30 May 2015

Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS

Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion’

Intelligence document

More evidence that the rise of ISIS was a direct and conscious result of the West’s desire to overthrow the Assad regime, because it was secular, and its opposition to the Iranian regime, which derives from its support for Assad and  Hezbollah.

Tony Greenstein
by Nafeez Ahmed

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A declassified secret US government document obtained by the conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.
The document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, and that these “supporting powers” desired the emergence of a “Salafist Principality” in Syria to “isolate the Syrian regime.”
According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of this strategy, and warned that it could destabilize Iraq. Despite anticipating that Western, Gulf state and Turkish support for the “Syrian opposition” — which included al-Qaeda in Iraq — could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the document provides no indication of any decision to reverse the policy of support to the Syrian rebels. On the contrary, the emergence of an al-Qaeda affiliated “Salafist Principality” as a result is described as a strategic opportunity to isolate Assad.


The revelations contradict the official line of Western governments on their policies in Syria, and raise disturbing questions about secret Western support for violent extremists abroad, while using the burgeoning threat of terror to justify excessive mass surveillance and crackdowns on civil liberties at home.
Among the batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit, released earlier this week, is a US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document then classified as “secret,” dated 12th August 2012.
The DIA provides military intelligence in support of planners, policymakers and operations for the US Department of Defense and intelligence community.
So far, media reporting has focused on the evidence that the Obama administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.

Some outlets have reported the US intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS. Yet none have accurately acknowledged the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria.

Charles Shoebridge, a former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism intelligence officer, said:

“Given the political leanings of the organisation that obtained these documents, it’s unsurprising that the main emphasis given to them thus far has been an attempt to embarrass Hilary Clinton regarding what was known about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012. However, the documents also contain far less publicized revelations that raise vitally important questions of the West’s governments and media in their support of Syria’s rebellion.”

The West’s Islamists

The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies.

Noting that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” the document states that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition,” while Russia, China and Iran “support the [Assad] regime.”

The 7-page DIA document states that al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the precursor to the ‘Islamic State in Iraq,’ (ISI) which became the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,’ “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media.”

The formerly secret Pentagon report notes that the “rise of the insurgency in Syria” has increasingly taken a “sectarian direction,” attracting diverse support from Sunni “religious and tribal powers” across the region.

In a section titled ‘The Future Assumptions of the Crisis,’ the DIA report predicts that while Assad’s regime will survive, retaining control over Syrian territory, the crisis will continue to escalate “into proxy war.”

The document also recommends the creation of “safe havens under international sheltering, similar to what transpired in Libya when Benghazi was chosen as the command centre for the temporary government.”

In Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebels, most of whom were al-Qaeda affiliated militias, were protected by NATO ‘safe havens’ (aka ‘no fly zones’).

 ‘Supporting powers want’ ISIS entity

In a strikingly prescient prediction, the Pentagon document explicitly forecasts the probable declaration of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”
Nevertheless, “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by Syrian “opposition forces” fighting to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar)”:

“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

The secret Pentagon document thus provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting ISIS, had three years ago welcomed the emergence of an extremist “Salafist Principality” in the region as a way to undermine Assad, and block off the strategic expansion of Iran. Crucially, Iraq is labeled as an integral part of this “Shia expansion.”

The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the [Syrian] opposition want.” Earlier on, the document repeatedly describes those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”
Further on, the document reveals that Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, yet ploughed ahead anyway.

The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, it says, would create “the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.” Last summer, ISIS conquered Mosul in Iraq, and just this month has also taken control of Ramadi.

Such a quasi-state entity will provide:

“… a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of territory.”

The 2012 DIA document is an Intelligence Information Report (IIR), not a “finally evaluated intelligence” assessment, but its contents are vetted before distribution. The report was circulated throughout the US intelligence community, including to the State Department, Central Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, FBI, among other agencies.

