Let us urgently work together in the biggest global solidarity campaign with the Palestinian people against the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip, in order to boycott, alienate and hold accountable the Israeli occupation.

Dearest Comrades, Brothers and Sisters, and the free people of the world,

The Israeli Occupation forces has escalated its attacks on Gaza Strip in a very dangerous manner and started attacking civilian buildings, media buildings, and other buildings  killing until now 3 people and creating a state of war against The Palestinian people in Gaza Strip, this has happened today after Israeli occupation special forces sneaked last night into Khan Younis under the cover of fighter planes which attacked several areas killing seven people and creating a lot of devastations in the area.

Friends and Comrades, we urge you, along with the rest of the international community, and all its institutions including regional ones, and the various civil society organizations, to send urgent calls for justice to the Palestinian People and support their struggle against the Israeli occupation and work in line with your responsibility as actors in this issue.

We urge you to hold Israel legally accountable in both individual and a collective context, to immediately stop the aggression and war crimes on Gaza Strip and create the necessary pressure to force Israel to abide by the international law, specially the Geneva convention of 1947, we also urge you to work in collation to alienate Israel via boycotting the Israeli military occupation. We urge you to collectively work on a global solidarity campaign, the biggest of its kind, to expose the Israeli military occupation and hold it accountable for the crimes it is committing against the Palestinian People.

The continued international silence and the lack of accountability gives the Israeli military occupation impunity and encourages it to commit more atrocities and massacres.

Dearest friends:

We as a people under occupation, and under the control of an apartheid state, are being exposed without any protections. We urge you to take to the streets, and to hold nonstop protest as we do, we need you to raise your voice against the Israeli violations that are inflicted on the Palestinian people. We urge you to demand an end to the occupation and the aggression, and to shout against injustice.

We urge you to take a stand against the double standard of the governments who are backing the last occupation in history, and to urge them to commit to their legal and ethical obligations towards protecting civilians in Palestine. We need your solidarity with us and we need it today, and every day, to help us stop the occupation’s crimes and its continued aggression.

We urge you for a serious movement and a continuous solidarity actions towards a just struggle for justice, dignity and freedom. Finally, we hope that you commit yourself to this call today as individuals and/or organizations, and to do so with urgency, as tomorrow maybe too late.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Salah Abdelati is one of the coordinators of the Great March of Return and its legal representative.

Video: The Destroyers of Libya Are Now “For/With Libya”

November 14th, 2018 by Manlio Dinucci

A crescent moon (a symbol of Islamism) designed like a stylised hemisphere which, flanked by a star and the words “for/with Libya”, represents a world which “wants to be on Libya’s side” – this is the logo of the “Conference for Libya” organised by the Italian government, a fact illustrated by the three-coloured flag in the lower section of the crescent moon/hemisphere.

The International Conference is taking place on 12-13 November in Palermo, on the island of Sicily, which only seven years ago was the principal base from which NATO, under US command, launched its war to demolish the State of Libya. The war was prepared by financing and arming certain tribal sectors and Islamist groups in Libya which were hostile to the government of Tripoli, and by infiltrating special forces into the country, among whom were thousands of Qatari commandos camouflaged as “Libyan rebels”. Then, in March 2011, the US and  NATO aero-naval attack was launched – it lasted seven months. The aviation flew 30,000 missions, of which 10,000 were attack missions, and used more than 40,000 bombs and missiles.

By the will of a vast political group stretching from left to right, Italy also took part in the  war, not only by deploying its aviation and its navy, but also by offering the USA and NATO the use of seven air bases  – Trapani, Sigonella, Pantelleria, Gioia del Colle, Amendola, Decimomannu and Aviano.

With this war in 2011, NATO demolished the State of Libya, situated on the Southern shore of the Mediterraean facing Italy, a State which had achieved – admittedly with certain notable internal disparities – “high levels of economic growth and human development” (as the World Bank itself declared in 2010), “superior to that of the other African countries”. The proof of this is that almost two million immigrants, most of them Africans, had found work in Libya. At the same time, using its own sovereign treasury, Libya had made possible the development in Africa of independent economic organisations and an African currency.

As the emails from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prove, the USA and France came to an agreement to block, at whatever the cost, Kadhafi’s plan to create an African currency, an alternative to the dollar and the CFA Franc imposed by France on 14 African ex-colonies.

Source: PandoraTV

After the demolition of the State and the murder of Mouamar Kadhafi, in the chaotic situation which followed, a vicious fight began, both internal and international, to share out the loot – the enormous oil and natural gas reserves; the immense underground Nubian reserves of  fossil water; this white gold, in perspective more valuable than the black gold; the Libyan territory itself, of primary geostrategic importance; the sovereign treasure, approximately 150 billion dollars invested overseas by the Libyan State, and “frozen” in 2011 in the most important European and US banks, or in other words – stolen.

For example, of the 16 billion Euros of Libyan wealth blocked by the Euroclear Bank in Belgium and Luxembourg, more than 10 billion have disappeared. “Since 2013”, according to the RTBF (RadioTelevision Francophone Belge – “hundreds of millions of Euros, taken from this treasure, were sent to Libya to finance the civil war which triggered a serious migrant crisis”.

Many African immigrants in Libya were imprisoned and tortured by Islamic militias. Now in the hands of traffickers and international manipulators, Libya became the main land of transit for a chaotic migratory flood, which, each year in the Mediterranean caused more victims than NATO bombs in 2011.

We cannot keep silent, as even the organisers of the counter-summit in Palermo did – the truth is that at the origins of this human tragedy are the wars waged by the USA and  NATO which, seven years ago, demolished an entire State in Africa.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Video: Che Guevara Talks About Imperialism (1965)

November 14th, 2018 by Che Guevara

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Video: Che Guevara Talks About Imperialism (1965)

Video: The World War I Conspiracy

November 14th, 2018 by James Corbett

What was World War One about? How did it start? Who won? And what did they win?

Now, 100 years after those final shots rang out, these questions still puzzle historians and laymen alike.

But as we shall see, this confusion is not a happenstance of history, but the wool that has been pulled over our eyes to stop us from seeing what WWI really was.

This is the story of WWI that you didn’t read in the history books. This is The WWI Conspiracy.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Video: The World War I Conspiracy

The US National Archives contains the records of 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties of the Vietnam War. These were American casualties, men from families just like yours and mine.

The human costs of the long conflict were harsh for all involved. Not until 1995 did Vietnam release its official estimate of war dead: as many as 2 million civilians on both sides and some 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters. The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war. In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., inscribed with the names of 57,939 members of U.S. armed forces who had died or were missing as a result of the war. Over the following years, additions to the list have brought the total past 58,200.

As you read this, Donald Trump, his son-in-law and their coterie of advisors are currently planning an attack on Iran, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and Israel, after first deliberately and openly bankrupting the Iranian oil industry by the imposition of crippling trading sanctions. All this in direct violation of the will of the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, Russia and China etc..

That conflict will require American troops, probably over 100,000, to invade and then install an army of occupation in Tehran. Hundreds of thousands will likely die on either side as the US-Saudi-Israeli armed forces attack an innocent nation of over 80,000 civilians in a likely precursor to WW3.

It won’t be until the funeral caskets start to arrive back at US air bases in Glendale, Tampa, Great Falls and Montgomery that the nation will wake up to the horrendous disaster that the Trump family White House will have initiated at the behest of the odious Saudi-Israel alliance against Iran.

But it will, by then, be far too late for the American and Iranian bereaved and grieving families in Illinois, Teheran, Ohio, Isfahan, Alaska, Mashhad and Arizona.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Hans Stehling (pen name) is a political analyst from the UK. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Jerusalem Post

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Trump, Pence, Bolton and Kushner Won’t be Posted Overseas or Drafted into the Military: It’ll be Your Husband and Your Sons!
  • Tags: ,

Politicians will be heartily applauded for saluting American’s soldiers today. But if citizens had better memories, elected officials would instead be fleeing tar and feathers. Politicians have a long record of betraying the veterans they valorize.

Veterans Day 2018 has been dominated by the confab of political leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. American media coverage fixated on President Trump’s cancellation of one of his two visits to U.S. military cemeteries. In his speech yesterday at a U.S. military cemetery in France, Trump declared that it is “our duty … to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.” But that peace was sabotaged long before the soldiers’ corpses had turned to dust. Though the American media exalted French President Emmanuel Macron’s denunciation of nationalism at the armistice anniversary, it was conniving by French leader George Clemenceau at the Versailles Peace Treaty that helped assure that U.S. sacrifices in 1917 and 1918 were for naught.

Lying about American wars is a venerable presidential tradition. Four years ago, in a visit to Flanders Field Cemetery in Belgium, President Obama saluted the Americans who died in World War One – “the soldiers who manned the trenches were united by something larger — a willingness to fight, and die, for the freedom that we enjoy as their heirs.” In reality, that war was a disaster for freedom practically everywhere. Thanks to conscription, young American men had the choice of going to prison or being sent to fight a war on false pretenses.

Neither Trump nor Obama can compete for the title of Supreme Fabulist on World War One – an honorific that President Woodrow Wilson locked up a century ago. After he was narrowly re-elected in 1916 based on a campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war,” Wilson pulled America into the war because “the world must be made safe for democracy.” Wilson acted as if Congress’s declaration of war against Germany also declared war on the Constitution, and he ruthlessly censored and persecuted anyone who did not cheer the war effort. Wilson even urged Congress to authorize detention camps for “alien enemies.” More than a hundred thousand American soldiers died in the war effort, and another half million Americans perished from the Spanish flu epidemic spurred and spread by the war. Rather than a new birth of idealism, World War One unleashed chaos and led directly to the rise of Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler – and a host of tinhorn dictators elsewhere in Europe.

World War One exemplified the deceptions that propelled U.S. conflicts abroad. Veterans Day should be a time to recognize that the history of America’s wars is also a history of political rascality:

In 1846, President James Polk took Americans to war after falsely proclaiming that the Mexican army had crossed the U.S. border and attacked a U.S. army outpost — “shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil,” he claimed. But he never produced evidence to support his causa belli for a conflict that placed vastly expanded the nation’s boundaries and paved the way for the Civil War.

In 1898, when President William McKinley took the nation to war against Spain, he pledged not to annex foreign territory. He changed his mind after deciding to “Christianize” the Filipinos (a Catholic nation). Four thousand U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of Filipinos perished in the merciless crackdowns required to place those islands under the Stars and Stripes.

In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt capped off his reelection campaign by promising voters: “ Your president says this country is not going to war. ” Though FDR portrayed World War Two as an fight for democracy, he secretly signed off on Stalin’s demand for control of almost all of eastern Europe. The result was decades of oppression for Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, and others.

President Lyndon Johnson vastly expanded the Vietnam War purportedly to prevent the domino-like spread of communism (which the CIA concluded would not happen regardless). A secret 1965 Pentagon memo admitted that 70% of the U.S. aim in Vietnam was simply to “ avoid a humiliating US defeat (to our reputation as a guarantor).” Almost 60,000 American troops died so politicians could ravage the national credibility they pretended to preserve.

After 9/11, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to vanquish Al Qaeda. After top Al Qaeda leaders escaped, President George W. Bush pledged to help create a democracy and modernize that nation. Unfortunately, subsequent Afghan elections have been utterly fraud-ridden while corruption multiplied thanks largely to U.S. aid.

President Bush justified invading Iraq in 2003 because of Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. The WMDs were never found, so Bush claimed the U.S. would bring democracy to Iraqis. But the U.S. government helped rig subsequent elections and supported Iraqi rulers’ brutal repression of their opposition, helping spur pervasive conflicts that continue to ravage that nation.

Politicians disdain the soldiers they claim to adore. U.S. troops are currently fighting in 14 foreign nations, from Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria to Chad, Yemen, and other locales. When 4 U.S. troops were killed last Fall in Niger, many members of Congress were stunned to learn of the U.S. deployment . Congress was similarly negligent regarding rat-infested, unsanitary conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007. Politicians had time for hundreds of speeches touting their devotion to veterans but few congressmen noticed the dilapidated state of the showcase military hospital in their back yard.

General Patton said that an ounce of sweat can save a pint of blood. Similarly, a few hours studying the lessons of history can prevent heaps of grave-digging in the coming years. President Trump has saber-rattled against Iran, North Korea, Syria, and other nations. His bellicose rhetoric should spur Americans to review the follies and frauds of past wars before it is too late to stop the next pointless bloodbath.

The best way to honor veterans is to cancel politicians’ prerogative to send troops abroad to fight on any and every pretext. And one of the best steps towards that goal is to remember the lies for which soldiers died.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

Featured image is from Mises Wire

The Return of a US Imperialist Monroe Doctrine

November 14th, 2018 by Martin Varese

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) issued a declaration restating its commitment to the unity of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean through political agreement and integration, after a meeting in Nicaragua.

The ALBA-TCP reaffirmed its commitment to finding the path toward independence and sovereignty, as stated in the final declaration of the XVII meeting of the Political Council of ALBA-TCP. They reject any form of interventionism and colonialism in the region, and issued an alert about the rise of the far-right wing around the world and the region, which has both strengthened and been strengthened by said interventionism.

Latin America and the Caribbean was declared a Peace Zone in 2014, and based on that ALBA said,

“We reaffirm the need to strengthen unity in the diversity of our region, through political coordination and integration, as well as the defense of our sovereignty and self-determination.”

“We alert the international community about the advance of far-right political systems at the international level, and especially in Our America. This advance could mean an increase in aggressions against the progressive peoples and governments of the region. The ALBA-TCP will be attentive to the defense of the peoples of our region.”

The Latin American region has been, basically, divided into those countries backing U.S. foreign policy and countries who repudiate it to continue fighting for self-determination in the region. The second group has been more and more under pressure in the past few years by a number of forces. Primarily, by the so-called Lima Group, an ad-hoc group created in August 2017, known for its anti-Venezuela stance and alignment with U.S. foreign policy. Additionally by the change of political orientation of Ecuador, that nowadays has had a tighter relationship with the U.S. since the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to Ecuador in June. The elections of far-right politicians Sebastian Piñera as president of Chile in 2017, and of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil (the biggest country in the region) in October 2018 are also worrisome.

“We denounce the current imperial strategy of disarticulation against Latin American and Caribbean integration processes, which have technically paralyzed them. This paralysis only benefits the Empire and the historical enemies of Latin American and Caribbean integration,” the ALBA ministers stated.

In April, as Bolivia was taking on the pro-tempore presidency of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, six of the international body’s 12 member states, crafted a letter to Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni announcing their “temporary” withdrawal. The countries adduced their withdrawals to a lack of direction and leadership as justification for their decision, but political analysts in the region argue that the timing reveals, above-mentioned, ideological reasons rather than concerns over Unasur’s administrative and operational challenges, as wrote Valerie Carmel.

Through a public and coordinated attack against Unasur and other integration mechanisms, the U.S.-oriented right-wing entities are campaigning against those left-leaning governments remaining in the region who are resisting the return of U.S. dominance and its interventionist approach.

The final declaration also denounces the imperialist strategy to dismantle the integration processes in Our America.

“We urge the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean to preserve the progress made to integration in the region over the last decades. The strengthening of regional solidarity is the best response to threats of an interventionist nature that threaten the sovereignty of our peoples.”

The affirmation on strengthening a region based on self-determination is also based on the rejection of “the attempts by the US government administration to resuscitate the unfortunate Monroe Doctrine, unacceptable political justification of interventionism, and imperialist domination in our region.”

The ALBA countries rejected colonialist and imperialist interventionism led by the U.S., and adopted by some in the region. For example the unprecedented expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Latin America via Colombia. In May, then-President Juan Manuel Santos announced that Colombia would become part of NATO, the first Latin American country, categorized as a “global partner.”

“We express our concern about the most recent announcements about the increase of the presence and cooperation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with some countries of our Latin America and the Caribbean, which is a potential threat to peace and security.”

Several political analysts, including Bolivian President Evo Morales, have warned about possible military invasions in the region, the most likely against Venezuela.

“We condemn the covert invasion of the United States government, who are sending a Pentagon ship to Colombia under the guise of ‘humanitarian aid’ for our Venezuelan brothers,” stated Morales in August.

“We reject the systematic and interventionist actions of the secretary general of the OAS, and of some of the countries that intend to attack the sovereignty, self-determination and constitutional order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and other countries in which their people have decided to govern themselves without guardianship of any kind, which would result in the destabilization of the region.”

The ALBA-TCP ministers highlighted the importance of the alliance, to counteract the persistent attacks against the region and those movements rejecting interventionism.

“We declare that our Alliance has more validity than ever, we have been strengthened by the most recent attacks of the Empire and its allies. Far from betraying us, they strengthen us and encourage us to continue fighting in the name of the dignity of our peoples.”

The stood out to support the governments and people of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and the Caribbean region that have bravely resisted the aforementioned attacks. At the same time the proclaimed “the construction of a new international order; fair, equitable and inclusive, where there are no empires or hegemonies and relations between States are based on respect for the peoples and institutions chosen by them and the diverse cultures that coexist in the world.”

The declaration concludes by expressing “that the ALBA-TCP has demonstrated that another world is possible on the basis of union, trust, respect between peoples, through educational, cultural, social and economic missions, among other initiatives.” And announcing the XVI Summit of Heads of State and Government of ALBA-TCP, on Dec. 14, 2018 in Havana, Cuba.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image: ALBA countries denounce imperialist Monroe Doctrine resurgence In Latin America | Photo: Twitter: @NOTICIASVCEI

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Return of a US Imperialist Monroe Doctrine
  • Tags: ,

Why Fascism Won in Brazil?

November 14th, 2018 by Carlos Serrano Ferreira

In these recent weeks my fellow social scientists have been saying that it would be necessary to refound Brazilian social science to explain the growth of fascism in Brazil. The surprise is due in particular to the adhesion of impoverished masses, blacks, women and homosexuals to this project, exactly the sectors that are already attacked discursively by this movement and that would suffer more strongly with a fascist government.

The Bolsonaro victory in the second round of presidential and governors linked him in major states of Brazil surprised many of them. The surprise was even greater due to the fascist electoral tsunami already in the first round occurs one week after the huge feminist demonstrations of the “Ele Não” (“He No”) and the fascist victory in the second round occur after the growth of the leftist electoral mobilizations.

An analysis of the demonstrations of “Ele Não” alone would require a lengthy and in-depth article, but I outline some comments, given its importance to the topic in  discussion. The “Ele Não” is part of successive, explosive and recurring mass demonstrations that have occurred in Brazil since the 1980s: the ‘Direct Elections Now!’, the general strikes, ‘Out Collor!’, The March of One Hundred Thousand in Brasilia for ‘Out FHC!’ and the demonstrations of 2013. However, since the latter, five years ago, including them, there is no organized working class and organized popular sectors as significant participants.

And if ‘Ele Não’ was progressive in relation to the feminist empowerment, it had important weaknesses that explain much about the current political-social scenario. They were focused on the struggle against chauvinism, but they were not linked to the general class struggles and even against the background of fascism. This suggests that fascism with a more ‘modern’ appearance, which is at least not overtly sexist, would result in the absence of antifascist mass mobilizations, since even the other sectors of struggle against oppression, such as homosexuals and blacks, do not have the capacity to mobilize in the same way. And this is not impossible. As will be shown, fascism must build enemies, but the only obligatory one, since it is the central and cause of its existence, is the organized working class and the left.

Clear examples of this more ‘modern’ version of fascism have already occurred in Europe, such as Alice Weidel, the lesbian leader of the German fascist party AfD or the deceased leader of the Austrian neofascist Freedom Party, Jörg Haider, gay too, to stay in only two of the most famous examples. In addition, the mobilizations turned out to be cathartic explosions, not materializing in concrete organization for the future.

Image result for Ele Não brazil

Ele Não Protest. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I do not think, however, that it is necessary to recreate anything in Brazilian social science, no more than the creativity normally required for the scientific task. What is needed is to deepen the study of fascism, understand its historical significance, as well as the structural and conjunctural factors that enable its enormous growth in Brazil and around the world. We can not restrict ourselves to the surface of the Brazilian political process, and we must also seek the new correlation of forces between classes in Brazilian society. Mainly, we need to get out of analyzes that are fixed in fascism appearance, and understand its nature, its essence. I am writing this article as a first contribution in this sense, which will need to be deepened, including by the collective debate. We always think better collectively than in isolation.

What is the essence of fascism?

Here we can have the help of Marxist analyzes, which have already produced much material on the subject. One definition that would synthesize the debate is that fascism is the regime of the most reactionary sectors of the bourgeoisie, which uses methods of civil war to destroy workers’ democracy and working class organizations. If it is true that we need to distinguish fascism-as-movement from fascism-as-regime (Dos Santos, 1978; Villaverde Cabral, 1982, among others), this occurs primarily because the former is essentially a petty bourgeois movement, a movement of the middle classes, and the second is a bourgeois system of the big capital, especially financial. This passage from one to the other is the product of two realities.

The first is that the petty bourgeoisie, or in the broader sense – because it includes sectors of the proletarian aristocracy and small-scale bourgeois sectors – the middle classes are not an essential class of capitalism, they do not represent the central poles in struggle. Therefore they are not capable of directing capitalism like the bourgeoisie, nor can they propose a superior social alternative, like the proletariat. Consequently, can join at certain times the proletarian project, when it shows strength and is in advance, or the bourgeois counter-revolution, when this is stronger and assertive. When it tries to elaborate its own project, it produces a pastiche, which amalgamates fragments of bourgeois and proletarian programs, and even pre-capitalist remnants, forming a bizarre composition. As fascism-as-movement has to devise a program, and the maximum it achieves is this inconsequential bizarre, and while regime is based on methods of civil war, it is always and essentially irrationalist. It makes the cult of strength, death and war, dwell in the supernatural. Fascism rejects the rationalist, enlightened, and humanist values that were characteristic of rising capitalism and periods of growth – although these values are increasingly becoming in reality in a praise of technique and bureaucracy, as well as the defense of humanism became mere hypocritical discourse to justify external interventions and profitable internal philanthropies. Fascism denies even the scientific achievements that contradict to its irrationalist worldview, coming to the fringes of madness, such as the current defense of many of them of the “Theory” of the Flat Earth, the denial of the Holocaust or the claim that Nazism was leftist. Conspiracy theories are also one of the favorite pastimes of fascists.

That is why fascism can assume a nationalist economic discourse and even defense of autarky at a time, and currently defend ultraneoliberal and anti-nationalist programs; can use an anti-capitalist rhetoric at one time, and at another be the open defender of capitalism; can be racist in general, as was Nazism, or admit blacks, including leaders such as Abdias do Nascimento and João Cândido, who were members of Brazilian integralism; may be anti-Semitic, as many have been in the past and some still are, or cease to be and become Islamophobes and even defenders of Israel; can assume an imperialist, expansionist discourse, as in the 1930s and 1940s, or a State of Counter-Insurgency, aimed at the internal enemy, such as Latin American military dictatorships since the 1960s… Fascism takes shape and appropriates parts of a society’s trends at a given time, including hatred of sectors that are already tending to be oppressed at every juncture. That is why the followers of the Brazilian Fascist presidential candidate elected Sunday are confused when they take the form by the content and, when they see the name of National Socialist German Workers’ Party, they believe that the Nazism was of left, when in truth the Nazism only parasitized the appearance of communism in order to reach workers at a time when communism had influence in Germany and Europe in general. But Nazism, as any scholar or even a well-informed citizen will know, is the opposite of communism, is its mortal enemy. Nazism, by using the term socialism, uses a hypocritical propaganda expedient. In the context of the mass democracies and socialist rise of the early twentieth century, some of the counterrevolutionary regimes had to mimic the revolutionary demonstrations. For example, “the movement in Germany is essentially analogous to Italian. It is a mass movement, whose leaders use and abuse of socialist demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement” (Mandel, 1976, 1986). Here is valid the phrase of François de La Rochefoucauld: “Hypocrisy is a homage that vice pays to virtue”.

Even in its form of organization, fascism can vary in relation to the mobilization component. In countries where mass politics was or is present, fascism as a movement assumes mobilizing forms such as emulation. In countries where this does not occur, this characteristic is smaller, as in the case of Portuguese fascism or Spanish fascism (this one because of its origin and military support), where it can rely simply on silent mass support in societies where the policy is not publicly active. What does not make the weight of this support less strong and overwhelming for opponents, because it leaves the hands free for the dictatorial regime to act without worries. Let us recall the Portuguese case, where silently many were part of the network of informants of the infamous PIDE / DGS.

Perhaps it is when there is the mobilizing element more clearly that one can note the greatest difference between the two phases, between fascism-as-movement and fascism-as-regime. The mobilization in both takes place under the rule of a strict hierarchy, and not as a free, creative and participative activity, but as its opposite, as it intends to suppress freedom and carry out the demobilization of the active sectors of society:

“It is the intensely mobilizing nature of fascism. It has already been convincingly argued by Organski, for example, that such mobilization, more episodic and instrumental than animated by any long-term strategy, even before the seizure of power, is transformed, after the seizure of power, in mere ritual of ratification, without any impact on the decision-making process at State level. Moreover, such mobilization is strictly political in nature and has as its objective and limit the social demobilization of the proletariat, which itself had a strategy and aimed at transforming bourgeois society. In our opinion, these are indeed the objective and the limit of fascist mobilization. And I can not refrain from quoting the wise words of Samuel Barnes in this regard: ‘Some systems of totalitarian mobilization emerge as a reaction against other structures of mobilization. Such systems are indeed much more negative than ideological, and although they have a formal pseudo-ideology, it is not a guide to action, and is taken seriously only by the young, the ignorant, and the university students.’ [Italics in the original.]” (Villaverde Cabral, 1982, p.7-8).

Even these demonstrations become more ritualized. This is so because the aim of the fascists when in government is to restrict freedom, to undo the advances, which in itself mean restrictions. Therefore, for these the external constraints – even external to the State – to their field of action are smaller. History shows that, at least in the medium term, the reduction of freedom is always simpler, because it counts mainly on generalized apathy and inertia, unlike the expansion of freedom, which demands conscious activity and energetic action. The inertia forces act to strengthen the retraction of freedom. Even though external constraints may determine how this restriction of freedom manifests itself.

The other motive for the conversion of movement to the regime is the acceptance of fascism, from a certain moment, by the bourgeoisie. Usually, the bourgeoisie does not adopt fascism as the main means. However, there is no place where fascism came to power without having the economic support of the big capital heavyweights and without the collaboration of the bourgeois parties – whether conservatives or liberals. In fact, the normal way, the conventional way of passing to fascism was the internal conversion of the regime, based on a process of deepening the State of Exception, which at one point leads to a qualitative leap forward for fascism. This was the case in Germany and Italy, for example, within and through democratic structures. In Portugal there were several internal crises in the parliamentarianism of the First Republic, the growth of centralization with the ‘New Republic’ of Sidónio Pais, then the coup of May 28, 1926 and the National Dictatorship (1926-1933) and finally an openly fascist regime with Salazar and the Estado Novo (New State), from 1933. Among the most important cases the great exception was the Franco regime, which was an open break with the institutions from the start, in a military coup, but also occurred in Pinochet’s Chile. This regressive and phased path to the Fascist State shows how it is not only the working class that bets on processes without rupture: this, in its evolution, first seeks reforms, until only the path of revolution remains; already the bourgeoisie bet first on reactionary measures, until adopting the counterrevolutionary regime of fascism. This refers to Brazil, where the bourgeoisie invested initially in an institutional coup, with the manipulation and politicization of the fight against corruption – which is also typical of fascism, the discourse of “moral regeneration of the nation”, although they are in practice corrupt to the soul – and the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the imposition of Michel Temer, only to advance with the support of the fascist candidate elected, to deepen the reaction. Collaborates in the process the inability of the traditional representatives of the bourgeoisie to presents themselves as capables agents to fulfill this task, such as the Geraldo Alckmin’s political failure.

However, the bourgeoisie only bets on fascism in the last instance, not because it is preferentially democratic, since it has never been and still is not. The French Revolution is mentioned very much, but this only reached the radicality that it had therefore the process was carried to the limits of the possible by the popular masses, not following the desires of the bourgeoisie. This class preferred a moderate and conciliatory English model. Liberal democracy would be today, were it not for socialist and workers mobilizations, a censitary democracy, as it was in the early nineteenth century. It would be just a regime of men of possession, citizens with goods (note the echo with the current ‘good citizen’). It would be a plutocracy (government of the rich) without masks. The liberal democracy had to include women, blacks, and workers in general because of the struggles of the poor from below versus the rich from above. It was only for this reason that the class dictatorship did not take the form of a democratic regime openly of the rich and an open dictatorship against the workers. The universalization of suffrage did not materialize the fears of the bourgeoisie of losing control, since this class managed to bring sectors of the popular classes leaderships (social-democracy) into its field. However, if the threat of suffrage were real, the bourgeoisie would seek to suppress it universally, as it has in many countries at many times. Liberal democracy allows an intraelites circulation, between capitalists fractions, which calms the tensions between them, at least in general, and for this reason is to some extent useful. But more than that: one can not resort to methods of open warfare permanently, as this would weaken the hegemony of the ruling class itself. That is why fascism is to be “moderately consumed” by the bourgeoisie, only from time to time.

And here I come to another important conclusion, which will explain much of the growth of fascism in Brazil and in the world in the last period: liberalism and fascism are not antagonistic. On the contrary. Fascism is the continuation of liberalism by other means, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, who asserted that “war is the continuation of politics by other means”. This perception is already indicated in the excellent work of João Bernardo, Labyrinths of fascism (Labirintos do Fascismo, in the original), with which I do not agree in its entirety, but which brings important elements to be reflected. He states in this book that

“It is from here that we can analyze the specific forms of organization that fascists have implanted in their militias, in their parties and in their unions, in which the absence of any capacity of initiative of the base corresponded to its fragmentation and its reduction to the individuals, ensuring the undisputed prevalence of hierarchies. Likewise, in festivals and parades […] each individual was no more than an extra, as a mirror of the general model, multiplying all of them, to the infinite, this singular image, while the choreography of the whole was organized in function of the central and exclusive figure of the chief. This was one of the aspects in which fascism was closer to liberals than to conservatives. Indeed, for the conservatives the people constituted an organic totality, irreducible to the sum of identical individualities that constitute the mass. It was the liberal model of the citizen – the individual consumer of the economy or the individual who is the elector of politics – who presided over the fascist notion of the masses.” (Bernardo, 2003, p.28-29)

The bourgeoisie, as an exploiting class, must defend the hierarchy, as all regimes of exploitation of the past have done. However, due to the nature of the capitalist regime, such as the market that hides behind its appearance of free competition space of economic units a brutal concentration of wealth in huge and increasingly gigantic monopolies, the capitalist state hides the real hierarchy of society, the inequality, in the form of an apparent “citizen” equality. As pointed out by Nicos Poulantzas (2007, p.358-359), “The real structure of the relations of production – separation of the direct producer and the means of production – leads to a prodigious socialization of the labor process. This isolation, an overdetermined but real effect, is experienced by agents in the manner of competition and leads to the concealment, for those agents, of their relations as class relations”. This engenders a process of individualization that materializes in the ideological dissolution of class organization and its replacement by the individualism of citizenship. What does on the one hand suppose that “[…] State represents the general interest, the general will and the political unity of the people and the nation” (Poulantzas, 2007, p.361). We are thus “in the presence of the institutional normative set of political democracy [I would add, bourgeois] [Italics in the original]” (Poulantzas, 2007, p.361).

Normally, this individualistic political form coexists with the existence of economic and political class organizations. If working-class organizations advance, they can replace the Capitalist State and build a new Proletarian State, a socialist democracy. This occurred in many countries throughout the twentieth century, having retreated as part of the international class struggle at the end of the last century and to the beginning of this century. On the other hand, when it advances the dissolution of the organization of the workers, of the people’s power bodies, we approach the fascism, which aims precisely the destruction of all proletarian democracy, including their parties and trade unions. In this process, clear action, with methods of civil war, ends by breaking the ideological shell of the capitalist democratic regime, showing in the light the insides of the capitalist regime, its plutocratic and hierarchical character.

Fascism aims to convert the working class in mass because “the popular masses are based on their existence as masses in the disorganization of the working class. The loss of sociological consciousness of the working class and its reduction to a merely economic entity is characterized, on the political plane, by a conversion of the class into masses. This was one of the basic objectives of fascism” (Bernardo, 2003, p.28). This dilution on masses needs an ideological support, which is the nation. Not the nation in its historical and material substance, but in its ideal abstraction. For this reason, fascism, even when it has anti-nationalist programs, such as the current Brazilian fascism, resorts to the shadow of nationalism, to that part of the dissolution of differences – the opposite of the reality of almost all nations – in particular the dissolution of the element of otherness that affirms the classist character, that is to say, communism, or the immediate substitute of organizer of the working class, even the social-democracy. And as a solvent for the internal differences of nations, he appeals to a “regenerating” politician, a charismatic leader who would be the personification of the model of nation (even if in reality they are all the abject examples of depravity, sadism, and corruption).

For this reason, liberalism, and its contemporary radicalized version, the neoliberalism, are always the antechamber of fascism, pioneers of it. By its economic and social policy, neoliberalism destroys in practice the social and economic fabric of the countries, leading to the brutal expansion of social inequality, popular misery and generalized violence, which leads to the spread of existential anguish and uncertainty, which, in turn, opens space for all forms of obscurantism and irrationalism. Fear is the cradle of fascism, it is the sea in which it navigates, it is the north of its compass. It is not by chance that the current austerity policies in Europe have stimulated the advance of fascist forces.

Image result for Ele Não brazil

Women protest Bolsonaro in Brasília, Brazil. (Source: Arthur S Costa/Shutterstock)

However, it is by their ideology of extremist individualism that neoliberalism paves the way for the fascist hordes. As one of the greatest apostles of this secular religion, Margaret Thatcher, said “[…] there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families”. In this individualized society there is no solidarity, but it is a world of total competition, with a morality that admits any behavior for ascension and survival, the world of winners and losers. Violence in social competition is becoming more and more the cult of violence as a way of life. Brutality is valued. It is the time when the greatest mass sports entertainment is the UFC, and in which there is the universal generalization of the Brazilian Law of Gérson (“I like to take advantage in everything, right?”) And the “Brazilian way” (“Jeitinho brasileiro”). There is no collective struggle, but the struggle of individuals against individuals for social ascension, with increasingly limited posts available.

Fascism is the radicalized tendency of neoliberalism, which in turn belongs to the nature of the bourgeoisie in the current stage of systemic decadence when it has no restrictions imposed by workers’ organizations. In Marx’s view, Bonapartism in the nineteenth century was a catastrophic equilibrium of the class struggle, since it is a balance between working class and bourgeois power organizations paralyzed by the inability to fight, by the exhaustion (and impossibility in that historical moment of ascension of capitalism for a passage to socialism). The truth is that liberal democracy is a precarious reality, a balance by the active assertion of bourgeois and proletarian organizations, a fact that was especially marked in the central countries in the three decades after World War II. This was mainly due to the presence of a strong international socialist camp. The correlation of forces can not be understood solely and exclusively at the national level, but by international influence.

When it is possible for the bourgeoisie to advance, disorganizing the working class, what starts as a active liberalism or neoliberalism ends up becoming, if not strongly opposed, fascism. And the bourgeoisie needs to attack the living and working conditions of the workers, in order to increase the surplus value and try to counteract this tendency, due to the law of tendency to the fall of the rate of profit derived from the normal capitalist operation itself. To do so, it must precisely dismantle the resistance of the workers. This is a particularly severe need when the margins are further reduced during the B phases of the Kondratiev cycles, times of descent, and expands exponentially in the troubled periods of decadence of the cycle of a hegemonic power.

What we have witnessed since the beginning of the eighties in the world is the imposition of neoliberalism, which serves fundamentally to transfer wealth to the financial sector and thus generate a massive and structural unemployment that destroys with the organizations of the working class. This, coupled with the setback produced by the end of the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies – irresponsibly celebrated by sectors of the left – has enabled an uncontrolled advance of fascist tendencies.

This dynamics having appeared after the counter-revolutions in Eastern Europe and runs counter to the discourse of liberals and of the historical revisionists who claim that fascism is a response to revolutionary danger. On the contrary. Fascism was only able to emerge and thrive where the revolution had already been defeated, as in Germany, after the defeat of the revolutionary cycle of 1918-23, or in Italy, after the defeat of the Biennio Rosso of 1919-1920, to remain only in the most known examples. Even in the fascist coups against revolutionary processes, as in the case of Spain and Chile, their victories were only possible due to the dubiousness and lukewarmness of their leaders, who froze the revolutionary advance and, therefore, led them to the defeat, which opened the way for the fascist offensive. The Spanish Republic did not advance to solve the problems of nationalities, did not make the agrarian reform widespread, did not liberate Morocco, etc; Salvador Allende clung to the limits of bourgeois institutionality and did not advance to socialism, despite his important reforms. Where the march of the revolution progressed, as in Russia of 1917, the fascist attempt of Kornilov is defeated, as well as the White Army in the civil war. A defeat of the Russian Revolution would have led inescapably to fascism immediately or almost immediately. That is why those who affirm that fascism can not win in present-day Brazil because there is no revolutionary danger, either they do not know the lessons of the past or they act ideologically oriented, like the revisionist historians when dealing with the fascisms of the Interwar period (on this I suggest reading the brilliant answer of the recently deceased Italian Marxist, Domenico Losurdo, in his book War and Revolution).

Let us also remember that fascism has coexisted normally with the liberal economy. Nazism had at the head of its economic policy, during much of its government, an orthodox liberal, Hjalmar Schacht. This only contradicted with practical measures the economic principles that he defended to remove, as he affirms in his memoirs, ‘the communist danger’ (Schacht, 1999). Symptomatically, his Helferich Plan will be studied by Gustavo Franco and will be the inspiration for the Real Plan, which paves the way for the deep neoliberal shock of the FHC years in Brazil. It will be Gustavo Franco, former president of the Central Bank, former party member of the PSDB, leader of the Millenium Institute (ultraneoliberal) and current party member of Novo (also ultraneoliberal), who prefaces the Brazilian edition of the memories of the Hitler’s economist. Who is also founder of the Millenium Institute is Paulo Guedes, current economic mentor of the Brazilian fascist elected president and his possible Minister of Finance. It is also the bridge between Brazilian fascism and the fascist experience that not only better combined with neoliberalism, but inaugurated the neoliberal offensive, the dictatorship of Pinochet (1974-1990). This is not surprising, because to impose neoliberal shock in a highly mobilized and progressive advance society is only possible with the use of fascism. Paulo Guedes taught during a period of this dictatorship at the University of Chile. He has a PhD from the University of Chicago, which has formed not only important ultraneoliberais, as Milton Friedman, as provided economic advisors to Pinochet, the famous Chicago Boys.

In Brazil, fascistization will begin to tread its path with the defeat of the Petrobras workers’ strike in 1995, at the beginning of the FHC government, which allowed the beginning of a violent neoliberal program. Not even the Social Democratic governments of the PT reversed this process, because they did not interfere with the neoliberal economic foundations, even if benefiting from a favorable international environment. Its distributive policy, although accessory and extremely important, such as Bolsa Família (‘Family Financial Support’), did not break with the liberal logic, since it did not go through the strengthening of working-class organizations, but reinforced the citizen’s dynamic, that is, focused on strengthening the rights of isolated individuals, although with some demands at the household level, such as the attendance of children in schools. In addressing this does not mean that we do not know or deny the importance of the program. Although limited in resources, it helped to rescue millions of misery and generated a positive impact on the economy. Unlike the Bolsa Banqueiro (‘Bankers Financial Support’) of debt interest and financial transfers, which generates the enrichment of a very small minority, and have no positive return to the economy, on the contrary, it has done deleterious things. It should be noted that, by failing to carry out a government policy that essentially went through the strengthening of working-class organizations, the PT produced a curious situation: within the neoliberal ideological hegemony, the gains that large portions of the population obtained in their governments were subsequently seen not as a product of that time, but of the individual effort of these workers and petty bourgeoisie. Obviously, they struggled, but without the created environment they would not have been able to go that far.

However, this process of building neoliberal hegemony and fascistization was not only the product of initiatives from the State but was supported by the private organizations of the bourgeoisie and its ideological apparatus, such as the media monopolies. The main organization to educate the generations of young people that will grow in the nineties will be Rede Globo. See the character of programs aimed at these audiences, such as the soap opera Malhação (‘Work Out’), which for many years presented an entire neo-liberal, individualistic and competitive, immoral conception. He was also helped by the Abril group, which publishes among others the weekly magazine Veja, where we again find the shadow of Paulo Guedes, who invested in Abril Educação (April Education), of the Civita brothers.

This fascistization of the Brazilian masses is the differential in relation to the military dictatorship (1964-1985), when the State was then fascist, of a counter-insurgent type, but failed to disseminate a fascist culture. And an element that facilitated this process was the growth of the sects conventionally called evangelicals, but which are mainly neo-Pentecostal. These mainly occupied the void left among the poorest by the almost complete destruction of Liberation Theology during the ultra-reactionary papacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. One must understand the differential of these sects for traditional Protestant churches, as well as for other churches and religions, such as Judaism, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Hinduism and African origin religions, for example. These have pre-capitalist origins or, at the most as traditional Protestants, emerged in the transition to capitalism, so they have contradictions with capitalism, having watched over time the emergence of progressive branches. Neo-Pentecostalism, however, arises already in the period of capitalist decadence in the 1960s and 1970s in the great imperialist power of our time, the United States. Neo-Pentecostalism is the religion of imperialism: it brings together at the same time a Theology of Prosperity and a defense of economic and social individualism with movements of dilution of individuals in large masses; has markedly irrationalist practices, such as curandeirism, glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”), prophecies, spiritual battle, with the direct “confrontation” of the demons, and a world replete and directly dominated by the influence of supernatural beings, besides a strong conservative moralist discourse. As one notes, it is also clearly the only religion intrinsically fascist. Its organizational structure reproduces fascist structures such as the charismatic leader, the strong hierarchy and the total domination of the leader, and even the formation of militias such as the “Gladiators of the Altar” of one of the largest and most powerful sects, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (IURD)). Like fascism, it also establishes relations with the lumpenproletariat and there are several indications pointed by the press of connections with the underworld of the crime. And it is in the use of the mass media, and relying on the connivance of the State, that they have been penetrating and occupying governments, creating one of the largest parliamentary group. With a fundamentalist view of Christianity, they distil hatred against homosexuals, feminists, and against any traces of modernity, particularly against labor unions and the left (although part of the social democracy has cohabited for a while with these sects). Considering that it initially spread among more impoverished sectors – currently reaching the middle class – it incorporated some characteristics, realizing a doctrinal syncretism with the religions of African origin, in particular by the incorporation of animist elements. However, because of its fascist dynamics, it does not accept to live with difference, and it comes to demonize and persecute, even violently, these religions, and by extension, it attacks all black, popular and slums (favelas) cultures. In this way, also assumes racist connotations and serves the dismantling of popular organizations in these communities. It is not by chance that the IURD and its broadcaster, the Record, embarked on the fascist campaign.

On the other hand, neoliberal hegemony will have results even on the dynamics of the opposition to neoliberalism. From the nineties, faced with the backsliding of class organizations, and supported by an ideological offensive emanating from the United States, the left begins to migrate from the class debate, and even from the class struggle to fight against oppression, to an identitarian position, neoliberal, to fight against oppression. It also migrates from the assertion of world class position to a “citizen” (liberal) position, and as a belated echo of Eurocommunism, bluring the difference between liberal democracy and worker democracy, and diluting everything in the defense of a democracy – without a class definition – as an universal value, trying to hide its adhesion as the left wing of neoliberalism and the regime. The liberal way of debating oppression, in addition to selling false illusions of overcoming the various oppressions within capitalism, is individualist, biologizing, irrationalist in some cases, and it becomes an instrument of disorganization of working-class organizations. It divides the exploited and oppressed and explodes reality into multiple fragmented identities, leaving aside the identity that unified them, exactly that of exploited and oppressed, the class identity. It is the era of postmodernism, the “end of the great narratives”, everything becomes discourse, semantic battles. Many of these movements are clearly opposed to the left and create an irrationalist environment favorable to fascism, because they lead the political dispute to the field that Brazilian fascism wants to dispute, the customs and morality. The liberalized left can not offer a unitary identity that brings together all the struggles of oppression by marrying them with the anti-capitalist, classist struggle. It finds itself disarmed in the face of the extreme right-wing, militarist and fundamentalist nationalist identity –  although essentially anti-nationalist – that unifies all Brazilian fascism.

In view of this whole process, we still have to answer some central questions about the current fascist process: who in the Brazilian ruling class supports fascism and why? To do this we must understand the dynamics of the economy and the composition of the dominant class and its hegemonic fractions: we have moved from a coalition led by the industrial sector, supported by the financial sector and seconded by the agribusiness sector (modern name for the old colonels and landowners), to a coalition dominated by the financial and agribusiness sectors, backed by the industrial sector. This composition results in a regression in the national productive forces and an increasingly dependent insertion of the country into the world market.

The agricultural giant is based on a predatory and superexploratory structure of a deeply unequal character, incapable of generating income that sustains the rise in the consumption level of the masses (which would have positive effects on the other economic sectors). A glimpse of the latest Agricultural Census (2006) reveals the continuity of these patterns: small-scale agriculture accounted for 80% of the properties, employing three-quarters of the rural labor force, but representing only 25% of agricultural land, while livestock area and monocultures of soya, cane and corn accounted for 60% of the planted areas. Agriculture has served to waste and deplete our water potential and reduce important sources of wealth in times of biotechnology, which is our biodiversity, threatened by the irrational and criminal expansion of the agricultural frontier.

The weight of this sector grows while the industrial sector has seen its share of GDP shrink since its peak in 1985 (21.6%), and the denationalization of the strategic sectors deepens, where the Embraer sale was just another sad chapter (defended by the fascist team). The weight of the primary sector led Brazil to associate itself with the Chinese power almost exclusively for agricultural and mineral exports, in a typically semicolonial dynamic, in spite of the enormous demand of industrialized products by that country. This process, in turn, obviously weakens the working class, because it reduces its vanguard, the industrial working class.

One of the development blockers is the banking concentration: in 2016, the four largest banks (Caixa, BB, Bradesco and Itaú) concentrated 79% of the national credit market and deposits and 73% of financial system assets, according to the Central Bank. In addition, the dynamics of governmental assistance to the international and national financial sector, which feeds the expansion of domestic and foreign debt to generate profits, undermines national development and allows for the expenditure of interest and debt repayments in 2015 to swallow 42.43 % of the Union’s General Budget. This is where the large portion of the financial sector is.

