define the terms involved in order to detect state crimes. So, I’ll begin with state crimes against democracy, which was defined by Lance deHaven-Smith, a professor from Florida State University who coined the term. He said that they are concerted actions or inactions by government insiders, intended to manipulate democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty.
Two things jump out to me in this definition. First of all, they can be actions or inactions. So, things that should have happened but did not happen can be state crimes. An example might be the fact that the Roosevelt Administration knew that the Pearl Harbor attack would occur before it did and allowed it to happen. So, inactions—not preventing that attack or preventing the people from being killed—are an example of a state crime against democracy.
And government insiders are involved, according to Professor deHaven-Smith. There’s a fine line between government insiders, government officials, and people who go through a revolving door. We’ll keep that in mind.
Professor deHaven-Smith listed about two dozen of these SCADs, or state crimes against democracy, in his writings and in his talks. For him, all of them were US-based. They included assassinations of public figures, like JFK and RFK and Martin Luther King. They included provocations to drive war, like 9/11. They also included election-related crimes.
One more thing Dr. deHaven-Smith did was, he categorized them into what he called highly confirmed SCADs, mid-level SCADs, or low-level SCADs.
He did categorize them as high-level confirmation of being a SCAD if there were confessions or documents of admission. So, documentation or confessions that stated they were, in fact, state crimes made them highly confirmed.
If they were circumstantial, but also included a cover-up, then he would potentially call them a mid-level confirmed SCAD. That would include, for him, both JFK and the 9/11 crimes.
But I think it’s important to note that we will not likely get confessions in a timely manner for the next state crime or the latest state crime. But my point is that it makes sense to maintain a skeptical view of any new narrative if the current perspective suggests it might be a state crime. A useful, practical perspective, or view, does not require nailing down every fact. It should be continually reevaluated, of course, as new evidence is obtained.
One thing many of us have heard is that such perspectives are not within the limits of what’s called the spectrum of acceptable opinion. So, we have to be willing to withstand being smeared as a conspiracy theorist if we might consider such perspectives.
The “conspiracy theorist” term is used to deter others from investigating historic events. It implies that criminal conspiracies among the rich and powerful are impossible or absurd. It takes some imagination to buy into that usage.
Professor Peter Dale Scott defined “deep events” and “structural deep events.” He said a deep event is one of hidden or underappreciated relevance to deep politics. Now, deep politics is the business of deep states, and deep states are covert groups that seek to exercise control over governments or nations. Also, deep events are never presented clearly by the media. “Structural” means the event impacts the whole fabric of society. So, a “structural deep event” impacts all of society.
I’ve noticed that many people can accept the idea of an American deep state—the US deep state. But some people cannot transfer that idea to other countries or to an international or a supranational deep state. Professor Scott was not one of those. He mentioned a number of times a supranational deep state in his writings and in his interviews. He mentioned several organizations that he felt were representative of an international or a supranational deep state, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Cercle Pinay, the Safari Club, and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
Professor Scott also identified common modalities of structural deep events. These included the instant identification of the designated culprits, the fact that the suspects had hidden intelligence backgrounds and that they were protected by intelligence agencies. This is all very true for the 9/11 crimes.
But one drawback to the deep event definition is that it’s a retrospective vision, meaning some of these modalities are not seen until years later. We can’t see, of course, what’s hidden or falsified, so we may not be able to call something a structural deep event yet at the same time still have enough perspective to see that it’s likely to be a state crime.
In 2020 I was working as the head of quality control for a gene therapy company, and our laboratories were experiencing what’s called “false positive results” for a test technique called RT-qPCR. This is a form of PCR. It’s a nucleotide testing for analytes such as viruses.
And so, it became interesting to me when I read that a Chinese journal of epidemiology had published a peer-reviewed paper saying that in China the testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, experienced 50% false positives. That’s quite a bit. It means that every other test that says somebody is infected with SARS-CoV-2 was false. Further confirmatory testing showed that they were not infected.
This led me to look into the test kit being manufactured for the US CDC. I noticed reports in the news that the state laboratories using this kit were experiencing a lot of false positives. So, I looked into the details of the reagents used in the kits—the nucleotide sequences and so forth—and found that they were unable to identify a unique coronavirus. The primers and probes were based on parts of the coronavirus which were highly conserved across different coronaviruses, of which there were already seven common coronaviruses, including the common cold. So, the kit was not testing for a unique coronavirus.
Coupled to this was the fact that there were policy changes in many places that led to the misattribution of death. Anyone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and happened to die,
whether they died of heart disease or cancer or being in a motorcycle accident, COVID was listed if they tested positive for it. COVID was listed on their death certificate. This obviously inflated the numbers that people used.
There was also a redefinition of terms. The terms “pandemic” and later “vaccine” were redefined for the purposes of supporting this agenda that appeared to be being implemented. There were oppressive mandates like lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations and so forth implemented. And soon it became clear to me and many others that COVID was also a global state crime—not just an individual state crime, but a coordinated global state crime.
In September 2020, I gave a presentation on parallels between COVID crimes and 9/11 crimes, and I listed eleven features and outcomes that were shared among the COVID crimes and the 9/11 crimes.
- I noted that there was media saturation of fear-based messaging.
- There was insider trading in both instances.
- There were exercises that preceded the events that mimicked what was going to happen, similar to the false flag terrorist exercises.
- There was a failure to investigate the origins of the threat.
- There was an abuse of science and a widespread censorship of dissent.
- It was clear that the response would kill far more people than the original threat.
- There were increased mechanisms of population control.
- And, of course, there was a huge transfer of wealth and a centralization of power.
Both the 9/11 crimes and the COVID crimes shared these commonalities. And there was a similar formula for the terrorism events during the global war on terror.
So, my question is: Can we use a pattern like this to more quickly identify when a state crime is being committed?
We don’t need confessions before we can identify a state crime for our own purposes. What we also don’t need is to convince 100% of our fellow citizens, or even a majority. We need to be able to take measures in our own best interests—for example, rejecting narratives or sources of misinformation or declining oppressive state measures like experimental injections.
Let’s use the Hamas attack on October 7th as an example of a narrative that can be evaluated as a state crime as well.
I noticed that the Israeli ambassador to the UN called these attacks “Israel’s 9/11.” That raised my attention—I’m sure it did for many people—because that means something quite different to me.