In response to my questions about the strategy, the British government simply denied the Pentagon report’s startling revelations of deliberate Western sponsorship of violent extremists in Syria. A British Foreign Office spokesperson said:

“AQ and ISIL are proscribed terrorist organisations. The UK opposes all forms of terrorism. AQ, ISIL, and their affiliates pose a direct threat to the UK’s national security. We are part of a military and political coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and are working with international partners to counter the threat from AQ and other terrorist groups in that region. In Syria we have always supported those moderate opposition groups who oppose the tyranny of Assad and the brutality of the extremists.”

The DIA did not respond to request for comment.

Strategic asset for regime-change

Security analyst Shoebridge, however, who has tracked Western support for Islamist terrorists in Syria since the beginning of the war, pointed out that the secret Pentagon intelligence report exposes fatal contradictions at the heart of official pronunciations:

“Throughout the early years of the Syria crisis, the US and UK governments, and almost universally the West’s mainstream media, promoted Syria’s rebels as moderate, liberal, secular, democratic, and therefore deserving of the West’s support. Given that these documents wholly undermine this assessment, it’s significant that the West’s media has now, despite their immense significance, almost entirely ignored them.”

According to Brad Hoff, a former US Marine who served during the early years of the Iraq War and as a 9/11 first responder at the Marine Corps Headquarters Battalion in Quantico from 2000 to 2004, the just released Pentagon report for the first time provides stunning affirmation that:
“US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset.”

Hoff, who is managing editor of Levant Report—  an online publication run by Texas-based educators who have direct experience of the Middle East — points out that the DIA document “matter-of-factly” states that the rise of such an extremist Salafist political entity in the region offers a “tool for regime change in Syria.”

The DIA intelligence report shows, he said, that the rise of ISIS only became possible in the context of the Syrian insurgency — “there is no mention of US troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits.” The report demonstrates that:

“The establishment of a ‘Salafist Principality’ in Eastern Syria is ‘exactly’ what the external powers supporting the opposition want (identified as ‘the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey’) in order to weaken the Assad government.”

The rise of a Salafist quasi-state entity that might expand into Iraq, and fracture that country, was therefore clearly foreseen by US intelligence as likely — but nevertheless strategically useful — blowback from the West’s commitment to “isolating Syria.”


Critics of the US-led strategy in the region have repeatedly raised questions about the role of coalition allies in intentionally providing extensive support to Islamist terrorist groups in the drive to destabilize the Assad regime in Syria.

The conventional wisdom is that the US government did not retain sufficient oversight on the funding to anti-Assad rebel groups, which was supposed to be monitored and vetted to ensure that only ‘moderate’ groups were supported.

However, the newly declassified Pentagon report proves unambiguously that years before ISIS launched its concerted offensive against Iraq, the US intelligence community was fully aware that Islamist militants constituted the core of Syria’s sectarian insurgency.

Despite that, the Pentagon continued to support the Islamist insurgency, even while anticipating the probability that doing so would establish an extremist Salafi stronghold in Syria and Iraq.

As Shoebridge told me, “The documents show that not only did the US government at the latest by August 2012 know the true extremist nature and likely outcome of Syria’s rebellion” — namely, the emergence of ISIS — “but that this was considered an advantage for US foreign policy. This also suggests a decision to spend years in an effort to deliberately mislead the West’s public, via a compliant media, into believing that Syria’s rebellion was overwhelmingly ‘moderate.’”

Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer who blew the whistle in the 1990s on MI6 funding of al-Qaeda to assassinate Libya’s former leader Colonel Gaddafi, similarly said of the revelations:
“This is no surprise to me. Within individual countries there are always multiple intelligence agencies with competing agendas.”
She explained that MI6’s Libya operation in 1996, which resulted in the deaths of innocent people, “happened at precisely the time when MI5 was setting up a new section to investigate al-Qaeda.”
This strategy was repeated on a grand scale in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, said Machon, where the CIA and MI6 were:

“… supporting the very same Libyan groups, resulting in a failed state, mass murder, displacement and anarchy. So the idea that elements of the American military-security complex have enabled the development of ISIS after their failed attempt to get NATO to once again ‘intervene’ is part of an established pattern. And they remain indifferent to the sheer scale of human suffering that is unleashed as a result of such game-playing.”