This deindustrialization process is even more perverse, since it aggravates the already serious limits to the policies of redistribution of income and social concessions. The governments of the PT, without facing with the economic fundamentals of this process, were able, during the years of growth, to distribute a minority, but still important, wealth. However, this is not in line with the economic crisis, and especially with the plans of the new (old) dominant bloc. Progressive reforms have become unfeasible and overexploitation becomes the only way, ultimately, to Brazilian dependent capitalism, which the Marxist Theory of Dependence already affirmed, but it is necessary to make new leaps, brutal leaps at the level of super-exploitation. The country takes on features that are more and more similar to Brazil of the Old Republic (1889-1930). However, making history recede in a century necessitates a Herculean effort. An adjustment of this only becomes possible with the use of force, only becomes possible with a method of civil war, only becomes possible with fascism. It is impossible to impose this level of regression on social rights and the living and working conditions of the Brazilian working class without completely destroying any kind of organization of this class.

And this is how the PT ends up being sunk by these forces. This despite the fact that this party has assumed, during the period of redemocratization, in particular since the 1990s, the role of the left wing support of the liberal democratic regime. This was supported by a left leg, trade union-political, the PT, and a right leg, industrial-financial (increasingly the second), the PSDB. This was possible within an active balance of forces. This was broken by the process of structural economic regression. The PT was able, within a policy of conciliation, within the framework of a favorable international environment, to recover the credibility of the Brazilian liberal democracy after the discredit that it had fallen following the nefarious neoliberal shock of the governments of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB). The PT made even concessions to the bourgeoisie, such as a regressive pension reform and the law of outsourcing, it reached in the first case peripherals organized sectors for PT bases, the civil servants, and in the second case, the unorganized sectors, more precarious, which escape the traditional bureaucratic structure of the trade union movement. But when demanded by the new bourgeois dominant block agrarian-financial to take deeper measures, such as the anti-labor reform, approved later by Temer, PT could not do it. This law reversed labor legislation at the pre-CLT level (1943). By then, PT had lost the support of large sectors of the working class and middle classes because adopted an austerity neoliberal economic policy, and for not having done the measures demanded by the bourgeoisie, lost the support of the dominant sectors.

This new dominant block was then betting on the institutional destruction of the PT, within the framework of the order. However, as it did not face resistance to its offensive by the working class, resulting from the confusion that had arisen with the 2016 coup in the main leaders of the class, and these were already unaccustomed to the role of mobilizers – having acted in the opposite direction for more than a decade – the dominant bloc continues to advance against the PT, the left and all working-class organizations. This is where they find, eager to carry out the task, the fascist candidate and his followers. With contradictions, with the passage of time, the totality of the dominant sectors embark on their candidacy, abandoning the more traditional politicians and their parties. In this process the PSDB will be reduced almost to dust, ceasing to be a national party – even though it has never been national in the political-programmatic sense, as it has always reflected the interests of the international capital – and will survive as a party of local powers in particular in São Paulo. Another characteristic that brings us closer to the period we live in when we return to the Old Republic: weakened by fascist forces, the PSDB is becoming more and more a Republican Paulista Party (PRP).

The hegemony of this new rentier-latifundium block can also be noticed culturally, when the direction of the cultural production, in particular musical, is reversed, and instead of leaving Rio de Janeiro and the country’s coast to the interior, it is dominated by the sertanejo style (not national, but a bastardized version of the American country) toward the coast. One sees the agrarian cult, of the latifundia, including in the Globo advertising campaign, which affirmed that “Agro is POP”, that “Agro is good”.

The class hatred of the Brazilian elites and the middle classes, these historically the mass base of fascism, serves this ongoing process. It is a selective hatred, which two years ago I tried to explain in an article (Ferreira, 2016, n.p.):

“Why does the middle class – with notable and rare exceptions – hate so much? Hates Lula, hates the PT, hates the labor unions, and hates the left (by confusing it all with the PT)? The exercise of explanation can not go by his speech, which as in 1964, only dresses with the costume of anti-corruption struggle. After all, corruption was not born with the PT, nor did it reach its pinnacles under its governments. The pots that beat against Dilma were silent even in the face of repeated denunciations that hit as a stake the heart of the coup government of Temer, including the shadowy figure who heads it. The silence reigns […]. Punished pots and sensitive ears are grateful, but democracy is not. In fact, this bias of pot-banging is historical.

If we count only the period of democratization and on the issue of corruption, which were the hitting pots when the scandal of precious stones smuggling or the scandals about the concessions of radios and TVs in the Sarney government? Where were they when the young people took to the streets against Collor? When the workers fought the scandalous and corrupt PSDB privatizations that gave national wealth to foreign corporate pirates who, instead of cannons used rotten coins and privileged contacts? Where were they in the SIVAM scandal? Where were the pots, which remained unharmed, when in a parliamentary coup the rules were changed in the middle of the game, with the purchase of the amendment of the reelection of FHC? Or in the maxi-devaluation, electoral maxi-estelionato? Or in the BANESTADO scandal? Where were them when the Tremsalão or the Mafia of the Merenda scandals?

The selective hatred needs to be explained. And, this explanation lies in what is the current Brazilian middle class and its position in Brazilian society. Its position is fundamentally defined by its intermediate location between the extreme classes of Brazilian society, being squeezed between a small monopolistic bourgeoisie of great wealth and very high income and a proletarian, subproletarian and lumpenproletarian mass, of the countryside and of the cities, completely miserable. But stating that they are in an intermediate position does not mean that they are equidistant between the top and the bottom. Do not. […]the Brazilian inequality is so great that the middle class, by not seeing the elite above, believes in the top of the pyramid, believes itself elite. […] the middle class sees as a threat to itself any threat to the elite. Since it can no longer differentiate itself from the masses by property, the middle class begins to differentiate itself, as a way of diminishing its fear of social decadence, by consumption. Therein lies the root of the “goumertization” of everything, of the refusal to travel in airplanes with popular sectors, and of the elitist hatred of popular culture. Therein lies the source of their fierce reactionaryism and their rejection of social democratization. The middle class will defend the order that guarantees inequality and differentiation. Therein lies the root of the hatred of the middle class.”

This fascist base is also augmented by the faithful followers of fascist evangelical sects, and even other popular sectors, who erroneously see the PT as the sole responsible for all evils, displacing their just hatred for the effects that the long neoliberal hegemony has produced in the country, against the left, against modern sociability, against the progressive sectors. This is how the oppressed masses become followers of the oppressors and become disorganized as a class and organized as a mass by fascism to hate the oppressed. The progressive mask under which the deep country and the reaction were hidden in recent years fell and revealed the abject fascist face.

The fascistization process that we witness would be on course winning or being defeated the fascist candidate. The result would only define the form of this fascistization: in the first case, it would follow the Italian/German route, in the second case, the Spanish/Chilean route. What is certain is that the expectations of a large part of the Brazilian left to electorally reverse fascism were and remain vain. When the process of fascistization takes place, however the apparent form may remain democratic, it will be just that, appearance. What exists is indeed a civil war. The Brazilian tragedy is that, so far, only one side has entered the field to fight: and it is not the side of workers and progress.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Carlos Serrano Ferreira is Head of the Department of Latin American Studies at the Institute for Innovative Development (Институт Инновационного Развитияm, Moscow), vice-coordinator and researcher at the Laboratory of Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony Studies at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (LEHC – UFRJ) and PhD candidate in Political Science at the Institute of Social and Political Sciences (ISCSP) of the University of Lisbon.

Sources

Bernardo, João. (2003) Labirintos do fascismo. Na encruzilhada da ordem e da revolta. Porto: João Bernardo e Edições Afrontamento.

Dos Santos, Theotonio. (1978). Socialismo o fascismo. El nuevo carácter de la dependencia y el dilema latinoamericano. México, D.F.: Edicol.

Ferreira, Carlos Serrano. (2016). O ódio e a classe média. Available in: https://www.brasil247.com/pt/colunistas/geral/271244/O-%C3%B3dio-e-a-classe-m%C3%A9dia.htm.

Mandel, Ernest. (1976). Sobre o fascismo. Lisboa: Antídoto.

Poulantzas, Nicos. (2007). Poder político y clases sociales en el Estado capitalista. México, D.F.: Siglo XXI.

Schacht, Hjalmar. (1999). Setenta e seis anos de minha vida. São Paulo: Editora 34.

Villaverde Cabral, Manuel. (1982). O fascismo português em perspectiva comparada. Lisboa: A regra do Jogo Edições.

Featured image is from Ghana Live TV

Last week, on September 26, Canada and five Latin American countries referred Venezuela to the International Criminal Court, citing “numerous, credible reports alleging the commission of serious international crimes.” 

The announcement comes after several years of heavy US critique of the Maduro government. Sanctions imposed by Canada, the United States and the European Union in 2017 and 2018 represent a new level of pressure. Among many harsh words for the Venezuelan government, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has labelled its behaviour as “anti-democratic.”

While much attention is being paid to questions around democracy and human rights, the oil factor is being left out of the discussion. Venezuela happens to have its petroleum under state (not private) control, a source of animosity in Washington. Venezuela has used its oil wealth to relieve poverty and improve the health and education of its citizens — policies labelled socialist in the United States. The 2014 plunge in oil prices wreaked havoc with the Venezuelan budget. (It did the same in Alberta.)

Venezuela is a petro-state. It has the world’s largest oil reserves. Other oil-producing nations — Iraq, Libya and Iran — have come into Western cross-hairs in recent decades, with drastic consequences. In each instance, Western governments have identified democracy and human rights as a reason for intervention without mentioning petroleum. Venezuela is part of a bigger picture — the rivalry for control of the world’s oil and natural gas.

JohnOil

I describe this petroleum game in my new book, Oil and World Politics, and show how it is played by global and regional countries, each using whatever tools, allies and organizations offer advantage. The aim is to achieve gains in power, wealth or politics. The reality is: oil and geopolitics are inseparable.

Venezuela is a case in point. To address two years of governmental paralysis, President Nicolas Maduro established a Constituent National Assembly in 2017, which called an election to select new representatives. The working class and poor voted in huge numbers. The opposition — representing the business elite, well-to-do and media owners — boycotted the election, held violent rallies and called for strikes.

Washington sided with the opposition by imposing sanctions on officials, including Maduro himself. It also imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela’s banking and oil sectors. The United States claimed the measures were designed to “deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule.” When Maduro won Venezuela’s 2018 election in May, Western countries added more sanctions.

Historically, Venezuela has been a major source of US oil imports, but sanctions affect Venezuela’s ability to produce and export oil. The latest US sanctions prohibit US institutions from dealing in new debt or equity issued by Venezuela or its national oil company PDVSA, and from making dividend payments to the Venezuelan government. These measures impact PDVSA’s American refining and marketing subsidiary CITGO, preventing it from remitting a billion dollars or so annually. Lack of foreign exchange has impeded PDVSA from importing spare parts for maintenance. Further, sanctions make the financing of oil exports difficult.

The Venezuelan economy appears in free fall. Maduro blames “supremacist policies” of the United States and “economic war” by the country’s opposition. He has introduced monetary reform to avoid the US dollar in oil transactions. China and Russia have befriended Venezuela, extending loans in exchange for oil.

Senior US officials have advocated regime change. US President Donald Trump has threatened military intervention. Since the days of President Hugo Chávez, the United States has disliked Venezuela’s preference for its national oil company. It favours privatization worldwide. Although Venezuela allows foreign oil companies to operate under contractual arrangements, ownership of resources remains with Venezuela.

Washington facilitated a failed coup to unseat Chávez in 2002. It denies participation in a failed drone attack on Maduro in 2018, though it has worked closely with opposition leaders before and since and supported them financially through its National Endowment for Democracy. Are the threats and sanctions solely about Venezuela’s governance? Other countries with democracy deficits are ignored.

Venezuela and Canada have both differences and commonalities. Venezuela regards oil as its national patrimony. Canada follows US approaches to petroleum policy, having abandoned its National Energy Program. Much of Venezuela’s oil production comprises heavy oil and bitumen from the Orinoco river basin. Two-thirds of Canada’s oil production comes from the Alberta oil sands, mostly bitumen. Both countries must send such oil to specialized refineries for upgrading before it is refined into useful products. Since refineries with this multi-billion dollar equipment exist primarily in the United States, Canada and Venezuela are in competition for US refineries.

Bitumen is viscous like molasses and must be diluted with high-quality light oil to enable shipment by sea or pipeline. Bitumen is also high in sulphur and contaminants. Both the nature of bitumen and the need for upgrading lower its value. When world oil prices exceeded US$100 per barrel a decade ago, companies flocked to Alberta’s oil sands with strong support from the Canadian government.

Recently, international companies have been divesting from the oil sands and investing in lower-cost resources elsewhere. The world is awash in crude oil and world prices are much lower. Prices are lower still for bitumen, given its quality. Canadian-based firms remain entrenched, but oil sands operations have failed to generate expected profits.

In 2018, Canadian exports to US refineries exceeded those of Venezuela for the first time. With more expansion of oil sands planned, actions to limit Venezuelan exports benefit Canada. Sanctions on Venezuela (Iran too) have helped tighten the global oil market and bolster prices, to Canada’s and Alberta’s benefit.

Wars for resources are illegal under the UN charter. Yet since 9/11, numerous countries with a petroleum connection have experienced conflict. Some — like Iraq, Libya, Iran and Venezuela — have petroleum resources. Others — like Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine — have a strategic location for pipelines. A few countries — like Somalia and Yemen — border strategic sea routes. All these countries are caught up in rivalry among the United States, Russia and China.

What’s going on internationally remains largely hidden because of its complexity and the management of public perception. Sanctions against Venezuela are part of a US global push for energy dominance. It draws other countries in through organizations such as NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Its plans are to thwart Russia, a major oil and gas-producing country, and contain China, which gets most of its oil from the Middle East.

Russia and China have joined together strategically to promote new financial organizations as alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, challenging US dominance. Their mutual trade has expanded and they are cooperating diplomatically, economically and militarily. The two countries are trading in rubles and yuan, avoiding use of the US dollar.

Motivations are often complex and difficult to decipher. Yet Canada is collaborating with the US in sanctions on Venezuela, Iran and Russia, all oil-producing countries. Canada is also active in the Lima Group, the 14 OAS members exploring a solution in Venezuela. The Venezuelan opposition supports the group.

Canada’s focus on Venezuela’s internal affairs follows the pattern of Western arguments used against other oil-producing countries. The OAS charter stipulates “no state or group of states has the right to intervene … in the internal or external affairs of any other state.” Sanctions are a form of intervention, reducing Venezuela’s ability to produce and export oil. Is Canada playing the petroleum game too? How the sanctions will affect democracy is uncertain, but they are already benefiting Canadian oil.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on Opencanada.org.

John Foster is an international petroleum economist and author.

Trump’s Full Spectrum Assault on Palestinian Politics

November 14th, 2018 by Ilana Feldman

The Trump Administration announced on August 31, 2018 that it was ceasing all US contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), rejecting what it termed “an irredeemably flawed operation.” [1]

UNRWA provides education, healthcare, job training, and limited food aid for millions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, the majority of whom are descendants of those Israel forcibly displaced from their homes in historic Palestine in 1948, in what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba (catastrophe). [2] Unlike most UN agencies, the entirety of UNRWA’s operational budget comes from voluntary contributions by member states. The US has historically been UNRWA’s biggest donor, last year providing about one-quarter of its $1.24 billion budget. The US refusal to contribute is therefore potentially catastrophic for its recipients.

The Trump administration’s decision to cease funding UNRWA in part reflects its general reluctance to shoulder what US governments have traditionally seen as their responsibility to support international institutions, often citing unfair burden sharing. The State Department announcement of the cessation complained about “the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years.” Other countries have, in fact, stepped forward to fill in much of the shortfall: A September 27 meeting of foreign ministers of Jordan, Sweden, Turkey, Japan and Germany, as well as representatives of the European Union, produced pledges of $122 million in support. [3] A day later, a letter signed by 112 Democratic Party representatives urged the administration to reverse this decision because of its “disastrous consequences.” [4]

Yet while Trump’s rejection of “globalism” [5] and the Administration’s particular hostility to refugees provides context for its actions against UNRWA, this decision has a more specific target: The attack on UNWRA is part of a full-spectrum assault on the Palestinian people’s political claims and its capacity to engage in politics undertaken by the Trump administration since entering office in 2016.

While the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is reportedly developing a Middle East peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century,” the administration has spent most of its time trying to preempt negotiations by imposing “resolutions” to final status issues such as Jerusalem—reflected in its decision to move the US embassy to the contested city—and now in the attack on the livelihood and status of Palestinian refugees, as well as weaponizing financial aid to coerce the Palestinians into negotiations on the basis of compliance with the US and Israel’s demands.

Financial aid to Palestinians has long played an important role in the self-presentation of the US as a broker of “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. The US, of course, has never been a neutral party, always declaring its undying support for Israel and rarely challenging any Israeli actions. But aiding Palestinians provided some cover for its claim of concern for “both parties.”

The Trump administration has ended this veneer. In addition to its termination of funds for UNRWA, the Administration has also blocked USAID funding to the Palestinian Authority, halted aid to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, and ended support for programs involving Palestinians under the Conflict Management and Mitigation grant program. The only funding stream that has not been cut is money to support Palestinian security operations. [6]

But the specific attack on UNWRA also reveals a deeper target. Although UNRWA is an international organization, rather than a Palestinian body, the Trump administration’s targeting of its operations reflects its significance for Palestinians, which exceeds the services provided, as important as these are. Palestinian refugees have long viewed the existence of UNRWA as an acknowledgment of international responsibility to address their plight. At the same time, they have also worried that this plight might be viewed as a merely humanitarian concern, rather than a fundamentally political issue which demands redress. As early as 1949, refugees expressed concern that “the Palestine affair is no longer a matter of liberating a country. It has degenerated into a humiliating problem—that of feeding and sheltering refugees.” [7] Refugees’ need for assistance was a consequence, they have insisted, of a massive injustice done to them—the 1948 displacement of most of Palestine’s native population, their dispossession of their property, and the dissolution of a Palestinian polity. Addressing their needs requires redressing this injustice through recognition of their right of return enshrined in UN Resolution 194.

It is the Palestinian refugees’ demand for recognition, rights, and a political resolution to the injustice of their century-long dispossession at the hands of Israel, therefore, that is the ultimate target of the Administration’s decision to revoke funding for UNRWA. If Palestinians were willing to be passive recipients of aid, making no demands, and having no collective expectations, the Administration’s appetite to spend money would no doubt be greater.

Disappearing Palestinian Refugees

The US termination of UNRWA funding has nothing to with the quality of its services. When the State department announced the cessation of US funding, UNRWA’s spokesperson responded with surprise and dismay, noting the US had, as recently as December 2017, “acknowledged the successful, dedicated and professional management of the Agency.” [8]UNRWA noted that rather than being “irredeemably flawed,” its schools, health clinics, and emergency assistance program “have a proven track record in creating one of the most successful human development processes and results in the Middle East.”

Rather, the “flaw” that drove the Trump administration to this decision resides in the actual recipients of UNRWA programs–Palestinian refugees—and, more specifically, who can be counted as a Palestinian refugee, and thus, who can be entitled to international aid and political recognition.

The State Department’s announcement to cease UNRWA aid focused its ire specifically on what it claimed to be the “endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries.” This contemptuous language about “an expanding community” of refugee beneficiaries reflects years of efforts by right-wing pro-Israel organizations such as the Middle East Forum to dissolve the Palestinian refugee category in order to remove the Palestinian refugee issue from political discussion. [9] In line with right-wing Israeli government positions, these organizations have sought to impose the unique requirement on UNRWA that refugee status should be denied to descendants of the displaced, resulting in several Congressional resolutions demanding the State Department limit its count of Palestinian refugees to only those who were displaced in 1948. Previous administrations have rejected this demand. The aim of narrowing the refugee category to the far smaller number of now elderly refugees is to make the refugee problem disappear as the nakba generation—those who were driven out of their homes in 1948–passes away.

In an American version of the common Israeli tactic of “shooting and crying,” immediately after decrying the fact that UNRWA provides services to later generations of refugees, the State Department announcement stated that “we are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children.” Blame for this harmful impact is pinned on “the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business.”

Congressional insistence that the State Department redefine a Palestine refugee, and ultimately dissolve the category altogether, and now State Department insistence that UNRWA do so, both fail to acknowledge that this decision is not in the hands of either the US government or UNRWA. Rather, UNRWA’s existence, its mandate, and its constituency are authorized—and are regularly re-authorized—by the UN General Assembly. And, unlike in the Security Council, the United States does not have veto power there.

Nevertheless, emboldened by the Trump administration moves, the outgoing mayor of Jerusalem has announced his intention to remove UNRWA from the city. Saying “the US decision has created a rare opportunity to replace UNRWA’s services with the services of the Jerusalem Municipality” he declared that “we are putting an end to the lie of the ‘Palestinian refugee problem’.” [10]

Refusing Palestinian Political Claims

The longstanding efforts by Israel and its backers, now joined by the Trump administration, to re-define and ultimately dissolve the category of Palestinian refugees correctly recognizes the political importance of the refugee category. And those who want to support both Palestinian refugee assistance and their demands should not shy away from recognizing its political importance either.

Responding to the real danger that humanitarian frameworks would come to replace political recognition and resolution, for decades Palestinian refugees have insisted on the ultimately political nature of their condition and the need for a political solution. They have done so in moments of great crisis, as when, in the near aftermath of the nakba, refugees repeatedly undertook rations strikes to protest both the quality of the food and the failure of political resolution. In one strike, in Ein el Hilwe camp in Lebanon, refugees carried signs that decried “the deplorable conditions in which they had been left and the fact that their problem had not been settled. They reaffirmed their determination to remain on strike until death or the settlement of their problem and their return to their homes.”

Refugees have not shied away from putting their political claims to UNRWA. On the occasion of a 1961 visit by UNRWA’s commissioner-general to Jordan, refugees highlighted two issues as the most urgent. The first was water: “This is a basic necessity. For the last few years we have been enduring much suffering for the lack of water at the camp, particularly in the summer…We therefore ask you to comply with this request of ours as soon as possible.” The second urgent request was “that you should inform the United Nations that we will never be able to forget our dear homeland, no matter how long we shall have to endure this miserable condition. We shall not accept any substitute for our homeland, nor relinquish it for any bribe.” Need and right, personal survival and national liberation, were identified here as equally vital demands. [11]

Palestinians have insisted that meeting their needs is both a political obligation of the international community and an acknowledgment of Palestinian national claims. As a humanitarian organization, with significant limits in mandate and in capacity, UNRWA has never been able to respond to these claims in a manner Palestinians find satisfactory. But the fact that Palestinians continue to press claims—and use humanitarian idioms, instruments, and institutions to do so—has long made UNRWA a target of attack by Palestinians’ enemies.

Thus, the Trump administration’s cessation of contributions to UNRWA is intended precisely to put the multiple aims of Palestinian refugee politics—which are undeniably in tension—into outright conflict. By fully embracing the Israeli position that financial assistance to Palestinian refugees is a political threat to be terminated, the administration’s attack on UNRWA is an attack on Palestinian political claims (most directly the refugees’ right of return enshrined in international law) and on the Palestinian capacity to engage in politics. If people’s children cannot attend school, if they cannot receive medical care, then perhaps they will give up on their political efforts to seek redress.

As politically resilient as Palestinians have been over their decades of displacement, this threat is not an idle one. Faced with numerous barriers to connection across the multiple places where Palestinian live, with communities in Gaza and Syria confronting acute crises, with other populations experiencing chronic deprivation, and in the absence of a political leadership up to the task of confronting these diverse and difficult conditions, Palestinian political community is arguably at one of its lowest points since 1948.

It is true that, as the State Department cessation announcement states, “Palestinians, wherever they live, deserve better than an endlessly crisis-driven service provision model. They deserve to be able to plan for the future.” The Trump Administration and the Israeli government, however, envision planning as acquiescence, and seek to dictate what that future will be.

The reinstatement of UNRWA funding is a matter of vital importance—not only as a humanitarian gesture, or for reasons of regional stability, as the Democratic congressional letter puts it—but as a rejection of this refusal of Palestinian politics—their political claims and the capacity to advocate for themselves. One can be cognizant of the negative effects of humanitarian aid on Palestinian lives, as well as of the criticism refugees have directed at UNRWA, and also reject the Administration’s attack on Palestinians through its targeting of UNRWA. Palestinians have been able to hold multiple positions and pursue multiple aims, at the same time, and so should those who support them.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Notes

[1] State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, “On U.S Assistance to UNRWA,” US State Department Press Statement, August 31, 2018.

[2] People displaced in 1967 [nazihin], and their descendants, receive some assistance from UNRWA, but the Agency’s refugee category is limited to people, and their descendants, displaced in 1948 [laji’in].

[3] UNRWA, “Ministerial Meeting on UNRWA Raises Remarkable US $122 Million,” September 28, 2018.

[4] Congress of the United States, “Letter to State Department,” September 28, 2018.

[5] “DealBook Briefing: Trump Rails Against Globalism,” The New York Times, September 26, 2018.

[6] Recently enacted legislation which makes recipients of US-aid vulnerable to suit in US courts could make it impossible for the Palestinian Authority to continue to accept these funds.

[7] International Federation of Red Cross Societies archive, file A-0410-1. “Visit to the South Lebanon Camps.”

[8] Sami Mshasha, “Urgent UNRWA Statement,” UNRWA, September 1, 2018.

[9] The Washington Project, Middle East Forum, 2017.

[10] Al Jazeera News Agencies, “Jerusalem to remove UNRWA to ‘end lie of Palestine refugees’,” Al Jazeera, October 4, 2018.

[11] Ilana Feldman, Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018).

Nothing illustrates the cynical and deceitful nature of Western “journalism” better than the recent, apparent US-Saudi fallout in the wake of the alleged death of Washington Post Saudi correspondent, Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi allegedly disappeared and has been reported killed at the hands of Saudi consulate staff in Istanbul, Turkey. Of course, the US, UK, EU, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are among the most dubious actors in modern geopolitics. Ascertaining the truth regarding the events surrounding Khashoggi may ultimately turn out to be an insurmountable task.

But the various narratives and reactions of Western political and media circles still provides us insight into the true character of Western international relations including extreme hypocrisy regarding human rights, the use and abuse of Western media platforms to selectively cover events around the globe to favor Western interests, and the ultimate fate that awaits other US “allies.”

The New York Times Suddenly Notices “Overlooked” Yemen War

The New York Times in a series of social media posts and articles seems to suddenly notice the long list of atrocities Saudi Arabia is responsible for – including the ongoing war in Yemen. In a social media post published on Twitter, the New York Times would claim:

The Khashoggi crisis has called attention to a largely overlooked Saudi-led war in Yemen. On a rare trip to the front line, New York Times journalists found Yemenis fighting and dying in a war that has gone nowhere.

Of course, it is impossible that a newspaper as large, as prominent, as well-known and well-funded as the New York Times simply “overlooked” the “Saudi-led war in Yemen.”

It was the systematic and concerted cover up by the Western media regarding the war – which began in 2015 – that provided Saudi Arabia the impunity with which it executed the war.

It is only political motivations in Washington now, that require newspapers like the New York Times to suddenly “notice” the war – but only partially. The New York Times would publish a recent article titled, “This is the front line of Saudi Arabia’s invisible war,” claiming:

The Saudi-led war in Yemen has ground on for more than three years, killing thousands of civilians and creating what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But it took the crisis over the apparent murder of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate two weeks ago for the world to take notice.

Saudi Arabia’s brash young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, under scrutiny over the Khashoggi case, now faces a fresh reckoning for his ruthless prosecution of the war in Yemen — yet another foreign policy debacle for Saudi Arabia, and a catastrophe for the Arab world’s poorest country.

Nowhere in the New York Times’ piece is a single, even oblique mention made of the US role in the war. However – in fact – the war is being fought with US-made warplanes, refueled by US Air Force-crewed aerial refueling aircraft, dropping US-built ordnance on targets selected by US intelligence agencies, with the help of US special forces on the ground directly assisting Saudi forces.

Worst of all, it was the New York Times itself that admitted to all of these facts. In its May 2018 article titled, “Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels,” the New York Times would admit:

For years, the American military has sought to distance itself from a brutal civil war in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces are battling rebels who pose no direct threat to the United States. 

But late last year, a team of about a dozen Green Berets arrived on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, in a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars.

The article would also admit:

Details of the Green Beret operation, which has not been previously disclosed, were provided to The New York Times by United States officials and European diplomats.

They appear to contradict Pentagon statements that American military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and general intelligence sharing. 

And indeed, the war in Yemen is not a “Saudi-led war,” it is in fact just one of America’s many “secret wars.”  It is secret specifically because of the complicity of newspapers like the New York Times, only now cynically and dishonestly reporting on the Yemen war as part of a concerted campaign aimed at decoupling US culpability and leaving it entirely with Riyadh.

For years before the Khashoggi incident, the New York Times and others were more than content with burying and spinning news about Yemen, or not covering it at all.

US Media Pretends to Only Now Notice Saudi Atrocities, Omits US Role Underwriting Them

The Western media demonstrates its absolute contempt for the intelligence of its collective audience. Their sudden concern and feigned outrage aimed at Saudi Arabia tenuously papers over decades of Saudi atrocities both inside Saudi Arabia itself, and across the world through its key role in state sponsored terrorism.

A remarkable admission was made in the pages of the Washington Post in a March 2018 article titled, “Saudi prince denies Kushner is ‘in his pocket’.”

The article would quote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stating (emphasis added):

Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

While the article claims “successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort” and that funding is now provided by “Saudi-based “foundations,”” this is not true.

There are no “successive governments” in Saudi Arabia. The nation since its founding has been run by a single family – the House of Saud.

And while Saudi-based foundations may be the conduit through which Wahhabism is organized, funded, and directed, it most certainly is done at the behest of Riyadh in a process fully underwritten by Washington.

Among Washington’s other “secret wars” are Libya and Syria where terrorists recruited, radicalized, trained, funded, and armed through US-Saudi funded Wahhabism were unleashed on the battlefield.

Amid these two conflicts, newspapers like the New York Times worked overtime providing them with public exposure – seeking to sell to the public greater and more direct Western military intervention. In Libya, these efforts resulted in a NATO-led air campaign that eventually toppled the Libyan government and plunged the nation into years of infighting, terrorism, slavery, and enduring dysfunction that persists today.

In Syria, the gambit fell short when Russia intervened at the request of Damascus, effectively blocking a similar NATO-led Libya-style air campaign. Russian warplanes targeted NATO supply routes out of Turkey feeding terrorist organizations operating inside Syrian territory, and ultimately turned the tide of the war.

And just as the US and Saudi Arabia used terrorist organizations in Libya and Syria to fight their proxy wars, an AP investigation revealed they were doing likewise in Yemen.

The AP article titled, “AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen,” would report (emphasis added):

Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West. 

Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.

That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.

Thus, the Western media has always been and is still fully aware of the true nature of Saudi Arabia’s decades-long geopolitical trajectory – as it was the West and more specifically the US and UK who helped launch it in the first place. And it was the Western media who all along helped spin it on its way.

Western Media’s Deceit on full Display 

The deceitful and intelligence-insulting narratives now being peddled by papers like the New York Times and others are unacceptable. If Riyadh falls, so too must those in Washington and London who built Riyadh up and walked with it – bloody hand-in-bloody hand – every step of the way.

Attempts to decouple Western culpability from Saudi atrocities is an illustration of the immense duplicity and impropriety of Western political and media circles. But it is also a warning to the rest of Washington and London’s “allies”- like the current regime in Ukraine – who believe their relationship and complicity with, as well as their obedience to the West affords them inexhaustible impunity.

It does not.

The West picks weak, dependent, and dysfunctional political, military, and economic partners specifically because their very nature serves as the perfect check to keep them under control and if need be, to dispose of expediently.

What’s Really Behind the Khashoggi Fallout? 

For now, it is unclear whether the fallout between the US and Saudi Arabia is real or imagined. The US and Turkey may be using Saudi Arabia to expunge their responsibility for their joint support of global terrorism alongside Riyadh, or perhaps to preemptively decouple from Riyadh ahead of a planned “Saudi” provocation against Iran.

Or Riyadh may have refused requests made by Washington and is now being pressured to reverse its decision.

So far, absent are the sort of aggressive steps taken when Washington faces a real enemy it seeks to inflict damage upon. Unlike with Russia when baseless accusations were made regarding election interference, the downing of MH-17, or the entire Skripal affair – there are no sanctions being discussed regarding Riydah. Weapons and US military support still flow to Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen continues unabated, all while the US military continues providing Riyadh with defacto protection with its forces scattered across the Middle East.

Until these facts on the ground change, we may simply be witnessing geopolitical theater where Saudi Arabia is elected to play the “villain” and absorbs responsibility for years, if not decades of atrocities jointly committed with its Anglo-American sponsors. By doing so, the US can save face and leave Riyadh with the broken pieces of their collective and ill-conceived regional and global policies. Only time will tell.

One fact we can be certain of is that neither the US nor Saudi Arabia can be relied on for the truth. If the truth surrounding Khashoggi’s fate ever does emerge, it will not be from the Western or Saudi media nor from representatives of their respective capitals.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO.

Back in 1972, near the end of the Vietnam War, I was living in San Francisco, and my friend ex-Sgt. Van Dale Todd, a combat veteran of the 101st Airborne, lived next door in the same building, an old Victorian house out on 29th Street. Sometimes Van would take a notion to hit the wall which separated our apartments with his fist and shout, “Who the fuck would join the Marine Corps?”

I’d yell back, “Airborne sucks!”

“The Marine Corps sucks!” Van’d shout.

“Only two things come out of the sky,” I’d yell back again. “Bird shit and fools!”

That was how we said good morning to each other. It was our ritualized greeting.

We didn’t set out to live next door to each other; it just happened. One day I discovered that someone had moved into the adjacent apartment and had pasted a peace sign on his door. A day or two later I encountered him on the landing. He was a tall, powerful-looking guy, about 22 years old, with shoulder-length hair and wearing a combat fatigue jacket, similar to mine. He introduced himself as “Van.” In the course of the conversation we found that we were both ex-GIs and also, coincidentally, members of the same veterans’ anti-war organization.

Van glanced at my door. “You need a peace sign there,” he observed. He produced one from his pack and pasted it up. “There,” he said, nodding with the satisfaction of seeing a job properly done, “We’re going to be a peace family here in this building.”

During the weeks that followed, we saw each other almost every day. We attended antiwar rallies together and once even got arrested together. Van told me about his experiences in “Nam,” the killing he’d seen and participated in, the stress and the widespread drug use among GIs. “I got this medal for killing two people,” he told me, showing me his bronze star, “and when I did it I was high on opium.”

Although I’d spent four years in the USMC, I was never in Vietnam. I was both fascinated and also slightly horrified at Van’s stories. That was before I ever heard the term “post-traumatic stress disorder,” but it was clear that Van had brought some of that violence back with him.

One day he got in a fight with his cat. I heard a terrible racket in Van’s apartment and, on going over to see what it was all about, I found that Van was about to whip the kitty with his belt. “The cat’s shit was weak!” he told me angrily, meaning that the poor animal had done something to displease him.

I intervened, telling him that if he wasn’t going to be kind to his pet, I’d take the animal away from him. It was a plea rather than a threat. Van was a big man who could easily have broken me in half had he wished to, but he relented, took the animal gently in his arms and said, “I love my cat.”

Van did love his cat. One side of him was kind, gentle, loving and caring. But there was also that violent part, seething just below the surface.

On the corner was a small grocery run by a guy who seemed to go out of his way to be rude to his customers. One day I was in there to get a newspaper, and the owner gave me a bad time, so after that I avoided the shop. But Van sometimes went in there, apparently just to hassle with the guy. On one occasion that I heard of later, the shopkeeper threatened Van with a baseball bat. But Van didn’t back off. Instead, he told the guy, “You put that thing away or I’ll wrap it around your neck!” The guy put the bat away.

One day, while waiting for the J-Church streetcar, I happened to notice that a sheet of plywood had been placed over one of the store windows. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but a couple years latter a mutual friend told me that he and Van had been walking past the store late one night when Van found a brick laying on the sidewalk. So he picked it up and put it through the window of the nasty shop owner.

That was Van. There was a capricious side to him, sometimes innocently playful, sometimes dangerously violent. Nevertheless, he hated violence, having experienced so much of it in Vietnam. “I killed seven people in Vietnam,” he told me. “I killed a mother who was crying because her children were all dead.”

He told me these stories remorsefully, blaming himself for having enjoyed warfare. “I loved combat,” he told me many times, shaking his head. “I was so sick I loved to kill.”

Van had once believed in the Vietnam War, and he was a guy who’d fight for what he believed in. He’d enlisted in the Army, volunteered for the paratroopers, and asked to be assigned to Vietnam. He spent seventeen months in combat with the 101st Airborne in 1969 and 1970. After returning from Vietnam, however, he had a complete change of heart, and joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War and took part in peace marches.

Van didn’t want another GI sent to Nam because he knew that would be one more person coming back traumatized. “I don’t want my little brother Sam, or anybody’s little brother, to go and see what I saw or do what I did.” Perhaps the thing that horrified Van most was to discover that violence and killing could be enjoyable.

Nevertheless, Van was not really political, or maybe I should say he wasn’t much given to theories or analysis. When I tried to explain to him what U.S. corporations were doing around the world, and how the military was used to defend them, he would say, “What you have is an intellectual, philosophical view.”

“How can you say that?” I objected.

“You weren’t in Nam,” he would say, as he had said time and again. “You don’t know what it’s like to see your buddies die in front of you.”

It was clear that Van had experienced things that were truly, truly horrifying, and that’s the way it was. What could I say? My experiences had been quite different from Van’s. I’d spent four years in the peacetime USMC, and after that had traveled and lived in many countries of Europe and Asia, talking with people from those different places. One person who’d made a major impression on me was a Frenchman who’d fought in Algeria. Others were Japanese activists who opposed their country’s military alliance with the US. I’d talked with Israeli kibbutzniks as well as with Palestinians living in the West Bank. I’d listened to them and considered their viewpoints, just as I was now listening to Van, and from all that, I’d drawn my conclusions. Nevertheless, both of us, Van and I, each in his own way, had come to oppose the war in Vietnam, and were in the same antiwar veterans group.

Our Bay Area chapter had done several actions, and at this time we were planning another. On April 17, 1972, Van and I were part of a group of sixteen ex-GIs who occupied an Air Force recruiting office to protest the war. After three hours’ occupation, Federal Marshals broke the door down and arrested us. We spent the night in jail and were bailed out the next day.

On April 21, we went back to court for a preliminary appearance and got our first look at Judge Lloyd Burke. Judge Burke sat there, just leaning on his elbow and looking bored, like an old railroad engineer gazing at the scenery along the spur he’s been chugging up and down for the last twenty years. The charge was “disorderly conduct,” and, using the pretext that it was a “minor offense,” the judge refused us a trial by jury. When our attorney pointed out that trial by jury was a constitutional right, stated in the Sixth, Seventh and Fourteenth Amendments, Judge Burke just said, “Overruled,” without even lifting his chin off his elbow, and then he set our trial dates.

To Van, it was a heavy shock. About all he could say when we got home was, “The Man just doesn’t give a shit about us!” He was referring to Judge Burke.

“Did you expect him to?” I said, a bit surprised at Van’s remark.

At first he didn’t respond. “No, I guess not,” he said at last.

I was also disappointed, but, having fewer illusions about the nature of the system, I was less surprised. “Judge Burke’s a cog of the war machine,” I said. “He was obviously assigned to our case for the purpose of putting some quasi-legal façade on a very dubious process. The reason for denying us a jury trial is that he doesn’t want to take any chances on our getting acquitted.”

Our veterans group had done a similar action some four months earlier. On that occasion we’d occupied the offices of the South Vietnamese Consulate. That had resulted in a month-long jury trial which had ended in a verdict of ‘not guilty.’ So this time the powers that be apparently decided to sidestep the jury process. Perhaps Van understood my explanation, but he seemed unable to accept it. He sat there for a long time with a vacant look in his eyes.

Van probably did expect the judge to care about us. Van still believed very deeply in something he called “America.” In Van’s “America,” there was still something left of that romantic, mythical age when you could just walk into the White House and talk with the President and tell him the problem. Van saw public officials as people who listen — which sometimes they do on rare occasions, but not quite as often as Van seemed to think.

Five of our group, including Van and myself, went on trial a week later in the courtroom of a different judge, Judge Robert Schnacke. This judge didn’t lean on his elbow, but he did reaffirm the decision to deny us our constitutional right to trial by jury, then, at the end of a two-hour session, found us all guilty.

The irony was that trial by jury is one of the most fundamental American rights which Van had supposedly fought to defend. Although it has often been wrongfully denied, as it was in our case, the right to trial by jury is an ancient principle of English and American law which existed before the U.S. Constitution was written, and even before the Thirteen Colonies were founded. It goes back to the Magna Carta of 1215 A.D., and even before.

Before sentencing we were each allowed to say a few words. Van, wearing all his medals on his fatigue jacket, stood up and began: “I was a machine gunner . . .” He told of the horrors he’d seen and even committed himself, and of his buddies he’d seen die. He told the judge that the government just had to stop sending American GIs to Vietnam. Judge Schnacke nodded as though listening. But he sentenced each of us to 30 days and fined us each $50. (We eventually paid the $50 but didn’t go to jail.)

Judges Burke and Schnacke were both former prosecutors. As judges they did their job as functionaries of the same system that sends American GIs abroad to kill or be killed in defense of U.S. corporate strategy. But to Van there was no such thing as a “system” — just America. These judges represented the America he believed in, and the experience of being denied his rights devastated him. From then on, he acted like a person utterly lost. He became so lonely that he dropped by my apartment five or ten times a day, sometimes even at one or two in the morning.

Van was something of a “doper,” and occasionally I’d seen him stoned. But after appearing before those judges, he was getting stoned much of the time, as well as drunk. I’d never seen him inebriated before that. Two small glasses of wine had been his limit. But after the trial, he’d often put away half a gallon in a day. The overnight change in him was phenomenal. His war memories bothered him more and more, and he’d talk about people he’d seen killed. “Do you know what it’s like to see your buddies die?” he’d keep saying, “Do you know what it’s like to kill a mother who’s crying because her children are all dead?”

A couple of weeks passed like this. Then, on May 18th, on his 23rd birthday, around midnight, he pounded on my door, shouting “I want to show you something!” When I opened the door I could see he was terribly upset, really angry, apparently in a violent mood. He demanded that I go with him to his place and see whatever it was that he wanted to show me. Van was not a person I cared to argue with when he was that angry; I was frightened and obediently accompanied him.

“I killed seven people in Nam,” Van was saying as we entered his apartment. “I can’t live with it any more!” He went to a drawer, took out a bottle of bright red pills and swallowed all of them in front of me.

Although I’d once rescued his cat from his anger, that evening I was afraid to grab the pills or do anything to stop him. Not knowing what else to do or say, I told him to sit down and take it easy. He did, and within minutes, passed out, still talking about his Vietnam memories. “I killed a woman who was crying because her children were all dead. … You don’t know what it’s like to see your buddies die.”

I went for help and got him to a hospital where he died a week later without ever regaining consciousness. I later learned that the red pills he’d overdosed on were Seconal, a type of sleeping pill. People also told me, “When somebody O.D.s on downers, you never want to let them sit down. You gotta keep them walking.”

In a diary we found after his death, he’d written: “Vietnam left me so alone. Why or how could I take the life of a human? Why was killing humans fun? Can God forgive me?”

We gave him a veteran’s antiwar funeral, with maybe thirty veterans from around the Bay Area, wearing military fatigue jackets. We buried him in his combat uniform with his service medals and his VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) button. While five veterans and the wife of a veteran carried out the coffin, everybody lined up in two rows and gave Van a clenched-fist salute.

On returning home that afternoon, I went into the vacant apartment where Van had lived until so recently. “Airborne sucks!” I called out. Van’s things were gone; the place was empty now. It was an emptiness that left room for my voice to echo back and forth between the walls. I tried again, louder than before, “Only two things come out of the sky!” Again, there was an echo, a louder echo, but still only of my own voice. There was only the echo and the creaking of wooden floorboards under my feet in that old Victorian house.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Daniel’s Free Speech Zone.

Daniel Borgström spent four years in the Marine Corps (1959-1963); later he took part in the antiwar movement of the Vietnam Era, and today is a member of Veterans for Peace.

His website & email are http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/ and [email protected]

All images in this article are from the author.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on A Veteran’s Death: “Vietnam left me so Alone. How Could I take the Life of a Human? Why was Killing Humans fun? Can God Forgive Me?”

French President Emmanuel Macron invited Donald Trump and 60 heads of State to attend a “Peace Forum” in Paris on November 11-13. It was  preceded one day earlier by a ceremony at the Place des Invalides to pay tribute to the millions of people who died in the First World War or, stated more accurately, the first great inter-imperialist bloodbath.

Special tribute was paid to the generals who led their soldiers to slaughter from 1914 to 1918, including Maréchal Philippe Pétain, who Macron described as a “great soldier” despite his subsequent “fateful choices” — a reference to Pétain’s close collaboration with Hitler and the Nazis during World War II.

“Who are they kidding?” read a statement by Jeunesse Révolution (Revolution Youth). It continued:

Trump is the man who ordered all NATO member countries to increase the war budgets to 2% of GDP, or about 40 billion euros for France. Of course, Emmanuel Macron, our king without a crown, did not object. 

“And yet … With 40 billion euros, governments could have built hospitals, schools, and childcare centers, and created living-wage jobs for young people. But no, no, no. Workers are being asked to tighten their belts more and more for wars that are not their wars; they are the capitalists’ wars. Hence the attacks throughout France on retirement pensions, the dismantling of the national Single-Payer healthcare system, and the destruction of public education, while the capitalist class continues to reap more and more profits.

Jeunesse Révolution issued a united-front “Call to Demonstrate on November 11 Against Trump’s Presence in Paris.” Hundreds and hundreds of working class youth endorsed this call and are building this demonstration. But none of the main organizations to which the call was addressed [see initial call below] responded to the call to mobilize in the broadest unity against the warmakers.

Toward the end of October, the Democratic Independent Workers Party of France (POID) and Jeunesse Révolution learned that a number of “collectives” had issued a call to rally on November 11 at the Place de la République. Their call was not endorsable, but the POID and Jeunesse Révolution were considering participating in that gathering separately under their own banners and with their own demands. 

That thinking changed, however, on November 6, when the POID and Jeunesse Révolution learned that a so-called “Coordinating Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Paris” had been invited to join the rally on November 11 at the Place de la République.

The “Coordinating Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Paris” had stated that they would be joining the rally to call upon “Member States of the United Nations Security Council to assume their responsibility for the implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions on Syria, starting with the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body.”

The POID and Jeunesse Révolution explained that they could not demonstrate against the war policies of Trump and Macron’s … alongside supporters of Trump’s and Macron’s war and intervention in Syria. The call for a “Transitional Governing Body” is exactly what Trump and Macron are calling for; it is what they are seeking to impose on Syria through their military intervention — an intervention that since 2011 has driven 12 million Syrians from their homes and killed hundreds of thousands of people.