But we can ask: Do these attacks match the pattern?
Was there fear-based messaging? I think that’s fair to say. And even more so, it was in the form of atrocity propaganda. You know, babies having their heads chopped off and people being dismembered and burned alive. All of these stories, it was found out recently, originated with the Netanyahu administration, and many, if not all, appeared to be false.
Were there rapid actions taken that facilitated a preexisting agenda? It’s fair to consider that, I think.
Did the response kill more people? Obviously, the response has killed twenty times more, as Professor Falk stated. This is genocidal in response.
Were there exercises beforehand? There were, in fact, exercises conducted by Hamas in July of 2020 that mimicked what would happen on October 7th. These exercises were monitored by Israeli intelligence. Some of them have said that the exercises reflected the attacks fairly well.
Was there insider trading? Recently, law professors at New York University and at Columbia University published a peer-reviewed article that indicated there was short-selling, a form of insider trading, on Israeli companies related to the October 7th events.
We could go on. Was there censorship? Population control? Transfer of wealth?
Professor Kubursi made several remarks related to transfer of wealth, natural resources, and land. The next two speakers will likely shed more light on the details.
Also note that Al Qaeda was a creation of US defense and intelligence agencies going back to Operation Cyclone in the 1970s. And, similarly, Hamas was at least in part created by Israel. So, there are some similarities there as well.
I would just say at this point our current perspective should include the possibility that the State of Israel was involved somehow in the crimes related to October 7th and that they could be considered state crimes.
In any case, we need to know when state crimes are being committed and we need to know as soon as possible, as they’re occurring, to avoid harming ourselves and others.
A pattern does exist for state crimes, maybe not the exact pattern that I’ve described. But whatever the pattern or the set of characteristics is, people need to understand it in order to move to more quickly and reliably evaluate future crises for deception.
If we want to maintain our lives and liberties, we must examine every new alleged crisis, using criteria based on a pattern reflective of the events we know were state crimes.
So, thank you for your attention. I’ll turn it over back over to Dr. Robinson at this time.
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Thank you very much, Kevin. It’s very interesting. Obviously, this question of structural deep events, the question of deception, and so on, is, in the same way as Atif’s presentation, looking at areas and processes that people don’t understand properly. In that case, the economics. In this case, the question of the deep state, the question of these elements of government which are hidden from view. And, really, this central idea that deception, especially with empires, is a central way in which they conduct themselves, how they exercise power—particularly for liberal empires, or empires that like to see themselves as liberal democracies. You have to mislead the public, ultimately, in order to do the necessary dark deeds of empire. So an absolutely essential research area.
Hegemonic Panic: October 7 as a Deep Event
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Really picking up on this, we will now turn to Dr. Aaron Good, who is going to, I think, be looking at some of the questions and some of the evidence in more detail about deception, about instigation, exploitation, etc., in relation to October 7. Aaron is agreed to do this. As I said, he runs the American Exception podcast. He is also author of a fantastic book, which is based on his PhD, which I’m eagerly reading at the moment, I’m pleased to say. And Aaron’s going to talk to us for about 30 minutes on the issue of deep state and empire in relation to both October 7 and what’s going on at the moment, following that in the Middle East.
Dr. Aaron Good:
Thank you very much, Piers. I have called this “Hegemonic Panic.” And I have a lot here. Some of it is overlapping with Kevin, so I’ll try to skip through some of that, which is actually helpful, because I have more here than I can get through easily, but a lot of it is just data points.
We talk about deep events. These do come from the clandestine state. They’re events that are mysterious, and they seem to come from the covert action apparatus of the government and that we know we’ll never get to the bottom of them. We can ascertain that we are immersed in this because we see a pattern again, where something strange happens, it is politically impactful, it overlaps with at least practices and objectives and aims of the national security state—of imperialism, generally speaking. So, as Kevin was suggesting, we at least reason to suspect that something is a covert operation. If it’s aimed at the US population, it’s a state crime against democracy, and we can identify these.
Now this was deHaven-Smith’s and Scott’s definition of state crimes against democracy, which Kevin just discussed [see slide].
My own academic work was in part based on trying to form a synthesis between Peter Dale Scott and Lance deHaven-Smith’s work, because I had befriended Lance and got to collaborate with him at a number of conferences and helped him with manuscripts and everything.
And his loss is really devastating for me personally. It was a great thing to be able to talk about these issues and try to work on them in a scholarly way. That was really what I dedicated my PhD to.
In terms of synthesizing these two perspectives, Peter Dale Scott conceded that the SCAD construct, or the idea of state crimes against democracy, was good but that it should be amended to say that it involves other elements that are subvert, that are submerged and not visible. So, it could be like a deep state crime against democracy, essentially. Lance himself said that what he had done with SCAD theory was still lacking a theory of the state or a role in any theorization on the role of economic elites, so corporate power. And so, I set about trying to address these things with my own dissertation, which eventually got published as American Exception: Empire and the Deep State, published by Skyhorse.
Now, there’s another academic here named Willem Bart de Lint. I have not been able to contact him, but it would be good to talk to him. He wrote this book Blurring Intelligence Crime: A Critical Forensics. And he talks about an “apex crime” [as] “a watershed event involving government in the support of a contested political and social order and its primary opponent as the obvious offender, which is then subject to a confirmation bias.”
We have examples of that in US history, where an apex crime takes place: the assassination of JFK. And who did it? The communists, okay? And then the more we learn about Oswald, it seems that he was pretending to be a communist on behalf of elements connected to the US government when he defected to the Soviet Union and when he was pretending to be a communist in New Orleans.
Later, notably, when a presidential candidate was going to reinvestigate the JFK assassination—that’s Robert Kennedy—he was killed. And the patsy, in this case, was Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian who could not have shot Robert Kennedy because Robert Kennedy was shot from point-blank range from behind, from right to left, at an upward angle. Sirhan was standing in front of him. The use of the Palestinian patsy is very significant. It’s no coincidence.
I’m just going to run through these [points]. I don’t have deep knowledge about them, but I noticed them myself, because I always think in terms of these patterns now when I see an event like this.
Kevin mentioned some of these—and I’m not going to go into detail about them, but there’s a lot of evidence that:
- Israel knew about this plan quite a while ago and that such an attack would be hard to keep totally secret. So, people suspect they had foreknowledge.
