Enquanto o Senado brasileiro derrubou nesta terça-feira (17), por 44 votos a 26, a decisão da Primeira Turma do Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) que havia determinado o afastamento de Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) do mandato, a boa notícia é que, enfim, está caindo a precária máscara do Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) entre diversos de seus seguidores nas redes sociais.

Historicamente atrasados no tempo pela baixa estatura intelectual, há quase três anos da existência do MBL cidadãos reacionários das mais diversas regiões do Brasil que até então atacavam ferozmente vozes progressistas que apontavam as profundas contradições e o evidente obscurantismo do movimento, passam a indignar-se e questionar seriamente os interesses por trás desses pimpolhos de péssimo nível cultural produzidos em laboratório com fins políticos bem claros, e para passar a imagem que não existe em seres reacionários: cheios de vida e de ativismo enquanto, na essência, poussum a mentalidade envelhecida e um caráter cientificamente comprovado baseado no medo, nas fobias e nos preconceitos, cujos frágeis alicerces só podem estar sustentados na mentira e nas difamações embora, é igualmente inegável, tal grupleho apenas tem encontrado guarida no vácuo escancarado por uma “esquerda” brasileira caricata, dessituada, inerte, apática, politiqueira, sisuda, cínica, mesquinha, que prima pela vulgaridade excessiva.

Desde que o Senado decidiu pela permanencia de Aécio, mergulhado em escândalos de corrupção evidenciados há muito, o silêncio quase absoluto marca as páginas do MBL nas redes sociais, seguindo sua postura diante do presidente Michel Temer, um dos políticos mais baixos e impopulares da história do Brasil, cujos índices de aprovação registram 3%, com margem de erro que pode chegar a zero. Mesma omissão claramente tendenciosa envolvendo os inúmeros casos de corrupção envolvendo o mesmo PSDB de Aécio no Estado de São Paulo, origem do grupelho, e completamente oposta às posições do MBL à época da aprovação do impedimento da ex-presidente Dilma Rousseff, e até hoje envolvendo acusações (geralmente falsas) contra “comunistas pedófilos”, “corruptos” e “terrorisstas”.

Em recente entrevista ao jornal paranaense Gazeta do Povo, questionado duas vezes do porquê não se manifestar hoje pela cassação de Temer, o líder do MBL, Kim Kataguiri, não poderia ter sido mais patético (para dizer o mínimo): em resumo, sua ideia – em nome do movimento, é claro – apontava para confiança na Justiça. E como desgraça pouca é sempre uma grande bobagem no Patropi de tantos carnavais, tal mediocridade sempre faz ressoar entusiásticos aplausos de uma plateia lotada de aloprados.

Vale notar que a “modernidade” do MBL passa por propostas, segundo seu estatuto, de que não apenas serviços públicos como o de saúde e educação formem parceria com a iniciativa privada, mas também que seja promovida competição entre as unidades públicas ao invés de educação aos profissionais com o fim – também – de conscientizá-los da fundamental importância que suas prestações de serviço exercem sobre a sociedade. Cuba, que possui a medicina mais avançada do planeta, possui sistema baseado exatamente nessa sonscientização do bem-estar coletivo e da solidariedade, enquanto a norte-americana, um dos sistemas de saúde públicos uma das mais trágicos e ede educação profundamente imbecilizador, fundamenta-se na “visão de mundo” do MBL.

Diversos seguidores do MBL em redes como Fez-Se Buque, têm questionado e até atacado verbalmente o movimento, alguns dizendo-se até “ex-seguidores”, afirmando entre tantas outras coisas:

“Se fosse do PT vcs estariam descabelando o palhaço”;

“Faz tempo que eu notei que o MBL esta comprado pelo PSDB, kd a indignacao do movimento? kd a manifestacao?”;

“Não enganam mais”;

“Estão mostrando que possuem um lado”;

“Quem os financia?”;

“E sobre o Aécio nada? Kd a indignação contra a corrupção? Vcs se venderam?”;

“Vergonha!”;

“Conversa? Só um fala… Um puta chute no saco do brasileiro hoje com o Aécio vocês colocam só uma imagem disso e dessa porcaria de homem pelado no museu um vídeo de 6 minutos, vocês estão de brincadeira né?”;

“Vocês são uns molecotes vendidos, mesmo. A indignação contra a corrupção tem endereço certo, não é mesmo? Então é isso? A preocupação de vocês agora se voltou para as exposições de museus? Sempre insisti na teoria de que vocês teriam vida curta. As pessoas que seguem a página viram em vocês uma possibilidade de mudança, mas não são trouxas, meus caros. A bandidagem escancarada que vimos hoje, merecia – se vocês não fossem uns vendidos – um estardalhaço digno de uma mobilização gigantesca! Aquela notinha ridícula deixou bem claro o lado que a banda de vocês toca. O padrinho de vocês agradece o apoio. Moleques vendidos!”;

“Os malditos do PT roubam mil reais( se bem que o PT só rouba milhões e bilhões) aí o MBL – Movimento Brasil Livre faz 300 postagens, com comentários em cada uma que ultrapassa 4 linhas. O Bandido do Aécio volta ao Senado e o máximo que o MBL – Movimento Brasil Livre faz é postar a foto, sem comentário algum. Que triste decadência”;

“Quem era o MBL! Se fosse alguém do PT, ou da esquerda que fosse derrotado hoje no senado, estariam soltando fogos. Mas é o Aécio Neves, parceiro de Temer, a quem vocês apoiam. Eu sou um idiota mesmo!”.

Diante disso tudo, o financiamento do MBL ainda é um mistério assim como a maneira que seu dinheiro é utilizado, e os próprios critérios para a escolha das lideranças. Como os guarda-costas dessa gente são muito poderosos, os donos de um poder globalmente corrupto, nada indica que algum dia virá ás claras tais questões.

O MBL é mencionado pela norte-americana Atlas Network (nome fantasia da Atlas Economic Research Foundation desde 2013):

“Muito membros do Movimento Brasil Livre têm passado pelo programa de treinamento da Atlas Network, a Academia de Liderança da Atlas (Atlas Leadership Academy), e estão agora colocando em prática [no Brasil] o que aprenderam no local onde viveram [Estados Unidos] e trabalharam.”

A Atlas Network, cujo proprietário é David Koch, magnata do petróleo estadunidense, é uma think tank especializada em fomentar a criação de outras organizações de ultradireita no mundo, com recursos obtidos com fundações parceiras nos Estados Unidos e/ou canalizados dos think tanks empresariais locais para a formação de jovens líderes, principalmente na América Latina e na Europa oriental. Koch, por sua vez, é bem conhecido em seu país pelo caráter inescrupuloso quando se trata de fazer negócios.

Reportou a jornalista Marina Amaral:

“De acordo com o formulário 990, que todas as organizações filantrópicas tem de entregar ao IRS (Receita nos EUA), a receita da Atlas em 2013 foi de US$ 11,459 milhões. Os recursos destinados para atividades fora dos Estados Unidos foram de US$ 6,1 milhões: dos quais US$ 2,8 milhões para a América Central e US$ 595 mil para a América do Sul.”

Juliano Torres, diretor executivo do Estudantes pela Liberdade (EPL), explica a relação entre o EPL e o MBL, nome criado pelo EPL a fim de e engajar nas manifestações de rua sem comprometer as organizações norte-americanas, impedidas de doar recursos para ativistas políticos segundo a lei vigente nos Estados Unidos.

“Quando teve os protestos em 2013 pelo Passe Livre, vários membros do Estudantes pela Liberdade queriam participar, só que, como a gente recebe recursos de organizações como a Atlas e a Students for Liberty, por uma questão de imposto de renda lá, eles não podem desenvolver atividades políticas. Então a gente falou: ‘Os membros do EPL podem participar como pessoas físicas, mas não como organização para evitar problemas. Aí a gente resolveu criar uma marca, não era uma organização, era só uma marca para a gente se vender nas manifestações como Movimento Brasil Livre”, afirma Torres.

Não sem motivo, enfatiza sempre Kim Kataguri, uma das lideranças do MBL: “A gente quer privatizar a Petrobras. A gente quer o Estado mínimo”.

Enfim, apenas um grande imbecil como esses bibelôs do MBL pode acreditar que o nível intelectual, engajamento cidadão ou coisa que o valha por parte dessa gente promoveu sua ascensão entre a sociedade e na própria vida política do país, como seria o caso em circunstâncias normais envolvendo qualquer movimento social que atingisse importância equivalente.

Se não bastassem os fatos, a história recente traz exemplos do quanto os podres poderes fomentam seus movimentos de estimação – e para quem ignora a história, essas organizações artificiais possuem os mesmos traços e sintomas do MBL, assim como de Movimento Endireita Brasil e Vem prá Rua, já abordados em Pravda Brasil em abril de 2016. E quem está chegando a tais conclusões agora, mesmo ignorando a história, são seus próprios seguidores diante de uma história que nunca falha.

Edu Montesanti

www.edumontesanti.skyrock.com

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Selected Articles: Weather Modification as US Military Strategy?

October 22nd, 2017 by Global Research News

Global Research brings to the attention of our readers a selection of articles on weather modification, with a view to promoting debate on a timely and important issue.

A 1996 CBC TV documentary reported on “HAARP, US military weather weapon”.

“It isn’t just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. The European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility.” (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC TV)

In 2014, the HAARP facility in Alaska was “officially” closed down.

The History Channel also produced a carefully researched documentary on Electronic Warfare.

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Is Weather Warfare a Conspiracy Theory?

By Timothy Alexander Guzman, October 21, 2017

The history of rainmaking dates back to more than 100 years ago with Charles Hatfield who taught himself the science of pluviculture (rainmaking techniques). In 1902, Hatfield created a “secret mixture of 23 chemicals” in large evaporating tanks claiming that it can induce rain. Hatfield’s techniques proved to be successful in creating storms.

Planetary Weapons and Military Weather Modification: Chemtrails, Atmospheric Geoengineering and Environmental Warfare

By Rady Ananda, October 19, 2017

Operation Popeye, ran from 1967 through 1972 in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. By seeding clouds, the US military caused torrential downpours that inhibited enemy truck and troop movements. Initially exposed by investigative journalist Jack Anderson, the existence of the project was later corroborated in The Pentagon Papers.

The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction: “Owning the Weather” for Military Use

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 09, 2017

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

climatechange2

Climate Change, Geoengineering and Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD)

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, November 30 2015

Discussion of ENMOD is taboo. It is an unspoken truth. Scientists dare not address it as part of the debate on climate change. ENMOD technologies not only exist, they are fully operational. Confirmed by US military documents, a typhoon, a tsunami or an earthquake can be triggered by the use of ENMOD technologies.

CIA Looking Into Weather Modification as a Form of Warfare

By Washington’s Blog, February 19, 2015

The Telegraph reported in 2011 that Abu Dhabi ‘creates man-made rainstorms’ by “using giant ionisers, shaped like giant lampshades, to generate fields of negatively charged particles, which create cloud formation.” “There are many applications,” Professor Hartmut Grassl, a former institute director, is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. “One is getting water into a dry area. Maybe this is a most important point for mankind.”

HAARP: Secret Weapon Used For Weather Modification, Electromagnetic Warfare

By Fred Burks, January 18, 2015

HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a little-known, yet a critically important U.S. military defense program which has generated quite a bit of controversy over the years in certain circles. Though denied by HAARP officials, some respected researchers allege that secret electromagnetic warfare capabilities of HAARP are designed to forward the US military’s stated goal of achieving full-spectrum dominance by the year 2020. Others go so far as to claim that HAARP can and has been used for weather modification, to cause earthquakes and tsunamis, to disrupt global communications systems, and more.

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Raqqa will be part of a decentralized federal Syria after the city has been freed from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the US-backed militias that captured it said on Friday.

The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the people of the majority Arab city and surrounding province would decide their own future “within the framework of a decentralized, federal, democratic Syria,” Reuters reports. In a declaration announcing Raqqa’s liberation after four months of battles, the SDF pledged “to protect the frontiers of the province against all external threats,” and to hand control to a civil council.

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Madrid Imposes Direct Rule Over Catalonia

October 22nd, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

As expected, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy suspended Catalan self-governance after a Saturday morning cabinet meeting.

A regime statement said

“(a)t an emergency meeting on Saturday, the cabinet will approve measures to be put before the senate to protect the general interest of Spaniards, including the citizens of Catalonia, and to restore constitutional order in the autonomous community.”

It criticized Catalan officials for “deliberately and systematically seeking institutional confrontation, despite the serious damage it is causing to coexistence and Catalonia’s economy.”

Ahead of Saturday’s action, a regime spokesman lied, claiming Catalan autonomy won’t be suspended.

Its officials will be replaced by Madrid “administrators,” its powers stripped once Rajoy’s-controlled Senate ratifies his diktat next week – despotically usurping power over Catalan self-governance.

He called for snap elections “in a maximum of six months.” President Puigdemont alone has this authority, stripped from him once Madrid’s Senate acts.

Puigdemont, Vice President Oriol Junqueras, and 12 Catalan ministers will be dismissed, Rajoy usurping power over the region, intending elections “as soon as institutional normality is restored,” he said, turning truth on its head adding:

“The Catalan self-rule is not suspended, but its legality is being restored” – by despotically replacing it with Madrid rule until snap elections install regime puppet governance to do its bidding.

Measures to be imposed also apply to Catalan parliamentarians, its legislative powers stripped.

Actions they wish to vote on require approval from a “designated” Madrid official. Catalan public radio and television are affected, their programming requiring permission from Rajoy appointed “administrators.”

Catalan Vice President Junqueras urged independence supporters to rally later on Saturday in Barcelona “against totalitarianism,” tweeting:

“Today more than ever, let’s defend democracy and civil and political rights.”

Puigdemont is expected to address the rally. Earlier he vowed to formally declare independence if Madrid imposed rule over the region.

Spain’s opposition PODEMOS party called for Rajoy’s ouster. Spaniards are ill-served by his repressive government.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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Great Powers and Global Politics

October 22nd, 2017 by Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

Terminology

A meaning of the term Great Power(s) (GP) in global politics from the beginning of the 16th century onward refers to the most power and therefore top influential states within the system of the international relations (IR). In other words, the GP are those and only those states who are modelling global politics like Portugal, Spain, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, united Germany, the USA, the USSR, Russia or China. During the time of the Cold War (1949−1989) there were superpowers[1] as the American and the Soviet administrations referred to their own countries and even a hyperpower state – the USA, after the Cold War as it is called in the academic literature.[2] A focal characteristic of any GP is to promulgate its own national (state’s) interest within a global (up to the 20th century European) scope by applying a „forward“ policy.

A term global politics (or world politics) is related to the IR which are of the worldwide nature or to the politics of one or more actors who are having global impact, influence and importance. Therefore, global politics can be understood as political relations between all kinds of actors in the politics, either non-state actors or sovereign states, that are of global interest. In the broadest sense, global politics is a synonym for global political system that is “global universe of actors such as nation-states, international organizations, and transnational corporations and the sum of their relationships and interactions“.[3]

Characteristics

Originally, in the 18th century, the term GP was related to any European state that was, in essence, a sovereign or independent. In practice, it meant, only those states that were able to independently defend themselves from the aggression launched by another state or group of states. Nevertheless, after the WWII, the term GP is applied to the countries that are regarded to be of the most powerful position within the global system of IR. Those countries are only countries whose foreign policy is “forward“ policy and therefore the states like Brasil, Germany or Japan, who have significant economic might, are not considered today to be the members of the GP bloc for the only reason as they lack both political will and the military potential for the GP status.[4]

One of the fundamental characteristics and historical features of any member state of the GP club was, is and will be to behave on the international arena according to its own adopted geopolitical concept(s) and aim(s). In other words, the leading modern and postmodern nation-states are “geopolitically“ acting in the global politics that makes a crucial difference between them and all other states. According to the realist viewpoint, global or world politics is nothing else than a struggle for power and supremacy between the states on different levels as the regional, continental, intercontinental or global (universal). Therefore, the governments of the states are forced to remain informed upon the efforts and politics of other states, or eventually other political actors, for the sake, if necessary, to acquire extra power (weapons, etc.) which are supposed to protect their own national security (Iran) or even survival on the political map of the world (North Korea) by potential aggressor (the USA).

Competing for supremacy and protecting the national security, the national states will usually opt for the policy of balancing one another’s power by different means like creating or joining military-political blocs or increasing their own military capacity. Subsequently, global politics is nothing else but just eternal struggle for power and supremacy in order to protect self-proclaimed national interest and security of the major states or the GP.[5] As the major states regard the issue of power distribution to be fundamental in international relations and as they act in accordance to the relative power that they have, the factors of internal influence to states, like type of political government or economic order, have no strong impact on foreign policy and international relations. In other words, it is of „genetic nature“ of the GP to struggle for supremacy and hegemony regardless on their inner construction and features. It is the same „natural law“ either for democracies or totalitarian types of government or liberal (free-market) and command (centralized) economies.

Categorization

Power differs very much from one state to another likewise of the same state from historic perspective. Generally, the most powerful states enjoy and the most influential impact on international affairs either regional or global and control the majority of the power resources in the world. In practice, only several states have any real influence on global IR while the other states can have an influence just beyond their immediate locality. These two categories of states are named as the GP and the Middle Powers (MP) in the international system of intra-state relations.[6] A status of the GP can be formally given and to some supranational structures like in the 19th century to the Concert of Europe or in the 20th century to the UNO, the NATO or the Warsaw Pact.

Nevertheless, the fundametal division of the world states according to their impact on global affairs is just into two basic categories:

  1. The category of the GP (several top-powerful states).
  2. The category of non-GP (MP and low- or non-influential states).

A GP state is such state that is considered to be a member of the most powerful and influential group of states in a hierarchical order of the world state-system. Today, this term is related to the state that is regarded to be among the most powerful states in the global political system.[7]

The most problematic issue in categorization of the states within the world state-system is applied criteria. Nevertheless, the criteria which define one state to be or not to be a great power is usually, at least from the academic point of view, of the following basic ten-point conditions:

  1. A GP state is such state that is on the top-rank level of military power, having the real capacity to protect and maintain its own security and to influence the politics of other states or other actors in international relations.
  2. A GP state is a state that can be defeated militarily only by another member of GP club or by alliance of some of the states coming from this club.
  3. A GP state is from the economic perspective a powerful state. This condition is a necessary but, however, in some cases (like today Japan or the USA at the time of its isolationist period of foreign policy) is not and sufficient condition for the GP status. This is a quantitative condition for the status of a GP. The other quantitative conditions are certain level of GDP, GNP or GNI[8] or the size of its armed forces. The economic conditions can be and of qualitative nature like a high level of industrialization or the capability to make and to use nuclear weapons.
  4. A GP state has rather global, but not merely regional or continental, spheres of influence and interest. It means that a GP is such state that possesses, exercises as well as defends its own whatever interest throughout the globe.
  5. A GP state has to be at the front rank in regard to its military power and therefore it has to enjoy both certain privileges and duties dealing with global peace and international security.
  6. What is probably the most important, a GP state adopt and apply a “forward“ foreign policy having rather actual but not only potential impact on international affairs and other states or group of them. It practically means that a GP state can not adopt a foreign policy of isolationism.[9]
  7. The members of the GP club tend to share a global outlook that is founded on their own national interests far from their homes.
  8. The GP have strongest military forces and strongest economies to support their GP status.[10]
  9. The GP cannot easily lost its status in IR even after heavy military defeat due to its size, manpower and long-term economic potentials.
  10. The GP form alliances with smaller and weaker client (quisling) states.[11]

A GP status to some state can be and formally recognized by the international community as it was the case by the League of Nations in the interwar time or by the United Nations Organization (UNO) after the WWII up today (five veto-rights permanent member states of the Security Council – China, Russia, France, the USA and the United Kingdom). A GP status of these five “extraordinary“ members of the UNSC is guaranteed by their practice of unanimity. In other words, a concept of the GP unanimity holds that on all resolutions and/or proposals before the UNSC, a veto by any one of these five (privileged) states can be used that practically means that one GP state can block further work of the UNSC on certain issue.[12] Undoubtedly, one of the critical features of any GP state is its power projection that is a considerable influence, by force or not, beyond state’s borders, i.e. abroad, that less powerful countries could not match (for instance, the NATO military aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 conducted in fact by the USA).

The GP states are inter-connected within a Great-Power System that is the set of special relationships between and among this privileged club of the post powerful global actors in IR. Those special relations are conducted by their own rules and patterns of interaction as the GP have very extraordinary way of behaving and treating each other. This special way is, however, not applied to other states or other actors in global politics and system of IR.

History

Historically, a time of the GP started in the 18th century when five European strongest states (the United Kingdom, France, Prussia, the Habsburg Monarchy and Russia) were competing against one another. Until the WWI the GP club was exclusively reserved for the European states[13] while after 1918 two non-European states joined this club – the USA and Japan. China became after the Cold War strongly incorporated into the concert of global GP. The existence of a GP system requires that the international system of foreign affairs has to be of a multipolar nature that actually means to be composed at least by three major actors in international politics. A GP state can not be dependent on other state for security issue and it has to be militarily and economically stronger than other countries who are not members of a GP system of states. In fact, a security issue of those other states depends on one or more GP states.

In addition, those other states are also usually depended politically, financially and economically on one or more GP states. The security calculations of a GP state can be threatened only by other GP member state(s) who can challenge it politically and/or militarily. It is generally understood that to play a role of a GP, one state needs a large territory and population followed by well organized army and military system that is not possible without a strong, functional and above all a successful economy.

A historical experience shows clearly that to possess only one out of all necessary GP attributes means that the state cannot maintain its influence on the international arena for some very longer period of time. That is now exactly, for instance, the case of decreasing international influence and domestic power by the USA. Sweden lost its status of a major European power in the 18th century mainly due to its small number of population or Holland in the 17th century primarily due to its  smaller territory in comparison to neighboring France followed by English supremacy in oversea trade. Contrary, a state which is possessing all of the necessary factors of GP is in a real position to successfully exercise its own political and other influences on the others for a longer period of time. The process of passing from regional isolation to the status of European GP can be well seen on the example of the Russian Empire in the 18th century. The country was at the beginning of the century isolated and underdeveloped but due to a general progress during the whole century Russia was finally in 1792 by the Jassi Peace Treaty with the Ottoman Sultanate and in 1795 by the Third division of Poland-Lithuania recognized by the other European GP as a member of their club. As a consequence, Russia was in the following period from 1798 to 1815 directly involved in the games of European GP regarding the confrontation of the French Revolution and revolutionary armies of Napoléon Bonaparte.[14]

Nevertheless, as the 18th century was progressing, Russia was becoming gradually more stronger and influential in the international relations due to three crucial factors: a size of the land, its huge population and reach natural resources. All of these factors directly participated to the process of creation of the mighty Russian military land-force which became in 1815 strongest in continental Europe. In this year the Russian army entered Paris by crossing the whole Europe and winning battles from Leipzig (1813) to Waterloo (1815).

Contrary to the Russian case, the United Kingdom at the end of the same century became a global GP mainly due to its powerful navy[15] that was backed by its strong economy which was very much founded on direct exploitation of the British oversea colonies. In the next century, the Brits succeeded to establish an extensive oversea empire and to became a major player in the world politics at the time of Queen Victoria[16] but very much due to their geopolitical position as an „island nation“ whose security and colonial expansion was well protected by a powerful Royal Navy that was practically playing the role of protection wall around the United Kingdom.

Several theories of the Cold War argue, like the so-called “Freezer Theory“ for instance, that during that historical period of time both domestic and international conflicts were the products of the superpower competition in global politics. However, when the competition ended in 1989, the local and/or regional histories absorbed these conflicts where they became left transforming themselves into the territorial disputes, conflicts and open wars between the regional powers for the sake to settle historical accounts. Probably the best examples are the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh, destruction of ex-Yugoslavia, the conflicts over South Ossethia and Abkhazia or the Ukrainian crisis. All of those conflicts from the Adriatic to the Caucasus have been at the same time both the destabilizing factors of and challenge for the European integration and continental security.[17] For the realists, post-Cold War conflicts in a new power context is simply returning back of the international relations to the normal geopolitical reality of global politics as inescapable power policy. International system once again after the Cold War became the GP state system based on the “Westphalian Order“ as the states of the GP bloc are still the key factors and actors in both their own domestic areas and international politics as it was the case from 1648 to 1945.

Zero-Sum Game

The primary organizing principle of IR and global politics once again became after 1989 the “sacrosanct“ principle of a state sovereignty[18] that is only valid for the GP but not for the ordinary states (“small fishes“) like for Serbia in 1999 or Libya in 2011. State-centric model of the international politics that is currently on global politics’ agenda is known in theory as “Billiard Ball Model“ which suggests that states, at least those having a rank of the GP, are as billiard (snooker) balls impermeable and self-contained actors. The model tells that the GP influence each other through external pressure either by diplomacy or direct military action. The survival is the prime concern of any state but struggling for power on global scene is the concern of only those states which are considered to be the GP. The “Billiard Ball Model“ of global politics has two fundamental implications:

  1. Clear difference between domestic and international politics.
  2. Conflict and cooperation in global politics is primarily determine by the distribution of economic, political and military power among states.[19]

The crucial characteristics of contemporary GP state are:

  1. To maintain order and carrying out regulations within its own borders only by itself without interference from outside (ex. Russia and the Chechen rebels in the 1990s) that is a focal feature of a real sovereignty status.[20]
  2. To promulgate its own policy of interest in international relations by all „allowed“ means that is proving a real GP status in IR.

Therefore, it is in essence unavoidable that the state-system of international policy and relations is operating in a context of anarchy what means that external politics operates as an international “state of nature“.

A basic principle of any GP state is the principle of self-help that means as possible as a reliance on inner resources which are understood as the crucial reason that state prioritize survival and security from the outside world.

Therefore, the establishment and exploitation of all kinds of colonies or/and territorial expansion of the motherland in order to obtain natural resources, labor force, market or better security conditions are seen as quite necessary imperialistic practice. If the GP state is unable to establish its own global, continental or regional hegemony, it seeks to activate a concept of balance of power that is a condition in which no one state has a predominance over others at the same time tending to create general equilibrium and prevent the hegemonic ambitions of other states.

Nevertheless, in the case that IR of the GP work on the background of a self-help principle, the power-seeking inclination of one state is a result of competing tendencies in other state(s). That is exactly how we can explain the reason of the policy of Russia’s economic, military and political inclination on the global level during the presidency of Vladimir Putin as an atavistic reaction to the US unscrupulous and Russophobic policy of a global hyper-hegemony in the 1990s after the dissolution of the USSR and disappearance of the Cold War’s bipolar world.[21] Unfortunately, most often, in such cases of the IR system, conflicts and even direct wars are inevitable between the GP as the examples of both world wars are clearly manifesting.

One of the fundamental rules of the realistic view of global politics and foreign affairs is that any gain, especially territorial, by one state or side is equivalent to the loss by another competition state or enemy bloc. This is the so-called “Zero-Sum Game“ as it is added the winner’s gains and the loser’s losses the total equals zero. That was the case, for instance, with Kosovo independence in 2008 (the US victory and Russia’s loss) related to Crimean reintegration into Russia in 2014 (Russian gain and the US/NATO/EU defeat).

Nevertheless, in a global struggle for power, Realpolitik [22] is an unavoidable instrument for realisation of national goals what means that the use of power, even in the most brutal way, is quite necessary and understandable as it is an optimal mean to accomplish foreign policy’s aims. That was, for instance, clearly expressed in 1999 during the NATO aggression on Serbia and Montenegro (from 24th of March to 10th of June).

Future

All the post-Cold War American imperialistic wars of aggression had the same formal ideological justification which was composed by mixture of elements drawn from the Cold War time (“Communist violations of human rights“) and after that. The cliché was and still is that the US as a leader of a “liberal democratic world“ is fighting against “new Hitlers“ and all other “dictators“ and “butchers“ (from S. Hussein to V. Putin) for the sake to “liberate“ the rest of the world that cannot progress under such monstrous rulers.[23] A regional variations of the US imperialism policy explanations after 1945 are visible as, for instance, in the case of the Latin America (“Wars against Drugs“) or in the case of the Middle East and Arab/Muslim world in general (“War on Terror“).

Such US foreign policy, however, created many ambivalent attitudes towards the American empire by many states, movements, parties or individuals around the world including and existing feelings of embarrassment that other GP have to be essentially dependent on the USA. For instance, many Europeans are convinced that the US cannot any more act in global policy like it was at the time of the Cold War as it has to closely operate with the others. Today, it seems to be unlikely that the US will be able to keep its post-Cold War status of a hyperpower and global policeman. Surely, other GP will became more stronger and influential in IR and global politics primarily China and Russia. It only remains to be seen whether they will co-operate or not in ways that promote or undermine world order.

This article was originally published by The Global Politics where all images were sourced.

Feature image: Source: One World of Nations

Sources

Alan Isaacs et al (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of World History, Oxford−New York: 2001.

Andrew Heywood, Global Politics, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Bear F. Braumoeller, The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Georges Castellan, History of the Balkans From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Jeffrey Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics, New York: Routledge, 2013.

Joshua S. Goldstein, International Relations, Fifth edition, New York: Longman, 2003.

Martin Griffiths, Terry O’Callaghan, Steven C. Roach, International Relations: The Key Concepts, Second edition, London−New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.

Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Second edition, New York: Humanity Books, 1983.

Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1987.

Richard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2012.

Stefano Bianchini (ed.), From the Adriatic to the Caucasus. The Dynamics of (De)Stabilization, Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2001.

Steven L. Spiegel et al, World Politics in a New Era, Third edition, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004.

Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, Steve Smith (eds.), International Relations Theories. Discipline and Diversity, Third edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Vladan Dinić, Tito (ni)je TITO: Konačna istina, Beograd: Novmark, 2013.

Zbignew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York: Basic Books, 1997.

Иванка Ћуковић Ковачевић, Историја Енглеске. Кратак преглед, Београд: Научна књига, 1991.

Перо Симић, Звонимир Деспот (уредници), Тито: Строго поверљиво. Архивски документи, Службени гласник: Београд, 2010.

Перо Симић, Тито: Феномен 20. века, Треће допуњено издање, Службени гласник: Београд, 2011.

Славољуб Шушић, Пробни камен за Европу. Војно-политички коментари, Београд: Војна књига, 1999.

Notes

[1] The term superpower was originally coined by William Fox in 1944 for whom such state has to possess great power followed by great mobility of power. At that time, he argued that there were only three superpower states in the world: the USA, the USSR and the UK (the “Big Three”). As such, they fixed the conditions of Nazi Germany’s surrender, took the focal role in the establishing of the UNO and were mostly responsible for the international security immediately after the WWII (Martin Griffiths, Terry O’Callaghan, Steven C. Roach, International Relations: The Key Concepts, Second edition, London−New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008, 305).

[2] China, with its enormous economic and man-power potentials followed by its rising military capability, will soon emerge as the most influential GP in global politics overtaking a role of a sole hyperpower from the USA. The 21st century is already a century of China but not of the USA as it was the 20th century.

[3] Richard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2012, 577.

[4] Israel is the only exception from this definition as this state has as its “West Bank” the USA. In other words, when we speak about the USA in IR, we speak de facto about Israel and the Zionist loby in the USA.

[5] The European Union (the EU, est. 1992/1993) with its central motor, the French-German axis, became a new GP in global politics. Therefore, the USA is not anymore in a position to dictate and implement global policies like at the time of the Cold War. After the creation of the EU, the US administration seeks a multilateral action with the EU in several hot-spot areas of the conflics in Europe as ex-Yugoslavia or Ukraine.

[6] Today, a formal GP status have the USA, Russia, China, France and Britain and MP status arguably have Canada, Italy, Brasil, Japan, Germany, Argentina, Turkey, India and/or Iran. However, if we consider the USA as a West Bank of Israel then the later is the only hyperpower in the world.

[7] Richard W. Mansbach, Kirsten L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, Second edition, London−New York: Routledge, 2012, 578.

[8] Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total sum of goods and services that is produced by one state in a given year but not including goods and services that are produced abroad by domestic individuals or companies. Gross national product (GNP) is a total value of all goods and services produced by a country in a year, whether within the state’s borders or abroad. Gross national income (GNI) is measuring the market value of goods and services which are produced during a certain time period (usually within one calender year) and provides an estimate of a state’s total agricultural, industrial and commercial output.

[9] Martin Griffiths, Terry O’Callaghan, Steven C. Roach, International Relations: The Key Concepts, Second edition, London−New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008, 134−135; Andrew Heywood, Global Politics, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 7. On the GP, see more in (Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1987). On the historical role of the GP in international relations, see in (Bear F. Braumoeller, The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

[10] However, their strongest economic status is guaranted by combination of several inter-related factors: 1. Their large population, 2. Rich natural resources, 3. Most advanced technology, and 4. Highly educated labor force (Joshua S. Goldstein, International Relations, Fifth edition, New York: Longman, 2003, 95).

[11] In the Ancient World two the most prominent examples of client-system alliances have been Athens-led Arhe and Sparta-led Peloponnesian Alliance. These two political-military alliances fought the Peloponnesian War from 431 to 404 with the final victory of Sparta with crucial support by Persia (Alan Isaacs et al (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of World History, Oxford−New York: 2001, 486). In the contemporary history two the most prominent formal alliances to dominate the international security scene were the US-led NATO (est. 1949) and the USSR-led Warsaw Pact (est. 1955) during the Cold War. The NATO was a clear expression of the American post-WWII global imperialism when the US had “more than 300.000 troops in Europe, with advanced planes, tanks, and other equipment” (Joshua S. Goldstein, International Relations, Fifth edition, New York: Longman, 2003, 105). Its imperialistic role continued and after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 and the formal, but not essential, end of the Cold War.

[12] Steven L. Spiegel et al, World Politics in a New Era, Third edition, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004, 696.

[13] Italy and Germany became the members of the GP system after their unifications in 1861, 1871 respectively.

[14] Georges Castellan, History of the Balkans From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 213.

[15] On the British navy, see in (Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Second edition, New York: Humanity Books, 1983).

[16] Иванка Ћуковић Ковачевић, Историја Енглеске. Кратак преглед, Београд: Научна књига, 1991, 64; Alan Isaacs et al (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of World History, Oxford−New York: 2001, 646−647.

[17] On this issue, see more in (Славољуб Шушић, Пробни камен за Европу. Војно-политички коментари, Београд: Војна књига, 1999; Stefano Bianchini (ed.), From the Adriatic to the Caucasus. The Dynamics of (De)Stabilization, Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2001).

[18] A concept of sovereignty refers to a status of legal autonomy (independence) that is enjoyed by states what means in practice that the government has a sole authority within its borders and enjoys the rights of the membership of the international political community. Therefore, the terms sovereignty, autonomy and independence can be used as the synonyms.

[19] Andrew Heywood, Global Politics, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 6, 7f, 113, 215.

[20] The Chechen Wars in the 1990s were inspired by the Islamic religious nationalism and separatism by the Chechen extremists and have been the first serious post-Cold War test for Russia to prove or not her status of the GP in the new world order created and dictated by the US. Religius nationalism is a political doctrine in which religion and nationalism have synonymous relationship (Jeffrey Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics, New York: Routledge, 2013, 52).

[21] An ideological architect of the post-Cold War US hyper-dominance in global politics was an US extreme Russophobe Zbignew Brzezinski who is of the Jewish origin from Poland (Zbignew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York: Basic Books, 1997). His doctrinal ideology of the US global hyper-dominance became the foundation of “Clinton Doctrine” that is the US foreign policy initiative under the Presidency of Bill Clinton (1993−2001), to promote democracy and human rights by using diplomatic means but in fact military aggressions, bombing (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999), “coloured revolutions” (Serbia in October 2000) and all other non-democratic means in order to accomplish the crucial Washington’s political goal – global dominance.

[22] This is a German term that became widespread from the time of the German Chancellor (PM) Otto von Bismarck. The term means in IR studies a cold calculation of state’s national interests regardless on the human or moral aspects of its realization. The term is usually understood as a core essence of Realism theories on global politics based on “ruthlessness” (Jeffrey Haynes, Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Lloyd Pettiford, World Politics, New York: Routledge, 2013, 713). Realism is a political view which operates with power as the fundamental point of politics claiming, therefore, that the international politics is in essence power politics behind which is a principle of Realpolitik. The advocates of Realism argue that international politics is a struggle for power for the sake to deny other states the capacity to dominate. Subsequently, a balancing of power became a central concept in IR developed by the realists. If there is a single world hegemon, global politics is going to be just a struggle between the GP in seeking both political, military, economic, financial, etc. domination and preventing other states or actors from dominating (Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, Steve Smith (eds.), International Relations Theories. Discipline and Diversity, Third edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 59−93).

[23] Such cliché was used during the Cold War, for instance, against the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (President of Egypt in 1956−1970) but not against the Yugoslav real dictator and the “Butcher of the Serbs” of the Croat-Slovenian origin, Josip Broz Tito (dictator of Yugoslavia in 1945−1980). The reason for such US policy on J. B. Tito was that he became the US client politician, as many dictators all over the world, after 1948 and therefore was simply “intangible” in home affairs. On J. B. Tito biography, see in (Перо Симић, Звонимир Деспот (уредници), Тито: Строго поверљиво. Архивски документи, Службени гласник: Београд, 2010; Перо Симић, Тито:Феномен 20. века, Треће допуњено издање, Службени гласник: Београд, 2011; Vladan Dinić, Tito (ni)je TITO: Konačna istina, Beograd: Novmark, 2013).

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu just went on his first-ever visit to “Israel”.

Although serving in his capacity as Russia’s top military leader for almost five years now, Shoigu hadn’t once set foot in “Israel” until now. He arrived on the same day that a Syrian anti-aircraft missile system was reportedly destroyed by the “Israeli Air Force” after it targeted a jet that Tel Aviv alleges was flying over Lebanon on a “reconnaissance mission” but which Damascus said had strayed into Syrian airspace, causing some commentators to wonder whether this unexpected development would interfere with his visit. That wasn’t at all the case, however, since despite the standard generic statements that each side released after the trip was concluded, it can be confidently presumed that this visit was actually an astounding success and one of the most pivotal moments in their bilateral relationship because of the important context in which it occurred.

Russia has never stopped “Israel” from bombing any targets in Syria because of the 2015 military coordination agreement that the two sides signed just immediately before Moscow’s decisive anti-terrorist intervention in the country. Russia’s military mandate is only to fight against terrorist groups in the Arab Republic, not protect the Syrian Arab Army, but Moscow and Tel Aviv wanted to reduce the chances of any unintended clash between the two armed forces as they carried out their separate missions in the country, hence why they promulgated the aforesaid agreement. Aside from this particular instance where Tel Aviv blames Damascus for firing at it first, “Israel” usually conducts its strikes on the grounds that it’s “targeting Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)”.

This brings to mind the other reason behind Shoigu’s visit, and that’s to reassure “Israel” that the “de-escalation zone” in the country’s south won’t lead to a clandestine buildup of these two Tehran-backed forces along Syria’s border with the “Israeli”-occupied Golan Heights. To that end, Russia also needs to explain to “Israel” how its “Ummah Pivot” isn’t directed against Tel Aviv’s interests but could actually be in support of them so long as “Israel” agrees not to undermine Moscow’s meticulous balancing strategy in the Mideast. It certainly helps that President Putin and “Prime Minister” Netanyahu are very close friends and have already met on six occasions over the past two years alone, though International Relations isn’t built solely on personal trust but tangible guarantees, which is why Tel Aviv probably asked Moscow to take steps to limit the post-Daesh influence of Hezbollah and the IRGC in Syria.

In exchange, “Israel” could go along with Russia’s grand strategic plan to manage the Mideast in its quest to become the supreme balancing force in the Eurasian supercontinent, but Moscow absolutely cannot achieve its envisioned 21st-century role for itself without having excellent relations with Tel Aviv first. It might take some time to see the tangible dividends of this visit, but knowing the style with which Russian-“Israeli” relations have been developing over the past couple of years, the outcome of this high-profile trip will probably manifest itself through tacitly coordinated actions in the future instead of grandiose statements in the present.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Oct 20, 2017:

 

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare.

Featured image is from the author.

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Featured image: Governor Greg Abbott (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Israel’s sinister influence over US policy extends to tiny Dickenson, TX, population around 19,000, ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, residents needing help.

Getting any requires certifying in writing the following on signed applications:

“(T)he Applicant verifies that the Applicant:

(1) does not boycott Israel; and

(2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

Recently passed Texas law requires state contractors to certify no opposition to Israel. At a signing ceremony, Governor Greg Abbott called Texas Israel’s “No. 1 trading partner in the United States,” adding:

“Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and we will continue to build on our historic partnership…Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.”

Earlier Supreme Court decisions affirmed the right of free expression, including political speech and protests, protected by the First Amendment.

Federal, state and local governments are prohibited from requiring individuals to certify political beliefs for employment, contracts or other benefits.

ACLU Texas legal director Andre Segura explained

“(t)he First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression.”

“Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths, requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”

On October 11, the ACLU filed suit in federal court, challenging a Kansas law on behalf of math teacher Esther Koontz – denied the right to train other teachers for supporting BDS, her constitutional right.

Last July, the ACLU wrote congressional members, opposing legislation criminalizing boycotts of companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements.

The unconstitutional House and Senate Israel Anti-Boycott Act aims to silence criticism of Israel. The Center for Constitutional Rights earlier called criminalizing criticism of Israel “the Palestinian Exception” to fundamental First Amendment rights.

House and Senate versions of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act call for stiff fines and imprisonment for up to 20 years – the measure not yet passed, subject to revisions.

The ACLU said its letter to congressional members got Senate sponsors of the bill to consider changes.

If passed and signed into law by Trump, a judicial challenge could get it overturned – though anything supporting Israel won’t be easily changed, perhaps not even by the Supreme Court.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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An NGO called the European Values Think-Tank has published a report on RT featuring an extensive list of US and European public figures who have been accused of “undermining western democracy” just by appearing in RT shows.

The report, claiming to be an “overview of RT’s editorial strategy and evidence of impact,”  comes with an Excel list of 2,327 people who have appeared on RT over the last four years. The names are carefully arranged in seven categories, including US politicians, UK politicians, European politicians and so on, and are arranged in alphabetical order. The list mentions the shows the guests appeared on, the total number of their appearances, and gives hyperlinks to all the relevant episodes.

The report states that appearing on the network is counterproductive and makes the guest a “useful idiot” to a “hostile foreign power.”Expressing one’s opinion on RT is considered by the NGO as equivalent to “complicity with the Russian propaganda machine.”

Although the list looks like a really thorough effort at cataloguing all of the RT guests, it’s got a number of strikingly weird blunders. For example, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is there, but only the link attached leads to a satirical show featuring someone impersonating him. Meanwhile, US Senator John McCain’s daughter is mistaken for the senator himself and “Politicking with Larry King” is unexpectedly referred to as “Politicking with Larry David.”

The report generally claims that RT is “an instrument of hostile foreign influence,” which has the sole purpose of “undermining public confidence in the viability of liberal democracy.”

It repeatedly discourages any public figures from potentially appearing on any of RT’s shows in the future, as those on the list are accused of boosting RT’s “credibility as a legitimate news network.”