 Under these conditions, the POID and Jeunesse Révolution explained that they had no choice but to call their own separate demonstration at Place Gambetta at 2:30 pm on Sunday, November 11 with the following slogans:

  • Solidarity with workers and youth in the United States!
  • Immediate withdrawal of all French and U.S. troops from the countries where they are stationed!
  • Immediate halt to all threats of military intervention!
  • Solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to a nation!
  • Welcome all refugees fleeing war and misery!
  • Down with war! Down with exploitation!

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Note

[1] Trump traveled to France for the 100th anniversary celebrations, but he notified Macron only two days earlier that he would not join Macron, Merkel (Germany), Guterrez (Portugal) , Erdogan (Turkey), Putin (Russia) and all the other so-called “voices for peace” at the November 11-13 Paris Peace Forum.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Trump Is Not Welcome in France! He is the Man Who Ordered the Increase in War Budgets…

On November 5 yet another US soldier was killed by a member of Afghanistan’s military forces, as the country continues to be wracked by violence in its seventeenth year of war.

Donald Rumsfeld was US Secretary for Defence from 2001 to 2006 under President George W Bush. They, along with other psychotic figures such as Vice-President Dick Cheney, were responsible for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and their legacy is apparent in many spheres, one of which is the drug production bonanza in Afghanistan.

In August 2004 NBC News reported Secretary Rumsfeld as declaring

“The danger a large drug trade poses in Afghanistan is too serious to ignore. The inevitable result is to corrupt the government and way of life, and that would be most unfortunate.” He issued the warning that “It is increasingly clear to the international community that to address the drug problem here is important for the people of Afghanistan.”

Rumsfeld, for once during his catastrophic years as chief war-maker, was absolutely right, and his pronouncement about likely danger and impending corruption was spot on. The US invasion and subsequent operations led to Afghanistan becoming the fourth most dangerous and fourth most corrupt country in the world.

The “drug problem” to which he referred has expanded rapidly over the years. It is destroying Afghanistan. It is a main reason for the place being ungovernable.

opium 2016

It’s all very well to blame Afghans for growing poppies and producing opium and heroin, but what they are doing is meeting international demand.

After all, there would be no drug industry in Afghanistan if there wasn’t a welcoming market in the drug-loving prosperous West — although it has to be noted that only about four per cent of its massive narcotics production ends up in the US, which gets most of its heroin from South America.

Mr John Sopko, the US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), has just produced his latest quarterly report for the US Congress in which he observes that

“From 2002 through September 2018, the United States has committed an average of more than $1.5 million a day to help the Afghan government combat narcotics. Despite this, 2017 poppy cultivation is more than four times that reported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for 2002, the first full year of US intervention in Afghanistan,” so there is small wonder that the country is “the largest source of street heroin in Europe and Canada.”

Mr Sopko observed that efforts to combat drugs “have cost US taxpayers more than $8 billion since 2002, yet Afghanistan’s opium crisis is worse than ever,” and the increase in the area and quantity of poppy cultivation has been impressive and depressing.

Washington is well aware of the shattering effects of Afghan drug production, but the SIGAR writes that

“counternarcotics seems to have fallen completely off the US agenda. The State Department’s new ‘Integrated Country Strategy’ for Afghanistan no longer includes counternarcotics as a priority, but instead subsumes the issue into general operations. Meanwhile, the US military says it has no counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan, and USAID says it will not plan, design, or implement new programs to address opium-poppy cultivation.”

It is amazing that “The US military says it has no counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan.”

What happened to the campaign against drug processing that began in November 2017 when “US and Afghan forces launched a series of attacks on narcotics laboratories in southern Afghanistan”?

The massive aerial bombardment of ten drug-processing laboratories included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates. B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar attacked targets, and F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul. The operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuellers, every surveillance means that could be deployed, and command and control aircraft. This was a major — and very expensive — operation.

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, told a news conference

“We hit the labs where they turned poppy into heroin. We hit their storage facilities where they kept their final products, where they stockpiled their money and their command and control.”

Not only that, but

“The strikes that were prosecuted last night will continue… This is going to be steady pressure that’s going to stay up and we are not going to let up.”

He said “the Drug Enforcement Administration estimates there are 400 to 500 opium laboratories across Afghanistan”. So after that first attack in November 2017 there were ten down and about 400 to go.

But SIGAR tells us in October 2018 that “the US military says it has no counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan.” Why?

There is nobody better placed to explain this than Mr Sopko, who had already observed that the Pentagon’s airstrike campaign against drug laboratories might not have the intended effect, as its “longer-term impact on narcotics remains uncertain.” Not only this, but “there is also the risk that air strikes could result in civilian deaths, alienate rural populations, and strengthen the insurgency.”

He was right on the button, because, as reported by The Washington Post, in January to June 2018 the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan “documented 353 civilian casualties, including 149 deaths, from airstrikes, a 52 percent increase from the same period in 2017.”

There is no doubt that these casualties alienate the rural population, given the example of one strike in July 2018 when the New York Times wrote that

“Fourteen members of a family, including three small children, were killed when an American airstrike destroyed their home, several Afghan officials confirmed on [July 20]. In what has become a familiar litany, particularly in Taliban-dominated Kunduz Province, Afghan and American officials had initially denied that any civilians had been killed in the strike . . . claiming the victims were Taliban fighters. Then 11 bodies belonging to women and children appeared at the hospital in Kunduz City, about four miles from the site of the attack in Chardara District. The Taliban do not have women fighters and the children were very young.”

Time after time the US-NATO and Afghan authorities “initially deny” that there have been civilian deaths or casualties caused by airstrikes and are then found to be disguising the truth because there can be no denial of facts when shrapnel-ridden bodies of little children are laid out on the ground. Such absurd statements play right into the hands of the militants and, in the predictive words of the SIGAR, “strengthen the insurgency.”

This might explain why the massive and much-publicised air campaign against opium-processing facilities has been abandoned. But what happens now?

The US State Department and the Pentagon were told by experts that the narcotics problem was immense. For example, in a speech at Georgetown University in 2014 the SIGAR said: “By every conceivable metric, we’ve failed. Production and cultivation are up, interdiction and eradication are down, financial support to the insurgency is up, and addiction and abuse are at unprecedented levels in Afghanistan.”

Nothing has changed since then. The 2017 aerial blitz failed utterly, as have so many plans and operations to attempt to reduce narcotics production, and the US-NATO military alliance in Afghanistan continues to flounder in a quagmire of insurgency. The drug catastrophe is plain for all to see, and after seventeen years of war and expenditure of eight billion dollars the illegal narcotics industry is thriving.

Can this be indicative of the general level of competence of the US Department of State and the Pentagon? Can they get anything right?

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from SCF.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Drug Catastrophe in Afghanistan. The Narcotics Economy Has Destroyed Our Country
  • Tags:

Quote from Mohamed Abdi, NRC’s country director in Yemen:

“Hodeidah is at risk of being obliterated. We warned the international community that an offensive on the city was coming, and it has. We warned that the violence would see another half a million people flee their homes, and it did.

“We are now warning that by allowing this to go on, parties to the conflict and their international backers will be responsible for the death, injury and suffering of millions of people.

“The humanitarian cost of this war is almost $3 billion this year alone but the cost to humanity completely inestimable. Senseless attacks on civilians, evidence of a starving population and desperate pleas from humanitarian witnesses have done little more than elicit condolences from an international community that could have stepped on the brakes long ago. The lack of action from the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, is utterly unconscionable.”

Latest updates:

  • Eight days into a renewed offensive on Hodeidah city, civilians are reporting relentless airstrikes, low-flying jets and Apache helicopters, mortars and missiles on the outskirts of the town and within 5km of the nation’s main port.
  • At least 18 civilians were killed and another 17 injured by airstrikes, artillery shelling and landmines in Hodeidah and Hajjah governorates on Wednesday this week alone, following several days of massive strikes and shelling on farms, factories, trucks, houses and markets across the governorates.
  • Reports from earlier in the week that Ansarallah fighters have taken up position on the rooftop of a hospital on Hodeidah city’s outskirts were followed today by reports of three airstrikes on the facility, damaging hospital buildings and prompting its evacuation, placing patients at critical risk.
  • As of the last week of October, the International Organisation for Migration had recorded more than 545,000 people have fled their homes since 1 June this year, equating to almost 3,700 each day. Of this population, 83% come from Hodeidah governorate and a further 14% from Hajjah to the north of Hodeidah.
  • There is now only one viable overland route from Hodeidah city to Sana’a, and a very high risk that further aerial or land attacks on roads or bridges could sever access roads between the cities entirely, cutting the last remaining supply route for food, fuel and medicine to many of the estimated 20 million Yemenis who depend on imports through Hodeidah to meet their basic needs.
  • Five main roads in Hodeidah governorate have now been closed or cut off by fighting, and a further two highly restricted.
  • Humanitarian organisations continue to experience obstructions to the delivery of critical aid to people in dire need across Hodeidah, Hajjah and other severely-affected governorates, including cholera-prevention activities.
  • Humanitarian agencies continue to be denied visas for international staff and experience innumerable obstacles obtaining approval from authorities to travel and deliver aid within Yemen, even when providing lifesaving services, limiting our ability to reach people in desperate need.
  • The Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB), accounting for food, water, hygiene and cooking fuel needs was revised to YER 73,000 (USD 104) per month last week, reflecting increased costs of more than 40% since July this year.
    Inflation on the price of essential items, combined with the rapid depreciation of the Yemeni riyal and lack of access to income are among the key factors driving Yemen’s worsening hunger crisis.
  • The International Bank of Yemen recorded an exchange rate of 680 yesterday, an appreciation of 8% since the end of October, but still a dramatic devaluation from the rate of 215 at which the riyal traded before the crisis.

 

Facts:

  • An estimated 3.3 million people lived in Hodeidah governorate before June 2018, 600,000 in Hodeidah city. Some 29.3 million people live in Yemen.
  • Yemen depends on imports for around 90 per cent of its food needs. Of this, between 70 and 80 per cent of all imports have historically come through Hodeidah Port. Further disruption to imports or overland supply routes risks severing the lifeline for up to 22 million Yemenis.
  • 12 million Yemenis are now at imminent risk of famine and more than 16 million without access to safe water, exposing them to increased risk of infectious diseases, such as cholera.
  • NRC continues to operate across nine governorates in Yemen, delivering assistance with food, safe water, shelter, education and legal aid to people displaced by violence.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image: Hassan (5) holding his younger sister Ratif (3 months). (Source: SmugMug)

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Dramatic Situation in Hodeidah, Yemen: Relentless Air Strikes, The Suffering of Millions
  • Tags: , ,

Washington has interests, not allies. China and Russia are rivals, not partners.

After Beijing cancelled last month’s high-level security talks with Trump regime officials, Pompeo and Mattis met with China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office director Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe in Washington.

Despite both countries putting a brave face on the meeting, no breakthroughs were achieved on major issues.

Pompeo lied saying the US  “seeks a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect” – code language for demanding Beijing observe US rules, abandoning its sovereign rights when they conflict with Washington’s.

Pompeo was less than candid claiming talks were “incredibly productive,” adding the US “is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with China.”

“Rather, we want to ensure that China acts responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity of each of our two countries.”

Director Yang made similar remarks, calling Friday’s dialogue “candid, constructive, and productive” – despite major unresolved political, economic and military differences between both countries.

Reflecting Beijing’s views, China’s Global Times called Friday discussions “frank, constructive and result-oriented,” adding:

“Although China and the US lack mutual trust, they were able to speak frankly… Rarely under the current circumstances have both sides expressed such constructive attitudes.”

Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will meet on the sidelines of the November 30/December 1 Buenos Aires, Argentina G20 summit. US escalated tensions won’t be easily eased, despite positive diplomatic language on Friday.

Trump regime-initiated trade war shows no signs of abating. Ten percent tariffs on around $200 billion worth of Chinese products will be increased to 25% on January 1 as things now stand – Beijing certain to retaliate strongly.

Trump unacceptably accused China of meddling in America’s midterm elections, no evidence cited because none exists.

In response to Beijing’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems and Su-35 combat aircraft, the Trump regime unilaterally imposed illegal sanctions on the country.

Along with surrounding China with US military bases, Pentagon warships provocatively sail near its sovereign territory, including through the Taiwan Straits – on the phony pretext of freedom of navigation rights, risking naval confrontation between both countries.

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province, eventually to be reunited with the mainland. China’s leadership considers US arms sales to Taiwan’s military a hostile act.

Months earlier, China’s Defense Minister Wei told Mattis the People’s Liberation Army will “firmly defend national sovereignty, security and developmental interest.”

Washington under Republicans an undemocratic Dems is hostile to Beijing’s growing influence and economic development – notably its “Made in China 2025” strategy,  seeking to advance key sectors of its economy to world-class status.

It conflicts with Trump’s “America first” agenda, along with the longstanding US aim to dominate all other countries politically, economically and militarily.

Russia already surpassed America as the world’s dominant military power, its super-weapons more advanced than Pentagon ones.

China is heading toward becoming the world’s leading economy in the years ahead. Reality doesn’t go down well in Washington, slipping as other nations advance – notably China and Russia, the world’s leading sovereign independent nations.

Beijing rejects US demands to demilitarize artificial islands it built in the South China Sea – done for defense, not offense, the way Washington operates.

Regular dialogue is the only thing positive about Friday’s bilateral meeting and earlier ones – so far preventing military confrontation. For how long remains unknown.

The agendas of both countries are world’s apart. Mutual trust is absent for good reason. Washington repeatedly says one thing and does another, why it can never be trusted.

Pompeo and Mattis rejected China’s warning to stop provocative US naval warship incursions close to its territory, a major dispute between both countries.

In late October, Xi Jinping ordered Chinese military commanders involved in monitoring Taiwan and the South China Sea to “prepare for war” – fearing possible US aggression.

At the same time, Defense Minister Wei vowed that Beijing won’t cede “a single inch” of its sovereign territory.

US hostility toward China and Russia risks possible military confrontation with one or both countries by accident of design.

Their powerful thermonuclear arsenals and long-range delivery systems could end life on earth if used in combat – the risk humanity faces because of Washington’s belligerent agenda.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on China-US Dialogue: Polite Diplomacy, Illegal Sanctions, Washington’s Unspoken Intent is to “Contain” China
  • Tags: ,

Washington’s behavior following Trump’s signing of the Singapore Summit Agreement with Kim Jong-un must be described as schizophrenic.  The Singapore Summit agreement states:

  1. “The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. “The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

The DPRK has already fulfilled point “4.” Of the Singapore Summit, and repatriated POW/MIA remains to the USA.  It is fulfilling point “3.”, which requires “complete denuclearization of the  Korean Peninsula:  

It has ceased testing weapons, and on May 25, 2018 destroyed its major test-site, Punggye-ri. 

By contrast, the United States persistence in maintaining punitive and ultimately genocidal sanctions against the DPRK reached the savage extreme on October 17, 2018, when it was announced in The New York Times  that

“The Trump administration has barred American aid workers from going to North Korea…Barring aid workers from traveling affects humanitarian programs in North Korea, including efforts to alleviate tuberculosis and provide medical training and farming assistance.  ‘People are suffering,’said Robert King, a former American special envoy for human rights in North Korea.  ‘Ít’s not the same as limiting luxury goods for the elite or reducing access to military goods.   The idea of focusing effort and time on limiting humanitarian services strikes me as being totally counterproductive.’” 

“’The potential life-threatening consequences of this policy are far-reaching,’ said Keith Luse, spokesperson for these US humanitarian aid groups.”

Whether a manifestation of dangerous insanity, or vicious bad faith, Washington’s recent prohibition on humanitarian aid to the DPRK is a cynical violation of articles 1 and 2 of the Singapore Summit Agreement committing the US and the DPRK to establish new US-DPRK relations building peace and prosperity, and building a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. 

Washington’s infamous ban on humanitarian aid to the DPRK will be condemned by history and by every civilized state and organization, and should have been condemned by the United Nations Secretary-General.  The ban on humanitarian aid to the DPRK is a sadistic act of war, targeting the most vulnerable civilians of North Korea, and consigning them to slow and agonizing deaths that could have been prevented or mitigated.

And, together with Washington’s refusal to sign a peace treaty, this exacerbation of the sixty-five year  US effort to destroy the socialist government of the DPRK, it would be preposterous to expect the DPRK to divulge one iota of its defensive capability.  The purpose of this ban on humanitarian aid is one and one only:  to demoralize and break the heroic spirit of the most sophisticated and advanced, and possibly the only remaining socialist country on earth.  Washington has zero interest in the human rights of the people of the DPRK;   if there were a scintilla of truth to Washington’s incessant droning on and on about human rights, this ban could not possibly have been passed under any circumstances.

According to UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock,   “sanctions are exacerbating humanitarian problems.” Reuters reported:

“The UN had to stop nutrition support for kindergartens in North Korea in November, due to the lack of funding.  Its $111 million ‘2018 Needs and Priorities Plan’ is nearly 90 percent under-funded.”  “A ban on the shipment of any metal objects, from health diagnostic instrments to spoons to nail clippers, makes it nearly impossible to deliver even basic healthcare to North Korea…Farm machines, greenhouses and ambulances, meanwhile, are sitting idle without spare parts.”

Compellingly stated by an official of a large humanitarian NGO, “For humanitarian organizations the Sanctions are ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts.’

According to Christine Hong, Associate Professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, 

“In point of fact, when you sanction things like fuel…fertilizer..or things that have any sort of dual-use capacity—things like plastic tubes that are used for IV fluid, you’re harming ordinary people.  This harm is not an inadvertent side effect of sanctions; it’s the deliberate impact of sanctions meant to destabilize a society..’’ The goal is to get the general population so restive that they rise up against the leadership of the society.  That is the sinister logic of sanctions.’” 

Truthout.org quotes Hong stating that

“sanctions are not a soft alternative to war, nor are they aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary North Korean people.  Rather, she calls sanctions against North Korea ‘an explicit part of US war policy’ dating back to the earliest days of the Korean War.’  “Part of the legacy of the US’s bombing campaign on North Korea are the 420,000 bombs dropped on Pyongyang in what historian and professor Bruce Cumings called a ‘bombing holocaust.’  ‘Historians routinely say 4 million, some even say 5 million North Koreans were killled in that war.  Seventy percent are understood to be civilians.   That’s not a clean war.  It’s a profoundly dirty war.  If there is to be normalization of relations between the US and DPRK, sanctions have to go by the wayside.’”

The UN Security Council sanctions are a cancer defiling the reputation of the UN and every member state supporting these genocidal resolutions.  The complicity of the UN Security Council is encouraging and enabling the US to  indulge its most pathological tendencies and its interest in exterminating a brave and remarkably advanced socialist people in Asia, (and one cannot exclude racism from the US agenda).

However, it is also at the United Nations that the masks are torn off, and the voting record of the US and the DPRK in the First Committee and throughout the UN General Assembly Committees reveals who is the menace to world peace and survival, and who genuinely seeks a nuclear-weapon free world of peace and security, democracy and development.

Related image

On October 23, DPRK Ambassador Kim Song stated to the UN Fourth Committee On Agenda Item 53  “International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space”:

“The DPRK maintains independent and self-reliant character in the development and use of outer space and ensures that space development be oriented towards the peaceful purpose of developing the country’s economy and improving the people’s living standard.  It is noteworthy that more than 280 valuable dissertations were presented on the DPRK’s achievements and experiences of application in the areas of manufacturing and control engineering of an artificial satellite at the ‘Outer Space Science and Technology Seminar-2017’ held in Pyongyang in the period from 28 November to 1 December, 2017….”

“It is a due right of a UN member state, to say nothing of a state party to the Outer Space Treaty, to take part in the international exchanges and cooperation for peaceful use of outer space.  This year, the DPRK’s outer space experts were invited to the international outer space conferences organized by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in such countries as Austria, Pakistan and Russia.  However, they were not able to attend to any of them due to the opposition by the 1718 Committee of the UNGA (the Sanctions committee).  This is a flagrant violation of our legitimate right as well as open disregard for the international outer space-related laws of the UN Charter.  My delegation protests in strong terms against the outrageous and immoral behavior of the 1718 committee that stubbornly denies our peaceful satellite launches, and went to the extreme of rejecting our space experts’ engagement in the international scientific exchanges.  We also express our regret at the irresponsible attitude of the UNOOSA which fails to take any appropriate measures while admitting the improper nature of such behavior.”

It is therefore now imperative to examine the voting record of the US and the DPRK, a record which reveals which states are a threat to international peace and security, and which states support global human development,  and world peace.

First Committee  (Disarmament)  Voting:

Resolution A/C.173/L.3  99 (a) WHOLE  “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.”

181 nations voted “Yes,” in support of this Resolution, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China and Russia.  2 States voted “No,” opposing this resolution, including the United States and Israel.

Resolution A/C.1/73/L50  99 ©  WHOLE  “Further Practical Measures for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (DECISION)”:

127 States voted “Yes,” in support of this Resolution, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China and Russia.  3 States voted “No,” opposing this resolution, including the United States, Ukraine and Israel.

Resolution A/C.1/73/L.51 99 (b)  WHOLE  “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space.”

129 States voted “Yes,” in support of this Resolution, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China and Russia.  12 States voted “No,” opposing this resolution, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Georgia, Israel, Latvia, Poland

Resolution A/C.1/73/L.44 102 (b) WHOLE  “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons”

120 States voted “Yes,” in support of this Resolution, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  50 States voted “No,” opposing this resolution,  including the United States, Latvia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, etc.,

Resolution A/C.1/73/L.46 101 (mm)  PP.9  “Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World” 

137 States voted “Yes” in support of this Resolution, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Three states voted “No,” opposing this resolution, including the United States.

Resolution A/C.1/73/L.12 101 (cc)  WHOLE  “Effects of the Use of Armaments and Ammunitions Containing Depleted Uranium” 

140 States voted “Yes” in support of this Resolution, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  4 States voted “No,” opposing this Resolution, including the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom.

This voting record confirms, unequivocally, which countries want peace and which countries menace global peace and stability.

On October 9, Ambassador Kim Song of the DPRK addressed the Second Committee (Economic Development): 

“The present realistic situation in which the socio-economic development is hindered by widespread ongoing conflicts, escalation of tensions and instability shows vividly how it is important to ensure peaceful environment for development and prosperity common to all humanity…Amidst the situation of easing tensions and peace prevailing on Korean peninsula, our people are waging a decisive struggle to build a civilized powerful nation and achieve the SDGs with great motive force of self-reliance and self-development and the might of modern science and technology, upholding the strategic line of concentrating all efforts on the socialist economic construction ….the effort of the DPRK for peace and development makes great contribution to ensure peace and security not only in Korean peninsula, but also in the region, and help bring about the development and prosperity for the common good to all humanity.  …Nevertheless, the right of existence and development of our people are severely infringed.  The delivery of humanitarian assistance materials such as essential medicines, x-ray diagnosis equipments as well as even sports items which are utmost in necessity for our citizens, children and women are prohibited in the pretext of implementation of the UN Security Council’s “sanctions resolutions’ against the DPRK.”

The statement of DPRK Ambassador Kim Song at the Third Committee on October 26 must be quoted here, as the Third Committee, with the most blatant hypocrisy, and outrageous irresponsibiliity has adopted those infamous “country-specific resolutions” which slander and defame any country the US, the UK want to destroy and plunder.  These “country-specific” resolutions are extremely dangerous engines of propaganda fabricated by the West, and are used to manipulate the Security Council to authorize murderous sanctions resolutions and military interventions which have destroyed some of the most progressive governments in the Middle East, and are attempting to eviscerate the government of the DPRK.

Ambassador Song stated at the Third Committee:

“The prevailing reality shows that egregious human rights abuses result without any exception from those places where national sovereignty is trampled down and social inequality is rampant.  It stands clear testimony to the situation of human rights violations where innocent people are killed bare-handed in Iraq, Syria, Libya and occupied Arab territories and discriminatory practices pervade in Western countries.  The root cause is attributable to some Western countries that pursue ulterior purposes in an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of the independent countries and seek regime change, while abusing the promotion and protection of human rights as an instrument of political and economic pressure…..Those same countries that advocate promotion and protection of human rights block the delivery of humanitarian aid supplies including the medicines and X-ray equipment which are badly needed for our people, children and women and even the sports equipment and materials under the pretext of the ‘sanctions resolutions’ of the UN Security Council against the DPRK, thereby gravely violating the rights to existence and development of our people.   We demand that the inhumane and barbarous UN Security Council’s ‘sanctions resolutions’ should be lifted immediately as required by evolving present era and international relations.

Investment in health and education are given highest priority in socialist DPRK.  I was there in May, 2017, and I witnessed the superlative level of free health care and education.  Subsequent sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council have probably destroyed much of that admirable social system.  By contrast, in the United States, and I quote the late Mrs. Evelyn Lauder, who stated at a meeting of “Power Couples” at the 92 Street “Y’ in New York, shortly before her death from cancer:

“In the United States we pay 30 million dollars yearly to a basket ball player, but we pay only 30 thousand dollars yearly to a teacher.  I think that is shameful!” 

So spoke the honest Mrs. Evelyn Lauder at a conference I attended several years ago.  Today,  on September 24, 2018, a Time Magazine cover article stated:  “I have a master’s degree, 16 years of experience, work two extra jobs and donate blood plasma to pay the bills.  I’M A TEACHER IN AMERICA.”  Hope Brown, Woodford County High School, Versaille, Kentucky.

Last week I received a letter from “City Meals on Wheels” stating: 

“There are 2.5 million elderly Americans who go to bed hungry….  A recent study conducted in partnership with Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging found that 67 per cent of the seniors we serve are over 80 years old.  Fifty-seven percent live alone.  THEY ARE ALSO VERY POOR.  More than one third of the seniors we serve live below the poverty level!!!!!”

This is the capitalist paradise President Trump promised the DPRK if they abandon socialism and adopt capitalism.  A brief walk through midtown Manhattan, from 42 Street and Sixth Avenue toward Seventh Avenue reveals homeless and shattered human beings sleeping in the gutters and living in the streets.  Exiting Grand Central Terminal at Lexington Avenue, at 7AM,  reveals long lines of homeless people sleeping in the streets.  White New Yorkers, Black New Yorkers, Hispanic New Yorkers.  This is the capitalist paradise the DPRK can aspire to if it relinquishes its defenses and grovels before the one percent who control more than 50 percent of the wealth of this planet.  I doubt the DPRK is so stupid.  But the capitalist West will never stop trying to force them to their knees.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.

Featured image is from The Unz Review.


Can you help us keep up the work we do? Namely, bring you the important news overlooked or censored by the mainstream media and fight the corporate and government propaganda, the purpose of which is, more than ever, to “fabricate consent” and advocate war for profit.

We thank all the readers who have contributed to our work by making donations or becoming members.

If you have the means to make a small or substantial donation to contribute to our fight for truth, peace and justice around the world, your gesture would be much appreciated.

A recent USAID audit report found that some of its humanitarian programs for war-torn Syria and Iraq might have assisted terrorist groups. The assistance in question amounts to nearly $700 million.

The agency in charge of foreign aid provided by Washington has done a poor job to mitigate risks for its projects to end up in wrong hands, Official USAID Office of Inspector General (OIG) found. The paper, highlighting the risk of terrorists benefiting from US foreign assistance among other vulnerabilities, was published on September 25.

To provide help, USAID gives awards to public international organizations (PIOs) which then deal with the troubled areas. However, the way the organizations use the funds might have some flaws and does not fully comply with the 2008 State Department’s guidance. The latter is aimed to secure the money from assistance programs doesn’t land in the wrong hands helping terrorist groups, according to the report.

The risk was not comprehensively assessed [by PIOs], such as the risk of terrorists benefiting from US foreign assistance

Out of 19 awards the agency examined, only in 6 cases USAID employees followed the guidance with “due diligence.” The rest of the awards “was rigorously assessed” as the agency evaluated the potential risk as “low or not applicable.” In some cases, it just lacked standards to access them. Those 13 potentially risky assistance projects amount to staggering $697 million.

The US has been involved in the military campaign in Iraq and Syria for years now, with the stated goal to halt the rise of Islamic State terrorists. On Syrian soil, it has been done without any green light from Damascus, which maintained that Washington’s military campaign amounts to a breach of its sovereignty.

Washington has been also keen to support what it called “moderate opposition” in Syria with weapons. Such support has not always gone as planned, with some of the arms apparently ending up in the hands of terrorists.

In 2016, Jabhat al-Nusra unit commander Abu Al Ezz said that they receive American support through third countries. Moreover, the militants received TOW missiles directly from the US, he revealed.

Damascus itself has accused Washington of arming terrorists. Syrian diplomat Alaa Saeed Din Hamdan said in September that “hundreds of tonnes of weapons”  were transported “to end up in terrorists’ hands in southern Syria.” 

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Terrorists May Have Benefited From Millions Worth of US Aid for Iraq & Syria — Report
  • Tags: ,

“We are a Christian city here, we need peace, no more bloodshed. Stop killing our babies” a Mhardeh resident told me on the 9th September when I entered this Christian town on the border with Idlib province, an area dominated by the terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, the rebranding of Nusra Front, Al Qaeda in Syria.

Mhardeh is a Christian town of around 22,000 inhabitants to the north of the province of Hama in Syria. On September 7th 2018 a massacre was committed by the armed groups encamped between two and five kilometers from the town in the province of Idlib. At 6pm on the Friday evening, these U.S Coalition proxies, deemed “moderate rebels” by western media, fired 9 Grad missiles into residential areas of this densely populated town. According to reports from the volunteer National Defence Forces (NDF), six of those ground-launched Grad missiles contained internationally banned cluster munitions.

The NDF informed me that it was an Al Qaeda-affiliated group, Jaish Al Izza that had carried out the attack in September. This is an armed group previously financed and supported by the U.S and is representative of the extremism that threatens the towns that border their areas of control.  This attack came in from the north of Muhardeh from the northern Hama countryside of Ltamenah and neighbouring areas in Idlib.

Earlier this year, before the September massacre, I met with residents of Mhardeh. Dr Firas Habib is a general surgeon from Mhardeh who has also pioneered research into the prevention of breast cancer at Aleppo University. Dr Habib told me that, since 2013, Jaish Al Izza and Nusra Front or HTS have fired almost 9000 mortars. The town has suffered more than 80 martyrs with hundreds more being terribly injured, many children. The terrorists deliberately target hospitals, schools and residential areas.

They want to drive us out but we will never leave our land. Only 500 civilians have deserted Mhardeh since the beginning of the crisis.” Dr Habib told me.

Dr Habib told me that Mhardeh still has two operational hospitals which are supplied by the Syrian Ministry of Health despite the punishing economic sanctions imposed upon Syria by the U.S alliance in an attempt to weaken the Syrian state by collectively punishing the Syrian people.

Despite the ravages of war and siege by the terrorist factions, Dr Habib is proud of their authentic civil society projects that include – Help the Aged, Mhardeh Orphanage, recycling, tree planting, help for the physically handicapped and factory work training schemes for women whose husbands, sons or family providers have been martyred in the conflict. He wanted to be very clear that “these are genuine Syrian civil society programs, not those fake campaigns that are funded by the West in the terrorist held areas, financed by the West and serving only the West.”

Dr Habib also praised the Syrian government for maintaining electricity supply to Mhardeh, despite the terrorist groups systematically targeting the local power station on a number of occasions in an attempt to plunge Mhardeh into darkness. A darkness that would make it easier for the terrorist groups to draw closer to the town defences and threaten residents. As Tom Wescott reported for Middle East Eye in September 2018:

Steam pours from the chimneys of a nearby electrical sub-station, one of the most fiercely-contested local facilities, which changed hands multiple times, repeatedly plunging Mhardeh into darkness for weeks on end. During a 14-day occupation, rebels graffitied the premises with mottos including: ‘We don’t need the electricity of Assad, the light of Islam is enough for us.’

Dr Habib recounted a little of the history of the terrorist attacks upon his town:

In March 2017, the armed groups cut the road to Hama. We had five martyrs in one week from their subsequent mortar attacks. We still have our bags packed today, ready to flee if we have to. We were so afraid at this point. We were surrounded in the North, East, South and partially to the West. During the East Idlib campaign to liberate these areas, we were targeted mercilessly with daily mortar attacks and threats of invasion.

In 2014 a series of terrorist suicide cars massacred 25 students in Mhardeh. In March 2016, my uncle’s son killed the driver of a suicide car carrying 5T of explosives. He was killed but he prevented a massacre. He was a hero, all the soldiers in the Syrian Arab Army are heroes – if they did not exist, the terrorists would be here now, where we are sitting. We all stand with the SAA and we are proud of their sacrifices for our country and our protection.

Mhardeh women’s volleyball team during practice in the sports hall. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Mhardeh women’s volleyball team during practice in the sports hall. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The Mhardeh described by Dr Habib is a thriving, self-sufficient community that has fiercely defied the extremist threats and attacks. The Mhardeh basketball club was established in 1971. In 2010 they reached the 10th stage of the Syrian League. There are 17 clubs and 170 basketball players in Syria. In 2008 Mhardeh set up the volleyball club. There are now 60 volleyball players in Mhardeh. The womens volleyball team won the Syrian national championships in 2015 and 2016 captained by Lilianne Deeb. I met with this extraordinary group of young women and their coaches during this visit to the remarkable town of Mhardeh.

The Mhardeh women’s volleyball team. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The Mhardeh women’s volleyball team. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Dr Habib left me with one message for people in the West:

Please work to stop spreading the fire of this conflict, stop adding fuel to the flames that threaten to consume us all. If you dont, nobody will win, all Syrians will lose, the whole world will lose. We deserve to be left alone and to live in peace”.

Terrorist Cluster Munitions Target Civilians Prior to Idlib Ceasefire

Just one of the dozens of cluster bomblets strewn around residential areas of Mhardeh after the terrorist attack on 7th September 2018. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Just one of the dozens of cluster bomblets strewn around residential areas of Mhardeh after the terrorist attack on 7th September 2018. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The Mhardeh I visited on the 9th of September was a town in shock. Many of the cluster bomblets had not exploded on impact and were still strewn in gardens, school playgrounds and in the streets. I was in the garden of one of the homes that had been targeted, with a member of the NDF, when he pointed to a bomblet nestled in the earth, beneath a shrub. He called the Russian bomb squad who were working to safely detonate more than 25 deadly bomblets in the town after the attack. They arrived and a young man in uniform picked the bomblet up by its red ribbon and carried it to nearby waste ground. I was able to follow and film as he followed the procedures to destroy the explosive. We ran to take cover as he lit the touch wire and placed the hissing projectile on the ground. After a few minutes the bomblet exploded safely away from civilian areas.

On the 9th of September the death toll stood at 9, by the 19th of September that number had risen to 13 as a number of the victims died from their terrible injuries inflicted by these destructive weapons that should never be used against civilian targets. International law is disregarded on so many levels in Syria, by the regime change alliance of the U.S, U.K and other NATO member states alongside the Gulf States, Turkey and Israel. Perhaps this violation of international law by their terrorist proxies in Syria should not surprise us. For the civilians in Mhardeh, the bloodshed was indescribable and the trauma will affect them for a long time into the future.

I was invited into the home of Simon Al-Wakil, the commander of the NDF in Mhardeh. The NDF in Mhardeh was formed in 2011 when the town first came under attack. Al-Wakil was adamant that they did not want armed conflict to escalate, they tried to reach out to the armed factions and to foster dialogue. He swiftly came to the conclusion that this was not a real “revolution”.

There was no desire to negotiate or to hear what we were saying. We told them if they wanted to attack the Syrian government they should go to Damascus and leave us in peace but when we saw that they had no intention of allowing us to live in peace, we realised that this was a fake revolution.”

Then began the campaign of terror by the armed groups – the siege of the town, the shelling of residential areas, mining of roads and kidnapping of civilians, all familiar tactics used by the Western-backed armed gangs that have roamed across much of Syria. More recently, SAA allied liberation campaigns and Syrian/Russian-brokered Amnesty and Reconciliation deals  have driven the majority of the remaining extremist groups into Idlib where they brace themselves for a final showdown with the Syrian-led forces.

Mhardeh volunteer National Defence Forces on the frontlines with Idlib, occupied by HTS (Al Qaeda rebrand) and assorted extremist groups. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Image on the right: Mhardeh volunteer National Defence Forces on the frontlines with Idlib, occupied by HTS (Al Qaeda rebrand) and assorted extremist groups. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Early on in the conflict in Mhardeh there was little SAA presence and a need to form a volunteer defence force made up of young men from the town, over the age of 18. These young men from all walks of life took up arms under the leadership of Commander Al-Wakil who had formerly been the head of a local construction company. Now the NDF comprises more than 250 fighters who defend a clearly defined territory bordering the Idlib front lines. They are reinforced by SAA units and according to Al-Wakil, are able to call up thousands more volunteers if needed if and when the official order comes to advance upon Idlib.

Commander Simon Al-Wakil shows me the x-ray of the terrorist sniper bullet that lodged in his neck. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)Image on the left: Commander Simon Al-Wakil shows me the x-ray of the terrorist sniper bullet that lodged in his neck. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Al-Wakil has been injured many times in the conflict. He is a larger than life character, tall, well built and with an easily provoked, warm laugh. He proudly showed us an x-ray of a terrorist sniper bullet that had lodged itself in his neck.

We visited the windswept and vulnerable frontlines that overlook the Idlib terrorist strongholds, visible to the naked eye from the hilltop defended by impressive missile launchers. We arrived just as the artillery team prepared to fire one of the big guns at a target they had located – a Jaish Al-Izza position about 2 km away. The deafening blast reverberated around the sandbank defences and buildings that lined the road up to the frontlines. It was a successful hit judging by the cheers that went up as the plume of smoke appeared on the horizon. “We should withdraw,” Al-Wakil said cheerfully, “in case they fire back.

Al Wakil told me that the gun that had been fired had a range of 23 km and they have cameras monitoring the movements of the terrorists.  When they spot any hostile activity they will take preventative action. However, the NDF must follow the political decisions and if there is a ceasefire, this will be respected. In the last two days, the armed groups had clearly broken the “ceasefire”, “therefore these defensive measures are acceptable,” Al Wakil told me.

We never target civilians of course, the civilians are not a part of this hostility.

The artillery team prepare to fire a missile into Jaish Al Izza-controlled territory in Idlib. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The artillery team prepare to fire a missile into Jaish Al Izza-controlled territory in Idlib. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The Horrific Aftermath of the Attack

The “New Life” Hospital – Al Hayat Jadid – is a private hospital in Mhardeh that received the majority of the victims of the terrorist cluster munition attack on the 7th September. I met Dr Rami Hassoun who was exhausted and still shocked by the severity of the injuries he had seen:

These were really critical cases, it is hard to even describe the wounds, they were some of the worst I have ever seen during this war. One person we received died the next day, their wounds were so bad and were immediately infected. We couldn’t save them. It was a massacre, that is the only way to describe what happened.

Hadi Abdullah is the General Director of the hospital, he told me:

The terrorists only ever attack civilian neighbourhoods, never military targets. Why? Children were playing in the street and they deserve to die? Why? The armed groups always attack during our Christian celebrations. Friday, we were celebrating the birth of the Virgin Mary and they murdered our children! Where is the ‘peace and democracy’ in this? All of the groups attack us, Nusra Front, Free Syrian Army, Ahrar Al Sham, Jaish Al Izza – there is no difference between them.

15 year old Ibrahim Fares lying on life support after shrapnel had passed through his brain. He died a few days after my visit. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)Image on the right: 15 year old Ibrahim Fares lying on life support after shrapnel had passed through his brain. He died a few days after my visit. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The doctors took me to see three of the victims who were fighting to recover from their terrible wounds. Luis Sisi was the first I saw, both his legs were in traction, his face and torso were covered in jagged, deep shrapnel wounds. I have seen the effects of war many times, but these injuries were devastating. Luis was barely conscious and did not respond as the doctors and nurses discussed his progress next to his bed.

15 year old Ibrahim Fares lay on the bed in the adjoining room. He was on life support. The shrapnel had passed through his brain and doctors told me they were not hopeful for his recovery. Ibrahim died a few days after my visit.

Daher Lammoth, a Syrian living in Bulgaria but from Mhardeh told me:

Ibrahim’s father Elyas Fares has problems with his back. He was my neighbour. He was a very nice, calm guy, always smiling. He was an electrician and he works next to my home. He dreamed to have a son for such a long time. Elyas did not deserve that. Ibrahim was a lovely son to him.

Ibrahim Fares before the terrorist attack on the 7th September 2018 in Mhardeh. (Photo: Facebook)Image on the left: Ibrahim Fares before the terrorist attack on the 7th September 2018 in Mhardeh. (Photo: Facebook)

Luis’ mother, Anisa Zayod,  was in a separate ward surrounded by her family who were gathered around Anisa as she struggled to survive the damage done to her body. The doctor showed me the wound in her stomach, the shrapnel had sheared through her intestine and the resulting infection was proving tenacious. Anisa was visibly wracked with fever and pain, barely conscious, she died a few days later. She was 65 years old.

Shadi Yousef Shehda lost his three children, his wife and his mother in the Mhardeh massacre. His entire family were wiped out in a matter of hours. Shadi was working in his shop when news reached him of the tragedy. He rushed home to find his entire world had been destroyed in this attack.

Shadi’s mother Afifeh, his wife Rama, his eldest daughter Maria, six-year-old son, Fadi and his two-year-old daughter Stefani had been “sliced to pieces” by the missiles that had been launched by the Western-backed terrorist groups.

Shadi Yousef Shehda shows a photo of his wife, three young children and mother, all killed in a missile attack on their Mhardeh home. Sep 7, 2018. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

Shadi Yousef Shehda shows a photo of his wife, three young children and mother, all killed in a missile attack on their Mhardeh home. Sep 7, 2018. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

Independent journalist, Eva Bartlett met with Shadi on the 11th September and she wrote:

They were martyred just after they took a bath,” Shadi said, pointing to each dead child’s robe, then to their drawings pinned on the wardrobe above, then pointing out the cupboard with his eldest daughter’s drawing, and the toys laid out on a sofa on along wall. He pointed out every detail, lifting each of their backpacks and saying whom they had belonged to.

The family were strong believers and went regularly to church, he told me, repeating again and again how his eldest daughter and son went to church, prayed; how she always wrote, ‘Jesus is love, God is love;’ and how, some days before they were murdered, his son Fadi wanted to take a photo with the church father.

I also met with Shadi on the 14th September when I returned to Mhardeh to pay my respects to the families of all the martyrs during their grieving period. I entered the same open courtyard in front of his home that had been targeted by mortar/rocket fire three times previously. One attack had happened when his wife and children were at home. The rocket had landed on the tiles in front of where we were sitting but had not exploded. This time his wife and children escaped injury but now they were gone.

Shadi with his family celebrating Fadi’s sixth birthday two days before they were all martyred by the terrorist attack. (Photo: Shadi’s Facebook page)

Shadi with his family celebrating Fadi’s sixth birthday two days before they were all martyred by the terrorist attack. (Photo: Shadi’s Facebook page)

Shadi sat next to me and showed me the same photos he had showed Bartlett including heart-shattering images of his children’s broken, mutilated bodies immediately after the attack. He seemed transfixed by the photos, his right leg in spasm, jerking backwards and forwards as if the grief could only escape through his reflexes. Surrounded by mourning relatives and community representatives, Shadi seemed to be locked into an inner world of pain and grief.

Shadi asked me why people in the West do nothing to stop the suffering in Syria and in Mhardeh. “Why do they allow our children to die? What did our children do to them? Our loss and pain is indescribable”

I had no real answer.

Paying My Respects to the Families of Martyrs Killed by Western Imperialism

On the 14th September I arrived in Mhardeh in the early evening to meet with the families of martyrs and to pay my respects. I passed from house to house and sat with the families of the martyrs. I did not visit these people as a journalist but as a human being sharing in their loss and pain. I did not want to intrude upon their tears and agony but I wanted to stand in solidarity with their suffering. Nevertheless each family expressed anger at the inaction of the West and demanded to know why people had stood silent for 8 years while Syrian Christians were being slaughtered by terrorists financed and armed by Western governments who claimed to support the Syrian people.

The photo of 14-year-old Ilias Djerba shown to me by his grandmother. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)Image on the right: The photo of 14-year-old Ilias Djerba shown to me by his grandmother. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

The grandmother of 14 year old Ilias Djbera held my hand as she wept for the loss of her grandson. She showed me his photograph, stroked his face in the photo with her trembling hands. Through her sobs she told me:

He was so beautiful, now he is dead. He was polite and gentle. Look at him, look at him, look how beautiful he is.

Ilias’ mother told me that he had been planning to travel to Sweden to join his father and uncle. They were just waiting for the paperwork to be processed. She told me:

Ilias had ambitions to finish his study in Sweden. I lost my soul. Our children are our soul, why should they be murdered? They are killed every day by the missiles from the terrorist groups. The Western media says we are the criminals and they hide the truth about the reality in Syria. We have been here for thousands of years and we have never bothered anyone, living in this peaceful country.”

I asked Ilias’ mother if she could pass a message to people in the West, this is what she told me:

First I would like to ask them to come to Syria and to see the truth. The media confuses everything, makes us criminals and the terrorists the good people. It is the opposite. All the terrorist groups in Idlib are terrorists, not ‘moderates’. Despite all these attacks, we will stay in this land, we believe in our President, our Army, we will stay in this land forever. The Syrian Arab Army are defending their people, so is our President. Our sons are the SAA, we are all the Syrian people.

Photo of 62-year-old Anwar Nahas hanging on the wall of his house. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)Image on the left: Photo of 62-year-old Anwar Nahas hanging on the wall of his house. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

Mari Hella, the wife of 62 year-old Anwar Nahas told me that her husband had gone to help the children hit by the first rocket that landed close to their home. As he stepped out of the door, a second rocket slammed into the house and killed him. She told me:

We ask all the people over the world to stop killing our children, our people. We love our country and we will never leave, we will stand by this country forever.

The coffin of 13 year-old Selena Saloum with her school bag perched on top. (Photo: Tweet by Kevork Almassian)Image on the right: The coffin of 13 year-old Selena Saloum with her school bag perched on top. (Photo: Tweet by Kevork Almassian)

Ayman Saloum is the father of Lin 4.5 years-old and Selina 13 years-old. He told me his daughters had gone to the shop for their school books, they were killed immediately when the first rocket landed. Through his grief he passed this message on:

My message – they are children, what responsibility do they have? None. We need this war to finish, we need to return to the peace and security that we had before this war started. We are optimistic but people need to understand, we believe in our leadership, in our Army. Only they will return this country to peace and stability. In our prayers, as Christians, we support our Army, our President and our country.

Photo of Amira Karim Zarov, 21 years old martyred in the terrorist attacks on Mhardeh 7/9/2018Image on the left: Photo of Amira Karim Zarov, 21 years old martyred in the terrorist attacks on Mhardeh 7/9/2018

The mother of 21 year old Amira Karim Zarov, a student in the 3rd year of University told me:

She is so beautiful, polite, clever, smart. All the beauty in this world was in her character. We lose her, we lose her, we lose her by these attacks. They targeted children, innocent people. They killed our children. Why!?