- People have documented suspicious insider trading—evidence that points to insider trading, which indicates foreknowledge as well.
- The friendly fire aspect. How much of the death count of the Israeli civilians actually came from the Israeli military response, which is a very open question.
- A related question is, was this not just friendly fire, but was it actual policy? Was it the Hannibal directive, wherein the Israeli military does not want Hamas—or Palestinian groups at all—to be able to have Israeli hostages, especially Israeli military hostages. They will kill them [the hostages] when they are fleeing rather than allow them to have [Israeli] hostages. So, was that the calculation made on the night of October 7—that they would rather them not have the hostages, and a high death count, they could just blame it on Hamas, and it will allow them to pursue a preexisting agenda.
- A lot of false reports in the media of atrocities: the decapitated babies, etc., etc. A lot of propaganda and disinformation and it’s all slanted, typically in one direction.
- The treatment of the hostages does not suggest that Hamas would have slaughtered all of these people and sexually tortured and mutilated people. The reports from the hostages are that they were treated very well. That doesn’t seem to make sense. Nor does it make sense that [Hamas] would commit those atrocities, given that hostage-taking has certain political objectives that we can discern and that would be undermined by wanton atrocities.
- There’s the tricky problem of the fact that Hamas seems to be generally a creation of Israel—that they were backed and boosted by Israel. It’s not that the members of Hamas don’t have genuine, legitimate, deep-seated grievances towards Israel, but Israel seems to have created this group. There’s documentation of this. It’s been written about by mainstream people, such as Mehdi Hasan, who is as corporate and mainstream as it gets. But he has written that Hamas is useful as a foil for Israel, it’s a way to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state, it creates an unsympathetic actor, and it undermined the PLO. That was the thinking at the time.
- Additionally, we know that they wanted to expel the Palestinians beforehand. An Israeli official leaked a think tank paper that was commissioned by Israeli intelligence. It looked at different options to handle the Palestinian problem. But the one that they end up saying is good is Option C: evacuation of the civilian population from Gaza to Sinai.
- There’s the longstanding opposition to Palestinian statehood. The fact that many people like Netanyahu are on the record saying, “Support Hamas, because that will keep a Palestinian state from forming” or “It’s been good that we have supported Hamas, it’s been good that we have done these things to keep a Palestinian state from being formed.” They are hellbent on this. They believe in the Greater Israel, which cannot but be created only with massive war crimes tantamount to genocide, which we are seeing now.
Now, this issue of war and the deception that creates it, this is a recurring theme in imperialism, especially Western imperialism. It just happens again and again. There’s all these cliches about “the fog of war” and “the first casualty [of war] is truth” and all of this. Typically, these wars are fought because one side wants to fight a war, and typically they need a pretext as well.
So, I just want to run through some of these pretexts of modern Western imperialism. I’m going to focus on the US side—but others as well.
- The Thornton Affair . This is how we were able to steal California from Mexico. This is the pretext used to launch the Mexican-American War—a very dubious war. Even Abraham Lincoln questioned it at the time, when he was a Whig congressman.
- The assassination of Queen Min . This takes place in Korea. This was when the Japanese had adopted Western imperialist tactics. Basically, they’d become as vicious as us. They studied our industry and they studied our imperialism and they had what was something of an intelligence outfit: This Black Ocean group pretend to be Koreans and they kill the Queen of Korea. This is a colonial war. They’re trying to set up a colonial empire, just like the West.
- The USS Maine, of course, gets blown up . This is infamous. It helps to fuel America’s desire to fight the Spanish-American War and get its first overseas colonies.
- The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand sparks World War I . The Serbian group, Black Hand: People have suggested or found evidence that points to them being related to the British Empire. Was this some sort of pretext or event or a catalyst that was staged by the British? It’s quite possible, to me. I wouldn’t put anything past the British.
- The Mukden incident in Manchuria  is used by the Japanese imperialists—the fascists, basically, running Japan—to have an excuse to intervene more heavily in Manchuria.
- The Reichstag Fire  is infamous, of course. The Nazis used this to seize absolute control in Germany. It’s worth noting that at Nuremberg it was established that the Nazis had done this. And then, after the fact, because some of the people that were probably responsible for this were in the government, it was embarrassing. And so there was this new history contrived, wherein the communist patsy, Marinus van der Lubbe, had really set the fire himself. But Peter Dale Scott has a good dossier on this that he’s compiled over the years. It’s just not the case. Now notice Jacobin. This is a good example of how feckless the left is in the United States—the establishment left, the left that has any institutional support. The headline, “How the Nazis Exploited the Reichstag Fire to Launch a Reign of Terror.” Well, at Nuremberg, they found that the Nazis set the Reichstag Fire, but this is something that the left defers to authority. We have the most docile left in the United States. Whatever the state tells them is the truth: “OK, yes, sir.”
- The Gleiwitz incident in Germany . This is Germany with the Nazis, who had their own particular ethos, right? But even they need to have a false flag to be able to invade Poland, because you need a pretext. No matter how vicious you are, it seems you need at least an excuse to go to war. So, they had people dress up as people attacking the Germans, so the Germans could go into Poland. We know this pretty well.
- Pearl Harbor . Of course, there’s no need to go into that. Foreknowledge: how much was there? That is the event that leads to US entry into the war, US victory in the war, dropping the bombs on Japan, and then the US becomes the global hegemon of the so-called free world.
- The Gulf of Tonkin incident . A very dubious event, of course.
- [Suharto’s US-backed coup in Indonesia, 1965]. A major, major massacre overseas, which I think is worth mentioning—because it involves a mass slaughter—is the massacre in 1965, which followed this bungled coup attempt. The more you look at the coup attempt—especially if you look at the work of Peter Dale Scott or Greg Poulgrain . . . Peter’s work in 1985, this paper, this essay in Pacific Affairs journal, which is Canadian. He couldn’t get it published in the American one; it was too sensitive. He found that the CIA and one of its backers with this Lockheed bribery scandal began shifting payments months before this strange coup that failed. Months before this happened, the CIA had shifted its funding—these bribes—[given] to a backer of Sukarno to [instead] a backer of Suharto, who would be used to basically depose Sukarno and afterwards murder half a million, one million, three million. We don’t even know how many people were tortured to death in Indonesia. I recommend watching Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing,” if you haven’t seen that documentary on this subject. But notice, again, Jacobin—the establishment lefty scholar that says here—Michael Vann is interviewed, and he says, “Some of the American-focused scholarship in a way denies Indonesian agency and underplays the Indonesian role in these events.” So, this is a trope among what passes for the left in the United States. With these covert actions and deception operations, they don’t want to accept that these things happen. And one of the excuses they use with a covert operation is, if you say that was a covert operation, then you’re taking away the agency of the Indonesian people. Somehow, it’s the nice thing to do—to say it wasn’t the CIA. I don’t understand how this logic takes root in the academy, but I think it has to do with the hegemony of the empire and how covert action is so delegitimizing. That’s why they make it covert. They want to say they’re not doing it because it’s usually something very sinister. So, this is something we’ve got to deal with. The academics are not going to help us, because they’re part of the establishment.