The report asserts the opposite in no uncertain terms. It constantly describes RT as the “Kremlin’s mouthpiece” tasked with no less than destroying the western civilization and society from within.

It does not mince words calling RT “a second-rate news network with an abysmal reputation and dubious audience numbers” as well as “the Russian propaganda machine” and a “disinformation tool.”

However, it eventually gets so much enmeshed in its own allegations that it starts to contradict itself. The paper claims that RT’s influence on its western audiences ranges from “minimal to modest,” yet almost immediately says that the news network’s “specific effects” on its viewers “should be a research priority for all organizations and governments interested in countering the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.”

It further says that Russia’s “disinformation campaign,” which includes RT’s activities, poses a “security hazard” that “should not be taken lightly,” and adds at the same time that it is “imperative” not to “overinflate” the threat of RT.

The report was prepared by Monika Richter, who is described as an analyst at the European Values Think-Tank who works specifically for the “Kremlin Watch Program” – a project aimed at “exposing and confronting instruments of Russian influence and disinformation operations focused against Western democracies.” Richter also cooperates with the Atlantic Council – a US-based think tank, which is known for its staunch anti-Russian stance.

The European Values Think-Tank was founded as an NGO in 2005 and is located in the Czech Republic. It claims to be a neutral, not-for-profit organization aimed at defending democracy and not linked to any political force.

However, its annual report reveals that one-quarter of its funding comes from various governmental actors, including the US and the UK embassies, the Czech government and several EU structures, such as the European Parliament and the European Commission as well as their subordinate bodies. According to the same report, the NGO receives most of its funding from a large number of private donors. Its biggest single donor is George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, which covers almost 10 percent of its funding.

Campaign against ‘dissenting voices’

George Barda, an environmental activist and social justice campaigner, called the report “disappointing” and “a piece of propaganda.”

“The reality is that dissident voices in the UK only rarely get into the mainstream media … and RT has been the only news network providing a regular platform for them. Much of this report is incredibly disappointing and it is clearly not even pretending to give any kind of serious consideration to the other side of the argument. It is a fairly standard piece of propaganda,” he said.

“Do the author of this report and the politicians in the UK and the US really think that [such people] as Robert Kennedy Jr., Yanis Varoufakis, the former Foreign Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, or the former mayor of London are just ‘idiots’?” Afshin Rattansi, the host of RT’s “Going Underground” show said. “Of course, they are not and this is incredibly insulting,” he said, calling the report a “McCarthy atavism.”

He went on to say that the supporters of the anti-Russian campaign first criticize Moscow for allegedly censoring journalists and then suggest doing exactly the same in the West, thus revealing the inconsistency in their own views.

Rattansi also drew attention to the fact that RT’s activities have always been in line with the regulations of the UK media watchdog, Ofcom, as the news network has never been fined for any violations. So, it is only the politicians, who “clearly do not want some voices being expressed” publicly, who see some issues with RT, he added.

Luzi Stamm, an MP from the Swiss People’s Party, said that a smear campaign that the western elites wage against Russia and RT is just a part of a bigger crackdown against the “dissenting voices” inside Europe and the US.

“This recent development in Europe is relatively dangerous,” he told RT, adding that the campaign against political dissent in Europe is becoming increasingly more “aggressive” and “one of the games they [the western elites] are playing is destroying the reputation of the politicians they do not like.”

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Poland appears to have enacted a seemingly inexplicable pivot towards Turkey after President Duda welcomed his Turkish counterpart on a one-day visit to Warsaw earlier this week to attend a business forum.

This in and of itself wouldn’t be a newsworthy event except that the conservative ruling party reiterated its liberal predecessor’s support for Turkey’s admission to the EU. Many observers are struggling to understand why a staunchly right-wing European government which openly embraces its almost ethnically homogeneous country’s Christian heritage would want a majority-Muslim country nearly two times its size to join the bloc, especially considering how proud Poland is of the fact that it has yet to accept even a single forcibly relocated Muslim migrant. The apparent ideological contradiction of Poland backing Turkey’s EU bid against this contextual backdrop is obvious, but the reason behind its position is nothing more than pure pragmatism.

To explain, Poland is staking its 21st-century geostrategic future on leading a collection of Central and Eastern European states that its interwar leadership historically referred to as the “Intermarium”, and which is nowadays manifested by the 12-member “Three Seas Initiative” uniting the EU member states between the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Seas. Warsaw harbors no imperial ambitions in this regard unlike it did in the past, but instead envisions its comparatively larger demographic and economic size creating a new center of gravity in the broader region, which it hopes will allow it and its partners to more successfully push forth pro-sovereignty EuroRealist reforms in the EU and also function as a more complementary component of China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity.

Turkey fits into this geostrategic equation when it comes to China’s plans for a South Eurasian transport corridor passing through Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey en route to the EU in order to complement its northern one across Russia via the Eurasian Land Bridge project, so it’s therefore natural that Poland would seek to partner with this Silk Road anchor state. In addition, the two countries historically coordinated with one another at times in a pragmatic and Neo-Realistic manner against their shared Russian rival. In the present day, however, it’s Germany that they’re both concerned about for different reasons, and Poland would be delighted if Turkey joined the EU because this would require a fundamental restructuring of the bloc that would inevitably diminish Berlin’s domineering influence.

As for the polarizing issue of prospective Turkish Muslim migration to Poland, it’s doubtful that this demographic would go to the Central European country anyhow because there aren’t even enough jobs for native Poles there, which is why approximately 8-10% of Polish passport holders live outside of Poland. Moreover, there’s a socio-cultural tradition shared among most Poles to prioritize hiring compatriots and civilizationally similar migrants such as Ukrainians who are more likely to assimilate and integrate with the least amount of difficulty than to recruit civilizationally dissimilar foreigners such as Muslim Turks to satisfy the country’s low-wage labor demands. Both sides are aware of all these factors, so bearing everything in mind, Poland’s statement in support of Turkey’s EU membership bid is important for symbolic but also substantial reasons.

When it comes down to it, Poland is just “trolling” Germany in a sense and dispelling the false Mainstream Media narrative that Poles and their government are “Islamophobic”, but it’s also importantly demonstrating that pragmatic inter-civilizational cooperation is possible between two of Western Eurasia’s most strategic pivot states despite the complicated geopolitics of the New Cold War.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Oct 20, 2017:

 

 

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare.

Featured image is from the author.

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Draft GOP Bill in US Senate Breaches Iran Nuclear Deal

October 22nd, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

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International treaties can’t be changed without the consent of all signatories. None may legally act unilaterally, a notion the Trump administration and congressional GOP hardliners reject.

They aim to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal – a sinister plot to stoke greater Middle East turmoil than already.

Draft Legislation sponsored by GOP Senators Bob Corker and Tom Cotton adds unacceptable new requirements to the deal – a binding international agreement not subject to revision by any of its signatories, Washington one of them.

Draft GOP Senate provisions illegally prohibit flight testing, manufacture or deployment of ICBM’s capable of carrying any type warheads – including attempts to convert space-launched vehicles into ICBMs.

Also banned are any activities aiming to acquire nuclear material or equipment capable of producing it from foreign sources.

It details how Washington would freeze Iran’s “breakout timeline” to produce enough fissile material for nuclear weapons it deplores, doesn’t want, and strongly advocates a Middle East from them, Israel the region’s only armed and dangerous nuclear power.

It also demands IAEA access to any Iranian sites, including military ones – something few, if any, nations would permit, certainly not America or Israel.

Other provisions include removing so-called “sunset” clauses, lifting restrictions on some Iranian nuclear activities after 10 or 15 years.

Semi-annual reporting on Iranian compliance is required, interfering with the IAEA’s monitoring mandate. Iranian policies unrelated to the deal could be used to build an alleged case of noncompliance – no matter how untrue.

Trump wants the JCPOA illegally toughened. He threatened to pull out of the deal otherwise – more evidence America can never be trusted if he walks away from an international treaty – not the first time for the nation if happens.

Sordid US history includes many treaties and agreements Washington unilaterally violated. The JCPOA appears next in line.

On his own, Trump can’t end the deal. Ending US involvement would significantly weaken it, Congress able to renew all sanctions removed under the agreement.

Key would be if other P5+1 countries observe them. If not, the JCPOA could be saved. Otherwise, it could be rendered meaningless.

House and Senate undemocratic Dems oppose revising or weakening the JCPOA. It’s unclear how many Republicans will go along.

Senate Dems could block legislation by filibustering against it. Years of talks went into drafting the JCPOA. Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (the other P5+1 signatories) want it preserved. Iran won’t tolerate revisions.

Days earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted:

“Warmongers confess they’re more worried that we abide by #JCPOA than violate it. No spin will mask this. US should try to comply – just like us.”

Reneging on the deal would show the futility of negotiating with Washington – North Korea unlikely to accept anything US officials might propose, directly or indirectly.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Capturing the wisdom and the beauty of Donald J. Trump in just one statement escaping from his charming mouth:

“Our military has never been stronger. Each day, new equipment is delivered; new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world – the best anywhere in the world, by far.” 1

Here the man thinks that everyone will be impressed that the American military has never been stronger.

And that those who, for some unimaginable reason, are not impressed with that will at least be impressed that military equipment is being added EACH DAY. Ah yes, it’s long been a sore point with most Americans that new military equipment was being added only once a week.

And if that isn’t impressive enough, then surely the fact that the equipment is NEW will win people over. Indeed, the newness is important enough to mention twice. After all, no one likes USED military equipment.

And if newness doesn’t win everyone’s heart, then BEAUTIFUL will definitely do it. Who likes UGLY military equipment? Even the people we slaughter all over the world insist upon good-looking guns and bombs.

And the best in the world. Of course. That’s what makes us all proud to be Americans. And what makes the rest of humanity just aching with jealousy.

And in case you don’t fully appreciate that, notice that he adds that it’s the best ANYWHERE in the world.

And in case you still don’t fully appreciate that, notice that he specifies that our equipment is the best in the world BY FAR! That means that no other country is even close! Just imagine! Makes me choke up.

Lucky for the man … his seeming incapacity for moral or intellectual embarrassment.

He’s twice blessed. His fans like the idea that their president is no smarter than they are. This may well serve to get the man re-elected, as it did with George W. Bush.

The strange world of Russian trolls

Webster’s dictionary: troll – verb: To fish by running a baited line behind a moving boat; noun: A supernatural creature of Scandinavian folklore.

Russian Internet trolls are trying to stir up even more controversy over National Football League players crouching on one knee (“taking a “knee”) during the national anthem, said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), warning that the United States should expect such divisive efforts to escalate in the next election.

“We watched even this weekend,” Lankford said, “the Russians and their troll farms, and their Internet folks, start hash-tagging out ‘take a knee’ and also hash-tagging out ‘Boycott NFL’.” The Russians’ goal, he said, was “to try to raise the noise level in America to try to make a big issue, an even bigger issue as they’re trying to just push divisiveness in the country. We’ve continued to be able to see that. We will see that again in our election time.” 2

Russia “causing divisiveness” is a common theme of American politicians and media. Never explained is WHY? What does Russia have to gain by Americans being divided? Do they think the Russians are so juvenile? Or are the Americans the childish ones?

CNN on October 12 claimed that Russia uses YouTube, Tumblr and the Pokemon Go mobile game “to exploit racial tensions and sow discord among Americans,” while the Washington Post (October 12) reported that “content generated by Russian operatives was not aimed only at influencing the election. Many of the posts and ads intended to divide Americans over hot-button issues such as immigration or race.”

Imagine … the American public being divided over immigration and race … How could that be possible without Russian trolls?

The Post (October 9) reported that the Russian trolling operation resides “in a large gray building north of the St. Petersburg city center … There, young people work 12-hour shifts and make between $800 and $1,000 a month, “an attractive wage for former students and young people. It is impossible to get inside the building, and there are multiple entrances, making it hard to tell who is a troll and who is not.”

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are amongst the many Internet sites that we are told have been overrun by Russian trolls. The last named is a site that specializes in home decor, fashion and recipes. Have the Russians gone mad? Or are the American accusations the kind of stuff that is usually called – dare I say it? – “propaganda”?

“How much the trolls affected the outcome of the U.S. election is unclear,” the Post had to admit. “But their omnipresence is evident on Twitter and in the comments section of publications like the Washington Post, where trolls can be found criticizing news stories, lambasting other posters and accusing one another of being trolls.”

Are you starting to chuckle?

At one point the Post reported that Facebook “identified more than 3000 advertisements purchased in a Russian-orchestrated campaign to influence the American public’s views and exploit divisions around contentious issues.” And Congressional investigators said that some of the Facebook ad purchases had “obvious Russian fingerprints, including Russian addresses and payments made in rubles”, and that “accounts traced to a shadowy Russian Internet company had purchased at least $100,000 in ads during the 2016 election season.”

However, at other times the Post told us that Facebook had pointed out that “most of the ads made no explicit reference in favor of Trump or Clinton,” and that some ads were purchased after the election. We’ve been told, moreover, that Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos’s team “had searched extensively for evidence of foreign purchases of political advertising but had come up short.” 3

In any event, we have to wonder: What political savvy concerning American elections and voters do the Russians have that the Democratic and Republican parties don’t have?

I have read numerous references to these ads but have yet to come across a single one that quotes the exact wording of even one advertisement. Is that not odd?

To add to the oddness, in yet another Washington Post article (September 28) we are informed that “some of the ads promoted African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, while others suggested those same groups posed a growing political threat, according to people familiar with the material.”

Politico, a Democratic-Party-leaning journal, reports that Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Democrat Bernie Sanders, and Republican Donald Trump.

Who and what is behind these peculiar goings-on?

More fun and games: the Department of Homeland Security in September notified Virginia and 20 other states about Russian efforts to hack their election systems in 2016.

Earlier this year, UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson declared, apparently without embarrassment:

“We have no evidence the Russians are actually involved in trying to undermine our democratic processes at the moment. We don’t actually have that evidence. But what we do have is plenty of evidence that the Russians are capable of doing that.” 4

At a September 27 Congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray joined this proud chorus, testifying:

“One of the things we know is that the Russians and Russian state actors are trying to influence other elections in other countries.”

Mr. Wray forgot to name any of the other countries and the assembled Congressmembers forgot to ask him for any names.

Perhaps the main reason for questioning charges of Russian interference in the 2016 US election is that Russian President Putin would have been risking that the expected winner, Hillary Clinton, would have been handed a personal reason to take revenge on him and his country. But that’s just being logical and rational, two qualities Cold War II has no more use for than Cold War I did.

Know thine enemy

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency issued a report in June entitled “Russia: Military Power: Building a military to support great power aspirations”. Here’s an excerpt:

Moscow seeks to promote a multi-polar world predicated on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in other states’ internal affairs, the primacy of the United Nations, and a careful balance of power preventing one state or group of states from dominating the international order. To support these great power ambitions, Moscow has sought to build a robust military able to project power, add credibility to Russian diplomacy, and ensure that Russian interests can no longer be summarily dismissed without consequence. … Russia also has a deep and abiding distrust of U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a U.S. campaign to impose a single set of global values. 5

Great power aspirations, indeed. How dare those Russkis promote a multi-polar world, respect for state sovereignty, non-interference, the United Nations, and balance of power? It’s all straight out of Lenin’s playbook, 100th anniversary edition.

As to the US promoting democracy around the world … Oh right, that’s what the Pentagon calls Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, the Philippines, Honduras, Turkey, et al.

Like the southern gentlemen who agreed that it was right to free the slaves, but did so only in their wills

“Hypocrisy is anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.” Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer (1828-1910)

An anti-abortion congressman asked a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair to get an abortion when he thought she might be pregnant. A Pittsburgh newspaper said it had obtained text messages between Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania and Ms. Shannon Edwards, a divorcée. A message from Edwards said the congressman had “zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.” It turned out that she wasn’t pregnant.

The revelation came as the House approved Republican legislation that would make it a crime to perform an abortion after 20 weeks of fetal development. Murphy, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, and popular among anti-abortion groups, is among the bill’s co-sponsors. He subsequently announced that he will not seek re-election next year.  6

Our beloved president at one time clearly supported a woman’s right to abortion. In recent times he has once again exhibited his high (double) standards by speaking, just as clearly, against abortion.

Anti-abortion activists like to speak of saving the lives of “unborn children”, of how the fetus is fully a human being deserving of as much love and respect and legal protection as any other human being. But does anyone know cases of parents grieving over an aborted fetus the way we have often read or heard of parents, as well as their friends, grieving over the death of a three-year-old child or a teenager? Of course not. If for no other reason than the parents choose to have an abortion.

Does anyone know of a case of the parents of an aborted fetus tearfully remembering the fetus’s first words, or high school graduation or wedding or the camping trip they all took together? Or the fetus’s smile or the way it laughed? Of course not. Because the fetus is not a human being in a sufficiently meaningful physical, social, intellectual, and emotional sense. But the anti-abortion activists – often for reasons of sexual prudishness, anti-feminism, religion (the Catholic members of the Supreme Court have been very consistent in their anti-abortion votes), or other personal or political prejudices – throw a halo around the fetus, treat the needs and desires of the parents as nothingness, and damn all those who differ with them as child murderers. Unfortunately, with many of these activists, their perfect love for human beings does not extend to the human beings of Iraq or Afghanistan or any other victims of their government’s warfare.

This article was originally published by William Blum.

Notes

1. Washington Post, September 8, 2017

2. Washington Post, September 28, 2017

3. Ibid. September 18, 19, 24, and October 13, 2017

4. The Guardian (London), March 14, 2017

5. “Russia Military Power,” Defense Intelligence Agency, pages 14-15

6. Associated Press, October 4, 2017

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The two-day European Union (EU) summit of heads of state that ended yesterday in Brussels unambiguously endorsed Madrid’s plans to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, imposing a new Catalan regional government backed by Spanish police and army units.

The Catalan crisis was not formally on the summit agenda. Nonetheless, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was allowed to give an address to justify invoking Article 155, the so-called “nuclear option,” after the vicious police crackdown on the October 1 Catalan independence referendum. Rajoy’s brief for the occupation of Catalonia, based on a systematic falsification of the crisis in Spain, received the enthusiastic support of the EU’s major powers.

“Article 155 will be applied tomorrow,” Rajoy declared, effectively ruling out further talks with the Catalan government of premier Carles Puigdemont. Rajoy nonetheless proceeded to place full blame for the crisis on the supposed obstinacy of the Catalan government and of so-called “radicals” in Catalonia:

“They are the ones responsible for what is happening today. Frankly, the government of Catalonia defended its positions badly, despite the assistance they were given.”

Rajoy continued,

“We have been very cautious, we tried not to create a difficult situation, but it is hard when people liquidate the law and the rule of law … when laws are ignored and referendums are held without guarantees. We have arrived at a borderline situation. If you accept the demands of the radicals, what occurs is what is happening right now.”

Rajoy’s arguments are a pack of bald-faced lies, concocted to justify an aggressive military-police intervention in Catalonia. Madrid and the EU overwhelmingly bear responsibility for provoking this crisis, and the EU powers are backing Rajoy’s drive for a crackdown and a turn to deal with growing political opposition in the population with authoritarian measures.

The crisis provoked by the October 1 referendum is the outcome of the deep crisis of European capitalism, after nearly a decade of savage EU austerity devastated social conditions and left tens of millions of workers unemployed across the continent.

The referendum was called amid a growing conflict between Madrid and Barcelona over how to implement social cuts that the EU had negotiated with Madrid since the 2008 financial crisis. While similar Catalan referendums had been held peacefully before, as recently as November 2014, Madrid reacted violently this year. It seized ballots, tried to arrest hundreds of mayors as well as other officials, and launched a campaign of political intimidation to crush the October 1 vote.

When, on October 1, 16,000 Guardia Civil were stunned by a mass mobilization of the Catalan population to defend polling places, they responded with a brutal assault on peaceful voters. Millions of people worldwide were shocked and appalled by videos of Guardia Civil breaking into schools, kicking people sitting on the ground waiting to vote, and even attacking elderly women in a brutal onslaught that sent over 800 people to the hospital.

Despite the 90 percent vote for independence, Puigdemont suspended a declaration of independence in a speech on October 10 and has, since then, been appealing for dialogue with Madrid, to no avail. Madrid, on the other hand, has escalated the situation—shutting down Catalan web sites, arresting Catalan nationalist politicians, and threatening to impose emergency rule. This has provoked mass protests by hundreds of thousands of people in the Catalan capital, Barcelona.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Rajoy tried to downplay the dictatorial character of his policy and counteract entirely justified fears of an even bloodier crackdown to come. “Using Article 155 does not presuppose the use of force,” he claimed, adding that his government would decide on measures to be taken in joint talks with the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the right-wing Citizens party, as well as Rajoy’s own Popular Party (PP).

Rajoy made clear that, however, the Madrid ruling establishment is in fact contemplating mass repression against the Catalan population. Asked if he feared violence as on October 1, Rajoy refused to comment but handed a blank check to the police for more violence, saying:

“The security forces have the full support of Spain and its prime minister.”

Applying Article 155 entails launching a confrontation with Catalan workers and youth unprecedented since 1978 and the collapse—amid mass struggles of the working class—of the Spanish fascist regime set up by Francisco Franco. It means suspending Catalonia’s elected government and forcibly installing a new one dictated by Madrid, backed by Guardia Civil and army units. Some of the army units to be mobilized in a crackdown—motorized infantry battalions in Barcelona and Sant Climent Sescebes—have already been named in Spanish media.

With mass protests already erupting in Barcelona, Spanish media are discussing a dictatorial agenda for Madrid’s un-elected regime in Catalonia that would provoke even more opposition: austerity, shutting down Catalan public television, and removing Catalan-language items from the schools. In the Spanish security and armed forces, repression even bloodier than the October 1 crackdown is doubtless being actively planned and prepared. Madrid is also discussing invoking Article 116 and setting up a state of emergency across Spain.

A crisis with revolutionary implications is emerging in Catalonia, and in Spain and all of Europe. There is deep, historically-rooted opposition in the European working class to a return to dictatorship, and an attempt by Madrid to maintain an illegitimate stooge regime in Barcelona by mass repression would provoke enormous anger across Europe. The only way to oppose Madrid’s drive to impose dictatorial rule in Catalonia and throughout Spain is the mobilization of the working class across Europe in a politically independent, revolutionary struggle against the EU and the crackdown in Catalonia.

Arguments advanced by forces like Spain’s Podemos party, that the population can wait for the EU to intervene and peacefully resolve the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona, are false and must be rejected. In a statement for Público, the secretary of Podemos for the Madrid region, Ramón Espinar hailed “broad international consensus … on the need for mediation and dialogue” that he saw as key to resolving the crisis.

Such illusions serve no other purpose than to lull masses of people to sleep. The EU—consisting of bankrupt regimes in which the police and army play enormous roles after nearly two decades of the “war on terror” and a decade of deep austerity—is itself rapidly moving to abrogate basic democratic rights, with regimes such as the French state of emergency. It is signaling its support for the attack on the Catalan population, because it is preparing similar attacks on the working class across Europe.

The major European heads of state at the Brussels summit all backed Rajoy’s dictatorial agenda.

“We back the position of the Spanish government,” declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who later on echoed Rajoy’s calls for an outcome of the crisis “on the grounds of the Spanish constitution.”

Similarly, British Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday,

“I have spoken to Mariano Rajoy this morning as I did earlier this week and made clear that the United Kingdom’s position is very clear. We believe that people should be abiding by the rule of law and uphold the Spanish constitution.”

While Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the Catalan crisis “an internal Spanish matter,” French President Emmanuel Macron held a private meeting with Rajoy after declaring on Thursday that EU leaders would “send a message of unity around Spain.”

In an extraordinary gesture of support to Madrid, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Council President Donald Tusk, and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani all traveled to Oviedo in Spain yesterday after the summit, to attend as Spanish King Felipe VI awarded the EU a Princess of Asturias prize. They listened as the king declared that Catalonia was an “essential part” of Spain—a remark that provoked sustained applause from the audience.

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60 Parliamentarians Urge UK Government Action on Gaza Emergency

October 22nd, 2017 by Medical Aid for Palestinians

A group of 60 British MPs and Peers have this week written to Minister Alistair Burt (Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development) to call on the UK Government to take urgent action to address Gaza’s continuing humanitarian emergency.

In August, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warned of Gaza’s humanitarian emergency, amid a deepening electricity crisis, medical shortages, and increased restrictions on exit for treatment faced by patients.  In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could be unliveable by 2020. For patients now unable to access the care they need inside or get out for treatment elsewhere, Gaza is already unliveable.

In the letter sent this week, parliamentarians – many of them members of the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group – urged the UK Government to provide additional humanitarian funding to Gaza, and to “use all diplomatic means – including multilateral forums such as the UN Human Rights Council and bilateral relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority – to pursue accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory and bring an end to the closure of Gaza.”

You can read the letter in full below and here.


Dear Alistair

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

As a group of cross-party MPs and Peers, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the current and worsening humanitarian emergency in Gaza, and to urge the government to take urgent action to address this situation.

As you are aware, Gaza’s already-dire humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by an electricity crisis since April 2017, which has resulted in daily blackouts of up to 20 hours. This has, in turn, seriously affected livelihoods and caused cuts to the provision of healthcare. A chronic lack of infrastructure development to meet the needs of Gaza’s growing population, as well as lack of power for water treatment, has now resulted in two thirds of Gaza’s shoreline being polluted by untreated sewage.

In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza would be ‘unliveable’ by 2020, though the seriousness of the current crisis has caused Save the Children to declare Gaza unliveable now. Likewise, UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently stated that Gaza is experiencing “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that [he has] seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations.”

Nevertheless, UN OCHA’s appeal for US$25 million urgent humanitarian funding appeal to stabilise Gaza, announced this summer, remains largely unmet. US$14 million is still urgently needed for non-fuel related requirements within the water and sanitation, health and food security sectors. As winter approaches, needs are expected to increase as demand for electricity increases and further stretches Gaza’s already-overloaded water, sanitation and health service systems.

Israel continues to be the occupying power in Gaza, as it has been now for 50 years, and as such holds primary responsibility for addressing the humanitarian needs of the population of Gaza. Israel has furthermore imposed a closure on Gaza since 2007 which the International Committee of the Red Cross has termed a “collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law”. People in Gaza cannot wait for the resolution of a decades-long peace process to release them from this violation and the humanitarian crisis they face.

Similarly, though greater political integration between the West Bank and Gaza would be a welcome forward step, a reconciliation between Fatah and the de-facto authorities in Gaza cannot alone address the humanitarian needs of Gaza’s beleaguered residents.

We therefore urge you to use your joint FCO-DfID brief to help bring relief to Gaza in two ways:

  • Provide urgent relief to the people of Gaza, by both supporting UN OCHA’s US$25 million urgent humanitarian funding appeal for Gaza, and ensure that the UK’s aid funding to the occupied Palestinian territory invests in the long-term development of essential infrastructure and services such as water treatment, education, and healthcare; and
  • Use all diplomatic means – including multilateral forums such as the UN Human Rights Council and bilateral relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority – to pursue accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory and bring an end to the closure of Gaza.

Furthermore, though the UK already provides some support to the people of Gaza through DfID-funded projects and initiatives, as parliamentarians we face challenges to accessing Gaza to visit these and provide necessary democratic oversight of this aid spending and assess the situation for ourselves as you have recently done. We also therefore ask that you make representations to the Government of Israel to ask them to facilitate the unhindered entry of British parliamentarians to Gaza, and remove any unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to entry through the Erez crossing. It is vital that British parliamentarians bear witness to the current humanitarian disaster in Gaza and how UK taxpayers’ money is being used in terms of aid.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Burden MP (Chair, Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group)

Co-signed by:

Grahame Morris MP (Chair, Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East)
Rt Hon Hugo Swire, KCMG, MP (Chairman, Conservative Middle East Council)
Debbie Abrahams MP
Lord Ahmed
Rushanara Ali MP
Hilary Benn MP
Clive Betts MP
Baroness Blackstone
Crispin Blunt MP
Sir Peter Bottomley MP
Ben Bradshaw MP
Tom Brake MP
Alan Brown MP
Karen Buck MP
Liam Byrne MP
Alistair Carmichael MP
Sarah Champion MP
Joanna Cherry MP
Ann Clywd MP
Julie Cooper MP
Alex Cunningham MP
Lord Dubs
Julie Elliott MP
Lilian Greenwood MP
Louise Haigh MP
David Hanson MP
Mark Hendrick MP
Kate Hollern MP
Lord Hylton
Dan Jarvis MP
Lord Kilclooney
Stephen Kinnock MP
Afzal Khan MP
Jeremy Lefroy MP
Baroness Lister of Burtersett
Tony Lloyd MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Gordon Marsden MP
Kerry McCarthy MP
Baroness Meacher
Ian Murray MP
Lisa Nandy MP
Yasmin Qureshi MP
Faisal Rashid MP
The Earl of Sandwich
Tommy Sheppard MP
Baroness Sheehan
Paula Sherriff MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Cat Smith MP
Sir Nicholas Soames MP
Wes Streeting MP
Rt Hon Sir Desmond Swayne MP
Stephen Timms MP
Kelly Tolhurst MP
Stephen Twigg MP
Lord Tyler
Lord Warner
Philippa Whitford MP

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Featured image: Scottish novelist and politician John Buchan, later, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875-1940)

This article extends from a longer piece, entitled “Remembering Balfour: Empire, Race and Propaganda,” which the journal Race & Class is publishing to mark the centennial of the Balfour Declaration. The journal’s editors have lifted paywall restrictions to make that article widely accessible for the centennial, and it is available in full here.

The coming months mark the centennial of , In November 1917, British foreign secretary Lord Arthur Balfour declared his government’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”; in December, Jerusalem fell to British troops. One hundred years later, the effects of these events continue to reverberate. This should be a time of sombre reflection about international responsibility for the unfolding tragedy in Palestine.

This responsibility should weigh heavily on the West. Walid Khalidi put it well:

“The Zionists were the initiators. But they were also, as they still are, the protégés of their Anglo–American sponsors and the emanations of their power, resources, and will.”

The fact is that the Israeli state can’t be credited for much originality – either in its brutality or in the hypocrisy deployed to cover it. And it is all too fitting that it was British imperialism that propelled the Zionist movement onto the world stage.

Palestine was occupied, after all, amid one of the British Empire’s last great scrambles for territory in the Afro–Asian world. The scramble was pursued amid an outpouring of imperial self-adoration. Balfour was not alone in proclaiming, wherever and whenever he could, “the extraordinary novelty, the extraordinary greatness, and the extraordinary success” of the British Empire, a system drawn together, he insisted, not by “the bonds merely of crude self-interest, but the bonds of a common belief in a great ideal.” Freedom and justice marched with British troops. These may seem the banal platitudes of an imperial state. But during its “Great War,” the British state deployed them as never before. Its propaganda set a new world standard in its scale, its organization, and its impact.

This is an appropriate time to look back to that propaganda and all that it revealed. The aspect of Britain’s wartime propaganda that has been most widely criticized is the manipulation of atrocity stories coming out of Belgium. That’s a reasonable place to start. The centerpiece of British atrocity propaganda was the “Bryce Report” of 1915, named after Viscount James Bryce. Bryce was chair of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages. As it happens, he was also a leading white supremacist and a pioneer of the kind of democracy that Britain helped Israel bring to the Middle East.

Those who know Israeli politics will find Bryce’s theories familiar. Democracy and self-government were, he insisted, the rightful preserve of civilized and conquering peoples. The key to democracy was therefore the establishment of a demographic basis for it. Africans, Asians, Indigenous peoples the world over – all were in Bryce’s judgement “subject races,” unfit for self-government. Only through colonial settlement and a restricted franchise could democracy flourish. Bryce lectured and wrote incessantly about “the risks a democracy runs when the suffrage is granted to a large mass of half-civilized men.” This great liberal’s theories were influential from Australia to the United States, and they attained near-biblical authority amongst settlers in South Africa.

Their application in Palestine, in turn, was made possible thanks to British power. This history was from the beginning steeped in propaganda. As the British war effort turned east, the Holy Land was a potent symbol. In the first instance it conjured images of the Crusades. Howevever, if the goal of Allied conquests was the defence of Christendom in the Levant, France had the stronger claim. British propaganda found a convenient alternative in support for Zionism. As Herbert Sidebotham, the Manchester Guardian’s military correspondent, explained, the Bryce Report didn’t have to do its work alone:

“great as the ideal of relieving Belgium from the invader may be, the ideal of restoring the Jewish State to Palestine is comparably greater.”

This could tap into deep public emotions, Sidebotham argued, and was another opportunity for Britain to deploy “ideal considerations as the allies of our military and political interests.”

No one did so with greater gusto than the Scottish writer John Buchan. Buchan is best remembered as the author of adventure novels, one of which, The Thirty-Nine Steps, was readapted for the screen in a feature film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. But he was also an accomplished propagandist. More even than Bryce, Buchan had built his public service around the imposition of white rule in South Africa. In early 1917 Britain’s Imperial War Cabinet selected him to direct the wartime propaganda service, with instructions to whip up public support for British war aims in the Middle East.

Buchan spun Britain’s eastern war as “the Last Crusade.” Tolerance and secular justice, oddly, were its supposed hallmarks. He assured his readers that the capture of Jerusalem by Allied troops was nothing less than “a parable of the cause for which fought. They would recover and make free the sacred places of the human spirit which their enemies sought to profane and enslave, and in this task they walked reverently, as on hallowed ground.” Today we see what this freedom has brought to Jerusalem. Buchan’s propaganda itself suggested a politics that was far from ecumenical.

Where Buchan excelled, after all, was in channeling racism in service of state. This is what he had done for the Empire’s cause in South Africa, using a combination of nonfiction studies and novels. And it is what he did for the Great War. Some of his bigotry will ring familiar. So it is with his description of the menace of Islam, “a fighting creed,” Buchan warned, its fanatics taking to “the pulpit with the Koran in one hand and a drawn sword in the other.” Buchan’s racist depiction of Jews, on the other hand, have fallen out of favor in polite Western society. Here, for example, is his fictionalized image of who was pulling the strings in Germany: “a little white-faced Jew in a bath-chair with an eye like a rattlesnake. Yes, Sir, he is the man who is ruling the world just now, and he has his knife in the Empire of the Tzar, because his aunt was outraged and his father flogged in some one-horse location on the Volga.”

The antisemitism expressed by Buchan, and by the imperial establishment for which he acted as mouthpiece, squared more easily with support for Zionism than one might think. Jews were cast in various roles: as a subversive threat in Europe (Buchan did not forget the “Jew-anarchists”!); as a justification for Britain to hold Palestine; and as potential settlers, allies of the Empire in the east. These were not contradictions so much as a faithful expression of British settler colonialism. For Britain, colonial settlement was indeed a means of territorial expansion; but it was also a means of offloading the contradictions of industrial capitalism onto distant frontiers. Empire, as the Marxist literary critic Raymond Williams remarked, was represented in British culture as an “escape-route,” to which the ruined, the misunderstood, “the weak of every kind could be transferred.” This theme dovetailed with straight imperial calculations to structure British support for Zionism. A Jew settled in Palestine was a Jew not knocking on Britain’s doors. We would do well to remember that the first modern British statesman to clamp down on Jewish immigration, imposing the Aliens Act of 1905, was none other than Lord Balfour himself.

The worsening crisis in Palestine reflects more than a local record of colonial crimes, severe as these have been. Responsibility for it is global. Arundhati Roy was right to describe the Palestine tragedy as one of “imperial Britain’s festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modern world.” It is also a product of a history of racism and empire that extended across most of the West. On this centennial of the Balfour Declaration, reflection on this shared culpability should serve as a reminder of the responsibility for the political action that comes with it.

Dan Freeman-Maloy is an activist and writer based in Montreal. He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter, completed through its European Centre for Palestine Studies, and can be contacted at [email protected]

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The History of the CIA

October 21st, 2017 by Dr. P. Wilkinson

First published by Global Research on January 5, 2017

When I began reading the work of Douglas Valentine about six years ago, I had not read his books, only the articles that the US online journal Counterpunch had published. In fact I only began reading Counterpunch because of the accident of having been introduced to the two original editors of what was then only a printed newsletter. Later I was even able to publish a few pieces in that journal before its more famous founding editor’s demise. Why do I preface a book review with such personal observations? To that question I will return later.

After reading numerous articles I went to Douglas Valentine’s website and as I frequently do—even today—I asked him questions about things he had written. This began a conversation that has continued. Of course I could not hope to conduct a serious conversation with someone about their ideas without having read what they had already committed to paper. Hence I began with The Phoenix Program (1990). I then read both of his books on the US government’s drug organisations and was pleased to review them online. When Open Roads, under the direction of Mark Crispin Miller, re-published The Phoenix Program as the first in its e-book series “Forbidden Books”, I had the opportunity to review it as well. In other words although I have only known Douglas Valentine for a few years, I believe I am very well acquainted not only with his writing but I also know what makes it unique in the landscape.

His latest book, The CIA as organised crime, is not new. Nor is it intended to be. This book attempts something very difficult: compressing the essentials of nearly 30 years of intensive research, insight and implicit social theory into a volume accessible to readers with rapidly deteriorating attention spans who have been conditioned to what I would call “journalism as pornography” (I will return to that too.) Before I explain what I mean, permit me to briefly explain the structure of the book.

After introducing the reader to the “luck” he had in gaining access to the sources which made the book possible, Valentine presents revised interviews that explain the core information in The Phoenix Program (Part I) and the two-volume “Wolf/ Pack” study of US drug law enforcement (Part II). Then in part III he uses previous interviews and articles to explain the interrelationships between the CIA business and the DEA business and how they led to the Homeland Security business. Part IV is devoted to the various ways in which everything known from parts I – III are ignored, trivialised, distorted or censored so that such knowledge has virtually no impact in public consciousness. Here there might be a certain detectable irony since Valentine writes a book that concludes by saying that the means for acting on the information presented is already precluded—pre-empted rather than prohibited.

The book’s principle subject is the Central Intelligence Agency. For the historically challenged it may be useful to recall that the Central Intelligence Agency is an organisation of the US regime created by the National Security Act of 1947. Most history books will tell an average US citizen (or someone schooled with US curricular materials) that the act adopted by the US Congress on 29 July of that year was designed to consolidate the several branches of the military under a Department of Defence, for budgetary reasons, to restrain historic inter-service rivalries, and to create a more modern and efficient armed forces.

What is not said is that in 1945, the US government had demobilised its military and having emerged from the Second World War unscathed was trying to determine how to save its economy from a return to the pre-war depression. The intellectual elite of the US regime has already begun to warn that both domestic stability and US dominance in the world would be jeopardised if the regime did not maintain at least the level of armaments expenditure required during the war that had just ended. However there was no publicly defensible reason for permanent wartime footing. There were no more Native Americans to annihilate; despite the abolition of slavery Negroes were still well under control. The only country even approaching the US in military strength—the USSR—had been so devastated by the war that it would be decades before it could pose a genuine competitive threat. In other words, having pacified the world with atomic weapons and the blood of 30 million Soviet citizens, the US elite had no honest justification for the policy they were about to undertake.

The National Security Act of 1947 created the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and what was first called the “National Military Establishment”—later renamed the Department of Defence. Given the fact that the international criminal court constituted to try war crimes in Nuremberg proclaimed the commencement of a war of aggression to be the ultimate war crime under international law, it ought to be clear that the legislation passed by the Congress in July of 1947 was tantamount to the establishment of a permanently organised war crimes establishment in the United States of America. The creation of the three executive instruments by which the US corporate elite in Congress assembled delegated the powers to declare war under their own charter (aka US Constitution) made the entire US regime an organised criminal conspiracy because the permanent state of war thus created in and of itself was an act of aggression in the very form condemned at Nuremberg—and for which those not particularly favoured by that regime were hanged or imprisoned.

It is within this legislatively mandated criminal enterprise that one has to understand the origins, purpose and function of the Central Intelligence Agency. The 1947 legislation chartered the CIA as an instrument of the National Security Council. On the tacit assumption that the US regime is in a permanent state of war—despite occasional suggestions to the contrary—the National Security Council constitutes something like a permanent war cabinet. The war cabinet has its weapons of mass destruction (the armed forces) but because this “cabinet” is composed of bureaucrats, academics, professional politicians, businessmen and assorted charlatans in the train of the reigning president there is need for an espionage organisation which in theory tells these ministers when, where and how to wage war most advantageously. That is the official reason why the criminal cabinet needs spies. According to the Act:

(d) For the purpose of coordinating (subordinating) the intelligence activities (spying) of the several Government departments and agencies in the interest of national security (waging war), it shall be the duty of the Agency, under the direction of the National Security Council (permanent war cabinet)—

(1) To advise the National Security Council in matters concerning such intelligence activities (spying) of the Government departments and agencies as relate to national security (waging war);

(2) To make recommendations to the National Security Council for the coordination (subordination) of such intelligence activities (spying) of the departments and agencies of the Government as relate to the national security (waging war);

The ostensible function described is that of a consultancy, an almost academic organisation. However there are some other duties specified in the Act.

(3) To correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to the national security (waging war), and provide for the appropriate dissemination (helping other government spies) of such intelligence within the Government using where appropriate existing agencies and facilities: PROVIDED, That the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions (This would be called a non-competition clause in commercial law. It was adopted to protect the right of the FBI and other domestic instruments of state terror from encroachments by the federal agency.): PROVIDED FURTHER, That the departments and other agencies of the Government shall continue to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence (no spying monopoly): AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure (preventing the public or victims of spying from defending themselves);

(4) To perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies (all the military spies, police spies, and implicitly sanctioned corporate spying organisations), such additional services of common concern as the National Security Council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally (any other criminal activity for which the Agency is better equipped or has more benefit);

(5) To perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence (covert action) affecting the national security (waging of war) as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.

The conspicuous crime for which the Central Intelligence Agency was created was spying, an offence punishable under Title 18 of the United States Code which incorporates the provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act. Of course one could argue that it is not a crime to spy on the enemy when at war. However officially at least the US has not been at war since 1945—at least not within the conventional interpretation of the war powers in the US Constitution, i.e. a resolution adopted by the US Congress declaring a state of war between the US and another country.  But even allowing executive liberty with the definition of a “state of war”, the Espionage Act also makes it a crime to spy on the “friends” of the United States—which of course has been standard operating procedure since the CIA was founded.

However the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency has another history, its genealogy. The CIA claims two inspirational heroes: Nathan Hale and William “Wild Bill” Donovan. Nathan Hale is heralded as the first or at least most famous colonial spy to be hanged by the British Army during the American War of Independence.Surely a bit of folklore, he was to have said before the noose did its work that he only regretted “that I have but one life to lose for my country”. William Donovan was a white shoe lawyer who persuaded US President Franklin Roosevelt to authorise the founding of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) from whose ranks many of the most renowned CIA executive management came.Nathan Hale’s place in the CIA pantheon is certainly no more than the vanity of its white elite founders. William Donovan is far closer to the true tradition from which the CIA arose.