Please stop killing us. We love peace, the terrorist groups tried to destroy the beauty of our society. Stop eight years of devastation and destruction that destroyed everything in this town. Please stop, enough targeting of innocent civilians. We have had eight years of being targeted by these terrorist groups, its too much. You must stop these attacks against the Syrian people.

The final visit I made that night was to the family of 65-year-old Anisa Zayod. They remembered seeing me in the hospital when their mother was still battling to stay alive. Mikhail Sali was the husband of Anisa’s daughter and he spoke good english. He was adamant that his message should be spread far and wide.

The matter is clear. Syria was a peaceful country before. We had everything we needed. Once Europe and America started to corrupt our country, they created division and war. They created the enemies of our government. They created ISIS. They cover them from one side and attack them from the other, but it is their creation.

This union of the U.K, the U.S and Europe are attacking Syria for their own benefit not for our benefit. We don’t need these countries. Let them leave us alone, we can manage our own affairs. These people, these terrorists cannot survive in a lawful country so they are trying to destroy our country. People are dying for nothing, honest people, innocent people.

We are in danger all the time from mortars and rockets. Let the people in the West tell their governments to remove their hand from our country, we don’t want them to control us like animals, we are human beings. We have a government, a good system, a good President, a good way of life. We don’t want this war, we want the terrorists to go back to the countries that created them, armed them, supported them. My President and my government are ready and capable of defending this country.

The terrorists threaten us every day. They send us videos taunting us. Recently they have told us they will attack us with chemical weapons. We live with this threat, our children live with this threat, enough, please it’s enough.

The funeral of the martyrs in Mhardeh. (Photo: Mhardeh Facebook page)

The funeral of the martyrs in Mhardeh. (Photo: Mhardeh Facebook page)

The people of Syria are effectively under siege by the West, their client states in the Gulf and Israel, and they are being creep-annexed by these states and Turkey. They are under constant threat of attack from the invading Western proxies that comprise some of the most battle-hardened brutally sectarian militants and terrorists the world has ever witnessed.

The Syrian people demand peace, they demand to be released from the threat of Western “democracy” that has broken the heart of almost every family in Syria and left many destitute, displaced,penniless and grief-stricken. The Christian town of Mhardeh lies at the borders of this Idlib nest of terror that has been incubated in Turkey, financed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, but is the Frankenstein of the West – they ask us to help them lift our government’s hands from their country. It is the least we can do to support the courage of these people who have refused to submit to the pressure of economic, media and military terrorism during an eight year imperialist “humanitarian”-intervention-war.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on UK Column.

Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and associate editor at 21st Century Wire. Vanessa was a finalist for one of the most prestigious journalism awards – the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism – whose winners have included the likes of Robert Parry in 2017, Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Nick Davies and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism team. 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Mhardeh – A Syrian Christian Town Besieged and Targeted by the West
  • Tags: ,

Iran is Israel’s main regional rival – yet poses no threat to the Jewish state or any others.

For decades, Israeli regimes urged Washington to wage war on Iran, wanting its main regional rival and all others eliminated.

The infamous 1982 Oded Yinon document titled “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” explained Israel’s agenda in clear, unambiguous detail – a regional divide and conquer strategy, needing US involvement to work.

The scheme was likely updated several times, the objective unchanged, including a greater Israel through a redrawn Middle East map.

To survive, the Jewish state believes it must dominate the region and become a world power.

Achieving its objective requires partitioning Arab nations into smaller ones along ethnic and sectarian lines as Israeli satellite client states.

Israel’s 1967 Six Day War, seizing the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Syria’s Golan, and Lebanese territory followed the plan.

So did its aggression on Lebanon in 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, and 2006, along with occupying the country’s south up to the Litani River, remaining for 18 years until withdrawing in May 2000.

It still illegally holds the Ghajar Lebanese village bordering Golan, along with Sheba Farms, a 14-square mile water-rich area near Syria’s Golan.

The late Israel Shahak said longstanding Israeli plans for regional control follow German “geopolitical ideas (from) 1890 – 1933, which were swallowed whole by Hitler and the Nazi movement, and determined their aims for East Europe.”

Yinon called all Arab states east of Israel “riddled with inner conflicts.” The Saudi and other Gulf states are “built upon a delicate house of sand in which there is only oil.”

Jordan is in reality Palestine, Amman the same as Nablus, other regional Arab states similar, he said.

Since its 1979 revolution, Iran above all other regional states is Israel’s main target for elimination.

A dubious Israeli/Saudi alliance wants the Islamic Republic destroyed, falsely portraying the country as a regional threat.

Netanyahu repeatedly lies about an Iranian nuclear weapons program. None exists. The Jewish state is the only regional armed and dangerous nuclear power, along with maintaining banned chemical, biological and other terror weapons.

In November 2017, former Obama regime secretary of state John Kerry said Israel, the Saudis and Egypt pushed Obama to bomb Iran before the JCPOA nuclear deal was concluded.

Netanyahu was “genuinely agitating toward action,” Kerry stressed, Israel wanting US help to advance its hegemonic agenda.

After eliminating Iraq as a regional rival, Syria was supposed to be next, isolating Iran, followed by a similar scheme to topple its government.

Things didn’t go as planned. Russia’s intervention to help Damascus combat US-supported terrorism turned virtually certain defeat into likely eventual triumph.

Perhaps it’s why Trump pulled out of the JCPOA and imposed what his regime called the toughest ever sanctions on the country – unlikely to succeed as intended because of world community opposition.

Israeli and US hardliners are looking for ways to provoke Iran into something perhaps leading to direct confrontation, a way to blame the Islamic Republic for actions taken against it.

False flags and similar provocations are longstanding US ways for launching wars.

On Sunday, the NYT said “(t)op Saudi intelligence officials close to crown prince Mohammad bin Salman” were involved in a 2017 plot to assassinate kingdom enemies – Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani on their target list.

Attempting or succeeding to kill him would no doubt provoke Iranian retaliation, perhaps used as a pretext for military confrontation – possible full scale war, what Israel and the Saudi have long wanted.

If Iran retaliates against either country militarily, Washington would likely be drawn in to protect its allies, regimes in Rihadh and Tel Aviv achieving their long sought aims.

Israel, the Saudis and Washington want Iran’s economy sabotaged – what toughest ever US sanctions are all about.

Solemani is heavily involved in helping Syria and Iraq combat US-supported ISIS and other terrorists – in an advisory capacity.

The Trump regime’s Iran Action Group is all about plotting regime change.

If sanctions and other destabilizing efforts fail like every time before for nearly 40 years, is US aggression next – Israel achieving what it’s long sought, mindless of how war on Iran could affect the entire region.

If Russia intervenes as in Syria, direct confrontation with Washington could follow, risking possible global war with nukes, the ultimate nightmare scenario.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Israel’s Strategy for War on Iran. The “Greater Israel” Project. The Dangers of an All Out Middle East War?
  • Tags: ,

Steps Forward in Free Access to Urban Public Transport

November 13th, 2018 by Lukasz Lugowski

Thirty years of neoliberal domination, culminating in the economic crisis that began in 2008, have resulted in the introduction of charges for public service throughout Europe, particularly for education and health services. But this is not the case in all public services. In recent years there has been a renaissance of free public transport, particularly in Eastern Europe. While in Hasselt in Belgium or Colomiers in France – cities that were until recently symbols of the success of free public transport in Western Europe – tickets have been reintroduced as part of the neoliberal trend to charge for services, in the East candidates for local power compete with each other in many cities on the basis of free public transport. Currently, it is possible to travel free of charge in more than 100 cities around the world. And Poland and Estonia are at the forefront in this field.

When in 2012 the Free Trade Union “August 80” (WZZ “Sierpien 80”) started the campaign for free public transport in Poland, to fight against the increasingly frequent and high ticket price increases throughout the country, public transport was free in only two cities. Today there are 44 Polish cities that practice it, from the small town of Swieradow-Zdroj [1] – 5,000 inhabitants, but invaded by tourists and their cars in high season, whose free public transport is common with the Czech city Nove Mesto pod Smrkem [2] – to the canton of Lubin with a total population of 106,000. . [3]

Many other cities are considering establishing free public transport and it may be that next year the city of Czestochowa will be part of the lot – it is a larger city than Dunkirk in France and it would be the third largest European city with free public transport.

At first, mayors in many cities considered the idea of free public transport absurd and the media treated our initiatives as a curiosity, if they ever mentioned them. We cannot therefore fail to ask the question: why is Poland now ahead of the curve in this area? It is not easy to answer them, as free transport is introduced for many reasons.

In some cities, the decision is taken during the reconstruction of roads and bridges, as is currently the case in Konin, a city in west-central Poland with a population of 75,000. Often, once the work is finished, public transport remains free. Elsewhere, it is the citizens themselves who adopt a civic budget. The campaign led by “August 80” gave ideas to managers in many other cities. This was the case, for example, in Lubin, the largest Polish conurbation where this idea was implemented. Sometimes it is the budgetary reasons that decide: for example at Ząbki – a city of 35,000 inhabitants located near Warsaw – the right to free transport is limited to those who pay their taxes in the city. Free public transport is introduced both by more or less on the leftwing local government and by those on the far right. Some local politicians promised it during the 2014 municipal campaign and those who were elected have generally fulfilled this promise. Finally, in Poland, as in the other countries of the former Eastern bloc, free public transport for some parts of the population has often been preserved, which simplifies the issue by simply extending it.

Perhaps we will witness the creation of regional networks of free public transport, similar to the one that operates in the canton of Lubin. In this part of the Lower Silesia region, free transport also exists in Polkowice, an industrial city of 22,000 inhabitants in the Lower Silesia region, and in some agglomerations of its canton, in Lubin and throughout its canton and in some agglomerations of the canton of Legnica, an industrial city (copper smelter) with 100,000 inhabitants in Lower Silesia, which between 1945 and 1993 was the headquarters of the Northern Group of the Soviet Army (occupying one third of the city). One can only wish for the creation of an inter-cantonal union of free public transport, an idea already under discussion. In the very near future, we could therefore see a large region with free transport.

Debates on free access

In Poland, the city of Żory in Upper Silesia is best known for its free public transport. [4] It was one of the first cities to make this decision, when our campaign for free public transport had grown. The issue was then discussed in almost all departments – in town halls, local media and on the streets.

“You see, they are still increasing ticket prices and it will turn out that their resources will decrease again, while they could lower prices or introduce free tickets,” said an old man in front of the newsstand in Katowice, before the introduction of free tickets at Żory, reacting to the price increase of KZK GOP, the local public transport operator, then in the Upper Silesian metropolitan area, now in the Silesian Metropolis-Zagłębie. [5]

In these discussions we could also hear: “But I don’t agree, because then homeless people will travel on buses”, often accompanied by “and they will stink”. Many people reacted in this way, from members of ultraliberal parties to civil servants in charge of public transport. This is an absurd argument, which has nothing to do with free public transport and only emphasises the need to solve the problem of homelessness, and therefore access to housing.

Today, in local government there are not many people left to propose increases in ticket prices. Instead, they are reduced and the demand for free transport for schoolchildren is present in each urban area. In recent years, Poland has become the world leader in providing free municipal public transport. In addition, in several dozen other cities, free travel has been partially introduced, for schoolchildren, the unemployed, motorists (e. g. in Zakopane), in city centres (e. g. in Kielce) or for everyone but only during weekends, on selected routes. It is also planned to introduce it this year only during the tourist season (in Szczyrk, Silesia). [6]

Rather, we hear that it is a good idea, but difficult to realize, because the city does not have the means… Yet, the truth is that all cities have the means. It is only a question of budgetary choice.

The effects of free access

It should also be taken into account that free public transport at Żory has proved to be less expensive than when it was paid for. Because it is an investment that pays off in the form of reduced road accidents, cleaner air, reduced noise, faster arrival of medical emergencies (due to the de-cluttering of streets), the abolition of ticket infrastructure costs, and also in the form of increased activity for older people, which is so important for disease prevention.

In almost all cities, since the introduction of free public transport, there has been an increase in the number of passengers and a reduction in car traffic. In Lubin, the number of passengers increased immediately by 50% and, one year later, by 100%! At Żory it has been multiplied by 3! Difficulties in finding parking spaces in the city centre have also disappeared in many of the cities concerned, whereas before it was impossible to park there. Everyone is pleased about this, from town halls that have decided to launch into it, to passengers and former motorists, to scientists. Kazimierz Kłosek, a professor at the Silesian Polytechnic School, one of the most favourable scientists for this project, concluded an interview: “I can’t find any weak points there. ” [7] The stubbornness of the officials involved in organising public transport who are fighting against this idea – not only in Poland, but throughout Europe – is all the more surprising.

Mobility and access to parking spaces are not the only improvements due to free public transport. The most important effect, often forgotten in debates on this subject, is first and foremost the opening up of access to transport for the poorest – both young people and employees, and especially the elderly.

Nowhere in the world is public transport financed by ticket prices alone. It is always subsidized. In Poland almost everywhere more than half of this budget comes from taxes. In other words, travellers without tickets, treated like criminals, arrested and taken to police stations when they refuse to pay the fine immediately, have already paid for their trip… by paying their taxes. The poor, who travel without tickets, are simply treated as criminals because they are poor. This is because the law protects the interests of car manufacturers and motorists, not those of public transport passengers. By parking a car without immediately paying the price, you usually have two weeks to pay the fine, because you take into account that the driver may lack resources. But caught without a ticket on a bus, you have to pay the fine immediately, often more expensive than the one for parking and without the two-week deadline. Otherwise we’re being sued by a bailiff.

In Lubin it was noted that the courts freed up when they no longer had to deal with passengers without tickets. “It is estimated that we have already saved around one million zlotys” because the courts are working, explains Lubin Mayor Robert Raczyński. [8] The total cost of public transport in Lubin is 14 million zlotys. Before free tickets covered only 5 million, so a saving of one million is a significant part of what the city’s budget had to add to make public transport free.

Both in Lubin and at Żory, it has been noted that, since public transport became free, older people, who until then had remained at home, are moving around the city and can take care of what they were previously postponing, unable to pay for tickets. Many of them now take the bus to the city centre to do their shopping, whereas before they didn’t. Traders, cinemas, bars and restaurants confirm this remark: their sales have increased… as have the taxes paid into the municipal coffers. In Lubin, the elderly have started to frequent allotments again, often bringing back new plants. What better way to spend a warm weekend than in the working-class garden, which can be accessed free of charge.

Free public transport in Estonia….

From 9 to 12 May 2018, an international conference on free public transport was held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Mayors, presidents and activists from all over the world shared their experiences and knowledge in the field of free public transport and the results of its introduction. As the initiators of this project in Poland, the activists of the free trade union “August 80” participated in this conference.

Together with Estonia, Poland is now an example in this field. And other Eastern European countries may soon follow in our footsteps. However, the paradox is that while more and more Polish mayors are deciding to introduce free public transport, many cantons and rural villages remain without access to public transport, cut off from the rest of the country. From this point of view, Poland is a country of extreme inequality: some already have free transport, while others have no access at all to public transport and if they do not have a car or driving licence, are condemned to stay at home.

It seems that Estonia will soon take another step forward. This country – the first where it has become possible to take the bus, tramway, trolley and train for free in the capital – wants to introduce free buses throughout its territory. If it does, it will become the first country in the world where public transport service from the rural village to the capital will be a right and not a commodity.

“The Minister of Economy and the Minister of Infrastructure have promised free public transport for all from 1 July 2018,” Allan Alaküla from Tallinn when we interviewed him in Tallinn during the conference. Until then, only those who paid their taxes in Tallinn could travel to the city for free. Free public transport was introduced on 1 January 2013 and since then there has been an increase in the number of passengers and a reduction in car traffic. I must say that while I was there for the conference, I didn’t see any traffic jams…

When hearing about free travel in Tallinn, many neoliberals argued that the means of transport in the Estonian capital were old and in poor condition. As if it depended on whether we have tickets or not! When public transport was charged for in Tallinn, its rolling stock was already old. This accusation was supposed to call into question the idea of free public transport… Today, however, the same people no longer say anything. Why? Why? Because the world capital of free public transport – the name claimed by Tallinn – has already changed almost all of its trams: 60 are new out of 85 on wheels and the others are in the process of being completely renovated. There are also new buses and trolleybuses (partly imported from Poland). The same applies to railway rolling stock, which has also been replaced – and in Tallinn the trains are also free of charge! It is in these trains that the increase in the number of passengers has been the most significant: their number has been multiplied by 8! Tallinn is also investing in the development of its public transport network. Tram lines are now going to previously unserved neighbourhoods and suburbs. It is therefore wrong to say that free transport means non-renewal, it is the opposite, according to the experiences of the cities that have carried it out…

Tallinn, the first capital in the world to offer free public transport, has been promoting this idea for several years. Not only are the results very satisfactory, but the city has also made itself known – an unexpected tourist promotion effect. It is really a remarkable city, because not only is it the first capital to introduce such a solution, but it will also be the first country to introduce free buses throughout its territory. The Estonians have taken an important decision, they have taken a giant step forward in making public transport free of charge.

…and in Dunkirk, Tübingen, Avesta

In the north of France, the Dunkirk conurbation, which has more than 200,000 inhabitants, will have free public transport from 1 September this year. It will therefore be the largest city in France implementing this solution. For the moment, transport is free on weekends. It was a test for this type of public transport. The results indicate that the idea was excellent and that it should be generalized to everyone throughout the week, as traffic has decreased and the number of passengers has increased. Dunkirk has the same experience as Polish cities in activating older people. Now they attend cinemas, parks and restaurants instead of staying in front of the television. The results of free access throughout the week can only be even better, but we have to wait another year to confirm this.

Tübingen is a city of 90,000 inhabitants in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, which is starting to introduce free public transport, first on Saturdays. The authorities have prepared themselves very professionally for this, carrying out a study to find out how many additional buses will be needed, how many more passengers will be needed and how many more will need to be added by investing in its development. It will be the largest German city introducing free public service.

Avesta, a small Swedish industrial town (23,500 inhabitants), 150 km northwest of Stockholm, introduced free public transport in 2012. The city was depopulated before the introduction of free public transport, but since then it has had 2,000 more inhabitants, which is a significant increase. As in the cases mentioned above, the number of bus passengers has increased… multiplied by 5. Similarly, car traffic has decreased and the number of pedestrians has also increased. But the most interesting thing is that paid transport cost the city 23.6 million Swedish crowns. If free access had been introduced only for children and schoolchildren, the cost would have been $31.8 million. But the decision to make it free has been made and today it costs… only 23.7 million crowns!

Projects in Bucharest, Vilnius, Sophia, Bratislava and… Paris!

The small town of Lugoj (38,000 inhabitants) was the first city in Romania to introduce free public transport in 2013. Since then, initiatives spreading this idea have multiplied and the number of cities where public transport is even partially free has increased. The 2016 municipal elections in Bucharest – the capital of Romania with a population of 2.5 million – were won by Gabriela Firea, whose main slogan was free public transport.

In Vilnius (Lithuania, 550,000 inhabitants) this will be the main electoral argument of one of the mayoral candidates, who is likely to win. In Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava (450,000 inhabitants), free public transport was at the centre of the election campaign. And in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia (1.3 million inhabitants), activists are continuing to spread the idea.

The biggest surprise at this conference came from Paris. The municipality commissioned an in-depth analysis with a view to the possible introduction of free public transport in 2020. [9] If Paris, one of Europe’s largest cities, decided to offer free public transport, it would also be the first city to have a free metro… if Bucharest does not get ahead of it.

Free public transport is on the rise all over the world, not only in Europe. In China too, in Chengdu (14 million inhabitants), public transport is free of charge during peak hours. In Brazil, you can travel free of charge to 12 cities, the largest of which, Maricá, covers 362 km2 and has 153,000 inhabitants. It is also a country where protests against the increase in ticket prices have mobilized hundreds of thousands of demonstrators and where the demand for free public transport is very strong.

Like health and education services, public transport service must be a right and not a commodity – a good idea that is spreading!

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Lukasz Lugowski, activist of the Free Trade Union “August 80”, is one of the initiators and coordinator of the campaign for free public transport in Poland.

Notes

  1. Swieradow-Zdroj is a spa town in Lower Silesia, on the border of the Czech Republic. Public transport has been free of charge since 16 June 2016.
  2. Nove Mesto pod Smrkem, 4,000 inhabitants, in Bohemia.
  3. The canton of Lubin – city of copper mines and their transformation – also includes the cities of Scinawa and Rudna and has 106,000 inhabitants over an area of 712 km2.
  4. Żory (62,000 inhabitants) in Upper Silesia, was an essentially mining town until the restructuring of the mines in 2003.
  5. The Metropolis of Haute-Silésie-Zagłębie (Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolia), whose centre is the city of Katowice, was created in July 2017. It has a population of 2.3 million.
  6. Zakopane (27,000 inhabitants) is a tourist city located below the Tatras mountains, it is the winter sports capital of Poland. Kielce is a city of almost 200,000 inhabitants in central-eastern Poland. Szczyrk (5,500 inhabitants) is a tourist town and ski resort in the Beskids, in southern Poland.
  7. Municipal elections will take place in spring 2020 in France.

Featured image is from The Bullet.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Steps Forward in Free Access to Urban Public Transport

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who declared “sunny ways” were back after the last election, continues to waffle on what is to be done about the Khashoggi killing in Turkey by the Saudi Arabians.  The problem is being “investigated” and more consultation is to be held.  The real problem as presented by CBC news tonight (Monday, November 12, 2018) is the combination of possible loss of jobs in London, Ontario, and the large penalty stated to be one billion dollars for an abrogation of the contract to sell hundreds of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The sales contract is “secret” and thus most of the details will never be known, other than the cost of $15 billion (Canadian) and the penalty.

The CBC had some of their usual pundits expressing their opinions on the subject.  Charles Adler, a strong right wing advocate came out strongly on the moral case, indicating that regardless of the state of the contract to sell many hundreds of weapons to the Saudis, Canada should simply say no deal.

Opposing that moral view, pundit Tim Powers presented the argument, “it’s about business and politics.”  Yes, it certainly is, as Trudeau waffles and Conservative opposition leader Andrew Scheer dodges the question (it was a Harper Conservative deal finalized in 2014).  Powers big question does not even consider Yemen, as he wonders “who would be punished here?” in reference to the supposed 3 thousand jobs at stake in London, Ontario.  He reiterates later, “Why should we punish the people of London, Ontario?”

Those poor people of London, Ontario, for whom life will go on, work will continue as the contracting company is not just producing for this one sale.  Sure wouldn’t want to stop killing Yemen citizens in order to protect Canadian workers who are in little if any danger from anything.

Seeing as how Mr. Powers is so concerned about money and job losses, perhaps we need to see the contract through another perspective.  Deaths in Yemen were officially 10 thousand two years ago, and the fighting has only become more violent, with more deaths from disease and starvation.  The final tally could easily be 100 thousand deaths – and current deaths are estimated as high as 50 thousand so that figure is within easy reach.  If we apply the one billion penalty Canada must pay for cancelling the contract, it works out that each Yemeni death is worth $10,000 in order to maintain the contract.

So what will it be Canada?  Taking the correct moral stance as indicated by Charles Adler, or should we avoid the penalty and kill more Yemenis in order to save $10,000 a head?  Although putting a price on each head for the cancellation of the sale is rather crass, it is even more brutal to think Canada is reaping a war crimes profit of $14.7 billion dollars in order to support Saudi killing in Yemen.  At that price, we will have earned $50 thousand per Yemeni head, plus the 10 thousand for not abrogating the deal, for a total head toll of $60 thousand – pretty good hunting, eh?

Real moral leaders, real peacekeepers, we support Saudi war crimes, and support the Saudi dictatorial theocracy that also supports ISIS and al-Qaeda.  Way to go Canada, eh!

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Jim Miles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

On November 10th, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) announced that its special forces attacked a position of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the Turkman mount in Northern Lattakia. The terrorist group claimed that 10 Syrian soldiers were killed.

Earlier on the same day, the group claimed that its special forces killed 18 Syrian soldiers and 7 Russian service members during an attack of an “operations room” of the SAA in the village of al-Tarbi’a in the northern Hama countryside.

Omar al-Mahmoud, an HTS military commander told the group’s news network Iba’a that the attack was a response to an SAA attack on a position of Jaysh al-Izza on the previous day. The attack reportedly left more than 23 Jaysh al-Izza fighters and commanders dead. The casualties were confirmed by the militant group. In both cases, HTS claims were not confirmed by any vide or photo evidence.

On November 11, sporadic clashes  between militants and the SAA continued in northern Hama and northern Lattakia.

Newly released satellite images on November 9th revealed that Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian coastal governorate of Lattakia is currently hosting 24 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. Eight Su-24, six Su-34, four Su-35 warplanes, an A-50 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) plane, an Il-38 maritime patrol and anti-submarine plane, an IL-20 signal intelligence plane, an Il-76 cargo plane, an An-26 transport plane and an An-74 cargo plane were spotted on the images.

In October satellite images revealed that Russian forces were building eighteen hardened aircraft shelters in order to defend aircraft for possible rocket and UAV attacks.

On November 10th, SAA artillery and rocket launchers shelled ISIS fortifications in the area of al-Safa. The shelling was reportedly the most violent since the beginning of the army operation in the area two months ago. According to a source deployed on the ground, the shelling is part of ongoing preparations to launch a new ground attack on the terrorist group positions around al-Safa.

Also, an ISIS fighter who was captured by the SAA during the operation to save hostages captured in al-Suwayda revealed that the terrorist group’s cell in al-Safa is receiving direct military support from a US-led coalition base in the border area of al-Tanaf.

On November 9th, Mustafa Bali, the head of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) press center claimed that SDF members and US troops participated in an “airborne operation” to capture a “prominent ISIS leader” in the province of Raqqah. No additional information was provided.

In March 2017, the US-led coalition employed its troops to carry out an airborne assault to capture the Tabqah dam from ISIS while SDF units were approaching the nearby town of Tabqah, the Tabqah airport and the dam itself from several directions. Then, the SDF was also claiming that its fighters were actively participated in the operation. However, in fact, it appeared that most of the work was done by US-led coalition troops.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

It’s not often that US Government officials are honest when they talk about our foreign policy. The unprovoked 2003 attack on Iraq was called a “liberation.” The 2011 US-led destruction of Libya was a “humanitarian intervention.” And so on.

So, in a way, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was refreshingly honest last week when, speaking about newly-imposed US sanctions, he told the BBC that the Iranian leadership “has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.” It was an honest admission that new US sanctions are designed to starve Iranians unless the Iranian leadership accepts US demands.

His statement also reveals the lengths to which the neocons are willing to go to get their “regime change” in Iran. Just like then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it” that half a million Iraqi children died because of our sanctions on that country, Pompeo is letting us know that a few million dead Iranians is also “worth it” if the government in Tehran can be overthrown.

The US Secretary of State has demanded that Iran “act like a normal country” or the US would continue its pressure until Iran’s economy crumbles. How twisted is US foreign policy that Washington considers it “normal” to impose sanctions specifically designed to make life miserable – or worse – for civilians!

Is it normal to threaten millions of people with starvation if their leaders refuse to bow down to US demands? Is the neoconservative obsession with regime change “normal” behavior? Is training and arming al-Qaeda in Syria to overthrow Assad “normal” behavior? If so, then perhaps Washington’s neocons have a point. As Iran is not imposing sanctions, is not invading its neighbors, is not threatening to starve millions of Americans unless Washington is “regime-changed,” perhaps Iran is not acting “normal.”

So what is normal?

The continued Saudi genocide in Yemen does not bother Washington a bit. In fact, Saudi aggression in Yemen is viewed as just another opportunity to strike out at Iran. By making phony claims that Yemen’s Houthis are “Iran-backed,” the US government justifies literally handing the Saudis the bombs to drop on Yemeni school busses while claiming it is fighting Iranian-backed terrorism! Is that “normal”?

Millions of Yemenis face starvation after three years of Saudi attacks have destroyed the economy and a Saudi blockade prohibits aid from reaching the suffering victims, but Secretary Pompeo recently blamed Yemeni starvation on, you guessed it: Iran!

And in a shocking display of cynicism, the US government is reportedly considering listing Yemen’s Houthis as a “terrorist” organization for the “crime” of fighting back against Saudi (and US) aggression. Labeling the Yemeni resistance a “terrorist” organization would effectively “legalize” the ongoing Saudi destruction of Yemen, as it could be justified as just another battle in the “war on terror.” It would also falsely identify the real culprits in the Yemen tragedy as Iran, which is repeatedly and falsely called the “number one sponsor of terrorism” by Pompeo and the rest of the Trump Administration neocons.

So yes, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told one wicked truth last week. But before he demands that countries like Iran start acting “normal” or face starvation, perhaps he should look in the mirror. Are Pompeo and the neocons “normal”? I don’t think so.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from The Anti-Media

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’? “The Lengths to which the Neocons are Willing to go to get their “Regime Change” in Iran”
  • Tags: ,

In the contemporary world, western imperialist propagandists, particularly journalists and editors of the mass media, have resorted to perverting everyday concepts and the language of politics.

The use and abuse of the language of politics has served to blame victims and to justify imperial aggressors. The consequences are multiple, both in legitimizing war crimes and economic plunder, as well as neutralizing domestic opposition.

We will proceed by identifying the key terminology which furthers imperial aggression. We will then describe the economic and political objectives of linguistic imperialism.

We will conclude by examining the political/cultural alternatives.

Critique of Concepts:  Nationalism and Populism 

The most abused and obfuscated concept in the modern imperial lexicon is ‘populism’.

In its original meaning ‘populism’ referred to mass movements composed of exploited workers.  Popular movements fought oligarchical bankers and media moguls.

At the turn of the 19th and the early decades of the 20th century, populists formed powerful political movements and electoral parties  in the US, Canada, Russia and Western Europe.

By the mid 20th century, populist parties and movements multiplied, and in some cases, came to power in Asia and Latin America.  Populist movements gained mass support in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Mexico.  In the United States populist parties and movement represented farmers who fought railroad monopolies, bankers and corrupt political bosses.  Their objective was to secure fair market prices for transport , moderate interest rates from banks and honest elections, free of corruption by political bosses.Populists elected several governors,scores of mayors and several state legislaturers.

 In Latin America, populist parties in Peru (APRA) fought for indigenous rights, opposing   neo-colonial and oligarchical rule.In Argentina, Brazil and Mexico populist parties led by Juan Peron, Getulio Vargas and Lazaro Cardenas fought and secured workers’ rights, and national ownership of essential resources (especially the oil fields).  They successfully launched national industrialization programs.

Similar developments took place in China, the Philippines, Indo-China and India.  Nationalism and populism were the twin motors of independence and social justice.

Nationalism was based on ending imperial domination and recovering national cultural values free from colonial impositions. By the turn of the 21st century with the rise and advance of post-colonial regimes, the western imperial powers sought to denigrate the movements and parties which questioned their legitimacy.

No longer could the imperial powers rely on the ideology of beneficent empires (“the white mans’ burden”).  Nor could they claim that foreign capital exploitation and pillage were serving ‘nation-building’.

Imperial ideology resorted to distorting and reverting the positive concepts associated with liberation struggles into their opposite.  Instead they associated populism with oppressive and authoritarian doctrines of regressive regimes.

Populism was emptied of its original emancipatory content and replaced by, and associated with reactionary, racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, fascist ideology.

Any and all popular mass movements, independent of their socio-economic content, were painted with the same regressive content.  Likewise, nationalism was linked with  neo-fascists who expelled minorities and migrants.

As a corollary the imperial ideologies presented US and European empire builders as inclusive upholders of democratic values who fought against ‘nationalists’.

The Use and Abuse of Populism and Nationalism

The principal enemies of ‘populism’ are staunch western neo-liberal ruling classes and their venomous scribes in the Financial Times, New York Times; the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Anti-populism in defense of ‘western democratic values’ serves as pseudo-progressive propaganda in favor of imperialism.  The anti-populist rhetoric amalgamates rightists and leftists, chauvinists and defenders of national independence.

The purpose was to justify  US and EU multiple imperial wars and coups throughout Asia, the Middle East, North and East Africa and Latin America.

While the ‘virtuous’ anti populist and anti-nationalist rabble-rousing media, condemn the populists they promote and defend murderous western wars and coups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Honduras, Somalia, South Sudan, Venezuela and the Ukraine.

‘Anti-nationalism’ serves to disarm pro-independence critics of imperialism and to ‘legitimize’ western leaders.  Media ideologues attacked rightists, ‘nationalists’, who attack immigrants but obfuscated the fact that the immigrants were victims of western imperial military invasions.

Rightist domestic nationalists and neo-liberal imperialists reflect two-sides of the same coin. One excited the nationalist passions of the masses, the other proceeded to satisfy the voracious appetite for capitalist profits.

Anti-populism and nationalism, were the driving force of neo-liberal elites which exploits the domestic workforce  and attacks social welfare and workplace democracy. They portrayed popular social movements as versions of ‘populism to be condemned as enemies of free-markets and free elections.

Nationalists opposed to imperial wars are denigrated as authoritarian enemies of western security, globalization and democratic values.

Conclusion

US and EU imperialism face adversaries from within and without.  Domestic opposition has turned against costly wars and financial profiteering and has turned in favor of greater welfare.

In desperate need for a new ideological defense, the western powers have fabricated new enemies, labeled ‘populists’, a disguise for supporting economic oligarchs.  The western elites seek to undermine anti-imperialists by lumping them with far-right nationalists.  

The ideologists of western imperialism have other propaganda tools.  National independence militants are equated with ‘terrorists’.  Russian defenders of secure borders are described as authoritarian expansionists. China’s international economic networks are dubbed  ‘colonial debts collectors’.

The mass media’s drum beat is necessary to obfuscate reality.  The US and EU have nearly 200 overseas military bases throughout the world.  China has a tiny base in East Africa.

The US has a string of military bases surrounding China.  Beijing lacks a single overseas military base surrounding the US.

While western colonial and neo-colonial elites plunder Asia, Africa and Latin America, China finances infrastructure, invests in productive enterprises and does not operate military bases to intervene in Third World countries.

The US and Europe hijack progressive concepts like populists and invert their meaning, into regressive reactionary movements, parties and personalities.

Pro-imperial colonialist racist labels are pinned on ‘nationalists’ many of whom are defenders of national sovereignty and oppose imperial hegemony.  Political language at the service of empire is no virtue!

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Cultural Imperialism: Linguistic Perversion and Obfuscation of Empire Building

Video: Gaza Is on Edge of Israeli Ground Invasion

November 13th, 2018 by South Front

The Gaza Strip is on the brink of a large-scale Israeli military intervention.

The current round of escalation started on November 11 when a covert unit of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) opened fire at a patrol of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, in the town of Khan Yunis inside the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) supported the retreating IDF unit by airstrikes. At least 7 Palestinians, including Nur Barake, a deputy commander of an elite unit of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and a lieutenant colonel of the IDF were killed in the clashes. Another IDF service member was injured.

In response to the raid, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades launched at least 17 projectiles at Israeli targets east of Gaza. 3 of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome. The IDF described the Palestinian retaliation as an act of the terror and claimed that its covert operation in Gaza was not aimed at killing or abducting anybody, but “to strengthen Israeli security”.

The incident triggered a mass hysteria within Israeli media and political leadership, with multiple reports and statements calling for a wider military action against Hamas. Over the past few weeks, the IDF has concentrated a notable ground force, including battle tanks and other military equipment, near the Gaza contact line amid similar statements from top Israeli officials calling for an invasion in Gaza.

In the evening, of November 12, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades kicked off a new round of rocket strikes on Israeli targets by launching at least 80 projectiles. The IDF responded by a massive airstrike on the Gaza Strip. In the framework of this effort, the IDF intentionally destroyed the building of the Al-Aqsa TV network to undermine the Palestinian media capabilities in the conflict.

By November 13 morning, Palestinian armed groups have launched over 370 rockets at different targets across Israel, including some on the coast of the Dead Sea. They avoided to strike the most populated areas in central Israel, but warned that if the IDF continues its actions they can do this. Additionally, a unit of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades also targeted an IDF bus with anti-tank guided missile.

According to the IDF, about 100 of 370 rockets were intercepted. Meanwhile, the IDF has continued its massive strikes on Gaza claiming that up to 100 military targets have been destroyed so far.

The IDF is actively deploying additional troops and battle tanks near Gaza and if the situation continues to escalate the ground operation may be launched in the nearest future.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

“The M5S (5 Star Movement) divided about the Sicilian maxi-radar”, headlined the Corriere della Sera, thereby spreading a maxi fake news – not about the directorate of the 5 Star Movement,  which, after having won an electoral consensus with the “No MUOS” in Sicily, is now backing off  – but about the very object of the dispute.

By defining the MUOS station in Niscemi as a “maxi-radar”, they are fooling public opinion into believing that it is an Earth-bound electronic scanning device, and therefore defensive. But on the contrary, the MUOS  (Mobile User Objective System) is a new satellite communications system which extends the offensive capacity of the United States to the whole planet.

The system, developed by Lockheed Martin for the US Navy, is composed of an initial configuration of four satellites (plus one in reserve) in a geo-stationary orbit, and linked to four terrestrial stations – two in the United States (Hawaï and Virginia), one in Sicily and one in Australia. The four stations are linked by a network of terrestrial and submarine fibre-optic cables (the station in Niscemi is connected directly to the station in Virginia).

The MUOS, which is already in function, will become fully operational in the summer of 2019, attaining a capacity 16 times superior to that of the preceding systems. It will simultaneously transmit ultra-high frequency coded messages of vocal, video and data material. So submarines and warships, fighter-bombers and drones, military vehicles and on-the-ground units of the US and their  allies, will thus be linked to a single command network of control and communications under the orders of the Pentagon, while they are operating anywhere in the world, including the polar regions.

So the MUOS  station in Niscemi is not a “Sicilian maxi-radar” which guards the island, but an essential element of the planetary war machine of the United States.

The same role is being played by the other main US and NATO bases in Italy. The Naval Air Station  Sigonella, a few kilometres from Niscemi, is the base for the launching of military operations  mainly in the Middle East and Africa, carried out by special forces and drones.

The JTAGS (Joint Tactical Ground Station), a US satellite station of the “antimissile shield” deployed at Sigonella – one of the five with global reach (the others are situated in the United States, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan) – serves not only for anti-missile defence, but also for attack operations commanded from advance positions.

The Joint Allied Force Command in Lago Patria (Naples), is under the orders of a US admiral who simultaneously commands the US Naval Forces in Europe (with the Sixth Fleet based at Gaeta in the Lazio) and the US Naval Forces for Africa, whose headquarters are at Naples-Capodichino.

Camp Darby, the largest US arsenal outside of the homeland, supplies the US and allied forces for their wars in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The US 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, operates in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe.

The bases at Aviano and Ghedi – sites of the deployment of US and Italian fighters under US command, and equipped with B61 nuclear bombs, which, as from 2020 will be replaced by B61-12’s – are an integral part of the Pentagon’s nuclear strategy.

Incidentally, do Luigi Di Maio and the other leaders of M5S [1] remember that they took a solemn engagement with the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) to ensure that Italy adheres to the UN Treaty, thus liberating Italy from US nuclear weapons?

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Note

[1] The 5 Stars Movement is, along with the League, a government party, in which Luigi Di Maio is Vice-President of the Council of Ministers.

The ZOA, Bolton’s enthusiastic sponsor, led the campaign to remove former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from his post after railing against McMaster’s “anti-Israel” positions, most notably his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) recently awarded U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton the “Defender of Israel Award” during its annual awards dinner, which took place in New York on Sunday night.

Other awardees included U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as well as Fox News television host Mark Levin. Both Grenell and Levin are close to Bolton, with the former having served as Bolton’s spokesman and the latter having worked closely with Bolton at the Department of Justice in the Reagan administration.

Though Bolton has received several awards from the Israel lobby in the past, due to his fervent promotion of Zionism and Israeli government policy, this more recent award is notable, as the ZOA is largely responsible for Bolton’s appointment as National Security Adviser within the Trump administration.

Indeed, beginning in August 2017, the ZOA – under the leadership of its president, Morton Kleinled the campaign to remove former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from his post after railing against McMaster’s “anti-Israel” positions, most notably his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

However, McMaster had also earned the ire of American Zionists for allegedly referring to Israel as an “occupying power” and acknowledging the existence of Palestine — as Zionists at ZOA and like-minded organizations support a revisionist history of the creation of the Israeli state that asserts that Palestine as a state never existed prior to Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Leaked emails reported on by MintPress earlier this year revealed that ZOA’s campaign to remove McMaster soon won the support of Trump’s top political donor, Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson. It was later revealed that Adelson had been instrumental in placing Bolton in the position McMaster vacated, as Bolton had long been a confidant of the politically influential casino magnate and Adelson had previously lobbied Trump – then president-elect – to include Bolton in his cabinet.

Bolton has not disappointed his sponsors

Since his appointment in April, Bolton has promoted and helped bring to fruition policies long supported by Adelson and the ZOA – which Adelson helps fund – as well as related groups. Under Bolton’s influence, President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA and imposed harsh sanctions against Iran, which disproportionately affect Iranian civilians. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently stated that Iranian leaders would need to fall in line if “they want their people to eat,” underscoring the fact that the Iranian people are by and large the target of the U.S. sanctions targeting Iran.

In addition, Bolton has also used his role as National Security Adviser to advocate for other troubling policies in the Middle East to the benefit of Israel, such as the continuation and expansion of the U.S.’ occupation of around 30 percent of Syrian territory.

Bolton announced in July that the U.S. would maintain its military presence in Syria until the “Iranian menace was wiped off the map.” Bolton’s announcement became administration policy just two months later in September. However, just days before Bolton took over for McMaster, Trump had announced that he wanted to remove U.S. troops from Syria “very quickly.”

Ultimately, Bolton’s recent award from the Adelson-backed ZOA for “defending Israel” is the result of events that ZOA itself helped made possible. Now that Bolton – who they helped install into power – has helped bring about the very policies they had hoped he would manifest, ZOA has granted him a “prestigious” award. Perhaps it is only fitting that he receive such thanks for the service to Zionism he was installed to provide. Indeed, it is a cause and ideology that Bolton has repeatedly supported – often at the expense of U.S. government interests and even U.S. national security.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

Featured image: Pictured left to right: Joseph Frager, Alan Dershowitz, and John Bolton at the 2018 Zionist Organization of America awards. Photo | ZOA

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on John Bolton Wins “Defender of Israel” Award From Zionist Lobby Group That Helped Appoint Him
  • Tags: ,

Last night, the Woolsey fire burned the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), a former nuclear and rocket engine testing site. Footage from local television showed flames surrounding rocket test stands, and the fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned.

A statement released by the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) said that its staff,

“do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.”

The statement failed to assuage community concerns given DTSC’s longtime pattern of misinformation about SSFL’s contamination and its repeated broken promises to clean it up.

“We can’t trust anything that DTSC says,” said West Hills resident Melissa Bumstead, whose young daughter has twice survived leukemia that she blames on SSFL and who has mapped 50 other cases of rare pediatric cancers near the site. Bumstead organized a group called “Parents vs. SSFL” and launched a Change.org petition demanding full cleanup of SSFL that has been signed by over 410,000 people. “DTSC repeatedly minimizes risk from SSFL and has broken every promise it ever made about the SSFL cleanup. Communities throughout the state have also been failed by DTSC. The public has no confidence in this troubled agency,” said Bumstead.

Nuclear reactor accidents, including a famous partial meltdown, tens of thousands of rocket engine tests, and sloppy environmental practices have left SSFL polluted with widespread radioactive and chemical contamination. Government-funded studies indicate increased cancers for offsite populations associated with proximity to the site, and that contamination migrates offsite over EPA levels of concern. In 2010, DTSC signed agreements with the Department of Energy and NASA that committed them to clean up all detectable contamination in their operational areas by 2017. DTSC also in 2010 committed to require Boeing, which owns most of the site, to cleanup to comparable standards. But the cleanup has not yet begun, and DTSC is currently considering proposals that will leave much, if not all, of SSFL’s contamination on site permanently.

Dr. Robert Dodge, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, shares the community’s concerns.

“We know what substances are on the site and how hazardous they are. We’re talking about incredibly dangerous radionuclides and toxic chemicals such a trichloroethylene, perchlorate, dioxins and heavy metals. These toxic materials are in SSFL’s soil and vegetation, and when it burns and becomes airborne in smoke and ash, there is real possibility of heightened exposure for area residents.”

Dodge said protective measures recommended during any fire, such as staying indoors and wearing protective face masks, are even more important given the risks associated with SSFL’s contamination. Community members are organizing a campaign on social media to demand that DTSC release a public statement revealing the potential risks of exposure to SSFL contamination related to the fire.

But for residents such as Bumstead, worries will remain until SSFL is fully cleaned up.

“When I look at that fire, all I see is other parents’ future heartache,” said Bumstead, “And what I feel is anger that if the DTSC had kept its word, we wouldn’t have these concerns, because the site would be cleaned up by now.”

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from Los Angeles Daily News

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on California: Woolsey Fire Burns Nuclear Meltdown Site That State Toxics Agency Failed to Clean Up
  • Tags: ,

A senior Iraqi politician says the Iraqi parliament will discuss the withdrawal of US forces from the country amid rising unease at Washington’s meddling in Baghdad’s internal affairs. 

MP Ahmad al-Assadi, the leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, said the lawmakers will step up their demand that the Iraqi government force US troops to leave the country, Arabic-language Arabi21 online newspaper reported.

Calls for the withdrawal of US troops began during the last legislature, but lawmakers are now seeking a “clear timetable” for a pullout, he said.

The US, enlisting some of its Western allies, began deploying troops to the Arab country in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh terrorists who were defeated in Iraq last year.

Al-Assadi said,

“After the big victory against these gangs [Daesh], the Iraqi government has the right to review the need for American forces on Iraqi soil.”

He said the push for the withdrawal of US forces will double once the new parliament is sworn in, where lawmakers will allow the presence of foreign military advisers and trainers based on the requirements specified by state authorities.

The US has maintained a military presence in Iraq since 2003 when Washington invaded the country under the pretext of destroying weapons of mass destruction which were never found. The invasion plunged Iraq into chaos and led to the rise of terrorist groups.

More than one million Iraqis have been killed because of the US invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

In August, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad to condemn US meddling in the Arab country’s domestic affairs amid debates over the make-up of a new government.

Earlier this month, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry hit out at the US for dictating how the country should deal with neighboring Iran.

Iraq’s former prime minister and leader of the al-Wataniya faction in parliament Ayad Allawi warned earlier this month that the new US sanctions on Iran would deeply impact the Iraqi economy.