- The Yom Kippur War in 1973 is a strange war when you stop and think about it because the two sides, the Saudis and the Israelis, were basically on the US side by that point more firmly. You had these gas shortages at the time—because of this war. And the price of oil explodes. This is a pretext for a massive increase of oil that people like Henry Kissinger had already been trying to orchestrate, according to no less an authority than the Saudi Minister of Oil at the time. He said the price increases were desired by Henry Kissinger. It does say that it shores up the dollar after [the] Vietnam [War] had brought down Bretton Woods.
Now, another aspect that we should look at in this chronology, which takes us up to the present day and which has made me rethink . . . all of these things have made me rethink the role of Israel in US foreign policy. George H. W. Bush in 1992 ran afoul of the Israel lobby. There’s an article on it in The Times of Israel. He lost 24% of his Jewish backing after confronting Israel over settlements—”a lesson that US leaders since have taken to heart.”
One of the most controversial moments is when he delayed Israel loan guarantees until it halted its settlement building in the West Bank and Gaza and entered into a peace conference [with the Palestinians], which would later become known as the Madrid Peace Conference.
This is George H. W. Bush saying: The US will cut off aid to you if you do not return to these negotiations for a Palestinian state. He was looking to solve the Palestinian problem and the Israel-Palestine crisis at the end of the Cold War, because he saw it as antithetical to US long-term interests in the region, just like Eisenhower did when he intervened in the Suez Canal crisis. There’s always been a balance that the US tried to strike for geopolitical reasons. And H. W. Bush is no hero or great humanitarian or anything, believe me. I’m totally aware of how sinister he is. And so this makes this all the more remarkable that this person, this nexus of the American deep state, the Yankee oil people, and then the Western cowboy military-industrial complex faction, he seemed to unite both of those. But he still had problems with this Israel contingency, and it may have contributed to—it may have been decisive in—having him lose his reelection. So, he made clear the cost. His case makes clear what happens to you, that if you fight all these pro-Israel groups, you could go down. He had a 70% approval rating, and then he ends up losing. It’s really remarkable.
Now, at the same time, we have this other big issue, which is the emergence of a move for multipolarity. This article is written in 2009.
[Technical difficulties. Dr. Good returns momentarily.]
Okay, I’m not sure what happened there, but what I want to talk about here is multipolarity and the way that this became a geopolitical issue, beginning in the early years after the Cold War.
This woman [Susan Turner] is writing about it here [in Asian Perspective, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2002, pp. 159-184] and you can see:
“Since the late 1990s, the concept of multipolarity has gained prominence around the globe. Russia and China [. . .] have included it or alluded to it in nearly all of their joint declarations, statements, and treaties dating from the mid-1990s to the present.”
So, what is the US response to this?
Well, I think that you can look at what the US is trying to do. They are using jihadis throughout the ’90s. So, after the Cold War ends, those networks that were used to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan are repurposed and used all over the place in the 1990s. This is called McJihad. A political scientist [Benjamin R. Barber] tried to write about this in the ’90s. He wrote the book Jihad vs. McWorld, and it said: Oh, jihadis are reacting to Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, and they want to hold on to their old ways. What’s going to happen here?
Another author, whose name I don’t recall, wrote about this shortly afterwards and said: It seems the US is actually fueling this. This is actually McJihad. This is the West that creates its own villains and then it can either use them as shock troops somewhere or use them as an excuse to intervene somewhere.
So, this is important when you think of 9/11.
Additionally, in Israel at this time you have the “Clean Break” document: “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” prepared by a think tank called The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. It’s commissioned by a “Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000 . . . led by Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, then Prime Minister of Israel.” It included other Bush administration officials from the future, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser. This document said: “. . . removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq” is “an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.”
So, we see that the people that were Bush administration officials for the Iraq War were making these arguments on behalf of Israel at the time—I mean, in the years leading up to this. At the same time, [you have] the more establishment forces in the United States—Zbigniew Brzezinski represents them. There’s a study commissioned by the Council on Foreign Relations, which is the Wall Street think tank that planned the US Empire in the first place. They commissioned him to write this book on US geopolitics after the Cold War. He calls it The Grand Chessboard, and he basically calls for controlling Eurasia and making sure that they prevent the rise of a counterhegemonic bloc, especially that would include Iran, China, and Russia. So, he’s talking about how we don’t want to have this.
This is a direct response to China and Russia saying: How about multipolarity? The US response is: How about we make sure multipolarity doesn’t happen. And that’s from Brzezinski, who is, generally speaking, if anything, a couple degrees to the left of the neocons. These are people dedicated to American domination über alles.
The American neocon response to this situation is The Project for a New American Century, and they’re calling for full spectrum dominance over the world forever. They’re also saying that it’s going to be hard to get the US to commit to what needs to be done without a new Pearl Harbor. This study [“Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century”] comes out in 2000.
And then a new Pearl Harbor happens with 9/11 and the anthrax letters. In terms of being able to adjudicate these crimes, there’s cause for pessimism, as we probably all know. Because even if they get caught red-handed more or less, even if some part of the state does its job and they are allowed to investigate things properly and they find out it points back to the state, they’ll just contrive some other cover story.
The cover story for the anthrax letters after it was found that the anthrax was from a US laboratory was that, oh, it was just some random guy who just did this for some reason—pretended to be a Muslim because he had some weird crush on a cheerleader, or something like that. It was a very strange case. That was after they had another guy they tried to pin it on who fought that charge off. Very strange.
The point is: The state will not investigate itself. If it’s an apex crime, if apex controls the investigation, we won’t get to the bottom of it.