Repeatedly CIA cadres make reference to the OSS as if it were the core of its “regimental history”. The myth intended is that the Office of Strategic Services was created in wartime (the last time the US was officially at war) and all those boys who joined the OSS were heroic soldiers fighting more or less covertly in the “good war”. Thus the CIA is the descendant of that band of heroic elite soldiers and patriots who quietly served their country under conditions that at least theoretically could lead them to share the fate of Nathan Hale. The truth however is quite different. William Donovan’s qualifications for the OSS were not his Medal of Honor awarded in the Great War but his political connections in New York. These political connections and his success as a lawyer enabled him to overcome the WASP barriers, which an Irish Catholic would generally face until one John Kennedy was elected for a visit to the White House.

Donovan was not only a lawyer and politician in Roosevelt’s home state, he was part of that community of corporate law firms whose specialties included organising covert action to defend US corporations abroad. Probably the most notorious in this league of private mercenary law firms was Sullivan & Cromwell—the firm in which John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were partners.Prior to the creation of the CIA, there were law firms like Sullivan & Cromwell and the US Marines. After 1945, gentlemen like the Dulles brothers agreed that while it was not always opportune or good marketing to send the Marines, it was also very risky for US corporations and their law firms to intervene in foreign countries as they had done routinely prior to the Second World War.

There was a need for protecting corporations from the very real risks of de-colonisation and economic nationalism, which unfortunately had been given new impetus by colonised peoples who took the UN Charter seriously. Not only was it recognised by this segment of the US elite that a permanent war economy was essential for continued wealth accumulation and domestic peace but lip service had to be paid to the ideals of the UN Charter and the United Nations organisations (esp. since the admission of non-whites was inevitable).

The inspiration for the CIA came from precisely this class of white—mainly Protestant—descendants of the New England theocrats and Yankee slave traders whose entire identity was based on white supremacy and capitalism—both as a religious ideal and an enrichment strategy. It is one of the legacies of the US Civil War that overt violence, i.e. the armed forces, is dominated by the elites of the South while covert violence, i.e. finance and the secret police, is primarily managed by the elites of the North. So while 1945 brought the defeat of Ford’s, Bush’s and Dulles’ friends in Berlin and the disappointment of Soviet victory, there was still potential to exploit racism and domestic fears to create the illusions needed for a permanent war economy with all the trappings of a wartime police state.

This could not be done overtly because it could jeopardise markets in countries where US corporations hoped to replace European colonial competitors. There was also a domestic threat to be suppressed. After four years of telling US citizens that they were defending democracy and self-determination and opposing racism (although that actually was not a part of the WWII myth in the US until the 1970s), it was necessary to teach US corporate vassals (dictators) to at least walk and talk like US politicians. There had to be alternatives to the tried and true method of sending the Marines when the leaders in a foreign capital misbehaved. The people of “Wild Bill” Donovan’s class knew the methodology and understood the problem—but what they now needed was “official cover”. Nobody would believe—either in the UN General Assembly or any other public forum—that United Fruit supported or opposed governments based on democratic convictions. On the other hand, no one could (would dare) challenge the actions of the US government abroad to assist a government it declared to be democratic. Moreover if United Fruit broke the law, the local government could punish it, even by expropriation. But no local government would dare take such action against the United States itself—that could mean even war.

Hence the CIA was invented in the National Security Act not simply as an advisory and coordinating instrument for spying but as a criminal organisation to cover for the fundamental criminal activity of US corporations and those who own them. It was invented by those whose primary qualification for “government service” was their experience as mercenaries or mercenary managers for the corporations and wealthy families that own the United States government. Its leadership and cadre were and are drawn from the “families” who historically either own or defend the wealth concentrated in the US upper class. They are the essence of “organised crime”.

That brings me back to Valentine’s book: The CIA as organised crime. The subtitle of the book is “How illegal operations corrupt America and the World”. The title is fashioned like those of many typical exposés or what some might call “muckraking” journalism. If this title gets more readers than the means justifies the end. Yet I think the title is in fact a juxtaposition of two contrary perspectives of his subject. For Valentine’s book to be an exposé it would have to reveal something previously hidden. In fact Valentine concludes his book with the entirely justifiable assertion that what he has described is in fact in plain sight—not hidden at all. A “muckraking” story would take an otherwise tidy state of affairs and show that “beneath it all” it is really very ugly and dirty. However, no later than the Church and Pike Committee investigations of the 1970s and the Iran-Contra hearings of the late 1980s, it has been a matter of official record that the Central Intelligence Agency organises and perpetrates crimes as a matter of policy and that it does so with virtual impunity—in the interests of “national security” (waging war). So is Valentine’s book a revelation about the CIA?

No. Nor do I believe that he intended it to be.

The most important part of the book is in fact part IV: Manufacturing Complicity: Shaping the American Worldview. I see it as an act of self-defence that this part is not overtly the central part of the book. With respect for that I would like to point out why this self-defence is by no means trivial and at the same time I would like to take the risk or the liberty of elaborating why I believe self-defence is appropriate.

Valentine’s most important observations about the nature and structure of CIA action are:

  1. The CIA is a class-based organisation. Its membership and its mission are dedicated to defending the dominance of the predominantly US corporate elite, based on the ideology of capitalism and white supremacy.
  2. The CIA limits its scope of action to the extent that such action may be plausibly denied and is of benefit to its clients.
  3. The CIA does not recognise any barriers to action except those imposed by its clients or by the force of its opponents—i.e. it is beyond what most of us call the law. This does not mean that it is omnipotent.
  4. The CIA relies for much if not all of its tacit support upon the willing collaboration of the Establishment and the Counter-Establishment in all its forms and factions. The means for maintaining this collaboration are mastery of language and propaganda and an enormous capacity to reward support (witting or unwitting) and punish opposition.
  5. All of the above are attainable because of the degree of organisation and organisational discipline: class-based, bureaucratic and military in nature.

The CIA as organised crime is a compilation of examples drawn from his detailed case studies. It should motivate the reader to go back and read The Phoenix Program, The Strength of the Wolf and The Strength of the Pack. If this happens then the book will have been a success. If the reader is waiting for a daring revelation, he may be disappointed. Valentine does not trade in sensationalism. He is not a muckraker either. That is apparent from careful reading of the first two introductory chapters. On the contrary Douglas Valentine has written books, which prove that there are no real secrets for people who bother to ask the right questions and who listen to or read carefully the answers. The CIA as organized crime is another such book.

Here the reader of this review might object that of course there were secrets: the Phoenix Program was a secret. Without “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) searches and a lucky access to high-ranking CIA officials Valentine would never have discovered the truth, which was hidden from us all. Of course there are secrets. And of course it is the free press and heroic journalists like Seymour Hersh or Glen Greenwald and whistle-blowers like Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden (the list of journalists or “whistle-blowers” is by no means inclusive) that make sure that no matter how dreadful the people in Langley are, the truth will be discovered.

I think here it is important to distinguish between critical research published by a writer in periodical literature (journals) and journalistic pornography. The exposé is not accidentally connotative of striptease. As everyone knows who has at least thought about it, if not actually attended, the point of striptease is not the final nudity but the gradual and redundant suggestion of nudity. Pornography is literally not the graphic depiction of sexual acts but the graphic depiction of the activity of prostitutes. In this sense while it is conventional to identify prostitutes with those engaged in sex for remuneration, the reluctance to call people whose marriages result in monetary gain prostitutes has shifted the emphasis away from mere sex for money. This has given rise to such neologisms as “presstitute”—a journalist who prostitutes him or herself in his profession. The term “yellow journalism” was given to types of writing in the last century considered egregiously biased and aggressive. The tendency is to identify this kind of journalism with the “tabloids” or “boulevard press”.

The US journalist I.F. Stone, beatified in the US by many who call themselves “liberal” or “left”, knew that propaganda and “yellow journalism” was not a market cornered by the tabloids. His Hidden History of the Korean War is full of examples to show how the war in Korea was not reported, ill reported, or falsely reported by the so-called “quality press”. Douglas McArthur was just as successful at manipulating the Press as the generals and admirals that came after him. The collaboration of the media during the war against Korea was so effective that even forty years later, a documentary film about the war produced in the UK was censored in the US as a precondition to its being aired at all.

Those of us old enough to remember Morley Safer reporting from Vietnam on CBS might wonder at the story he told in 2010 to a select gathering of journalist veterans of that war about his relationship with then CIA station chief William Colby.Seymour Hersh is regularly trotted out by S.I. Newhouse’s New Yorker magazine as a critical journalist—also a Vietnam “veteran”. Hersh is given credit for bringing the My Lai massacre to the attention of the US public—an event Colin Powell did his best to help conceal while he was stationed in Vietnam. But Hersh did not make a name for reporting about the Phoenix Program (just as Morley Safer did not). The Vietnamese knew about Phoenix and they knew what kind of operation Lt. Calley was leading. Yet at no time during the trial of Calley was there ever any mention of the CIA or the campaign against the VCI of which Calley was just one tiny part. Instead we were all fed with nightly stories about how bad the war was and under what duress a young lieutenant was serving his country—that regrettable and even condemnable his acts may be but they were mere incidents of war. In fact Calley was acting in compliance with standard operating procedures and official policy of the CIA whose war Vietnam was.

The purpose of our press corps was and is to serve as part of the combined weapons deployed against the civilian population, esp. those in the “homeland” who have to be persuaded daily of the morality violated every day. On the one hand the population must be constantly reassured that that old disgusting Puritan morality remains the foundation of US society. On the other hand the prurient interest in breaches of that morality must be satisfied. Hence US Americans relish the hymns of praise for their Press that come from invidious comparisons with the media in the rest of the world (esp. the Soviet Union/ Russia). They need the titillation that comes from being told occasionally that elected officials patronise brothels, judges receive bribes and non-whites in foreign lands are tortured and assassinated. Even the most obscene acts perpetrated by CIA officers or their comrades in other branches of the State apparatus become delectable if served by those whose reporting respects the aesthetic dogma.

Bernardo Bertolucci directed a film Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. A number of recent articles about the film focus on the non-consensual use of butter as a lubricant for the illusion of an anal sex rape scene. The film was rated as practically pornographic when it was released in the 1972. When I saw the film I was surprised that so much was written about the explicit sex. For me there was only one serious message in the film and it was very clearly articulated—regardless of whatever artistic pretensions Bertolucci may have intended. For the greater part of the film the characters played by Brando and Schneider meet and have unrestricted sex in an otherwise vacant Paris flat. The only rule throughout is that no names are to be asked or given.

As the film draws to a close this rule is breached and Schneider’s character is given a name for the man with whom she has had sex for such a long period. Shortly thereafter she borrows a pistol, meets the man in the flat and kills him. The moral of the story is simple. As long as we cannot name something that is bothering us, we have an enormous if not insurmountable impediment to action. The capacity for titillation, for erotic stimulation even with simultaneous pain, is enhanced by suspension of belief or cognition. This is what pornography does and it is also the function of compatible journalism.

The compatible Left enjoys journalistic pornography.Like sex pornography there are also different classes or grades of journalistic pornography, sensationalism, voyeurism, exposés, so-called “inside reports”. The quality usually depends on who is funding it and what audience is targeted. The main thing is that it is either exciting or something good for fund-raising, although sometimes it is enough to be good gossip. In other words, plot and character development or accurate dialogue are unimportant in comparison to that orgasm inducing “revelation”—an erection out of context. “Did you see that?” or “Did you hear that?” ejaculates from the stimulated consumer. Moreover the compatible Left believes just as strongly in American “exceptionalism” as the Establishment. The counter-establishment claims to be a victim of Establishment mistakes. The blind support given to Barack Obama derives in large part from the embarrassment felt that George W. Bush made people dislike the United States—not that people could dislike the policies and actions of the United States—not that people could object to the permanent war crimes establishment in Washington and New York.

To go beyond ejaculations—or even to dispense with them—one has to be willing to concentrate on the whole story, not just what appeared in today’s broadcasts or papers but what happened before that? Where did all that happen? Who are the people involved and with whom are they involved? These are the details of chronology, geography and genealogy.

History occurs in a context not of minutes but years, decades, even centuries. When angry Iranians seized the US embassy in Teheran in the wake of their revolution, none of the respectable media explained that the Shah had been installed by the CIA in 1954 or that US spies were still operating out of the US embassy when the seizure occurred. Even a media outlet generally assigned to the US Left produced a report on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution that omitted information it had reported at the time of the embassy seizure. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s creation of what are now called the Taliban, under President Jimmy Carter, to wage war against the Soviet Union is another fact conveniently omitted when deceptively comparing the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan with the US war against Vietnam.It is important to follow the timeline in its entirety, not just the segment served in the news bulletin.

When people in the US who do not know where the state of West Virginia is located are called “geographically challenged”, then it is all the more apparent that checking a map is a good thing to do before believing anything reported about a foreign place (meaning also any place one has never visited).

The Phoenix Program was developed by people who came from very specific professional backgrounds and biographies. When the program was up and running, the US Foreign Service was training whole classes of its employees to become Phoenix advisers in Vietnam. People like Richard Holbrooke and John Negroponte were working in rural pacification in Vietnam as 20-year-olds.Even if were it credible that the Phoenix Program was “terminated” when the US withdrew from Vietnam, there is an entire generation of cadre in the Foreign Service and military who began their careers learning how to manage the kidnapping, torture and assassination of unarmed civilians. Are these the people you would expect to run a proper democracy? Given that untold numbers of ex-servicemen join the police forces, one should not be surprised at how comfortable they feel in Ferguson, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans when they get to use military grade equipment.

There is nothing titillating about the routines of Homeland Security or the organisation of the US gulag. People like Jeremy Scahill do not need to masturbate in Iraq to find assassinations.They are the bread and butter business of the police and drug enforcement offices in every major US city. And torture—well that is celebrated in the endless hours of cop shows that even people beyond the US borders have to endure as standard TV and cinema fare.

I began this review with some personal observations—how I came to read and later to review the work of Douglas Valentine. Over the course of the past six years I have observed what I consider to be a steadily diminishing willingness to see the obvious and draw at least more obvious conclusions from those observations. Instead there has been an unceasing proliferation of opinion and chatter pretending to be debate. The US comedian Stephen Colbert used to parody this condition by portraying a person who always said in essence “truth for me is what I feel is true without any regard for the facts, or even despite them”. Unfortunately by the time the last editions of the Colbert Report were aired on Comedy Central, it was impossible to see the parody any more. There are innumerable examples of distortion in the public sphere—the substitution of spectacle for substance. Colbert never claimed to be a journalist but there are innumerable journalists who are in fact indistinguishable from their comedian imitators. A page from my grade school speller contained the aphorism “It is easier to be critical than correct.” It is easier to be a celebrity than a person with conviction.

The CIA as organized crime is not a book of opinion. Although there are interviews these were not for talk shows. The interview format—even with critical and informed interviewers—is problematic because of the need to make a dialogue out of material that requires individual intensity and focussed attention. Since Valentine is an experienced interviewer (as anyone can establish by listening to his Phoenix tapes), he makes the best out of a restrictive format. In doing so he does not tell us so much about asking questions as how we must learn to work with answers. Valentine’s book is also an exercise in giving critical questions, esp. from those who are less knowledgeable or experienced, the serious answers they deserve. That is one very important approach in teaching history, to restoring substance. Valentine is an excellent history teacher and there are simply not enough like him.

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Recent discussions about the safety or otherwise of having the US military flying in and out of Shannon Airport gave us reason to recall an incident in March 2008 in which a Murray Air aircraft was involved in an emergency landing at Shannon. This was after it was seen flying over Askeaton, which is across the River Shannon estuary from the airport, with flames coming from one of its engines. Residents of the County Limerick town described their windows rattling and houses shaking as the cargo plane flew low over a housing estate in the town.

At the time there was a discussion about the incident on the RTE Radio’s Joe Duffy Show. During the discussion Tracey Bell, Director of Administration for Murray Air, admitted that explosives had been brought through Shannon by the airline on previous occasions. She was asked about this by the presenter Joe Duffy:

Joe Duffy – Murray Air could carry explosives through Shannon?

Tracey Bell – I can confirm that, yes sir.

Joe Duffy – Have you carried explosives through Shannon?

Tracey Bell – I believe so, yes sir.

Joe Duffy – … for the American Army?

Tracey Bell – Yes sir.

Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch who contacted the programme and spoke on air asked if Murray Air had carried depleted uranium (DU) through Shannon. Ms Bell said she didn’t know, but when pressed confirmed that their license allowed for them to carry this lethal radioactive substance.

The consequence of it not being declared to the Irish authorities, or of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport giving permission for it to be taken through Shannon are frightening. What if a plane carrying DU was involved in an accident at Shannon, or as it was taking off?

The consequence of using DU munitions are even more devastating in war zones. We know that the US used them in the Gulf and Iraq Wars. A 2006 report by Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi on Harvard University’s website confirms this:

“Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry has been used against Iraq for the first time in the history of recent wars. The magnitude of the complications and damage related to the use of such radioactive and toxic weapons on the environment and the human population mostly results from the intended concealment, denial and misleading information released by the Pentagon about the quantities, characteristics and the area’s in Iraq, in which these weapons have been used.”

In an interview with Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail, Democracy Now! reported that the US invasion has left behind a legacy of cancer and birth defects suspected of being caused by their extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus. This is not surprising, given that they fired hundreds of thousands of rounds of DU munitions there. Democracy Now! wrote:

“Noting the birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Jamail says: ‘They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to … What this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II.'”

The US has also used DU in Syria, for example in two high-profile raids on oil trucks in late 2015. These air assaults were the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Because of its high density, DU can also be used in tank armor, sandwiched between sheets of steel armor plate.

Murray Air’s Tracey Bell confirmed that the airline had a license to transport DU. They and other carriers may well have taken it through Shannon with or without the knowledge of the Irish governnment or the authorities. The people charged with ensuring the safety and security of Shannon refuse to search US military and military contracted planes likely to be carrying DU. Instead they follow orders from a government that relies on worthless diplomatic assurances from the US authorities. These “assurances” state that they not taking hazardous and lethal material like DU through Shannon. And the Irish government take them at face value.

Its unlikely that the US authorities would tell the Irish government if they were taking DU through Shannon. If they are lying, it presents a very grave rish to people in places like Askeaton that the military and military contracted planes pass over as they are taking off and landing. And it makes Shannon Airport a very dangerous place to work in or travel through.

The safest thing to do – and the right thing to do – is to stop all US military and military contracted planes from landing at Shannon. The risk is too great.

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Os Democratas, que diariamente atacam o republicano Trump por suas declarações belicosas, votaram no Senado juntamente com os Republicanos pelo aumento em 2018 do orçamento do Pentágono de 700 bilhões de dólares, 60 bilhões a mais do que o próprio Trump pediu.

Acrescentando os 186 bilhões anuais para os militares reformados e outros itens, a despesa militar total dos Estados Unidos chega a cerca de um trilhão de dólares, um quarto do orçamento federal.

Foi decisivo o voto unânime do Comitê de questões militares, formado por 14 senadores republicanos e 13 democratas. O Comitê sublinha que “os Estados Unidos devem reforçar a contenção da agressão russa: a Rússia continua a ocupar a Crimeia, a desestabilizar a Ucrânia, a ameaçar os nossos aliados da Otan, a violar o Tratado sobre mísseis de curto e médio alcance, conhecido como Tratado INF (sigla em inglês), e a sustentar o regime de Assad na Síria”.

Também acusa a Rússia de conduzir “um ataque sem precedentes aos nossos interesses e valores fundamentais”, em particular através de “uma campanha voltada para minar a democracia americana”. Uma verdadeira declaração de guerra, com a qual o alinhamento bipartidário motiva o fortalecimento de toda a máquina bélica estadunidense.

Eis alguns itens da despesa militar para o ano fiscal de 2018 (iniciado em 1° de outubro de 2017): 10,6 bilhões para adquirir 94 caças F-35, 24 a mais do que a administração Trump pediu; 17 bilhões para o “escudo antimísseis” e a atividade militar espacial, 1,5 a mais do que a cifra pedida pela administração; 25 bilhões para construir mais 13 navios de guerra, 5 a mais do que a administração demandou.

Dos 700 bilhões do orçamento de 2018, 640 servem principalmente à compra de novos armamentos e à manutenção do pessoal militar, cujos salários aumentaram, elevando o custo anual a 141 bilhões; 60 bilhões são destinados às operações bélicas na Síria, Iraque, Afeganistão e outros lugares. Mais 1,8 bilhão são destinados a treinamento e equipamento de formações armadas sob o comando estadunidense na Síria e no Iraque, e 4,9 bilhões ao “Fundo para as forças de segurança afegãs”.

Para a “Iniciativa de segurança da Europa”, lançada em 2014 pela administração Obama depois da “agressão revanchista russa à Ucrânia”, são destinados em 2018 4,6 bilhões, com a finalidade de aumentar a presença de forças blindadas estadunidenses e o “posicionamento estratégico” dos armamentos dos EUA na Europa. Foram atribuídos mais 500 milhões de dólares para fornecer “assistência letal” (isto é, armamentos) à Ucrânia.

O aumento do orçamento do Pentágono implica a elevação daqueles dos demais membros da Otan sob comando dos EUA, inclusive a Itália cuja despesa militar, dos atuais 70 milhões de euros por dia, deverá chegar a cerca de 100. Ao mesmo tempo o orçamento do Pentágono prognostica o que se prepara para a Itália.

Entre os menores itens de despesas, mas não por este motivo menos importantes, 27 milhões de dólares são destinados à base de Aviano, provando que continua o seu fortalecimento tendo em vista a instalação das novas bombas nucleares B61-12, e 65 milhões para o programa de pesquisa e desenvolvimento de “um novo míssil de médio alcance com base em terra para começar a reduzir a brecha de capacidade provocada pela violação russa do Tratado INF”.

Em outras palavras, os Estados Unidos programam instalar na Europa mísseis nucleares análogos aos Pershing 2 e aos Cruise dos anos 1980, estes últimos instalados também na Itália, em Comiso. É o que anuncia o Senado dos Estados Unidos, com o seu voto bipartidário unânime no Comitê de questões militares.

 

Artigo original em italiano :

Bipartisan il riarmo Usa anti-Russia

ilmanifesto.info, 17 de outubro de 2017

Tradução de José Reinaldo Carvalho para Resistência

Manlio Dinucci é geógrafo e jornalista. 

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The Las Vegas Shooting: Cracks in the Official Narrative

October 21st, 2017 by Michael Welch

“…What we are being asked to believe happened is so utterly unlikely that it deserves to be dismissed out of hand, along with everyone who dares to insult our intelligence in this manner.

In the end, only one question remains: How gullible are you?” 

– Dmitry Orlov (October 17, 2017)[1]

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LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

Ongoing investigations into the mass shooting in Las Vegas that has been branded the “deadliest massacre in modern US history” has left more questions than answers.

According to the standard account, on the evening of October 1st, a 64 year old retired accountant and high stakes gambler named Stephen Paddock, with no apparent political or religious affiliations and no military training, fired multiple rounds of bullets from his 32nd floor hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at concertgoers at the Route 91 country music festival nearly half a kilometre away. In roughly ten minutes, he alone caused the deaths of 58 people and injured more than 500. [2][3]

Paddock was packing! His car contained more than 50 pounds of explosives and 1600 rounds of ammunition. And he was able to transport 23 weapons to his hotel room over the course of several days without getting caught. Mandalay Bay Hotel, a casino hotel which spends “millions and millions of dollars on security” and is believed to have close to 3000 closed-circuit cameras operating 24/7 on the premises somehow managed to miss these details. [4][5]

There is a plethora of critical commentary in alternative media and on the internet picking apart this narrative. Video footage and testimonies from concertgoers and even audio from police scanners (below) suggest the possibility, if not the probability of multiple shooters.

Even if one embraces the official story, there appears to be no clear motive for the shooting. Public responses have included a resurrection of the gun control debate and the call for more and better security and surveillance. [6][7][8]

As can often be the case with dramatic events like this one, there is always the danger of distraction, mis-direction, and wild goose chases. Just because you have doubts about the official story doesn’t mean that you should embrace every single counter-narrative.

This week’s Global Research News Hour, first aired nearly three weeks after the Las Vegas shootings, attempts to draw out the discussion, focus on the more pertinent details being left out of mainstream and even alternative media debate, and try to place the Las Vegas in the context of past and possible future mass casualty events being used to manipulate the public.

First we are joined by internet commentator Debbie Lusignan, who goes by the social media handle ‘sane progressive.‘ Recognized for her work chronicling the election fraud in the 2016 Democratic Party Primaries, and her ongoing deconstruction of dysfunctional partisan and other political discourse, Debbie has devoted considerable time and effort investigating the Las Vegas shootings and come to some startling conclusions about video and witness testimony being staged and fabricated! In an internet media landscape that has seen ‘conspiracy theories’ about the event erupting by the hour, it is telling that Lusignan’s contributions have been deleted from Youtube. Debbie Lusignan’s complete two hour expose can be found here. The unedited video of GR’s interview with Debbie is below.

In the last half hour of the program, Shawn Helton weighs in with his careful analysis of the Las Vegas tragedy. Shawn Helton is a writer, researcher and staff writer for 21st Century Wire. In addition to highlighting some of the discrepancies in the official story, Helton puts the mass shooting in the context of other mass shootings in recent US history. He addresses the thesis of the event being staged, in whole or in part. He also discusses problematic talking points that have erupted in the media, from terrorist connections to accounts of insider trading, that may divert investigators down confusing ‘rabbit holes’ leading nowhere.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in everyThursday at 6pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca

RIOT RADIO, the visual radio station based out of Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario has begun airing the Global Research News Hour on an occasional basis. Tune in at dcstudentsinc.ca/services/riot-radio/

Notes:

  1. http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/2017/10/the-limits-of-gullibility.html#more

  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-paddock-las-vegas-shooting-weapons-vantage-point-room-2017-10

  3. http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/13/us/las-vegas-shooting-investigation/index.html

  4. ibid

  5. http://beta.latimes.com/nation/la-na-vegas-shooting-casino-security-20171012-story.html

  6. http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/13/us/las-vegas-shooting-investigation/index.html

  7. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/oct/10/fact-checking-nras-talking-points-after-las-vegas/

  8. http://www.mercurynews.com/2013/10/14/few-vegas-casinos-have-hotel-surveillance/

Video: Regime Change in Latin America

October 21st, 2017 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

This video exposes how Washington, the CIA and Non-Government Organization’s (NGO’s) ‘Democracy Program’ Promote Regime Change. 
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This video was originally published by Silent Crow News.

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MacArthur is fired. Napalm (1:52).

The combined Chinese/North Korean forces try to defeat the UN in South Korea. Ridgeway’s change of strategy meant that the UN forces would hold ground, relinquish it, then counterattack with superior air and artillery support. Napalm became the UN’s favored aerial bombardment weapon, with over 14 million gallons of it used in the Korean War.

The US military’s reliance on artillery and airstrikes during the war causes enormous damage in the populated areas of Korea where it is used. By early March 1951, the UN forces were just south of Seoul, and pushing back. Peng Dehuai, the Chinese Army commander, gives up on “victory”. MacArthur still wants to attack China.

He tells Philippe Daudy, a French journalist, that he would like to drop five atomic weapons on China’s main cities. MacArthur criticizes the US president again for wanting to negotiate with the opposition. Mac gets fired.

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“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Proverb

Western governments that have servilely abrogated to a foreign power, i.e. Israel, their responsibilities to uphold international law can no longer claim national sovereignty nor a moral high-ground. 

These states have become bystanders to Israeli war crimes and genocide and are corrupt mouthpieces parroting Zionist platitudes that undermine Palestinian rights, particularly the right to resist and to defend Palestine’s freedom and land from its brutal occupier/ land-thief.

Two recent typical examples of glass house hypocrisy are Belgium and Norway.

Belgium

Belgium had been a generous benefactor of school funding in Palestine, having to date built 23 schools in the Israeli occupied West Bank with  plans to build a further 10 schools.

Palestinian parents, living  in forced impoverishment are aware of their children’s dismal present and future, and so value education for their children even more. 

It is, then, of great concern that at the behest of Palestinian Media Watch* on the 7th October the freezing of Belgian school funding was announced because the Beit Awaa Elementary Girls School, Hebron region, built with funds from Belgium in 2012-2013, was renamed the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School.

Dalal Mughrabi, was a 19 year old PLO freedom fighter who led an attack in 1978 against the Israeli occupier which left 35 people dead and more than 70 injured. Her sister, Rashida Mughrabi, proudly states, 

“I have no regrets about what my sister did. The Israelis are the ones who forced her to carry out the attack because they expelled us and stole our lands. They caused us a great injustice by turning us into a nation of refugees, and, if it weren’t for the occupation, Dalal would never have carried out the attack. Maybe she would have raised a family and pursued a career.”

Consider the double standards by the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs when Belgium has many statues of King Leopold II, (who was not a freedom fighter) a vicious colonial exploiter responsible for atrocities that led to the deaths of more than 6 million Congolese. “[T]he most potent symbol of colonial brutality” was the severing of hands  plus taking women and family members hostage  to force workers to collect rubber. There is even a city in Limburg named after him, Bourg-Leopold.

Furthermore, in this instance, Belgium is shamefully indulging in the manipulative Zionist discrimination against Palestinian resistance to the Zionist scourge which is in effect – state terrorism.

Does Belgium regard Churchill, resisting the Nazi scourge,  as a terrorist for ordering Operation Thunderclap- the bombing of Dresden which  blew up and incinerated approximately 35,000 German civilians including children? Churchill also made a request to President Truman that Britain be represented in the atomic  attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that slaughtered an estimated 226,000 Japanese civilians including children.

There are numerous schools named after Churchill in the UK.

And then there is Truman, as Commander in Chief ordering the  bombing of the Minerva car factory in Antwerp that mistakenly killed 936 Belgian civilians including 209 schoolchildren. 

There are many schools in the USA named after Harry S Truman.

Belgium by freezing school funding is adding to Israel’s educational abuse of Palestinian children especially at this time when,  

“At least 55 schools in the occupied West Bank are currently threatened with demolition and “stop work” orders. What’s more, many pupils turned out full of hope for the new year, only to find that hundreds of their classmates are languishing in Israeli jails. In occupied Jerusalem, others were struck by the news that their teachers had been dismissed, purportedly for “incitement”.

As for the children in the Gaza Strip, their challenge is of an entirely different order. Israel’s ten-year blockade continues to test their resolve to the limit. Electricity is in short supply; thousands study by candle light, when candles are available; and to make matters even worse, the Ramallah authority has forced scores of teachers to take early retirement and stopped paying the salaries of hundreds more.” Education is a right being denied to Palestinian children, and Israel is the culprit

Norway

(Ironically the home of the Nobel Peace award)

In September 2017, Norway obediently responded to the lobbying of the Palestinian Media Watch by demanding a refund of  $10,000 donated to a women’s centre in Burqa named after Dalal Mughrabi. 

The money was willingly refunded because the name “was chosen by the villagers to commemorate a Palestinian hero who sacrificed herself for her country and therefore they have no intention to change its name regardless of the price.”

The  head of Burqa village council, stated

“Instead of fighting a community center that does not exceed 50 square meters in area and works on serving young women in the community, they should be objecting to regular attacks by (Israeli) settlers against the village and its people and to allow farmers to reach their land that was taken away from them in spite of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling to return this land to its rightful owners,” 

Norway’s hypocrisy can be summed up four words – ‘SF Hydro’ and ‘Knut Hamsun’. 

In February 1944, Norwegian commandoes blew up a Norwegian ferry, SF Hydro, transporting containers of  heavy water, a key component in nuclear weapons, killing 18 people including 14 Norwegian civilians.

In 2009, after years of popular revulsion, Queen Sonia of Norway opened the  yearlong festivities, called  ‘Hamsun 2009’ commemorating 150 years since the birth of  Knut Hamsun. The  Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway, also issued  a commemorative coin. Famous as a Nobel Laureate for Literature, Hamsun was a rabid racist,

“The Negros are and will remain Negros, a nascent human form from the tropics, rudimentary organs on the body of white society. Instead of founding an intellectual elite, America has established a mulatto studfarm.”

and a rabid Nazi sympathiser, “the Germans are fighting for us, and now are crushing England’s tyranny over us and all neutrals.” He wrote an obituary for Hitler  in an  influential Norwegian newspaper and sent Goebbels, Hitler’s minister for propaganda,  a gift of his Nobel prize medal. The Knut Hamsun Centre museum and educational centre in Hamaroy, is dedicated to his life and work.

Glass Houses of Hypocrisy

The ultimate shattering of Belgium and Norway’s glass houses of hypocrisy is that neither have frozen trade and arms deals with Israel given there are schools and army camps named after Israeli terrorists (note the systemic promotion of  Zionist killers):

  • Yitzak Rabin High School in Kfar Saba and Camp Rabin, the headquarters of the  IDF general staff; ‘Yitzhak Rabin signed an expulsion order for the children of Lydda to be ethnically cleansed “quickly, without attention to age.” Rabin was a warmonger who as Israel’s chief of staff planned the 1967 attack on Egypt.’
  • Camp Yaakov Dori;  from 1939-46  he was Chief of Staff of the Haganah, a paramilitary group that perpetrated terror bombings  killing innocent civilians and became First Chief of Staff of the IDF.
  • Camp Yigael Yadin, – was operations officer in the Haganah, and became the second Chief of staff of the IDF. 
  • Camp Ariel Sharon, Israel’s largest military base located in the Negev. Ariel Sharon was in charge of the Qibya massacre and the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres. Sharon was the 11th prime minister of Israel.
  • Darca Menachem Begin High School – Gedera, Menachem Begin Road is a major thoroughfare in Tel Aviv, Menachem Begin St, Yehud,   Menachem Begin Museum  and Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Al Quds:  Menachem Begin was a commander of Irgun which bombed markets, hotels, police stations, British convoys and was declared a terrorist organisation by the UN, UK, and US governments. Begin was a wanted criminal by the British mandate police. He became the 6th prime minister of Israel.
  • Yitzhak Shamir School, Holon: ‘Yitzhak Shamir had Britain’s Lord Moyne and Sweden’s Count Folke Bernadotte assassinated, and was also involved in the Deir Yassin massacre and other acts of terrorism. He was a leader of a Jewish terrorist group called the Lehi.’  He was Israel’s 7th prime minister.

The  aforementioned Israeli ‘heroes’ are in fact real terrorists who made their merciless contribution to the preemptive destruction of  670 Palestinian villages, to the forced expulsion of 750,000 Indigenous Palestinians, to the establishment of the colonial apartheid regime of Israel, to the decades of mass incarceration of  Palestinians including children as young as 10 years old, and to the mass murder and extrajudicial killings of thousands of Palestinian civilians and freedom fighters.

On the other hand, Dalal Mughrabi is a true hero, revered because she represents  the courage of Palestinian resistance; a decidedly handicapped resistance of guerrilla fighters with guns, homemade bombs against the nuclear military might of the Israeli colonial army, navy, air force. Mughrabi is not a terrorist, her actions are legitimate under United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:

“2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;”

It is heinous that western countries, like Belgium and Norway facilitate rather than prevent Israeli state terrorism that continues to commit daily war crimes against the infants, children, women and men of Palestine. On any given day, e.g. 13 October 2015,

Are Belgian and Norwegian farmers denied access to their farms or have their life-supporting farmlands and crops seized? Is Belgian and Norwegian civilian movement blocked by checkpoints making access to schools, hospitals, and extended family impossible? Are Belgian and Norwegian parents terrified their children will be ripped from their beds  in dawn military raids to be beaten and tortured under interrogation? Are their shops closed down? Do they have restricted access to their places of worship? Are their lawmakers incarcerated for no reason? Are rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades fired when  Belgians and Norwegians protest in the streets? Are Norwegians and Belgians denied entry to or exit from their country?

The answers of course are ‘No’.. except when Belgians and Norwegians were under Nazi occupation for a mere 5 years (not 50) which promoted clandestine civilian resistance. You get the drift?

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name.  She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of  Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

Note

*”Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), one of several resource-rich right-wing think tanks that track the Palestinian media as well as remarks made by individual Palestinians, monitoring words of incitement. PMW’s findings are quoted by Israeli officials and are sent to members of Congress. The organization is lead by Itamar Marcus, who lives in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, and who represented Israel in the Wye summit in 1998 on the issue of incitement. Marcus is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Office’s Palestinian Incitement Index Monitoring Committee, whose findings were presented at the most recent Cabinet meeting. Marcus himself writes position papers on incitement for the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry. He also briefs the prime minister, cabinet ministers, advisors, and defense personnel on the subject.” Source

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ISIS and Al-Qaeda Planning a 9/11-Type Attack?

October 21st, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Acting US Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke claimed it’s coming.

Did she announce a major US state terrorism attack in the works, on the order of another 9/11-type false flag – to be wrongfully blamed on “crazed Arabs” like the first one?

After meeting in London with UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd, she called the threat “severe,” saying:

“The terrorist organizations, be it ISIS or al-Qaeda or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11. They want to take down aircraft. The intelligence is clear on that.”

She lied. No intelligence exists, no ISIS, Al Qaeda or any other Islamic terrorist attack planned in America – not a major or garden variety one like numerous post-9/11 false flags, innocent patsies wrongfully blamed for state-sponsored crimes.

US intelligence supports these and other terrorist groups, arming, funding, training and directing their fighters. Why would they bite the hand feeding them?

Duke’s job includes stocking fear, needed to justify America’s imperial agenda, smashing one country after another, using terrorist foot soldiers to do its dirty work on the ground – supported by Pentagon terror-bombing, massacring tens of thousands of civilians, turning cities and towns to rubble.

Fabricated homeland terrorism threats are also used to justify destroying fundamental freedoms – police state laws, Big Brother spying, and challenging digital democracy, eliminating them on the phony pretext of assuring greater security.

According to Duke, ahead of a major attack, Islamic terrorists “need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots and they are happy to have small plots.”

“Creating terror is their goal. A bladed weapon attack causes terror and continues to disrupt the world but that does not mean they have given up on a major aviation plot.”

Sadly, most people believe this rubbish, failing to understand their enemy is homegrown, headquartered in Washington, with branch offices in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.

An earlier article explained chances of being struck by lightning are much greater than becoming a terrorist attack victim.

Death by auto accident, preventable diseases, violence at home by one family member against another, alcoholism or harm from overdoses of legal drugs are infinitely higher – what government officials media propaganda never explain.

State-sponsored terrorism is great cause for concern, not the other kind.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Is Weather Warfare a Conspiracy Theory?

October 21st, 2017 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

The technology to control or modify the weather has been in existence for quite some time. Remember when the former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed in a 2012 speech that Iran’s enemies were creating droughts by destroying its rain clouds. Ahmadinijad’s accusations landed him in the mainstream media’s hot seat and labeled him a “Conspiracy Theorist.”Newsweek, a U.S. based news magazine and website led the charge by publishing ‘Five of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Weirdest Conspiracy Theories’ including the conspiracy theory about “the West stealing Iran’s rain”:

If you can’t stop their nuclear weapons program, stop their rain—at least that was the thinking behind Ahmadinejad’s accusation against the West in a 2012 speech. “Today our country is moving towards drought, which is partly unintentional due to industry and partly intentional, as a result of the enemy destroying the clouds moving towards our country and this is a war that Iran is going to overcome,” he said.

Water can be scarce in Iran due to the mostly dry climate, but that was not the reason, in Ahmadinejad’s mind, for an impending water crisis. Rather, it was the West sabotaging its clouds. “I feel that the world arrogance and colonization, by using their technologies, are affecting the environmental situation in Iran,” he said

According to a report published by Reuters ‘Could Iran’s Enemies Really Be Destroying Its Rain Clouds?’ stated Ahmadinejad’s concerns:

“The enemy destroys the clouds that are headed towards our country and this is a war Iran will win,” Ahmadinejad said on Monday, according to Iranian news reports cited by Reuters.

Iranian authorities have made this claim repeatedly in the past year. During a severe drought in the Islamic republic last fall, Ahmadinejad said European countries were using “special equipment” to dump rainwater on their continent, leaving nothing for Iran

Reuters’ also reported on what Iranian Vice President Hassan Mousavi had said:

Then, in July, the AFP news agency quoted Iranian Vice President Hassan Mousavi as saying, “The world arrogance and colonist (term for the West used by Iranian authorities) are influencing Iran’s climate conditions using technology. The drought is an acute issue and soft war is completely evident… This level of drought is not normal”

Reuters’ interviewed Arlen Huggins, an atmospheric scientist from the Desert Research Institute and a Director of the Nevada State Weather Modification Program:

Arlen Huggins, an atmospheric scientist at the Desert Research Institute and director of the Nevada State Weather Modification Program, says no such cloud-busting technology exists.  “In terms of dissipating clouds, you can do it on a very small scale but not anything that could change a weather pattern or create a drought situation,” Huggins told Life’s Little Mysteries. “Drought is related to long-term weather systems”

This may surprise you (or not!), but Huggins works for the Military Industrial- Complex. The Desert Research Institute is associated with the Department of Defense, the Army, Navy, the Air Force and several other U.S. government agencies. Huggins is also in charge of the Nevada State Weather Modification Program managed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) under the U.S. Department of the Interior. The USBR’s main purpose is managing U.S. water resources in relation to being the largest wholesaler of water that supplies more than 31 million people. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the U.S. Department of Commerce is involved in “daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce” according to their website.

The DRI Cloud Seeding Program is located in the Northern Nevada Science Center (NNSC) in Reno, Nevada. The DRI cloud seeding program originated from the DRI weather modification research program which is funded by USBR and NOAA. Huggins claimed that there is no cloud-busting technology, but there several documents that suggests otherwise. Wikipedia describes Cloud Seeding as “a way of changing the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.” In simpler terms, Jim Lee (an activist who is trying to expose Weather Modification to the public) and the founder and editor of www.climateviewer.com describes Cloud Seeding as follows:

“You put a little particle in the air. Water attaches to it and hopefully it falls on the ground. Those are seeds or aerosols. so they put seeds into the clouds to try to make it rain”

The Story of the Rainmaker, Charles Hatfield

The history of rainmaking dates back to more than 100 years ago with Charles Hatfield who taught himself the science of pluviculture (rainmaking techniques). In 1902, Hatfield created a “secret mixture of 23 chemicals” in large evaporating tanks claiming that it can induce rain. Hatfield’s techniques proved to be successful in creating storms. He eventually found numerous jobs creating rain. In 1904, a public relations campaign for Hatfield’s rainmaking techniques began under Fred Binney. Ranchers offered Hatfield more than $50 per job to produce rain for their crops. Hatfield then built an evaporating tower at La Crecenta where he released his chemical mixture into the atmosphere creating rain. His success led to higher demand and of course, more money. However, the weather bureau had reported that the rain created by Hatfield was already on its way because it was part of a storm. Those who believed in Hatfield’s rainmaking abilities ignored the Weather Bureau’s report.