Allawi said like the Iraqi government and other political leaders, he was opposed to unilateral US sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iraq’s al-Maluma news agency reported.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Iraqi MPs Plan Motion to Seek Expulsion of US Troops

Convenient Demonologies: Stopping Migrant Caravans

November 13th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

President Donald J. Trump has been engaged with berating human caravans, a spectacle that might have been odd in another era.  At first instance, it all seems fundamentally anachronistic, a sort of history in reverse.  It was, after all, the caravan packed with invasive pioneers that gave the United States its distinct frontier identity, moving with relentless, exterminating purpose in ultimately closing it.

On October 19, some 7,000 Central American migrants, mostly from Honduras and Guatemala, made an attempt to cross the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico. “Una necesidad nos obliga,” came the justification of a 20-year old man to the Washington Post.  The ultimate destination for most: the United States.

Such a necessity does not merely apply to states in social and political decay.  Honduras has historically been an eviscerated client state, its politics those of a marionette of Washington’s interests.  In similar fashion, Guatemala continues to bleed before the preying involvement of Washington in its history.  The US-owned United Fruit Company craved gangsters for capitalism, and the Central Intelligence Agency obliged in protecting its assets, assisting the overthrow of the Arbenz administration in 1954.

The Mexican authorities made various attempts to repel the human stream with violent though modest success.  With the November mid-term elections looming, this small group became electoral dynamite for Trump.  It gave him a chance to militarise matters, announcing the deployment of 5,200 troops to the US-Mexico border.  (Some 5,600 have currently taken their positions.)

The language of General Terrence John O’Shaughnessy, in describing the proposed plan, resembled a description of an armed operation against an elevated enemy.

“Our concept of operations is to flow in our military assets with a priority to build up southern Texas, and then Arizona, and then California.”

In the words of the previous US president, Barack Obama,

“They’re telling us the single most grave threat to America is a bunch of poor, impoverished, broke, hungry refugees a thousand miles away.”

Film director Spike Lee, presenting his latest effort, BlacKkKlansman, at the Los Cabos International Film Festival in Mexico, was even more unvarnished.

“Agent Orange was on the campaign trail for his fellow gangsters and stirring his base by saying the migrant caravan was his invasion.”

If there is something that tickles and engages the populist sentiment, Trump is up for it.  His “base”, as it were, is up for rocking, chilling and entertaining.  Obama might accuse Trump of being a fan of the “political stunt”, but that is the essence of this administration, a sequence of aggravated rehearsals that have distracted when needed and enraged when required.

Some of these ploys have gone beyond the category of temporary fancy.  Senior policy advisor Stephen Miller had demonstrated that policies of indignation can have purchase at chance moments.  While Trump is always bound to claim copyright over such ideas, it was Miller who proved influential in sketching the selective Muslim ban and the head-scratching policy of separating children from parents at the border.  Immigration is being larded with further, stifling regulations with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirming that a mere 30,000 refugees for resettlement will be accepted by the US in 2019.

Such cruel exercises are the stuff of modern reactionary politics, notably from governments wishing to remove the clammy hand of international law upon them.  Refugees, the outsiders, the marginalised, are ideal fodder to mince and grind.  It is the language of Australian Prime Minister John Howard who, in the federal elections of 2001, insisted that the island continent would become an impregnable fortress against the undesirables coming by sea.  He illustrated this fact by deploying, much in the Trump manner, soldiers against refugees stranded at sea in August 2001.  “We simply cannot allow a situation to develop where Australia is seen around the world as a country of easy destination.”  Given Australia’s lethal natural barriers, the remarks were as incongruous as they were fictional.

It was a policy twinned with the feather brained notion, ruthlessly exploited, that terrorist operatives might sneak their way to Australia on leaky vessels, avoiding more salubrious options.  As Australia’s defence minister Peter Reith brazenly asserted at that time, such boat arrivals “can be a pipeline for terrorists to come in and use your country as a staging post for terrorist activities”.  Howard himself added taste to the fear: “you don’t know whether they have terrorist links or not,” he suggested rather casually to Brisbane’s Courier Mail.

Trump would have approved of such laxity, having himself claimed, with an approach immune to evidence, that there might well be “unknown Middle Easterners” heading to the US in these migrant caravans.  When probed on the matter by CNN’s now bedevilled Jim Acosta, Trump twisted slightly. “There’s no proof of anything but they could very well be.”

Trump’s language of the demonised caravan is also the language of a host of European leaders who have decided to dust off chauvinistic sentiments long held in the archive and ignore any central, humanitarian approach to refugees.  At work here is a species of depraved transatlantic consensus on cruelty propelled by strongman bullying.  Hungary’s Viktor Orbán fantasises about Muslim hordes in an Ottoman invasion redux, a positioning that elevates himself as defender of the West against Islam and the dark forces of the barbaric East. “We don’t see these people as Muslim refugees,” he snorted in an interview with Bild in January this year.  “We see them as Muslim invaders.”

Other states contemplate a further entrenched, barbed wire approach, finding much value in shirking or adjusting the refugee resettlement quota.  Poland can add itself to Hungary in that regard, with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stating his position plainly to Radio Poland in January that “we will not be allowing migrants from the Middle East and North Africa to enter Poland.”  Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are not far behind.

Like his Australian and several European counterparts, Trump has deployed the instruments of violence and demonization against refugees with a degree of commitment and, it must not be forgotten, success.  It also supplies a fitful reminder how criticising him for doing so remains a more difficult exercise, given the number of states which have gotten a cold regarding refugees.  A certain villainy against humanity has taken hold.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

Featured image is from The Japan Times

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Convenient Demonologies: Stopping Migrant Caravans

If you’ve been following the travails of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange recently, you’ll know that moves are afoot by the US and Ecuadorian governments to try and draw a line under this eight year standoff. What’s essential to know about this situation is the very point which our bought-and-paid-for corrupt mainstream media industry are not telling us – that Assange is caught at a crossroads in the history, holding the line for real press freedom. Whichever way this story goes will be a defining moment for the concept of the Fourth Estate.

Rather disingenuously, US officials are repeatedly referring to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service” (as if saying it enough times will make it real). Like most statements coming out of the mouth of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, this too is a bold-faced lie. US officials, along with their legion of constitutional lawyers, know very well that Wikileaks is in fact a publisher, which means the organization falls squarely under basic press freedom protections. What the corrupt wing of US Establishment and its syndicate partners are cynically attempting to do is to rewrite the law, effectively amputating a key provision of their own constitution. To allow such an affront to America’s founding principles to stand unchallenged will surely hasten the demise of the United States as a Constitutional Republic, and aid it steadily along the path of an embryonic fascist technocracy were any dissent or challenge to the authority of the state is no longer allowed, much less protected by prima facie law.

It’s beyond ironic that WikiLeaks’ former fan Donald Trump could now be weapons-free to prosecute Julian Assange for exposing among other things, US war crimes in Iraq. Naturally, the media are aloof to this development. Based on their own laissez-faire treatment of this important issue, it would appear that CNN and other apologists at the New York Times and the Washington Post, are more than happy to nudge America and Europe further down this dystopian path. Anyone with a hint of sobriety on this issue will have already noticed how the increasingly cozy ‘working relationship’ between media corporations and the state (and deep state) are indicative of the res publica embodied in the orthodox definition of fascism as corporatism as first illustrated at Mussolini’s concept of “corporativismo,” a syndicate of corporate monopolies facilitating the merger of state and corporate interests, each working in unison towards mutual corporate outcomes, and at the expense of the public interest. In this way, the US media are the real fascist enablers in today’s America.

Besides the obvious issue of the freedom of the press to publish, it all comes down to this fundamental question asking by US State Dept. whistleblower Peter Van Buren this past summer:

[A]t what point does the right of the people to know outweigh the right of the government to keep information from view?

There’s another important realpolitik point to consider here. It would appear that Julian Assange also holds key to the infamous DNC email scandal, which is a foundational pillar propping-up the Establishment’s disjointed #Russiagate narrative. Assange has openly stated that the DNC emails were in fact leaked and not ‘hacked by the Russians’ as the mainstream pundits dutifully repeat ad nauseam. His testimony might help prove that the DNC was not ‘hacked by the Russians and given to Assange’ as the US media incessantly repeat as an a priori assumption. For this reason, the vaunted Mueller investigation has purposely not asked either Assange nor his associate Craig Murray who has made no secret of this, to speak or provide an affidavit regarding this important detail in the story. To do so would likely upend the entire two-year charade of the “Special Counsel” in search of that unicorn called Russian Collusion. More than that, it could effectively delegitimize and collapse a large section of the US political and media power structure, although this seems to already be happening as their house of cards continues to fold under the cumulative weight of decades of lies and malfeasance.

Meanwhile, dubious mainstream media outlets like CNN are seizing every opportunity to virtue signal about the ‘free press under attack,’ supposedly via Trump’s ongoing spat with CNN’s self-promoting reporter Jim Acosta, and Trump’s comments that dishonest media outlets are an “enemy of the people.” Trump’s bombast aside, CNN and their ilk should know that when a news organization promotes fake dossiers as articles of fact, or is trafficking politically-motivated lies and suppositions on a daily basis, misinforming the public, obfuscating hard facts on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iran in order to promote illegal wars – then their wing of the “free press” no longer serves the interests of the public, and therefore can rightly be regarded as malignant. We can contrast this with WikiLeaks who has provided nothing less than hard facts and data for over a decade. The irony for the legacy media is, by denying and covering for their own corrupt nature and institutional malaise, they are only hastening their own inevitable demise. Any thinking person gets it, and yet it’s almost comical to watch media operatives pretend as if they are selfless champions of free speech and expression. The idea of it is simply beyond the pale now.

Through all the milieux, the media have conveniently omitted Assange’s grave plight from their news cycles, and are instead running a long campaign to demonize and criminalize him, apparently in revenge to their belief that Assange and Wikileaks are responsible for the failing presidential run of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump’s surprise victory over their pre-annointed candidate. This aspect alone speaks volumes of the petty and myopic mindset which dominates the western corporate media at present. It’s pretty clear that CNN and others members of the media syndicate either have no concept of the what the Fourth Estate really means in constitutional terms, or they do know this perfectly well and are still choosing to side with mutual interests of state and corporation. Either way, it’s a very disturbing state of affairs.

Onlookers should be under no illusion as to what is at stake. It is not out of the realm of possibility then to speculate that the US Establishment or its allies, would lay a scheme to remove Assange from the equation. Last week, Julian’s mother, Christine Assange, issued the following warning and plea for help for her son who is being arbitrarily detained for 7 years now in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Listen:

Despite the willful ignorance and obfuscation of this story by CNN and the mainstream gaggle, there are some mainline publications are at least beginning to acknowledge the gravity of his exigent predicament, although it’s still far from adequate considering the severity of the situation.

The Economist reports…

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. But it looks as if the Trump administration really is going after WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, the self-styled transparency campaigner who runs it from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been holed up for five years evading extradition to Sweden to face a rape allegation.

As a candidate, Donald Trump said he loved WikiLeaks for helping his campaign by publishing embarrassing e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, hacked by the Russians. Now he is in the White House, he views leaks less indulgently. On April 20th the attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, declared that the arrest of Mr Assange had become “a priority”. He added: “We are going to step up our efforts, and are already stepping up our efforts, on all leaks.” The Department of Justice is said to be preparing charges against Mr Assange.

In a speech made a few days before Mr Sessions’s announcement, the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, excoriated WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”. Mr Pompeo’s wrath had been incurred after the release by Mr Assange’s outfit of information about some of the CIA’s surveillance tools. Mr Pompeo, like his boss, had previously been a WikiLeaks fan, regularly tweeting its revelations last summer to attack Hillary Clinton…

Continue this passage at The Economist

All of this leads us back to the initial categorical imperative. It is right to allow the US Establishment use the Assange case in order to rewrite freedom of the press laws in the West? It’s possible that they may not have to, as they will simply achieve this by fiat, under a regime of state intimidation which will effectively hang over the Assange narrative should they achieve their goal of incarcerating him in an US federal penitentiary, or God forbid any tragic outcome which might befall him by way of his current predicament.

Know that anyone could be (and have in the past been) Julian Assange; any publisher, any journalist, any writer, any poet, any professor, any artist, or any citizen. In that sense, we are all Julian Assange.

For these reasons, we should all be concerned with the plight of Julian Assange, and should speak out now in support of his own human rights. In doing so, you’ll also be advancing the right to free speech and press freedom.

That is, the right to publish and be damned.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting in the Middle East including work in Syria and Iraq.

Featured image is from 21st CW.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on US Media Omission of Assange’s Grave Plight: Trump Is Free to Prosecute Assange for Airing US War Crimes?
  • Tags: ,

The Biggest Threat to Dollar Dominance

November 13th, 2018 by Irina Slav

Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources.

While it may have come as a surprise to the traders, who, Reuters said, were not too happy about it, the Russian companies’ move was to be expected as the Trump administration pursues a foreign policy where sanctions feature prominently. This approach, however, could undermine the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the global oil trade currency.

Early indications of this undermining became evident this spring, when Russia and Iran launched an oil-for-goods exchange program seeking to eliminate bilateral payments in U.S. dollars and plan to keep it going for five years. The sanction buddies discussed this sort of agreement earlier, back in 2014, when Iran was still under Western sanctions. Even after the notorious nuclear deal was reached, the two countries decided to go ahead with their barter deal, and the preliminary agreement was reached last year. According to it, Russia would receive 100,000 bpd of Iranian crude in exchange for US$45 billion worth of Russian goods.

In March, Iran banned purchase orders denominated in U.S. dollars and said that any merchant using dollars in their orders will not be allowed to conduct the import trade. A month later, Tehran announced that it will publish all its official financial reports in euros instead of dollars in a bid to encourage a switch to euros from dollars among state agencies and businesses.

Now, Russia’s biggest oil producers are renegotiating oil delivery contracts with commodity traders, and three of them, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Surgutneftegaz, have raised traders’ hackles by insisting they, the traders, commit to paying penalties beginning next year if U.S. sanctions disrupt sales and as a result the buyers fail to make payments. Also, there are discussions about using euros and other currencies instead of dollars to ensure payments are not disrupted.

It would make perfect sense for the seller of any commodity to ensure that they receive payment for their commodity. In an environment of sanctions, looking for ways around them is the only logical behavior. And Russia and Iran are not alone in this drive to distance themselves from the dollar.

Venezuela, for one, has bet on digital currency as a way of skirting Washington sanctions that have added to the pressure created by the 2014 oil price crash and years of PDVSA mismanagement—both factors which have plunged the Venezuelan economy into a possibly irrecoverable crisis. Just today, crypto media reported that Caracas would present its cryptocurrency, the Petro, to OPEC as a unit of account for oil trading next year. “We will use Petro in OPEC as a solid and reliable currency to market our crude in the world,” Finance Minister Manuel Quevedo said.

China is also openly promoting its currency for oil trade and all trade. The internationalization of the yuan is part of the New Silk Road initiative of President Xi and given China’s level of oil consumption, oil trade is a big part of this internationalization. Earlier this year, China launched its long-awaited yuan-denominated oil futures contract. While the general trading public remains cautious about buying into it, some have forecast that the yuan will eventually replace the greenback as the global oil currency. And it could be joined by the euro as long as the European Union survives in the long term. After all, Russia and Iran are among the biggest oil exporters globally. That’s a lot of barrels that might be soon traded in euro and not dollars.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

Featured image is from OilPrice.com

87% of the World’s Oceans Are Dying: Report

November 13th, 2018 by Joe McCarthy

The world’s oceans are rapidly becoming unrecognizable as impacts from human activity strip them of marine life, according to a report published in the journal Current Biology.

In fact, just 13% of the world’s oceans have intact marine ecosystems, while the rest have been plundered and degraded.

The majority of healthy ocean space, meanwhile, exists in the high seas, outside of national marine protected areas. As a result, these sections are vulnerable to being exploited, making the creation of international treaties to protect the oceans all the more urgent, according to the Guardian. The goods news is that the United Nations is spearheading an effort to comprehensively protect the high seas later this year.

“We were astonished by just how little marine wilderness remains,” Kendall Jones, lead author of the report, told the Guardian. “The ocean is immense, covering over 70% of our planet, but we’ve managed to significantly impact almost all of this vast ecosystem.”

Oceans are being harmed in a variety of ways.

Climate change is causing global ocean temperatures to rise, changing how fish species migrate, affecting how animals reproduce, causing coral reefs to die, and unleashing dangerous pathogens.

The world’s oceans are also absorbing much of the excess carbon dioxide being produced by human activity, which causes waters to become more acidic and inhospitable to marine life.

The global fishing industry is overexploiting fish populations, and killing various species unintended for capture such as dolphins, sharks, and whales.

The authors of the report argue that countries must stop subsidizing high seas fishing, which costs $4 billion annually, to allow marine creatures to flourish in these areas.

The report also urges countries to protect the Arctic, which is rapidly becoming accessible to fishing vessels. A proposal to create the largest marine sanctuaries in the world in the Arctic is currently underway.

Industrial pollution from farms, factories, and boats fills marine environments with harmful chemicals, while plastic pollution is turning large sections of ocean into hazardous obstacle courses, the report notes.

plastic in the ocean

Source: Jedimentat44/Flickr

On this front, the UN recommends that countries expand marine protected areas and curb the release of plastic and other forms of pollution into waters.

In recent years, fighting plastic pollution has become a rallying point for environmentalists and more than 60 countries have so far taken action to reduce plastic production.

Reversing the overall decline of the oceans, however, will be challenging, according to the report.

Coral reef oil rig.jpg

Source: California Artificial Reef Enhancement

Beyond establishing international treaties, regulating the fishing industry, and reducing pollution, countries have to mitigate climate change, which may pose the biggest long-term risk.

Failing to do so, according to the authors, could be catastrophic.

“Beyond just valuing nature for nature’s sake, having these large intact seascapes that function in a way that they always have done is really important for the Earth,” Jones told the Guardian. They maintain the ecological processes that are how the climate and Earth system function – [without them] you can start seeing big knock-on effects with drastic and unforeseen consequences.”

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from WWF/Michael Gunther

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on 87% of the World’s Oceans Are Dying: Report

Racial Politics in America and in California

November 13th, 2018 by Ron Unz

I wasn’t closely following the midterm elections campaign, but the results seemed to be about as expected for Donald Trump and the Republicans. With some races still undecided, the Democrats will apparently pick up close to 35 House seats, giving them solid control, and also a half-dozen governorships, while losing at least a couple of Senate seats. These overall Democratic gains seem roughly what might be expected for the first midterm after a Republican presidential victory, but nothing at all like the “blue wave” that had seemed possible a few months earlier, before the bitter public battle over the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination greatly re-energized the Republican base.

Perhaps the loss of the House may actually prove to be a mixed blessing for Trump. Democrats will achieve control of all the investigative committees and their accusations and subpoenas will make Trump’s life even more miserable than it was before, while surely removing any chance that significant elements of Trump’s remaining agenda will ever be enacted. However, although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms. For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy—exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive. With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump’s apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them.

Meanwhile, a considerably stronger Republican Senate will certainly ease the way for Trump’s future court nominees, especially if another Supreme Court vacancy occurs, and there will be little chance of any difficult Kavanaugh battles. However, here once again, Trump’s supposed radicalism has merely been rhetorical. Kavanaugh and nearly all of his other nominees have been very mainstream Republican choices, carefully vetted by the Federalist Society and other conservative establishment groups, and they would probably have been near the top of the list if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were sitting in the Oval Office.

Both Trump’s supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different.

Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. Among our largest states, Texas ranks as by far the most solidly Republican, and therefore it serves as the central lynchpin of every Republican presidential campaign. The GOP has won every major statewide race for more than twenty years, but despite such seemingly huge advantages, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz faced a very difficult reelection race against a young border-area Congressman named Beto O’Rourke, who drew enormous enthusiasm and an ocean of local and national funding.

I was actually in Texas just a couple of days before the vote, speaking at a Ron Paul-related conference in the Houston area, and although most of the libertarian-leaning attendees thought that Cruz would probably win, they all agreed with the national media that it would probably be close. Cruz’s final victory margin of less than three points confirmed this verdict.

But if things had gone differently, and O’Rourke had squeaked out a narrow win, our national politics would have been immediately transformed. Any Republican able to win California has a near-lock on the White House, and the same is true for any Democrat able to carry Texas, especially if the latter is a young and attractive Kennedyesque liberal, fluent in Spanish and probably very popular with the large Latino populations of other important states such as Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. I strongly suspect that a freshman Sen. O’Rourke (R-Texas) would have been offered the 2020 Democratic nomination almost by acclamation, and barring unexpected personal or national developments, would have been a strong favorite in that race against Trump or any other Republican. Rep. O’Rourke raised an astonishing $70 million in nationwide donations, and surely many of his contributors were dreaming of similar possibilities. A shift of just a point and a half, and in twenty-four months he probably would have been our next president. But it was not to be.

Still, the very close nature of the race does not bode well for long-term Republican control over what has certainly become one of their must-win states. O’Rourke may have been an especially attractive candidate and Cruz has often described as unlikeable, but a small margin of victory drawn entirely from the older and whiter portion of the Texas electorate reinforces the growing GOP fear that changing demographics are inevitably shifting Texas toward the Democrats.

These negative indications were even stronger in the high-profile gubernatorial races in Florida and Georgia, each narrowly won by a right-wing white Republican who faced a left-wing black Democrat. In the past a matches along such racial and ideological lines in Southern states would have been expected to produce a blowout GOP victories, but this year the margin was less than two points in Georgia and less than one in Florida. These surprisingly strong showings by the two black Democrats came despite the considerable personal baggage each had carried, with the Florida candidate under possible investigation in a local corruption scandal and the one in Georgia owing over $50,000 in unpaid federal income taxes. Normally, these would have been exactly the sort of factors that provided a racially-suspicious white electorate a convenient sort of “psychological deniability,” allowing them to vote for the white candidate with a clear conscience.

Although Florida was traditionally a swing state, Georgia had been solidly Republican for many years, at least on the federal level, supporting the Republican presidential candidate in six of the last seven elections, with only fellow Southerner Bill Clinton carrying it by a whisker in 1992. Both Georgia senators had been Republican since 2005, as had been most of the Congressional delegation for over two decades, along with every current statewide officeholder. Georgia had elected some prominent Democrats in the not too distant distant past, but these had always been white moderates of the Southern variety. In a society whose politics was still substantially divided along racial lines, electing a vocal left-liberal black as governor might have seemed almost unthinkable, but it came within a couple of points of happening.

The apparent Democratic victory in a close Arizona Senate race represents another severe warning sign to the Republicans. With the sole exception of 1996, that state had backed the Republican presidential ticket without fail in every national election since 1960 and both senators had been Republican since 1995, with the Congressional delegation generally skewing in that same direction for the last half century. Yet a Democrat now seems to have won an open Senate seat, something that had last happened in 1976.

The obvious factor driving the political realignments in both Georgia and Arizona are the long-term demographic trends, especially the rapid growth of the local Hispanic population. When combined with harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric by Republicans at both the national and the local levels, the result may eventually prove lethal to GOP prospects in both those states. And indeed I had predicted exactly these developments back in 2011:

Now consider the likely political future of a state such as Arizona, ground zero of the most recent national anti-immigrant backlash by nervous whites. A severe recession and rapidly changing demographics had alarmed Arizona voters, many of them elderly retirees from elsewhere, leaving them vulnerable to wild rumors of a huge immigrant crime wave, including beheadings and kidnappings, almost all of which was complete nonsense. As a result, harsh anti-immigrant measures were passed into law, and their mostly Republican supporters won sweeping victories among an electorate that is today roughly 80 percent white.

But buried near the bottom of a single one of the innumerable New York Times articles analyzing Arizona politics was the seemingly minor and irrelevant fact that almost half of all Arizona schoolchildren are now Hispanic. Meanwhile, according to Census data, over 80 percent of Arizonans aged 65 or older are white. A decade or more from now it seems likely that Arizona whites and Hispanics will enjoy perfectly good relations, and the former will have long since forgotten their current “immigrant scare.” But the latter will still remember it, and the once mighty Arizona Republican Party will be set on the road to oblivion.

Even in a rock-solid Deep South Republican state like Georgia, Hispanics have now grown into a remarkable 10 percent of the population, up from almost nothing in the early 1990s, and represent an even larger share of younger Georgians. So unless the local Republican Party can somehow greatly enhance its appeal to the 30 percent of Georgians who are black, the current wave of anti-immigrant legislation may prove highly problematical ten or 20 years down the road.

This pattern of immigration-driven demographic shifts producing a sharp but temporary backlash among conservative voters, later followed by the political collapse of the local Republican Party is hardly new to me. I first suggested this strong possibility for my own native state of California over twenty-five years ago, and I have subsequently published numerous articles and columns outlining the political dynamics both before, during, and after these political situations have occurred.

Although many of my pieces were published in leading conservative outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, and often were widely discussed and even endorsed in elite Republican circles, the immediate political pressures in the opposite direction have invariably been too strong. As a direct consequence, the once mighty California Republican Party has steadily declined into irrelevancy, most recently dropping below 25% of the electorate. For many years now, all statewide offices have been held by Democrats, who also now hold a super-majority in the State Legislature, while there is a reasonable chance that after all the races are decided, the size of the GOP Congressional delegation will have fallen to single digits.

I think my entire analysis of these political dynamics whether in California or nationally has held up very well, and I would scarcely change a single word I had previously written. Therefore, I see no reason to repeat myself at great length. Instead, I urge those so interested to read a couple of my past articles that cover the subject in considerable detail, and then decide for themselves whether in hindsight my analysis seems to have been correct.

Obviously, racial politics in America currently revolves around the positions taken by the Trump Administration. For foreign policy reasons, I had strongly favored Trump both in the primary and in the general election, but I hardly regarded him as a thoughtful vessel for the positions he claimed to espouse. To put it bluntly, he struck me much like a highly-opinionated construction worker, angrily spouting off on politics in his local neighborhood bar, being right on some matters and wrong on others, but with none of his views based upon any deep understanding of the issues. I suspect that even many of Trump’s strongest supporters have gradually come around to a similar appraisal of their idol.

This is nowhere better illustrated than in the issue of immigration, which surely won Trump the Republican nomination and played a major role in his unexpected general election victory. From the very beginning, his entirely wrong-headed approach to this highly contentious topic seems almost perfectly calculated to be both ineffective and severely damaging to his supposed goals.

A strong case can be made that American immigration levels have been far too high for many years and should be sharply reduced, and such a change would also greatly slow the ongoing demographic transformation that has so agitated large portions of the white American majority. But in this regard, Trump’s overwhelming focus on illegal immigration makes absolutely no sense at all. If we exclude a relatively small portion of the most highly-skilled legal immigrants, the remainder are probably not all that different in their characteristics from their undocumented counterparts, and indeed individuals may often shift back and forth between these two categories over time, as illegals gain green cards or legals remain here after their temporary visas expire. The ubiquitous rhetorical focus on illegal immigrants seems mostly due to a mixture of “political correctness” and political demagoguery, supplemented by sheer ignorance.

According to most estimates, the size of America’s undocumented population has been almost entirely stagnant since the Housing Meltdown wrecked employment in the construction industry, while net legal immigration has still regularly been running at a million or more a year. Therefore, it seems likely that nearly all net immigration over the last decade or so has been of the legal variety.

These simple facts apparently escape some of the loudest voices on the subject. For example, a year or so ago I happened to listen to the podcast of a leading Alt-Right personality, a prominent Trump supporter who claimed he made illegal immigration his central political focus. When asked why he generally ignored legal immigration, he answered that the numbers in that category were just too low to much matter. With such inspired leadership, the collapse of the Alt-Right movement hardly surprised me.

The signature issue of Trump’s populist campaign was to a build a wall across our Mexican border aimed at blocking the flow of illegal immigrants, and many of Trump’s supporters have become bitter at his total failure to achieve even a shred of that promise. But as I’ve frequently pointed out, the whole idea makes absolutely no sense at all. Suppose that Trump had built his wall, standing 700 feet tall and fronted by land-mines and self-firing machine-guns. If (say) 95% of our immigrants come across the border legally, how would such a wall have had any real impact on that flow? Policies based upon a total ignorance of the facts are unlikely to be successful.

Trump launched his longshot presidential bid with a denunciation of the “rapists and killers” swarming across our border with Mexico, and not long afterward his campaign caught fire when the national media went into a feeding frenzy about the fatal shooting of a young white woman named Kathryn Steinle by a much-deported Mexican national living in San Francisco. Safeguarding America from the rampaging hordes of illegals has been a central theme of the Trump Administration and its supporters, so much so that he even closed the recent midterm Congressional campaign with a highly controversial television spot featuring an illegal immigrant convicted of killing two sheriffs’ deputies in 2014.

However, this widespread notion of immigrant criminality is almost entirely false. All available evidence indicates that immigrants, legal or illegal, Hispanic or otherwise, have crime rates not all that much different from native-born white Americans of the same age and gender, and often somewhat lower. I demonstrated this important result almost a decade ago, and all the subsequent information has confirmed this finding. This reality is hardly difficult to notice in our daily lives. When I first moved to Palo Alto a quarter century ago, neighboring East Palo Alto had the highest per capita murder rate in America, but after a vast wave of immigrant Hispanics transformed its demographics, the homicide rate fell by some 97%.

Many of the regular commenters on my webzine are zealous anti-immigrant activists, and whenever the national media focuses on the arrest of an illegal immigrant for a violent offence, they cite the case as confirming the dangers of immigrant criminality, with the Iowa rape and murder of Mollie Tibbetts a few months ago being the most recent example. However, this sort of anecdotal reasoning is entirely innumerate.

Most experts believe that there are roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in America, with some activists often claiming that the figure is far higher; meanwhile, there are over 15,000 annual homicides. Despite these huge numbers, I suspect that the number of ordinary middle-class whites killed by illegals is almost infinitesimal, probably no more than 10 per year if we exclude wives stabbing husbands and rival drug-dealers shooting each other. Energetic right-wing websites such as Breitbart and the Daily Stormer eagerly scan the news media in hopes of locating any stories of immigrant killings, and I’ve challenged those commenters to mine the archives of those publications in order to disprove my totals, but none of them have ever succeeded in doing so. Indeed, I suspect that killings of whites by illegal immigrants often generate national headlines partly because they are so exceptionally rare, and that the average white American is about as likely to be killed by lightning as murdered by an illegal. For a candidate to win the presidency based on a platform of lightning-abatement is hardly the mark of a serious country.

Ironically enough, even the details of San Francisco killing that so greatly boosted Trump’s fledgling campaign turned out to be very different than was widely imagined. Although most of Trump’s followers probably had the impression that the homicide had been committed by a hardened Latino criminal, perhaps a gang-banger driven by anti-white hatred, the facts that eventually came out at the trial were something else entirely. The culprit had been a disoriented homeless man, here illegally, who had apparently found a gun while picking through the trash. When he casually waved it around in a foolish and reckless manner, it suddenly discharged, with the bullet striking the pavement a dozen feet from where he sat, then ricocheting to fatally wound the unfortunate victim standing a hundred feet distant. Based on these unlikely circumstances, the tragedy seems much closer to being a lighting-strike than a typical street-killing.

Trump’s final pre-election remarks, claiming that he possessed the legal right to issue an Executive Order abolishing our traditional birthright citizenship provisions seemed especially ridiculous, though wildly popular within his right-wing base. Automatic U.S. citizenship for all children born here, regardless of the legal status of their parents, has been settled constitutional law for well over a century, and nearly all legal experts have held that it was guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, as later confirmed by a 19th century Supreme Court ruling. In the last decade or two, a tiny handful of lawyers have claimed this policy could actually be overturned by Congressional legislation rather than Constitutional Amendment, but prior to Trump, no one had claimed the President had the ability to strip millions of Americans of their citizenship merely by Executive Tweet.

To my eye, the legal case for the Fourteenth Amendment birthright provision seems extremely strong and those who dispute it are doing so on very dubious grounds, clearly motivated for ideological reasons. But given my lack of legal training, I would raise a different point. From the late 19th century onward, many, many millions of children have been born to illegal immigrants in this country, and all of them were always considered automatic U.S. citizens, without a single person having ever disputed that matter until quite recently. It’s not that the courts ruled that the children were citizens—it’s that across a century or so, no one had even questioned the matter enough to try to bring it before a judge, nor had any politician or opinion columnist ever raised a doubt. So opponents of birthright citizenship are clearly proposing a rather astonishing legal innovation, one which certainly would have surprised several past generations of Americans.

Now admittedly, such innovations have become somewhat more common in recent American jurisprudence. For example, as far as I know, no one in the entire history of the world had ever raised the notion of Gay Marriage until just a couple of decades ago, yet we recently discovered that our Founding Fathers had fortuitously guaranteed a right to Gay Marriage in the U.S. Constitution, where it lay undetected for more than two centuries until the time was ripe. Thus, Constitutional principles are obviously far more malleable than they might once have seemed.

Still, the practicalities of Trump’s sudden legal revolution seem quite considerable. For example, over the last century legal immigration from South of the border has been fairly low while the number of Hispanic citizens has increased by well over 40 million. Thus, it seems likely that tens of millions of these Latinos ultimately derive their citizenship from those disputed birthright provisions, and presumably some millions of white and Asian citizens would also fall into that same category. Since the legal territory is so completely uncharted, perhaps Trump believes his authority in this matter is retroactive, and for a president to strip perhaps 30 million Americans of their current citizenship with a single Tweet would certainly demonstrate the awesome power of Twitter.

In many ways, the failings of the Trump Administration illustrate the difficulties of that a superpower faces when it is run by a bar-stool political philosopher guided by his personal echo-chamber.

 

Twenty or more years ago I would have been extremely concerned about all these racially-charged political controversies involving immigration, and throughout the 1990s such issues were my central focus. But these days, I view these loud national media battles with detachment or irritation rather than anything more serious. The main reason is the recent trajectory of California, and not merely because it is my home state.

Whites had historically been minorities in a couple of small American states such as Hawaii and New Mexico, but for most of the twentieth century gigantic California had ranked as our whitest large state. Then, within a single generation it underwent one of the greatest demographic shifts in human history, rapidly becoming one of the least white. During the 1990s California whites suddenly discovered that they had become a shrinking minority of their own state’s population, but they still remained a large super-majority of the California electorate. The resulting mismatch between population and political power was a major factor in the extremely bitter Immigration Wars of that period, about which I have written at considerable length.

Although immigration issues elsewhere were only slightly visible at that time, they totally dominated California issues, with potentially disastrous consequences. Under the wrong circumstances, our politics could have devolved into an escalating cycle of bitter hostility between two large blocs, with roughly half our population consisting of native-born whites and the other half of non-whites from a recent immigrant background. Due to factors of citizenship and age, the former would have held the overwhelming majority of political power and might have been tempted to use those considerable levers to block the rise of the latter, otherwise almost inevitable due to its demographic momentum.

Back then, California represented even a larger portion of our national population than it does today, being comparable to the combined total of Texas and New York, the next two states, and as home to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, it was the long-recognized pace-setter for the country. If such a sunny and hopeful state had suddenly become embroiled in an endless cycle of racial political conflict between whites and immigrants much like the traditional black-white divides of the Deep South, that could easily have easily set the pattern nationwide.

Some especially unfortunate social policies potentially magnified this risk. Historically, the leading source of national ethnic division has usually been along the lines of language, and California seemed especially vulnerable in this regard. Almost everywhere in the world, immigrant children are taught the national language of their new country, and this had always been the case in our own schools as well. But for totally bizarre and inexplicable reasons, America had gradually abandoned this sensible policy for Hispanic immigrants. California was the national center of this newly created system of Spanish-almost-only instruction, misnamed “bilingual education,” with up to 70% of Latino children spending at least some of their school years in those classes, and as a result often failing to properly achieve English literacy. If our country’s largest and most important state had become sharply divided along lines of ethnicity and language, a national disaster with separatist overtones might have become a realistic possibility, especially as the pattern of immigrant relations in other states began following the dominant California model.

Fortunately, despite the very serious risks this national calamity was narrowly averted, partly through the hard work of many individuals, partly through luck, and partly through the sheer political incompetence of the California Republican Party, which Gov. Pete Wilson had opportunistically positioned as the standard-bearer of the anti-immigrant cause. Although demagoguery often produces strong short-term advantages, the California Republicans instead quickly fell into a sharp decline that has continued almost unabated to the present day, with California soon becoming a one-party Democratic state.

California’s transformed political landscape may be illustrated by a single example. In late 1994, I was a top featured speaker at a 70,000 person anti-Prop. 187 rally held in Los Angeles, the largest pro-immigrant protest in American history. The event had been organized by a local immigrant rights activist named Juan Jose Guttierez and his young Latino assistant then just a couple of years out of college, while apparently receiving little support from any of the state’s rather timorous Hispanic elected officials.

A few years later, that young assistant, Kevin de Leon, went into politics himself. Gradually rising through the ranks, he most recently served as President of the State Senate and this November received over 45% of the vote in his unsuccessful challenge to 85-year-old incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had held public office almost longer than her challenger had been alive. As I’ve sometimes joked with journalists over the years, De Leon seems to have done much better politically over the last 25 years than either Gov. Wilson or the California Republican Party.

Partly because the California Republicans failed so quickly in their political attempt to capitalize upon anti-immigration sentiment, almost no lasting damage was done to relations between whites and non-white immigrants, which soon returned to the quite amicable state the two groups had previously enjoyed. Indeed, within a decade anti-immigrant sentiments had faded to insignificant levels even within the overwhelmingly white and conservative Republican rump party, let alone the heavily non-white Democrats. A few years ago, I discussed this fortunate political outcome at great length.

One important factor assisting this rapid ethnic reconciliation was my own successful 1998 campaign to dismantle the failed “bilingual education” system by ballot initiative. My measure required that all young children be taught English in the public schools, and it passed in a huge landslide despite being publicly opposed by nearly every established political element in the state and massively outspent on advertising. Although for obvious reasons, almost all immigrant families had always wanted their children taught English, many deeply suspicious whites had long remained unaware of this, instead fearing that Hispanics preferred Spanish-language schools. But once the huge media coverage surrounding the initiative drove home the true facts, many sources of tension between immigrants and the native-born faded away. I think the ultimate outcome for California society is best illustrated by an amusing AT&T radio advertisement that ran across the state a couple of years ago.

Since California had always been the center of America’s bilingual education movement, the elimination of those programs set them on the road to oblivion elsewhere as well, especially once the New York Times, the New Republic, and the rest of the mainstream media documented the tremendous success of these educational reforms and the strong support they attracted within the immigrant community.

For decades, those disastrous bilingual programs had greatly impacted the education of many millions of Hispanic students, looming very large on the national political stage, but their collapse and disappearance was so rapid and complete that I suspect few younger Americans today are even aware that they had ever existed. I’m also unsure whether the younger generation of immigrant Californians are more than vaguely aware of the ferocious political battles that roiled the state throughout the 1990s.

 

Since such a substantial fraction of America’s Hispanic and immigrant populations reside in California, their excellent relations with their fellow white and native-born Americans serves as a very positive model for the rest of the country. Trump had made immigration concerns a central element of his 2016 campaign, but that theme fell totally flat in America’s most heavily immigrant state, with white Californians supporting Trump at a rate 20-25 points lower than whites in the rest of the country. Indeed, if the entire white national electorate had voted like its Golden State counterpart, Trump would have lost all fifty states, mostly by huge landslides, suffering by far the greatest electoral disaster in American history. All the Trump-hating pundits would have spent Election Night laughing and saying “I told you so!”

These California sentiments hardly seem unique. Texas is our second largest state and has been following a demographic trajectory similar to that of California, with whites having fallen into minority status, soon to be passed by a rapidly growing Hispanic population. But although Texas is as strongly conservative as California is liberal, whites and Hispanics seem to get along just as well, and the enthusiastic support of the latter for O’Rourke against his Spanish-surnamed opponent hardly suggests any deep ethnic chauvinism. Florida, New York, and Illinois also contain very large concentrations of Hispanics and immigrants, who once again apparently enjoy quite good relations with their white neighbors. With such a large fraction of our immigrant population living in states displaying such negligible levels of nativist rancor, the likelihood that today’s immigration controversy at the national level will produce any long-lasting negative consequences seems very low to me.

Most observers would agree that for many years America’s highest-ranking political figure of fervent anti-immigration sentiments has been Jeff Sessions of Alabama, first as a senator and more recently as Trump’s Attorney-General. But few seem to have noted the oddity that Sessions has lived his entire life in a state containing just a sliver of immigrants or Hispanics, strongly suggesting that his entire knowledge of that complex subject comes from secondary sources, perhaps those having a sharp ideological bias. Would we really tend to trust the expertise of a political leader from lily-white Vermont when it came to sorting out the difficult black-white relations of a Deep South state such as Mississippi?

A few months ago someone pointed me to a lengthy piece in the Sunday New York Times by Richard Kahlenberg, a moderate liberal who has spent the last twenty years at the Century Foundation. Kahlenberg argued that bridging our country’s enormously deep ethnic and ideological divide desperately required a Robert Kennedy-type figure, who had demonstrated a remarkable unifying ability a half-century ago before his presidential campaign was tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet. But although I liked the piece, I pointed out that California’s political situation was quite different, having absolutely no political divide that required any bridging. Our state’s politics had become extremely bland and boring, and I cited a good article describing the heated race for state Attorney General, in which the angry charges and counter-charges were so dull and perfunctory that one’s eyes would glaze over.

In the last couple of years, American society has been experiencing a long series of bizarre Chinese Cultural Revolution-style protestsagainst long-honored figures of our past, now denounced as “racist symbols,” with buildings renamed and leftist mobs attacking public statues. Although monuments associated with the Confederacy have been the primary targets, these attacks have often extended outside the South and even former presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and William McKinley have sometimes become targets, along with the author of the Star-Spangled Banner and the founder of modern gynecology. As an extreme example, the losing black gubernatorial candidate in Georgia had called for the Isis-like destruction of the gigantic Stone Mountain Memorial, a national monument featured on a 1970 U.S. postage stamp.

Ultra-liberal California has hardly been free of such copy-cat protests, with a handful of obscure memorials to Robert E. Lee or other Confederate figures targeted and removed, along with a statue or two honoring Christopher Columbus. In Palo Alto, a zealously-PC Swedish immigrant launched a successful campaign to rename two of Palo Alto’s middle schools because they honored top academic figures of a century ago known to have advocated eugenics, even though exactly similar charges could be leveled against most other prominent American intellectuals of that same era.

But although California was seized from Mexico during a controversial 19th century war, there have been absolutely no reports of any protests aimed at the various statues and monuments honoring the leaders associated with that military action or the state’s subsequent American leadership. Ironically enough, several high-profile controversies have instead targeted symbols of California’s Mexican past, especially Father Junipero Serra, the recently-sainted founder of Spanish California. Denounced by leftists for his alleged cruelty to the Indians, Serra has had his name removed from various Stanford University buildings. Meanwhile, California’s numerous and prominent Hispanic officials would surely ridicule and condemn any such similar attacks against the state’s past Anglo-Saxon heritage.

In recent years, despondent white activists have sometimes bemoaned that America’s racial transformation has become irreversible and that our once overwhelmingly white country is inevitably headed for a Brazilian future, with the enormous crime, corruption, and political disorder that such a society entails. But I am very skeptical of these claims. Over the last half-century, California’s white European population has fallen from almost 85% of the total down to little more than 30%, far below that of Brazil, yet none of those terrible social ills seem anywhere to be found. Our ultra-liberal state legislature recently banned plastic straws for environmental reasons, but such nonsense seems more typical of Burlington, VT than the bloody favela politics of the Sao Paolo ghettos.

One widespread problem is that most of us draw our knowledge of the outside world from the media, and the picture of reality imparted by the conservative commentators of FoxNews is usually just as distorted and unrealistic as that of their liberal mainstream media counterparts. Back in January, the legislature established California as a “sanctuary state,” enacting various laws to shield illegal immigrants from threat of federal deportation. President Trump immediately denounced this policy in the strongest possible terms, warning that the horrifying levels of resulting immigrant crime would surely bring the state to its knees. But when a Hannitycorrespondent interviewed local Californians about that supposedly very controversial new policy, she was chagrined to discover that nearly all of them casually supported it.

More recently, the Sacramento Bee ran a rather amusing political cartoon that seems to correctly describe the divergence between actual life in California and how matters are portrayed on FoxNews.

Jack Ohman cartoon, The Sacramento Bee: California is a riot!

Obviously, those ideologically committed to a different perspective will treat my claims with extreme skepticism. But they should carefully consider some supporting evidence.

Consider that blogger Steve Sailer is a California native who moved back to live in his hometown of Los Angeles around twenty years ago. While he was growing up, that city was among the whitest in America, but for the last couple of decades the population has been half Hispanic, with white Europeans probably constituting no more than 20% of the total. Racially- or ideologically-charged topics are his primary focus, especially those connected with politics. But although his posts regularly deal with all sorts of national controversies, in recent years he has only very rarely written anything about Los Angeles politics or California issues in general. Indeed, someone reading his blog over the last decade would have remained almost entirely unaware of the many hard-fought state and city election campaigns that had spent so many hundreds of millions dollars on advertising that blankets the airwaves all around his own home. The obvious reason for his remarkable silence is that nearly all those political candidates and campaigns were so bland and boring that there was almost never anything interesting to say about them. These days, Los Angeles is just not a very “exciting” city to live in or write about. By contrast, Brazil is an extremely “exciting” country, and if he were living there, his blog would surely be overwhelmed with local stories.

Oddly enough, both Los Angeles and California had experienced far more such negative “excitement” decades ago, when both were still overwhelmingly white. Although Southern California had widely been considered a true American paradise in the 1950s and early 1960s, several tumultuous decades soon followed, encompassing the Watts Riots, the two hundred or so racial Zebra killings in San Francisco and statewide, the Manson murders, the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the extremely high urban crime rates from the 1980s onward, the LA Riots, and the bitter racial turmoil of the 1990s. Throughout most of the second half of the twentieth century, our state was notorious for its bizarre and often dangerous politics, with the 1978 killing of a San Francisco-area Congressman in the huge Jonestown Massacre followed just a week later by the assassination of the mayor of that same city at the hands of a conservative former supervisor. Yet as whites became a much smaller share of the population, all this turmoil and controversy seemed to fade away, a trend exactly contrary to what fearful white activists might have normally predicted.

Admittedly, many of the examples mentioned above, such as the deadly urban riots and the Zebra killings, were directly associated with the state’s black population. But California had always had by far the smallest black population of any large state, and that fraction has dropped by less than a percentage point in the last fifty years. So black demographic changes cannot be responsible. However, today 60% of the state population is neither black nor white, and perhaps this majority has had a salutary buffering effect on the local version of America’s eternal black-white racial conflict.