Divide and rule

Several US government officials have conceded that their closest allies in the anti-ISIS coalition were funding violent extremist Islamist groups that became integral to ISIS.

US Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, admitted last year that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Islamist rebels in Syria that metamorphosed into ISIS.

But he did not admit what this internal Pentagon document demonstrates — that the entire covert strategy was sanctioned and supervised by the US, Britain, France, Israel and other Western powers.
The strategy appears to fit a policy scenario identified by a recent US Army-commissioned RAND Corp report.

The report, published four years before the DIA document, called for the US “to capitalise on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.”

The US would need to contain “Iranian power and influence” in the Gulf by “shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.” Simultaneously, the US must maintain “a strong strategic relationship with the Iraqi Shiite government” despite its Iran alliance.

The RAND report confirmed that the “divide and rule” strategy was already being deployed “to create divisions in the jihadist camp. Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used at the tactical level.”
The report observed that the US was forming “temporary alliances” with al-Qaeda affiliated “nationalist insurgent groups” that have fought the US for four years in the form of “weapons and cash.” Although these nationalists “have cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces,” they are now being supported to exploit “the common threat that al-Qaeda now poses to both parties.”

The 2012 DIA document, however, further shows that while sponsoring purportedly former al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq to counter al-Qaeda, Western governments were simultaneously arming al-Qaeda insurgents in Syria.

The revelation from an internal US intelligence document that the very US-led coalition supposedly fighting ‘Islamic State’ today, knowingly created ISIS in the first place, raises troubling questions about recent government efforts to justify the expansion of state anti-terror powers.

In the wake of the rise of ISIS, intrusive new measures to combat extremism including mass surveillance, the Orwellian ‘prevent duty’ and even plans to enable government censorship of broadcasters, are being pursued on both sides of the Atlantic, much of which disproportionately targets activists, journalists and ethnic minorities, especially Muslims.

Yet the new Pentagon report reveals that, contrary to Western government claims, the primary cause of the threat comes from their own deeply misguided policies of secretly sponsoring Islamist terrorism for dubious geopolitical purposes.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award, known as the ‘Alternative Pulitzer Prize’, for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was selected in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1,000’ most globally influential Londoners.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT, among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

Palestinian Authority Quislings Climb Down on Suspension of Israel from FIFA

Jibril Rajoub Ends Up Shaking the Hands of the Head of the Israeli FA - Ofer Eini

Palestinian football head Jibril showing Israel a red card - but then changing the colour!

We’ve seen this movie before.  Many times before.  Abbas’s PA climbed down on the Goldstone Report and withdrew its motion from the UN.  The PA climbed down on taking Israel to the International Criminal Court.  And, surprise, surprise, the PA’s stooge puppet Jibril Rajoub has climbed down on a proposed suspension of Israel from FIFA.
Demonstration in Geneva Outside FIFA
In 2014 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli journalists and businessmen that the Palestinian Authorities cooperation with the Israeli occupation forces and police is sacred, also for a unity-government of Fatah and Hamas. Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have, for years, used security cooperation to crack down on the Palestinian opposition. [Abbas: Security Cooperation with Israeli Army and Police is Sacred]
Palestinian showing the way ahead
Whilst the defence of Palestinians is anything but sacred, co-operation with the IOF is sacred.   When I proposed a motion to Palestine Solidarity Conference two years ago calling the PA a Quisling authority, the former General Secretary Betty Hunter took exception to the use of the word ‘quisling’.  It’s difficult to know what other term is appropriate but I’m open to suggestions!