In 1906, Hatfield won another contract to produce rain for the Klondike Goldfields for a reported $10,000 in Yukon Territory, but was unsuccessful and received only $1,100 for his personal expenses. By January 1915, Hatfield’s lucrative business took a turn for the worst. The San Diego city council hired Hatfield to produce rain for the Morena Dam Reservoir for $10,000. That same month, an enormous amount of rain grew over time and the dam broke causing a massive flood and killing more than 20 people. Hatfield declared to the press that it was the city’s fault for not taking precautions. The city of San Diego refused to pay Hatfield for the death and destruction he caused. The courts ruled for Hatfield stating that he did not do anything wrong as they declared it “an act of God.” The importance of Hatfield’s story is that it was not An “act of God”, Hatfield was playing God with Mother Nature and the consequences soon followed.

How the U.S. Government Became “Gods” of the Skies

Once Washington, the corporations and the U.S. military got its hold on the science of Weather Modification, it was off to the races. On October 13th, 1947, Project Cirrus was the first attempt by GE (General Electric Corporation), the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the Office of Naval Research and the US Air Force to modify and control hurricanes by rotating them from east to west and eventually out to the sea. Project Cirrus began with an airplane dropping 180 pounds of crushed dry ice into the clouds as the crewmembers reported that the “Pronounced modification of the cloud deck seeded” thereby, not confirming if it was due to the seeding process. The hurricane changed its course of direction and made landfall close to Savannah, Georgia prompting the public to blame the seeding process. The public was outraged of what had happened so they threatened lawsuits along with a credible chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir, who he himself claimed that the reversal of the hurricane was indeed caused by “human intervention.” Project Cirrus was eventually canceled due to its failure. The U.S. government never admitted that they seeded the hurricane for years. Then in 1965, an article appeared in The Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel stating that in 1947 “a hurricane went whacky” and “Twelve years later it was admitted the storm had in fact been seeded.”

Following Project Cirrus’s hurricane disaster, another attempt was made on September 16, 1961 with Hurricane Esther by the National Hurricane Research Project (NHRP) along with the United States Navy aircraft when Eight cylinders of silver iodide were strategically dropped into Esther’s eyewall which led to the weakening of the winds by at least 10 percent. Then in the very next day, more flights were made without silver iodide falling into the eyewall resulting in no reduction in windspeed. It was considered a success leading to Project Stormfury led by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Weather Modification was discussed in a detailed report titled ‘Rainmaking in SEASIA which describes the use of lead iodide and silver iodide by various aircraft under Project Stormfury, a hurricane study program that took place between 1962 and 1983 that was initially developed in California at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. It was tested in Okinawa, Japan, Guam (a U.S. territory), in the Philippines and in U.S. states of Texas and Florida. Project Stormfury was a U.S. government approved project for the purpose of weakening Tropical Cyclones by seeding them with silver iodide. The initial idea was to spray silver iodide directly into the hurricane in hopes of disrupting its structure. Project Stormfury was considered a failure.

Between 1967 and 1972, Operation Popeye was launched as a “highly classified” operation conducted by the U.S. military in North and South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to extend the monsoon season around the Ho Chi Minh Trail for U.S. soldiers to gain an advantage over the Viet Cong. Cloud Seeding was used on the tops of monsoon clouds to extend the rainfall along the Ho Chi Minh Trail that would cause landslides through torrential downpours along the Ho Chi Minh Trails to make it difficult for the Viet Cong to deliver supplies and extra troops. It went on for almost five years until a journalist for the Washington Post (how ironic!) Jack Anderson exposed Operation Popeye (initially called Intermediary-Compatriot in his column) and caused a public outcry. Operation Popeye was later confirmed in The Pentagon Papers which was released by Daniel Ellsberg. The article led the way for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to approve a universal treaty to ban environmental warfare.

However, the U.S. government was not thrilled by Anderson’s report on their Weather Modification projects. By 1972, Mr. Anderson was a target for assassination by White House senior staff members under the Nixon administration. G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt plotted with a CIA operative the various possibilities that included adding poison to his aspirin bottle, drugging Anderson with LSD or staging “a fatal mugging.” The plan to assassinate Anderson was stopped when they were apprehended for the Watergate break-in scandal that implicated President Richard Nixon who was later impeached. All involved admitted under oath in a congressional hearing that they planned to assassinate Anderson on orders from a senior White House aide named Charles Colson. On May 19th, 1974, the Daytona Beach Morning Journal published an article titled ‘Rainmaking Used As Weapon In SE Asia’ exposed Nixon’s advisor for national security and New World Order advocate, Henry A. Kissinger (which shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point in history) said the following:

“The rainmaking reached a peak in 1971, according to Pentagon statistics made available to the committee, with more than 11,000 canisters dumped. Well informed sources have told the New York Times that the operations at that point were tightly controlled by Henry A. Kissinger, the President’s advisor for national security”

‘Eyes in Outer Space’ A Walt Disney and the Department of Defense “Factual” Presentation

An unknown documentary film produced by The Department of Defense and Walt Disney studios released on June 1959 titled ‘Eyes in Outer Space, A Science-Factual Presentation’ suggests that the U.S. government was already in the process of developing the technology to control the weather, in this case, hurricanes. Weather Modification was well on its way.

The first half of the film shows how satellites and computers were used to predict the weather. Even before the film was released , the U.S. government had already launched the Vanguard 2, an earth-orbiting weather satellite on February 17th, 1959. In early 1958, the prototypes including TIROS and Vanguard were created by the U.S. Army Signal Corps (USASC). The launch of the Vanguard 2 took place aboard SLV 4 rocket under the U.S. Navy’s Project Vanguard as part of the space race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. Vanguard 2′s main purpose was to “observe and record the cloud cover of the earth” according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. On April 1st, 1960, TIROS-1 was the first weather satellite was a success according to NASA.

The second half of the film demonstrated how the weather can be controlled in the future when a hurricane that was approaching the coastal area of North Carolina can be deflected away through the use of “Cloud-Seeding” and other technologies developed by the U.S. military and other agencies. What ‘Eyes in Outer Space’ depicts is how the technology used by the U.S. government is a force for good, but the reality is that weather modification can be used as a weapon of warfare which is close to a thermal nuclear war.

HAARP and Weaponizing the Weather?

Since 1990, the HAARP program operating under the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) under the Reagan Administration, to the mainstream media it known as was ‘Star Wars.‘ SDI, a missile defense system behind the idea and development of HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a research program based on the Ionosphere, a region of Earth’s upper atmosphere that ranges from about 30 miles (50 km) to 600 miles (1,000 km) above the Earth’s surface. It was funded by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the Military-Industrial Complex that includes the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

 

HAARP is a system of extremely powerful antennas that can create a carefully controlled modification of the ionosphere over any region of the world which was originally owned and operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate near Gakona, Alaska. HAARP was designed and built by BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT) based in the U.K. The University of Alaska Fairbanks website says that HAARP “is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere.” UAF website also claims the following:

The HAARP program is committed to developing a world-class ionospheric research facility consisting of:

The Ionospheric Research Instrument, a high power transmitter facility operating in the High Frequency range. The IRI can be used to temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study

Excite means “cause” or to “stimulate” the ionosphere. Technically the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) can stimulate the ionosphere which can change the earth’s upper atmosphere which many scientists say can have catastrophic consequences. Activist and author of ‘Angels Don’t Play This HAARP’ Dr. Nick Begich, describes HAARP as “A super-powerful radiowave-beaming technology that lifts areas of the ionosphere by focusing a beam and heating those areas. Electromagnetic waves then bounce back onto earth and penetrate everything — living and dead.”

The HAARP program which was originally based in Alaska but was reportedly shut down in 2014, but the University of Alaska Fairbanks resumed ownership of the facility as of August 2015. According to an NBC report in 2014 ‘Conspiracy Theories Abound as U.S. Military Closes HAARP’ claims that:

The U.S. Air Force has notified Congress that it intends to shut down HAARP, a controversial Alaska-based research facility that studies an energetic and active region of the upper atmosphere.

Conspiracy theorists are abuzz about the news, given that HAARP (short for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) has long been the center of wild speculation that the program is designed to control the weather — or worse. In 2010, Venezuelan leader Huge Chavez claimed that HAARP or a program like it triggered the Haiti earthquake.  For the record, the Haitian quake of 2010 was caused by the slippage of a previously unmapped fault along the border of the Caribbean and North American tectonic plates

One other website dedicated to the HAARP program claims that the program is to “analyze basic ionospheric properties and to assess the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for communications and surveillance purposes.”

Was the late Hugo Chavez correct when he claimed that HAARP or any other program caused the Haiti earthquake in 2010? MIT Technology Review, a global media company that is owned and operated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published an interesting article titled ‘Spacecraft Saw ULF Radio Emissions over Haiti before January Quake.’ The article stated that ‘DEMETER’ witnessed “a clear increase in ultralow frequency radio waves being emitted from the Earth’s the crust in that region in the build up to the quake”:

Back in 2004, the French space agency CNES launched a small satellite called DEMETER into polar orbit some 700 km above the Earth’s surface. DEMETER’s is an unusual mission. Its job is to monitor low frequency radio waves generated by earthquakes.

Today, a group of geoscientists release the data associated with the M 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti in January. They say that DEMETER saw a clear increase in ultralow frequency radio waves being emitted from the Earth’s the crust in that region in the build up to the quake.

The anecdotal evidence of electromagnetic effects associated with earthquakes is legion. Various accounts link earthquakes with mysterious light and heating effects. Then there is the widespread evidence that certain animals can sense impending quakes, possibly because of a sensitivity to low frequency electric fields.

A claim made in the article by Michael Athanasiou and his associates from the Technical University of Serres in Greece “say that DEMETER spotted good of evidence of a change in ultralow frequency radio waves in the ionosphere above Haiti in the run up to the quake”:

The results reveal a significant increase of the energy of ULF waves, up to 360%, for a period of one month before the main earthquake compared with the energy of the background,” they say. That’s a dramatic increase. These emissions dropped gradually in the month after the quake.

The implications are interesting. Athanasiou and co say: “The results of this paper clearly indicate that ULF electromagnetic waves can be very useful in revealing possible precursor seismic phenomena”

What is interesting about the article is that the earthquake was linked with “mysterious light and heating effects.” Was it HAARP? or was it Mother Nature’s wrath of anger towards the self destruction of humanity by the continues wars, diseases, poverty and famine?

Weather Warfare or Climate Change taking its Course?

What if the U.S. military (The Trump Administration has given full authority to do basically whatever they want) was responsible for the recent hurricanes that destroyed vast areas of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, Florida, St. Maarten and Dominica?  Several nations and colonial territories in the Caribbean and in the U.S. including Texas and other areas were destroyed.

In the case of Puerto Rico who has a $72 billion debt burden due to the U.S. control of its economy that started with the Jones Act of 1917 and not counting the cost of the damages caused by Hurricane Maria which would be impossible to repay given the circumstances. And in recent years, the Puerto Rican government was open to doing business with China possibly made Washington and the Military Industrial Complex a little bit nervous. Bloomberg News reported back in August about Puerto Rico joining China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ infrastructure initiative:

Enter China. Puerto Rico is looking to capitalize on the nation’s recent global investment surge through its ‘One Belt, One Road’ infrastructure initiative that may fuel as much as $500 billion of international investment. The Americas — including some of Puerto Rico’s Caribbean neighbors like Cuba and the Bahamas — have already been a popular investment destination for Chinese companies for years

Puerto Rico is and still remains a colony, Washington makes the important decisions for the Puerto Rican government, in fact, most of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives and senators are under Washington’s control since 1898. Operation Bootstrap under U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt oversaw the sterilization of Puerto Rican women. The U.S. Navy bombarded the Puerto Rican island of Vieques from 1941to 2003 with 22 million pounds of military and industrial waste including lead, mercury, napalm and depleted uranium causing the rate of cancer to increase. It is also well-known that the Nationalist Pedro Albizu Campos, a prominent leader during the uprisings of the independence movement of Puerto Rico from the 1930′s to the 1950′s. Albizu was sent to prison for seditious conspiracy against the U.S. government. While in prison, Albizu was a subject of human experimentation with intense radiation. Don’t forget Cointelpro (Counter Intelligence Program), a program conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that included surveillance , infiltration, and disrupting the Puerto Rican Independence Party and other political organizations within the U.S. In other words, Puerto Rico was used for various experiments and cannon fodder for the U.S. military and now they are in a debt crisis. Maybe Puerto Rico is not beneficial for U.S. interests anymore, maybe the land can be used for military purposes.

Can the U.S. military establish bases in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean as a launching pad for interventions to counter sovereign nations who resist U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean, Central and South America including Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua? The answer is yes.  Who can forget Trump’s statement to the press back in August when he said

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary,”

Hollywood just released a film on Weather Modification gone mad titled, ‘Geostorm’ right after the worst hurricane season in a century. The film is about a network of satellites designed to control the global climate landscape. The plot of the film is that the satellites turns on Planet Earth with the intention to destroy everything in it by causing catastrophic weather conditions including hurricanes and earthquakes. Sounds like a typical Hollywood film.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States, what were the underlying causes? Dane Wigington, an activist, editor and founder of Geoengineeringwatch.org published ‘Hurricane Maria, Weather Warfare, And Military Bases’ puts forth several important unanswered and admittedly controversial questions:

Was Puerto Rico the target of weather warfare from Hurricane Maria manipulation? Was the case the same with Texas and Hurricane Harvey? Cuba and Hurricane Irma? What are the mathematical odds of the US and Caribbean nations experiencing a sudden rash of catastrophic hurricanes after a 12 year major hurricane landfall drought? Why was there a 12 year major cyclone landfall drought in the US to begin with? These questions are especially puzzling when we consider that the rest of the world has endured record strength cyclones with record frequency during the same period. Climate intervention and cyclone manipulation programs are a verifiable reality, not theory or speculation

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s article ‘Climate Change, Geoengineering and Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD)’ was published during the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and asked a few important questions:

Why is climate change for military use no longer an object of debate? Why is it not on the agenda of the Paris Summit? The more substantive question is:  Are Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) part of the US arsenal of “covert” military technologies to destabilize sovereign countries?

The US Military has acknowledged that ENMOD it is part of its military arsenal. There are unconfirmed reports but no firm evidence that it has been used.  In this regard, the US military acknowledges that climatic warfare has the added advantage of being be used to trigger climate disasters without the enemy nation knowing about it.

The unspoken truth is that Geo-engineering and Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) constitute potential Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Maybe controlling the weather does sound too crazy to believe. There is no clear evidence that the recent hurricanes were manufactured by a weather modification program.  Until there is concrete evidence to prove otherwise, scientists (and most of the people around the world) are convinced that Climate Change was responsible for the environmental disaster that recently took place. Would we ever know the truth?

Sources

Operation Popeye

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/730016.pdf

Transcript of the US Senate Hearing on Weather Modification of March 20, 1974

https://web.archive.org/web/20090612231729/http://www.sunshine-project.org/enmod/popeye

Project Stormfury

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/730016.pdf

Geoengineering, Weather Modification, and Weaponizing Nature

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH_Skm-OkZs

Jim Lee’s website: www.climateviewer.com

Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025

http://csat.au.af.mil/2025/volume3/vol3ch15.pdf

This article was originally published by Silent Crow News where all images were sourced.

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NATO terrorists use chemical weapons against innocent civilians as policy. This is well-documented. NATO used weaponized white phosphorous against civilians in Mosul, Iraq, for example, and NATO proxy ground troops who call themselves al Qaeda, al Nusra Front, Daesh, FSA, and a host of other names, also use chemical weapons against civilians. Chemical stocks, for example, were discovered in liberated Aleppo.

Despite the fact that the chemical weapons/Weapons of Mass Destruction meme was found to be as fake as the “incubator story” hatched by the Hill and Knowlton PR firm as a pretext for the illegal invasion of Iraq, projecting the chemical weapons lie onto target nations is still somewhat effective, given the success of MSM media to inoculate western consumers against the truth.

But the imperial CW narrative has now shifted because the West has now admitted1, somewhat inadvertently, that, yes “extremist groups” in Syria do use chemical weapons.

Translated from the Newspeak: NATO terrorists use chemical weapons against Syrians.

From a research and investigative perspective, it’s a bonus when the perpetrators admit to their own crimes.

What this really means is that as Syria becomes increasingly liberated from the scourge of Western-supported terrorists, and more evidence of the West’s crimes emerges daily, the propaganda narratives need to shift daily.

The next story will likely be that the West needs to save the “Kurds” against the evil Assad dictator. But that story won’t last long either if the Kurdish situation parallels developments in neighboring Iraq.

With any luck, the new story will be that the West has achieved victory in Syria and that they have decided to go home.

Such a narrative might work because it presents the lie (that the West is fighting and destroying Daesh) as the truth – a time-tested propaganda strategy that has worked since 9/11 and shows few signs of obsolescence.

Note

1 Syria Travel Warning, October 18, 2017 (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/syria-travel-warning.html) Accessed 20 October 2017


Global Research announces the release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes one additional chapter. 

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Video: Army and US-backed Forces Race for Syrian Oil

October 21st, 2017 by South Front

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have allegedly handed over the Tabiyah oil field and its nearby facilities to the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance following a visit of Syrian and Russian representatives to the SDF-held city of Hasakah.

According to reports, units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) with some unidentified “Russians” have already entered the oil field area. However, no photos or videos confirming these claims are available online. The situation remains unclear.

At the same time, reports are circulating that SDF representatives are set to attend a meeting at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia on November 10. The sides will allegedly discuss a number of issues, including a de-escalation of tensions between the SAA and the SDF.

These tensions have been growing since the SDF launched an advance north of Deir Ezzor in September. Many experts described the move as an attempt to seize key oil and gas infrastructure on the eastern bank of the Euphrates while the SAA faces the main ISIS forces near Deir Ezzor and Myadin on the western bank.

On October 19, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) destroyed a 130mm artillery piece of the SAA with Spike NLOS missile in Qaus al-Sindiyana base south of Harfa village near the Golan Heights.

The IDF said it was a response to a projectile that hit the Israeli-held territory. The IDF added it “holds the Syrian regime responsible for any aggression from its territory & won’t tolerate attacks threating Israeli sovereignty.”

On the same day, the SAA recaptured Bard’ayyah Hill near Mughr al-meer village east of Beit Jinn town in Western Ghouta from militants. According to pro-government sources, the Israeli strike was a widely expected response to the recent SAA advances in the Damascus countryside.

Tel Aviv believes that if the SAA and its allies clear an area near the Syrian-Israeli contact line from terrorists, it will allow Hezbollah and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to operate there and to pose an additional threat to Israel.

If you’re able, and if you like our content and approach, please support the project. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: [email protected] or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront

Featured image is from South Front.

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Mexico Awaits the NAFTA Bomb Blast

October 21st, 2017 by Ulises Noyola Rodríguez

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has finally come to a decisive stage in which Mexico could receive a hard blow to its national sovereignty, leading to greater economic subordination. The eventuality that NAFTA may explode, however, seems likely in the fourth round of negotiations due to the fact that both Mexico and the US will have to deal with key factors that, among others, include labor standards, rules of origin and the permanence of chapter nineteen.

With respect to labor standards, the US position maintains that the low wages in Mexico attract North American investment, which undermines the creation of jobs in the United States. This affirmation is exact, since the wage breach between Mexico and the United States is enormous, considering that the minimum hourly wages are 0.5 and 7.2 dollars for each country respectively.

Nevertheless, the labor proposals of the United States and Canada, according to the Mexican Minister of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, do not include an increase in the minimum wage in Mexico, but only propose to respect the labor rights which are demanded by the World Trade Organization (WTO)[1]. These rights involve the freedom of collective rights, the elimination of forced and child labor and the abolition of labor discrimination.

It is important to note that the minimum daily wage in Mexico is 80 pesos (about 4 US dollars), a quantity that is hardly sufficient to satisfy the basic needs of Mexicans with respect to food, health and education. This violates the international agreements that the Mexican government has ratified such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Agreement of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man[2].

The US proposal is therefore too weak because it does not oblige the Mexican government to at least fulfil the Constitution that stipulates that the minimum wage should be sufficient to satisfy the basic needs of workers and provide basic education for their children. This is a flagrant violation, even for public institutions such as the Ministry of Labor that has pointed out that an increase in the minimum wage is totally viable without negative consequences for the Mexican economy[3].

The justification of the Mexican government for maintaining the minimum wage so low for several years has been to control inflation[4], but the buying power of the minimum wage is almost completely pulverized, nullifying any effect on inflation. It is worth recalling that the buying power of the minimum wage has been reduced by 70% over the last forty years, so we have the lowest wage in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The real reason for which the minimum wage has been maintained at inhuman levels is that it threatens the profitability of the export sector in Mexico. The export sector, in the context of the world crisis, will not tolerate any wage increase, rather, on the contrary, it seeks measures to intensify the exploitation of workers through long working days, reduce wages and destroy social benefits.

The super-exploitation of Mexican workers has become colossal, given that our wages are lower than those of China, which affects the expansion of the internal market, national investment and labor productivity. Even worse, the generation of employment has been concentrated in low wage sectors under the government of Enrique Peña Nieto[5].

With respect to the rules of origin, the US proposal insists on increasing the participation of the United States in the value of intraregional trade in NAFTA through the increase of regional content to 85% in the automobile sector and the creation of a minimum level of US content, but without creating an acceptable content for the participation of Mexico. The justification of this asymmetric proposal on the part of the US government is based on the argument that the greatest loss of value in intraregional trade corresponds to the participation of the United States, as the result of the incursion of China in the US market[6].

The country which would receive the hardest blow, due to the hardening of rules of origin, would be Mexico, since it will reinforce its commercial relation with the United States and thus consequently will be even more isolated from important regions such as Asia. At the same time, US exports to Mexico could increase, which would partly resolve the former’s trade deficit, in contraposition to the worsening of our trade relations with the United States and the consequent increase of our financial obligations with the rest of the world.

In addition to the change of rules of origin, the Mexican government is negotiating the elimination of chapter nineteen of the trade agreement, which relates to the solution of trade conflicts between the member countries of NAFTA. Trade conflicts, up to now, have been resolved by independent tribunals, but the government of Donald Trump desires to resolve these commercial controversies in US tribunals, in order to defend US sovereignty.

The resolution of commercial controversies through US tribunals will only worsen our trade relations with the United States, since US authorities demand elevated standards of quality for Mexican products indiscriminately support their own agriculture and frequently reject Mexican exports for unjust reasons. In consequence, the elimination of chapter nineteen will give Washington more power to reject Mexican products and exacerbate our economic subjection to US tribunals.

The only salvation for the Mexican government may come from the support of Canada, whose representatives expressed their disapproval to the elimination of chapter nineteen and threatened to abandon the renegotiation, if the United States remains firm in their insistence on resolving trade controversies in US tribunals[7]. The US government might give way on maintaining chapter nineteen in the face of pressure from both commercial partners to abandon the renegotiation.

Although the dependency of the Mexican economy on the United States runs the risk of becoming even more chaotic, the Mexican government has not sent a forceful signal of having prepared a Plan B with respect to the diversification of its trade relations. The Mexican authorities only announced that they will diversify the purchase of grains from Brazil and Argentina, while the Transpacific Agreement, without the United States, and the modernization of the trade agreement with the European Union are agreements that provide no positive prospects for Mexico.

On the other hand, the strategy of utilizing China as a counterweight is unlikely in the short term, since the implementation of a free trade agreement with the Asian giant would lead to a considerable increase in the trade deficit. The Mexican government therefore only contemplates the possibility of creating an Agreement of Economic Association with China, which implies the gradual opening of commercial transactions and the increase of investments between Mexico and China[8].

The Mexican government is therefore facing the disjunctive of abandoning the negotiations or accepting a disastrous agreement that would deepen our subordination to the United States. If we consider that there will be presidential elections next year. Inevitably, the government will end up losing what little legitimacy it still may have, due to neither being prepared for the renegotiation of NAFTA, nor obtaining the support of Mexicans to confront the administration of Donald Trump.

This article was originally published in Spanish by Alainet.

Translated by Jordan Bishop

Notes

[1] Reuters. NAFTA labor talks focused on rights, not salaries: Mexico. Publication date: 9/10/2017.

[2] Frente a la pobreza. Salario mínimo suficiente. Publication date: 2016.

[3] El Financiero. Hay condiciones para subir salarios mínimos: STPS. Publication date: May, 2017.

[4] CONASAMI. Razones que explican el rezago del poder adquisitivo del salario mínimo. Publication date: 2017.

[5] Centro de Estudios Económicos del Sector Privado. Análisis Económico Ejecutivo. Publication date: February, 2017.

[6] Departamento de Comercio. Trade In Value Added: Declining U.S.-Produced Content in U.S. Imports from NAFTA. Publication date: September, 2017.

[7] The Globe and Mail. Canada, U.S. aim for NAFTA deal by end of year as Round 2 begins. Publication date: August, 2017.

[8] Senado de la República. Viable un Acuerdo de Asociación Económica con China, ante incertidumbre por la renegociación del TLCAN. Publication date: September, 2017.

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Featured image: The Oceti Sakowin camp, near the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, in November 2016. (Becker1999 / Flickr)

The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.

Native American communities—more than 200 were represented at the Standing Rock encampments, which at times contained up to 10,000 people—called themselves “water protectors.” Day after day, week after week, month after month, the demonstrators endured assaults carried out with armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, stun guns, tear gas, cannons that shot water laced with chemicals, and sound cannons that can cause permanent hearing loss. Drones hovered overhead. Attack dogs were unleashed on the crowds. Hundreds were arrested, roughed up and held in dank, overcrowded cells. Many were charged with felonies. The press, or at least the press that attempted to report honestly, was harassed and censored, and often reporters were detained or arrested. And mixed in with the water protectors was a small army of infiltrators, spies and agents provocateurs, who often initiated vandalism and rock throwing at law enforcement and singled out anti-pipeline leaders for arrest.

The Democratic administration of Barack Obama did not oppose the pipeline until after the election of Donald Trump, who approved the project in January 2017 soon after he became president. The water protectors failed in their ultimate aim to stop the construction, but if one looks at their stand as a single battle in a long war, Standing Rock was vitally important because it showed us how to resist.

In November of last year I spoke with Kandi Mossett, one of the water protector leaders, when I visited the North Dakota encampments. We were standing over one of the sacred fires.

“He starts throwing rocks at police,” she said of an infiltrator who shadowed her and pointed her out to law enforcement for arrest. “When he throws rocks I see a few other people throw water bottles. One of our women says, ‘Stop throwing shit!’ So people stop. But there’s instigators and infiltrators. We’ve had, here at this fire, two women who were called bikers because of the way they were dressed. When they lifted up their hands with everybody, people saw they had wires on. [Water protector] security went to them. They said, ‘We see that you’re miked.’ They took off running. Went over the fence. And a car came zooming, picked them up, and they took off. It’s not easy to keep [infiltrators] out. They can roll under the fence. They can come from under the security gates. We know they’re here.”

The corporate state, no longer able to peddle a credible ideology, is becoming more overtly totalitarian. It will increasingly silence dissidents out of fear that the truth they speak will spark a contagion. It will, as in China’s system of totalitarian capitalism, use the tools of censorship, blacklisting, infiltration, blackmailing, bribery, public defamation, prison sentences on trumped-up charges and violence. The more discredited the state becomes, the more it will communicate in the language of force.

“This world is heading towards economic systems that continue to eat up life itself, even the heart of workers, and it’s not sustainable,” Native American and environmental leader Tom B.K. Goldtooth told me when we spoke at one of the camps last year. “We’re at that point where Mother Earth is crying out for a revolution. Mother Earth is crying out for a new direction.”

“As far as a new regime, we’ll need something based on earth jurisprudence,” he said. “A new system away from property rights, away from privatization, away from financialization of nature, away from control over our … DNA, away from control over seeds, away from corporations. It’s a common law with local sovereignty. That’s why it’s important we have a system that recognizes the rights of a healthy and clean water system, ecosystem. Mother Earth has rights. We need a system that will recognize that. Mother Earth is not an object. We have an economic system that treats Mother Earth as if she’s a liquidation issue. We have to change that. That’s not sustainable.”

“If the pipeline is built, is that a defeat?” I asked him. He replied wryly, “That oil is going to run dry a lot sooner than they think. Maybe that corporation is going to go bankrupt. Who knows?”

“I talk about the need for young people to have patience, to put the prayer first, rather than just jumping out there and putting their energy into action,” he said. Angry reaction is “what the corporations want. That’s what the government wants. They want us to react. They want us to feel that anger. When the anger escalates, our feelings, frustrations, it goes back to that rage. The rage of the machines. It’s also unhappy. It feeds off the unhappiness of people.”

George Lakey, the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change emeritus at Swarthmore College and a sociologist who focuses on nonviolent social change, talked about Sweden and Norway’s response in the 1920 and ’30s to the rise of fascism and compared it with the response in Italy and Germany. We live in a historical moment similar to when fascism was ascendant between the two world wars, he argues. Lakey was a trainer during the civil rights movement for Mississippi Freedom Summer and co-authored “A Manual for Direct Action: Strategy and Tactics for Civil Rights and All Other Nonviolent Protest Movements,” one of the seminal texts of the civil rights movement.

“Fascism was a definite threat,” he said of the situation faced by Sweden and Norway. “And they were also experiencing [economic] depression. Norway’s degree of depression was even worse than Germany’s. It was the worst in Europe. The highest unemployment in Europe. People were literally starving. The pressure, the pro-fascist setup that the depression brings, was very present both in Sweden and in Norway. What the Nazis did there—what they did in Germany and what the fascists did in Italy—was provocation, provocation, provocation. ‘Bait the left. The left will come. And we’ll have street fighting.’ ”

Street violence, he said in echoing Native American elders, always “strengthens the state.”

“It puts more pressure on the state—which is presided over by the 1 percent—to step in more and more forcefully, with the middle class saying, ‘We care about order. We don’t want chaos,’ ” he said. “That’s what happened in Germany. It was a strengthening of the state. This happened in Italy as well. That’s what the game plan was for fascists in Norway and Sweden. It didn’t work. It didn’t work because the left didn’t play their game. They didn’t allow themselves to be baited into paying attention to them, doing street fighting.”

“Instead, [what was done] in the civil rights movement we would have called ‘they kept their eyes on the prize,’ ” Lakey said. “They knew the prize was to push away the economic elite, get rid of its dominance, so they can set up a new economic system, which is now called the Nordic model. What they did was: massive strikes, massive boycotts, massive demonstrations. Not only in the urban areas, which is what you expect, but also in the rural areas. During the Depression [in Sweden and Norway], there were lots of farmers who had their farms foreclosed on. Farmers are perennially in debt and had no way of repaying that debt. When the sheriff came, farmers in that county would come to join them and collectively not cooperate—not violently, but very strongly—in such a way that the sheriff couldn’t carry out the auction.”

“Remember who is actually running things, and we keep our focus on them both politically and economically,” Lakey said.

“The group I’m involved with [Earth Quaker Action Team] loves to go after corporations,” he said. “We went after a bank [PNC], the seventh largest bank in the country but it was the No. 1 financier of mountaintop-removal coal mining in Appalachia. We forced that bank out of [the] business of financing mountaintop coal mining. Nonviolently. Disrupting. Disrupting. We were in bank branches all over the place. We shut down two shareholder meetings. We led a boycott in which people took out money from that bank and were putting it in their local credit unions. So there’s more than one way to go after the 1 percent.”

“These days, a very smart way to do that is to focus on the economic entities that are owned by the 1 percent, who are basically responsible for the oppression that we experience,” he said.

Resistance, he stressed, will come from outside the formal political system. It will not be embraced by either of the two main political parties or the establishment, which is now under corporate control.

“The Democratic Party is out to lunch,” he said. “The Republican Party is actively grinding us. But even so we can make tremendous strides and start building that mass movement, which in Norway and Sweden was able to push the economic elites away. So that’s an indication of the way to build a movement—which is not to take them on the way antifa suggests. Instead, in the way the civil rights movement did. It worked. I was there. The Ku Klux Klan was much stronger then than it is now. In the Deep South, the Ku Klux Klan virtually ran the [region].”

Resistance, he said, means movements have to keep “pushing, pushing, pushing. Campaign after campaign after campaign.” It must always stay “on the offensive. That’s the secret.”

“As soon as they lost that sense of going on the offensive, choosing campaign after campaign and winning those campaigns, that was when they lost their momentum,” he said of the civil rights movement. “The important thing about what happened in Norway and Sweden was they kept their momentum. The campaigns continued to grow in number and in power until the economic elite was out.”

“I was very influenced by Bayard Rustin, who was the chief strategist for Dr. [Martin Luther] King,” he said. “I heard Bayard say over and over and over, ‘If we don’t get this economic justice thing done, in 50 years we’re still going to have rampant racism.’ He was right. But Dr. King and the other leaders who understood that were not able to get a sufficient number of people to make it. Now, the ’63 march was for jobs and justice. So they were able to do it to some degree. They kept moving in that direction, involving white trade unions in that process. But in the situation of general prosperity, there were many people who were content with our economic system.”

Economic decline, deindustrialization, austerity, debt peonage, decay and collapse of social services and infrastructure and the impoverishment of the working class, Lakey said, have changed the configuration. The working class, in short, can no longer be bought off.

“We’re in a very different situation,” he said. “We’re still in austerity. There’s not the degree of [contentment] that there once was. Trump has obviously capitalized on that fact. There’s discontent. I think what Dr. King and Bayard and others wanted to happen in the ’60s is now realizable.”

“The impact of ignoring climate change is going to be more and more disastrous,” he added. “We’re just through it now with [a devastating hurricane in] Houston. We’re going to see more and more money drained off by that [kind of natural disaster]. Again, the 1 percent won’t want to pay their fair share. What that leaves us is a population that is more and more discontent. We see that polarization going on. Polarization always goes along with increased inequality. We can expect more polarization. That’s a part of the temptation of antifa: ‘I’m more and more upset.’ ”

“When dealing with mountaintop-removal coal mining, we went from an organization [Earth Quaker Action Team] that started in a living room to 13 states,” he said. “We were steadfastly nonviolent. And we were targeting something people understood. ‘Wow, you’re going after the bank that’s financing this? I want to join that.’ Even though there were some people who were like, ‘We’d like a little more politeness, please.’ They didn’t get it because what we were about was making the bank’s life so difficult that they would choose instead to get out of the business [of mountaintop mining].”

Lakey cautioned against diverting energy to attacking neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. That, he said, is a gift to the state.

“There’s really no need for us to shift our attention from going after the 1 percent to go after, often, working-class guys on the extreme right,” he said. “For one thing, we look at their real, genuine grievances and address them. For example, how many people on the right are from working-class families who have family members who are not being served by our health care system? Many people on the far right are from a demographic that is actually losing life expectancy for the first time in U.S. history. The health care system in the U.S is a mess. Obamacare is better than previous, but it’s a mess. So what we can do is address the genuine grievances instead of writing people off as if obsession with racism is all that’s going on. Fascism grows when the economy declines. So let’s address the real thing instead of the symptom.”

While refusing to be baited into violent confrontations with the radical right, we must also be vigorous in using militant, nonviolent tactics to block hate speech. Article 4 of the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the United Nations in 1965, stipulates that “all propaganda and all organizations” based on ideas or theories of racial or ethnic superiority should be illegal. It urges states to take positive steps to eliminate them.

Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance dealt with the issue of hate speech recently when a Baltimore chapter of the League of Women Voters held a series of panel discussions on immigration. The chapter invited speakers from anti-immigrant white supremacist groups listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Despite public outcry, the league refused to withdraw the invitations. At the initial event the speaker was prevented from completing his presentation by anti-racist activists and members of the local chapter of the Green Party.

“Organizations and institutions do not have a requirement to include those who espouse hate,” Flowers and Zeese wrote of the event. “They are not required to give a platform to or legitimize white supremacist views. In fact, one could argue that it is anti-social to do so.”

“We would do better as a society to debate the best ways to eliminate white supremacy,” they added.

Lakey’s prescription:

“Consistently occupy the moral high ground, and that attracts support.” “It defangs those who want to do us in,” he said. “It’s not like the 1 percent was fond of the civil rights movement. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming into making concessions. J. Edgar Hoover was even quoted as saying, ‘He’s [King] the most dangerous man in America.’ ”

And, Lakey said,

“there’s a psychological reward. Going for what you want, instead of opposing what you don’t want, is itself fulfilling. It was civil rights. It was called the Freedom Movement. It’s also called a black liberation movement. It was all about positivity.”

To see Chris Hedges interview professor George Lakey, click here.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister.

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The recent law passed by the Quebec government, known as Bill 62-the “religious neutrality law,” will require women to remove their burqa or niqab (meaning face covering in Arabic) while giving or receiving public services such as getting on a bus or taking a book out of the library. The controversial law is getting a lot of attention and criticism. As a Muslim woman living in Canada I feel compelled to weigh in, not least because I can say things that non-Muslims may be too afraid to say.

I should note that I am secular; and am not a practicing Muslim. However, I come from a very religiously observant family, and with the exception of myself and my sister and a few cousins, all of the women in my family and extended families wear the hijab (head covering). And three of them wear the burqa. The women that wear the burqa live in Egypt, and when they adopted the practice of face covering, many in my family—the hijabi women included—thought that it was too extreme. While my family members are devout and practicing Muslims, the majority of them find the burqa (or niqab) unnecessary. Indeed when my mother worked and lived in Saudi Arabia decades ago, she defied social customs, and the law, and refused to wear it.

All this is to say that, the niqab—or face covering—is something that many Muslims consider to be off-putting and wholly unnecessary. So if it is too extreme for the streets of Cairo or Beruit then it is definitely too extreme for the west. Now before you go accusing me of Islamophobia, let me remind you that I am Muslim and, more importantly, that the Quran—the Islamic holy book—does not call for women to cover their face. In fact, there is even debate among some Islamic scholars about whether or not the hijab or head veil is mandated in the Quran, with some arguing that the Quran only explicitly mandates modest dress and the covering of the bosom [1]. I am not an expert on Islam, far from it. There is much literature that explores these issues, especially the burqa or face covering, and I urge readers—Muslim and non-Muslim—to do their own research.

With respect to the burqa, it is widely held that the practice is not mandated in the Quran—nor is the word mentioned—but instead grew out of hadith, a collection of traditions based on the daily life and practices of the prophet Muhammad. As Chris Moore explains, most followers of these “traditions” know little of their origins or authenticity.[2] Moreover, Moore points out that “for the thousands of traditions attributed to the Prophet only one bears notable credibility:

‘Do not write down anything I say except the Quran. Whoever has written something other than Quran let him destroy it.’” [3]

This implies that hadiths are not something Muslims should base their religious practices on. The practice of face covering comes largely from Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is a strict and archaic Muslim sect founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–92). It advocates a “return” to the early Islam of the Quran, rejecting later innovations. But there are many that argue that Wahhabism—which spread to many parts of the Middle East following the Saudi-US oil alliance of the late 1970s—is not a return to literal or early Islam but rather a complete contradiction of it or movement away from it [4]; meaning Wahhabism is not Islamic at all. In this respect, much like the practice of the burqa, Wahhabism should have no authority over the lives of Muslims.

Once upon a time, when Wahhabism far less influenced the Arab and Muslim world, Arab leaders, such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, were opposed to publicly mandating even the hijab (see the video below). Nasser believed that religious practices were a private matter and not a public obligation.

To date, most Muslim countries do not force women to wear neither the hijab nor the niqab, with Saudi Arabia being a notable exception on the latter. So why are western governments in countries that are secular and do not have a Muslim majority not allowed to regulate something as extreme and culturally incompatible as the burqa.

To argue that the burqa is necessary in Canada in order to ensure religious rights and freedoms is ultimately fallacious given that the burqa is not actually mandated by Islam. Like many things, the growing popularity of the burqa among Muslims over the last few decades can be attributed to politics, not religion. As I argue elsewhere, the massive oil alliance that was formed between the United States and Saudi Arabia after the oil embargo of 1973 led to religious radicalization in the Middle East. In exchange for Saudi Arabia only accepting US dollars for oil, giving the US and its currency global economic hegemony, the US allowed and (indirectly) helped the Saudis to spread Wahhabism and radical Sunni Islam across the Middle East for political ends.

Bolstered by its alliance with the US, Saudi Arabia has been able to promote Wahhabi extremism in the region. The Kingdom has spent millions and billions of dollars propping up Islamist movements and Islamist groups in the Arab world. Among many other things–such as increased terrorism in the region–the spread of Wahhabi political Islam has led to an increase in burqa wearing. Understood in its proper political and geopolitical context, the increased “popularity” of the burqa is as much political as it is religious; if not more so, given that the burqa is not mandated by Islam and the Quran.

But even if the Quran did mandate the burqa, I believe that a secular country such as Canada should be allowed to regulate expressions of extreme public religiosity, especially when matters of identity or public safety are concerned. While many Canadians are likely too afraid to say so in the current overly sensitive and rabidly politically correct culture, I suspect that a great many feel uneasy about the burqa. While most people may have no issue with a woman covering her hair (hijab), the complete draping of face and body in all black is a menacing and eerie sight that even makes me uncomfortable as an immigrant [5] from the Muslim world. This is something I tell my own burqa-wearing cousins every time I visit family over seas.

It is just too much for present-day urban society, whether in Canada or the Middle East. And what it connotes about women is very problematic. While it may be intended to reduce the sexual objectification of women, the burqa results in a different type of objectification altogether, for a faceless human being all in black garb, becomes little more than a moving object in black. For me, and I suspect for a great many others, the burqa is at once both dehumanizing and objectifying.

I feel the exact same way—though for opposite reasons—about overly exposed flesh, such as the ever-shrinking shorts some women wear that essentially reveal the entire lower buttocks. As I write elsewhere, while on the surface burqas and exposed butt cheeks are polar opposites, what they share in common is that they are both just too much for day-to-day life. Moreover, while the former may seem oppressive to women and the latter a sign of female liberation, I feel that both ultimately serve to overly objectify women, reducing them either to sinful bodies (and faces) to be covered up or sexual objects to be overly exposed. While they do so in opposite ways, by tending towards an extreme obsession or emphasis on the female form, both end up reducing women to the physical. In the end, both do not lend themselves to any form of moderation.

So before we enter into reactionary debates over the burqa in Canada, let us take pause and consider all of the above, especially the political agenda of Islamic radicalization.

This article was originally published by Ghada’s SoapBox.

Notes

[1]http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_1451_1500/burka_not_mandated_in_the_quran.htm

http://www.quran-islam.org/articles/part_3/the_burqa_(P1357).html

[2] http://www.quran-islam.org/articles/part_3/the_burqa_(P1357).html

[3] Cited in [2]. Taken from: Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, page 171 also Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7147.

[4] http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=6308

[5[ My parents immigrated to Canada when I was two years old.

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While Thailand undergoes a sensitive transition with the October funeral for its head of state, the widely respected and revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Southeast Asia constitutional monarchy, home to 70 million and one of the strongest regional economies, continues forward with solid footing in its, and the region’s realignment with its neighbours and East Asia, particularly China.

The Royal Thai Army took delivery this month of the first 28 Chinese-built VT4 main battle tanks (MBTs), with possibly over 100 additional tanks to be acquired in the near future. The growing fleet of VT4 MBTs joins other Chinese-built armoured vehicles in Thailand’s inventory including over 30 VN-1 and over 450 Type 85 armoured personnel carriers.