— Iraqi WMD [2002 onward]. We don’t need to say any more about that, probably.
— In 2007, this is, I think, important, and people have not remarked on this as much, the War on Terror stalls. Brzezinski goes in front of Congress and says [paraphrasing]: We need to be careful. There’s going to be some sort of terror attack, and it’ll be blamed on Iran, and it’ll be used to start a war that’ll be a disaster for the US and the whole [Middle East] region.
— You also had John Kiriakou’s torture fiasco, his terrible journey, his whistleblowing on the issue of CIA torture, which may have been related to this, as a way to publicly chasten the Bush Administration and hold back the neocons.
So now, fast forward a couple of years, or right before—really months before—the Arab Spring. You have Zbigniew Brzezinski. He had been putting the brakes on the whole War on Terror, 9/11 Wars agenda. Then he speaks at, I think it’s a Chicago CFR meeting or dinner or something, and he says [paraphrasing], “There’s going to be a global awakening. The whole world is waking up to injustice. They’re all connected at the same time.”
I remember this at the time because [. . . around the same time] I saw Alex Jones [. . . and] he’s saying, “They’re going to try to wake you up. They’re cooking something up.” [. . . It] didn’t occur to me until later, but this was right before the Arab Spring. I think Brzezinski may have been kicking off the revival of this whole anti-counter-hegemonic campaign. [. . . It was] this whole way of trying to continue this agenda to make sure the US had control over Eurasia, because you get these Arab Spring wars.
And then it eventually comes out that the US had helped nurture some of these groups. It’s all very strange when you look at it in retrospect. It seems like it was really just the continuation of that whole agenda. The Arab Spring wars stall, as well, in part because of Russia, and interestingly, the naval base that would have given them access to the Mediterranean into Syria is in Ukraine, and you have the destabilization of Ukraine from a Russian perspective.
You have Victoria Nuland passing out poisonous cookies to kill protesters. Not really, she had them killed with snipers. But she did pass out cookies there, which was not quite a respectable thing for a diplomat to do to an opposition group like this, but that’s how it goes. The US hand in this was really obvious. It was a coup that put in a threat to Russia right on its doorstep.
You have Russiagate in the United States, which was a very strange event and made sure the US had a bellicose posture towards Russia at the time. It was a total distraction from the failure that led to Trump being elected. Instead, it was just a way to blame Russia. We don’t know where those emails came from, where the leaks came from. Some people think it was Seth Rich. That’s a strange murder case. The internet angle was also exaggerated. It was very strange. Those “Buff Bernie” memes were not really history-changing, in my opinion. So that was a hoax.
We have COVID, which I’m not going to say much about, except that it came from US bioweapons research, apparently, and it had a major impact, and it seems to have been used either opportunistically or by design as a structural deep event.
Ukraine War is, of course, a huge disaster, along with the Nord Stream pipeline crimes, but you’re not really going to get to the bottom of them.
Al-Aqsa Flood, as we’ve talked about, and this Gaza genocide—these seem to be related also to all of those issues that Atif was talking about earlier, that are economic and geopolitical motives, but also the fact that US hegemony is really crumbling. And I think that Israel feels like its window of opportunity for a final solution with Palestine is running out, perhaps. So, they’re going farther than people would’ve thought they would’ve gone—farther than they’ve ever gone before—in terms of just slaughtering the people in Gaza.
I want to talk about SCAD versus deep events and ways academics can think about these and how useful they are. SCAD is useful as an academic or forensic heuristic. It’s a way to put these things into a certain category so you know what you’re looking at and you can talk about it. Deep events, or the way that Peter Dale Scott approaches these, might be more useful for making detached observations about things after the fact and gaining historical insights and then thinking about how you can apply these. So, these are very similar academic ideas.
Now, in terms of what we should do, in terms of thinking about justice, given the criminality that we see in the state when we study these things, Lance had a different idea than Peter. Lance basically thought: Hey, I’m a public administration person. You solve crimes and you “Hang the bastards.” Peter thought there could be a cultural revolution of the mind eventually and a Truth and Reconciliation process of some kind, eventually. But he thought that people really had to be prepared—or he thinks this now, increasingly, that people need to be prepared for this revolution before it can happen. He has some hope that civil society groups, along the lines of the Civil Rights movement, could be useful in this regard.
The synthesis of these two lines of thinking—well, I’ve tried to do that a little bit. The proximate root of the problem is that there’s no lawful sovereign over the domestic state and over the international system. Therefore, whenever we have these problems, these crimes we identify, we are reduced to hysterically shouting into the void and not having any way to have the rule of law apply, domestically or internationally.
But, as with every empire, these people are hanging themselves. I think nemesis really comes from outside. The non-West right now embodies humanity’s desire to be free from exploitation and domination. They’re really doing the heavy lifting to fight this despotism that we’re seeing. I think its ultimate embodiment is in Gaza right now. It seems to be the perfect encapsulation, in a horrific way, of so much that we have done for hundreds of years in the West. But we are not able to take power, so we can just post protest emojis and have Zoom conferences and try to raise awareness and raise consciousness.
The good news is I do think this empire that’s been around for hundreds of years is now on its way out. And that is exciting, although it’s a little frightening because we don’t know what they have up their sleeves to try to hold on to power.
I have other slides here, but I don’t want to go any further than this.
So, I think I’ll leave it at that and say that really the problem is the despotism that’s at the top of the state and the fact that this continues over the international realm. There is no lawful sovereign, domestically and internationally. There’s no way to adjudicate disputes according to the rule of international law in any sort of fair way because of the US, by and large.
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Thank you, Aaron, for a fascinating discussion, rich and detailed.
Containing Escalation: How the Resistance axis is sabotaging US intent to escalate the conflict beyond Palestine
Dr. Piers Robinson:
We’re going to move now to our final talk for 20 minutes before we go to the panel discussion. And we have, last but by no means least, Vanessa Beeley, who’s going to talk about the current geopolitical situation. And I think a little bit, the sort of perspective of groups within the region, countries within the region as they resist empire and where she sees it as going at the moment.
Over to you, Vanessa.
Thank you so much, Piers. I feel extremely privileged to be in such a good company. I’m going to cross over definitely with Aaron on the “Clean Break,” so I’ll skip over that a little bit, and I’ll probably complement what Atif and Richard were saying.