 

California still has very serious long-term problems far beyond the deadly wildfires currently ravaging portions of the state, but few of these seem related to bitter racial or ideological conflicts. Probably the leading concern is the extremely high cost of housing, and once these huge living expenses are properly considered, the state’s resulting poverty rate is among the worst in the country. The post-Cold War era of the early 1990s saw the disappearance of Southern California’s huge aerospace industry, which had traditionally been the largest source of well-paying middle class jobs, and although the current Tech Boom—or perhaps Tech Bubble—has created enormous wealth, nearly all of that has been concentrated within a sliver of the population, giving California one of America’s most unequal income distributions. Some of these poverty problems are being gradually alleviated by the 2015 enactment of a huge rise in the statewide Minimum Wage, which will reach $15 per hour by 2023, a political movement that I’m proud to have substantially fostered, but the impact is a gradual one.

It seems undeniable that most of these major California problems are closely connected to the doubling of the state’s population since the late 1960s, and nearly all of that huge increase was due to very heavy foreign immigration. Such rapid population growth naturally benefits Capital at the expense of Labor, so the resulting changes have both raised housing costs and lowered worker wages. There has also been a sharp reduction in the quality of life as more and more residents have been pushed out into the less desirable portions of the state, such as the smoggy Inland Empire of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which often require horrific traffic commutes to Los Angeles area jobs. Even the recent spate of wildfires may not be entirely unconnected since suburban growth puts more areas at risk and state water problems have been exacerbated by increased consumption. But most of these same problems would have occurred if the many millions of newcomers had been white rather than Hispanic or Asian.

The affluent and extremely pleasant California lifestyle of the post-war era was widely recognized across America, and that magnetic lure produced the early stages of the state’s very rapid population growth. But more recently, the ill effects of congested traffic, terrible housing options, and stiff job competition at the lower end had greatly reduced state’s attractions. Growth has sharply fallen, though this is partly because continuing inflows of immigrants have been partially matched by a simultaneous outflow of existing residents.

Obviously, at some point a combination of severe overcrowding, unaffordable housing, and general worker impoverishment will sufficiently reduce the attractions of our society that the continuing inflow of immigrants will fall to merely a trickle. But this hardly seems the most desirable solution to our problems, whether in California or in other states moving along the same trajectory. Meanwhile, our deadlocked Congress has failed to enact any significant immigration legislation in 28 years, and the extremely rancorous relations between the Trump White House and newly Democratic House hardly suggest that anything will soon change. As a consequence, both Trump and Obama have been forced to issue Executive Orders of an extremely dubious legal nature, whether granting temporary protected status to illegal immigrant “Dreamers” or now promising to automatically reject all refugee claims along our Southern border. The gap between pro- and anti-immigration forces seems absolutely unbridgeable and likely to continue indefinitely, even though both sides remain extremely dissatisfied with the status quo.

However, as I argued a couple of years ago, the widespread belief that our immigration problems are insoluble is based on a very serious misunderstanding of the contending elements involved. Both the media and the political participants regard the conflict as being waged between two sides, but that is mistaken. There are actually three political factions: pro-immigrant Democrats, pro-immigration Republicans, and anti-immigration Republicans. All the unsuccessful Congressional efforts of the last couple of decades involved an alliance of the first two groups failing to overcome the opposition of the third, and with Trump having enormously increased the power of that last faction, there is no prospect for any change in that situation.

But careful consideration will reveal that the major goals of the first and third groups—pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans—are actually not directly in conflict, and if they formed a political alliance, they could easily formulate legislation acceptable to both that might stand have an excellent chance of passing both houses of Congress and being signed into law by the President. Although I published my analysis of this solution several weeks before Trump’s upset 2016 victory, I think that it is just as correct and relevant today, and perhaps even more so given that November election results have produced a divided Congress, closing the door on other options.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Racial Politics in America and in California

British author and social commentator H.G. Wells may have coined the expression that originally popularized World War I as The War that Will End War, as his book, based on articles written during that vast military conflict, was titled. In any case, in one version or another, the expression was one of the most common catchphrases of the Great War of 1914-1918 and has survived as an expression, often used with a grimace of sarcasm, ever since.

As we commemorate the passing of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending ‘the war to end war’, one can only marvel at how wrong humans can be sometimes. Not content with the violence inflicted during World War I, humans used the twentieth century to systematically decimate human and other life as violence and war raged across the planet with an increasingly massive and sophisticated armory. In fact, by mid-century, in a tribute to their technological ingenuity and psychological dysfunctionality, humans had invented a weapon that could destroy life on Earth.

And by the beginning of the 21st century, humans were living in the era of perpetual war against life – see 

‘Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds’ and ‘Living Planet Report 2018: Aiming Higher’ – with war also the largest contributor to the climate catastrophe: ‘Not only is the Pentagon the single largest industrial consumer of fossil fuels, but fighter jets, destroyers, tanks and other weapons systems emit highly toxic, carbon-intensive emissions, not to mention the greenhouse gases that are released from the detonation of bombs. How quickly the world forgot the toxic legacy of Saddam Hussein’s oil fires!’ See ‘War and Climate Change: Time to Connect the Dots’.

So advanced is our war against life that human extinction is now imminent. See ‘Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival’.

Resisting war historically

Of course, the failure to end war has not been the outcome of lack of effort. And while there have been many efforts focused on ending a particular war, efforts directed at ending a particular aspect of war (such as the use of a type of weapon), and efforts aimed at preventing a type of war (such as ‘aggressive war’ or nuclear war), there have also been ongoing efforts to achieve ‘the holy grail’: to end war itself.

These attempts have included ongoing grassroots mobilization by anti-war organizations spawned by World War I (such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom founded in 1915 and War Resisters’ International founded in 1921) and many equivalents since that time, official attempts to outlaw war such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war in 1928 but has been ignored ever since – see League of Nations ‘Treaty Series’ vol. XCIV, 1929, p. 63 – and institutional efforts to prevent it, particularly by establishment of the League of Nations in 1920 and its successor the United Nations in 1945, both also readily ignored or manipulated.

Separately from the above, however, there has been a long history of nonviolent activism to end wars and this has been conducted by individuals and groups all over the world. Undoubtedly the most effective anti-war movement in history was that undertaken in response to the US war against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Inspired and supported by the nonviolent resistance of the civilian population, and building on the long history of resistance to war within the military – see, for example, The Soldiers’ Strikes of 1919 – there was widespread nonviolent resistance undertaken by US troops and conscripts to end the US war against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from 1968 until it ended in 1975.

If you like, you can read detailed descriptions of the systematic and ongoing resistance (nonviolent and otherwise) within the US military, in many forms, which progressively incapacitated the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force during the last years of the war, forcing the US out of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. See Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War and Self-Destruction: The Disintegration and Decay of the United States Army during the Vietnam Era with a summary of the first book in ‘Antiwar Resistance Within the Military During the Vietnam War’ and a review of it in ‘The soldiers’ revolt in Vietnam: Rebellion in the ranks’.

For a documentary account of the conscientious objection by more than half a million US conscripts to military service in South East Asia during this period, which overwhelmed the legal system making prosecutions beyond a token few impossible and, combined with soldier resistance and civilian efforts, forced Presidents Johnson and Nixon to curtail plans to escalate the war and make plans to end it, see the forthcoming film The Boys Who Said NO!

Reanalysing the Cause of War to Reorient our Resistance

So, if we are to use this 100th anniversary to renew our struggle to end war and to work effectively to achieve that purpose, then clearly we need to reassess our analysis of the cause(s) of war so that we understand the problem more precisely, and then use this revised analysis to guide the development and implementation of a strategy that addresses the cause(s). Of course, I am not suggesting that ending war will be easy, even with a sound analysis and a comprehensive strategy. But at least it will be feasible.

Before proceeding, I would like to record my own passion for this subject. I lost two great uncles to World War I: Tom Farrell was killed in action at Gallipoli and Les Burrowes was a victim of ‘shell shock’ – later labeled post-traumatic stress disorder – after being wounded in action three times at Gallipoli and then dying prematurely some years after the war.

My father served in World War II as a coastwatcher and both of his brothers, including his twin, were killed. I am named after my father’s older brother. Bob died when the Japanese POW ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by the USS Sturgeon on 1 July 1942. 1,053 Australian POWs died that night. And my father’s twin, Tom, died when his Beaufort Bomber was shot down on 14 December 1943 killing the entire crew.

So my childhood is dotted with memories of occasional commemorations of war which, for me, always ended with the same question: Why? But not just ‘why war?’ Given other manifestations of violence I observed around the world during my childhood, including exploitation of peoples in Africa, Asia and Central/South America as well as destruction of the environment, the deeper question was always my focus: ‘Why violence?’

Well, despite considerable research over three decades, I was never content with any version of the answer to this question that I found. Consequently, 14 years in seclusion with Anita McKone ‘taking our own minds apart’ finally gave me the answer I wanted. In ugly detail. If you would like to read this answer, which explains the unrelenting ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that adults inflict on children and the enormous lifetime damage (including the legacy of unconscious fear, self hatred and powerlessness) that this causes, you can do so in ‘Why Violence?’ with our process described in ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

Needless to say, understanding a problem makes developing a strategy to address it far easier (which does not mean that the problem is easy to resolve). However, it is also the case that violence has many manifestations – notably including war, violence against huge sectors of the human population in various contexts (ranging from violence against women and indigenous peoples to military occupations and dictatorships), economic exploitation and destruction of the biosphere – and tackling each of these effectively requires its own sophisticated nonviolent strategy.

This is partly because certain manifestations of violence are structural – see ‘Violence, Peace, and Peace Research’ – or cultural – see ‘Cultural Violence’ – as Professor Johan Galtung describes these terms, and they originated long ago and have been recreated and ‘built-in’ over successive centuries.

However, it is important to understand that the nature of any given structure or cultural symbol/process reflects the psychology of those who create and/or maintain it. That is, it is dysfunctionalized human beings who create and maintain dysfunctional (that is, violent and/or exploitative) structures and cultures.

So, for example, while the origin of capitalism can be explained in terms of the development of economic structures and processes that took place over preceding centuries (in a particular socio-political-legal setting), fundamentally the exploitative nature of capitalism is a direct outcome of the badly damaged psychology of those men who progressively created it and now those men (and some women) who maintain it, expand it and primarily benefit from the manner in which it exploits most others.

And if those men and women were not psychologically damaged by the violence they suffered during childhood, then they would devote their efforts to creating egalitarian economic structures and processes that benefited everyone equally and nurtured the biosphere. In short, a human being who is psychologically whole regards the idea of killing or exploiting a fellow human being as deplorable. This is not a moral stance. It is a psychological outcome for the child who is parented lovingly: such parenting produces compassionate identification with others (and, in fact, everything that lives and the biosphere as a whole).

The same reasoning applies to the institution of war particularly as it has evolved and is now conducted by western nations, led by the US, and their allies such as Israel. War is a method of conducting conflict. It has a great many components including elites who promote war-for-profit by using various channels such as ‘think tanks’, the corporate media, government propaganda and education systems to call for and ‘justify’ it, political processes to order it, legal processes to defend it (including against those who take nonviolent action against it), military command, control and communication structures to plan and implement it, corporations employing a labor force to manufacture weapons and other hardware to be used in it, military personnel to deploy and fire the weapons, and citizens willing to pay taxes (or too scared to resist doing so) to finance it.

But at every level of the institution of war, and despite vast advances in peace, conflict and nonviolence theory and practice during the past 60 years, it requires individuals who were terrorized during their childhood into believing that killing fellow human beings is an appropriate way to deal with conflict (or, a variation, that killing human beings is a reasonable way to earn a wage or make a profit). And because they are so psychologically damaged and now deeply embedded within the institution of war, consideration of alternatives to violence is only tokenistically contemplated, if at all (with occasional exceptions by those whose conscience survived the childhood violence they suffered). If you like, you can read a little more about how childhood violence creates insane individuals who perpetuate violence and war in articles such as ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ but there is plenty more on that website.

In essence, if most human beings were not so psychologically damaged by the violence inflicted on them during childhood (leaving them unconsciously terrified, self-hating and powerless), there would be a mass uprising against the barbarity of war: the large-scale industrial slaughter of people like you.

So what are we to do?

Well, if we consider war as an outcome not of political and economic differences manifesting as military violence but, fundamentally, as an outcome of psychological dysfunctionality preventing intelligent resolution of conflict, then our strategy for ending war can acquire a sophistication it must otherwise lack. Put simply, by understanding the psychological roots of violence we can develop and implement a strategy that intelligently addresses these, both in the short and medium terms.

So how do we tackle, strategically, the interrelated set of problems that constitute the institution of war?

If your primary interest is focusing on war itself, check out the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel which simply illustrates the 12-point strategic framework necessary to conduct an effective nonviolent campaign and then consider the basic list of 35 strategic goals necessary to end war. Choose one or a few goals appropriate to your circumstances and conduct a strategically-oriented nonviolent campaign, as explained on the same website, to achieve those goals.

If you are concerned that you need some form of military defense against those who might attack your country, it is actually strategically superior to use a strategy of nonviolent defense, which is explained in detail in The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach and presented more simply in Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy. In fact, this strategic framework can be used to plan and implement a nonviolent strategy to defend against a foreign invading power or a political/military coup, to liberate your country from a dictatorship or a foreign occupation, or to defeat a genocidal assault.

As an aside, if your preferred focus is the climate catastrophe, some other assault on the biosphere or a social justice campaign of any kind, the Nonviolent Strategy website will assist you to develop a comprehensive and focused strategy.

When conducting any campaign, keep in mind a clear understanding of ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’ and remember the distinction between ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’. By keeping these points in mind, your campaign (including each of your tactics) will be focused for strategic impact.

If your interest in ending war is more focused on undermining it at its source, consider making ‘My Promise to Children’ and nisteling, whenever appropriate, to children too. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

This will mean that any children in your life are supported, at least by you, to become self-loving and powerful individuals who are immune to the seductions and indoctrination of those who advocate and make war while developing the capacity to pursue life-enhancing behavioral options when dealing with conflict.

If parenting children in this manner feels beyond you, consider allowing yourself the time to heal from the violence that you have suffered throughout your life. See ‘Putting Feelings First’.

And don’t forget: while depending on our psychological dysfunctionality to accept, finance and conduct war as a means of dealing with conflict, at its most mundane level, war is a conflict over resources, particularly fossil fuels, strategic minerals and fresh water, and it is our consumption of these, in all of those products (such as meat and cars) and services (like airline flights) that we buy, that fuels the wars conducted in our name while also destroying the biosphere in various other ways. (If you want to understand the psychological origin of this obsession with material goods, see ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’.) In short, there is no point deluding ourselves that we can subvert this violent world order without substantially reducing our consumption on all fronts.

So another way you can have strategic impact in undermining the institution of war (and capitalism), while slowing destruction of the biosphere, is to join those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. The Flame Tree Project outlines a simple plan for people to progressively reduce their consumption, by at least 80%, involving both energy and resources of every kind – water, household energy, transport fuels, metals, meat, paper and plastic – while dramatically expanding their individual and community self-reliance in 16 areas.

You might also be interested in signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ where the names of many people who are working to end war (and other violence) are already listed.

Ending war is not impossible. Far from it, in fact. But it is going to take a phenomenal amount of intelligent strategic effort, courage and commitment.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is [email protected] and his website is here. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The War to End War 100 Years On: An Evaluation and Reorientation of our Resistance to War

The US-waged war in Viet Nam was not an aberration, but one of hundreds of examples in a long pattern of brutal exploitation. A quick review of the empirical record reveals close to 600 overt military interventions by the US into dozens of countries since 1798, almost 400 since the end of World War II alone, and thousands of covert interventions since 1947. This history overwhelms any rhetoric about the United States as a beacon of freedom and democracy, committed to promoting domestic and global equal justice under law. These interventions have assured de facto subsidies for US American interests, regulated global markets on our terms, and provided us with access to cheap or free labor and to raw materials. Millions of people around the globe have been murdered with virtual impunity as a result of our interventions in a pattern that illustrates what Noam Chomsky calls the “Fifth Freedom”-the freedom to rob and exploit. This freedom is ultimately protected with use of force when a country or movement seeks to protect or advance the domestic needs and desires of its members or citizens for political freedom or economic wellbeing.

This book provides an invaluable tool for today’s activists, however they may be similarly shocked into wakefulness- whether by war, economic dispossession, or loss of the freedom to dissent.

Reviews

This gripping and carefully documented record of the US wars in Indochina, interlaced with vivid and tragic personal experiences,  provides a unique and invaluable perspective on some of the most awful crimes of the postwar years. NOAM CHOMSKY – Professor Emeritus MIT, Linguist, Public Intellectual – Author of Dozens of Books on U.S. Foreign Policy.

S. Brian Willson has a way of synthesizing information that gets right to the heart of the matter, deepening our understanding of the culturally embedded myths that perpetuate our nation’s violent behavior. By providing the historical context for our involvement in Viet Nam, Willson pulls back a curtain on U.S. imperialism that cannot easily be closed again. MARTIN SHEEN – Actor & Activist

Our country badly needs more truth telling. Brian Willson tells the truth about the Vietnam War and about the sordid US history of lies, war and empire: and he writes as one who courageously put his body on the line for these truths. A MUST READ for all of us. The alternative is ever more dangerous perpetual wars. DANIEL ELLSBERG – Revealed: The Pentagon Papers – Author of: The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of A Nuclear War Planner and Many Other Books

Few people really understood the terror imposed upon innocent people by the US policies and Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Central America.  Brian Willson, a lawyer and a scholar did and does. Not only has he given his body for his beliefs but he has penned an extremely important book complete with insights and history that make it imperative reading for every American citizen. I highly recommend it. HELEN CALDICOTT – Pediatrician, Long-time Anti-Nuclear Activist and Author of Many Anti-Nuclear Books

Click here to order.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on “Don’t Thank Me for My Service”: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies
  • Tags: ,

Since the end of Israel’s 2014 military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, which lasted 51 days, the besieged coastal territory has been the scene of endless armed incursions. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, injured or maimed when a truce is supposed to be in place. Endless efforts mediated by regional countries have tried to put pressure on Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions to abide by the terms of the truce to provide some calm in one of the most volatile regions in the world.

However, the atmosphere enveloping the 2 million people in Gaza this week is similar to that which existed just before the outbreak of Israel’s 2012 and 2014 offensives. Israel decided to violate the terms of the Egyptian-brokered deal and send in an undercover unit to assassinate a leading Hamas commander. The surprise attack was discovered and thwarted by resistance fighters, several of whom were killed when the Israeli forces called in air support to cover their withdrawal. A senior Israeli officer was also killed, and one was wounded. It is suspected that the Israelis were attempting to provoke the resistance and show that Israel has the upper hand. Usama Hamdan, a Hamas official living in exile, said that the operation was to show that the Israeli army is capable of hitting at any time. Along with other Palestinian factions, he insisted, Hamas will not sit idly by.

“We said before that we will meet calm with calm, and fire with fire,” he added.

What’s more, according to some analysts, Israel wanted to strike a blow against Hamas by killing important military commanders and destroying facilities and sites. This was important for the Israelis before agreeing to any deal that might see the lifting of the 12-year siege on Gaza and a prisoner swap releasing Palestinian political prisoners from Israel’s jails in exchange for soldiers captured in 2014, alive or dead.

The Palestinians have thus witnessed the most dangerous military escalation in over 4 years. They are bracing themselves for more, and a possible major offensive. Over forty Israeli air strikes have been carried out so far across the enclave, destroying several residential buildings and the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV facility, as well as Al-Amal Hotel. It’s clear that Israel has managed to gather a bank of targets over the years through its non-stop surveillance.

The response of the resistance factions was quick to come, with more than 250 home-made projectiles fired from Gaza into Israel in retaliation for the killing of fighters and civilians. Israel’s “Iron Dome System” was in action, intercepting the “rockets” before they could land.

Officers have called repeatedly in recent years for the restoration of the Israel Defence Forces’ “deterrence power”, but the tone has become harsher this time following the retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza. This coincided with the airing of footage showing a military vehicle targeted by an anti-tank missile across the border east of Gaza, in which the high ranking Israeli officer was killed and another injured. This was a blow to the IDF’s prestige, as scores of its soldiers were within range. Had the resistance really wanted to seek revenge it would have been a rare opportunity to do so, but it was clearly a message that the Palestinians can also start and end the game while dictating terms.

At the time of writing, at least three Palestinian civilians have been killed and scores injured by the Israeli air strikes and artillery bombardment, not to mention the panic caused among the population, especially the children. There are no fortified bunkers in Gaza in which they can seek shelter, and it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world; not for nothing is it known as the world’s largest open air prison. The Palestinians have no warplanes, tanks, naval gunships or heavy artillery to defend themselves against Israel’s army, navy and air force equipped with the latest technology and weapons.

As the military situation continuous to deteriorate, a joint operations room has been formed by the resistance groups to coordinate their response. Threats and warnings have been made by both sides. Israel can spread terror, kill on a massive scale and cause untold destruction, but cannot guarantee that it can destroy the spirit in the “capital of resistance“; the Palestinians in Gaza, meanwhile, have nothing to lose.

Palestinians carry the dead body of Hussein Fathi al-Raqab (28), who was killed by Israeli forces in "Great March of Return" demonstrations, during his funeral ceremony in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 6, 2018 [Ashraf Amra / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians carry the dead body of Hussein Fathi al-Raqab (28), who was killed by Israeli forces in “Great March of Return” demonstrations, Gaza on 6 October, 2018 [Ashraf Amra /Anadolu Agency] 

Conditions are unbearable, which explains why young, unarmed people have been taking part in the Great March of Return protests along the nominal Gaza-Israel border for 33 weeks in a row since 31 March when Palestinians marked Land Day. Over 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers, including journalist, paramedics and even food and drink vendors. The protestors are armed with slingshots and incendiary kites and balloons. The protests were planned following US President Donald Trump’s move in December last year to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They are a real headache for Israel due to them becoming a war of attrition which is extremely costly. The Israeli government is willing to reach agreement with Hamas on its own terms and conditions, but this is rejected by the movement’s political and armed wings and the other resistance factions. This explains Israel’s frustration, hence the latest targeted assassination operation and bombardment of Gaza.

Hamas’s main rival, Fatah, has condemned the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. A Fatah spokesman in the territory, Atef Abu Saif, described them as “barbaric” and a continuation of Israel’s crimes. Abu Saif stressed that such offensives will not break the will of the Palestinian people. As the de facto government in Gaza, Hamas has been at loggerheads with the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah for the past 12 years. Abu Saif’s statement, though, is evidence that the Palestinians are united in the face of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks; there is no room for recriminations, and all differences are put aside.

What is important now is to protect the internal front and be careful of rumours that are intended to weaken the morale of the people in Gaza. The Strip has been used by Israel for years as a “laboratory” to field test new ammunition and weapons on unarmed civilians and their infrastructure. Gaza’s Palestinian residents don’t deserve this; they are tired of urging the international community and the UN to intervene and put an end to their suffering, humiliation, fear and isolation. Action is needed now to prevent another major Israeli offensive that we are all expecting.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image: Smoke billows rises following Israeli air strikes targeting Gaza City on 13 November, 2018. [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

US Calls for Ceasefire, Keeps Attacking Yemen

November 13th, 2018 by William Boardman

In case you missed it, US efforts to prolong the world’s most serious humanitarian crisis in Yemen continue to succeed spectacularly. US military support enables the Saudi coalition to continue to bomb markets, docks, mosques, hospitals, school buses, weddings and funerals, and other civilian targets with impunity. The Saudis’ Yemeni enemy, the Houthi rebels, have no effective air defenses. On March 26, 2015, with the blessing and tactical support of the Obama administration, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an illegal, genocidal, aggressive war on Houthi-controlled Yemen. Yemen was – and is – in the midst of a civil war in which the long-oppressed Houthis overthrew the “legitimate” government that the US and others had imposed on Yemen. Since March 2015, the US and the Saudi coalition have subjected Yemen to daily war crimes, not only killing civilians but destroying non-military targets of all sorts, causing a form of biological warfare with a cholera plague, as well as massive famine for more than half the country’s 25 million people. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) head said on September 27: “Yemen is a disaster and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel right now.” Yemen was not a significant issue in the American election, even as the Trump administration sanctioned and supported military escalation that heightened the suffering of millions (and that has already killed tens of thousands)

At the US State Department, on November 7, the press briefing focused on the ideological basis for punishing Iran for continuing to abide by the nuclear agreement that the US pulled out of (still joined by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China). The US blames Iran for Yemen, too, with little persuasive or significant evidence to support the propaganda bias. Eventually in the briefing there was a question about Yemen, and the exchange with State Department spokesman Robert Palladino went like this (edited, with emphasis added):

QUESTION: Yemen?

MR PALLADINO: Yemen? Let’s go to Yemen in the back, please.

QUESTION: The fighting around Hodedah [the Yemeni port critical to supplying food to the region’s poorest country that was a food importer before being attacked] seems to be picking up with – and UNICEF and MSF and all these aid groups who are saying children are at risk at these hospitals. And I wonder what’s happened to the U.S. call for a ceasefire.

MR PALLADINO: The – well, I would start by saying we closely are following the developments that are taking place in Hodedah. As the Secretary said, we’ve been urging all parties to come to the table, and to recognize that there’s no military victory that can be achieved in Yemen. And we continue to call for a cessation of hostilities and for all parties to support United Nations Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

QUESTION: So have there been any phone calls?…

MR PALLADINO: We are in daily contact with the special envoy….

QUESTION: Would you call on the Saudi coalition to halt this offensive that they seem to now be bearing down on in Hodedah?

MR PALLADINO: We’ve called for a cessation of hostilities…. Please, next question….

QUESTION: Have you had a miscommunication then, with the Saud-led coalition, that they’re now beginning this offensive?

MR PALLADINO: – our assessment remains the same….

QUESTION: – to put a finer point on that, I mean, did the coalition – the Saudi coalition that the U.S. supports coordinate with or tell you in advance that they were going to increase fighting around Hudaydah or did they just ignore the Secretary’s call?

MR PALLADINO: We’ve been clear with Saudi, Emirati, and Yemeni [government-in-exile] officials at every level that the destruction of critical infrastructure or destruction of the delivery of vital (inaudible) aid and commercial goods is unacceptable, and we are in close contact with our partners.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, because you’re not really answering the question, I mean, the Secretary of State issued a very explicit statement with the Secretary of Defense saying it was time for this to end and it’s not ending. Do you see that as a slap in the face, and what are you going to do about it?

MR PALLADINO: … We continue to call for a cessation of hostilities. That is a cessation of hostilities and vigorous resumption of a political track. That is the way forward. That’s how we are going to ease this humanitarian crisis. The United States’ message remains we need to end this conflict and replace this conflict with compromise, and that’s all I have on this topic for today.

Within the context of pervasive American deceit regarding Yemen, spokesman Palladino probably allows for some technical truths to appear. Yes, after the US called for a ceasefire, the Saudis escalated their bombing of humanitarian targets. The Saudis may or may not have consulted with the US, but the Trump administration has no stomach for criticizing this bloodshed any more than it actively objects to the gutting of Jamal Khashoggi.

According to Palladino, “the destruction of critical infrastructure or destruction of the delivery of vital (inaudible) aid and commercial goods is unacceptable,” which seems to be a statement of law and decency acceptable to any humane observer. Palladino implies the lie that these crimes against humanity are unacceptable to the US, but he doesn’t actually say that. Clearly, having spent years enabling the Saudis in committing war crimes, the US finds the destruction of Yemen quite acceptable. That’s what Palladino really means when he says the US is “closely following the developments,” in the hope that Yemeni carnage can somehow persuade the Iranians to trust us.

OK, what about that US call for a ceasefire, why isn’t that working?

On October 31, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke about Yemen at the US Institute of Peace with presumably unconscious irony. Mattis said, self-contradictorily and revealingly:

We’ve got to move toward a peace effort here, and you can’t say we’re going to do it sometime in the future. We need to be doing this in the next 30 days. We’ve admired this problem for long enough down there. 

Later the same day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement:

The time is now for the cessation of hostilities…. Substantive consultations under the UN Special Envoy must commence this November in a third country…. It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction.

There was nary a tweet from the president in all this. Can one presume anything from that? In September, Pompeo certified to Congress, over the objections of staff, that the Saudis and their allies were doing their darnedest to reduce civilian casualties and the US should continue to support them. This was before the Saudi escalation on Hodedah. There is no credible evidence anywhere that the US is serious about doing anything to end the murder of Yemenis. Pompeo proposed that the ceasefire start with the Houthis ending their not very effective rocket attacks on Saudi Arabia. That’s the way the US deals with aggressive war in the 21st century: support the aggressor and demand that the victim stop resisting. And the Trump administration is even considering labeling the Houthi rebels as a terrorist organization, presumably following a logic that would have made the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto resistance into terrorists. Bad faith has no limits.

Both Mattis and Pompeo tried to appear as if they were taking immediate action, while in the next breath putting off any action for the near future. The supposed ceasefire has now receded toward 2019 as the UN’s Yemen envoy bows to the reality of US inaction and Saudi escalation.

If the US were actually serious about peace and humanitarian aid for Yemen, the US could exercise leadership in the UN Security Council to force a peace process. The US could unilaterally take immediate and forceful actions to stop the war. Pompeo could rescind the bad joke of certifying the Saudis as conscientious and responsible. That might not be enough, so Mattis could disengage the US military from the genocidal bombing campaign. Without US support – including cluster bombs and other ordnance – the Saudi aggression would falter if not fail. Rather than act rationally, Pompeo and Mattis chose to posture and preen in a charade of peace-loving rhetoric.

Well, their hollow performance was on Halloween after all, and that was perhaps the point. This was high-level US dishonesty, a shabby trick-or-treat deceit. It’s all trick for Yemen and endless treats for the Saudis. And for its lack of trouble, the US gets more and more blood on its hands.

Late on Friday, November 9, the US and Saudis announced that – at some unstated future time – the US will stop refueling Saudi bombers attacking Yemen. This is a cynical charade that will do nothing to reduce the bloodbath in Yemen, but may fool the gullible in the US that protest works.

First of all, with US help, the Saudis have developed their own mid-air refueling capability. The cessation of US refueling will have zero impact on Saudi war-making capacity.

The US will continue to support the Saudi targeting program. The US will continue to provide the Saudis with military intelligence. The US will continue to supply the Saudis with weapons and ordnance, including cluster bombs (designed to kill people and most effective against civilians). The US will continue to support the Saudi naval blockade, a primary cause of hunger and famine in Yemen (as intended). None of these or other elements of US participation in this illegal, genocidal war are addressed in Defense Secretary Mattis’s expertly opaque and misleading statement:

The U.S. and the coalition are planning to collaborate on building up legitimate Yemeni forces to defend the Yemeni people, secure their country’s borders, and contribute to counter al-Qaida and ISIS efforts in Yemen and the region.

The US and the coalition are the main attackers of most of the Yemeni people. The best defense for the Yemeni people is for the attackers to stop attacking, since the Yemenis remain well within their own borders. The only part of Yemen under actual Yemeni control is the northwest, where the native Houthis have governed since 2014. Southeastern Yemen is titularly under the control of the “legitimate” Yemeni government (based in Riyadh), but is effectively under a military dictatorship run by the United Arab Emirates. Eastern Yemen, which is thinly populated, is under fragmentary control of multiple forces, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, whose fortunes have been greatly enhanced by the US-Saudi obsession with preventing the Houthis from controlling their own country.

Mattis is trying to put rouge on a monster and call it beautiful. US policy in Yemen continues to be based on profound lies with no moral justification. Oh look, Mattis seems to say, we’re washing our hands of refueling bombers committing war crimes. Even in its narrow truth, this does nothing to support life or peace, and US hands remain drenched in blood.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Reader Supported News.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Featured image is from The Wire

[T]he US government no less than the government of Canada is required to obtain the consent of the Indian nations’ before assuming jurisdiction to invade, occupy and govern the yet unceded Indian national territories. Bruce Clark, Ongoing Genocide caused by Judicial Suppression of the “Existing” Aboriginal Rights (2018), p 25-26

I have only been physically inside a courtroom once, and that was to support a falsely accused colleague. It struck me that a typical western courtroom is set up not to exude justice but to intimidate, not just the accused but all people present, with the power of the State. The judge is invariably seated centrally on a dais, able to observe all that transpires below in the courtroom. When the judge enters, all present are required to stand, and none may be seated until permission is granted by his “honor.” When the proceedings are displeasing to her honor, she may strike a gavel on the dais to summon order in the courtroom.

Witness the power of the State: the power to mete out punishment for persons found guilty of something the State has determined to be illegal. It is a power that may be, and has been, wielded in what would be construed to be a thoroughly criminal manner in a moral universe. After all, gift giving and dancing were once deemed illegal by the Canadian State, and thus the tradition of First Nation Potlatches were banned until a sense of sanity and seeming propriety prevailed.

Such legal chicanery is not surprising to those who subscribe to Emery Dahlberg’s admonition that power corrupts. [1] When law is unjust or when the punishment for wrongdoing is unjust, then the State has abused its power. The State’s power to prescribe justice can, moreover, be argued to represent State violence – in that the threat of punishment is used by the State to coerce behavioral compliance with the societal norms as dictated by the State.

To any informed person, Canada is undeniably a nation state erected on pre-existing nation states. The founding of Canada was unquestionably rooted in the genocide of the Original Peoples of the territory. [2] Genocide is a heinous act often rooted in racism and supremacism. One group of humans considers itself privileged and accords itself rights, god-given or not, to the land and resources regardless of whichever people inhabit such territory or how long the territory has been the domain of its inhabitants.

That the law is not a moral construct is adduced by the fact that it has served as a vehicle for carrying out great crimes. The so-called New World was gifted by the Papal Bull Inter Caetera (1493) for division among the Spanish and Portuguese. Non-Christian savages had no rights according to the papacy. Albeit this was later superseded by the Papal Bull Sublimis Deus (1537). Nonetheless, the entirety of the western hemisphere remains controlled by elitist European settler-colonialists. [3] Hence, Original Peoples find themselves stripped of sovereignty, ethnically cleansed from gargantuan swaths of unceded territory (reality check: who knowingly agrees to ceding a people’s territory anyway?), marginalized from decision-making regarding their lands, with many people having been forcibly assimilated into the dominating culture.

How to achieve actual justice for the dispossessed?

Bruce Clark is a man who made his living in the courtroom as a lawyer. He is an expert in law as applied to Indigenous peoples, having achieved a doctorate in comparative jurisprudence. Clark believes in the notion of applying law to achieve justice. Justice is a concept that is higher than the self, thus Clark took on the establishment to seek justice for his Indigenous clients. In the end he was punished for his zeal for justice.

I first became aware of Bruce Clark when he was providing counsel to the Sundancers at Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake). To protect the claimed rights of an American rancher to property on unceded Secwepemc territory, the provincial government resorted to para-military measures to evict the Sundancers; it was astoundingly reprehensible to me. Natural law was stood on its head by the provincial authorities. It is a matter that all “British Columbians” and “Canadians” should make themselves deeply informed about and act thereupon according to their consciences.

Bruce Clark is speaking and writing words extremely discomfiting to many non-Indigenous people. He is the author of Justice in Paradise and Native Liberty, Crown Sovereignty: The Existing Aboriginal Right of Self-Government in Canada. Just published is a collection of Clark’s subsequent writings, Ongoing Genocide caused by Judicial Suppression of the “Existing” Aboriginal Rights. In Ongoing Genocide Clark presents the legal case for Indigenous sovereignty such that the layperson can readily grasp the arguments.

Clark examines the constitutional law, international law, and case studies based on the law of the invaders. When interpreted without bias, the compelling arguments of Clark strongly refute any credence to the newcomers’ doctrine of discovery, especially over lands previously inhabited for millennia. That invader courts should have any authority in the territory invaded is, on its face, risible.

While constitutional and international law should be preeminent, in Canada writes Clark, “The modus operandi of the legal establishment and its collaborating Indian accomplices is the suppression of the constitutional and international law that the establishment intentionally is breaking.” (p 15)

The corruption in the system is political, economic, and legal. Clark finds that the legal profession and the judiciary are complicit in misprision of treason, fraud, and genocide. (p 31) The legal system has politicized law through artifices such as “the rule of judicial discretion” substituted for “the rule of law.” (p 40) Clark criticizes, “The lie, recently invented by the Supreme Court of Canada in willful blindness, is that the aboriginal right is no more than ‘the right to be consulted’…” (p 142)

The legal system has shielded itself from scrutiny in its complicity with crimes committed. Writes Clark,

Immunity anywhere signifies the non-existence of the rule of law everywhere. But again that will not happen, because like Canada the legal establishment of the United States practices the same willful blindness to the unconstitutional genocide at the historical heart of its legal system. (p 50)

A number of court decisions are mistakes, per incuriam, and are not a binding precedent, writes Clark.

Clark cites legal documents and precedents, in particular, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which sets aside the Hunting Grounds to Indian nations in which the Indians are to be unmolested.

Clark has tried to challenge the constitutionality of Canada’s usurpation of Indigenous territory. A Catch 22 has been designed to block this. Clark relates how the Supreme Court demands a lower court ruling on the matter while the lower courts insist it is a Supreme Court matter. (p 127) It is clear to Clark that an independent, third party adjudication is required, this having already been established in the 1703 case of the Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut for Indian land claims throughout British North America.

Pressing to have his legal arguments heard and a decision rendered in court ultimately cost Clark his career as a lawyer. But this was not the end of Clark or the quest for justice.

Clark remains dangerous to the system that upholds the dispossession. A Vancouver Sun diatribe against Clark revealed this. Clark is described as “too radical for B.C. courtrooms, and too rambunctious for the Ontario bar,” and “a colourful but fatally misguided militant zealot.” Yet the critic acknowledges, “… Clark’s well-articulated ideas are definitely threatening to the status quo.”

Clark touches upon many topics in Ongoing Genocide among them the effects of Indian Residential Schools, the Indian Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“… an expensive fraud upon the public but a cruel imposition upon the victims, who are encouraged to air their innermost suffering in the mistaken belief that it will lead to closure.” [p 20]), the so-called 60’s scoop of Indigenous children, and more.

The book concludes by pointing out an error in the Supreme Court Case Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia, 2014 that is at odds with precedents such as the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and section 109 of the Constitution Act, 1867. In recent years the BC provincial government and federal government have apologized for the wrongful hanging of six Tsilhqot’in chiefs. [4] Despite this, the BC government and Taseko Mines have continued to undermine Indigenous sovereignty, with repeated attempts to set up and operate a platinum mine in the Tsilhqot’in nation.

Ongoing Genocide caused by Judicial Suppression of the “Existing” Aboriginal Rights puts forward the case over which Canadian law courts dare not deliberate. That should not preclude people of conscience becoming informed. Is Canada a just society? Read the book and judge for yourself. Then do something about it. Humanity requires many more brave warriors like Bruce Clark.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Twitter: @kimpetersen.

Notes

  1. I hold that Dahlberg’s aphorism should not be considered too simplistically – that it has many layers. E,g, there is probably something already present in the nature of many humans that leads them to covet power.
  2. See Tom Swanky, The Great Darkening: The True Story of Canada’s “War” of Extermination on the Pacific plus The Tsilhqot’in and other First Nations Resistance (Burnaby, BC: Dragon Heart Enterprises, 2012). Read review.
  3. A noteworthy exception is Warisata (Bolivia) which has been governed by an Indigenous president, Evo Morales, since 2006.
  4. Emilee Gilpin, “Minister Carolyn Bennett says exoneration of Tsilhqot’in chiefs opens door to reconciliation,” National Observer, 27 March 2018; Tom Swanky, “Exoneration of the Chilcotin Chiefs,” 10 September 2015.
  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Aboriginal Rights: Canada’s Legal System’s Complicity in Genocide. “Canadian Law Courts Dare not Deliberate”
  • Tags:

Trump ‘Trade War’ Hides Military Industrial Agenda

November 13th, 2018 by F. William Engdahl

In geopolitics events are rarely what they seem to be. This is especially true when we look more closely at the otherwise bizarre “war” launched this spring under the guise of trade war, supposedly redressing America’s huge annual balance of trade deficits, the most extreme being that with China. The true driver behind Washington’s otherwise inexplicable tariff war attacks on especially China make sense when we view them through the prism of a new Administration report on the defense industrial base of the United States.

In early October a US Government inter-agency Task Force, headed by the Department of Defense (DoD) released the unclassified part of a year-long study on the domestic industrial base required to provide vital components and raw materials for the US military. Titled “Report Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” the Interagency Task Force document was commissioned a year ago in a little-noted Executive Order 13806 of the US President.

The report is the first such detailed analysis of the adequacy or lack of, of the industrial supply chain that feeds vital components to the US Military in recent years.

The 300 Gaps

The declassified version of the report is shocking enough. It cites a laundry list of 300 “gaps” or vulnerabilities in the US military industrial base.  What it reveals in stark detail is a national economy no longer able to support the most basic essentials of a national defense, a direct consequence of the economies of globalization and offshore outsourcing. It details dramatic shortages of skilled workers in areas such as machine tooling, welding, engineering. Vital machinery such as numerically-controlled machine tools must be imported, most from Germany, which has not the best relations with Washington at present. Many of the small, specialized suppliers of key sub-components are single-source suppliers many on the brink of insolvency owing to US Budget uncertainties in recent years. And the US defense industry is dependent on China for virtually all its rare earth metals. Since the 1980’s US domestic mining of the metals has virtually collapsed for economic reasons as suppliers turned to China for far cheaper sources. Today 81% of world rare earth metals needed in military equipment, superconductors, smart phones and other high tech applications come from China.

Vulnerabilities

The Pentagon defense industrial base report is an attempt to go behind the surface of the dozen or so giant military contractors such as Boeing or Raytheon to the tens of thousands of smaller companies which provide critical sub-components to determine the state of vulnerability in event of a war.

Here the report notes,

“In multiple cases,the sole remaining domestic producer of materials critical to DoD are on the verge of shutting down their US factory and importing lower cost materials from the same foreign producer country who is forcing them out of domestic production…”

It highlights such alarming “single source” potential bottlenecks as reliance on a single source for propeller shafts for Navy ships, gun turrets for tanks, fuel for rockets and space-based infrared detectors for missile defense.

The report is the most thorough critical look at the military industrial base undertaken since the early years of the 1950’s Cold War buildup. Among examples it cites the fact that for example, there currently exists only one domestic source of ammonium perchlorate, a chemical widely used in Pentagon propulsion systems. Another is the alarming fact that the US has only one company domestically making the printed circuit boards essential to every piece of electronic equipment. They note,

“Since 2000, the US has seen a 70% decline in its share of global production. Today, Asia produces 90% of worldwide printed circuit boards, and half that production occurs in China. As a result, only one of the top 20 worldwide printed circuit board manufacturers is US-based.”

Another not so visible but vital component is the manufacture of ASZM-TEDA1 impregnated carbon. The US depends on only one source. ASZM-TEDA1 is used in 72 DoD chemical, biological, and nuclear filtration systems, among other things to protect against toxic gases and chemical warfare attacks. Calgon Carbon of Pittsburg is the current sole supplier.

Another alarming (or not so alarming, depending on where you stand) vulnerability is the reliable supply of a vital voltage control switch. In 2017 the semiconductor chip foundry used to make the voltage control switch, used in all Pentagon missile systems, closed. The Defense Department was not informed in time to organize a substitute source, putting US missile systems at risk. And the report notes that all cannons on US Army armored vehicles come from a single aging Watervliet Arsenal in New York, built in 1813.

Target China

The US report lays major blame on the dependence of US weapons companies in vital components outsourced to, yes, the Peoples’ Republic of China, the country that the Pentagon’s latest Defense Policy Review cites, along with Russia, as America’s greatest strategic threat.

In addition to almost complete dependence on Chinese suppliers of rare earth metals, the DoD weapons procurement contracts from larger companies such as Lockheed-Martin who, in turn, outsource their supply chain to the most efficient sources, often China. The report states, “China’s domination of the rare earth element market illustrates the potentially dangerous interaction between Chinese economic aggression, guided by its strategic industrial policies and vulnerabilities and gaps in America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base.”

The review states that the USA defense industry relies on Chinese producers for 100 percent of its rare earth materials. A 2016 Government Accountability Office report called that a “bedrock national security issue.” In another section the report notes, “Without relief from unlawful and otherwise unfair trade practices, the US will face a growing risk of increasing DoD reliance on foreign sources of vital materials.” This is an explicit reference to China.

It is no accident that the Trump trade war has turned its focus on “unfair trade practices” of China. The same Administration official responsible for the strategy of trade war, China-hawk Peter Navarro, was also charged by the President with conducting the Pentagon defense industrial base report.Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, wrote an OpEd in the New York Times on the report.

Navarro connects the otherwise confusing agenda of the Trump tariffs on such things as aluminum and steel to the military industrial base crisis. He cites such steps as “steel and aluminum tariffs to bolster core industries; a stout defense against China’s brazen theft and forced transfers of American intellectual property and technologies; a significant increase in the military budget; expansion of ‘Buy American’ rules for government procurement.”

Navarro explicitly notes that for example,wrought aluminum plate — an essential component in armoring ground combat vehicles, constructing Navy ships and building military aircraft—risks “potential production bottlenecks during a future surge in DoD requirements.” The import tariffs on aluminum are aimed at forcing a rebirth of domestic US aluminum production. In 1981 the United States was the world’s largest primary aluminum producer, a heritage of the World War era and the rise of Boeing and other aircraft makers, producing 30% of global supply. By 2016 the domestic US industry, led by Alcoa produced a mere 3.5% of world output falling to 10th rank just behind Saudi Arabia. China is world leader with a whopping 55% followed by Russia and Canada, all three targets of Washington aluminum tariffs or sanctions.

Navarro then notes what is perhaps the major deficiency in US preparedness for a future potential war with Russia and China as Pentagon policy suggests. “One of the biggest vulnerabilities identified in the report is a shortage of skilled labor for critical jobs. America is simply not generating enough workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to fill jobs in sectors such as electronic controls, nuclear engineering and space. Nor are we training enough machinists, welders and other skilled trade workers to build and maintain our ships, combat vehicles and aircraft.”

In recent years foreign or international students have dominated US university graduate and undergraduate enrollment. A recent study found that 81 percent of full-time graduate students in electrical and petroleum engineering programs at US universities are international students, and 79 percent in computer science are. The report states that at many U.S. universities, “both majors and graduate programs could not be maintained without international students.” Many of those are from Asia, most especially China.

Stop-gap moves

The US Administration plans to address the 300 gaps with certain immediate measures including closing key supply-chain gaps and using Defense Authorization funds to expand key domestic manufacturing capacities such as lithium seawater batteries or cutting-edge fuel cells for the Navy’s future unmanned, underwater vehicles. It will also reinvigorate the 1939 Defense Stockpile Program for foreign-produced limited-source strategic and critical materials.

The main conclusion of the report is that, “China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials deemed strategic and critical to U.S. national security.” This also explains why the focus of the ongoing Trump Administration trade war against China in fact concentrates on pressuring China to abandon its Made in China 2025 agenda with focus on making China dominant in advanced technologies over the coming decades.