Tony Greenstein

Jibril shaking the hand of former Histadrut head Ofer Eini

27 May 2015

Shadowy Web Site Creates Blacklist of Pro-Palestinian Activists

Fighting for freedom in a way only Zionist McCarthyists understand
One of the beauties of Orwell’s 1984 and Newspeak is that words can mean their exact opposite.  So the film that the Canary Mission puts out asks people to ‘Join us to protect freedom and make campus life safe for everyone’.  And how does one do that?  By ensuring that ‘todays radicals are not tomorrow’s employees’.  In the name of freedom the Canary Mission quite openly calls for the opposite i.e. denying the freedom to work of those with contrary opinions.  But as RH Tawney said, the freedom of the pike is death to the minnow.
Ensure that today's radicals are not tomorrow's employees intones the narrator in her best McCarthist style
The film itself itself of course tugs at the usual heart strings.  It starts off with Jewish children wearing the Yellow Star during the Holocaust and then cuts to an idiot on a demonstration telling Jews to get back to the ovens.  The clear message being, of course, that most if not all supporters of the Palestinians are just waiting for their chance to reenact the Holocaust.  And then the message at the end exhorts us to believe that blacklisting and freedom are quite compatible.  But of course in the eyes of neo-con Daniel Pipes and the Zionist cohorts, any crime is acceptable when defending Zionism and Israel.

Tony Greenstein

US Zionists Reach for Uncle Joe McCarthy

A new website is publicizing the identities of pro-Palestinian student activists to prevent them from getting jobs after they graduate from college. But the website is keeping its own backers’ identity a secret.
Everything is done in order to protect  future Jewish children from this - the Holocaust becomes a perverted Hollywood scene
“It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a female narrator intones in a slick video posted to the website’s YouTube account.
The Enemy
Called Canary Mission, the site has posted profiles of dozens of students and recent graduates, alongside those of well-known activists like Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Some of the students are active in Students for Justice in Palestine; others were involved in recent pro-BDS resolutions at campuses in California. Many of them have relatively thin activist résumés.
One of the profiles listed
“The focus on young people and students is an effort to try to tell people that there will be a price for you taking a political position,” said Ali Abunimah, founder of the pro-Palestinian website The Electronic Intifada. “It’s an effort to punish and deter people from standing up for what they believe.”
Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, defended the tactic as a way of forcing people to understand the seriousness of their political stands.
A demonstration against Israel, with the focus on Islamic fundamentalists
“Factually documenting who one’s adversaries are and making this information available is a perfectly legitimate undertaking,” Pipes wrote in an email. “Collecting information on students has particular value because it signals them that attacking Israel is serious business, not some inconsequential game, and that their actions can damage both Israel and their future careers.”
Pictures of the Zionists enemies
Despite its dedication to documenting the identities of pro-Palestinian activists, Canary Mission seems to have gone to great lengths to keep the identities of its own members and backers well hidden. There are no names of Canary Mission staff members, volunteers, donors or allies on the site.
Another  profile
The Web domain is registered in a way that hides its ownership. Though the site says that Canary Mission “is a non-profit organization,” no group called Canary Mission is currently registered with the IRS as eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, and the website indicates no fiscal sponsor through which it can accept donations. The group’s MailChimp account identifies its ZIP code as 10458, a corner of the Bronx that includes Fordham University.

A person named Joanna responded via email to a request for comment from the group, agreeing to an interview but then not calling this reporter over two days. Joanna also did not respond to a list of questions submitted about the group.

A handful of right-wing pro-Israel groups that focus on campuses said they had no relationship with Canary Mission, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Pipes’s Middle East Forum, the AMCHA Initiative and StandWithUs.

When asked whether his group had supported Canary Mission, Charles Jacobs, who runs Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a far-right group that purports to expose extremism on campus, said he had no comment. Jacobs is the founder of The David Project, which, under his leadership, produced a 2004 documentary titled “Columbia Unbecoming” that depicted Columbia’s Middle East studies department as unfriendly to Jewish students.

Distributing lists of activists and their activities is not an entirely uncommon tactic in the Middle East debate, on the left or the right. A website called Masada2000, now offline, maintained what it called the “Self-Hating and/or Israel Threatening” list of Jews whose views it considered unacceptable. In early 2014, the anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss uncovered a password-protected website maintained by StandWithUs that contained backgrounders on pro-Palestinian speakers on the campus circuit. On the left, the website for Right Web, a program backed by the Institute for Policy Studies, profiles hawkish pro-Israel groups and activists.