So, basically, what I’m going to look at is Washington and London’s long war against the Middle East or, rather, West Asia, the rise of BRICS, global South independence, the emergence of a neo-Pan-Arabism, and, of course, the multipolar world that has been mentioned by many people.
Now, I’m going to start off with a direct quote from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., which he gave during an interview—I think in the last month or so. And I think, for me, it encapsulates exactly what Israel represents to the US. It’s quite rare for any American politician to be quite so overt in their opinion.
I’ll start the quote:
“Israel is critical, and the reason it’s critical is because it is a bulwark for us in the Middle East. It is almost like having an aircraft carrier in the Middle East. It’s our oldest ally. It’s been our ally for 75 years. It’s been an incredible ally for us in terms of the technology exchange, and building the Iron Dome, which we have paid a lot for, has taught us enormously about how to defend ourselves against missile attacks. [Of] that military expenditure, 75% goes to US companies under the agreement, under the MOU. If you look at what’s happening in the Middle East now, the closest allies to Iran are Russia and China. Iran also controls all of Venezuela’s oil. Hezbollah is in Venezuela. They’ve propped up the Maduro regime, and so they control that oil supply.
“BRICS: Saudi Arabia is now joining BRICS, so those countries will control 90% of the oil in our world. If Israel disappears, [there will be a] vacuum in the Middle East. Israel is our ambassador, our beachhead, in the Middle East. It gives us ears and it gives us eyes in the Middle East. It gives us intelligence, the capacity to influence affairs in the Middle East. If Israel disappeared, Russia and China would be controlling the Middle East and would control 90% of the world’s oil supply, and that would be cataclysmic for US national security.”
Pretty much says it all right there. And so therefore that really shapes what I’m going to continue saying in the presentation. Basically, it’s about the reshaping of the Middle East, which has been an ongoing colonial project for more than a century, including the French-British Sykes-Picot partitioning of the territory—the British creation of the Zionist colonialist settler state after the Balfour Treaty in 1917, which facilitated the European settler land grab from Palestinians until the UN partitioning of Palestine in 1947 in favor of the Zionists. And then, of course, the 1948 Nakba—the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their land with no right to return.
In 1996, as Aaron mentioned, there was the “Clean Break” doctrine—a new strategy for securing the realm. Now, interesting elements of that doctrine included working closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll back some of its most dangerous threats, which included Syria.
Israel should seize the strategic initiative along the northern border by engaging Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, according, of course, to Israel. Direct attack would be enabled on Syrian territory and against Syrian targets in Lebanon.
A move to contain Syria and to curtail its alleged weapons of mass destruction program. Plans included the removal of Saddam Hussein, as Aaron mentioned, to weaken Syria’s position in the region, and to strengthen Jordan as Israel’s ally.
As special consultant to US Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, Pat Buchanan, put it: “In the documents, in the strategy, Israel’s enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad.”
Then we have the map of the new Middle East. This map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters and published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, and it was made widely available to the public.
The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was credited by the Western media for coining the term in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”
Renowned author and historian Mahdi Nazemroaya said, “This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.”
An article in June 2023 in Jerusalem Post is headlined “Israel is well-positioned in the new Middle East.” Israel announced a massive success in defense exports—a record 12.5 billion with Abraham Accord countries accounting for nearly a quarter of those deals. Those countries at the time being include Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, which is effectively a normalization of relations with Israel.
There’s also an important reference, which I think Atif mentioned, to the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor—the IMEC—which is designed to compete with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. And we can see the map, which, as I said, links Mumbai through Dubai, Riyadh, Al-Haditha, Haifa, and into Europe through Piraeus in Athens, in Greece.
And then of course we have the infamous Oded Yinon Plan for Greater Israel, the Israel of Theodore Hertz in 1904 and of Rabbi Fischmann in 1947.
To a large degree we’ve entered a new stage in the 75-to-100-year Zionist plan for Palestine: appropriation of the entire territory and final ethnic cleansing of what appears to be all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, resettlement in the Sinai in Egypt and elsewhere, as we heard also—I think from Atif.
In January 2023, Netanyahu said, “These are the basic lines of the national government headed by me, the Jewish people having exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlements in all parts of the land of Israel—in the Galilee, in the Negev, in the Jolan [Golan Heights], Judea, and Samaria.”
The Greater Israel Project is an integral part of US foreign policy, the New Middle East, to expand US unipolar supremacy through the fracturing and balkanization of the Middle East. It is supported by NATO and largely by Saudi Arabia.
In March 2023, Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, caused regional uproar when he presented the map of Greater Israel at a conference in Paris, during which he also claimed, “There is no such thing as Palestinian people.” The map showed Jordan and the West Bank within Israel’s borders. The timing of the October 7th events in relation to the imminent normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel is also important to note.
From Netanyahu’s perspective, this rapprochement was a means to increasing Israel’s foothold in the Middle East and confronting Iran. It would also have been a mortal wound for Palestinian justice and resistance movements.
Under Trump in 2017, Washington declared support of the Zionist illegal settlements, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Jolan territories unlawfully annexed in 1967. Under Biden, there has been some shift in the narrative—that Washington endorses the Israeli annexation of the entire Jordan River Valley and the illegal settlements gradually consuming the West Bank.
The Oded Yinon Plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must, first of all, become an imperial regional power, and, two, must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. The Zionist strategy is that sectarian states would become incorporated into Israel’s sphere of influence and would provide Israel with regional and moral legitimation.
Very recently, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made it very clear that Israel has no choice but to pursue victory in order to survive. He said, “The feeling that we will soon stop is incorrect. Without a clear victory, we will not be able to live in the Middle East.” So this has become effectively an existential battle for survival between the Palestinian people and Israel and in the larger picture in the region.
Netanyahu, of course, needs victory in order to ensure his personal political survival and to avoid prosecution for corruption.
Bearing all this in mind, we can better understand the reaction of the region to the events that began on October the 7th. It is fully understood by the countries of the resistance axis, which include Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen, that the US and Israel are seeking escalation in order to achieve their goal of destabilization and balkanization of the enemy states—to protect, of course, as Kennedy describes, the military garrison, which is Israel in the Middle East.
So, I’m going to look now at the escalation and provocation by US and Israel since December 2023. Of course, it’s been ongoing since October the 7th, particularly in the northern occupied territories on the border with Lebanon, but also in multiple aggressions against Syria by Israel.