The acquisition of Chinese military equipment by Thailand’s armed forces also includes 3 submarines as well as joint-development of multiple rocket launchers. There is also a growing number of joint Thai-Chinese military exercises including Blue Strike 2016, which followed Falcon Strike 2015. The exercises involved both nation’s marine and air forces respectively and represent an alternative to what was once the United States’ exclusive domain in Southeast Asia.

In addition to growing Thai-Chinese military ties, both nations are moving forward with infrastructure projects including massive railway initiatives. Construction is set to start in November of this year on the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail network. The first stage will link Thailand’s capital of Bangkok to the northeast province of Nakhon Ratchasima. Eventually, China and its Southeast Asian neighbours plan to create a high-speed rail network running from China all the way to Singapore via Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. Construction in Laos is already underway.

American Counterstrokes 

It is clear that Bangkok benefits from its growing relationship with Beijing. Washington, which openly and for decades has sought to hinder Beijing’s regional and global rise, has little to offer as an alternative. Worse still, Washington has filled the void left by its inability to offer constructive military and economic ties with a regiment of political interference, coercion and even confrontation.

Bangkok is home to numerous foreign governmental organisations posing as “independent” nongovernmental organisations (i.e. Prachatai, Thai Netizens, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the New Democracy Movement and iLaw) fully funded by the United States government and a number of private US and European-based foundations, serving US and European interests. These foreign fronts seek to pressure the Thai government to adopt a system of economics and government that interlocks with and is subservient to US and European institutions, while overwriting Thailand’s own independent institutions, particularly the military and the constitutional monarchy.

Additionally, the US has attempted to push through one-sided free trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which eventually unraveled and was abandoned by Washington itself.

Thailand, which possesses a unified population, a formidable military and a strong, resilient economy, has weathered multiple attempts by the United States and its European partners to impose a client state through politicians like the recently ousted Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

However successful Thailand has been at thwarting these attempts, the Shinawatra’s political party, Pheu Thai Party (PTP), still enjoys impunity from the law, both because of the wealth and influence the Shianwatra family and its political allies still hold within Thailand through their many and immense business holdings, as well as the party’s foreign backing, primarily through the large and growing network of foreign governmental organisations posing as nongovernmental organisations in Thailand.

It is likely that attempts to once again install a PTP-led government and roll back progress the Kingdom of Thailand has made out from under US hegemony over the past decade will begin in earnest after October when funeral rites for King Bhumibol Adulyadej are completed.

US and European funded organisations have already spent the last year attempting from various axes to find and exploit various divides in Thailand’s sociopolitical landscape, including through student groups, sectarian divides and tired “pro-democracy” themes that have long since played out elsewhere around the world as an insincere façade used by special interests to advance their own agenda, not the agenda of actual representative governance.

With the relative success for US and European interests in Myanmar in hindering joint Chinese progress, including the reversal or delay of several major infrastructure projects and the ongoing violence in Rakhine state precisely where Beijing had hoped to create one of many hubs for its One Belt, One Road initiative, Washington, London and Brussels perhaps believe there is still time to replicate similar obstacles in neighbouring Thailand as well as in Cambodia, and even Laos.

What the Success of Thai-Chinese Relations Will Mean for Asia Pacific 

In essence, Thai-Chinese ties represent constructive but cautious steps toward creating a new political order in Asia Pacific, one in which nations in the region, not beyond it, determine the socioeconomic norms within and between each nation.

Infrastructure projects will transform the face of Asia much in the way they have transformed China itself. The creation of ultra-modern mass transportation, energy projects, the economic growth that will result from both, coupled with local, efficient and modern defence technology will first incrementally force foreign influence from Washington, London and Brussels to the peripheries of Asia Pacific’s socioeconomic landscape, before permanently pushing them out all together.

In the future that Thai-Chinese relations represents, Washington, London and Brussels will approach Asia Pacific with mutual respect and for mutual benefit, with the poor habits established by centuries of first European, then American colonisation finally exorcised from the policies executed by each nation’s respective foreign affairs offices, and their embassies dotting the Asia Pacific map.

More than that, the rise of Asia illustrates how alternative economic circles of power in turn create alternative political circles of power. It illustrates the necessity of nations acquiring and leveraging technology to drive economic progress, a process essential both for prosperity, but also in terms of national security and peace. It also illustrates how the rise of Asian corporations, institutions and enterprises (both state and private) and the preservation of well organised national institutions like those in Thailand have created the very sort of global balance of power unipolar globalisation had promised but ultimately, and some may say predictably, failed to deliver.

For China and Thailand, both nations face concerted efforts by the Western proponents and chief benefactors of globalisation to hinder real progress and instead perpetuate their existing international political order. Thai-Chinese cooperation, and similar cooperation within Asia Pacific will continue this shift and balance of power, one that even Washington policymakers are beginning to admit is inevitable and who are already shifting from preventing it, to merely delaying it for as long as possible.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Featured image is from the author.

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Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth

October 21st, 2017 by John Pilger

On 16 October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an interview with Hillary Clinton: one of many to promote her score-settling book about why she was not elected President of the United States.

Wading through the Clinton book, What Happened, is an unpleasant experience, like a stomach upset. Smears and tears. Threats and enemies. “They” (voters) were brainwashed and herded against her by the odious Donald Trump in cahoots with sinister Slavs sent from the great darkness known as Russia, assisted by an Australian “nihilist”, Julian Assange.

In The New York Times, there was a striking photograph of a female reporter consoling Clinton, having just interviewed her. The lost leader was, above all, “absolutely a feminist”. The thousands of women’s lives this “feminist” destroyed while in government — Libya, Syria, Honduras — were of no interest.

In New York magazine, Rebecca Trainster wrote that Clinton was finally “expressing some righteous anger”. It was even hard for her to smile: “so hard that the muscles in her face ache”. Surely, she concluded, “if we allowed women’s resentments the same bearing we allow men’s grudges, America would be forced to reckon with the fact that all these angry women might just have a point”.

Drivel such as this, trivialising women’s struggles, marks the media hagiographies of Hillary Clinton. Her political extremism and warmongering are of no consequence. Her problem, wrote Trainster, was a “damaging infatuation with the email story”. The truth, in other words.

The leaked emails of Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, revealed a direct connection between Clinton and the foundation and funding of organised jihadism in the Middle East and Islamic State (IS). The ultimate source of most Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia, was central to her career.

One email, in 2014, sent by Clinton to Podesta soon after she stepped down as US Secretary of State, discloses that Islamic State is funded by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Clinton accepted huge donations from both governments for the Clinton Foundation.

As Secretary of State, she approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her benefactors in Saudi Arabia, worth more than $80 billion. Thanks to her, US arms sales to the world – for use in stricken countries like Yemen – doubled.

This was revealed by WikiLeaks and published by The New York Times. No one doubts the emails are authentic. The subsequent campaign to smear WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, as “agents of Russia”, has grown into a spectacular fantasy known as “Russiagate”. The “plot” is said to have been signed off by Vladimir Putin himself.  There is not a shred of evidence.

The ABC Australia interview with Clinton is an outstanding example of smear and censorship by omission. I would say it is a model. 

“No one,” the interviewer, Sarah Ferguson, says to Clinton, “could fail to be moved by the pain on your face at that moment [of the inauguration of Trump] … Do you remember how visceral it was for you?”

Having established Clinton’s visceral suffering, Ferguson asks about “Russia’s role”.

CLINTON: I think Russia affected the perceptions and views of millions of voters, we now know. I think that their intention coming from the very top with Putin was to hurt me and to help Trump.

FERGUSON: How much of that was a personal vendetta by Vladimir Putin against you?

CLINTON: … I mean he wants to destabilise democracy. He wants to undermine America, he wants to go after the Atlantic Alliance and we consider Australia kind of a … an extension of that …

The opposite is true. It is Western armies that are massing on Russia’s border for the first time since the Russian Revolution 100 years ago.

FERGUSON: How much damage did [Julian Assange] do personally to you?

CLINTON: Well, I had a lot of history with him because I was Secretary of State when ah WikiLeaks published a lot of very sensitive ah information from our State Department and our Defence Department.

What Clinton fails to say – and her interviewer fails to remind her — is that in 2010, WikiLeaks revealed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ordered a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the United Nations leadership, including the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent Security Council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.

A classified directive, signed by Clinton, was issued to US diplomats in July 2009, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks.

This was known as Cablegate. It was lawless spying.

CLINTON:  He [Assange] is very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence. And ah, he has done their bidding.

Clinton offered no evidence to back up this serious accusation, nor did Ferguson challenge her.

CLINTON: You don’t see damaging negative information coming out about the Kremlin on WikiLeaks. You didn’t see any of that published.

This was false. WikiLeaks has published a massive number of documents on Russia – more than 800,000, most of them critical, many of them used in books and as evidence in court cases.

CLINTON:  So I think Assange has become a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator.

FERGUSON:  Lots of people, including in Australia, think that Assange is a martyr for free speech and freedom of information. How would you describe him? Well, you’ve just described him as a nihilist. 

CLINTON:  Yeah, well, and a tool. I mean he’s a tool of Russian intelligence. And if he’s such a, you know, martyr of free speech, why doesn’t WikiLeaks ever publish anything coming out of Russia?

Again, Ferguson said nothing to challenge this or correct her.

CLINTON: There was a concerted operation between WikiLeaks and Russia and most likely people in the United States to weaponise that information, to make up stories … to help Trump.

FERGUSON: Now, along with some of those outlandish stories, there was information that was revealed about the Clinton Foundation that at least in some of the voters’ minds seemed to associate you …. 

CLINTON: Yeah, but it was false! 

FERGUSON: … with the peddling of information … 

CLINTON: It was false! It was totally false!  ….. 

FERGUSON: Do you understand how difficult it was for some voters to understand the amounts of money that the [Clinton] Foundation is raising, the confusion with the consultancy that was also raising money, getting gifts and travel and so on for Bill Clinton that even Chelsea had some issues with? … 

CLINTON: Well you know, I’m sorry, Sarah, I mean I, I know the facts ….

The ABC interviewer lauded Clinton as “the icon of your generation”. She asked her nothing about the enormous sums she creamed off from Wall Street, such as the $675,000 she received for speaking at Goldman Sachs, one of the banks at the centre of the 2008 crash. Clinton’s greed deeply upset the kind of voters she abused as “deplorables”.

Clearly looking for a cheap headline in the Australian press, Ferguson asked her if Trump was “a clear and present danger to Australia” and got her predictable response.

This high-profile journalist made no mention of Clinton’s own “clear and present danger” to the people of Iran whom she once threatened to “obliterate totally”, and the 40,000 Libyans who died in the attack on Libya in 2011 that Clinton orchestrated. Flushed with excitement, the Secretary of State rejoiced at the gruesome murder of the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

“Libya was Hillary Clinton’s war”, Julian Assange said in a filmed interview with me last year. “Barack Obama initially opposed it. Who was the person championing it?  Hillary Clinton.  That’s documented throughout her emails … there’s more than 1700 emails out of the 33,000 Hillary Clinton emails that we’ve published, just about Libya. It’s not that Libya has cheap oil. She perceived the removal of Gaddafi and the overthrow of the Libyan state — something that she would use in her run-up to the general election for President. 

“So in late 2011 there is an internal document called the Libya Tick Tock  that was produced for Hillary Clinton, and it’s the chronological description of how she was the central figure in the destruction of the Libyan state, which resulted in around 40,000 deaths within Libya; jihadists moved in, ISIS moved in, leading to the European refugee and migrant crisis. 

“Not only did you have people fleeing Libya, people fleeing Syria, the destabilisation of other African countries as a result of arms flows, but the Libyan state itself was no longer able to control the movement of people through it.”

This – not Clinton’s “visceral” pain in losing to Trump nor the rest of the self-serving scuttlebutt in her ABC interview  — was the story. Clinton shared responsibility for massively de-stabilising the Middle East, which led to the death, suffering and flight of thousands of women, men and children.

Ferguson raised not a word of it.  Clinton repeatedly defamed Assange, who was neither defended nor offered a right of reply on his own country’s state broadcaster.

In a tweet from London, Assange cited the ABC’s own Code of Practice, which states:

“Where allegations are made about a person or organisation, make reasonable efforts in the circumstances to provide a fair opportunity to respond.”

Following the ABC broadcast, Ferguson’s  executive producer, Sally Neighbour, re-tweeted the following:

“Assange is Putin’s bitch. We all know it!”

The slander, since deleted, was even used as a link to the ABC interview captioned ‘Assange is Putins (sic) b****. We all know it!’

In the years I have known Julian Assange, I have watched a vituperative personal campaign try to stop him and WikiLeaks. It has been a frontal assault on whistleblowing, on free speech and free journalism, all of which are now under sustained attack from governments and corporate internet controllers.

The first serious attacks on Assange came from the Guardian which, like a spurned lover, turned on its besieged former source, having hugely profited from WikiLeaks’ disclosures. With not a penny going to Assange or WikiLeaks, a Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. Assange was portrayed as “callous” and a “damaged personality”.

It was as if a rampant jealousy could not accept that his remarkable achievements stood in marked contrast to that of his detractors in the “mainstream” media. It is like watching the guardians of the status quo, regardless of age, struggling to silence real dissent and prevent the emergence of the new and hopeful.

Today, Assange remains a political refugee from the war-making dark state of which Donald Trump is a caricature and Hillary Clinton the embodiment. His resilience and courage are astonishing. Unlike him, his tormentors are cowards.

Featured image is from Snopes.com.

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A Matter of Fifty Degrees: Climate Change in Australia

October 21st, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

A country baked to the core, its citizens roasted, an electricity grid battered to its limits.  Capital cities trapping scorching heat, toasting its citizens and assaulting the young, the elderly, the infirm with temperature fluctuations.  This is the vision of Australia by the end of this century according to an Australian National University study released earlier this month. 

The study, published in Geophysical Letters, insists that,

“Understanding the magnitude, as well as the frequency, of such future extremes [in temperature] is critical for limiting detrimental impacts.”[1] 

Glumly, the authors note how,

“The severity of possible future temperature extremes simulated by climate models in this study poses serious challenges for preparedness for future climate change in Australia.” 

A few of the implications are pointed out by the chief investigator of the project, Dr. Sophie Lewis of the Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Centre of Excellent for Climate System Science at ANU.

“We have to be thinking about how we can be prepared for large population groups commuting to and from the CBD on these extremely hot days, and how we send young children to school on 50C days, how our hospitals are prepared for a larger number of admissions of young or old people, and how our infrastructure can cope with it.”

As with so much in the climate change literature, the tone is one of mild hope tempered by catastrophic prospect, a breathless urgency tinged with a slight degree of panic.  Assumptions are made and duly factored in.

The ANU study, for instance, presumes a credible effort to contain global warming to 1.5C, the target set by the Paris Agreement.  Even so, claims Lewis,

“A lot of warming is locked into the climate system and we really have to be prepared for extremes in the future to get much worse than they are now.”

According to Lewis, the climate modelling “projected daily temperatures of up to 3.8 degrees Celsius above existing records in Victoria and New South Wales, despite the ambitious Paris efforts to curb warming.”[2]

The study’s primary focus is on major cities, and, as is the Australian tendency, the two largest tend to figure prominently as sites of study. Prepare, city dwellers of Sydney and Melbourne, for those 50C days.  Prepare, suggests Sydney’s Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Miller, for melting public transport.  Anticipate “heat continents” with “grey infrastructure and roads and buildings absorbing all that heat”.

Do such reports and findings matter?  In Australia, the battles rage, the sceptics froth.  The ABC news site invited readers to advance suggestions as to how best to cope with such temperature rises.  There is flippancy, disbelief and the usual scepticism that anyone should even bother.

Forget the model mad scientist, runs this line of opinion: temperature rises may or may not be rising and suggestions that the human race is set for catastrophe are exaggerated, if not hysterical.  There is denial, even a good smattering of abuse. Climate change models are, simply, models.

A certain commentator by the name of “Rational” found Lewis and her findings tiresome, and duly employed the oldest tactic in the manual of debate by simply ignoring her findings:

“Blah Blah Blah again from Dr. Sophie Lewis, my guess is she is around 30 years of age, most records broken this year are only 10/15 years of data please show me otherwise. But keep paying the good Dr in the interim.”[3]

Robbert Bobbert simply chose outright, abusive dismissal.

“More delusion and those addicted to their Computer Model Toys.”

This was all a “Sham Scam” and Lewis and those “ABC acolyte journalists” were hardly going to be around in 83 years to falsify it. “Maybe the baby that this hysterical scientist wrote about will be around to check.”

The human instinct to embrace the driving force of Thanatos, to write collective suicide notes and be cast into oblivion is well known. Entire civilizations have collapsed for failing to adapt and adjust.  Evidence, even if disconcertingly staring in the face, can be refuted with pig-headed stubbornness.

In Australia, a persistent, coal-coloured scepticism remains about climate and its effects.  Where mining remains the holder of orb and sceptre, a rational discussion about environment, let alone climate, is always going be stunted.  The good life, even if warmer, is set to continue.

The Tony Abbots will continue to praise rising heat on the global stage, and, if confounded by their impacts, suggest that it could hardly be happening.  Such are the views of those in denial.  Chin-up and understatement are seemingly in order, and that was duly supplied Miller herself.  “It’s not great news, obviously.”

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMITUniversity, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

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“North Star” was a Hollywood box-office success, released in 1943, when the US and the USSR were allies in fighting Nazi Germany. 

The film produced by Samuel Goldwyn, directed by Lewis Milestone featuring Ann Baxter and Dana Andrews, acknowledges the Soviet Union’s  courageous resistance against Nazi Germany. It puts forth a pro-Soviet perspective, focussing on the heroic struggle of Communist partisans in a Ukrainian village fighting against Germany’s Wehrmacht in liaison with the Soviet Union’s Red Army. 

Screenshot, New York Post, July 15, 2014

Three years later, the Cold War was launched by the Truman administration.

About-turn. Hollywood becomes a relentless  instrument of propaganda directed against America’s former ally, portraying Communism and the Soviet Union as a threat to Western democracy.  

Hollywood spy movies in the 1950s (with the CIA fighting Communist KGB agents) broadly complied with Washington’s anti-communist rhetoric, culminating with the McCarthy era and the present post-Cold war propaganda Russia-Gate narrative directed against the Kremlin. 

The final segment of “North Star” is a powerful message of peace and solidarity. Read it carefully.

“All people will learn and come to see that wars do not have to be.

We will make this the last war.

We will make a Free World for all men.

The Earth belongs to us, the people, if we fight for it. And we will fight for it”

(Anne Baxter as Marina Pavlova in North Star, 1943, 1.44′)

Michel Chossudovsky, October 20, 2017

***

In a peaceful Ukrainian village, the school year is just ending in June 1941. Five young friends set out for a walking trip to Kiev, but their travels are brutally interrupted when they are suddenly attacked by German planes, in the first wave of the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union. When the village itself is attacked and occupied, most of the men flee to the hills to form a guerrilla unit. The others resist the Nazis as well as possible, but soon the village is placed under the command of a Nazi doctor who begins using the town’s children as a source of constant blood transfusions for wounded German soldiers. Meanwhile, the small group of young persons tries desperately to take a supply of firearms to the guerrillas.

Also Known As: Armored Attack

Director: Lewis Milestone

Writers: Lillian Hellman (original story and screenplay), Burt Beck (additional dialogue in new edition)

Stars: Anne Baxter as Marina Pavlov
Dana Andrews as Kolya Simonov
Walter Huston as Dr. Kurin
Walter Brennan as Karp
Ann Harding as Sophia Pavlov
Jane Withers as Clavdia Kurin

Info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036217/

Copyright: Samuel Goldwyn Production, 1943

 

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“The war and violence they fled from, and harsh conditions and violence during the journey stand out as traumatic experiences for most of our patients on the islands. Yet it is their current living conditions in Greece – the uncertainty about their futures, the threat of deportation, and the lack of access to appropriate healthcare that they emphasise during consultations as negatively affecting their mental well-being.” p.9

Protracted asylum procedures putting people at risk of violence, detention and deportation: For over a year, our psychologists on Samos and Lesvos have witnessed how a lack of clarity, repeated delays and perceived unfairness in the asylum procedure on the islands are a major source of distress for our patients. More recently, they have also seen an increase in suicidal thoughts among our patients, many of whom have received second rejections on their asylum claims. They explain that the risk they face of detention and deportation causes them huge anxiety. p10

They told us we would be safe in Europe but I don’t feel safe. I am scared that if I receive a second rejection [on my asylum claim], the police will arrest me. […] Sometimes people come back from the police station with a broken arm or leg, and with their face swollen. My friend was pushed on the floor and they stepped on his head. 31-year-old man victim of torture from Syria, Samos, September 2017 p.6

In Samos, close to a quarter (23.1%) of people surveyed had experienced violence in Greece. Half of that violence was described as beatings, 45% of which was committed by the police or army. The survey found that people who had arrived on Samos after the EU-Turkey deal reported more violence in Greece than people on the mainland who had arrived in Greece before the deal. p.6  See full MSF Report, October 2017

Medicins Sans Frontières (MSF) at least on Samos has sometimes been disappointing. In particular it was too often silent and should have used its influence and been more outspoken about the in-competencies of so many who are paid to care for the refugees. So it is refreshing to see their latest report on the mental health emergency engulfing the refugees on Lesvos and Samos. These are 2 of the islands where MSF are especially active and have had a lengthy presence.

Without pulling punches MSF lays clear that refugees are being damaged and suffering unacceptable levels of stress by the way they are being treated and cared for on the islands. It is a system that is driving people mad. Anyone with even the merest contact with refugees on the island knows that they are being driven crazy. Waiting waiting for months. Little or no information. Promises never met. Dependent on often incompetent or overwhelmed officials. No control over anything in their lives. Boredom. Each month bringing further restrictions. Fear of deportation like an ever present shadow. Housing and food not fit for animals let alone refugees. What is stunning is not so much the mental health emergency discussed by MSF but the resilience and strength of so many that enables them to get through each day. Now that is stunning.

As MSF point out 96% of the refugees on these 2 islands in 2016 and 2017 had directly experienced war and violence prior to their arrival. Yet on arriving in Europe there is no healing embrace but a system that deepens and worsens their well being. Consequently what little mental health provision there is here is simply overwhelmed. People wait between 3 and 6 months to see a psychiatrist. The hospital on Lesvos takes no new referrals. Mild conditions rapidly become more severe as treatment is delayed and the grinding daily realities of refugee life on the islands corrode well being.

It is harrowing and incredibly disempowering to see the mental health status of the asylum seekers in Lesvos progressively getting worse. We do our best to help those that we can, but the situation they are in is so horrendous. We hear of 15 suicide attempts every month in Moria – it’s an unbearable situation”. MSF psychologist, Lesvos, September 2017 p.10

It is a responsibility of any organisation or individual working in the social domain to highlight and reveal emergencies. People have a right to know where, when and how policies are failing whatever the reason. It is a responsibility which has weakened in much of Europe as privatisation and neo liberalism has wiped out so many of the public services which once dominated the social domain of health and welfare. So it is refreshing to see MSF acting in this way.

BUT

It would be wonderful to see rapid changes and improvements made in the light of this and similar reports. As this report was being published the head of the UNHCR in Greece was expressing alarm at the deteriorating conditions on the islands and the lack of preparation for the coming winter. But experience, at least on Samos, tells us that this report, like so many others before, will have no impact and that nothing will change for the better as far as the refugees are concerned.

Instead, it will join the growing number of reports on the refugees which highlight the problems and cruelties and yet lead to no change. Why is this?

Like so many reports of this kind which do try and speak truth to power, those in power often know only too well what is happening under their control. They may even find some ofthe critical reports useful in highlighting particular stress points that need some attention. Very high levels of self harm and suicide attracts unwanted attention for example. So it might lead to some changes but the fundamental problems remain.

And the most damaging of these is that they don’t care about refugees as fellow human beings.

This fundamental truth is evident in virtually every aspect of official refugee policy and practice in Europe today. How can care and compassion flourish in a framework dominated by containment and deterrence? Vast chunks of the so called refugee aid are now spent on surveillance technologies and systems, border hardening, air and sea patrols, and a growing array of security personnel. The mental health emergency for refugees on Samos and Lesvos is not due to a shortage of resources but how those resources are spent.

As the years pass on Samos we are increasingly coming to the view that the authorities know and accept the massive anxieties and stress their policies produce and have come to embrace it as their main strategy of control. Reinforced it should be noted by arbitrary police punishments including administrative detention. On Samos it is common for the police to enter the containers early in the morning to remove so called trouble makers to the police cells as a punishment /warning. Firas a 17 year old boy from Syria told us that he had 2 nights in the cells because he spoke back to one of the police in the camp. And on Lesvos and Samos the police have launched mass pre-emptive raids in the camps over the past year involving hundreds of police to remind everyone who has the power.

For authorities concerned not to see the camps explode into chaos, the perpetual anxieties, insecurities, and fears of the refugees compounded by their dire physical environment and sheer lack of information as to their cases, works in their favour. It significantly weakens the refugees and drains their energies making them easier to manage. The impact varies amongst the refugees depending on their individual circumstances, and some are more resilient than others. Not all are being crushed by the experience but many feel caught in an ever tightening vice.

Other processes are also at work which individualise and hide what are collective concerns. Because no one knows why some refugees get processed more slowly than others, many feel that their delays are due to something they have done or said, something! but they don’t know what. And because you don’t know you keep your focus on your case. And of course you wait and wait. Hearing nothing and going slowly mad. Not surprisingly many turn their frustrations and anger inwards hurting themselves even more.

It is fair to assume that MSF would hope that its Report will encourage change and make things better for the refugees.

But for those in and with the power to do something? We doubt it will merit much attention and is even more unlikely to bring about any significant improvement.

Without a fundamental re-orientation towards humanity and compassion there can be little hope for change. What grounds do we have to believe that those responsible for constructing and managing such a self-evidently inhumane system can ever be trusted or expected to do something different? The current system is a violation of humanity.

This too is one of MSF’s conclusions, and can be found in endless official and semi official reports and inquiries into the refugees. It will for sure feature in future reports.

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Article originally published in March 2014

Over the past months, the level of intense cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in targeting Iran has become clear.  I’ve posted here about secret meetings between top Israeli and Saudi intelligence figures which have allowed coordination of the campaigns involving both Syria and Iran.  But Shalom Yerushalmi, writing in Maariv, dropped an even more amazing bombshell. Saudi Arabia isn’t just coordinating its own intelligence efforts with Israel.  It’s actually financing a good deal of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran.  As you know, this has involved massive sabotage against IRG missile bases, the assassination of five nuclear scientists, the creation of a series of computer cyberweapons like Stuxnet and Flame.  It may also conceivably involve an entire class of electronic and conventional weapons that could be used in a full-scale attack on Iran.  Who knows, this might even include the sorts of bunker buster bombs only the U.S. currently has access to, which could penetrate the Fordo facility.  It might include scores more super-tankers which could provide the fuel necessary for Israeli planes to make it to Iran and return.  All of this is expensive.  Very expensive. We can see just how expensive by examining Barry Lando’s October 2012 investigative piece also based on Israeli sources which says the Saudi funding may exceed $1-billion:

A friend, with good sources in the Israeli government, claims that the head of Israel’s Mossad has made several trips to deal with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia—one of the results: an agreement that the Saudis would bankroll the series of assassinations of several of Iran’s top nuclear experts that have occurred over the past couple of years.  The amount involved, my friend claims, was $1 billion dollars. A sum, he says, the Saudis considered cheap for the damage done to Iran’s nuclear program.

Returning to Yerushalmi, he referred to Bibi’s recent Aipac speech and an implicit reference in it to Saudi Arabia:

Netanyahu spoke there, for the first time in his life, about the benefits of peace, the prosperity that will follow, about the possibility that Arab states, which today maintain better relations with us than those in the European Union, but in private, will do so publicly if we only reach an agreement with the Palestinians.  Netanyahu referred almost certainly to Saudi Arabia, which finances the expenses of the enormous campaign which we are conducting against Iran.

In the past, I’ve noted that George Bush allocated $400-million in 2007 for just such sabotage directed against Iran.  I presumed that a good deal of that funding might end up supporting similar sorts of Israeli efforts.   It’s possible that the new Obama administration cut off this funding after assuming office in 2008.  Whatever the reason, Saudi Arabia is now a critical funder of Israel’s military effort against Iran.

The question is how far is Saudi Arabia willing to go.  If Bibi ever decided to launch an attack, would the Sunni nation fund that as well?  The answer seems clearly to be yes.

The next question is, given there is airtight military censorship in Israel, why did the censor allow Maariv to publish this?  Either someone was asleep at the switch or the IDF and Israel’s political and intelligence officials want the world to know of the Saudi-Israeli effort.  Who specifically do they want to know?  Obama, of course.  In the event the nuclear talks go south, Bibi wants Obama to know there’s a new Sugar Daddy in town.  No longer will Israel have only the U.S. to rely on if it decides to go to war.  Saudi Arabia will be standing right behind.

This isn’t the first time that foreign sources played a major role in subsidizing critical Israeli efforts to develop such game-changing weapons systems.  In the early 1960s, Abraham Feinberg, a wealthy American Jew whose name now graces a building a Brandeis University, coordinated a major fundraising effort on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion.  As a result, American Jews played an instrumental role in paying for Israel’s first nuclear weapons.

Frankly, I don’t think this news substantially alters the military calculus.  Israel, even with unlimited funding, still can’t muster the weapons and armaments it would need to do the job properly.  That will take time.  But Israel isn’t going to war tomorrow.  This news reported in Maariv is presumably Bibi playing one card from his hand.  It’s an attempt to warn the president that the U.S. is no longer the only game in town.  Personally, it’s the sort of huffing and puffing that I can’t imagine plays well in Washington.  But it’s the way Bibi plays the game.

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Donald Trump’s Likudist Campaign Against Iran

By Gareth Porter, October 20, 2017

President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy clearly represents a dangerous rejection of diplomacy in favor of confrontation. But it’s more than that: It’s a major shift toward a much closer alignment of U.S. policy with that of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump and Netanyahu Walk in Lockstep on Iran

By Marjorie Cohn, October 20, 2017

The White House fact sheet outlining Trump’s new Iran policy accuses Iran of “unrelenting hostility to Israel.” In his speech announcing his refusal to recertify Iran’s compliance with the deal, Trump stated that Iran “remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks.”

Neocon Nikki Haley’s Anti-Iran Rage: Prelude to War?

By Stephen Lendman, October 20, 2017

Neocon Nikki Haley is Trump’s leading administration antagonist, notably on North Korea and Iran. Her hostile early September address on the Islamic Republic before the hawkish American Enterprise Institute preceded Trump’s decertification of the JCPOA nuclear deal – an international treaty the president defied by his action.

Should US Policy Against Iran be Taken Seriously?

By Thierry Meyssan, October 20, 2017

It is always possible that President Trump could destroy the US-Iran agreement on an impulse, and even – much more serious – pick a quarrel with the Revolutionary Guards, but it is more probable that he will once again act up in order to soothe his Israëli and Saudi allies. We have to keep in mind that Donald Trump is not a professional politician, but a real estate promoter, and that he acts like one. He gained his professional success by spreading panic with his outrageous statements and observing the reactions he had created amongst his competitors and his partners.

Saudi Arabia Finances Most of Israel’s Weapons Build-Up Against Iran

By Richard Silverstein, May 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia isn’t just coordinating its own intelligence efforts with Israel.  It’s actually financing a good deal of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran.  As you know, this has involved massive sabotage against IRG missile bases, the assassination of five nuclear scientists, the creation of a series of computer cyberweapons like Stuxnet and Flame.  It may also conceivably involve an entire class of electronic and conventional weapons that could be used in a full-scale attack on Iran.

CIA Director: Iran Deal Good for America

By Washington’s Blog, April 09, 2015

 that Iran poses very little threat to the West or Israel . Top American and Israeli military and intelligence officials say that – even if Iran did build a nuclear bomb – it would not be that dangerous, because Israel and America have so many more nukes. And see this

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Donald Trump’s Likudist Campaign Against Iran

October 20th, 2017 by Gareth Porter

President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy clearly represents a dangerous rejection of diplomacy in favor of confrontation. But it’s more than that: It’s a major shift toward a much closer alignment of U.S. policy with that of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Whether explicitly or not, Trump’s vow to work with Congress to renegotiate the Iran nuclear agreement, and his explicit threat to withdraw from the deal if no renegotiation takes place, appear to be satisfying the hardline demands Netanyahu has made of Washington’s policy toward Tehran.

Specifically, Netanyahu has continued to demand that Trump either withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or make far-reaching changes that he knows are impossible to achieve. In his September 17 speech to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu declared,

“Israel’s policy toward the nuclear deal with Iran is very simple: Change it or cancel it.”

And he made no secret of what that meant: If Trump doesn’t “cancel” the deal, he must get rid of its “sunset clause” and demand that Iran end its advanced centrifuges and long-range missile program, among other fundamentally unattainable objectives.

Trump’s statement last Friday managed to include both of the either/or choices that Netanyahu had given him. He warned that, if Congress and America’s European allies do not agree on a plan to revise the deal, “then the agreement will be terminated.” He added that the agreement “is under continuous review,” and our participation “can be canceled by me, as president at any time.”

One provision the administration wants Congress to put into amended legislation would allow sanctions to be imposed if Iran crosses certain “trigger points,” which would include not only nuclear issues but the Israeli demand that Iran stop its long-range missile program. Ballistic missiles were never included in the JCPOA negotiations for an obvious reason: Iran has the same right to develop ballistic missiles as any other independent state, and it firmly rejected pro forma demands by the Barack Obama administration to include the issue in negotiations.

Trump went a long way towards Netanyahu’s “cancel” option by refusing last week to certify that Iran was keeping up its end of the JPCOA. That move signaled his intention to scrap the central compromise on which the entire agreement rests.

Although the Middle East is very different today than during the George W. Bush administration, some parallels can be found in comparing Trump’s policy toward the JCPOA and Bush’s policy toward Iran during the early phase of its uranium enrichment program.

The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump’s and Bush’s Iran policies held views close to those of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner’s parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump’s secretary of state, as he’d hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.

Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be “terminated” if there was any renegotiation, according toPolitico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he’d been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump’s shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu’s and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu’s campaigns. He was Trump’s main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson’s real interest has been in supporting Israel’s interests in Washington—especially with regard to Iran.

In a public appearance in Israel in 2013, when Adelson was asked about his view on negotiating with Tehran, he suggested dropping a nuclear weapon on a desert in Iran and then saying to the Iranians, “See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development….”

The Likud Party policy preferences on Iran dominated the Bush administration in large part because of the influence of David Wurmser, a Likudist who was a Middle East advisor first to Bolton and later to Vice President Dick Cheney. Wurmser was a co-author, with Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, of A Clean Break, the 1996 paper that advised Netanyahu to carry out military strikes against Syria and Iran and to remove the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. Wurmser convinced Cheney that the administration should seek a pretext for attacking Iran.

But it was Bolton who worked with Israeli officials to plan a campaign to convince the world that Iran was secretly working on nuclear weapons. His goal was to sell key European nations on a UN Security Council resolution accusing Iran of developing a nuclear program. Bolton explains in his memoirs that the assumption of his strategy was that either the Security Council would strip Iran of its right to have a nuclear program or the United States would take unilateral military action.

In the summer of 2004, a large collection of documents allegedly from a covert Iranian nuclear weapons research program was suddenly obtained by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency. Those documents became the sole alleged evidence that such a program existed. But this writer found more than one telltale sign of fraud in the papers, and a former senior German foreign office official told me on the record in March 2013 that the source who passed on the documents was a member of the Mujihadeen e-Khalq (MEK), the armed Iranian opposition group. The MEK has allegedly worked with Israel’s Mossad for some time.

Neither the Bush administration nor the Trump administration viewed the alleged danger of nuclear proliferation by Iran as the priority problem per se; it was rather an issue to be exploited to weaken the Islamic regime and ultimately achieve regime change. Hilary Mann Leverett, the NSC coordinator in the Persian Gulf from 2001-03, told this writer in a 2013 interview that Wurmser and other Cheney advisors were convinced that the student protests of 1999 indicated that Iranians were ready to overthrow the Islamic Republic. In his statement last week, Trump blamed Obama for having lifted nuclear sanctions on Iran “just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime.”

After Netanyahu became Israeli prime minister in early 2009, his administration worked assiduously for four years to maneuver the Obama administration into giving Iran an ultimatum over its enrichment program. Obama rejected such a proposal, but Bolton has repeated his call for the United States to bomb Iran year after year.

Now the Trump administration is playing out a new chapter in the drama of the Likudists and their patrons in Washington. Their objective is nothing less than using U.S. power to weaken Iran through military means if possible and economic sanctions if necessary. The remarkable thing is that Trump is cooperating even more eagerly than did Bush.

Gareth Porter is an independent journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of numerous books, including Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. Follow him on Twitter @GarethPorter

Featured image is from Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr.

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Introduction by Douglas Valentine

Michael Maclear’s 1975 documentary, Spooks and Cowboys, Gooks and Grunts (Part 1) is more relevant now than ever. Forty-two years after its release, it exposes the suppressed, shameful truths that have corrupted America since the Vietnam War. The documentary makes it perfectly clear that “we” have always known what was going on – and that “we” have perfected the means of denying and obfuscating it.

Maclear’s documentary stands in stark contrast to the current Ken Burns documentary, The Vietnam War, which is nothing more than historical revisionism, sprinkled with massive doses of cognitive dissonance, served up as healing.

While Burns assiduously avoids connecting the conflicts of the Vietnam War to America’s on-going experiment in technofascism, Maclear’s documentary is straightforward in stating several shameful truths. Foremost, that the CIA has corrupted not only the military, but America’s political and judicial systems; and that, through its secret control of the media, the CIA’s power to create the official version of history has left veterans of the Vietnam War, as well as every subsequent generation of Americans as well, in a state of neurotic delusion.

This is what Guy Debord meant when he said,

“Secrecy dominates this world, and foremost as the secret of domination.”

While Burns falsely characterizes the war as a tragedy engendered by decent men with good intentions, Maclear offers incontrovertible proof that it was a war of imperial aggression in the pursuit of counterrevolution.

Maclear gets to the heart of the matter by focusing on the CIA’s Phoenix program, which Burns spends all of two minutes on. Through interviews with Bart Osborn and Jeff Stein, both veterans of Phoenix, Maclear shows what happens to combat veterans when they are made to function as judge, jury, and executioner of civilians. Mass murder and computerized genocide are the terms used in the documentary.

While Burns places combat veterans on an unassailable pedestal, and makes America’s involvement in the Vietnam War “noble” based on their sacrifices, Maclear shows how the war managers indoctrinated the troops with lies, and then aimed them at innocents. As Maclear explains, by 1968, the CIA knew American military forces could not win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people, so they turned to eliminating, through torture and terror, members of the revolution’s civilian infrastructure, as well as anyone who could be said to be sympathetic to it.

Burns has no stomach for this hard truth, or the fact that Phoenix, as Maclear made perfectly clear 42 years ago, has become not only the template for policing the American empire, but for the SWAT teams and militarized police forces that control America’s political and social movements on behalf of their corporate masters in the war industry.

I’ll close this brief introduction by honoring Bart Osborn, who, along with several other Phoenix veterans, testified to Congress about the Phoenix program. Based on the testimony of these veterans in 1971, four Congresspersons stated that Phoenix was a policy of waging war crimes and violated the Geneva Conventions.

In 1973, Osborn, along with Air Force veterans Perry Fellwock and Tim Butz, formed the Committee for Action-Research on the Intelligence Community (CARIC) in response to revelations about the CIA’s role in Watergate. CARIC exposed individual CIA officers and operations through its publication, CounterSpy.

At the same time in 1973, Norman Mailer and several of his associates created The Fifth Estate to counter the CIA’s secret intervention in America’s domestic political and social affairs. In January 1974, CARIC and The Fifth Estate combined to create the Organizing Committee for a Fifth Estate. The plan was to organize groups on campus and in communities to investigate and expose the CIA. CounterSpy was its publication.

If only such organizations existed today.

Before the security forces and complicit media subverted CARIC and its efforts to expose the CIA, CARIC worked with the British Corporation Granada Television Inc, to produce a documentary on political prisoners in Vietnam.

Titled A Question of Torture, it too has also been suppressed, but is well worth viewing as an antidote to the Burns propaganda film, as well as to the duplicitous Vietnam War narrative Americans have had shoved down their throats for the past 40 plus years.

In the absence of any organizations dedicated to exposing the CIA, war crimes have since become official US policy, at home and abroad.

Video Copyright, Michael Maclear, 1975

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This article was first published by Global Research in October 2017. On April 30 2018, we will be commemorating the 43d anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war.

**

Introduction by Douglas Valentine

Michael Maclear’s 1975 documentary, Spooks and Cowboys, Gooks and Grunts (Part 1) is more relevant now than ever. Forty-two years after its release, it exposes the suppressed, shameful truths that have corrupted America since the Vietnam War. The documentary makes it perfectly clear that “we” have always known what was going on – and that “we” have perfected the means of denying and obfuscating it.

Maclear’s documentary stands in stark contrast to the current Ken Burns documentary, The Vietnam War, which is nothing more than historical revisionism, sprinkled with massive doses of cognitive dissonance, served up as healing.

While Burns assiduously avoids connecting the conflicts of the Vietnam War to America’s on-going experiment in technofascism, Maclear’s documentary is straightforward in stating several shameful truths. Foremost, that the CIA has corrupted not only the military, but America’s political and judicial systems; and that, through its secret control of the media, the CIA’s power to create the official version of history has left veterans of the Vietnam War, as well as every subsequent generation of Americans as well, in a state of neurotic delusion.

This is what Guy Debord meant when he said,

“Secrecy dominates this world, and foremost as the secret of domination.”

While Burns falsely characterizes the war as a tragedy engendered by decent men with good intentions, Maclear offers incontrovertible proof that it was a war of imperial aggression in the pursuit of counterrevolution.

Maclear gets to the heart of the matter by focusing on the CIA’s Phoenix program, which Burns spends all of two minutes on. Through interviews with Bart Osborn and Jeff Stein, both veterans of Phoenix, Maclear shows what happens to combat veterans when they are made to function as judge, jury, and executioner of civilians. Mass murder and computerized genocide are the terms used in the documentary.

While Burns places combat veterans on an unassailable pedestal, and makes America’s involvement in the Vietnam War “noble” based on their sacrifices, Maclear shows how the war managers indoctrinated the troops with lies, and then aimed them at innocents. As Maclear explains, by 1968, the CIA knew American military forces could not win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people, so they turned to eliminating, through torture and terror, members of the revolution’s civilian infrastructure, as well as anyone who could be said to be sympathetic to it.

Burns has no stomach for this hard truth, or the fact that Phoenix, as Maclear made perfectly clear 42 years ago, has become not only the template for policing the American empire, but for the SWAT teams and militarized police forces that control America’s political and social movements on behalf of their corporate masters in the war industry.