The individual dossiers on the Canary Mission’s site are lengthy and detailed, and include videos and photographs of the activists. In the case of some current students, the site lists their majors. There are links to Facebook pages, Twitter pages and LinkedIn profiles, and lengthy descriptions of pro-Palestinian student groups and movements to which these students have alleged links.

“I think it’s creepy and I think it’s McCarthyist,” said Max Geller, an SJP member who is profiled on the site. “This is not a badge of honor. This is scary.”

Geller said that some of what is written about him on the site is untrue, and that he has contacted an attorney. 

26 May 2015

They do nothing about the murder of Palestinians but they deal swiftly with critics from within

In a debate chaired by Tim Sebastian, formerly of the BBC, as to whether the Occupation is destroying Israel, a young soldier speaks up about the racism he experienced.  Before you can snap your fingers he is told he is to be imprisoned for telling the truth.  The message from the IOF is clear – kill Palestinians and nothing will be said, speak the truth and you will be punished.

Tony Greenstein

Ben Norton May 24, 2015

19-year-old Israeli soldier Shachar Berrin, who is being imprisoned for criticizing Israel's illegal occupation CREDIT: Screen capture from the DW show "The New Arab Debates"
The Israeli government is imprisoning Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Shachar Berrin for criticizing its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In the Q&A session during the public filming of a television program on May 14, the 19-year-old soldier spoke about the widespread racism he has seen among Israeli occupation forces. He recalled an incident in which an Israeli soldier told fellow IDF troops to stop harassing Christian tourists because “come on, they are people, not Palestinians.”
Haaretz reports that less than 12 hours after speaking, Berrin was ordered back to his base and was promptly charged with “taking part in a political meeting and in an interview the media, without permission from the army.” He is to serve a week in prison, Haaretz says. Author Gideon Levy notes, however, that “Berrin did not take part in any sort of ‘political meeting,’ nor did he give an interview.”

Rather, Berrin was a member of the audience in Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim conference center during the filming of a segment of the German TV program “The New Arab Debates.” The premise of the debate was “The occupation is destroying Israel,” and it pitted Uri Zaki, a human rights activist and member of Israel’s left-wing Meretz party, against right-wing businessman Dani Dayan, a pro-settler activist who opposes Palestinian statehood and, in the segment, refers to Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian territories—which every leading international legal institution, including the International Court of Justice, UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, and more, deems illegal—as “the so-called occupation.”
Berrin’s comments can be seen from 42:58 to 44:08 in the following Deutsche Welle (DW) video.
When the program asked for questions from the audience, the young man, an Australian-Israeli who was wearing his IDF uniform, stood up and said the following, in English:

My name is Shachar Berrin and my question is for Dani Dayan. It was mentioned that Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world. Other organizations and institutions put it at the mid-30s or different statistics, but it doesn’t matter. I propose that what makes a country good isn’t whether it is happy or not, it’s about the ethics and morality of the country.

When soldiers, when we, are conditioned and persuaded on a daily basis to subjugate and humiliate people and consider other human beings as less than human, I think that seeps in, and I think the soldiers, when they go home … they bring that back with them.

Former BBC journalist Tim Sebastian, who was moderating the debate, inquired if Berrin was speaking “from personal experience.” Berrin replied:

Sure. Definitely. Just the other week, when some border police soldiers were rough with some Christian tourists, another soldier of mine, a colleague, said she couldn’t believe what they were doing: “Come on, they are people, not Palestinians.” And that, I think, resonates throughout much of the soldiers in the occupied territories.

I personally serve in the Jordan Valley, and we can see it every day how soldiers talk about what they’re doing, how they act, how they look at these people not as other human beings, not as someone who is equal, but as someone who is less than them.