On December the 25th, the house of the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria, Brigadier-General Razi Mousavi, was targeted by Israel in the residential area of Sayeda Zeinab south of Damascus. It’s also a busy pilgrimage area for Shia Muslims and at that time, on Christmas Day, was packed with civilians. One of the longest-serving IRGC officers and a close friend of General Qasem Soleimani, assassinated in January 2020 under the Trump Administration, Mousavi was responsible for supporting the resistance front in Syria and the training of Palestinian resistance factions inside Syria.
Israel regularly targets Syrian Arab Army positions. We are actually expecting an attack tonight, so if you hear anything incoming, there’s nothing I can do about it if they do come in relatively close to me. And they have attacked artillery and air defense positions in Syria and targeted the civilian airports of Aleppo and Damascus multiple times in 2023 under the pretext of eliminating Iranian forces or influence inside Syria. It is a clear attempt to reduce Syrian defense and even offense capability in the event of escalation—rarely reported in Western media.
On the 2nd of January, targeting Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, Israel assassinated Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, who was also instrumental in the creation of the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. This was the first strike in Dahiyeh, in southern Beirut, since the 2006 War between Israel and Hezbollah.
Now, before Christmas, the Zionist regime officials had been increasing the threats against Lebanon and Hezbollah. Netanyahu had threatened publicly to turn Beirut into Khan Younis, which is in the south of Gaza, if Hezbollah refused to withdraw north of the Litani River. Israel invoked UN Resolution 1701, which was introduced after the 2006 War to guarantee no weapons or militants south of the Litani River in the hope of bringing the US into conflict, which has failed. Hezbollah has always refused to withdraw from the south, and their long-range and short-range weapons are not clustered only in the south but throughout Lebanon. So, this is largely an exercise in escalating the conflict with Hezbollah.
After the strike in the capital city of Beirut, Secretary-General of Hezbollah Syed Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to retaliate to the point where sufficient deterrence is reinstated against further Israel attacks on Beirut.
Yesterday sixty-two missiles were fired at Meron air base in the northern occupied territory. Meron base is responsible for all air operations towards Syria, Lebanon, and the northern part of the eastern Mediterranean. It also constitutes the major center for electronic jamming operations in these zones and it’s believed to be the base that would’ve directed the strikes on al-Arouri in Beirut. This is considered to be only phase one of the retaliation by Hezbollah.
Lebanon itself has filed a complaint with the UN Security Council over the killing of al-Arouri, calling it the most dangerous phase of Israeli attacks on the country.
A local journalist writing for the Cradle Media, Hassan Illaik: “Tel Aviv’s assessment of a war with Lebanon is based on its reading that Hezbollah wishes to prevent a major confrontation at any cost. Not only is this calculus wrong, but it has also muddled Israeli minds to the point where this may itself lead to the outbreak of a destructive war between the two sides.”
Illaik also points out that we’ve had three stages so far of Zionist aggression against Gaza, but I would also say against West Bank.
Stage one is the obliteration of northern Gaza, which Atif has referred to, and the slower destruction of the West Bank.
Stage two is the occupation of strategic areas in southern Gaza, which is supposedly in the safe zone, where more than one million displaced Palestinians have been forced to gather in appalling conditions and still under Zionist bombardment.
The IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces] withdrawal from Gaza does not signal the end of the war on Gaza. Many regional analysts believe that reducing the pace of the ground war on Gaza is a prelude to an Israeli war on Lebanon. And we’re certainly seeing an escalation on the northern occupied Palestine front, where an estimated 230,000 Zionist settlers have been forced to flee the settlements on the border with Lebanon.
There’s a belief that Israel is implementing a US decision to push the war into a third phase before the end of January 2024.
This requires the war to be lowered in intensity to distract from the mass slaughter and brutal ethnic cleansing of civilians in Gaza and of course coincides with the case that’s being brought into the ICJ by South Africa.
On the 3rd of January a terrorist attack was carried out in Tehran, in Iran, targeting civilians at the burial place of Qasem Soleimani on the fourth anniversary of his assassination.
More than 173 were injured and 84 killed in the attack. ISIS has officially taken responsibility, but as it’s well documented that the terrorist group is a proxy both of the US and an asset for Israel in the region to a large degree, it does raise the question as to whose hands were actually behind the attack.
Finally, on the 4th of January, the US targeted the deputy head of operations of the Popular Mobilisation Forces [also known as Popular Mobilisation Units], the PMU, in Baghdad. Mushtaq Taleb al-Saeedi was killed in the strike on PMU headquarters in eastern Baghdad. One other was killed in the attack and six injured in the drone strike.
The US claimed it was in retaliation for the Islamic resistance of Iraq’s attack on US military bases in Iraq and Syria. The bases in Syria, of course, are illegal under international law.
There have been 118 attacks by the Islamic resistance since October the 7th. So, in ten days, the US-Israeli alliance has struck targets in Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, and Iran.
I’m just going to bring back the map of Syria. It’s a relatively old map—probably about a month old. But I just wanted to point out that Syria’s position in the resistance axis is particularly fragile. With the US triggering attacks by ISIS from the Al-Tanf base, which is in the southeastern section of Syria, these attacks have intensified since October the 7th, particularly against Syrian Arab Army positions in the central desert area of Syria. The northwestern area of Idlib is effectively under the control of armed groups dominated by Al Qaeda, who have also intensified their attacks on civilian areas of northern Hama, but also against Syrian Arab Army positions in northern Latakia and western Aleppo. All of these attacks, again, have increased since October the 7th.
What Syria has done is to open up its territory to Palestinian resistance factions and to the Islamic resistance to carry out attacks against US or Israeli targets—Israeli targets predominantly, of course, in the occupied Jolan territories.
And it’s worth noting that Russia is increasing its observation posts on the border with the occupied Jolan territories.
It’s also worth noting that the emergency Arab League summit that was called very early on into the Israeli aggression against Gaza—the proposal that was put forward by Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, and Qatar was vetoed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. The primary elements of that proposal were:
(1) preventing the use of American and other military bases in Arab countries to supply Israel with weapons and ammunition,
(2) freezing Arab diplomatic economic security and military relations with Israel,
(3) threatening to use oil and Arab economic capabilities to pressure to stop the aggression for preventing Israeli civil aviation from flying in Arab airspace.