I’ll close this brief introduction by honoring Bart Osborn, who, along with several other Phoenix veterans, testified to Congress about the Phoenix program. Based on the testimony of these veterans in 1971, four Congresspersons stated that Phoenix was a policy of waging war crimes and violated the Geneva Conventions.

In 1973, Osborn, along with Air Force veterans Perry Fellwock and Tim Butz, formed the Committee for Action-Research on the Intelligence Community (CARIC) in response to revelations about the CIA’s role in Watergate. CARIC exposed individual CIA officers and operations through its publication, CounterSpy.

At the same time in 1973, Norman Mailer and several of his associates created The Fifth Estate to counter the CIA’s secret intervention in America’s domestic political and social affairs. In January 1974, CARIC and The Fifth Estate combined to create the Organizing Committee for a Fifth Estate. The plan was to organize groups on campus and in communities to investigate and expose the CIA. CounterSpy was its publication.

If only such organizations existed today.

Before the security forces and complicit media subverted CARIC and its efforts to expose the CIA, CARIC worked with the British Corporation Granada Television Inc, to produce a documentary on political prisoners in Vietnam.

Titled A Question of Torture, it too has also been suppressed, but is well worth viewing as an antidote to the Burns propaganda film, as well as to the duplicitous Vietnam War narrative Americans have had shoved down their throats for the past 40 plus years.

In the absence of any organizations dedicated to exposing the CIA, war crimes have since become official US policy, at home and abroad.

Video Copyright, Michael Maclear, 1975

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The city of Dickinson, Texas, is requiring applicants for Hurricane Harvey rebuilding funds to certify in writing that they will not take part in a boycott of Israel. The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the city’s condition as a violation of free speech rights.

“The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression,” said ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura. “Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”

The city’s website says that it is accepting applications from individuals and businesses for grants from money donated for hurricane relief. The application says that by signing it, “the Applicant verifies that the Applicant:

(1) does not boycott Israel; and

(2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

The city appears to be enforcing a recently passed Texas law that requires all state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. While the ACLU does not take a position on boycotts of foreign countries, the organization has long supported the right to participate in political boycotts and has voiced opposition to laws and bills that infringe on the right to boycott.

The Supreme Court ruled decades ago that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment, and other decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits.

On October 11, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Kansas law on behalf of a high school math teacher who is being required by the state to sign to certify that she won’t boycott Israel if she wants to take part in a teacher training program.

In July, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing a bill that would make it a felony to support certain boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. As a result, Senate sponsors of the bill are considering changes.

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Feature image: A farmer plows a field in Gragnague, Midi-Pyrenees, France. (Photo: Lelou/cc/flickr)

Pesticides, once used, do not dissolve into thin air, but persist in the environment, contaminating soil, air and water. This is the most recent red flag to emerge as a result of a new joint study by the University of Wageningen, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission and RIKILT laboratories – recently published in the scientific journal “Science of the Total Environment” – which shows that almost half of European soils are contaminated. Results of the analysis of 300 soil samples in 10 different European countries reveal that 45% of agricultural land in Europe contains glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA. This is just the latest, and certainly not the last blow to the theories on the presumed, and never proven safety of agrochemicals in agriculture.

The study represents a milestone in the heated debate on the safety of agrochemicals, considering the inadequacy of the investigations conducted so far on pesticide environmental contamination, as confirmed by Prof. Violette Geissen, of Wageningen University:

“Glyphosate and AMPA are highly persistent once they are attached to soil particles. This increases the risk of environmental contamination through factors such as wind erosion, rainfall or watercourses”.

This study adds to the already numerous proof of the dangers of glyphosate-based pesticides and of the superficiality with which the institutions responsible for citizens’ safety have worked so far. Faced with such results, It is clear that more research is needed before pesticides are approved, regulated and distributed.

In recent weeks numerous discussions have taken place in Brussels on the issues related to glyphosate’s licence renewal, for which a vote of the EU member states is scheduled in Strasbourg on 23-26 October. On October 19th the European Parliament’s Environmental Committee backed a motion for the full phase out glyphosate by 2020 and to issue immediate restrictions on its use.

This follows the ENVI / AGRI committees discussion, which was held on October 11th, on the so-called Monsanto Papers, where the most prominent European and international regulatory agencies (EFSA, IARC) were present, along with several independent scientists and journalists. The debate shed even more light on the actual concerns about loopholes, conflicts of interest, corporate interference and pressure, which have characterised the risk assessment analysis that led to the 18 months exemption of glyphosate authorisation in Europe at the end of 2016.

The recent reports, “Poisons in Our Plate” and The Toxic Story of Round Up”, denounce how agribusiness giants have always interfered in the decisions of governments and international regulatory agencies through actions of lobbying, corruption and suppression of independent science, in order to increase their profits from the agrichemicals market, as well as to keep their control on the food market. This new data on soil contamination adds to a growing number of studies and investigations that demonstrate the extreme danger of pesticides on health and the environment.

This new evidence gives still further weight to our request that the European Union does not renew the authorization of the use of glyphosate and seriously reconsider its agricultural policies, giving priority to the rights of citizens to health and safety.

Ruchi Shroff is the director of Navdanya International. Her studies are based on physics, economics, on indigenous population rights and land grabbing. She is the coordinator of the Seed Freedom campaign, a global network reclaiming the rights of farmers to save and exchange traditional seeds. She is part of the organizing committee of Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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A former official at the United Nations and professor of international law slammed the UN and certain Western governments for their support for the Saudi regime’s war on Yemen that has led to a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country.

“The situation in Yemen has been scandalously allowed by the United Nations and the West generally to become a major humanitarian emergency where the realities of famine and disease are affecting the lives of millions,” Richard A. Falk said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

The following is the full text of Interview:

Tasnim: What do you think about the ongoing human tragedy in Yemen caused by the Saudi blockades on the country’s ports and airspace? The Red Cross has warned that cholera, a diarrheal disease that has been eradicated in most developed countries, could infect a million people in Yemen by the end of the year, according to media reports. The outbreak “has reached colossal proportions,” said Robert Mardini, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Near and Middle East director. Why have international organizations, particularly the UN, remained passive in the face of the ongoing Saudi atrocities?

Falk: The situation in Yemen has been scandalously allowed by the United Nations and the West generally to become a major humanitarian emergency where the realities of famine and disease are affecting the lives of millions. It is a moral and legal failure that is linked to the Saudi intervention, which has been permitted by the UN to continue for several years without any significant pushback. If we wonder why this is happening, the answer, as usual in such situations, is that the prevailing geopolitical forces in the region have treated the war in Yemen as a sectarian battleground, or more accurately, as an intervention designed to defeat the Houthi political challenge, which is regarded by Riyadh, supported by Israel and the United States, as endangering an extension of Iranian influence in a country situated geographically close to Saudi Arabia, and hence politically unacceptable regardless of the massive human suffering involved.

Tasnim: As you may know, airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed mostly Yemeni civilians, including thousands of women and children. A recent report authored by several international aid agencies said Yemen suffered more airstrikes in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2016, increasing the number of civilian deaths and forcing more people to flee their homes. In your opinion, why has the Saudi regime decided to increase the airstrikes, hitting civilian targets?

Falk: I cannot usefully speculate about Saudi motivations, although in these cases of airstrikes against essentially civilian targets, the explanation tends to be connected with the inability to prevail in the conflict on the ground by legally acceptable conventional tactics, which rely on attacks directed to the extent possible at the military capabilities of an adversary. A secondary motivation in a conflict of this character is to depend almost solely on air power because it minimizes casualties on the aggressor side while maximizing them on the side of the society experiencing the intervention. Increasingly, when intervention takes place to alter an internal balance of forces it engages in a war against the people rather than risk challenging the military capabilities of the political actor that can best lay claim to representing the nation, and genuine nationalist tendencies, which is the situation in Yemen. From one perspective, it makes sense to direct military vengeance against the people of a society in these circumstances, because only by their demoralization can such intervention succeed. In this eventuality, the intervention has genocidal properties, seeking to kill and maim innocent civilians on an indiscriminate basis, or more accurately, as an unlawful and immoral target.

Tasnim: Newly-leaked emails written by two former top US officials have shown that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and defense minister Mohammed bin Salman “wants out” of the war he started in Yemen. The Saudi regime has reached none of its objectives in Yemen. In 2015, the kingdom had a record budget deficit of almost $100 billion, prompting it to rein in public spending in a bid to save money. Why is the regime continuing its attacks on the Arabian Peninsula country despite its failures and cash-strapped economy? What do you think about the future of the war?

Falk: Again, it is difficult to speculate on the current behavior of Saudi Arabia, and the main architect of the Yemen intervention, Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman, but undoubtedly, the frustration experienced by a failed and costly intervention is in tension with his humiliation that would follow from acknowledging the failure of this undertaking given the scale of the devastation, and suffering caused to Yemen, which even prior to the intervention and civil strife was known to be the poorest and most materially stressed country in the region. The Yemen policy has already done major damage to the international standing and reputation of Saudi Arabia, and its admission of failure would underscore this assessment. Countries often continue failed interventions long after they have become a lost cause because political leaders are persuaded by members of their political entourage at home that the war can still be won and that admitting defeat will be a serious and unacceptable political setback. In such situations, the political leadership of the intervening country searches long and hard for an exit strategy that will hide the reality of an adverse outcome of the struggle, which makes the destruction and loss of life seem to have been without purpose.

The United States continued the war in Vietnam (1962-1975) under similar conditions, realizing that it had been politically defeated, but continuing to cause much suffering to the population of Vietnam because it wanted above all to hide the reality of political defeat. These kinds of geopolitical interventions have increasingly failed when confronted by mobilized nationalist resistance as was the case in Vietnam. The situation in Yemen is complicated internally, but the Saudi intervention is the latest tragic example of geopolitics gone wrong and has contributed to the wider turmoil in the Middle East. This turmoil is itself the legacy of a century of colonial and hegemonic ambition, with Britain and France acting as colonial powers between 1918 and 1945 or so and the United States, and to some extent, the Soviet Union gradually displacing the European powers during the Cold War. Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has been a major battleground in the struggle to continue Western hegemony, as well as to satisfy Israeli regional ambitions. This effort has focused on containing the spread of Iranian and Russian influence. The peoples of the region have paid and are paying a terrible price in bloodshed and repressive governments for such an undertaking to reestablish hegemonic control over the Middle East by a toxic combination of external intervention and internal collaboration. This latter collaboration closely connects the United States’ global hegemonic goals with the regional policies of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

***

Richard Anderson Falk is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”.

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On Thursday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) released a video showing of the weapons and ammunition captured by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces from ISIS in Mayadin city.

The video showed that the SAA has captured dozens of light, and heavy machine guns and sniper rifles. The SAA also captured several anti-tank weapons including at least 3 Russian-made RPG-29. In addition, 2 unidentified man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs) were captured by the SAA. The SAA also seized more than 20 drones, and what appears to be some ISIS made DIY drones.

The SAA also captured the following heavy weapons:

  • 3 T-55 tanks one of them up-armored;
  • 1 T-62 tank;
  • 1 Humvee armored vehicle;
  • 1 VBIED;
  • 1 M-46 130 mm artillery pieces;
  • 2 D-20 152 mm artillery piece;
  • 1 D-30 122-mm artillery piece mounted on a truck.

A US-made M198 155mm artillery piece was also sized by the SAA. The piece was likely captured by ISIS from the Iraqi Army back in 2014. The ISIS serial number on the artillery is (008), which could mean that ISIS captured at least 8 of these US made artillery.

Syrian pro-government sources released another video that showed a communication center of ISIS. According to the sources, the SAA captured many US-made military radio systems inside the center.

An officer of the SAA told SANA that the weapons and ammunition that were displayed are only 25% of what the SAA sized inside Mayadin. The amount of the weapons captured by the SAA proves that ISIS didn’t expect the SAA could advance so rapidly towards this strategic city.

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

Syrian Army Captured Stunning Number Of ISIS Weapons And Military Equipment In Mayadin (Overview, Photos, Videos)

All images were taken from South Front.

 

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Syrian military forces have discovered a large cache of Israeli-made weapons in the strategic city of Mayadin in Dayr al-Zawr province, days after retaking the eastern city from Daesh terrorists.

The weapons included several types of heavy, medium and light firearms that beside Israel, came from some European countries as well as members of the NATO military alliance, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported Thursday, citing a field commander.

The commander said they had also found mortars, artillery equipment, large quantities of anti-armor munitions and a NATO- made 155mm cannon with a range of up to 40km (about 25 miles).

This was not the first time that the Syrian government forces made such discoveries from terrorist hideouts across the country.

According to SANA, only a few days back they captured an Israeli cannon along with large amounts of weapons, ammunition and communication equipment from Takfiri terrorists in the area of ​​Jib al-Jarrah in the eastern Homs countryside.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Israeli violations of Syria’s sovereignty

Although Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the six-year conflict, it has acknowledged conducting frequent attacks against military targets in Syria, in what is considered by experts as an attempt to prop up terrorist groups among their many losses.

The latest of such attacks occurred on Thursday, when Israeli tanks fired shells into Syrian territories from the occupied Golan Heights.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the attack, calling it a response to a “projectile” that was allegedly fired from Syria earlier in the day and landed on “open ground” without causing any casualties.

The attack followed an Israeli aerial violation of Syria’s airspace near the Lebanese border on Monday.

Syrian military forces responded to the intrusion by opening fire on the aircraft, hitting one and forcing them all to flee.

According to a statement by the Syrian army, the Israeli jets then fired multiple missiles from inside the occupied Palestinian territories, causing material damage to a Syrian army position in the countryside of the capital Damascus.

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America’s Drug Industry Has Fueled the Opioid Crisis

October 20th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

The Mayo Clinic calls opioid drugs powerful painkillers, often used post-surgery or for severe chronic pain, affecting an estimated 50 million Americans.

They include morphine, methadone, OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco and Demerol, among others. Heroin is an illegal opioid.

Ones used for chronic pain, unrelated to cancer, doubled over the past decade – because drug industry bandits promote them, producing a bonanza of profits at the expense of an addiction and overdosing epidemic.

They’re major health problems, Mayo saying:

“Overdosing triggers low blood pressure, a slow rate of breathing and the potential for breathing to stop, as well as the possibility of a coma. Opioid overdose has a significant risk of death.”

“(A)ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people in the US have fatal overdoses related to opioid use than (from) overdoses of heroin and cocaine combined.”

People using opioids for pain relief, unrelated to cancer, usually need higher doses over time to keep it in check – risking addiction, overdosing and death, tens of thousands of Americans dying annually, a crisis demanding attention, not getting it because of drug industry influence.

Mayo cited research showing longterm opioid use can make people “more sensitive to pain, a condition called opioid-induced hyperalgesia.”

It recommends non-opioid medications to manage chronic pain, avoiding addiction and overdosing most often, providing more effective long-lasting relief.

On Tuesday, Trump’s choice as drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, withdrew from consideration after a WaPo/CBS 60 Minutes investigation revealed he shepherded the 2016 Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (EPAEDE) through Congress, passed unanimously, signed into law by Obama.

It’s disgraceful legislation, undermining the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Office of Diversion Control, charged with preventing, detecting, and investigating the diversion of controlled and other drugs from legitimate sources, cracking down on other abusive practices, monitoring distribution of pharmaceuticals, along with ensuring an adequate supply for medical, commercial and scientific needs.

Marino altered EPAEDE’s language, undermining the Office of Diversion Control’s ability to suspend drug companies not reporting excessively large orders of opioids and other controlled substances.

Former DEA official Joe Rannazzisi explained

“(t)his is an industry that allowed millions and millions of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors’ offices that distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those drugs.”

In September, Trump nominated Marino for drug czar. Following the WaPo/60 Minutes report, undemocratic Dems called on him to withdraw the nomination.

On Tuesday, he tweeted:

“Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar.”

His nomination was outrageous in the first place. On Monday, Trump said he’ll declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic – his initiative likely to be more cosmetic than responsible.

Repealing EPAEDE and cracking down hard on drug industry bandits should be prioritized. They made pill-popping a national addiction, including harmful drugs like opioids.

They spend billions of dollars advertising their products annually, heavily on television, influencing naive consumers, unaware of risks to human health powerful drugs pose.

Profits alone matter. Industry bandits do what they please, supported by Washington, failing to curb their abuses.

Industry lobbyists control congressional members, presidential aspirants, and White House occupants, Republicans and undemocratic Dems sharing guilt.

Obama signed abusive EPAEDE into law. He’s as culpable as Marino for shepherding it through Congress. Drug industry “bandits” benefit hugely at the expense of human health and safety.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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The Trans-Tasman Spat Show: New Zealand-Australian Tensions

October 20th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

It was an awkward moment for Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop. News had arrived that a New Zealand government had been formed after a lengthy period of deliberation. (The election took place on September 23.)

Veteran maverick and occasional political suicide Winston Peters of the New Zealand First party had played the familiar role of kingmaker, picking the New Zealand Labour party to form government. The 37 year old leader, Jacinda Ardern, was evidently too good to fob off.

This placed the Australian government in a prize pickle. Australian ministers had more or less designated the NZ Labour party persona non grata after questions were asked, in the NZ parliament, about matters of that country’s citizenship.

These queries all seemed provincial and inconsequential, but had potential consequences for Australia’s own deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce. Joyce, it seemed, had been a New Zealand citizen when elected to the Australian parliament, thereby rendering him ineligible to sit. (The High Court will, in time, rule on that point.)

Ardern had her own description of the events.

“Yes, someone from the ALP put some legal question to [NZ Labour frontbencher Chris Hipkins] around citizenship. No mention was made of anyone’s name, no rationale for any particular case being pursued was ever raised.”

Bishop proceeded to have a distinctly anti-diplomatic meltdown. Culprits were needed, scalps sought.

“New Zealand is facing an election. Should there be a change of government, I would find it very difficult to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia.”[1]

This was particularly so given that “members of a political party […] had been used by the Australian Labor Party to seek to undermine the Australian government.”

Ardern was left puzzled, offering to placate the indignant, glacial Bishop.

“I will not let false claims stand in the way of that relationship.”

She would have called the irate Australian foreign minister to chat about matters, but did not have her personal number.

Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, offered an analysis that was not much better. The issue was less with Ardern than the conduct of the Australian Labor Party, filled with its fifth columnist apparatchiks. Its leader, Bill Shorten, had been “willing to interfere in the political system of a foreign country.” Shorten was no less than a conspiratorial thief hoping to, in Turnbull’s words, “steal government” in collusion with “a foreign power”. Foreign, conspiracy, stealing – all words fashioned from the modern news desk of insurgent politics and cock-eyed fantasy.

It was difficult, then, to reconcile this language of hyperventilating insurgency, subversion and Putin-like destabilisation with the prospect of an Ardern government. Much egg had to be washed from the face.

Turnbull took to Twitter to congratulate the new plotting leader, claiming to look forward to “building on our two nations’ great partnership.” At a Friday morning press conference, the questions pushed and prodded: How would Bishop cope with this enemy entity across the Tasman? The minister had crept rather gingerly into a more diplomatic shell. The relationship between the countries was strong.

Much of this will pass, leaving its characteristic bitter residue. The relationship between these two countries has tended to be a matter of sibling consternation and rhetorical friendship. New Zealand tends to have been far more realistic than its enormous neighbour, keeping out of militarist games while focusing on being, at points, a good international citizen.

Both countries have also produced their fair share of misplaced, provincial smugness. Former New Zealand prime minister, Robert Muldoon, famously claimed that his country’s “emigration to Australia raises the IQ in both countries.”

The same prime minister was livid at the unsportsmanlike approach taken by the Australian cricket team in a 1981 one-day international match that still haunts its participants. After the Australian bowler, Trevor Chappell, was asked by captain and brother Greg to deliver the last delivery as an underarm, Muldoon deemed it “an act of cowardice appropriate to a team playing in yellow.”

A persistent theme, in fact, emerges: the leaders of New Zealand and Australia have often disliked each other. Muldoon had little time for his counterpart in Canberra, Malcolm Fraser. Australia’s longest serving Labor prime minister, Bob Hawke, could barely stomach David Lange.

Lange, in turn, thought Hawke crude and cloyingly trapped by the language of masculinity.

“His language was frequently obscene and he was steeped in the culture of mateship, which for me was never a good starting point.”[2]

Even beyond the point of personalities, Lange’s explicit renunciation of the US nuclear deterrent threatened the ANZUS alliance and drove Hawke, an unabashed fan of the United States, to distraction.

Things become rather touchy with the rejection by the Lange government of a proposed visit by the USS Buchanan in February 1985. US officials refused to answer queries put to them as to whether the warship had a nuclear capability.

“Whatever the truth of its armaments,” asserted Lange, “its arrival in New Zealand would be seen as a surrender by the government.”[3]

US Secretary of State George Schultz retaliated by suspending ANZUS links and security assurances.

An Ardern-Turnbull relationship, to that end, will conform to cosmetics, keep up appearances and utter the necessary platitudes international, and often fictional friendships, thrive on. The rest of the time will be spent diligently ignoring each other.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

Notes

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The Military Strategy of the New Turkey

October 20th, 2017 by Thierry Meyssan

Featured image: Breaking with the Davutoğlu doctrine (“zero problems with your neighbours”), which he had already abandoned in practice leading his dismissing his Prime Minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defined his country’s new objectives during a speech on 15 October 2016, given at a university named after him. (Source: Voltairenet.org)

The Turkish army imagined a military strategy like a Russian doll. The official purpose of the operations that have just begun is to fight the jihadists. In actual fact, the real purpose of leading these operations is to prevent the creation of new States, the Rojava and Kurdistan. The operations are masking the possible implementation of the national oath of 1920 with the conquest of North East Greece, the entire Island of Cyprus, Northern Syria and Northern Iraq; the conquering of former territories publicly demanded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

***

Operation of 8 October 2017

Following an agreement concluded between Russia and Turkey during the most recent Astana negotiations, the Turkish army entered the governorate of Idleb, violating Syrian sovereignty, in order to combat the jihadists there.

The Turkish army distinguishes between the following groups:

  • the Syrian Turkmen which it had gathered under the flag of the former Free Syrian Army (FSA) and which it intends to use as a support in the region.
  • the Jihadists that accept to continue their fight in South East Asia and which should be transferred there by Turkish Secret Services (MIT).
  • all the others, which should be eliminated.

Furthermore, the Turkish army already occupies Al-Bab, also violating Syrian sovereignty.

The Turkish presence at Idleb cuts the Rojava’s access to the Mediterranean Sea. Its presence at Al-Bab offers it the possibility of cutting the Rojava into two and wiping out this pseudo State.

The Joint Operation of 12 October 2017

Turkey, Iran and Iraq had met to deaden the vague hopes of an independent pseudo Kurdistan. The Barzani family and Israel have gradually swallowed up territories thanks to local conflicts and war. In 15 years, the territory administered by the Barzanis and Israel under the name “Iraqi Kurdistan” has multiplied its areas by fivefold to the detriment of the native, Arab and Christian populations. On 25 September 2017, the Barzani family and Israel organized a referendum on independence. Following a vote that was largely rigged, especially in the Christian areas, the yes vote reached 92 %. During a popular festival, the Barzani family, brandishing Kurdish and Israeli flags, announced that the process for independence was irreversible. The journal Kurds-Israel revealed that an agreement had been concluded between Tel-Aviv and Erbil providing for 200,000 citizens to be transferred to the “Kurdistan”, once independence had been declared. The Israeli army intends to promptly station missiles there to threaten both Syria and Iran.

The pipeline linking the pseudo Kurdistan to the port of Ceyhan (Turkey) will be closed by BOTAŞ, the Turkish public operator which owns it. Accordingly, the Barzanis’ oil revenues would be cut. Currently, Kurdish oil is chiefly exploited by the French company Total. It is sold in the European Union, Ukraine and Israel where it represents almost the entire domestic consumption.

The Turkish and Iranian air space will be closed with the pseudo-Kurdistan. Taking account of the war, Syrian air space is not practicable for civil flights. Flights from and to Erbil will necessarily have to pass through Bagdad.

The border-posts between Turkey and Iran on the one side and the pseudo Kurdistan on the other, will all be closed, thereby cutting custom revenues of a potentially new State. So as to maintain Turkish-Iraqi trade relations, a new route will be open along the Syrian-Iraqi border permitting Ankara to be linked up to Bagdad. The Iraqi army will station 13,000 men to guarantee its security, whilst the construction works for a new pipeline along this route will begin at once.

This route will cut communications between the pseudo-Kurdistan and the Rojava.

Since 2015, the Turkish army has been occupying Bachiqa (the pseudo-Kurdistan), thereby violating Iraqi sovereignty.

An ultimatum (by 1 November at the latest) will be addressed to the Barzani family preventing it from announcing independence. In case it refuses, the Turkish army is preparing to declare war against the pseudo-Kurdistan. It would make a two-pronged attack on Erbil, from the Turkish border on the one hand, and from the new route that has been secured by the Iraqi army, on the other hand.

JPEG - 35.9 kb

In 1920, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, drafts a national oath challenging the winners of the First World War and claiming the annexation of new territories for the Muslim populations whether they are in the majority or minority.

Objectives of the New Turkey

Three months after the assassination attempt and the coup d’etat were aborted in July 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered an inaugural address at the university which bears his name (RTEÜ). He then provided a glimpse into the ambitions of the Turkish Republic following its creation and those of the new regime. Making explicit reference to “the National Oath” (Misak-ı Millî), adopted by the Ottoman Parliament on 12 February 1920, he justified conquering former territories. This oath, which lays the basis for the passage of the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic, claims the territory of the North East of Greece (Western Thrace and the Dodecanese), the whole of Cyprus, Northern Syria (as well as Idleb, Alep and Hasakah), and Northern Iraq (including Mosul).

In 1939, France only granted Hatay (Syria) to Turkey. Paris was also hoping that Ankara gets rid of its orthodox Christians which have their patriarchal base in Antioch.

Having counted off these territories one by one, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is claiming them in his turn [1].

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the only Head of State of a developed country to challenge the international order and to publicly claim, where necessary by force, new territories.

Translated by Anoosha Boralessa

Thierry Meyssan is a political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in French – Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump(Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).

Note

[1] “’We Are Present in the History of Mosul”, Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, October 15, 2016.

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Rethinking Anglo-American Empire: It Starts with the Language

October 20th, 2017 by Dr. T. P. Wilkinson

There is a serious, almost insurmountable, language obstacle I find when trying to discuss the US regime or its foreign policy. It is the absolute uselessness of terms like “communism” in the literature or other verbal sources. As I always argue from the beginning of any article, the “Cold War” and “communism” or “Soviet expansion” etc. were all terms that obscured the actual policies, interests, conflicts, and actors such that it became impossible to identify the genuine roots of power and targets of its exercise. This continues today. The term “international terrorism” has become a substitute but the structure in which even this term is anchored relies upon the doctrinal template established in the age of “anti-communism”.

Of course being “anti-communist” in the outer party (Orwell’s term for the bulk of the governing bureaucracy: academia, middle corporate management, the middle and lower ranks of the civil and security services) did and does mean something but that “something” has little or anything to do with communism, in whatever form it was defined in the 19th and 20th centuries. So when one starts to read about things like “containment”, “rollback”, “deterrence”, “international stability” and even “world peace”, etc. it ought to be clear that this is a language designed and maintained to disguise the real interests and actions involved– even from those who at lower and middle level are part of the apparatus of control. The ancient universities, whose debates defined and interpreted the doctrines of Christendom, perform the same function today– namely the formulation of doctrine and the indoctrination of cadres sworn to protect and preserve power as it is currently exercised.

As I have suggested in previous remarks, I am contemplating the kinds of discrete, cultivated relationships Agee (Philip Agee, former CIA officer and author of a critical exposé CIA Diary: Inside the Company) reported were maintained (and are maintained) throughout Latin America. These began by recruiting junior people, “young potential” who through promotion would become those who assure that the military and business oligarchy are able, wittingly or unwittingly, to respond in support of US imperial interests at any critical juncture.

The challenge for the US after the Soviet defeat of Hitler was to re-infiltrate the political hierarchy in Eastern Europe. It took them a long time, but it is apparent that they succeeded, together with German vassals, in bringing Eastern Europe under the control of the West.

Another problem with the language is that it focuses attention on a coherence in official policy that is fictional and distracts from the function of policy as a means of concealing actual exercise of power. So the explanation most often given for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the COMECON is their economic inefficiency and the inability to modernise, etc. and/ or oppressive armaments budgets that could not be funded. In other words “everything the ‘communists’ did was unsustainable and everything the “West” did was durable or more rational, because it survived.” This of course begs the question about the status of the rest of the world economy and the NATO budgets. If these were the reasons for the collapse in the East why was there no “collapse” in the West.

In fact there was a collapse in the West but it was never explained as such because the collapse in the East was never accurately described either– at least not for public consumption.

These language parameters are doctrine and like Christian doctrines of the immaculate conception or the virgin birth or the filioque, they have no real meaning for the operation of the Church as an institution. “Defending the Trinity” is not an instruction anyone can follow. It is a sign that affirms the value of any action so categorised by someone responding to institutional instructions. We need to pay less attention to the rhetoric of the Church and more serious attention to the operation of the institution itself. This is not simply putting the horses back in front of the cart but viewing the entire vehicle as a whole: cart with content, horses, and driver.

I think the argument I am trying to make is that we have to return to a disaggregation of the doctrinal schemata in which the wars against the Soviet Union and decolonization/national independence movements were packaged and examine the preponderance of transactions in all sorts of overt and covert business activities (e.g. how did those “wheat deals” with the Soviet Union actually function?) from about the time when the Nixon regime introduced the petrodollar to the ascendancy of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin. We also have to understand that the end and defeat of national liberation movements in Africa by 1968, effectively ended the so-called Civil Rights movement in the US– Angola and Southern Africa notwithstanding. We also need a reappraisal of US empire in the Asia-Pacific region which includes Indonesia and Oceania and does not focus simply on the ostensible failures of Korea and Vietnam. China existed for centuries before Mao or Deng.

We need to look at the global economy under AAIE* domination as a reduction of international relations to the trade in weapons, drugs, oil and money (financialisation) and tribute. We have to return to the operative functions of the Bretton Woods institutions and discard the obsession with their post-war ideological functions. Most of all we have to draw the logical consequences of identifying “bankers” as “warriors”– meaning we also must start from an accurate description of the “warrior” and see the “banker” as a form of “warrior/ war lord”.

One useful starting point may be to admit that the very inception of the single superpower today was the child born of a marriage of slaveholders and slave traders to profit from stolen land and bonded labour: “as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be.” The creation of the US regime and its operation as a purposeful system ought to be seen distinguished from the accident of the majority who came to inhabit it.

In essence this means reformulating the programme of “economic history”.

Note

*Anglo-American Israeli Empire: Beyond the very serious issue of Palestinian independence, the global function of Israel as an “off-shore” entity, enjoying privileges and immunities not unlike those of the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages, needs to be more seriously studied and the results broadly communicated.

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The Israeli occupation forces at predawn time Wednesday shut down and ransacked the headquarters of Palestinian media production companies, citing incitement reasons, during raids in Ramallah, Nablus, al-Khalil, and Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

The Israeli army stormed the headquarters of TransMedia, PalMedia, and Ramsat news agencies in al-Khalil, Ramallah, Nablus, and Bethlehem, before they seized their equipment. The army shut down the offices of TransMedia and PalMedia for six months under a military order.

Media shut down1

The occupation soldiers had rolled into Nablus at the crack of dawn in over 30 military vehicles and ransacked the offices of PalMedia and TransMedia before they sealed them off with red wax and metal plates.

At the same time, violent clashes burst out in al-Shuhadaa Square, where the Israeli forces attacked Palestinian protesters with heavy spates of bullet fire and teargas canisters. A Palestinian youth sustained bullet injuries and dozens more choked on teargas.

Coordinator of al-Quds TV Channel in Nablus, Nawaf al-Amer, said the Israeli soldiers closed the office of PalMedia Company in Nablus and misappropriated its production equipment.

Clashes erupted with the army in the aftermath of the raid in Nablus, during which several Palestinians were reportedly injured, medical sources said.

The forces left posters stating that “incitement” was the reason for the six-month closures of the headquarters and offices of the targeted media production companies.

Media shut down2

Israeli authorities have long restricted Palestinian freedom of expression through censoring social media activity and imprisoning journalists, activists, and bloggers.

All images in this article are from KhamakarPress Nieuws.

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Neocon Nikki Haley’s Anti-Iran Rage: Prelude to War?

October 20th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Iran and North Korea are prime Trump administration targets for war and regime change.

US war plans were drawn long ago against both nations, updated over time, implementation perhaps coming, a high-risk scenario in both theaters, madness if Washington preemptively attacks either country.

Neocon Nikki Haley is Trump’s leading administration antagonist, notably on North Korea and Iran. Her hostile early September address on the Islamic Republic before the hawkish American Enterprise Institute preceded Trump’s decertification of the JCPOA nuclear deal – an international treaty the president defied by his action.

Haley’s address was a deplorable litany of beginning-to-end Big Lies. On Wednesday during a Security Council open debate on the Middle East, she was at it again.

She lied saying Washington’s goal is “peace, security, and human rights for the region.”

She lied claiming “nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran’s outlaw behavior.”

Washington considers aiding Syria combat the scourge of US-supported terrorism “outlaw behavior.”

Iranian actions in Syria and the region are positive, not “destructive,” and “malign,” as Haley claimed.

She lied saying Iran “flagrant(ly) violat(es) Security Council Resolution 2231.” It endorsed the Iran nuclear deal, prohibiting its military from any activity related to ballistic missiles able to deliver nuclear warheads.

Iran is in full compliance, all its missiles capable only of carrying conventional ones. Haley lied claiming otherwise, falsely accusing the country of “aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior.”

It fully complies with the JCPOA’s letter and spirit. Washington, NATO, Israel and their rogue allies are outlaw nations, waging aggressive wars in multiple theaters, threatening more.

Resolution 2231 doesn’t prohibit Iran from activities related to combating terrorism or dealings with other countries, including aiding them fight this scourge.

Haley criticized its regional efforts – combating ISIS and other terrorists America and its rogue allies support, she failed to explain.

Her remarks included a long laundry list of long ago discredited canards.

Washington, Israel, and its sinister AIPAC lobby resent Iranian sovereign independence, its military strength solely for defense – an obstacle to Israeli regional dominance, along with America’s presence.

Were Haley’s hostile Wednesday remarks prelude for initiating diabolical Trump administration plans ahead, including naked aggression against the country – nuclear deal decertification a starter for what’s to come?

Haley called for tough Security Council action against Iran not forthcoming. Washington ignores international law, acting unilaterally or with rogue allies, pursuing its ruthless imperial agenda.

Does it include war on North Korea and Iran? Is Trump reckless enough to launch the unthinkable against one or both countries?

Is he willing to risk nuclear confrontation and WW III? Humanity holds its breath to find out.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Kirkuk, a Counterfeit Prize

October 20th, 2017 by Barbara Nimri Aziz

The Iraqi government has every right to assert control over KirkukThe city had never been a Kurdish center and only after it repulsed threats by ISIS three years ago, did Peshmerga replace Iraqi government forces in the area. Peshmerga has been a coddled and abetted military presence in the US-UK-Israel plan to divide Iraq. (No Kurdish force has had any legitimate presence there.) So recent references by both National Public Radio and BBC news hosts about Peshmerga fighters representing Kurdish sovereignty in Kirkuk are misleading at best.

No one yet knows what the outcome will be of Baghdad’s belated move to affirm authority in the area with its surprising military victory in and around Kirkuk earlier this month. Interested foreign parties from Turkey to Israel have remained silent, thus far. Meanwhile Kurdish spokespeople are making alarming claims in the international press about the deployment, even suggesting those Iraqi forces are ISIS-linked, also invoking the trope of Shia militants taking over their (sic) city, assertions left unchallenged by an acquiescent NPR and BBC.

Why is there so little willingness by US and British media to acknowledge the character and legal status of Kirkuk in Iraq? One hears no reference to the strategic transformation of the city and its environs by nationalist-secessionist Kurdish interests from a majority Turkmen community to a Kurdish one starting in 1991 when the US and UK helped establish an inchoate Kurdish sovereign state in northern Iraq?

The day of the Kurdish referendum in September I noted the process by which Iraqi Kurdish leaders worked to convert Kirkuk into a Kurdish city, with the intention of annexing it when the time came (last month) for their claim of independence, and ignoring the Iraqi constitutionally defined border outside Kirkuk and nearby areas.

It is mystifying why the Turkmen of Iraq, a fiercely Iraqi nationalist, significant minority, has been so invisible in international press coverage of the region. This while they embody a remarkable ideal that opposes any military action. Visiting Kirkuk on two occasions before American forces invaded Iraq in 2003, I saw the displacement of Turkmen families (begun in 1991) in progress and I’ve followed their growing fear of Kurdish dominance, all without threat of armed retaliation. Their population is not small—at least three million– and many Turkmen are well placed in Iraq’s government. Although that proved insufficient to thwart Kurdish ambitions over Kirkuk.

Turkmen’s marginalization in their heartland has won little sympathy outside; their identity and ethnic rights are completely overshadowed by Kurdish separatists and their foreign partners and lackeys, such as Peter Galbraith. Are we to accept comments by BBC guest Nadhim Zahawi as a fair assessment (BBC World News 10.17.17)? Zahawi is a British-Kurdish millionaire, a UK member of parliament, also director of Gulf Keystone Petroleum GKP operating in Iraqi Kurdistan; he moreover chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kurdistan. This in addition to his many controversial legal involvements.

The wider public, it seems, is only permitted to know that Kirkuk sits on major oil deposits. (Of course that explains it being coveted by the Kurds in alliance with the West.) But what about the longtime Turkmen character and history of the city? What about the sustained opposition by Turkmen Iraqis and the Baghdad government to surreptitious tactics by the Kurds, to make it appear the city and surrounding areas is Kurdish and lies within the three Kurdish-dominated governates (Erbil—a once Turkmen-majority city for 700 years, Sulaimania and Duhok) that have enjoyed considerable autonomy since 1991. Kirkuk is no more a part of Kurdish Iraq than nearby Mosul is, and Kurdish rights to Kirkuk has never been part of the semi-autonomous understanding between Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad.

Barbara Nimri Aziz is a New York based anthropologist and journalist. Find her work at www.RadioTahrir.org. She was a longtime producer at Pacifica-WBAI Radio in NY, also author of Swimming Up The Tigris, Real Life Encounters with Iraq, (University Press of Florida, 2007), based on her many years of work in Iraq.

Featured image is from VOA News.

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Should US Policy Against Iran be Taken Seriously?

October 20th, 2017 by Thierry Meyssan

The State Department and President Trump have been spitting out curses against Hezbollah and Iran – this could lead us to fear a break in the 5+1 agreement. But for Thierry Meyssan, while the worst may still happen, it is far more probable that, once again, Washington is staging a phony quarrel in order to better manipulate its Israëli and Saudi allies.

***

The US President’s speech on Iran was preceded by a Press conference at the State Department accusing Hezbollah of exporting terrorism all over the world on behalf of Teheran [1]. To show that the US was ready to put its money where its mouth is, a reward was offered for the arrest of two of its commanders. But – surprise! – not a word about Hezbollah’s victories against the jihadists, nor about the 800 million dollars that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has just offered to the Lebanese Resistance [2].

President Trump then took the floor and wasted no time in loading insults on the inheritance of Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Supreme Leader [3].

He proffered all sorts of weary old accusations which have long been disproven, and laid the foundations for accusations that they are responsible for the resurgence of Al-Qaïda.

Even before his speech had come to a close, oil was already up by 85 cents per barrel, since the market was betting on the cancellation of Iranian oil investments. In the hours that followed, every one of the Western states and Russia deplored Donald Trump’s aggressivity, while Israël and Saudi Arabia applauded.

However, the only decisions announced by President Trump and the State Department are the reward mentioned above and the pause in the certification of the 5+1 agreement before Congress [4]; the latter decision does not concern international relations, but exclusively the interior politics of the United States. The agreement of 14 July 2015 was adopted by the United Nations Security Council, which alone can repeal it. Of course, all diplomats know that behind this multilateral agreement, the United States and Iran have agreed to a secret bilateral protocol which defines their respective roles in the Greater Middle East. At the time of writing, no-one is able to say whether or not President Trump has called this protocol into question. Consequently, all reactions to the declarations of the State Department and to his speech on 13 October are nothing more than fan dancing.

The ruling classes of the United States and Iran have always obsessed about their respective relations. During the Revolution of 1979, the Carter administration was so deeply divided that the Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, and the Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzeziński, confronted one another, and both threatened to resign if the President would not listen to them. It was finally Brzeziński who won out, but not without masking the arrest of spies from the US embassy in Teheran as the sequestration of “hostages”, and then covering himself with ridicule by failing to free them [5]. From the time of this incident, the relations between Washington and Teheran have been a succession of media lies having nothing to do with reality.

From the Iranian point of view, the United Kingdom and the United States are lying predators who have colonised and exploited their country, and who continue to crush other states which have so far failed to revolt. This is why Iranians commonly call them by the nicknames of “Little Satan” and “Big Satan”. According to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, every man worth his salt must fight against their perverted ways. But from another point of view, the Anglo-Saxons are not all bad, and there is no reason not to do business with them.

During the Bush Jr. administration, Vice-President Dick Cheney never ceased plotting with London and Tel-Aviv to attack Teheran. He created the very secret “Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group” around his daughter, Liz Cheney, and an old secret operations veteran, Elliott Abrams. He first considered the use of nuclear weapons, then supporting an Israëli attack from airports rented from Georgia. However, what happened was exactly the opposite –Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the US Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, met in secret on 2 March 2008 in Baghdad. By overthrowing the Afghan Taliban and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the United States eliminated the enemies of Iran on his behalf, and favoured his regional influence.

During the Obama administration, the White House attempted to overthrow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by organising the colour revolution of 2009. Having drawn the conclusions of its failure, it initiated contact with its opponents, united around ex-President Hachemi Rafsandjani. It so happens that in the period between 1983 and 1986, the US National Security Council organised the Iran-Contra operation. At that time, Colonel Oliver North and the ubiquitous Elliott Abrams relied on a deputy, Cheikh Hassan Rohani, who introduced them to the Hodjatoleslam Rafsandjani. It was with this group that the Obama administration began talks in Oman, in March 2013. By some form of administrative pirouette, Ahmadinejad’s candidate was not authorised to present himself in the Presidential elections, which were won by Cheikh Rohani five months later. As soon as he gained power, Rohani began official negotiations for the 5+1 agreement that he had imagined during the Oman negotiations.

As for Donald Trump, he never failed to maintain a violently anti-Iranian discourse during his election campaign. This was also the position of his first Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn. However, since his arrival in the White House last January, the President has eliminated, one by one, all of his anti-Iranian advisors (with the exception of Mike Pompeo, the current Director of the CIA). On the contrary, his three main advisors are pro-Iranian (the Director of his cabinet, General John Kelly, his Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson).

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that during the nomination of the Secretary of State, the pro-Obama Press announced its certainty that the job would go to Elliott Abrams – yes, him again. The President received Abrams for a long time, asked him about his relations with Cheikh Rohani, then walked him to the door and nominated Tillerson.