On a deeper level, though it deals with the US defense industrial base, the report is a major expose of the true state of the overall domestic US industrial base following more than four decades of free trade, manufacturing offshore outsourcing and globalization. The good news is that World War III is not likely anytime soon despite all sabre-rattling. This is a good time to address the US debate to the far larger problem: how to correct the economic globalization that has all but destroyed the overall American industrial base and how to revive that civilian economy, something the warhawk neocons have no interest in reviving.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO


seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William Engdahl
ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

 

This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

The truth about Gallipoli has, unlike its victims, been buried deep. Historians like Peter Hart who describe it as “an idiocy generated by muddled thinking”1 are justified in their anger, but not their conclusions. The campaign was conceived in London as a grotesque, Machiavellian strategy to fool the Russians into believing that Britain was attempting to capture Constantinople for them. The paradox of its failure lay in its success. Gallipoli was purposefully designed to fail.

A secret cabal of immensely rich and powerful men – the Secret Elite – was formed in England in 1891 with the explicit aim of expanding the British Empire across the entire globe. They planned a European war to destroy Germany as an economic, industrial and imperial competitor and, to that end, drew France then Russia into an alliance termed the Entente Cordiale. Their massive land armies were needed to crush Germany. France would be rewarded with Alsace and Lorraine, while Russia was conned into believing she would get Constantinople.Thereafter, seizing the Ottoman capital became a “widespread obsession, bordering on panic” in St Petersburg.3

Had Britain encouraged the friendship of Turkey in 1914, the disaster of Gallipoli would never have happened.4The Turks generally disliked the Germans and their growing influence,5 and made three separate attempts to ally with Britain. They were rebuffed on each occasion.6 They also pleaded in vain with the French to accept them as an ally,7 and protect them against their old enemy, Russia.8 Poor fools. The French and British alliance with Russia was at the expense of the Turks, not an alliance with the Turks to save them from Russia. Britain and France planned to carve up the oil rich Ottoman Empire. To that end, the Turks had to be pushed into the German camp and defeated.

In July 1914 the majority of the Turkish cabinet was still well disposed towards Britain,9 but their faith was shattered by the seizure of two battleships being built for them in England. As an essay in provocation it was breathtaking.10 “If Britain wanted deliberately to incense the Turks and drive them into the Kaiser’s arms she could not have chosen more effective means.”11 Winston Churchill (a loyal servant of the Secret Elite) seized the dreadnoughts because they were “vital to Britain’s naval predominance.”12 The truth ran much deeper.

Back in February, Russia laid plans for her Black Sea fleet to take Constantinople by landing 127,500 troops and heavy artillery from Odessa. Arrival of the dreadnoughts from England would destroy this plan.13 Russia’s Foreign Minister Sazonov issued a thinly veiled warning to London on 30 July: “It is a matter of the highest degree of importance that… these ships must be retained in England.”14 Fearful that Russia would renege on her commitment to war should the ships be released, the Secret Elite withheld them. It kept Russia on board and helped drive Turkey into the German camp (they signed a treaty on 2 August), but it created a major problem. How to prevent the Russian Black Sea fleet from seizing Constantinople? Two German warships provided the answer. On 4 August, while off the coast of Algeria, the battle cruiser Goeben and attendant light cruiser Breslau received orders to head for Constantinople.

Vastly outnumbered (73 to 2) by French and British warships, the escape of the German cruisers to Constantinople, 1,200 miles away, is described as a “fiasco of tragic errors” by “fumbling” British Admirals.15The British Admiralty supposedly had no idea where they were heading, but the reality was very different. On 3 August, Kaiser Wilhelm telegraphed King Constantine to say that both warships would be proceeding to Constantinople. This information was transmitted to London,16 and to the British naval mission in Athens.17 Naval Intelligence in London had intercepted and decrypted the actual encoded message from Berlin to Goeben: “Alliance concluded with Turkey. Goeben and Breslau proceed to Constantinople.” The Admiralty knew,18 but relayed information to the Mediterranean fleet that “was either useless or inaccurate.”19 Goeben and Breslau were allowed to escape in order to neutralise the Russian Black Sea fleet. Foreign Secretary Sazonov was outraged that the Royal Navy had failed to prevent it.20

The Ottoman Ambassador in Berlin summed it up perfectly: “Considering the displeasure and complications which a Russian attack on Constantinople would produce in England, the British navy having enabled the German ships to take cover in the Sea of Marmora, has, with the Machiavellianism characteristic of the Foreign Office, foiled any possibility of action by the Russian Black Sea Fleet.”21 Safe arrival of the Goeben rendered a Russian amphibious operation well-nigh impossible,22 and the British Ambassador at Constantinople admitted that their presence served British interests, since “they protected the straits against Russia.”23

On 9 September Admiral Arthur Limpus, head of the British naval mission in Turkey, was recalled. Turkey, although still neutral, closed and mined the Dardanelles. In late October Goeben and Breslau bombarded Sevastopol and other Black Sea ports. Infuriated, Tsar Nicholas insisted on war with Turkey and the seizure of Constantinople for Russia. British and French fears that he would make peace with Germany if Constantinople was denied him gave the Tsar overwhelming diplomatic leverage, and it was agreed that Turkey must now be brought into the war.24

War Declared & the Secret Elites Initiate Gallipoli Campaign

On 2 November Russia declared war on Turkey. Britain and France followed suit three days later. “November 1914 brought a kind of holy war fever to the Russian Foreign Ministry.”25 With over one million Russian casualties for no gain, anti-war protests and revolution stalked the streets of Petrograd. In London, fear of Russia signing a peace treaty with Germany loomed large. How was Russia to be kept in the war with the promise of Constantinople, without actually allowing it? The solution, an attack on Gallipoli, was fraught with pitfalls. The Tsar had to be tricked into believing Britain was generously responding in his hour of need by mounting an all-out effort to take Constantinople for Russia.

The Gallipoli campaign supposedly arose from an urgent call for help from the Russian commander-in-chief Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolaevich on 31 December. Would Britain create a diversion to relieve pressure on Russian troops fighting in the Caucasus?26 This widely held view is wrong. The suggestion came not from Nikolaevich, but from the British military attaché at Petrograd, Sir John Hanbury-Williams. Intimately linked to the Secret Elite and their leader Lord Alfred Milner,27 Hanbury-Williams was frequently in close contact with Nikolaevich. He expressed anxiety about Russia’s domestic morale, but never even mentioned the Dardanelles. It was Hanbury-Williams who planted the idea of a British demonstration against the Ottoman Empire.28 Next day this was presented to the British War Council and magically transformed into a desperate plea for help from Russia.

Having already decided their strategy to keep the Russians out of Constantinople, the Secret Elite now cleverly made it appear that the idea came from Russia. It was all pre-planned, “long before any kind of military imperative in the Ottoman theatre was apparent.”29 The Secretary of the Committee for Imperial Defence, Maurice Hankey, proposed a solution that met all requirements, and it is no coincidence that Hankey was himself a member of the Secret Elite.30 The Gallipoli campaign would be mounted as a sop to the Russians, but set up to fail.

Days later the military dynamic changed. The Turkish 3rd Army was decimated in the Caucasus and, irrespective of whose suggestion it had been, there was no need whatsoever for any British intervention to help Russia. Nonetheless, on 20 January Britain informed Russia that she would undertake not just a demonstration, but a complete operation to penetrate the Dardanelles and Gallipoli. The Russians desperately wanted to take part, but were told to concentrate all efforts against Germany on the Eastern Front. The Secret Elite moved into top gear. An objective that required long months of careful preparation was rushed ahead at breakneck speed with disregard for the basic prerequisites for success.

Churchill assumed command and chose men for their ineptitude rather than ability. He turned to Vice-Admiral Sackville Carden, recently appointed commander of the Mediterranean Squadron after years in a desk-bound job, as superintendent of the Malta dockyards. Slow and ineffective,31 Carden was tasked with drawing up a plan for a naval attack on the Dardanelles, and relaying it to Churchill within days for presentation to a War Council meeting.32On 15 January Carden was informed that his plan had been accepted33 and that he would be in command. What had happened? The ‘plan’, rapidly cobbled together on the back of an envelope by a second rate officer, was to be used as the blueprint for the Gallipoli campaign. The reluctant Carden was given no option other than to get on with it,34 and was effectively set up to take the blame when it failed. For fail it must.

Rear-Admiral Arthur Limpus, an eminently more experienced and knowledgeable man who had spent years in Turkey advising on all naval matters, including the defence of the Dardanelles, was overlooked.35 Here was the man “who knew the Turks and the Dardanelles intimately,”36 yet Churchill shunned him because “the Turks might be offended” and it would be “unfair and unduly provocative” to place in command a man with an inside knowledge of the Turkish fleet.37 Limpus “knew all their secrets,”38 and more about the Dardanelles and the Turkish navy than any other naval officer, yet we are asked to believe that he wasn’t given command because it was considered ungentlemanly – “not quite cricket.”39 Limpus had been sent to the Malta dockyards to sit at Carden’s old desk. Outrageous stupidity or cold calculation?

Limpus was opposed to Churchill’s plan,40 stressing that the first stage must be an amphibious landing, not a naval attack.41 He was not alone in his opposition. In 1906, naval chiefs considered a naval assault too risky.42 Any attack on Gallipoli would “have to be undertaken by a joint naval and military expedition,”43 and Churchill himself stated in 1911 that it was “no longer possible to force the Dardanelles.”44 Rear-Admiral Carden was ignorant of the fact that any chance of success at Gallipoli was absolutely dependent on a combined naval and military operation. Without long, detailed joint planning, and a sufficient number of troops, it was impossible. Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War, refused to make troops available and Carden was ordered to proceed with a naval attack.

The Russians were turning the screw. Pressure for immediate action influenced the War Council’s decision.45On 14 February, Sazonov stated that the time for moderation had passed. Tsar Nicholas agreed, informing the French ambassador that his people were making terrible sacrifices in the war without reward. Constantinople must be incorporated into his empire.46 Sazonov implied to the British ambassador that he would resign, and be replaced by Sergei Witte, a pro-German sympathiser who would immediately seal a treaty with Germany.47 All warnings against a purely naval attack were ignored. The navy’s objective was to “bombard and take the Gallipoli peninsula with Constantinople as the objective.”48 After the disastrous failure the Dardanelles Commission asked, “How can a fleet take a peninsula? And how could it have Constantinople as its objective? If this meant… that the Fleet should capture and occupy the city, then it was absurd.”49 It was all absurd.

Naval bombardment of the outer forts of the Dardanelles began on 19 February and ran for six days. It caused some damage but destroyed all hope of surprise and merely led the Turks to strengthen their defences.50 The main naval attack took place on 18 March. On the previous day Vice-Admiral De Robek had to take charge when Carden suffered a nervous breakdown. It was no surprise. He was never fitted for the task and felt completely undermined by the Admiralty’s refusal to provide custom-built minesweepers. They were utterly essential but he was given only North Sea trawlers that could barely make headway against the strong 5-6 knot current. Eight powerful destroyers, which could have been fitted with sweeps, remained idle that fateful day while the officers sat playing cards,51 and only two out of a total of 387 mines were cleared.52 A fleet of 16 British and French battleships bombarded the coast, but were unable to penetrate the minefield and six battleships were sunk or disabled by mines. The Bouvet sank within two minutes with over 600 men trapped inside. It was the disaster predicted as far back as 1906.

A Campaign That Could Never Succeed

Orchestrated chaos shrouded a campaign that could never succeed. Kitchener meantime had changed his mind and agreed to make troops available for a combined attack, but the naval assault had gone ahead before their arrival. Maurice Hankey, acting more as strategic adviser to the War Council than its Secretary,53 stated, “combined operations require more careful preparation than any other class of military enterprise. All through our history such attacks have failed when the preparations have been inadequate.”54 He listed ten points to be met if a joint attack was to succeed. Was he saying, “it will fail as long as we do not take the following measures”? According to the War Council minutes, Hankey’s plan was not even discussed.55 In the event, every point he made was studiously ignored.

Military leadership, like naval, was barely functional. General Sir Ian Hamilton, a man in the twilight of his career who “knew little of the Dardanelles, the Turkish army or of modern warfare,” was chosen to command.56 Scared of Kitchener, and hamstrung by his long-subservience,57 he noted in his diary, “It is like going up to a tiger and asking for a small slice of venison.” During the Boer War he had witnessed Kitchener respond to an officer’s appeal for reinforcements by taking half his troops away.58 The genial Hamilton, like poor Carden, was a scapegoat made to order.

Summoned by Kitchener on 12 March, Hamilton was brusquely informed, “We are sending a military force to support the fleet now at the Dardanelles and you are to have command.” Hamilton was stunned, later admitting, “My knowledge of the Dardanelles was nil, of the Turk nil, of the strength of my own forces next to nil.” When asked if a squadron of modern aircraft with experienced pilots and observers could be made available, Kitchener testily replied, “Not one.” 150,000 men was the minimum required strength for the task, but Kitchener insisted that “half that number” would do handsomely.59 No attempt was made to co-ordinate intelligence about the defences at Gallipoli, not even at strategic level.60 Hamilton was given a cursory briefing, two small tourist guidebooks and old, inaccurate maps.61 Detailed reports from Admiral Limpus and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cunnliffe-Owen, another officer with considerable knowledge of Gallipoli, were kept from him.62 Hamilton set off within 48 hours, together with some inexperienced members of staff who did not even know “how to put on their uniforms.”63 So much for detailed preparation.

The chaos continued. There was no discussion, no plan, no naval/military coordination. Indeed, it was a worse situation than preceded the naval operation.64 Gallipoli was to be invaded with a mixed force of 80,000 men from Britain, France and the Empire. Raw Anzac troops and unseasoned French recruits were to be thrown into battle for the first time. Marshall Joffre, the French commander-in-chief, was profoundly opposed to the whole operation and initially refused to provide troops. Political expediency forced his hand.65 A French army Colonel who had spent years in Constantinople also opposed the attack, but like everyone else with intimate knowledge of the area, its topography and defences, he was dismissed.66 Lieutenant-Colonel Cunnliffe-Owen, the British military attaché at Constantinople in 1914, who had personally conducted a detailed survey of Gallipoli, was likewise deliberately overlooked. In London when staff were being scratched together for Hamilton’s team, Cunnliffe-Owen was passed over. His detailed reports on the peninsula were never shown to General Hamilton.67

Kitchener agreed to the deployment of 18,000 men from the British army’s 29th Division. Its commander, Shaw, had served with distinction at Mons and was considered a highly competent and “impressively professional soldier.” Two days before leaving for Gallipoli, when continuity was all-important, Shaw was inexplicably replaced by Major-General Hunter-Weston. He immediately rejected his allocated ship because it lacked first class accommodation, and was transferred to the luxury liner Andania.68 Major-General Shaw suffered the same fate as Admiral Limpus. A competent, knowledgeable man was rejected in favour of Hunter-Weston, a laughing-stock in the British Army,69 spectacularly incompetent, and “one of the most brutal commanders of the First World War.”70Ask yourself, what was going on?

Hamilton arrived to find his army scattered in confusion over much of the Mediterranean. Some battalion commanders couldn’t trace their companies. Ships came from Britain with such poorly written orders that captains did not know their destination.71 On their arrival at Mudros, the ships were found to be loaded in a shambolic fashion, and had to be taken 700 miles to Egypt to be unloaded and repacked.72 Such was the lack of preparation that even the simplest questions could not be answered. “Was there drinking water on Gallipoli? What roads existed? Were troops to fight in trenches or the open? What sort of weapons were required? What was the depth of water off the beaches? What sort of boats were needed to get the men, the guns and stores ashore? What casualties were to be expected? How were they to be got off to the hospital ships? It was simply a case of taking whatever came to hand and hoping for the best.”73

An “Amateurish, Do-It-Yourself Cock-Up”

You couldn’t make it up. There was a shortage of guns, ammunition, aircraft and, above all, troops. Hamilton’s requests for additional supplies and reinforcements were either ignored or refused.74 Gallipoli veteran Charles Watkins described the campaign as an “amateurish, do-it-yourself cock-up.”75 It was designed to be exactly that. The quality of preparation and leadership guaranteed it. General Ian Hamilton was the Secret Elite’s Patsy-in-Chief, unwittingly abetted by the incompetent Admiral Carden. These were the men chosen to fail.

The Gallipoli landings went ahead on 25 April 1915 with the terrible slaughter and wounding of many incredibly brave young men, dispensable pawns on Imperial Britain’s chessboard. Despite the fleet now having some thirty powerful destroyers equipped to sweep the mines, and many officers totally confident that the fleet could now get through, no further attempt was made to force the Dardanelles. The navy would play no further part other than ferrying the men ashore, taking off the wounded, and providing a safe haven off-shore for the likes of Hunter-Weston. Successful mine sweeping had always been the key to a successful naval assault, and with the new minesweepers and a clear run through to the Straits, the fleet could have greatly assisted the army with controlled bombardments of Turk positions from within the channel. It would, of course, also have been able to cripple Goebenand Breslau. For the above stated reasons, that would not be allowed to happen.

For years knowledgeable men had insisted that a well planned and resourced combined naval and military attack was the only type of operation that might succeed, but never at any point in the entire Gallipoli campaign was a joint assault carried out. The elites in London ordered the shambolic attack by the navy when they knew it was bound to fail, and now ordered an equally shambolic attack by the army in the full knowledge that it too could never succeed.

Gallipoli was a lie within the lie that was the First World War. The campaign ended in military defeat, but geo-strategic victory for the British Empire. By late 1915, with Russian forces pushed back on the eastern front and any likelihood of their intervention in Constantinople gone, the British government began planning withdrawal from the corpse strewn peninsula. The last Allied troops were taken off on 9 January 1916, leaving behind 62,266 of their comrades. The majority of the dead on both sides have no known graves. Many of the 11,410 Australians and New Zealanders who died76 suffered unspeakable deaths, deliberately sacrificed on the altar of British imperialism.

A Myth Obscures the terrible Truth

Over the last century, in both Britain and Australia, Gallipoli has been turned into a heroic-romantic myth,77 a myth promoted by court historians and pliant journalists in order to hide the stark truth. It was a ruse, a sop to the Russians to keep them in the war in the belief that allied forces would capture Constantinople on their behalf. Put into the hands of incompetent generals and admirals, starved of troops, determined leadership, ill-equipped, ill-advised and certain to fail, the attack on Gallipoli as an integral part of the imperial strategy was a stunning success.

We are aware of at least one renowned Gallipoli historian and writer in Australia who agrees with our thesis. Like us, he proposes that “it was the intention of the British and French governments of 1915 to ensure that the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli campaign would not succeed” and was “conceived as a ruse to keep the Russians in the war…” He believes that while the proposition has circumstantial evidence to support it, there is “little or no documentary evidence.”78 He is very unlikely to find it. As revealed in our book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, masses of crucial documents relating to the First World War were shredded or burned, or have been kept hidden away to this very day in a high security establishment at Hanslope Park in England. The individuals responsible for the war, responsible for Gallipoli, were many things, but they weren’t so stupid as to leave incriminating evidence lying around. Historians in Australia and New Zealand must stop protecting their comfortable careers and start acknowledging the terrible truth about Gallipoli. Peddling mythology as truth is an insult to the memory of those brave young men.

Just as in Britain, the Government of Australia seeks to be the guardian of public memory, choreographing commemoration into celebration,79 ritually condemning war while the rhetoric gestures in the opposite direction.80 The War Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park proudly exhorts, “Let Silent Contemplation Be Your Offering,” yet the deafening prattle of political expediency mocks the valiant dead with empty words and lies. Don’t be fooled. Those young men died for the imperial dreams of wealthy manipulators, not for ‘freedom’ or ‘civilisation’. They died deceived, expendable, and in the eyes of the power-brokers, the detritus of strategic necessity. Remember that.

The above appears in New Dawn 149: http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/articles/gallipoli-the-untold-story-the-first-casualty-of-war-is-truth

To read exclusive extracts from their book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, including their latest research on Gallipoli, please visit the authors’ blog at firstworldwarhiddenhistory.wordpress.com. Hidden History is available from all good bookstores and online retailers.

The authors contributed the article “The Secret Origins of the First World War” to New Dawn Special Issue Vol 9 No 1.

Footnotes

1. Peter Hart, Gallipoli, vii

2. David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace, The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, 138; Niall Ferguson, The Pity Of War, 61

3. Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First World War, p.28.

4. J Laffin, The Agony of Gallipoli, 3

5. Robert Rhodes James, Gallipoli, 8

6. Hew Strachan, The First World War, 102

7. Friedrich Stieve, Isvolsky and the World War, 177

8. W W Gottlieb, Studies in Secret Diplomacy, 34

9. Dan Van Der Vat, The Dardanelles Disaster, 28

10. L A Carlyon, Gallipoli, 42

11. Gottlieb, Studies, 42

12. W.S. Churchill, The World Crisis, 221-2

13. Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First World War, 30-34

14. Ibid., 102

15. Ulrich Trumpener, ‘The Escape of the Goeben and Breslau’, Canadian Journal of History, September 1971, 171

16. Ibid., 178-9

17. Geoffrey Miller, The Straits, ch. 16

18. Alberto Santini, ‘The First Ultra Secret: The British Cryptanalysis in the Naval Operations of the First World War’, Revue Internationale d’Histoire Militaire, Vol. 63, 1985, 101

19. Ulrich Trumpener, ‘The Escape of the Goeben and Breslau’, Canadian Journal of History, September 1971, 181-7

20. Gottlieb, Studies, 45

21. Ibid., 46

22. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 105-106

23. Strachan, The First World War, Vol. 1, 674

24. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 96-97

25. Ibid., 115

26. Ronald P Bobroff, Roads to Glory, Late Imperial Russia and the Turkish Straits, 125

27. Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, 56

28. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 129-30

29. Ibid., 121

30. Quigley, Anglo-American Establishment, 313

31. Tim Travers, Gallipoli, 20-21

32. Laffin, The Agony, 21-22

33. Robin Prior, Gallipoli, The End of A Myth, 22

34. Ibid., 52

35. Rhodes James, Gallipoli, 63

36. B. H. Liddell Hart, History of the First World War, 213

37. Laffin, The Agony, 9

38. Alan Moorehead, Gallipoli, 60

39. Michael Hickey, Gallipoli, 27

40. Harvey Broadbent, Gallipoli, The Fatal Shore, 21

41. Laffin, The Agony, 9

42. Memorandum by the General Staff, 19 December 1906, National Archives, PRO. CAB/4/2/92

43. Hickey, Gallipoli, 28

44. James, Gallipoli, 3-4

45. Broadbent, Gallipoli, The Fatal Shore, 28

46. Ronald P Bobroff, Roads to Glory, Late Imperial Russia and the Straits, 126-131

47. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 130-131

48. Laffin, The Agony, 15-22

49. Moorehead, Gallipoli 40

50. Laffin, The Agony, 31

51. Travers, Gallipoli, 29

52. Prior, Gallipoli, 53

53. Stephen Roskill, Hankey, Vol. 1, 156

54. Ibid., 163

55. War Council Minutes, 19 March, 1915, CAB 42/2

56. Prior, Gallipoli, 67

57. Peter Hart, Gallipoli, 63

58. Laffin, The Agony, 39

59. Ibid., 30

60. Ibid., 19

61. Ibid., 31

62. Hickey, Gallipoli, 67

63. Laffin, The Agony, 31

64. Prior, Gallipoli, 70

65. Laffin, The Agony, 35

66. Edmond Delage, The Tragedy of the Dardanelles, 109

67. Laffin, The Agony, 12-13

68. Hickey, Gallipoli, 57-58

69. Denis Winter, Haigs Command, 140

70. Prior, Gallipoli, 80

71. Laffin, The Agony, 31

72. Moorehead, Gallipoli, 90

73. Prior, Gallipoli, 242

74. Moorehead, Gallipoli, 117

75. Laffin, The Agony, 217

76. Prior, Gallipoli, 242

77. Jenny Macleod, Reconsidering Gallipoli, 7-14

78. ‘Gallipoli: one great deception?’ by Harvey Broadbent, ABC, 29 Sep 2010, www.abc.net.au/news/2009-04-24/30630

79. James Brown, Anzacs Long Shadow, 19-22

80. Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, What’s Wrong With Anzac? The Militarisation of Australian History, 8

Copyright Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor, New Dawn Magazine, 2015

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on World War I and the British Empire: The Gallipoli Campaign, The Untold Story

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin confirms that President Macron had “specifically asked him not to hold one-on-one meetings with US President Donald Trump…” during the Commemoration.

Putin agreed  “not violate the schedule of the host party here [France]: At their request, we will not organize any meetings here,” (RT, Interfax news agency)

The two men nonetheless “shook hands” and, according to unconfirmed reports, there was an informal Trump-Putin chat at the Elysee Palace. See the 16 seconds video below.

Visibly, Trump was the odd man out. He did not like President Emmanuel Macron’s  rebuttal  of his “America First”  brand of nationalism which was compared “to the forces that plunged Europe into conflict in the early 20th Century”.

Macron, however, was careful not to mention the name of the country or the name of its president:

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism… nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first [aka America First], who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.”

Moreover, upon his return from Paris,  Trump complained (see his twits below) that America had not been “treated fairly” despite the rain of US  threats and trade sanctions directed against dozens of countries including several of America’s staunchest allies:

Russia Today screenshot, November 12, 2018

The Putin-Netanyahu Meeting

The Kremlin cancelled the “formal” meeting between Putin and Netanyahu in Paris.

The Russian President and the Prime Minister of Israel did however meet at the Elysee Palace on the sidelines of the Paris Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Putin meets Netanyahu, Elysée Palace, with translator: Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2018

According to the Jerusalem Post (November 12, 2018),

Netanyahu told reporters that the “conversation was very good and to the point; I would say it was very important.” He refused to elaborate any further on the conversation.  

Times of Israel, November 11, 2018

The Commemoration of the War to End All Wars.

“The Day After”: Business as Usual for War Criminal Netanyahu

And on the same day as well as on the day following the Paris Commemoration,  “Israeli fighter jets strike dozens of Gaza targets after 200 rockets rain down on towns” (RT, November 11, 2018)

 

 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on World War I Commemoration: Macron Blasts Trump’s “America First”, Putin and Trump Shake Hands, Putin and Netanyahu Meet “Unofficially”, Netanyahu Orders Gaza Strikes

Fascismo em marcha na América Latina e na UE

November 12th, 2018 by Peter Koenig

A América Latina está a reconverter-se no “quintal” de Washington e, como atividade paralela, está a voltar à esfera fascista, semelhante, mas pior, do que nos anos 60, 70 e 80 quando ficou sob a influência da Operação ou Plano Condor, liderada pela CIA. Muitos chamam à atual tendência de direita de Operação Condor II, que está provavelmente tão próxima da verdade quanto possível. É tudo fabricado por Washington/CIA, apenas com maior rigor e sofisticação do que o Plano Condor de há 40 e 50 anos atrás. Por muito que custe dizer, depois de todos os louros e glória remetidos à América Latina – com Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Lula, os Kirchner, José Mujica, Michelle Bachelet – mais de 80% da população da América Latina havia vivido durante cerca de 15 a 20 anos sob governos democraticamente eleitos, verdadeiramente progressistas, na sua maioria com inclinação de esquerda. Em pouco tempo, em menos de 3 anos, a “mesa virou”.

A América Latina foi durante cerca de 20 anos a única parte do mundo ocidental, que esteve totalmente afastada das garras do império. Sucumbiu novamente às forças do mal, às forças do dinheiro, às forças da corrupção total e da ganância. Os povos da América Latina traíram os seus próprios princípios. Fizeram-no novamente. Os seres humanos permanecem reduzidos, como em tempos ancestrais, aos poderes infalíveis da reprodução e do ego cum ganância. Parece que no final, o ego e a ganância vencem sempre as forças da luz, do bem, da paz e da harmonia. É por isso que até o Banco Mundial chama a corrupção como o maior obstáculo ao desenvolvimento. Referem-se ao desenvolvimento económico; Quero dizer desenvolvimento consciencioso. Desta vez, o truque usado são campanhas eleitorais falsas e fraudulentas; eleições compradas; Washington instigou golpes parlamentares – que no Brasil, levou o presidente não eleito Temer ao poder, um prelúdio para o pior, que ainda estava para vir, o fascista, misógino, racista e autoproclamado militar, Jair Bolsonaro.

A eleição presidencial de 2015 na Argentina trouxe uma vitória inteligentemente fabricada em Washington para Mauricio Macri, um amigo e ex-sócio de Donald Trump, por assim dizer. A eleição foi manipulada pelo agora bem conhecido método maquiavélico da Cambridge Analytica, de enganar os eleitores através de mensagens individualizadas espalhadas pelas redes sociais, para os fazer acreditar em todo tipo de mentiras sobre os candidatos. Os eleitores foram assim, apanhados de surpresa, quando o adversário de Macri, o esquerdista Daniel Scioli da Frente para a Vitória, que era líder nas sondagens, foi derrotado.

Atualmente, Macri, tem adotado uma agenda económica fascista, endividou o país com os pacotes de austeridade do FMI, aumentou o desemprego e a pobreza que se situavam nos 12% antes da sua eleição em 2015, para próximo dos 40% em 2018. Macri está a levar a Argentina em direção a um cenário déjà-vu dos anos 80 e especialmente 1990, quando sob pressão dos EUA, FMI e Banco Mundial, o país teve de adotar o dólar dos EUA como moeda local, ou, para ser exato, a Argentina podia manter o peso mas tinha de se comprometer com a paridade de um-para-um com o dólar americano. A explicação oficial para esta situação em termos económicos (impor o uso da moeda de um país para a economia de outro país não é apenas insano, é absolutamente criminoso) era poder parar a altíssima taxa de inflação – o que temporariamente aconteceu, mas em detrimento da classe trabalhadora, para quem produtos básicos e bens comuns se tornaram inacessíveis.

O desastre foi pré-programado. E o colapso da economia argentina aconteceu em 2000 e 2001. Finalmente, em Janeiro de 2002, o presidente Eduardo Duhalde acabou com a notória paridade peso-dólar. O peso foi primeiro desvalorizado em 40% – depois flutuou para uma desvalorização de 70% e gradualmente fixou-se em outras moedas internacionais, como o euro, o iene japonês e o yuan chinês. Por fim, a nova moeda flutuante permitiu que a economia argentina ganhasse um novo impulso e se recuperasse rapidamente. Talvez muito rapidamente, para o bem da Argentina.

A economia cresceu substancialmente sob os governos de esquerda dos Kirchner. Governos plenamente eleitos democraticamente. A economia não apenas cresceu rapidamente, como também cresceu de forma “distributiva”, o que significou a redução da pobreza avaliada em quase dois terços da população em 2001, para cerca de 12%, apenas um mês antes de Macri ser catapultado para o cargo por Washington e pela Cambridge Analytica, em Dezembro de 2015. A Argentina voltava a ser rica; agora poderia ser novamente ordenhada e extorquida pelo setor bancário e pelo corporativismo internacional, protegidos por três bases militares dos Estados Unidos recém-criadas nas províncias de Neuquen, Misiones e Tierra del Fuego. As bases  estarão inicialmente sob o Comando Sul dos EUA, mas provavelmente em pouco tempo serão convertidas em bases da OTAN. A OTAN já está na Colômbia e poderá em breve expandir-se para o Brasil de Bolsonaro.

Embora ninguém compreenda realmente o que a Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte tem a fazer na América do Sul – a resposta não é importante. O império adequa-se ao que se ajusta ao propósito. Não há regras, ética, nem leis – tudo vale perante o neoliberalismo. A OTAN deverá tornar-se numa força de ataque militar sob o controle de Washington e dirigida por aqueles poucos “iluminados”, que mexem os cordelinhos por trás das cortinas, desde o obscuro “Estado Profundo”.

Macri marcou o início do novo fascismo da América Latina. A América do Sul lutou por 15 a 20 anos para se tornar independente dos senhores neoliberais do norte. Foi agora reabsorvida na elite do norte, no “quintal” do império – sim, infelizmente foi nisso que a América Latina se tornou em grande parte, num mero “quintal” de Washington.

A ditadura de direita da Argentina imposta por Washington, foi precedida pelo golpe parlamentar do Paraguai em 2012, que em abril de 2013, levou ao poder Horacio Cartes, do partido de extrema-direita Colorado. O Partido Colorado foi também o partido de Alfredo Stroessner, o brutal ditador militar fascista que governou o Paraguai de 1954 a 1989.

No Chile, em 11 de Setembro de 1973, um socialista democraticamente eleito, Salvador Allende, foi derrubado sob o comando da CIA e um brutal ditador militar, Augusto Pinochet, foi instalado no poder por quase 30 anos. Depois de uma breve aparição de governos de centro e com inclinação de esquerda, o Chile, em Dezembro de 2017, voltou à política neoliberal de direita com Sebastian Piñera, ex-sócio de Pinochet. Rodeado com os seus amigos neoliberais e cúmplices próximos da Argentina, Colômbia, Brasil, Peru e até no Equador, com certeza Sebastian Piñera irá adoptar as regras económicas neofascistas de extrema direita, e assim, cairá nas boas graças dos bancos de Washington e seus instrumentos, o FMI e o Banco Mundial.

O fascismo está em marcha. Isto apesar do facto de que 99,99% da população, não apenas na América Latina, como em todo o mundo, não querem nada com o fascismo – então, onde está a fraude? Por que ninguém está a investigar os golpes e fraudes no Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colômbia? – para depois se apresentar os resultados para toda a gente ver?

Entretanto, aprendemos sobre a Cambridge/Oxford Analytica (CA & OA). Como operam e enganam o eleitorado. Eles mesmos finalmente admitiram o uso de métodos dentro dos quais operam e influenciam os eleitores com recurso a mentiras – com dados roubados ou comprados das redes sociais, principalmente do Facebook; milhões e milhões de dados pessoais para chegar electronicamente a grupos específicos de pessoas – bombardeando-as com mentiras para promover ou denegrir um ou outro candidato.

E foi precisamente isso que aconteceu no Brasil. Uma semana antes do segundo turno das eleições, ocorrido no último domingo, 28 de Outubro, Fernando Haddad (PT) lançou uma investigação criminal precisamente por esse motivo contra a campanha de Bolsonaro. Claro, nada aconteceu. Todos os juízes, tribunais e advogados estão sob o controle do não-eleito governo corrupto de direita Temer – que chegou ao poder através de um golpe parlamentar implacável orquestrado no estrangeiro, impugnando sob pretensões totalmente falsas a presidente eleita democraticamente Dilma Rousseff.

E agora – não há ninguém a investigar o que aconteceu no Brasil? Como se trouxe um “menino” militar como Jair Bolsonaro até ao poder? A esquerda está morta? Estarrecida até ao esquecimento? – Por quê? Com todas as lições para serem aprendidas ao redor do mundo, e para não ir mais longe, na vizinha Argentina – como pode a esquerda brasileira ser tão cega e ingénua, ao ponto de não perceber que seguindo o sistema  legal criminoso do seu país, é seguir o caminho para a sua própria morte, cavando a sua própria cova?

Desde o primeiro dia, os EUA contam firmemente com Bolsonaro para cercar a Venezuela, juntamente com a Colômbia. O presidente Trump já expressou as suas expectativas de trabalhar “estreitamente” com o novo governo de Bolsonaro em “questões de comércio, militar – e outras coisas”. Bolsonaro já se reuniu com Mike Pompeo, o secretário de Relações Exteriores dos EUA, e este último disse-lhe que a situação na Venezuela é uma “prioridade” para o Brasil. Ai está; Washington dita aos líderes estrangeiros as suas prioridades. Bolsonaro vai obedecer, com certeza.

Acorde – ESQUERDA! – não apenas na América Latina, mas em todo o mundo.

Hoje, são os principais meios de comunicação social que aprenderam os truques e as trapaças e aperfeiçoaram a Cambridge e Oxford Analyticas; e fazem-no sem parar. Possuem todo o dinheiro falso e fiduciário do mundo para poder pagar essas campanhas falsas e enganosas – Eles são propriedade da elite militar e financeira corporativa, CIA, MI6/5, Mossad – são propriedade e administrados pelo neoliberalismo ocidental todo abrangente cum fascismo. Os grupos de elite ricos têm livre acesso à oferta monetária falsa e fiduciária – o seu governo é fornecido tanto nos EUA quanto na Europa; a dívida não é problema para eles, desde que “se comportem”.

Sim. A ênfase está no saber comportar-se. As tendências ditatoriais são também omnipresentes na UE e, em especial, na não eleita Comissão Europeia (CE) , que é quem dita as regras em todas as questões importantes. O governo eurocético  5 Estrelas da Itália apresentou o seu orçamento para 2019 em Bruxelas. Não só foi o governo italiano repreendido por estender as suas contas com um défice superior à margem de 3% da dívida imposta pela UE, como também teve que apresentar um novo orçamento num prazo de 3 semanas. É assim que um governo da UE que não se comporta bem é tratado. Que alcance tem o controlo autoritário da UE em relação a um governo soberano. E “soberania” é – a UE ostenta – a chave para uma União Europeia coerente.

Por outro lado, a França tem infringido durante anos a famosa regra dos 3%. Aconteceu novamente com o orçamento de 2019. No entanto, o governo francês apenas recebeu uma nota esboçada, dizendo: por favor, reconsiderem o défice orçamental para o próximo ano. Não houve nenhuma reprimenda. Não se repreende uma Criança dos Rothschild. Dois pesos duas medidas, corrupção, nepotismo, estão entre os atributos do fascismo. Está a crescer rapidamente em todo o Ocidente. Está a assumir vida própria. E os militares estão preparados. Em toda parte. Se ao menos eles, os militares, acordassem e ficassem do lado do povo em vez do da elite dominante que os trata como seus peões. Contudo, eles fazem parte do povo; pertencem à mais comum das pessoas. No final, eles receberão o mesmo tratamento que as pessoas – serão torturados e mortos quando não forem mais necessários, ou quando não se comportem da maneira que os neofascistas pretendem.

Então, Caros Homens e Mulheres do Exército – por que não prevenir tais riscos e ficar ao lado das pessoas desde o começo? – Todo o sistema, criminoso e falso, entraria em colapso se não tivesse a proteção da polícia e dos militares. Vocês, queridos Homens e Mulheres, formam a Polícia e os Militares, vocês têm o poder e a obrigação moral de apoiar o povo, e não defender governantes cruéis, elitistas e criminosos – à la Macri, Bolsonaro, Piñera, Duque, Macron, May. e Merkel. E há muitos mais da mesma estirpe.

Um dos primeiros sinais do que viria a acontecer em toda a América Latina para depois se espalhar pelo mundo ocidental, foi a “falsa eleição” de Macri, em 2015, na Argentina. Alguns de nós viram isso chegando e escrevemos sobre o assunto. Nós fomos ignorados, até ridicularizados. Foi-nos dito que não entendemos o processo democrático. Sim certo. Entretanto, a tendência para a direita, para um estado permanente de emergência, uma Lei Marcial de facto, tornou-se irreversível. A França incorporou o estado permanente de emergência na sua Constituição. Militares e Polícias armados são presença constante em toda Paris e nas principais cidades de França.

Existem poucas, muito poucas exceções restantes na América Latina, e na verdade, em todo o mundo ocidental.

E vamos fazer o que pudermos para salvá-los do bulldozer do fascismo.

Peter Koenig

Artigo original publicado em Global Research a 30 de Outubro, 2018.

Fascism on the March in Latin America and the EU

Traduzido por Pimenta Press

Peter Koenig é economista e foi funcionário do Banco Mundial. Trabalhou em todo o mundo, no campo do meio ambiente e recursos hídricos. Escreve regularmente para Global Research, ICH, Voice of Russia, Ria Novosti e outras páginas internet. É autor de Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – romance-reportagem baseado em 30 anos de experiências do Banco Mundial em todo o mundo.

  • Posted in Português
  • Comments Off on Fascismo em marcha na América Latina e na UE

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

November 12th, 2018 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Today, people are finally waking up to the dangers of a world war, which might emanate from the highest levels of the US government.  

We are no longer dealing with a hypothetical scenario. The threat of World War III is real. Public opinion has  become increasingly aware of the impending dangers of an all out US-NATO led war against Iran, North Korea and the Russian Federation.  

WW III has been contemplated by the U.S. and its allies for well over fifteen years as revealed in Michel Chossudovsky’s 2012 best-seller:  “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

Excerpt below

The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

click book cover image to order directly from Global Research

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Syria, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

Nuclear war has become a multi-billion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.


Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear Warby Michel Chossudovsky

Available to order from Global Research! 

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3  |  Year: 2012  |  Pages: 102 Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling) PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Ordering from Canada or the US? Save on bulk orders of “Towards a World War III Scenario”:

3 copies for $25.00

10 copies for $65.00

90 copies for $540.00

Combined offer: 2 books for 1 price!


Reviews

“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.” John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“Professor Chossudovsky’s hard-hitting and compelling book explains why and how we must immediately undertake a concerted and committed campaign to head off this impending cataclysmic demise of the human race and planet earth. This book is required reading for everyone in the peace movement around the world.” Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law, University of Illinois College of Law

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.” -Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction. Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   

WWIII Scenario

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear Warby Michel Chossudovsky Available to order from Global Research!  ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3  |  Year: 2012  |  Pages: 102 Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling) PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

For Kindle edition, click to visit Amazon.com

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

Veteran’s Day. The Military Industrial Empire’s Chess Game

November 12th, 2018 by Philip A Farruggio

Each and every year at this time in November our nation remembers those who fought and died wearing a US military uniform. But only a few of what they named ‘Wars‘ were ones in which our young military were rightfully sent overseas to fight.

This writer can only think of one such time, and that was WW2. All the rest of them were disgraceful attempts by our (so called) leaders to keep a stranglehold on the world. Sadly, the dead wearing those proud US uniforms of various branches have always been transformed into heroes. Sadder still, they were not heroes, rather pawns used disgracefully in some Military Industrial Empire’s chess game. Worse still, in most cases they were sent into harm’s way by leaders, both political and military, who never had to smell the odor of instant death:

The procession of generals marches slowly

with the clouds of gunpowder behind them,

as another encounter eases to flame

and the shouts of battle burn invisibly

from what once were bunkers of manhood

reduced now to pools of slaughter-house blood

flooding charred carcasses, uniformed but in death.

And the plotters never once look back

for the optimism of victory will not allow it.

They simply smile and pat one another

and then interrupt for a quick reflection;

And their silence is for that glorious past

and all those poor pitiful pawns,

and for future harvests which will occur

on the plains now of blood and sweat

in the limbo era that is renamed WAR.

(PAF October 1970)

Times like this become a ‘Catch 22’ for we who dissent against this empire. If you mind your manners and keep your mouth shut as the hype and hypocrisy abounds all around you, you become almost as bad as them. If you stand up and speak out against the tide, they label you unpatriotic and being against our military. Well, there is a way out of this conundrum. We should show remorse for the dead and wounded and deformed for life young military personnel, but only adding our feeling that They had NO business being sent to those places to do what they did to others and, ultimately, themselves! If those of us who ‘ know better’ as to the machinations of this Military Industrial Empire remain silent, then we give it license, and never reach our young minds with Truth.

The reception of heroes began early

as do all occasions befitting dawn.

The congregation of colonels arrived first

riding in on the backs of soldiers,

and they kneeled at the altars of business,

then proceeded to receive the generals

who had by now greeted the sun.

The one stars carried the two stars

and the three stars the four stars,

in the most common fashion: piggyback.

Next arrived the right handed reverends,

blessing and saluting and saluting and blessing

(they even baptised a newborn bastard)

and they took their rightful place on stage

awaiting, as all, their newest King,

escorted by hordes of helmets.

And the King humbled all beneath him

as his rented throne awaited

(being valid for four more years).

By now the sun had sickened

and proceeded behind soft clouds,

and the applause carried through the wind

on this day of the recycling of evil.

PAF Fall 1970

Nearly 50 years and nothing ever changes, does it?

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, New York, longshoremen. He has been a freelance columnist since 2001, with more than 300 of his essays posted, besides The Greanville Post, on sites like Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op-Ed News, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, where he writes a great deal about the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has an internet interview show, “It’s the Empire… Stupid” with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at [email protected].

We Are Heading for Another Tragedy Like World War I

November 12th, 2018 by Eric Margolis

We are now before the 100th anniversary of World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars. While honoring the 16 million who died in this conflict, we should also condemn the memory of the politicians, officials and incompetent generals who created this horrendous blood bath.

I’ve walked most of the Western Front of the Great War, visited its battlefields and haunted forts, and seen the seas of crosses marking its innumerable cemeteries.

As a former soldier and war correspondent, I’ve always considered WWI as the stupidest, most tragic and catastrophic of all modern wars.

The continuation of this conflict, World War II, killed more people and brought more destruction on civilians in firebombed cities but, at least for me, World War I holds a special horror and poignancy. This war was not only an endless nightmare for the soldiers in their pestilential trenches, it also violently ended the previous 100 years of glorious European civilization, one of mankind’s most noble achievements.

I’ve explored the killing fields of Verdun many times and feel a visceral connection to this ghastly place where up to 1,000,000 soldiers died. I have even spent the night there, listening to the sirens that wailed without relent, and watching searchlights that pierced the night, looking for the ghosts of the French and German soldiers who died here.

Verdun’s soil was so poisoned by explosives and lethal gas that to this day it produces only withered, stunted scrub and sick trees. Beneath the surface lie the shattered remains of men and a deadly harvest of unexploded shells that still kill scores of intruders each year. The spooky Ossuaire Chapel contains the bone fragments of 130,000 men, blown to bits by the millions of high explosive shells that deluged Verdun.

The town of the same name is utterly bleak, melancholy and cursed. Young French and German officers are brought here to see firsthand the horrors of war and the crime of stupid generalship.

Amid all the usual patriotic cant from politicians, imperialists and churchmen about the glories of this slaughter, remember that World War I was a contrived conflict that was totally avoidable. Contrary to the war propaganda that still clouds and corrupts our historical view, World War I was not started by Imperial Germany.

Professor Christopher Clark in his brilliant book, `The Sleepwalkers’ shows how officials and politicians in Britain and France conspired to transform Serbia’s murder of Austro-Hungary’s Crown Prince into a continent-wide conflict. France burned for revenge for its defeat in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and loss of Alsace-Lorraine. Britain feared German commercial and naval competition. At the time, the British Empire controlled one quarter of the world’s surface. Italy longed to conquer Austria-Hungary’s South Tyrol. Turkey feared Russia’s desire for the Straits. Austria-Hungary feared Russian expansion.

Prof Clark clearly shows how the French and British maneuvered poorly-led Germany into the war. The Germans were petrified of being crushed between two hostile powers, France and Russia. The longer the Germans waited, the more the military odds turned against them. Tragically, Germany was then Europe’s leader in social justice.

Britain kept stirring the pot, determined to defeat commercial and colonial rival, Germany. The rush to war became a gigantic clockwork that no one could stop. All sides believed a war would be short and decisive. Crowds of fools chanted ‘On to Berlin’ or ‘On to Paris.’