And to think that, oh no, we can just leave that racism there, we can leave that xenophobia, they will only be racist, they will only humiliate Palestinians, of course not. What this motion [“The occupation is destroying Israel”] is is how it will affect Israel. They will bring it back to Israel.

A few weeks ago there was a border police soldier who was caught on camera beating up an Ethiopian Israeli in uniform. To say that we can just leave this all behind, is nonsense I think. I think that once you are conditioned to think something, you bring it back with you and that it deeply affects Israeli society and causes it, as our president says, to be more racist.

Dayan and the audience immediately accused Berrin, who was born in Israel, of being a liar and a “jobnik” (a derogatory Hebrew word for a soldier who has a desk job).

Sebastian asked, “You think he’s lying? On the basis of what? Because you don’t like it?”
Dayan replied, “I challenge him to bring one example in which a [commanding officer] gave him an order to treat Palestinians inhumanely.”

Sebastian said “You’ve never seen the reports from [the Israeli veterans organization] Breaking the Silence?”

Dayan appealed to conspiracy and claimed “Breaking the Silence is also one of those groups that are part of an orchestrated effort against Israel.”

A Breaking the Silence report, issued three weeks ago and based on interviews with over 60 soldiers and officers from Israel’s army, air force, and navy, found that during the Gaza onslaught last summer, IDF officers ordered soldiers to “shoot to kill” “anyone you spot that you can be positive is not the IDF,” even if they are civilians. Israeli soldiers also recalled shooting innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza because they were “bored.”

At 48:45 in the segment, Berrin returns to the mic. He speaks of Israeli soldiers’ and officers’ “general attitude of” racism toward Palestinians. He says the IDF only addresses Palestinians in “grunts, short sentences, and yelling” and that this racism “happens everywhere; I hear this from all sorts of other units.” “It’s not in isolated instances,” Berrin explains. “This is something that happens throughout the occupied territories.”

The man sitting next to Berrin is the next to speak on the program. He can be seen at 50:25 in the DW video. He corroborates Berrin’s testimony and says that, during the six months he served as an officer in the infantry of the Israeli army in the West Bank

I was a witness of systematic violence towards an unwilling population who did not want us to police them. I joined the army to protect my country, and what I found myself doing was mainly arresting Palestinian drug dealers, oppressing protesters, and being a part of a violent system.
And when the violence does reach a red line, then it is usually just covered up, and not court martialed.

Dayan interrupts to ask if the man reported the violence he observed to Israeli authorities. He replies “Yes, I reported it many times.”

After the debate ended, the producer of the TV program asked Berrin if he would like his face to be blurred in the show. He said no, insisting that he had nothing to hide.

Less than 12 hours after the filming of the show, authorities ordered Berrin to return to his base. He was tried and convicted before the episode even aired on TV.

Gideon Levy contacted the IDF for an official statement. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told him Berrin “was tried for expressing himself in the media without authority or permission, as called for by army orders.”

Levy, a leading Israeli journalist, explains:

This whole incident shows that when rapid, determined action is called for, the Israel Defense Forces knows how to act. When soldiers kill Palestinian children, the investigation is stretched out over years, gathering dust before usually going nowhere. When soldiers are filmed holding abusive slogans, or when they identify publicly with “David Hanahalawi” – the soldier from the Nahal Brigade who threatened a Palestinian youth with his rifle and roughed him up a year ago, prompting hundreds of soldiers to express solidarity with him on the social networks – no one considers putting them on trial. But if a soldier dares to attest publicly that his fellow soldiers are humiliating Palestinians, the IDF mobilizes rapidly to trample, punish and silence. That’s what happened to Shachar Berrin.

Haaretz also reports another scene witnessed by Berrin, in which an IDF commander told a soldier to “kick” Palestinian children. When she replied “I can’t kick them. They’re kids,” the officer said “So what? Every one of them will throw a Molotov cocktail at you when he grows up.” The soldier insisted “Not every one.” The commander firmly told her “Yes, every one.”

Berrin said he approached the soldier afterward and asked about the exchange. She told him “I hate Arabs, but they’re just children.”
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