It is always possible that President Trump could destroy the US-Iran agreement on an impulse, and even – much more serious – pick a quarrel with the Revolutionary Guards, but it is more probable that he will once again act up in order to soothe his Israëli and Saudi allies. We have to keep in mind that Donald Trump is not a professional politician, but a real estate promoter, and that he acts like one. He gained his professional success by spreading panic with his outrageous statements and observing the reactions he had created amongst his competitors and his partners.

In order to decide between these two hypotheses, we will have to wait for sanctions against the Revolutionary Guard. Then we shall see whether or not they are serious or simply an expression of Donald Trump’s manner and the traditional masquerade of the United States against Iran.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Thierry Meyssan is a political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in French – Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump (Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).

Source

Al-Watan (Syria)

Notes

[1] “Nathan Sales on US Efforts to Counter Hizballah”, by Nathan Sales; “It’s Time to Mobilize a Global Response to the Terrorist Group Lebanese Hizballah”, by Tom Bossert, Voltaire Network, 10 October 2017.

[2] “QE with a twist? In 2016, the Supreme Leader of the Revolution distributed more than 1 billion dollars around the world”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 18 September 2017.

[3] “Remarks by Donald Trump on Iran Strategy”, Voltaire Network, 13 October 2017.

[4] “President Donald J. Trump’s New Strategy on Iran” White House Synthesis, Voltaire Network, 13 October 2017.

[5] There never were any hostages at the US embassy in Teheran, but a group of spies arrested red-handed inside the embassy. Indeed, despite all its squealing, Washington has never asked for damages concerning this incident.

Featured image is from Mohamed Sabra.

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When the Nuclear Violator Becomes the Accuser

October 20th, 2017 by Farhad Shahabi

In recent years, all references by the West in relation to Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, have been constantly and invariably accusatory, using terms such as “nuclear threat” or “nuclear danger”. The signing of the nuclear accord or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) too has not been followed by a reduction in the use of such accusatory terminology by the West, both in formal and informal settings.

Recent examples are the statements from the British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, who whilst announcing his country’s support for the JCPA and emphasising the importance by all parties (particularly the US) to uphold their commitment to the nuclear accord, states in relation to Iran that “The nuclear deal was a crucial agreement that neutralised its nuclear threat”; and the statement from the head of EU’s Security and Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, who responding to the worrisome likelihood of the US leaving the agreement, comments that “The deal has prevented, continues to prevent, and will continue to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons“.

It is to be noted that Iran, very soon after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, reiterated its commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In addition to this and despite many shortcomings of the NPT and the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime, particularly its extremely discriminatory nature, the leader of the Revolution, issued a Fatwa banning at the highest level of state authority and without any proviso and discrimination, the production, storage, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.

Also in practice, looking at the tumultuous history of the 8 year imposed war by Saddam as the acting agent of the West against the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is possible to find numerous evidence that in the most pressing circumstances of the war and even in the face of terrible war crimes by the enemy (who was the aggressor in this war), such as its extensive and repeated use of chemical weapons, bombing of cities and other residential areas in Iran, Iranian armed forces never resorted to WMD and were extremely averse to the use similar methods and to retaliation in kind.

Those who accuse Iran of being a nuclear threat are countries who themselves are not merely “accused” but are definitely and undeniably “guilty” of having both threatened and used methods and weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Some of these Western countries who unbelievably shamelessly accuse Iran of posing a threat to international peace and security, have a shameful and extensive record of egregious crimes against humanity and war crimes, such as the nuclear bombing of Japan, the occupation and chemical bombardment of Vietnam, supporting the illegal occupation of Palestine and the violent repression of Palestinians, the persuasion, arming and total support of Saddam and his war crimes against Iran, the intentional downing of the Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf and the public praise of the perpetrators of this unprecedented war crime, and of course, the keeping and continued expansion of their nuclear weapons production.

And finally, following the nuclear deal, all of the eight reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based on extremely and painstakingly meticulous and extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear activities, have testified, without exception, Iran’s total commitment to and observance of the nuclear deal. Considering this undisputed and clear evidence of Iran’s commitment, the accusations of Iran’s nuclear threat is completely unwarranted and unfair, because they attempt at creating the impression in the minds of their audience that Iran is prone to deceitfully violate the NPT, and that it stands guilty of violation and of creating crisis in the international community.

It is therefore necessary that through diplomatic channels and in the first instance through discussion with the P5+1 members, particularly the EU members, to insist that such false labelling and falsely accusatory and humiliating terminology in relation to Iran has to be stopped. Clearly, terminology such as the removal of “worries” or “concerns” in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme, are considerably less emphatic and offensive falsehoods than words such as the removal of “threat” or “danger” of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Currently in circumstances that, as stated by the German Foreign Minister, the US behaviour towards Iran has pushed Europeans towards Russian or Chinese positions, there might be a suitable opportunity to address this difficulty.

The Farsi version of this article appeared in Iran Diplomacy on 14 October 2017.

Farhad Shahabi is a senior specialist in international relations and disarmament in Iran.

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Since World War II most of the world’s conflicts have revolved around struggles for independence against Western and Japanese colonial/imperial regimes.

Following formal independence, a new type of imperial domination was imposed – neo-colonial regimes, in which the US and its European allies imposed vassal rulers acting as proxies for economic exploitation. With the rise of US unipolar global domination, following the demise of the USSR (1990), the West established hegemony over the East European states.  Some were subject to fragmentation and sub-divided into new NATO dominated statelets.

The quest for a unipolar empire set in motion a series of wars and ethnic conflicts in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Baltic States, North Africa, Asia and Western Europe – leading to ethnic cleansing and the global mass refugee crises.

The break-up of nation states spread across the globe as the rhetoric and politics of ‘self-determination’replaced the class struggle as the flagship for social justice and political freedom.

Many of the prime movers of empire-building adopted the tactics of dividing and conquering adversaries – under the liberal pretext of  promoting ‘self-determination’, without clarifying who and what the ‘self’ represented and who really benefited.

Sectional, regional, cultural and ethnic identities served to polarize struggles. In contrast ‘central’ regimes fought to retain ‘national unity’ in order to repress regional revolts.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and discuss the national and international forces behind the slogans of ‘self-determination’ and the larger international and regional consequences.

Basic Concepts: Ambiguities and Clarification

One of the striking aspects of the process of globalization and national development is ‘uneven and combined development’ (ICD). This takes several forms – uneven development between regions, within and between countries, and usually both.

Imperial countries concentrate industries, commerce and banking while colonized/neo-colonized countries are left with export-linked, resource-based enclaves and low-wage assembly plants. Frequently, the capital cities of colonized and de-colonized countries concentrate and centralize political power, wealth, infrastructure, transport and finance while their provinces are reduced to providing raw material and cheap labor by subject people. Infrequently political power and administration – including the military, police and tax collection agencies – are concentrated in economically un-productive central cities, while the wealth-producing, but politically weaker regions, are economically exploited, marginalized and depleted.

Combined and uneven development on international and national levels has led to class, anti-imperialist and regional struggles. Where class-based struggles have been weakened, nationalist and ethnic leaders and movements assume political leadership.

Nationalism’, however, has two diametrically opposing faces: In one version Western backed regional movements work to degrade anti-imperialist regimes in order to subordinate the entire nation to the dictates of an imperial power.  In a different context, broad-based secular nationalists struggle to gain political independence by defeating imperial forces and their local surrogates, who are often ethnic or religious minority rent-collecting overlords.

Imperial states have always had a clear understanding of the nature of the different kinds of ‘nationalism’ and which serve their interests.   Imperial states support regional and/or ‘nationalist’ regimes and movements that will undermine anti-imperial movements, regimes and regions.  They always oppose ‘nationalist’ movements with strong working class leadership.

Historical Experience

Imperial Perfidious Albion, the United Kingdom, slaughtered and starved millions of people who resisted its rule in Asia (India, Burma, Malaya and China), Africa (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, etc.) and Europe (Ireland).

At the same time, British imperialists promoted regional conflicts arming Muslims to fight Hindus, Sikhs to fight Muslims, Gurkas to oppress Malays and create various warring religious, ethnic and linguistic groups throughout the Indian subcontinent, Burma and Malaya. Likewise the UK promoted conflicts among religious, secular nationalist and conservative groups throughout the Middle East.

The imperial powers naturally operate through the strategy of ‘divide and conquer’, labeling their adversaries as ‘backward’ and ‘authoritarian’ while praising their surrogates as ‘freedom fighters’ which they claim are ‘in transition to Western democratic values’.

However, the strategic issue is how imperial states define the kind of self-determination to support or repress and when to change their policies:  Today’s allies are dubbed ‘democrats’ in the Western press and tomorrow they can be re-assigned the role of ‘freedom’s enemies’ and ‘authoritarian’, if they act against imperial interests.

The Two Faces of Self-Determination

In contrast to the imperial practice of shifting policies toward dominant regimes and separatist movements, most of the ‘left’ broadly support all movements for self-determination and label all opponents as ‘oppressors’.

As a result the left and the imperialist regimes may end up on the same side in a massive ‘regime change’ campaign!

The libertarian left cover-up their own fake ‘idealism’ by labeling the imperial powers as ‘hypocrites’ and using a ‘double-standard’.  This is a laughable accusation, since the guiding principle behind an imperial decision to support or reject ‘self-determination’ is based on class and imperial interests.  In other words, when ‘self-determination’ benefits the empire, it receives full support.  There are no abstract historical, moral precepts, devoid of class and imperial content determining policy.

Case Studies: The Myths of the “Stateless Kurds” and “Ukraine’s Liberation”

In the Twentieth Century, the Kurdish citizens of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran have made claims of ‘self-determination’ and fought against established nation-states in the name of ‘ethnic liberation’.

But who defines the real ‘self’ to be liberated?

Source: Kurdistan 24

In the case of Iraq in the 1990’s, Kurds were sponsored, armed, funded and defended by the US and Israel in order to weaken and divide the secular-nationalist Iraqi republic. Kurds, again with US support, have organized regional conflicts in Turkey and more recently in Syria, in order to defeat the independent government of Bashar Assad.  Leftist Kurds cynically describe their imperial allies, including the Israelis, as ‘progressive colonialists’.

In brief, the Kurds act as surrogates for the US and Israel: They provide mercenaries, access to military bases, listening and spy posts and resources in their newly ‘liberated (and ethnically cleansed) country’, to bolster US imperialism, which ‘their warlord leaders’ have chosen as the dominant ‘partner’. Is their struggle one of national liberation or mercenary puppetry in the service of empire against sovereign nations resisting imperial and Zionist control?

In the Ukraine, the US hailed the cause of self-determination when it engineered a violent coup to oust an elected regime, whose crime was its commitment to independence from NATO. The coup was openly funded by the US, which financed and trained fascist thugs committed to the expulsion or repression of ethnic Russian speakers, especially in the eastern Donbas region and Crimea with the aim of placing NATO bases on Russia’s border.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

The overwhelmingly Russian-speaking people of Crimea opposed the coup and exercised their right to self-determination by voting to rejoin Russia. Likewise the industrialized Donbas region of eastern Ukraine declared its autonomy, opposing the oppressive and grossly corrupt US installed regime in Kiev.

The violent US-EU sponsored coup in Kiev was a blatant form of imperial annexation, while the peaceful vote in Crimea and the militant Eastern Ukraine (Donbas) exercise of self-determination presented a progressive response by anti-imperialist forces. Thwarted in its project to turn Eastern Ukraine and Crimea into NATO launching pads for aggression against Moscow, US/EU condemned this response as ‘Russian colonization’.

Tibet and the Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang Province

Separatist groups have been actively engaged in armed uprisings for many decades in Tibet and Xinjiang, Western China. While they claimed to be ‘independent’, their feudal warlords have long been hostile to the positive advances of the Chinese revolution (including the abolition of slavery in Tibet, as well as opium trade and bride price and the extension of universal education in feudal Moslem regions). They collaborated with the US and expansionist India (where the Dalai Lama established his palace and camps of armed supporters, trained and armed by Western imperial agencies).

While the West advertises the Dalai Lama as a peace-loving holy man giving platitudinous speeches to adoring crowds, this saint never condemned the genocidal US wars against fellow Buddhists in Vietnam, Korea or elsewhere.

The well-funded Western pro-Tibet and pro-Uighur celebrity/victim circuit has ignored the links between the Dalai Lama and his imperial patrons, which ultimately defines the operational meaning of ‘self-determination’.

Kosova: Self-Determination by Terrorist White Slavers

Image result

Hashim Thaci

After World War II, Yugoslavia, liberated from its vicious Nazi collaborators by the Communist partisans, embarked on becoming a peaceful self-managed, multi-ethnic socialist society. But in the 1990’s, the overt military intervention of NATO forces deliberately engineered the violent break-up of Yugoslavia into ‘independent’ statelets. The experiment of a multiethnic socialist state in Europe was destroyed. After massive ethnic cleansing of its non-Albanian populations, a new NATO puppet-state, Kosova, came under the control of an internationally recognized terrorist, white slaver, narco-US vassal Hashim Thaci and his Kosovo Liberation Army thugs.

With the massive US bombing campaign against Belgrade and other Yugoslav cities and with NATO military support, Kosova achieved ‘self-determination’ – as a huge land-based US aircraft carrier and ‘R&R’ center (Camp Bondsteel) with discounts at KLA-run brothels for the GI’s. Because Kosova serves as a mercenary outpost run by vassal thugs, Washington and Brussels endorsed its claims as a ‘liberated independent state’. It has also served as an international discount depot for the gruesome trade in human organs for transplant. Viewing the ethnically cleansed mafia state of Kosovo, then NATO commander, Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie, later admitted:

We bombed the wrong side’.

The break-up of Yugoslavia, led to multiple separatist mini-states, each of which fell in line with EU-economic domination and US military control. In Western jargon this was dubbed ‘democratic self-determination’ – the ugly reality is that of massive ethnic cleansing, impoverishment and criminality.

Catalunya’s Independence and Neo-Franco Spain

Spain is under the rule of a regime descended from the fascist dictator Francisco Franco. President Mariano Rajoy and his misnamed ‘Popular Party’ (PP) and his royal sidekick, King Felipe VI, have engaged in massive corruption scandals, money laundering and fraudulent multi-million euro public–private building contracts.  Rajoy’s neo-liberal policies significantly contributed to a financial crash which resulting in a 30% unemployment rate and an austerity program stripping Spanish workers of their collective bargaining power.

In the face of Catalunya’s pursuit of self-determination via free and democratic elections, Rajoy ordered a police and military invasion, seizing ballots, breaking heads and asserting total control.

The Catalans’ peaceful exercise of self-determination via free elections, independent of imperial manipulation, was rejected by both the EU and Washington as ‘unlawful’– for disobeying Rajoy and his neo-Franco legions.

Self-Determination for Palestine and US Backed Israeli Colonization and Subjugation

For a half-century, Washington has supported brutal Israeli occupation and colonization of the Palestinian ‘West Bank’. The US consistently denies self-determination for the people of Palestine and its millions of displaced refugees.  Washington arms and finances Israeli expansion through the violent seizure of Palestinian territory and resources as well as the starvation, incarceration, torture and assassination of Palestinians for the crime of asserting their right of self-determination.

The overwhelming majority of US Congressional officials and Presidents, past and present, slavishly take their cues from the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish (Israeli) Organization who add billions to the coffers of colonial Tel Aviv.  Israel and its Zionist surrogates inside the US government manipulate the US into disastrous wars in the Middle East against the self-determination of independent Arab and Muslim nations.

Saudi Arabia: Enemy of Yemen’s Self-Determination

Saudi Arabia’s despotic regime has fought against self-determination in the Gulf States and Yemen.  The Saudis, backed by US arms and advisers, have dispossessed millions of Yemeni civilians and killed thousands in a merciless bombing campaign. Over the past decade the Saudis have bombed and blockaded Yemen, destroying its infrastructure, causing a massive plague of cholera and threatening starvation for millions of children in an effort to defeat the Houthi-led Yemeni liberation movement.

The US and UK have provided over a hundred billion dollars in arms sales and give logistical support, including bombing coordinates to the Saudi tyrants while blocking any UN-sponsored diplomatic action to relieve the immense suffering.  In this grotesque war crime, Washington and Israel are the Saudi Monarchy’s closest associates in denying self-determination to the oppressed people of Yemen who have long resisted Saudi control.

Conclusion

The US imperialist state, like all aspiring empire-builders, represses or supports movements for self-determination according to their class and imperial interests. To be clear:  Self-determination is a class-defined issue; it is not a general moral-legal principle.

Imperialism’s selective use and abuse of self-determination is not a case of ‘hypocrisy’ or ‘double standards’, as their left-liberal supporters complain. Washington applies a single standard: Does this movement advance Empire by securing and buttressing vassal regimes and their supporters?  The language of ‘liberation’ is a mere gloss to secure the allegiance of vassals opposed to independent states.

For decades, Eastern European, Balkan and Baltic countries were encouraged to struggle for ‘self-determination’ against the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, only to later embrace the yoke of vassalage under the command of NATO, the EU and Washington. In many cases their sovereignty and standard of living collapsed followed by ethnic cleansing, including the mass expulsion of Serbs from Croatia and Kosovo and the cultural-linguistic repression of ethnic Russians in Latvia and Ukraine.

The Kurdish ‘freedom fighters’, followed ethnic warlords who were funded by the US and Israel, and took over town, cities, oil resources and territory to serve as imperial military bases against the sovereign governments of Iraq, Iran and Syria.

In this context, the Kurdish warlords and oligarchs are loyal vassals and an integral component of the long-standing US-Israeli policy aimed at dividing and weakening independent allies of Palestine, Yemen and genuine liberation movements.

Clearly the criteria for deciding whose claims of self-determination are valid require identifying whether class and anti-imperialist interests are advanced.

Beyond the immediate conflicts, many independent regimes, in turn, become oppressive rulers of their own minorities and native critics. ‘Self-determination’ ad infinitum can ultimately lead to schizoid individuals – extolling their mythical people while oppressing others. Today, Zionism is the ultimate parody of ‘self-determination’. Newly independent countries and rulers frequently deny minorities of their own right to self-determination – especially those who sided with the previous power.

To the extent that the ‘national’ struggle is limited to political independence it can lead to a mere ‘changing of the guard’ – maintaining oppressive class exploitation and introducing new forms of cultural-ethnic and gender oppression.

In some instances the new forms of class exploitation may even surpass their previous conditions under imperial vassalage.

Kurds, Tibetans, fascist Ukrainian nationalists, Uighurs and other so-called freedom fighters turn out to be military Sepoys for aggressive US incursion against independent China, Iran and Russia. Leftist backers of these dubious ‘liberation movements’ tag along behind the empire.

Capitalist ‘globalization’ is today’s greatest enemy to authentic self-determination. Imperial globalization supports fragmented statelets – all the better to convert them into new vassals with their own flag and anthem!

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, cast doubt on the results of Venezuela’s Regional Elections where candidates from the governing Socialist Party won a vast majority of seats, claiming the vote was not “free and fair.” 

“An election is only legitimate if it is free and fair, and from the start, this was neither,” Haley said via the U.S. mission to the United Nations Twitter account.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV won at least 17 of the 23 governorships, also garnering 54 percent of the vote. The PSUV candidate for Bolivar state, where no official results have been declared yet, also claimed victory.

Turnout was 61.14 percent in Sunday’s polls, with ballots cast at 13,559 polling stations nationwide.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said it was the highest turnout in 15 years – more than 10 million people voted.

Prior to the vote, the U.S. State Department issued a statement questioning the “fairness of the electoral process” in Venezuela, and expressing “great concern that the regime will not permit the presence of independent international electoral observers.”

Over 1,300 national and international observers, including opposition appointed auditors, were on hand for the Oct. 15 vote. An audit of the vote will also be held, election officials confirmed Monday.

The U.S.-backed opposition meanwhile, has stated they would not recognize the results that have been reported by the head of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena.

“We do not recognize the results offered by Tibisay Lucena,” said opposition coalition MUD campaign chief Gerardo Blyde.

Blyde said the results are not reflective of those being tracked by his party. He also accused the electorate of misrepresenting the location of the polling stations in a bid to confuse voters.

“In the first place, they violated citizens’ rights by unconsciously relocating the CNE’s voting centers and other abusive attitudes and now violate the Venezuelan vote,” Blyde said.

Less than 1.5 percent of voting stations were relocated from areas that saw violence during the July 30 Constituent Assembly election, CNE officials explained.

Despite the statements from Blyde and MUD leaders, elected opposition recognized the results that will see them take office.

“I can only recognize what I have in my hands, and in Tachira, I recognize that the people spoke,” Leidy Gomez, the MUD candidate who won the elections for governor of the border state, told teleSUR.

See this for the results by state.

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The jailing this week of the leaders of the largest separatist organisations in Catalonia—Jordi Sànchez of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart of Òmnium Cultural—was met with demonstrations throughout Catalonia culminating in a 200,000-strong protest in Barcelona on Tuesday night.

The incarceration of the two marks the first jailings of political prisoners since the end of the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

A mass mobilisation has been scheduled for Saturday afternoon calling for their release. There are talks of another “national strike” by the “Board for Democracy”, which comprises 60 organisations including the ANC, Òmnium Cultural, the UGT and CCOO unions and the employers umbrella organisations, CECOT and PIMEC.

Sànchez and Cuixart are being held pending investigation of trumped-up sedition charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. They are accused of orchestrating demonstrations on September 20 and 21, which attempted to prevent police raids on organisations promoting the October 1 Catalan independence referendum.

The arrests came after weeks of sustained repression by the Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Catalan government officials have been arrested, scores of websites closed, millions of posters and leaflets seized, print shops and newspapers searched, meetings banned, and hundreds of mayors threatened with prosecution for supporting the referendum.

On October 1, the PP government sent in tens of thousands of police in a failed attempt to prevent the referendum. Social media was flooded with images of Civil Guards forcing their way into polling places, grabbing ballot boxes and beating up peaceful, defenceless voters, hundreds of whom were injured. A nationalist, law-and-order hysteria has been whipped up and far-right protests encouraged.

Today, by 10am, Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont must “clarify” whether or not he has declared independence—following his statement last week in which he reaffirmed the right of Catalonia to independence, but that it would not be declared for several weeks in order to allow for negotiations with Madrid.

If he does not deny the declaration of independence, many reports suggest Rajoy’s Council of Ministers will invoke measures under article 155 of the Spanish Constitution—routinely described as the “nuclear option”—that suspend Catalan autonomy. Such a step lays the basis for imposing direct rule from Madrid through military intervention.

According to media reports, the regional parliament (Generalitat), will be dissolved and a “transitional governmental authority” will be created, composed of appointed technocrats who will take over the functioning of the various Catalan ministries.

Puigdemont would be allowed to continue as President of the regional government, but he would be stripped of his powers. Vice-president Oriol Junqueras, responsible for the finances of the Generalitat—and blamed for driving away investment in Catalonia and companies relocating their headquarters—could be removed. Junqueras and other officials are likely to be rounded up and imprisoned as Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart have been.

The next step, according to reports, would then be to hold new elections in Catalonia. These would not be convened by the regional government as normally the case but under the control of Madrid. Whether parties calling for independence would be allowed to stand is increasingly unlikely, as calls for their banning increase.

The government is not talking openly at the moment of military intervention, but logistics troops have been sent to support National Police and Civil Guard units in Catalonia and details of the “Chain Mail” troop deployment plan have been published alongside comments from military figures.

Rajoy is travelling Thursday afternoon to Brussels to take part in the European Council summit of the heads of state and government of the European Union (EU). The EU has consistently declared that Catalonian succession is an “internal” crisis that Spain must resolve within the limits set by its Constitution—a view taken by the Trump administration in the US. The PP crackdown enjoys the support of the EU and the US because they fear the break up of the EU and the NATO alliance into a patchwork of competing mini-states.

To that end, Catalonia does not even feature as an official item on the summit agenda.

“We do not intend to put it on the agenda, but of course, if President Rajoy wants to talk about it, we will reflect it on the agenda,” said one senior European official.

The Secretary General of the Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, is also visiting Brussels. His main role is to cover for the PP and attempt to counteract depictions of the repressive measures being enacted by the Spanish state. On Wednesday, he met the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the President of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, Giani Pittella, before taking part in a conference organized by the European Social-Democratic faction. Today he will meet European Commission president Jean Claude-Juncker.

The unrelenting juggernaut of police state measures being imposed in Catalonia by the PP government, which rules over the fifth largest, supposedly democratic, capitalist country in Europe, is a warning to workers and youth across the continent and internationally. The green light given to the PP’s repression, supported by the right-wing Citizens party and the PSOE by the EU and US is further confirmation that the global ruling elite will not tolerate any opposition to its social counter-revolutionary policies.

What is happening in Catalonia will become the benchmark for rule across Europe.

The rapid re-emergence of such repressive measures in a country, which the PSOE and Communist Party insisted had resolved its bitter 20th century history of class struggle, revolution and dictatorship through the “transition to democracy”—following the death of Franco in 1975—is a graphic expression of the collapse of the post-World War II global capitalist order.

The political settlement concocted during the Transition has disintegrated. The PSOE, the Spanish ruling elite’s main party of government in the post-Franco period, has been discredited by decades of policies of austerity and war.

The critical question is the political mobilization of the entire Spanish and European working class in struggle against the return to police state rule and any attempt to mobilise the army.

Workers and youth in Catalonia, throughout Spain and across the continent must demand an end to the brutal repression being carried out in Catalonia. All troops and government forces must be withdrawn from Catalonia and those held captive as political prisoners immediately released.

Opposition to state repression cannot be mounted under the auspices of the ruling parties in Madrid or the Catalan nationalists, who are unflaggingly hostile to the working class.

The International Committee of the Fourth International insists that the only viable policy against the danger of war and dictatorship is to fight to unify the working class in Spain and Europe in a struggle against capitalism and for the socialist reorganization of society. This can be carried out only in revolutionary struggle against all of Spain’s bourgeois factions, whether in Madrid or Barcelona.

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The Menace of Present and Future Drone Warfare

October 20th, 2017 by Richard Falk

Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years.  In his recent article The Menace of Present and Future Drone Warfare, he places the growing use of drones in their historical and political context. 

The full article is highly recommended reading.  Here we excerpt the final paragraphs, reproduced with his kind permission.

The U.S. reliance on attack drones to engage in targeted killing, especially in third countries (Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan) has raised controversial international law issues of sovereign rights in interaction with lethal acts of war, especially those far removed from the zone of live combat. The increasing reliance on drones during the Obama presidency has produced unintended deaths, civilians in the vicinity of the target and attacks directed at the wrong personnel, as with the NATO helicopter attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers who had been deployed near the Afghan border on November 25, 2011, provoking a major international incident (although not a drone attack, it was linked by angered Pakistani officials to similar mis-targeting by drones). There are also unconfirmed reports of drone follow up raids at sites of targeted killing that seem directed at those who mount rescue operations or arrange funerals for prior victims. As with the Bush torture debate the political leadership in Washington has turned for justifications to government lawyers who have responded by developing drone legal briefs that seem somewhat analogous to the notorious Yoo ‘torture memos.’ There are, however, some differences in the two contexts that work against equating the two controversies about post-9/11 war making.

For one thing, torture has a long history, having been practiced by governments for centuries, and its relatively recent prohibition is embedded in a clear norm criminalizing torture that is contained in the International Torture Convention of 1984. Torture is also enumerated as one of the Crimes Against Humanity in the statute of the International Criminal Court. Drone technology adapted to serve as a battlefield weapon is, in contrast, of extremely recent origin. Nothing in international law exists that is comparably specific with respect to drone attacks to the legal repudiation of torture. There is some resemblance between efforts by Obama law officials to stretch the conception of self-defense beyond previously understood limits to justify targeted killing and the Bush lawyers who claimed that water boarding was not torture. Expanding the prior understanding of the legal right of self-defense represents a self-serving reinterpretation of this core international legal norm by the U.S. Government. It seems opportunistic and unpersuasive and seems unlikely to be generally accepted as a reframing of the right of self-defense under international law.

Perhaps, the most important difference between the torture and drone debates has to do with future implications. Although there are some loopholes involving extraordinary rendition and secret CIA operated overseas black sites, torture has been credibly prohibited by President Obama. Beyond this, the repudiation of torture has been understood in a manner that conforms to the general international consensus rather than the narrowed conception insisted upon by the Bush-era legalists. In contrast, drones seem destined to be central to operational planning for future military undertakings of the United States, with sharply escalating appropriations to support both the purchase of increasing numbers and varieties of drone. The government is  engaging in a major research program designed to make drones available for an expanding range of military missions and to serve as the foundation of a revolutionary transformation of the way America will fight future wars. Some of these revolutionary features are already evident: casualty-free military missions; subversion of territorial sovereignty; absence of transparency and accountability; further weakening of political constraints on recourse to war.

Future war scenarios involve attacks by drones swarms, interactive squadrons of drones re-targeting while in a combat zone without human participation, and covert attacks using mini-drones. A further serious concern is the almost certain access to drone technology by private sectors actors. These musings are not science fiction, but well financed undertakings at  or beyond the development stage. It is in these settings especially, where the analogy to nuclear weapons seems most pertinent, and discouraging. Given the amount invested and the anticipated profitability and utility of drones, it may already be too late to interrupt their development, deployment, and expanding sphere of use. Unlike nuclear weaponry, already some 50 countries reportedly possess drones, mainly adapted to surveillance. As with nuclear weaponry, the United States, and other leading political actors, will not agree to comprehensive prohibitions on the use of drones for lethal purposes.

If this line of reasoning is generally correct, there are two likely futures for attack drones: an unregulated dispersion of the weaponry to public and private actors with likely strategic roles undermining traditional international law limits on war making and public order; or a new non-proliferation regime for drones that permits all states to possess and use surveillance drones within sovereign space and allows some states to make discretionary use of drones globally and for attack purposes until a set on constraining regulations can be agreed upon by a list of designated states. That is, drone military technology will perpetuate the two-tier concept of world order that has taken shape in relation to nuclear weapons, and reflects the consensus that both nuclear disarmament and unrestricted proliferation of nuclear weaponry are unacceptable. In this regard, a counter-proliferation regime for drones is a lesser evil, but still an evil.

The technological momentum that has built up in relation to drones is probably too strong to be challenged politically. The military applications are too attractive, the technology is of a cutting edge fantasy quality, the political appeal of war fighting that involves minimum human risk is too great. At the same time, for much of the world this kind of unfolding future delivers a somber message of a terrifying unfolding vulnerability. At present, there seems to be no way to insulate societies from either intrusive and perpetual surveillance or the prospect of targeted killing and devastation conducted from a remote location. It may be contended that such an indictment of drones exaggerates their novelty. Has not the world lived for decades with weapons of mass destruction possessed by a small number of non-accountable governments and deliverable anywhere on the planet in a matter of minutes? This is superficially true, and frightening enough, but the catastrophic quality of nuclear weaponry and its release of atmospheric radioactivity operates as an inhibitor of uncertain reliability, while with drone their comparative inexpensiveness and non-apocalyptic character makes it much easier to drift mindlessly until an unanticipated day of reckoning occurs by which time all possibilities of control will have been long lost.

As with nuclear weaponry, climate change, and respect for the carrying capacity of the earth, we who are alive at present may be the last who have even the possibility of upholding the life prospects of future generations. It seems late, but still not too late to act responsibly, but we will not be able to make such claims very much longer. Part of the challenge is undoubtedly structural. For most purposes, global governance depends on cooperation among sovereign states, but in matters of war and peace the world order system remains resolutely vertical and under the control of geopolitical actors, perhaps as few as one, who are unwilling to restrict their military activities to the confines of territorial boundaries, but insist on their prerogative to manage coercively the planet as a whole. When it comes to drones the fate of humanity is squeezed between the impotence of state-centric logic and the grandiose schemes of the geopolitical mentality.

First published by Global Research on May 13, 2017

In 1991, 20 per cent of childcare workers belonged to a union. This stands at 21 per cent today.[1] Despite their stated commitment to organize women in the wage ghetto of childcare, unions have essentially forsaken one of the most vulnerable, underpaid and undervalued female dominated workforces in this country.

Universal, quality, accessible, free, not-for-profit, childcare is the goal. But while unionization of childcare workers has increased marginally in a 25-year period, for-profit delivery of childcare spaces grew by 33 per cent in a 10-year period ending in 2014.

The childcare workforce deserves decent wages, benefits and good working conditions – they deserve a union. But, unions in Canada have been obviously reluctant to step up.

Fragmented Childcare Services

The current patchwork of fragmented childcare services grows out of a perspective on childcare as ‘women’s work’, which is accorded little value. It grew up as a private arrangement between parents and care providers. It grew out of a multitude of local efforts by desperate parents joining together to arrange for their children’s care – creating a patchwork of non-profit childcare centres across the country. It developed out of half-measures and piecemeal funding by reluctant governments.

It is this early history and these persistent attitudes that account for the ongoing patchwork of fragmented and under-funded services. It is these same attitudes that continue to sustain a wage ghetto for the childcare workforce and skyrocketing fees for parents. Today, thousands of small non-profit childcare centres across Canada struggle to keep their doors open and lights on to deliver quality programs for children.

There is no question that childcare workers need a union – but if unions are going to organize and represent these workers then they must devise approaches and strategies that are sensitive to the realities of this sector.

Unions need to seriously consider strategies that are truly responsive to the needs of a female dominated workforce; that are collaborative with parents and employers. New structures for organizing and representing these workers are needed.

Childcare: We Have a Plan

Unions can offer legally recognized structures that can be used to create central or coordinated bargaining tables. And that could bring employers together to deal with systemic funding issues they have tried for decades to deal with on their own, without success.

The State of Childcare in Canada

The majority (70%) of childcare spaces in Canada are delivered by small non-profit childcare centres. These centres employ between five to fifteen employees and deliver between 35 – 100 childcare spaces. Some of the Atlantic provinces deliver the majority of spaces through small ‘mom-and-pop’ for profit operators. In 2014, for-profits delivered 30 per cent of spaces nationally, up from 20 per cent in 2004.[2]

Childcare centres rely primarily on parent fees and on inadequate piecemeal government funding in the form of fee subsidy for parents and wage grants for staff. A recent report shows that spending per childcare space in Canada has not changed in over six years – in fact when adjusted for inflation it has actually declined.[3] This left these small non-profit centres to deliver services on shrinking budgets and with increasing public expectations of the service.

Only 24 per cent of children 0 – 12 years can access a regulated childcare space. If parents are fortunate enough to land one they often face fees from a low of $900 a month to a high of $1,700 a month.[4] If they have more than one child costs are much higher.

Many families end-up on fee subsidy waiting lists, while childcare centres sit with full-fee empty spaces families cannot afford.[5]

Provincial childcare regulations (ratio of staff to children) determine the cost of childcare to a significant degree. Caring for and educating young children is labour intensive. Staff wages comprise about 80 – 85 per cent of a centres’ operating budget. Yet, despite the high cost for parents, the workforce has some of the lowest wage rates of any comparable occupation.

While employers struggle to attract and retain staff and provide good quality care for kids at a cost parents can afford, they have largely failed to act collectively to address low wages in the sector. Instead employers appeal to their staff to put the children and families first, perpetuating a persistent tension between parent fees and staff wages. Employers often forgo even modest wage grants so as not to increase parent fees. It is not uncommon for childcare workers to go without wage increases for years.

Gender Inequalities

“The childcare market model has been built on a foundation of gender inequalities. A model that fails both working mothers who have limited access to high quality care and the women who educate and care for their children.”

However, things are beginning to change. Over the past fifteen years, governments are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of childcare for children, families and the economy. A number of provinces are reviewing and modernizing their childcare services. Some have moved childcare out of ministries of social services and into ministries of education.

The federal Liberals came to power on the promise of a federally led initiative to work with provinces/territories and Indigenous communities on a National Early Learning and Child Care Framework. This could be a positive step forward.

There is no turning back. The case for childcare has been made. The question remains, will we get a system that continues to rest on this foundation of gender inequality?

The Workforce

The majority (96%)[6] of the childcare workforce are women. The latest childcare workforce study found that 25 per cent of the workforce earned below $14 an hour and 25 per cent over $22 an hour. In the Atlantic, where the majority of childcare is delivered by small for-profit centres, wages range from just above minimum wage to a high of $19 an hour.

As with wages, extended health and other workplace benefits are uneven across the sector. Three quarters of the workforce have access to sick leave and only slightly over half have access to health benefits. A fraction have any form of retirement plan.

In Ontario unionization rates are higher and local governments have established directly operated (public) municipal childcare centres, both of which have had an upward pressure on wages in the province. The average wage in municipal centres is about $30 an hour. In unionized centres wages can be as high as $23 per hour and in non-unionized centres as low as $16 an hour. But wages in Ontario, like the rest of the country are all over the map, reflecting the tremendous fragmentation in the sector.

However, wage gains in Ontario are under attack as small centres try to manage changes brought about by the Province’s Full Day Kindergarten and Child Care Modernization Act (doing more with less). Many small employers relied on their preschool programs (4-5 year olds) to cover the higher cost to deliver infant and toddler programs. With Full Day Kindergarden (FDK) these employers struggle to keep services affordable to parents and at the same time attract early childhood educators, who are leaving the non-profit sector for better paying jobs in the Province’s FDK.

Municipalities are responding to these provincial changes by shuttering higher cost, directly operated centres. In 1998 municipal childcare accounted for 11 per cent of all spaces but only 2.5 per cent of all spaces today. Historically these centres set the benchmark – for quality services and for wages and benefits. Municipal workers were the “Pay Equity” comparators for workers in the broader childcare sector. The closure of municipal centres and the concurrent loss of higher paid Early Childhood Education (ECE) jobs are having a downward pressure on wages in Ontario. Wages that were once benchmarks are now seen as a threat to viability.

Organizing and Representing the Childcare Workforce

Only 21 per cent of the childcare workforce is unionized.[7] However, though wages are low and the working conditions difficult, unionization is not the first thing that comes to mind for childcare workers.

This is in part because the majority of ECEs work in small non-profit centres, which generally foster more intimate work relationships. In many instances centre directors work alongside their employees. Also, childcare workers care for the children of parents who often sit on the centre board of directors. Childcare workers are sensitive to the fact that a wage increase for them means a fee increase for parents.

Yet, despite these reservations, unionization does have a very positive impact on wages and other workplace benefits. Unionized centres provide better wages, extended health coverage, paid sick leave, pension plans, paid time for program planning and access to designated staff rooms. Unionized settings do set benchmarks for the sector.

While unionization is good for workers, it does pose challenges for small non-profit centres. These employers are in a constant state of crisis as they deal with systemic underfunding board-by-board, centre-by-centre.

If there is to be any success in improving the working lives of childcare workers then unions need to find strategies that will bring these small employers together to negotiate improvements for their staff and better public funding from governments.

There are examples of unions thinking outside the box and finding unique strategies for organizing and representing childcare workers. Quebec offers a Canadian example of what is possible. Unions in Quebec brought employer groups from small non-profits to a common table to negotiate with them and the Quebec government. While not easy, nor quick, it proved successful for making significant improvements in wages, benefits and working conditions across the sector.

In the United States a number of unions have joined forces to organize in the childcare sector. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) worked with its affiliates, the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), and the United Auto Workers to bring home childcare providers into unions. Another affiliate of the AFSCME, the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees supported the establishment of the United Child Care Union (UCCU).

The UCCU developed a unique approach that brings workers and their employers together under the same umbrella. While this approach runs counter to the idea of unionization it recognizes that parents, employers and the childcare workforce share common interests in winning the best conditions for children, for workers and for employers.

What makes these organizing drives unique is that these unions understood the need to work in collaboration with employer groups and to connect their organizing drives with political advocacy. They also recognized the need to use legally recognized union structures to effectively bring workers, employers and users of service together to address their common needs.

Childcare employers in Canada in the not for profit sector are an amalgam of municipalities, parent cooperatives, charitable organizations (like the YMCA). The provinces need to provide funding to enable collaboration on system building and collective bargaining in partnership with unions.

Childcare Workers Deserve a Union – How to Make it Happen

Outside of Quebec, Canadian unions have largely forsaken workers in the non-profit childcare sector. This goes for the broader non-profit voluntary sector as well. There are literally hundreds of thousands of workers (mostly women) working in small community-based services across this country that will never know the benefit of a union. And that is because unions have failed to devise organizing strategies that take the realities of the broader non-profit sector into account.

Unions are reluctant – they are nostalgically committed to plant-gate organizing strategies that don’t work well in this sector. And they are not prepared to invest in organizing and representing workers that they feel will provide little in the way of “a return on their investment.”

Childcare: We Can Do ItUnions have been loath to commit the resources needed for an organizing strategy that would mean approaching potentially tens of thousands of workers, working in thousands of small workplaces and then having to negotiate a first collective agreement with cash-strapped employers. Unions just don’t see the benefit to them – even though there is plenty of talk about the injustice of womens’ underpaid and precarious work.

If this is ever going to change then unions must reassess the benefits to them when they collaborate. Unions must overcome the natural tendency in a capitalist economy to compete against one another for members.

Instead they might see that collaborating and pooling resources for sustained organizing drives is the only way to increase union density and to effectively represent the childcare and other marginal workforces. This approach could offer a model for organizing more broadly in the voluntary non-profit sector. Creating a common front organizing strategy will be more effective for organizing than unions working in isolation to organize and represent workers one centre at a time.

A successful strategy will also need to include structures like a council of trade unions (such as exists in the construction sector) that would bring employers together to deal collectively with issues that have plagued the sector for decades. Bargaining centrally is one way to ensure that employers are working together to get the funding increases they need to improve wages and to reduce costs for parents.

A common front approach would be much more effective for organizing and representing a very fragmented sector with little political clout. This logic applies equally to the homecare and other sectors, which are female dominated, racialized and currently largely excluded from the benefits of unionization.

Unions must move beyond an antagonistic model that pits the interest of workers against the interest of parents and children. This approach has not proven effective in the childcare sector.

In addition to working cooperatively, to make real inroads in this sector unions need to integrate into its organizing and representation of childcare workers, the fact that the workforce, parents, children and yes, even the employers, all share a common interest – the need for increased core government funding of centres to reduce (and eventually eliminate) fees for parents, to increase wages and benefits for staff and to provide good quality programs for children.

Why Unionization in the Non-Profit Sector is Important

Unions have been central in the call for universal, affordable, accessible quality childcare for over 40 years. They have worked with community allies to demand that childcare be understood as a child’s right – similar to public education.

Unions have been at the forefront calling for equal pay and decent wages, pensions, maternity and parental leave and work and family balance. They have been active in the fight to end gender wage discrimination because they know firsthand the inequity it creates for women and the impact of wage discrimination in old age. Unions understand equal pay for equal work as a basic human right.

The research is clear – non-profit childcare consistently delivers better quality care than does private for-profit. High quality care is best achieved when all monies are ploughed back into programs, instead of being syphoned-off to profit. When the central mission is profitmaking or generating a return on shareholder investment, quality is inevitably compromised. Squeezing money out of programs, rationing food, equipment and supplies, paying staff less, having fewer qualified staff and charging parents more are the hallmark of the for-profit sector.