So, that very strong proposal was effectively vetoed and watered down by the countries that have [normalized] or are on the verge of normalization with Israel.
Finally, I want to come to Yemen, where there is also an area of increased tension, bringing the US alliance closer to conflict with Iran and closer to confrontation with Yemeni forces, or Ansarullah, a coalition resistance movement and the de facto government of Yemen, often described in Western media rather euphemistically as the Houthis.
What I describe as “the coalition of the unwilling” put out a joint statement. The coalition now consists of the US, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and, of course, the UK.
In the wording of part of their statement, they made it very clear what their priority actually is here. It’s [concern over] the loss of 15% of global seaborne trade, which passes through the Red Sea, including 8% of global grain trade, 12% of seaborne-traded oil, and 8% of the world’s liquefied natural gas trade. International shipping companies continue to reroute their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, adding significant costs and weeks of delayed delivery of goods, and ultimately jeopardizing the movement of critical food, fuel, and humanitarian assistance throughout the world. 15% of world trade passes through the Suez Canal.
The Africa route around the Cape of Good Hope is 60% more expensive, according to some analysts, and two weeks longer or three weeks, as Atif mentioned. The inevitable knock-on effect will be an increase in energy prices, already hiked as a result of the NATO proxy war in Ukraine. And there’s also predicted to be a shortage in energy and grain supply.
The northern sea route, of course, is controlled by Russia, which currently is effectively at war with NATO and the EU in Ukraine.
As with Ukraine, the impact will be greatest on the EU. As a result, EU Commission Foreign Minister Josep Borrell has been trying to negotiate a settlement with Hezbollah to prevent escalation with Israel, to no avail, as Hezbollah is not prepared to withdraw north of the Litani River to comply with Israel’s demands.
From the Yemeni standpoint, as millions poured onto the streets of the capital of Sanaa to protest the genocide in Gaza, they are effectively fulfilling their responsibility under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention, which again, Richard mentioned—which is the obligation to prevent genocide, and even to punish genocide to some degree. The blockade of occupied Palestine-bound ships in the Red Sea will end when the genocide or campaign against Palestinian ends and the siege is lifted on Gaza.
Now, the map that I’m showing here shows the conglomeration of the coalition ships, the US ships, the Iranian warships that are now entering—even Chinese ships. And I think here is where I would identify—and a few people have agreed with me—there is a potential for a false flag, the potential of seeing an event which might facilitate some kind of escalation, particularly against Yemen and potentially, of course, against Iran, which is seen very much as being the backer of the Ansarullah activities.
All members of the resistance axis are responding to extreme provocation with restraint in order to draw Israeli deeper into the quagmire of a failed ground war in Gaza and the multiple-front war currently being waged without overt US involvement. Of course, they are providing the bombs: 65,000 tons of explosives to date have been dropped on Gaza. They are helping with logistics and with funding. Delta forces have been identified as operating alongside the IOF. And, of course, they’ve given a tacit green light for Israel’s criminal military adventurism and genocide in Palestine, while actively involved in the targeting of resistance commandos and the triggering of proxies, including ISIS and Iraq in Syria and the increase of their own military footprint in Israel—particularly in the Negev Desert, in Iraq, and in Syria.
Lebanon-based journalist Sharmine Narwani has recently written about the fact that Arab perceptions have shifted dramatically over Israel’s war on Gaza, with popular sentiment gravitating to those states and actors perceived to be actively supporting Palestinian goals and away from those who are perceived to support Israel.
“But if the confrontation between the two axes escalates, Arab perceptions will almost certainly continue to tilt away from the old hegemons towards those who are willing to resist this assault on the region.
“There will be no relief for Washington and its allies as the war expands. The more they work to defeat Hamas and destroy Gaza, the more they lob missiles at Yemen, Iraq, and Syria and besiege the resistance axis, the more likely Arab populations are to shrug off the Sunni versus Shia, Iran versus Arab, secular versus Islamist narratives that have kept the region divided and at odds for decades . . .”
— which is where I come back to this emergence of a neo-Pan-Arabism we’ve seen in the last twelve months.
She also says:
“The swell of support that is mobilizing due to a righteous confrontation against the region’s biggest oppressors is unstoppable. Western decline is now a given in the region, but Western discourse has been the first casualty of this war.”
I will end there with some positive news, I hope.
Dr. Piers Robinson:
Thank you, Vanessa, for that fascinating overview of what is happening—well, not really an overview. There’s a lot of detail in there. Clearly, we’re at a very, very dangerous juncture at this point in time, which we’ll possibly come back to.
[No transcript for the panel discussion.]
Professor Richard Falk is a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. From 2008 to 2014, he served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. He has published extensively, including multiple books about international law and the United Nations.
Professor Atif Kubursi is a professor emeritus of economics at McMaster University. In 1982, he joined the United Nations Industrial Organization as Senior Development Officer. In 2006, he was appointed Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA). He has published extensively in the areas of macroeconomics, economic development strategies, international trade, impact analysis, and regional planning.
Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist and photographer who has worked extensively on the ground in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine. In 2017, she was a finalist for one of the most prestigious journalism awards, the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. She contributes regularly to Mint Press News, Russia Today, UK Column, The Last American Vagabond, Sputnik radio, 21st Century Wire, and many other independent media outlets.
Dr. Aaron Good has a PhD in Political Science from Temple University. His dissertation, “American Exception: Hegemony and the Tripartite State,” examined the state, elite criminality, and US hegemony. Today, Good is host of the podcast “American Exception,” which has produced hundreds of episodes exploring state criminality, geopolitics, militarism, and the political economy of empire.
Kevin Ryan has worked as a chemist and laboratory manager for nearly thirty years. In 2006, Ryan joined the newly formed Journal of 9/11 Studies as co-editor, a position he holds to this day. Ryan has authored or co-authored many articles on 9/11 and has also contributed to several books on the subject. His own book, Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects, was released in 2013. He currently serves on the board of directors of the International Center for 9/11 Justice.
Dr. Piers Robinson is research director for the International Center for 9/11 Justice. He is also co-director of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, convenor of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, associated researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 Global “War on Terror,” member of PANDA and BerlinGroup21, and co-editor of Propaganda in Focus. His most recent academic appointment was Chair/Professor in Politics, Society and Political Journalism (University of Sheffield 2016–2019).