Leaving childcare in the marketplace as a private arrangement between parents and care providers perpetuates a model of service built on a foundation of gender inequality. Leaving childcare in the market where childcare workers’ wages are pitted against parent fees will never achieve the goals and aspirations for high quality childcare. The kind of care and education that is good for children, affordable to parents and where childcare workers can make a living.

Wall-to-wall organizing in the non-profit sector could provide effective structures for breaking out of this decades-long dynamic where wages are pitted against parent fees – both of which impact on the quality of services provided to children. Reversing this will require unions to search for new methods and models of organizing and working more closely with our allies to fortify our organizing drives.

The not-for-profit childcare sector is the essential building block for the not-for-profit, universal, free, accessible, comprehensive childcare system, which has been a goal of progressives in Canada for generations. It is this sector which should be the foremost priority for organizing by unions.

It is time for a collaborative strategy to organize the great majority of the childcare workforce who work in the non-profit childcare sector. Then we could use that capacity for a strong push by the exploited childcare workforce for a truly universal system and for decent conditions of employment.

Shellie Bird is a trade union and childcare activist. Candace Rennick is Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. Michael Hurley is president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Emolyees).

Notes

1. Gillian Doherty, Donna Lero, Hillel Goelman, Annette LaGrange, Jocelyne Tougas, You Bet I Care! A Canada-wide study on: Wages, Working Conditions and Practices in Child Care Centres, 2000.

2. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Alternative Federal Budget 2016: It’s Time to Move On

3. Working Paper 2008-02. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Benchmarks for Early Childhood Services in OECD Countries, p. 38.

4. David Macdonald, Thea Klinger, They Go Up So Fast: Child Care Fees in Canadian Cities, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2015.

5.Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre Fee Survey,” 2016.

6. Child Care Human Resources Sector Council, What Factors Influence Wages and Benefits in Early Learning and Child Care Settings, 2007.

7. Kathleen Flanagan, Jane Beach, Petr Varmuza, You Bet We Still Care, 2013.

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Mainstream Media Islamophobia and Women’s Rights in Muslim Countries

October 20th, 2017 by Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu

First published by Global Research in March 2015

Some years ago, I had an engaging discussion with one of my very insightful students of Philosophy in my university.  She asked me whether Islam has provisions for women’s rights and gender equity and if it has, why is it that Muslim countries are apparently anti-women in their cultural expressions as proven in the way mainstream mass media portray the customs and traditions of these Muslim countries. This perceptive question of my student deserved a candid and thorough response.

The question is actually two pronged; first, it asked whether Islam has anything to offer for gender fairness specifically to the womenry. My categorical answer to this query is a resounding “Yes!”  In this article, I will extensively demonstrate why I responded affirmatively to the first part of the query by quoting pertinent provisions provided by the Qur-an for the emancipation of women.  Likewise, I will endeavor to effectively respond to the second part of my student’s question: assuming that there are Islamic provisions for women’s rights, why are Islamic countries apparently perceived by Western mainstream media and by non-Muslims as anti-women?

Western Mainstream Media Must Not Equate the Cultural Patterns Prevalent in So-Called Muslim Countries as Necessarily Islamic

Firstly, it should be made clear to us that the so-called “Islamic culture” prevalent in many “Islamic countries” may not be truly and authentically Islamic. This may sound ironic, but this assertion is assuredly true!  Upon their conversion to Islam, these countries may still have carried with them unnecessary baggage of pre-Islamic customs and traditions that are not only un-Islamic but may even be outright anti-Islamic. Hermeneutically speaking, these pre-Islamic cultural expressions and idiosyncrasies persisting in so-called Islamic countries may even inform or misinform, dictate and influence the aforesaid societies’ understanding of Islam. For instance, although the Maranaws of southern Philippines are nominally referred to as Muslims, it does not follow that their customary laws on revenge-killing (i.e., rido) are Islamic; and although the Bangladeshi population is predominantly Muslim, it does not mean that their traditions or customs regarding dowry is Islamic.  My point is this: there must be clear delineation in identifying what is a culture-bound custom and what is truly an Islamic provision as found in the Qur-an. This is the crux of the problem of the Western media’s bias against Islam; when it judges Islam, it tends to haphazardly label the cultural patterns of Muslim countries as Islamic cultural patterns without investigating whether or not these patterns have any warrant in the Qur-anic revelation.

At this stage of my discussion, let me say that the canons of the Qur-an are the normative and regulative authority by which one should base one’s judgment on whether a particular custom is Islamic since the Qur-an is the pristine source of the Muslim Shariah (Divine Law) from which a given conduct is determined as either “Islamic” or “un-Islamic”.  It is imperative that we stop judging Islam as “anti-women” by simply basing this judgment on our observations of the cultures of these so-called Muslim countries.  Only by going back to the authoritative standard of Islam, which is the Qur-an, can we see that far from being anti-women, genuine Islam contains sufficient provisions for gender fairness and equity.

Western Mainstream Media’s Portrayal of Islam May Not Necessarily Be the Accurate Picture of Reality and May Unduly Condition Our Prejudices Against Islam

Some people may say; “But pictures do not lie!  Muslim women crouching behind thick veils are powerless to assert their rights in an Islamic country.” Let me say that pictures seemingly cannot lie but they can be outright selective and partial in their portrayal of things and events because they are shot at angles based on slanted or sometimes twisted frames of focus chosen by the person taking the pictures; for whatever purpose the pictures may serve him or her. Likewise, news reports can be selective, slanted, twisted, skewed and downright unfair.

How can one judge Islam and the Muslim World when one has only a limited angle or a twisted spectacle from which one bases one’s judgment? Islam is both a universal and cosmopolitan way of life since Islam embraces plurality and diversity of cultures. The geographical, cultural and racial terrains of Islam’s domains are very diverse indeed! Islam’s realm stretches from the archipelagic Southeast Asia to the Indian Subcontinent; from the Afghanistan highlands to the Iranian steppes; from the well-watered lands of Tigris and Euphrates to the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula; from the heart of the Nile to the wastelands of African Sahara and from thence to Turkey, Albania, Bosnia in Eastern Europe and up to the various Central Asian Turkic republics.

Presently, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Great Britain, Continental Europe and the United States.  It is indeed stupefying to take into account all these cultural diversities found in the world of Islam; for instance, an Indian Muslim is culturally different from a Bulgarian Muslim as a Malaysian Muslim is culturally different from an Algerian adherent of Islam.

I am not minimizing the fact that there are so-called Muslim countries that discriminate and oppress women. I think we should denounce these countries which in their patriarchalism, oppress and marginalize women. However, what is important is take into account the cosmopolitan, pluralistic and diverse world of Islam when making generalized adverse judgments on Islam as a Weltanschauung (worldview).

By showing this great diversity, I venture to say that it is indeed unfair for the Western media to hastily judge Islam without taking into consideration this overall picture of Islam’s cosmopolitan pluralism. It is the media’s solemn duty in the name of fairness to exhaust all angles of representation in as far as Islamic diversity is concerned before the media ventures to ascribe undesirable judgments on Islam and Muslims.

Western Mainstream Media must be Aware that Present Interpretations of Islamic Precepts or Principles Implemented in “Islamic Countries” May Be Misinterpretations or Misunderstanding of the Original Qur-anic Intents and Purposes

The third point that I would like to raise in response to the first part of my student’s query is this: there are interpretations of Islamic principles that are accepted as normative in a particular “Islamic” country that may well be a misinterpretation of the Qur-anic intents and purposes as envisioned by the Prophet of Islam.  What I mean by this is that there are Qur-anic verses that are interpreted in terms of rigid anti-women cultural patterns prevalent among Islamic countries which upon closer scrutiny are in fact misrepresentations of the egalitarian intents of the Prophet Muhammad.  Let us take the issue of hijab as an example. Hijab/hijb is an Arabic word which means to cover, to conceal, to put things in privacy. When used in relation to Islamic adab (ethics), hijab means modesty, propriety and prudence in one’s dealings with the opposite sex (Cf. Al-Qamus al Arabiyyah al Misriyyah [Cairo Concise Arab Dictionary]. Cairo: al Maktabah Dar’ul Ilmiyyah, in the entry, Hijab.). Presently, in Islamic countries, hijab is unanimously taken to mean the literal veiling of women as in actual veiling from head to foot. However, in the original contextuality of the Qur-anic pronouncement, hijab essentially refers to the virtue of modesty in ones’ dealings with the opposite sex; a command which according to Maulana Muhammad Ali, an eminent Qur-anic exegete and translator, is not only limited to women but to men as well. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, Commentary on the Holy Qur’an., pp. 132-133.).

Maulana Muhammad Ali points out that the mandate for hijab does not primarily refer to the rigidified custom of veiling or seclusion (purdah) nor is its implementation limited to female believers only; hijab is a moral call to sexual modesty, prudence, and moderation aimed at all Muslims, men and women alike. The egalitarian basis of hijab, a gender-neutral mandate is found in the Qur-an; however, it is the interpretation or implementation of the “hijab principle” among Muslim countries that is misleading faulty and anti-women.

Now, let us look at the Qur-anic text exhorting for hijab and let us pay attention to the intent and purpose of this specific Qur-anic text:

Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them. Allah is aware of what they do. Say to the believing women that they cast down their looks, and guard their private parts and not display their ornaments as what appears thereof; and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms (Surah Nur:30, 31).

Notice that in these verses, the command for hijab is given to both Muslim men and women.  The verses exhort “believing men” as well as “believing women” the virtues of modesty and sexual propriety in their dealings with each other. In the course of time however, the exhortation to modesty mutates itself into a set of rigid commandments pertaining to inflexible dress codes governing women alone, i.e., wearing of thick chador (veil) that covers a woman’s face down to her ankles. What is very disturbing in this interpretation is that the dress-code implementation is not applied to nor enforced on the “believing men” who are likewise required to observe hijab as stated in the above-mentioned verse. In so-called Islamic societies, the interpretation of the Qur-anic verse is skewedly and arbitrarily implemented with extreme rigidity solely on the “believing women.” This situation is a sorry example of misinterpreting the spirit and the egalitarian intention of the Qur-an and of the Prophet of Islam.

It is in the spirit of Islamic modesty for women to dress modestly and to wear a simple head-veil that adequately covers her body, in the same way that males are to wear prudent clothing for modesty’s sake. Both are required by the Qur-an to manifest reserve and modesty in their conduct with each other. But to discomfort women by unnecessarily insisting that they cover their whole faces, thereby impeding their movements, is altogether a strange matter which is against the very purpose of the egalitarian exhortation of the Qur-an for hijab. A simple veil on the head for the woman and a simple fez for the man, together with modest clothing for both, adequately fulfill the Qur-anic exhortation for hijab; but to go beyond this simplified and uncomplicated exhortation is already an excessive and unwarranted burden which the Prophet did not impose upon Muslim women!

Maulana Muhammad Ali strongly emphasized that the ethical imperative for hijab does not in any way mean hampering the movement nor does it mean inconveniencing the life of the womenry. To forcefully bring home this historical fact, a direct quote from Maulana Muhammad Ali is appropriate. The Maulana says:

As regards the seclusion of women, the Qur-an never prohibited women from going out of their houses for their needs. In the time of the Prophet, women went regularly to mosques, and said their prayers along with men, standing on separate row. They also joined their husbands in the labour of the field; they even went with the army to the field of battle, and looked after the wounded, removing them from the field if necessary, and helped fighting-men in many other ways. They could even fight the enemy in an emergency. No occupation was prohibited to them, and they could do any work they chose. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur-an, op.cit., p. 132.).

Therefore the directive for hijab does not mean seclusion of women from public affairs (purdah) as practiced in some so-called Muslim countries. Women during the time when the Prophet of Islam was still alive and even during the periods of the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Sunni Islam were very active in the public life of the Muslim Ummah (faith-community).

A concrete example to prove this point is the fact that the wife of the Prophet, Hazrat Aishah Siddiqah was a teacher of Islamic sciences to both male and female Companions. Hazrat Aishah Siddiqah was considered to be the very first mufti (legal luminary) of Islam from whose legal, ethical and spiritual directives the Holy Companions derive rulings for the Ummah after the Holy Prophet’s demise. Fatima Mernissi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1993; pp. 66-69.). It must be plainly pointed-out that the Holy Companions, in consulting a women jurisprudent par excellence, namely Hazrat Aishah, concerning legal rulings and theological opinions in the affairs of the Islamic community simply followed the Prophet’s command found in the hadith sharif (Prophetic tradition):

“Learn your religion from Aishah, my Humeyra (the fair-one). Listen to her words like a bee attending to his beehive.” (See: Abdelhalim Abu Shaka, The Emancipation of Woman at the Time of the Prophet, Los Angeles: Muslim Women’s League, 1990; pp. 150-152; quoting from thehadith sharif, Fazail-e-Sayyidatina Aishah Siddiqah [Exemplary Virtues of our Lady Aishah Siddiqah].).

Understanding Islam According to the Qur-an and the Intention of the Prophet:  the Basis for Genuine Gender Equity and the Remedy against the Islamophobia of Western Mainstream Media

As of this juncture, let it be said that the essential ethical intention of the Holy Qur-an is to provide social equity and equal rights for both men and women. The Qur’an clearly showed the Prophet Muhammad’s unmistakable intention of treating women as equal with men by mentioning both men and women in many verses in the Qur-an. For instance, the Qur-an says:

And the believers, men and women are friends of one another. They enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise (Surah Bara’at:19).

The abovementioned verse clearly articulates equity between the male and female gender in that the Qur’an considers women and men as protectors (waliy-yun) to each other; both men and women are required to do pious acts as proofs of their essential equity and their intrinsic value as human persons.

Another proof of the intrinsic equity between male and female gender is the fact that men and women have their innate autonomy as persons of free volition to follow or not to follow divine commands. In the discourse of the Qur-an, both males and females are tasked with ethical and spiritual responsibilities and in the Hereafter, both will be given just requital of their deeds without taking into consideration their gender differences. The Qur-an explicitly declares the following verses:

Whoever does evil, he is requited only with the like of it; and whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer, these shall enter the Garden, to be given therein sustenance without measure (Surah Mu’min: 40).

Whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer, We will certainly make him live a happy life, and We will certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did (Surah Nahl:97).

Men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn (Surah Nisa:32).

The eminent commentator of the Holy Qur-an, Maulana Muhammad Ali, noted that the Qur-anpractically manifests ontological equity between males and females in its pages. The Holy Qur-an declares that there is no difference between men and women and both can reach the highest divine station if they practice righteous deeds. (See the Maulana’s commentary of Ahl Imran:195, Nisa:124, Nahl:97).

A Call for Societal Advocacy and Engendered Activism: Towards a Genuine Islamic Understanding of Gender Equity according to the Gender Egalitarian Intention of the Prophet Muhammad

Given the unequivocal commitment of the Holy Qur-an for the intrinsic equity between men and women, why is the Islamic Ummah (faith-community) lagging behind in acknowledging gender equity? Why is it that all we see around are the pitiful conditions of the womenry happening in so-called Muslim countries? Let me begin answering this question by quoting a prophetic saying or hadith sharif of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Holy Prophet was reported to have said that;

 …the guilt of the oppressor is not lesser than the guilt of the oppressed.  The oppressor is certain to be punished severely due to his injustice and cruelties committed towards the oppressed (sic). But the oppressed is likewise accountable for not exerting his utmost to fight against oppression… Similarly, ignorance is a great sin and an appeal to be excused from the law on account of ignorance is unacceptable (sic). (Amjad Soharwardi, Hazrat Baba Jilani our Master: A Humble Servant of the Blessed Prophet. Chittagong, Bangladesh: Panja Pir Pustak, n.d., p. 78.).

Based on the abovementioned Prophetic Tradition (hadith sharif), ignorance can be a cause of oppression. Ignorance of the real teachings of Islam, specifically ignorance of the Qur-an in its textual and historical contexts can lead to oppression and those who are ignorant of their rights as given in the Qur-an are the ones likely to be oppressed. This important point strongly calls for Muslims to know intimately their religion and likewise exhorts non-Muslims to sympathetically understand and seriously research the historical contextualities of Islamic practices as found in the Qur-an.

It is outright unfair for Western mainstream media to blame Islam for the misconduct of its adherents in the same manner that it is wrong to blame the whole of Christianity for the cruelty and bloody excesses of medieval papism or for the barbarism of the Catholic Counter-Reformation that produced the blood-thirsty Spanish Inquisition. On the other hand, while it is justified to claim that Western media, cultural patterns among Muslim countries, and faulty interpretations of the Qur-an wrongly shape our views on Islam and women, this claim should not be used as a flimsy excuse for both Muslims and non-Muslims to absolve themselves from their responsibilities and culpabilities. It is indeed high-time now for all of us to break these chains of ignorance and oppression by empowering ourselves to seriously study, research and ascertain what the pristine normative source of Islam, i.e., the Qur-an itself has to say about women. We, likewise, have a duty to inform others who are ignorant of these liberative provisions on the equal rights of women as found in the Qur-an.

Furthermore, Muslims in particular need to zealously endeavor to implement the egalitarian teachings of the Prophet, right were they are, i.e., in their own immediate cultural milieu. They need to be reminded that the social teachings of Islam are clear on this matter: viz, oppression and ignorance go hand in hand, hence in order to fight oppression, it is incumbent to first empower oneself with knowledge. Therefore, our advocacy for women’s emancipation and gender equity should be global, all-inclusive and educative, since it is not Muslim women alone but women in general who are enslaved by sexist prejudices, patriarchal oppressions, and chauvinist discriminations.

It is already a cliché to say that knowledge is power, but I feel that we need to be reminded of this fact, time and again.

We also need to be reminded that evading our responsibility to correct erroneous notions made by Western mainstream media about Islam and women is a manifestation of weakness and cowardice. My student’s perceptive query that prompted me to write this article was indeed a preliminary but vital step in the right direction—religious dialogue towards gender sensitivity. Yes, Muslims and Christians, or any persons of goodwill for that matter, can respect, cherish and celebrate their creedal differences while cooperating in the lofty goal to free women from the bondage of chauvinism, sexism, machismo and gender inequity.

The issue of gender fairness can indeed be a cooperative venture towards human understanding, international amity and global solidarity among peoples of the world whatever their religions and beliefs may be. Let us cooperate with each other to make this advocacy for women’s empowerment a living reality in our midst.

Professor Henry Francis B. Espiritu is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP), Cebu City. His research interests include Islamic Studies particularly Sunni (Hanafi) jurisprudence, Islamic feminist discourses, the writings of Imam Al-Ghazali and Turkish Sufism. You may freely contact him at his email address: [email protected].

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Mainstream Media Islamophobia and Women’s Rights in Muslim Countries

October 20th, 2017 by Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu

First published by Global Research in March 2015

Some years ago, I had an engaging discussion with one of my very insightful students of Philosophy in my university.  She asked me whether Islam has provisions for women’s rights and gender equity and if it has, why is it that Muslim countries are apparently anti-women in their cultural expressions as proven in the way mainstream mass media portray the customs and traditions of these Muslim countries. This perceptive question of my student deserved a candid and thorough response.

The question is actually two pronged; first, it asked whether Islam has anything to offer for gender fairness specifically to the womenry. My categorical answer to this query is a resounding “Yes!”  In this article, I will extensively demonstrate why I responded affirmatively to the first part of the query by quoting pertinent provisions provided by the Qur-an for the emancipation of women.  Likewise, I will endeavor to effectively respond to the second part of my student’s question: assuming that there are Islamic provisions for women’s rights, why are Islamic countries apparently perceived by Western mainstream media and by non-Muslims as anti-women?

Western Mainstream Media Must Not Equate the Cultural Patterns Prevalent in So-Called Muslim Countries as Necessarily Islamic

Firstly, it should be made clear to us that the so-called “Islamic culture” prevalent in many “Islamic countries” may not be truly and authentically Islamic. This may sound ironic, but this assertion is assuredly true!  Upon their conversion to Islam, these countries may still have carried with them unnecessary baggage of pre-Islamic customs and traditions that are not only un-Islamic but may even be outright anti-Islamic. Hermeneutically speaking, these pre-Islamic cultural expressions and idiosyncrasies persisting in so-called Islamic countries may even inform or misinform, dictate and influence the aforesaid societies’ understanding of Islam. For instance, although the Maranaws of southern Philippines are nominally referred to as Muslims, it does not follow that their customary laws on revenge-killing (i.e., rido) are Islamic; and although the Bangladeshi population is predominantly Muslim, it does not mean that their traditions or customs regarding dowry is Islamic.  My point is this: there must be clear delineation in identifying what is a culture-bound custom and what is truly an Islamic provision as found in the Qur-an. This is the crux of the problem of the Western media’s bias against Islam; when it judges Islam, it tends to haphazardly label the cultural patterns of Muslim countries as Islamic cultural patterns without investigating whether or not these patterns have any warrant in the Qur-anic revelation.

At this stage of my discussion, let me say that the canons of the Qur-an are the normative and regulative authority by which one should base one’s judgment on whether a particular custom is Islamic since the Qur-an is the pristine source of the Muslim Shariah (Divine Law) from which a given conduct is determined as either “Islamic” or “un-Islamic”.  It is imperative that we stop judging Islam as “anti-women” by simply basing this judgment on our observations of the cultures of these so-called Muslim countries.  Only by going back to the authoritative standard of Islam, which is the Qur-an, can we see that far from being anti-women, genuine Islam contains sufficient provisions for gender fairness and equity.

Western Mainstream Media’s Portrayal of Islam May Not Necessarily Be the Accurate Picture of Reality and May Unduly Condition Our Prejudices Against Islam

Some people may say; “But pictures do not lie!  Muslim women crouching behind thick veils are powerless to assert their rights in an Islamic country.” Let me say that pictures seemingly cannot lie but they can be outright selective and partial in their portrayal of things and events because they are shot at angles based on slanted or sometimes twisted frames of focus chosen by the person taking the pictures; for whatever purpose the pictures may serve him or her. Likewise, news reports can be selective, slanted, twisted, skewed and downright unfair.

How can one judge Islam and the Muslim World when one has only a limited angle or a twisted spectacle from which one bases one’s judgment? Islam is both a universal and cosmopolitan way of life since Islam embraces plurality and diversity of cultures. The geographical, cultural and racial terrains of Islam’s domains are very diverse indeed! Islam’s realm stretches from the archipelagic Southeast Asia to the Indian Subcontinent; from the Afghanistan highlands to the Iranian steppes; from the well-watered lands of Tigris and Euphrates to the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula; from the heart of the Nile to the wastelands of African Sahara and from thence to Turkey, Albania, Bosnia in Eastern Europe and up to the various Central Asian Turkic republics.

Presently, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Great Britain, Continental Europe and the United States.  It is indeed stupefying to take into account all these cultural diversities found in the world of Islam; for instance, an Indian Muslim is culturally different from a Bulgarian Muslim as a Malaysian Muslim is culturally different from an Algerian adherent of Islam.

I am not minimizing the fact that there are so-called Muslim countries that discriminate and oppress women. I think we should denounce these countries which in their patriarchalism, oppress and marginalize women. However, what is important is take into account the cosmopolitan, pluralistic and diverse world of Islam when making generalized adverse judgments on Islam as a Weltanschauung (worldview).

By showing this great diversity, I venture to say that it is indeed unfair for the Western media to hastily judge Islam without taking into consideration this overall picture of Islam’s cosmopolitan pluralism. It is the media’s solemn duty in the name of fairness to exhaust all angles of representation in as far as Islamic diversity is concerned before the media ventures to ascribe undesirable judgments on Islam and Muslims.

Western Mainstream Media must be Aware that Present Interpretations of Islamic Precepts or Principles Implemented in “Islamic Countries” May Be Misinterpretations or Misunderstanding of the Original Qur-anic Intents and Purposes

The third point that I would like to raise in response to the first part of my student’s query is this: there are interpretations of Islamic principles that are accepted as normative in a particular “Islamic” country that may well be a misinterpretation of the Qur-anic intents and purposes as envisioned by the Prophet of Islam.  What I mean by this is that there are Qur-anic verses that are interpreted in terms of rigid anti-women cultural patterns prevalent among Islamic countries which upon closer scrutiny are in fact misrepresentations of the egalitarian intents of the Prophet Muhammad.  Let us take the issue of hijab as an example. Hijab/hijb is an Arabic word which means to cover, to conceal, to put things in privacy. When used in relation to Islamic adab (ethics), hijab means modesty, propriety and prudence in one’s dealings with the opposite sex (Cf. Al-Qamus al Arabiyyah al Misriyyah [Cairo Concise Arab Dictionary]. Cairo: al Maktabah Dar’ul Ilmiyyah, in the entry, Hijab.). Presently, in Islamic countries, hijab is unanimously taken to mean the literal veiling of women as in actual veiling from head to foot. However, in the original contextuality of the Qur-anic pronouncement, hijab essentially refers to the virtue of modesty in ones’ dealings with the opposite sex; a command which according to Maulana Muhammad Ali, an eminent Qur-anic exegete and translator, is not only limited to women but to men as well. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, Commentary on the Holy Qur’an., pp. 132-133.).

Maulana Muhammad Ali points out that the mandate for hijab does not primarily refer to the rigidified custom of veiling or seclusion (purdah) nor is its implementation limited to female believers only; hijab is a moral call to sexual modesty, prudence, and moderation aimed at all Muslims, men and women alike. The egalitarian basis of hijab, a gender-neutral mandate is found in the Qur-an; however, it is the interpretation or implementation of the “hijab principle” among Muslim countries that is misleading faulty and anti-women.

Now, let us look at the Qur-anic text exhorting for hijab and let us pay attention to the intent and purpose of this specific Qur-anic text:

Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them. Allah is aware of what they do. Say to the believing women that they cast down their looks, and guard their private parts and not display their ornaments as what appears thereof; and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms (Surah Nur:30, 31).

Notice that in these verses, the command for hijab is given to both Muslim men and women.  The verses exhort “believing men” as well as “believing women” the virtues of modesty and sexual propriety in their dealings with each other. In the course of time however, the exhortation to modesty mutates itself into a set of rigid commandments pertaining to inflexible dress codes governing women alone, i.e., wearing of thick chador (veil) that covers a woman’s face down to her ankles. What is very disturbing in this interpretation is that the dress-code implementation is not applied to nor enforced on the “believing men” who are likewise required to observe hijab as stated in the above-mentioned verse. In so-called Islamic societies, the interpretation of the Qur-anic verse is skewedly and arbitrarily implemented with extreme rigidity solely on the “believing women.” This situation is a sorry example of misinterpreting the spirit and the egalitarian intention of the Qur-an and of the Prophet of Islam.

It is in the spirit of Islamic modesty for women to dress modestly and to wear a simple head-veil that adequately covers her body, in the same way that males are to wear prudent clothing for modesty’s sake. Both are required by the Qur-an to manifest reserve and modesty in their conduct with each other. But to discomfort women by unnecessarily insisting that they cover their whole faces, thereby impeding their movements, is altogether a strange matter which is against the very purpose of the egalitarian exhortation of the Qur-an for hijab. A simple veil on the head for the woman and a simple fez for the man, together with modest clothing for both, adequately fulfill the Qur-anic exhortation for hijab; but to go beyond this simplified and uncomplicated exhortation is already an excessive and unwarranted burden which the Prophet did not impose upon Muslim women!

Maulana Muhammad Ali strongly emphasized that the ethical imperative for hijab does not in any way mean hampering the movement nor does it mean inconveniencing the life of the womenry. To forcefully bring home this historical fact, a direct quote from Maulana Muhammad Ali is appropriate. The Maulana says:

As regards the seclusion of women, the Qur-an never prohibited women from going out of their houses for their needs. In the time of the Prophet, women went regularly to mosques, and said their prayers along with men, standing on separate row. They also joined their husbands in the labour of the field; they even went with the army to the field of battle, and looked after the wounded, removing them from the field if necessary, and helped fighting-men in many other ways. They could even fight the enemy in an emergency. No occupation was prohibited to them, and they could do any work they chose. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur-an, op.cit., p. 132.).

Therefore the directive for hijab does not mean seclusion of women from public affairs (purdah) as practiced in some so-called Muslim countries. Women during the time when the Prophet of Islam was still alive and even during the periods of the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Sunni Islam were very active in the public life of the Muslim Ummah (faith-community).

A concrete example to prove this point is the fact that the wife of the Prophet, Hazrat Aishah Siddiqah was a teacher of Islamic sciences to both male and female Companions. Hazrat Aishah Siddiqah was considered to be the very first mufti (legal luminary) of Islam from whose legal, ethical and spiritual directives the Holy Companions derive rulings for the Ummah after the Holy Prophet’s demise. Fatima Mernissi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1993; pp. 66-69.). It must be plainly pointed-out that the Holy Companions, in consulting a women jurisprudent par excellence, namely Hazrat Aishah, concerning legal rulings and theological opinions in the affairs of the Islamic community simply followed the Prophet’s command found in the hadith sharif (Prophetic tradition):

“Learn your religion from Aishah, my Humeyra (the fair-one). Listen to her words like a bee attending to his beehive.” (See: Abdelhalim Abu Shaka, The Emancipation of Woman at the Time of the Prophet, Los Angeles: Muslim Women’s League, 1990; pp. 150-152; quoting from thehadith sharif, Fazail-e-Sayyidatina Aishah Siddiqah [Exemplary Virtues of our Lady Aishah Siddiqah].).

Understanding Islam According to the Qur-an and the Intention of the Prophet:  the Basis for Genuine Gender Equity and the Remedy against the Islamophobia of Western Mainstream Media

As of this juncture, let it be said that the essential ethical intention of the Holy Qur-an is to provide social equity and equal rights for both men and women. The Qur’an clearly showed the Prophet Muhammad’s unmistakable intention of treating women as equal with men by mentioning both men and women in many verses in the Qur-an. For instance, the Qur-an says:

And the believers, men and women are friends of one another. They enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise (Surah Bara’at:19).

The abovementioned verse clearly articulates equity between the male and female gender in that the Qur’an considers women and men as protectors (waliy-yun) to each other; both men and women are required to do pious acts as proofs of their essential equity and their intrinsic value as human persons.

Another proof of the intrinsic equity between male and female gender is the fact that men and women have their innate autonomy as persons of free volition to follow or not to follow divine commands. In the discourse of the Qur-an, both males and females are tasked with ethical and spiritual responsibilities and in the Hereafter, both will be given just requital of their deeds without taking into consideration their gender differences. The Qur-an explicitly declares the following verses:

Whoever does evil, he is requited only with the like of it; and whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer, these shall enter the Garden, to be given therein sustenance without measure (Surah Mu’min: 40).

Whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer, We will certainly make him live a happy life, and We will certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did (Surah Nahl:97).

Men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn (Surah Nisa:32).

The eminent commentator of the Holy Qur-an, Maulana Muhammad Ali, noted that the Qur-anpractically manifests ontological equity between males and females in its pages. The Holy Qur-an declares that there is no difference between men and women and both can reach the highest divine station if they practice righteous deeds. (See the Maulana’s commentary of Ahl Imran:195, Nisa:124, Nahl:97).

A Call for Societal Advocacy and Engendered Activism: Towards a Genuine Islamic Understanding of Gender Equity according to the Gender Egalitarian Intention of the Prophet Muhammad

Given the unequivocal commitment of the Holy Qur-an for the intrinsic equity between men and women, why is the Islamic Ummah (faith-community) lagging behind in acknowledging gender equity? Why is it that all we see around are the pitiful conditions of the womenry happening in so-called Muslim countries? Let me begin answering this question by quoting a prophetic saying or hadith sharif of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Holy Prophet was reported to have said that;

 …the guilt of the oppressor is not lesser than the guilt of the oppressed.  The oppressor is certain to be punished severely due to his injustice and cruelties committed towards the oppressed (sic). But the oppressed is likewise accountable for not exerting his utmost to fight against oppression… Similarly, ignorance is a great sin and an appeal to be excused from the law on account of ignorance is unacceptable (sic). (Amjad Soharwardi, Hazrat Baba Jilani our Master: A Humble Servant of the Blessed Prophet. Chittagong, Bangladesh: Panja Pir Pustak, n.d., p. 78.).

Based on the abovementioned Prophetic Tradition (hadith sharif), ignorance can be a cause of oppression. Ignorance of the real teachings of Islam, specifically ignorance of the Qur-an in its textual and historical contexts can lead to oppression and those who are ignorant of their rights as given in the Qur-an are the ones likely to be oppressed. This important point strongly calls for Muslims to know intimately their religion and likewise exhorts non-Muslims to sympathetically understand and seriously research the historical contextualities of Islamic practices as found in the Qur-an.

It is outright unfair for Western mainstream media to blame Islam for the misconduct of its adherents in the same manner that it is wrong to blame the whole of Christianity for the cruelty and bloody excesses of medieval papism or for the barbarism of the Catholic Counter-Reformation that produced the blood-thirsty Spanish Inquisition. On the other hand, while it is justified to claim that Western media, cultural patterns among Muslim countries, and faulty interpretations of the Qur-an wrongly shape our views on Islam and women, this claim should not be used as a flimsy excuse for both Muslims and non-Muslims to absolve themselves from their responsibilities and culpabilities. It is indeed high-time now for all of us to break these chains of ignorance and oppression by empowering ourselves to seriously study, research and ascertain what the pristine normative source of Islam, i.e., the Qur-an itself has to say about women. We, likewise, have a duty to inform others who are ignorant of these liberative provisions on the equal rights of women as found in the Qur-an.

Furthermore, Muslims in particular need to zealously endeavor to implement the egalitarian teachings of the Prophet, right were they are, i.e., in their own immediate cultural milieu. They need to be reminded that the social teachings of Islam are clear on this matter: viz, oppression and ignorance go hand in hand, hence in order to fight oppression, it is incumbent to first empower oneself with knowledge. Therefore, our advocacy for women’s emancipation and gender equity should be global, all-inclusive and educative, since it is not Muslim women alone but women in general who are enslaved by sexist prejudices, patriarchal oppressions, and chauvinist discriminations.

It is already a cliché to say that knowledge is power, but I feel that we need to be reminded of this fact, time and again.

We also need to be reminded that evading our responsibility to correct erroneous notions made by Western mainstream media about Islam and women is a manifestation of weakness and cowardice. My student’s perceptive query that prompted me to write this article was indeed a preliminary but vital step in the right direction—religious dialogue towards gender sensitivity. Yes, Muslims and Christians, or any persons of goodwill for that matter, can respect, cherish and celebrate their creedal differences while cooperating in the lofty goal to free women from the bondage of chauvinism, sexism, machismo and gender inequity.

The issue of gender fairness can indeed be a cooperative venture towards human understanding, international amity and global solidarity among peoples of the world whatever their religions and beliefs may be. Let us cooperate with each other to make this advocacy for women’s empowerment a living reality in our midst.

Professor Henry Francis B. Espiritu is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP), Cebu City. His research interests include Islamic Studies particularly Sunni (Hanafi) jurisprudence, Islamic feminist discourses, the writings of Imam Al-Ghazali and Turkish Sufism. You may freely contact him at his email address: [email protected].

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Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis and the United Nations

October 19th, 2017 by Canadian Boat to Gaza

Dear Secretary General,

On your recent visit to Gaza, you saw with your own eyes some of the deplorable and inhumane conditions suffered by the Palestinians living in Gaza. You called it “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” that you had seen. We hope that, backed by the strength of the United Nations, this experience encourages you to bring maximum pressure on the State of Israel to lift the illegal and inhumane blockade the people of Gaza have been living under for ten years.

We want to remind you that there are many civil society and religious groups around the world who are watching the worsening situation in horror. We are depending on the United Nations, under your leadership, to work at the international level to increase the pressure from all nation states to use every economic and political measure to remind the State of Israel of the standards expected of the civilized nations of the world.

We are also pleased that you noticed specifically that the blockade on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt is upheld by that Arab state in defiance of both international resolutions and a sense of solidarity with a fellow Arab people. Israel is imposing the blockade not only by land, but also by air. They have destroyed Gaza airport, which was financed with international aid (including from Spain). At sea, Israeli forces attack Palestinian fishers from Gaza on a daily basis. They also illegally attack international vessels that challenge the blockade non-violently in the Freedom Flotilla missions that have taken place since 2010.

There are political reasons that make a resolution to the crisis of Gaza imperative at the international level. But even more important are the humanitarian reasons to release an entire people from the appalling situation in which they are currently forced to live.

Your own officers and researchers have concluded that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. Many other reports, including those by the UN, OCHA have documented the many threats to the health and even the survival of people in Gaza. The UN has drawn particular attention to the power deficit. Since April 2017 access to electricity is often for four hours or less per day and always unpredictable. Power cuts make sewage treatment impossible leading to pollution of the beaches. Attacks on inshore fishers deprive the people of access to the nutritional value of fish. Your own research has shown up to 57% of Gaza people are ‘food insecure’. Not only is the Gaza economy paralyzed by the blockade, but restrictions on entry of building materials makes it very difficult to reconstruct bombed schools, for example. The blockade also restricts entry of school supplies and other goods that pose no threat to Israel whatsoever. This entire generation of children and young people in Gaza are growing up without the minimum to develop into educated and well-nourished adults.

The situation is so serious that you have announced an emergency grant of $4 million. But the Palestinians of Gaza do not want to have to take emergency payouts; they wants – and need – a cessation of Israeli aggression and real international peace-keeping to prevent further aggression. The so-called “Middle East Quartet” has been a disaster, accomplishing nothing and whitewashing Israeli violation of international law and the breaking of numerous agreements. The State of Israel has also ignored countless UN resolutions aimed at curtailing its activities, as well as continuing the illegal blockade of Gaza and the harassment of its fishing fleets.

In other words, despite its good intentions, the UN has a deplorable record in effectively safeguarding the Palestinians of Gaza and in promoting their security and independence.

We call on you to immediately:

Demand that the State of Israel complies with all UN resolutions, with the threat of sanctions if it does not do so.

Disband the Middle East Quartet and replace it with an effective oversight body.

Resume real peace keeping and effective protection of the civil population of Gaza.

Insist that the State of Israel respects and conforms with all UN resolutions that relate to its relations with Gaza.

Ensure that the world knows that the blockade is illegal and should demand that it be removed immediately.

Sincerely and persistently.
(list of signing organizations, below**)

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Member and Partner Organizations: freedomflotilla.org

Canadian Boat to Gaza  canadaboatgaza.org

Freedom Flotilla Italy www.freedomflotilla.it

MyCARE Malaysia www. mycare.org.my

Kia Ora Gaza [New Zealand / Aotearoa] kiaoragaza.wordpress.com

Palestine Solidarity Alliance [South Africa] www. palestinesa.co.za

Rumbo a Gaza [Spain] www.rumboagaza.org

Ship to Gaza Norway www. shiptogaza.no

Ship to Gaza Sweden shiptog aza.se

International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza en.breakgazasiege.org

US Boat to Gaza womensbo attogaza.us

Miles of Smiles miles-smiles.org

Free Gaza Australia www.facebook.com/ GazaAustralia

Other Organizations

Gaza Action Ireland gazaactionireland.weebly.com

Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign www.ipsc.ie

ShannonWatch (Ireland) www.shannonwatch.org

Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine plateforme-palestine.org

Council of Canadians / Conseil des Canadiens canadians.org

Bestemødre For Fred (Grandmothers For Peace, Norway) www.bestemodreforfred.com

Veterans for Peace (US) www.veteransforpeace.org

CODEPINK: Women for Peace (US) codepink.org

Voice of Women for Peace (Canada) vowpeace.org

Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine www.facebook.com/CJACPalestine

Palestina Solidariteit (Belgium) www.palestinasolidariteit.be

Association France Palestine Solidarité www.france-palestine.org

Cultura e libertà (Italy) palestinaculturaliberta.wordpress.com

Alternative refugee Center (Switzerland)

Badil resource center for Palestinian residency and refugee rights (Switzerland) www.badil.org/en

Women for development (Switzerland)

Union Juive Française pour la Paix (France) www.ujfp.org

Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft dpg-netz.de

Frauen in Schwarz (Vienna, Austria) www.facebook.com/pg/fraueninschwarzwien

Netherlands Palestine Committee www.palestina-komitee.nl

Palestijnse Gemeenschap in Nederland

Nederlands Arabische Stichting (Netherlands)

TIYE International (Netherlands) www.tiye-international.org/wordpress

Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina (Netherlands) www.docp.nl

Stop Represión Málaga, Voces Alternativas, Kontrapunto (Spain)

Breed Platform Palestina (Haarlem, Netherlands)

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Gaza, Palestine) pchrgaza.org

Asociación de la Comunidad Hispano-Palestina “Jerusalén”

Asociación Medica Hispano Palestina (Spain)

Asociación Pablo de la Torriente Brau

El movimiento de mujeres palestinas Alkarama www.alkarama.es

RESCOP – Network of Solidarity against the occupation of Palestine (with 49 member organizations in Spain)

Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (Malaysia) www.ikram.org.my

Viva Palestina Malaysia www.vpm.org.my

BDS Malaysia bdsmalaysia.com

Persatuan Ulama Malaysia pum.org.my

Al-Quds Foundation Malaysia alqudsmalaysia.org

Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine palestina.no

Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos aedidh.org/es

Parallelo Palestina (Italy) sites.google.com/site/parallel-opalestina

Canadian BDS Coalition bdscoalition.ca

Palestine Solidarity Network (Edmonton, Canada) psnedmonton.ca

People for Peace (London, Canada)

United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI) www.unjppi.org

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), Canada www.usw.ca/act/activism/soar

Boundary Peace Initiative boundarypeace.20m.com

Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East midislanders.com

Palestine Solidarity Working Group (Sudbury, Canada)

B.C. Southern Interior Peace Coalition (Canada)

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Victoria, Canada) caiavictoria.ca

Hawai’i Peace and Justice www.wp.hawaiipeaceandjustice.org

Hawai’i Coalition for Justice in Palestine www.facebook.com/HawaiiCoalition4JusticeInPalestine

Malu ‘Aina Center for Nonviolence Education malu-aina.org

Break the Maritime Blockade of Gaza (BMBG)

EBN – End Blockade Now

Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine www.aurdip.fr

Collectif inter-universitaire pour la coopération avec les universités palestiniennes www.aurdip.fr/_cicup-35_.html

Comité de Vigilance pour une Paix Réelle au Proche-Orient plateforme-palestine.org/Comite-de-Vigilance-pour-une-Paix-Reelle-au-Proche-Orient

Comité La Courneuve-Palestine (France) lacourneuve-palestine.fr

Zambra Málaga www.asociacionzambra.org

Confederación General de Trabajadores: Huelva, Málaga, Osuna (Spain) www.cgtandalucia.org

Christian Peacemaker Teams (Palestine) www.cptpalestine.com

Independent Jewish Voices / Voix juives indépendantes (Canada) ijvcanada.org

Palestinian Forum in Britain PFB

Europal Forum (UK) europalforum.org.uk

BDS Colombia

BDS Slovenia

New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network (Aotearoa / NZ) www.palestinesolidaritynz.net

Palestine Human Rights Campaign (Aotearoa / NZ) palestine.org.nz

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