Few at the time understood the impending horrors of modern war or the geopolitical demons one would release. The 1904 Russo-Japanese War offered a sharp foretaste of the 1914 conflict, but Europe’s grandees paid scant attention.

Even fewer grasped how the collapse of the antiquated Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires would send Europe and the Mideast into dangerous turmoil that persists to our day. Or how a little-known revolutionary named Lenin would shatter Imperial Russia and turn it into the world’s most murderous state.

This demented war in Europe tuned into an even greater historic tragedy in 1917 when US President Woodrow Wilson, driven by a lust for power and prestige, entered the totally stalemated war on the Western Front. One million US troops and starvation caused by a crushing British naval blockade turned the tide of battle and led to Germany’s surrender.

Vengeful France and Britain imposed intolerable punishment on Germany, forcing it to accept full guilt for the war, an untruth that persists to this day. The result was Adolf Hitler and his National Socialists. If an honorable peace had been concluded in 1917, neither Hitler nor Stalin might have seized power and millions of lives would have been saved. This is the true tragedy of the Great War.

Let us recall the words of the wise Benjamin Franklin: `No good war, no bad peace.’

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from FAIR.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on We Are Heading for Another Tragedy Like World War I

Those in the war industry and the business of commemorating the dead have little time for peace, even as they supposedly celebrate it. For them, peace is the enemy as much as armed opposing combatants, if not more so. Dr Brendan Nelson of the Australian War Memorial is every bit the propagandist in this regard, encased in armour of permanent reminder: Do not forget the sacrifice; do not forget the slaughter.  The issue is how war, not peace, is commemorated.

That theme was repeated, for the most part, in Paris on November 11.  US President Donald Trump spoke of “our sacred obligation to memorialise our fallen heroes.”  French President Emmanuel Macron marked the 100th anniversary of the Great War by having a dig at nationalism, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” (is there a difference?).  The nationalists, he warned, were getting busy, these “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death”.  The intellectuals (and here, he alluded to Julien Benda’s 1927 classic, La trahison des clercs) were at risk of capitulating.

But Macron, rather slyly, was hoping that the French obsession with universal values would somehow render his message less parochial: to be French was to be an internationalist, not a tunnel-visioned, rabid nationalist.  The soldiers who perished in the Great War did so in the defence of France’s “universal values” in order to repudiate the “selfishness of nationals only looking after their own interests.”  Much room for disagreement on that score, and Marine Le Pen would have been a suitable corrective.

The peace activities of the Great War, asphyxiated, smothered and derided in texts and official narratives, are rarely discussed in the mass marketed solemnity of commemorations.  The writings of those prophets who warned that any adventurism such as what transpired in 1914 would be met with immeasurable suffering are also conspicuously absent.  Jean de Bloc, whose magisterial multi-volume The Future of War appeared in 1898 in Russian, found it “impossible” that Europe’s leaders would embark on a conflict against each other; to do so would “cause humanity a great moral evil… civil order will be threatened by new theories of social revolution”. The end would be catastrophic.  “How many flourishing countries will be turned into wilderness and rich cities into ruins! How many tears will be shed, how many will be left in beggary!”

These sceptics were the enlightened ones, scorned for not having the sense of fun that comes with joining battle and being butchered in the name of some vague patriotic sentiment.  If human beings are animals at play, then play to the death, if need be – the rational ones were sidelined, persecuted and hounded.  They are the party poopers.

Prior to the first shots of the guns of August in 1914, Europe had witnessed a slew of meetings and activities associated with the theme of peace.  From 1889, pacifists were busy with Universal Peace Congresses, while the Inter-parliamentary Union made a stab at efforts and ideas to reduce national tensions.  The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, with one scheduled to take place in 1915, suggested a certain sensibility, even as the military machinery of Europe was getting ominously more lethal.  At the very least, the political classes were playing at peace.

The 1,200 women who gathered at The Hague in 1915 as part of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom feature as sane if forgotten voices before the murderous machine truly got going.  Their work involved attendees from 12 countries and the passing of 20 resolutions on war. They worked to convince those engaged in the murderous machine about the folly and were dismissed accordingly as cranks and nuisances.

The peace movement was sundered by the patriotic diseases that engulfed the continent, and such organisations as the International Peace Bureau failed to reach a consensus on how best to quell warring aggressions.  In January 1915, its Berne meeting was characterised by division, best exemplified by a resolution denouncing Germany and Australia for egregious breaches of international law.  The vote was divided evenly, and unity was destroyed.

While monuments to the war makers and fallen soldiers dot the town squares of the combatant nations, lingering like morbid call cards for failed militarism, there are virtually none in the service of peace.  The tenaciously wise and farsighted Austrian noblewoman Bertha von Suttner, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905 and suspect the motives of governments behind the Hague Peace conferences, hardly figures in commemorative statuary.  Nor does Rosa Luxemburg, who began a twelve-month sentence in Berlin’s Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison on February 18, 1915 for “inciting public disobedience”.

Her crime, committed during the words of her famous Fechenheim address, was to call upon German workers to refuse shooting their French counterparts should war break out.

“Victory or defeat?” she would sadly reflect in her anti-war tract, The Junius Pamphlet (1915) written whilst in confinement.  “Thus sounds the slogan of the ruling militarism in all the warring countries, and, like an echo, the Social Democratic leaders have taken it up.”

As Adam Hochschild sourly noted in 2014, those who refuse to fight or barrack for war are ignored by the commemorative classes.

“America’s politicians still praise Iraq War veterans to the skies, but what senator has a kind word to say about the hundreds of thousands who marched and demonstrated before the invasion was even launched to try to stop our soldiers from risking their lives in the first place?”

Events conspicuously against the spirit of killing and maiming opponents, such as that which took place during the short lived Christmas Truce of 1914, have only been remembered – and tolerated – because of their public relations quality.  These events sell chocolates and cakes; they draw people to sites and commodities.  The truce signalled no revolution; it did not challenge the war planners.  “It’s safe to celebrate,” commented Hochschild, “because it threatened nothing.”  The sovereignty of war, the institution of state-sanctioned killing, remained, as it still does, though selling peace can be lucrative when the shells have stopped falling.

The obscenity here is that conflict, most notably that of the First World War, was meant to be cathartic, a brief bit of masculine cleansing that would end by the arbitrarily designated time of Christmas.  It was advertised as a picnic, a brief testosterone outing which would see men return intact.  Foolishly, such figures as HG Wells saw it as “the war to end war”, so get it over and done with, minimal fuss and all. (To be fair to Wells, he found disgust and despair subsequently, reflecting upon this in The Bulpington of Blup in 1932.)

This was, truly, as the title of Margaret MacMillan’s work goes, the war that ended peace, and we should not forget the political and military classes, instrumental in dashing off soldiers to their death, who engineered it with coldness and ignorance.  Foolishness and demagoguery tend to hold hands all too often, distant from that most moving sentiment expressed by the jailed US socialist activist and presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs.  “I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; and I am a citizen of the world.”

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

Featured image is from The Times of Israel.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Remembering the Peace Makers: What the Armistice Commemorations Forgot

Selected Articles: Are We Heading Towards the Next World War?

November 12th, 2018 by Global Research News

For seventeen years, Global Research, together with partner independent media organizations, has sought Truth in Media with a view to eventually “disarming” the corporate media’s disinformation crusade.

To reverse the tide, we call upon our readers to participate in an important endeavor.

Global Research has over 50,000 subscribers to our Newsletter.

Our objective is to recruit one thousand committed “volunteers” among our 50,000 Newsletter subscribers to support the distribution of Global Research articles (email lists, social media, crossposts). 

Do not send us money. Under Plan A, we call upon our readers to donate 5 minutes a day to Global Research.

Global Research Volunteer Members can contact us at [email protected] for consultations and guidelines.

If, however, you are pressed for time in the course of a busy day, consider Plan B, Consider Making a Donation and/or becoming a Global Research Member

*     *     *

World War I Centenary: “War Is a Racket”. Unlimited Imperialism

By Prof. Francis Boyle, November 12, 2018

Ten Million People died for nothing. Smedley D. Butler had it right. War is a Racket. And Woodrow Wilson murdered 116,000+ Americans in that war. The American People and Congress did not want to fight in that God-forsaken war. Wilson lied, tricked, deceived, maneuvered and finagled us into that war.

Bitter US-European Tensions Mark Centenary of World War I Armistice in Paris

By Alex Lantier, November 12, 2018

This weekend, heads of state from 70 countries met in Paris to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, amid rising conflicts between the great powers and growing popular anger. Despite the ritualistic criticisms of nationalism and calls for peace, it is clear that none of the “world leaders” in Paris had any plan to halt the accelerating collapse of international relations between the major powers.

As We Honour the 15 Million Dead of 1914-1918, a Demented US President Flies into Paris with Plans to Attack Iran

By Hans Stehling, November 12, 2018

As the leaders of Europe and the world gather in Paris to honour the millions of war dead of WW1, 100 years ago, the current US President together with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Israel, are even now finalising plans to attack and bankrupt Iran in a precursor to a devastating war in the Middle East that would escalate into Europe and beyond.

War Criminals in High Office Commemorate the End of World War I

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, November 12, 2018

In a bitter irony, several of the World’s leaders who were “peacefully” commemorating the end of World War I in Paris including Trump, Netanyahu, Macron and May are the protagonists of war in Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.

The 100th Anniversary of The Tragic End of World War I .“Those Who don’t Know History are Doomed to Repeat It”

By Stephen Lendman, November 12, 2018

November 11 marked the 100th anniversary of WW I’s end – officially at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The so-called war to end all wars was prelude for much worse to come. In 1928, Kellogg-Briand policy renounced aggressive wars.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Selected Articles: Are We Heading Towards the Next World War?

On the occasion of the centenary of the end of World War I, TML Weekly has been producing an excellent series of informative Supplements on the war and related matters of concern.

This is the second in the series. Click for No. 1 (How the First World War Out); N 2 (Canada and the First World War); No. 3 (British Movement of Conscientious Objectors); No. 4 (Contributions and Slaughter of Colonial Peoples in World War I);  No. 5 (Steadfast Opposition to the Betrayal of the Workers’ Movement); No. 6 (Poems on the Occasion of the Centenary of the End of World War I – Moments of Quiet Reflection.  

In August 1914, Britain declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Canada, as a dominion of the British Empire, was automatically bound to take part.

Robert Laird Borden, then Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, was eager to participate in the war. By Sunday, August 9, 1914, the basic orders-in-council had been proclaimed, and a war session of parliament opened just two weeks after the conflict began. Legislation was quickly passed to secure the country’s financial institutions and raise tariff duties on some high-demand consumer items. The War Measures Act 1914, giving the government extraordinary powers of coercion over Canadians, was rushed through three readings.[1]

1917.05.17.Anti-conscription_parade_at_Victoria_Squarecr

Montreal rally in Victoria Square on May 17, 1917 was one of many opposing conscription during WWI.

 

Businessman William Price (of Price Brothers and Company – predecessor of Resolute Forest Products) was mandated to create a training camp at Valcartier, near Quebec City. Some 126 farms were expropriated to expand the camp’s area to 12,428 acres (50 square km). “From the start of the conflict, a range of 1,500 targets was built, including shelters, firing positions and signs, making it the largest and most successful shooting range in the world on August 22, 1914. The camp housed 33,644 men in 1914.”[2] At the time Valcartier was the largest military base in Canada.

Early in the war, Prime Minister Borden had promised not to conscript Canadians into military service.[3] However, by the summer of 1917, Canada had been at war for nearly three years. More than 130,000 Canadians belonging to the Canadian Expeditionary Force had been killed or maimed.[4] The number of volunteers continuously declined with the growing refusal to serve as cannon fodder for imperialist powers and as a result of the profound impact of the war efforts on the country’s economy. There was pressure on all the commonwealth countries and British colonies to continue providing troops for the British imperial war effort, yet the government was not able to provide a convincing argument for working people to agree to sacrifice their lives for the British Empire.

The lack of enthusiasm for the war was such that the Borden government imposed conscription through the Military Service Act August 29, 1917. It stipulated that

“All the male inhabitants of Canada, of the age of eighteen years and upwards, and under sixty, not exempt or disqualified by law, and being British subjects, shall be liable to service in the Militia: Provided that the Governor General may require all the male inhabitants of Canada, capable of bearing arms, to serve in the case of a levée en masse.”

The law was in force through the end of the war.

Borden also decided that the best way to bring about conscription was through a wartime coalition government. He offered the Liberals equal seats at the Cabinet table in exchange for their support for conscription. After months of political manoeuvring, he announced a Union Government in October, made up of loyal Conservatives, plus a handful of pro-conscription Liberals and independent members of Parliament.

Borden was in his sixth year of his first term. In the months just prior to the election he engineered two pieces of legislation, stacking the Unionist side.

Under previous laws, soldiers were excluded from voting in wartime. The new Military Voters Act allowed all 400,000 Canadian men in uniform, including those who were under age or were British-born, to vote in the coming election.

The second piece of legislation, the Wartime Elections Act, gave women the right to vote for the first time in a federal election – but only women who were the relatives of Canadian soldiers overseas. With these two laws, a vast new constituency of voters, the majority of whom supported the war effort and conscription, were suddenly enfranchised in time for the election. Borden’s Unionists won that election with a majority of 153 seats, only three of which were from Quebec.

Posters to mobilize women for imperialist war. Poster on left calls on women eligible to vote under Wartime Elections Act to vote for the Union government. 

Conscription

Conscription went into effect January 1, 1918. Exemption boards were set up all over the country, before which a high percentage of men appealed their call-up for service.

Besides Quebeckers, who as a whole opposed conscription, many Canadians across the country were also opposed, including anti-imperialists, farmers, unionized workers, the unemployed, religious groups and peace activists. By February 1918, 52,000 draftees had sought exemption across the country. The lack of support for the war was reiterated by the fact that of more than 400,000 men called up for service, 380,510 appealed through the various options for exemption and appeal in the Military Service Act.

Ultimately, some 125,000 Canadians – just over a quarter of those eligible to be drafted were conscripted into the military. Of these, just over 24,000 were sent to Europe before the war’s end.

Many Canadian men simply did not show up when they were called to report and join the army. Winnipeg was second only to Montreal in the percentage of men who did not report or defaulted – almost 20 per cent of those conscripted compared to around 25 percent in Montreal, according to reports published in the Winnipeg Telegram at the time. These men were pursued by the police and could receive heavy jail sentences if caught and tried.

Opposition to the war and conscription in Quebec

Examples of the Canadian state’s clumsy Anglo-Canadian chauvinist attempts to recruit Quebeckers to its unjust cause of imperialist war, exhorting them to enlist on the basis of loyalty to the old colonial power, France; opposition to tyranny by supporting the new colonial power, Britain; or protecting themselves from foreign invasion.

On October 15, 1914, the 22nd Regiment was officially created to bolster French Canadian involvement. As the only combatant unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) whose official language was French, the 22nd (French Canadian) Infantry Battalion, commonly referred to as the “Van Doos” (from vingt-deux, meaning twenty-two in French), was subject to more scrutiny than most Canadian units in the First World War. After months of training in Canada and England, the battalion finally arrived in France on September 15, 1915.[5]

In April 1916, the Van Doos participated in one of the unit’s most dangerous assignments of the entire war, the Battle of St. Eloi Craters. St. Eloi was fought on a very narrow Belgian battlefield. A fierce battle ensued with heavy casualties. Following St. Eloi, the battalion prepared to take the French village of Courcelette in the Somme sector of France. The battalion suffered hundreds of casualties. To many it showed just how violent war could really be. In the months following the Somme operations, the battalion began suffering from desertion and absence without leave. According to battalion officers, the months following Courcelette witnessed a complete breakdown in troop morale. In the next 10 months, 70 soldiers were brought before a court-martial (48 for illegal absences) and several were executed by firing squad.[6]

Despite the establishment of the Van Doos, the people of Quebec, expressing their anti-war sentiment, were at the forefront of the opposition to conscription. The Canadian establishment at the time blamed Quebeckers for the “the lack of French-Canadian participation in the war.”[7]

In Quebec, of the 3,458 individuals from the City of Hull called-up by military authorities who had not been granted an exemption, 1,902 men did not report and were never apprehended, for a total conscription evasion rate of 55 per cent. This was the highest evasion rate of all Canadian registration districts, followed closely by Quebec City at 46.6 per cent, and Montreal at 35.2 per cent. Further, 99 per cent of those called up by the City of Hull applied for an exemption, the highest application rate in all of Canada.[8]

War Measures Act Invoked

Quebeckers organized militant protests against attempts by the Canadian government to use its police powers to impose conscription on the working people and youth of Canada and Quebec. The Borden government responded by invoking the War Measures Act to quell this opposition. The government proclaimed martial law and deployed over 6,000 soldiers to Quebec City between March 28 and April 1, 1918.

On the evening of March 28, 1918, federal police raided a bowling alley and arrested the youth there. Faced with the arbitrariness and violence of the police, 3,000 people besieged the police station and continued their demonstration in the streets during the night.

1918.03.29-Qc-MarcheVersCapitole.jpg

Thousands of demonstrators march to Place Montcalm on March 29, 1918.

The next day, a crowd of nearly 10,000 gathered in front of the Place Montcalm auditorium (currently called Capitole de Quebec), where the conscripts’ files were administered. The military, with bayonets and cannons, were called in and shortly after the Riot Act was read, giving them permission to fire.

Within the conditions of the day, the ruling elite in Canada found a wall of resistance among the working people of Quebec to being forcibly sent to war. The aspirations of the Québécois for nationhood had been put down prior to Confederation through force of British arms. Along with the subjugation of the Indigenous peoples and the settlers in Upper Canada, the basis was laid for the establishment of an Anglo-Canadian state and Confederation. It is not hard to imagine that the Quebec working class would not look favourably on being mowed down on the battlefields of Europe in the service of the British Empire.

Notes

  1. “Sir Robert Laird Borden,” greatwaralbum.ca.
  2. “Les débuts du camp de Valcartier et d’une armée improvisée de toutes piéces,” Pierre Vennat, Le Québec et les guerres mondiales, December 17, 2011.
  3. Richard Foot, Election of 1917, August 12, 2015, Canadian Encyclopedia.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Maxime Dagenais, The “Van Doos” and the Great War, November 5, 2018, Canadian Encyclopedia.
  6. Ibid.
  7. “The First World War,” Sean Mills (under the direction of Brian Young, McGill University), McCord Museum website.
  8. Claude Harb, Le Droit et l’Outaouais pendant la Premi re Guerre mondiale, Bulletin de l’Institut Pierre Renouvin, 2017/1 (N 45), éditeur: UMR Sirice.

***

The Case of Ginger Goodwin

1918.VancouverGeneralStrike-image-121BCLabHerMuseum-01K

Twenty-four hour Vancouver General Strike was held to coincide with Ginger Goodwin’s funeral, August 2, 1918.

Ginger (Albert) Goodwin was a coal miner from England who immigrated to Canada in the early twentieth century. He worked in coal mines in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia and Michel, British Columbia before settling in Cumberland on Vancouver Island in 1910 or early 1911. He worked in the Dunsmuir coal mine in Cumberland and participated in the strike of 1912 to 1914. He was active in the United Mine Workers of America and in 1914 became an organizer for the Socialist Party.

In 1916 he moved to Trail in the interior of BC where he worked for some months as a smelterman for the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited. He was the Socialist Party of Canada’s candidate in Trail in the provincial election of 1916, coming in third, and in December of that year was elected full-time secretary of the Trail Mill and Smeltermen’s Union, a local of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW). The following year he was elected as vice-president of the BC Federation of Labour, president of IUMMSW’s District 6 and president of the Trail Trades and Labour Council. He was proposed by the union as deputy minister of BC’s newly founded Department of Labour, but not selected. This was a proposal supported by the trades and labour councils of both Victoria and Vancouver.

Ginger Goodwin opposed World War I for political reasons on the grounds that workers should not kill each other in economic wars. “War is simply part of the process of Capitalism. Big financial interests are playing the game. They’ll reap the victory, no matter how the war ends,” he said. Nonetheless, he registered for conscription as the law required and was classified as unfit. However, not two weeks following the start of a strike in Trail for the eight-hour day, which Goodwin led, he was ordered to undergo a medical re-examination and this time was classified as fit to serve.

His appeal against conscription was rejected in April 1918. Ordered to report to army barracks he refused to compromise his conscience and hid out with others resisting conscription in the hills near Cumberland where people from the town ensured they had food and supplies.

Goodwin was shot and killed on July 27, 1918 by Constable Dan Campbell of the Dominion Police, one of three members of a team that was hunting men who were evading the Military Service Act. The anger of the people of Cumberland and workers throughout the province was such that on August 2, 1918 there was a mile-long funeral procession in Cumberland, and BC’s first general strike the same day in Vancouver.

1918-0802-GingerGoodwinFuneralCumberlandBC

Ginger Goodwin’s funeral, Cumberland BC, August 2, 1918.

On June 24, 2018 in honour of Ginger Goodwin, labour martyr and war resister, on the 100th anniversary of his death, the Cumberland Museum along with the BC Federation of Labour and local unions, artists, musicians and actors, re-enacted the funeral procession as part of the annual Miner’s Memorial events held from June 22 to 24. On July 23, 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Goodwin’s death, the BC government erected a monument at nearby Union Bay, the coal port that served the Cumberland mines, in honour of Ginger Goodwin for his fight for workers’ rights and his opposition to conscription. A section of highway near Cumberland was named “Ginger Goodwin Way” in 1996 in his honour.

Recruitment of Indigenous Peoples

When the First World War broke out on July 28, 1914, Canada had no official policy on the recruitment of Indigenous peoples into the army because they did not have status as citizens. However, in 1915, as the casualties began to mount, the British government directed the Dominions to begin recruiting Indigenous people for the war effort. Australia and New Zealand, along with Canada, recruited Indigenous soldiers to fight on the side of British imperialism in the war. It is estimated that 4,000 Indigenous men and woman served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War out of a total of some 600,000 troops from Canada. It is estimated that a third of “Status Indian” men between the ages of 18 and 45 served in the War. There are no known statistics for Métis and Inuit because the Canadian government only recognized “Status Indians” in the records.

Many First Nations, which were the main source of Indigenous recruits along with a much smaller number of Métis and Inuit, protested against the attempt to recruit them into the Canadian colonial army and opposed the arrival of recruitment officers and the Indian Agent on their reserves. Other First Nations refused to participate unless they were accorded equal status as sovereign nations and dealt with on a nation-to-nation basis by the British Crown with which they had signed their treaties.

Some Indigenous leaders and elders also reminded the government that they had received reassurances at the time of the signing of the numbered treaties with the Crown that their youth would not be serving in any wars, specially those abroad.

As well, many Indigenous women wrote to the Department of Indian Affairs demanding that the Canadian government keep its hands off their sons and husbands and that they were needed at home.

Many reasons are given for the participation of Indigenous people in the First World War. One of the reasons was the promise of a regular paycheque, another was the argument that within the First Nations, warrior societies should play their role in assisting the Crown as their relations were with the Crown, not Canada. Another argument was that after making their contributions, Indigenous relations with the Canadian state would improve when they returned.

Indigenous soldiers took part in all the major battles that the Canadian army participated in and distinguished themselves as scouts, snipers, trackers and as front line fighters winning the admiration and respect of their non-Indigenous comrades and officers. At least 50 Indigenous soldiers were decorated for bravery and heroism. In the course of the war, some 300 lost their lives and many more were wounded and others died after returning home from the effects of mustard gas poisoning, wounds that they suffered, and diseases they had contracted in Europe such as tuberculosis and influenza.

The Military Services Act passed by the the Borden Conservative government in 1917 introduced conscription including for “Status Indians.” Conscription was not only broadly opposed in Quebec, but also by Indigenous peoples who denounced this manoeuvre by the government to disregard their status as Indigenous peoples. In response to this opposition, the government was forced to grant Indigenous peoples an exemption from serving overseas.

Other injustices were also imposed on Indigenous peoples. In 1917, Arthur Meighen, Minister of the Interior as well as head of Indian Affairs, launched the “Greater Production Effort,” a program intended to increase agricultural production. As part of this scheme, reserve lands that were considered “idle” were taken over by the federal government and handed over to non-Indigenous farmers for “proper use.” After non-Indigenous and First Nations protested that this was a violation of the Indian Act, the government amended the Indian Act in 1918 to make these illegal actions legal.

Post-war brutality against Indigenous veterans

At the end of the war, returning soldiers, including Indigenous veterans, held high hopes that their contributions to the war effort would translate into a better future for themselves and their communities. Indigenous veterans thought that their status as “wards” of the state would be over and that they would be treated as equals. Instead they found that nothing changed and the racism and colonial attitudes of the Canadian government remained intact.

Many Indigenous veterans returned with illnesses such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza which they had contracted overseas. Those who had suffered poison gas attacks returned with weakened lungs and became more prone to tuberculosis and other respiratory illnesses. Like their non-Indigenous fellow soldiers, Indigenous veterans suffered from the trauma of the war – which in today’s terms would be called post-traumatic stress disorder – and other illnesses such as alcoholism, which wrecked their lives and caused many problems for their families and communities. In fact, the overall standard of living in Indigenous communities declined in the years following the war as returning veterans found it extremely difficult to keep regular work and to return to their pre-war lives. In the face of these complex problems, Canada provided little support to Indigenous veterans.

Benefits and support for veterans from the Canadian government through the Soldiers Settlement Acts of 1917 and 1919, such as land and loans to encourage farming, did not extend to Indigenous veterans. To add insult to injury, through the Acts the federal government confiscated an additional 85,844 acres from reserves to provide farmland for non-Indigenous veterans.

The racist Canadian colonial state’s aim of exterminating Indigenous people by assimilating them was alive and well as expressed by the notorious Duncan Campbell Scott, architect of the Residential School System in Canada and Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, who wrote in a 1919 essay:

These men who have been broadened by contact with the outside world and its affairs, who have mingled with the men of other races, and who have witnessed the many wonders and advantages of civilization, will not be content to return to their old Indian mode of life. Each one of them will be a missionary of the spirit of progress… Thus the war will have hastened that day,… when all the quaint old customs, the weird and picturesque ceremonies… shall be as obsolete as the buffalo and the tomahawk, and the last tepee of the Northern wilds give place to a model farmhouse.

The neglect of Indigenous veterans and other abuses of Indigenous peoples by the Canadian state, led Haudenosaunee veteran Frederick Loft, a Mohawk from Six Nations on the Grand River who had served as a lieutenant overseas in the Forestry Corps, to form the League of Indians of Canada in 1919.  Before his return to Canada, Loft had met with the King and Privy Council in London to express his concerns about the way Indigenous peoples in Canada were being treated. Under his leadership, the League of Indians fought to protect the lands and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples.

In particular, the League fought to preserve Indigenous rights and led the battle against the “involuntary enfranchisement” changes to the Indian Act, orchestrated by Duncan Campbell Scott and passed in 1920, aimed at extinguishing Indigenous title by giving “Status Indians” the vote, while at the same time working to undermine and sabotage the work of the League of Indians and isolating and criminalizing Loft. The League also mounted legal challenges to establish Indigenous claims to hunting, fishing and trapping rights among other things.

The League of Indians was the first attempt by Canadian Indigenous peoples to form a national organization to resist the Canadian colonial state’s assault on their rights and claims and subsequently inspired the formation of other Indigenous political organizations to battle the colonial Canadian state and its racist policies.

(With files from Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Canadian Encyclopedia, Veterans Affairs Canada and Library and Archives Canada.)

The Black Construction Battalion

1916-CanadaNo2ConstructionBattalion-CdnEncyclopedia-01

While Blacks were used by the British colonialists as cannon fodder to suppress the struggles for rights of others, their own legitimate rights and claims were marginalized and denied.

When the First World War broke out, Blacks in Nova Scotia and other places tried to enlist but faced racist obstacles and justifications to keep them out. The Chief of the General Staff of the Canadian Army at the time asked in a memo: “Would Canadian Negroes make good fighting men? I do not think so.”

When a group of about 50 Black Canadians from Sydney, Nova Scotia, tried to enlist they were advised, “[T]his is not for you fellows. This is a white man’s war.”

In the face of repeated opposition to this state racism and discrimination, the Canadian government permitted the formation of No. 2 Construction Battalion (also known as the Black Battalion), based in Pictou, Nova Scotia. It was a segregated battalion that never saw military action because they were not permitted to carry weapons. Five hundred Black soldiers volunteered from Nova Scotia alone, representing 56 per cent of the Black Battalion. It was the only Black battalion in Canadian military history.

The Battalion was sent to eastern France armed with picks and shovels to dig ditches and construct trenches at the front, putting themselves in grave danger. They also worked on road and rail construction. Following the end of the War in 1918, the members of the Battalion were repatriated and the unit was disbanded in 1920.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, another some 2,000 Black Canadians served in the front lines of World War I through other units, some with the armies of other countries.

Once returned, the Black veterans of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, and other returning Black veterans found that nothing had changed at home and that not only were their contributions to the war effort ignored, they continued to face racism and discrimination in employment, veterans’ benefits, and other social services.[1]

Note

1. The Canadian state likes to portray the participation of Blacks in the Canadian military in the most self-serving manner. Veterans Affairs Canada notes

“The tradition of military service by Black Canadians goes back long before Confederation. Indeed, many Black Canadians can trace their family roots to Loyalists who emigrated North in the 1780s after the American Revolutionary War. American slaves had been offered freedom and land if they agreed to fight in the British cause and thousands seized this opportunity to build a new life in British North America.”

A rosy picture, but far from reality. The slaves that sided with the British colonialists during the U.S. War of Independence, numbering some 30,000, escaped to the British side and served as soldiers, labourers and cooks. When the British were defeated, the British evacuated some 2,000 of these “Black Loyalists” to Nova Scotia with the promise of a better life and opportunities as free people. Others were thrown to the four winds landing in the Caribbean Islands, Quebec, Ontario, England and even Germany and Belgium. Those the British outright abandoned in the U.S. were recaptured as slaves.

Many of the Black Loyalists landed at Shelburne, in southeastern Nova Scotia, and later created their own community nearby in Birchtown, the largest Black settlement outside Africa at the time. Other Black Loyalists settled in various places around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Far from finding freedom, and new opportunities, most of the Black Loyalists never received the land or provisions that they were promised and were forced to make their living as cheap labour – as farm hands, day labourers in the towns or as domestics. In 1791, in order to solve the “Black problem,” the British Colonial authorities repatriated about half of these Black Loyalists from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Sierra Leone, Africa.

Those Blacks who remained were used by the British colonial state in the War of 1812 to fight the Americans. Blacks in Ontario and also from other places were part of a colonial militia called in to suppress the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837.

(With files from Veterans Affairs, CBC and the Canadian Encyclopedia.)

***

The War Measures Act and Internment of Canadians

WWI-BanffInternmentCamp-crop

Internment camp in Banff, Alberta.

Upon Great Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, the Borden Conservative government enacted the War Measures Act, in August 1914. The law’s sweeping powers allowed the government to suspend or limit civil liberties and provided it the right to incarcerate “enemy aliens.”

The term “enemy alien” referred to the citizens of states legally at war with Canada living in Canada during the war.

From 1914 to 1920, Canada interned 8,579 persons as so-called enemy aliens across the country in 24 receiving stations and internment camps. Of that number, 3,138 were classified as prisoners of war, while the others were civilians. The majority of those detained were of Ukrainian descent, targeted because Ukraine was then split between Russia (an ally) and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an enemy of the British Empire. Some of the internees were Canadian-born and others were naturalized British subjects, although most were recent immigrants.

Most internees were young unemployed single men apprehended while trying to cross the border into the U.S. to look for jobs – attempting to leave Canada was illegal. Eighty-one women and 156 children were interned as they had decided to follow their menfolk into the only two camps that accepted families, in Vernon, BC (mainly Germans) and in Spirit Lake near Amos Quebec (mainly Ukrainians).

19150600-FernieBCInternees-on-grounds-Joseph-Spalding

Internment camp in Fernie, BC.

Besides those placed in internment camps, another 80,000 “enemy aliens,” mostly Ukrainians, were forced to carry identity papers and to report regularly to local police offices. They were treated by the government as social pariahs, and many lost their jobs.

Alberta-CastleMountainInternmentCampMonument-01cr

Monument to those interned at the Castle Mountain camp in Alberta.

The internment camps were often located in remote rural areas, including in Banff, Jasper, Mount Revelstoke and Yoho national parks in Western Canada. Internees had much of their wealth confiscated. Many of them were used as forced labour on large projects, including the development of Banff National Park and numerous mining and logging operations. They constructed roads, cleared land and built bridges.

Between 1916-17, during a severe shortage of farm labour, nearly all internees were paroled and placed in the custody of local farmers and paid at current wages. Other parolees were sent as paid workers to railway gangs and mines. Parolees were still required to report regularly to police authorities.

Federal and provincial governments and private concerns benefited from their labour and from the confiscation of what little wealth they had, a portion of which was left in the Bank of Canada at the end of the internment operations on June 20, 1920.

A small number of internees, including men considered to be “dangerous foreigners,” labour radicals, or particularly troublesome internees, were deported to their countries of origin after the war, largely from the Kapuskasing camp in Ontario, which was the last to be shut down.

Of those interned, 109 died of various diseases and injuries sustained in the camp, six were killed while trying to escape, and some – according to a military report – went insane or committed suicide as a result of their confinement.

PetawawaInternmentCampWWI

Internment camp in Petawawa, Ontario. (Canadian War Museum, Calgary Herald, Wikipedia.)

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Our thanks to Tony Seeds for having brought this article to our attention.

All images in this article are from the author unless otherwise stated.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Canada and the First World War: Opposition to Conscription in Canada and Quebec

Propaganda during World War I: An Illustrated Account

November 12th, 2018 by Terje Maloy

These stories are not unique cases from a remote war. The same methods are constantly rinsed and repeated, the mentality in our ruling elites is the same, and the risk of a major conflict is as great today as in 1914.

These examples concentrate mostly on British/American perception management and propaganda. First of all, because they are masters of the art, and secondly, as victors they still dominate the narrative.

Arthur Ponsonby and Falsehood in Wartime

After the Great War came a huge backlash of disillusion and revulsion. Calmly analysed, most of what had been told in the war turned out to be lies and half-truths. «Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War» was the title of a book published in 1928. Written by Arthur, Ponsonby, it discussed 20 instances of lies in wartime.

The contents of the book can be summed up in the Ten Commandments of War Propaganda:

  1. We do not want war.
  2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
  3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
  4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
  5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
  6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
  7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
  8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
  9. Our cause is sacred.
  10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The Enemy Is the Face of the Devil

The perception of German atrocities in World War 1 has had is up and downs during the decades.  They ‘Huns’ were indeed quite ruthless, and freely executed several thousand suspected franc-tireurs and hostages when they invaded Belgium and Northern France in 1914.

However, the theme of barbaric, nun-raping, baby-bayonetting Huns was so carried to excess by the Entente propaganda machine that there came a backlash in public opinion after the war. By the 1920s, the disillusionment with the war and its aftermath was so great that all of these stories were dismissed as atrocity propaganda, which again would backfire in 1939, when there was reluctance to believe stories of – this time real – massive German atrocities.

The same theme was used more recently, with the infamous tale of «Iraqis ripping babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals», in the warm-up to the Gulf War in 1990. Before the US Congress, a young woman in tears testified how she as a nurse in Kuwait witnessed Iraqi soldiers ripping prematurely born babies out of their incubators, leaving them to die on the floor. The story was later repeated by an equally moved President George HW Bush.

The public later found out that the woman was in fact not a nurse, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, and the story was concocted as part of the propaganda effort by the PR-Agency Hill & Knowlton.

Mussolini Changes His Mind — Italy Should Join the War

Italy at first stayed neutral, then chose to join the Entente. This turned out to be a really bad decision, killing a generation of young men, and with not many gains to show for it in the peace treaties.

The decision was partially helped by subsidies from English and French intelligence to the Italian press. The Italian journalist Benito Mussolini (picture: in white coat, arrested during a scuffle with police in 1914) had a change of heart, and went from a leading socialist and war opponent to a fierce advocate of Italy joining the war.

According to a note written in November 1922 by the French secret services in Rome, Mussolini (who was described in another note from the same service as «an agent of the French Embassy in Rome») had in 1914 collected ten million francs «to support Italy’s war alongside the allied powers». In 1915, he was one of the founders the Fascist movement, which later took power in 1922.

The Difference Between Declared War Aims and Real Ones

In August 1914, when an almost unanimous German parliament voted yes to war, it was presented to the German public as a defensive Schutzkrieg against conniving enemies. With the exception of one member, Karl Liebknecht, the entire 110-member delegation from the Social Democratic Party bowed to the war euphoria and voted yes to war loans.

The perception presented to the public during the first few years of fighting, was of a Germany fighting a defensive war for survival, not a scheme for imperial aggrandizement. But in reality, already in September 1914, in the first few weeks of the war, a secret plan for an extensive redrawing of Europe’s borders was prepared for Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, the Septemberprogramm (see map).

After the Brest-Litovsk separate peace with the Bolsheviks in 1917, the eastern part of these war aims were achieved, where Germany occupied or created puppet governments in Poland, Ukraine, the Caucasus and Baltic areas, and created a dependent state in Finland.

Although a victory, this led to great disillusionment in the German liberal-left, which so far had supported a war to preserve the country. Now he myth of a defensive war was exposed as a lie, and the treaty showed it to be a war for imperial expansion.

The Sinking of the Lusitania

In May 1915 the British Government was in trouble. The European war was not going well. Instead of reacting to aggressive British blockades by begging for mercy, Germany was sinking more and more British ships with her U-boats.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine on Friday May 7 1915, 12 miles off the coast of Ireland, killing 1198 people. The ship was running at two-thirds speed and in a straight line, rather than the recommended zigzag used to avoid torpedoes. The passengers were mostly US citizens (including millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt).

Her cargo consisted mostly of undeclared weapons and explosives, a fact finally confirmed in 1960, and which explained why she sank so fast. She was bound for the UK, sailing all alone, inexplicably without escort from the Royal Navy and right into a known U-boat hunting ground.

No members of the press even considered asking why Lusitania had been steaming so slowly and in a straight line, or why the British Admiralty had chosen to withhold the usual naval escort.

The numerous travel warnings posted by the German government in US newspapers, warning people they traveled on British shipping into British waters at their peril, was left out of the narrative. The German explanation, that the Lusitania was a legitimate target because she carried armaments, was dismissed out of hand.

And totally forgotten was the aggressive policy of starving Germany to its knees that had prompted the U-boat campaign in the first place. After the war began in 1914, Britain immediately began a naval blockade of Germany. Since even food was classified as “contraband,” the Germans had to ration food. By all estimates, several hundred thousand people ultimately died of starvation due to the blockade.

The sinking of the Lusitania was one of the main causes that brought the United States into the war, saving the war for the British.

An Inconvenient Peace Offer: “What Does He Want to Butt In for?”

In July 1915, Pope Benedict XV published the apostolic exhortation «To the Peoples Now at War and to Their Rulers.» Two years later, in 1917, this became The seven-point plan, a peace note presented to the warring parties. It was based on a peace linked to justice rather than military conquest, cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, international arbitration, and Belgium restored to independence and guaranteed «against any power whatsoever.» (But it tacitly implied that Germany would gain some territory in the east).

The initiative failed: Although the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) were positive to the mediation after three years of exhausting war, no one on the Entente side showed any interest. (The collapse of the Russian imperial government a few months later reduced the German willingness to negotiate.) Britain did not even show the Holy See the common courtesy of a proper reply. The French and Italian replies were hostile, and the rejection on behalf of the alliance was made by president Woodrow Wilson of the United States, who had initially remarked of the pope’s proposal: “What does he want to butt in for?»

The decision to reject any proposal from the Vatican was already decided in 1915. The threat was that a peace mediation from someone like the Pope might create so much pressure from a war-weary populace that it might just gather enough momentum to force the powers to accept.

The secret Treaty of London (1915), committing Italy to the Entente (Britain, France and Russia) contained a clause, article 15, where Italy is given carte blanche to do whatever is deemed necessary to silence the Church: «France, Great Britain and Russia shall support such opposition as Italy may make to any proposal in the direction of introducing a representative of the Holy See in any peace negotiations or negotiations for the settlement of questions raised by the present war» .

From Women’s Liberation to a Tool for the State

Emmeline Pankhurst addressing a pro-war rally in 1914

 

There is nothing new about liberal social reformers falling into lockstep when the country goes to war.

British Emmeline Pankhurst was the most prominent member in the Women’s Suffrage movement. She founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1902. After a remarkable and highly radical campaign for women’s rights, including hunger strikes, arson and window smashings, the group changed from a reformist program to a hard right reactionary nationalism as soon as the war broke out.

In 1914-15, bands of women roamed the cities of England handing out white feathers of cowardice to men wearing civilian clothes. The ‘White Feather Brigade’ was established by admiral Charles Fitzgerald, a war hawk who wished to see Britain institute mandatory military service. The campaign spread through the country with astonishing rapidity.

The highly successful White Feather campaign, shaming British men to enlist.

 

Not unconnected, the WSPU successfully carried out secret negotiations with the government, and on the 10th August 1914, the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. After receiving a £2,000 grant from the government, the WSPU organised a pro-war demonstration in London. Members carried banners with slogans such as «We Demand the Right to Serve» and «Let None Be Kaiser’s Cat’s Paws».

Pankhurst founded the Women’s Party in 1917. Excerpts from the program:

(1) A fight to the finish with Germany.

(2) More vigorous war measures to include drastic food rationing, more communal kitchens to reduce waste, and the closing down of nonessential industries to release labour for work on the land and in the factories.

(3) A clean sweep of all officials of enemy blood or connections from Government departments. Peace terms to include the dismemberment of the Hapsburg Empire.

(8) Irish Home Rule to be denied.

In the Suffrage Movement’s defense, many members chose a different and more honorable stance, like her daughter Sylvia Pankhurst. In 1915, Sylvia gave her enthusiastic support to the International Women’s Peace Congress, and she later became a leading international voice in the resistance to Mussolini’s attack on Ethiopia.

Edith Cavell – Nurse (And a Hundred Years Later, a Spy After All)

Few incidents created bigger outrage in the First World War than when the British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape occupied Belgium. In the trial, she admitted to leading a people smuggling network.

But the German charges also claimed that Cavell was a spy, sending sensitive intelligence through the same network, a claim which was strongly denied by both Cavell and the British government.

The government’s insistence on her innocence was taken as implicitly true in Britain, and she became a symbol for victims of Hunnic habitual cruelty. This perception also had great impact on public opinion in the still neutral United States. The implicit presumption of innocence lingered for a many years, and was a useful propaganda tool for many decades.

In a BBC-program in 2015, a hundred years after Cavell’s death, Stella Rimington, former head of the MI5, revealed that she had discovered documents in Belgian archives indicating that Cavell was in fact a spy.

This is of course a limited hangout. MI5 would have known this all along, being Cavell’s boss, but naturally chose to keep quiet about it, since the idea of her innocence was so convenient.

Rimington said her evidence showed «that the Cavell organisation was a two-pronged affair» and that espionage was the other part of its clandestine mission.

The documents included an account by Herman Capiau, a young Belgian mining engineer who had brought the first British soldiers to Cavell in 1914 and was an important member of her network.

He wrote: «Whenever it was possible to send interesting intelligence on military operations, this information was forwarded to the English intelligence service punctually and rapidly.»

Capiau referred to information about a German trench system, the location of munitions dumps and the whereabouts of aircraft.

Since she was in fact guilty, it would make her case similar to the famous spy Mata Hari, who was unceremoniously executed by the French in 1917, without any international outcry. Of course, Cavell’s case is worse, since she used a humanitarian cover for her activities, putting all medical personnel under suspicion.

Most of Our Opinions Are Formed by Men We Have Never Heard of

Edward Bernays

After the United States joined the war in 1917, president Wilson founded a government agency, The Committee on Public Information, to drum up support in public opinion for the US Crusade for Freedom©.

A young man, Edward Bernays,  started working for it, and quickly learned his trade there. He later became known as «the father of public relations», and a pioneer in the modern PR-industry, where he, among other things, arranged the media part of the CIA-regime change operation in Guatemala in 1954. The full quote from him is as follows:

«The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.»

The Invasion of 1910 — A Book Commissioned to Tell the Public Who the Next Enemy Is

Ad in The London Times for the book (1906)

Describing an imagined German invasion of England, the book The Invasion of 1910 was written by William le Queux on commission from the press magnate Lord Northcliffe and serialized in his newspaper the Daily Mail in 1906. After the detente with France and friendlier relations with Russia, British elites circles agreed on who the next likely enemy would be. But the British public still wasn’t ‘with the program’, and a large campaign was started to prepare them mentally. In the years 1906-1914, a torrent of books and articles on the terrible Hun menace poured out from a number of authors, including Arthur Conan Doyle.

Bits by Bits a War Memorial Day Gets a New Meaning

Cadets march in the 2014 ANZAC day parade (Picture: Flickr/Chris Phutully)

World War 1 was a bloody affair for the Commonwealth countries. Most Australian country towns or even small villages have a cenotaph or monument with a shockingly long list of local men lost in WW1. ANZAC-day  (on 25th of April, the anniversary of the Anglo-French campaign to conquer Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, where Australia played a part) was decided as a holiday in 1921 to commemorate these war dead, in a rather sombre spirit. The holiday and ceremony was a quiet affair for most of last century, apart from the usual right-wing forces trying to capitalize on it. It reached it’s nadir in the late 1970s, after the Vietnam war.

A marked change started in the 1990s, with a concerted and very well funded campaign from the government to militarize Australian history. Now the ceremonies are huge, military-political events, full of pathos, cant and sentimentality.  By spending huge sums to connect the public idea of Australianness to a glorification of its military glory, it seems Australian participation, like in 1914 by choice, in the next bloody world war is inevitable – nothing learned Down Under.

Neutral Countries Are the Winners

This Swiss cartoon by Karl Czerpien, is captioned «The wooing of the Neutrals», where orators from the warring countries are trying to entice neutrals to join them. The different alliances spent large efforts to tangle neutral countries into their imperialistic intrigues (see the case of Italy above). For smaller neutral countries, war between the great powers is always a dangerous time, but by trying to stay neutral, they are rather better off than by joining an alliance. A lesson for our time, when small countries in Europe seem very eager to get the honor of being the battlefield in the next war.

1924 — The Pacifist Ernst Friedrich Shows the Real Faces of War

In 1924, in the book War against War, the German anti-war activist Ernst Friedrich breaks a taboo in war reporting, by showing real war injuries. Such horrific pictures were – and still are – generally very rarely shown in war reporting, both in the corporate media and in anti-war literature.

This unwillingness contributes, intentionally or just because the pictures are too shocking to handle, to an almost idealized image of war, where our dead are always beautifully serene and the wounded well wrapped in bandages.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was also published on the author’s blog site: Midt i fleisen.

Terje Maloy is a Norwegian/Australian blogger and translator.

All images in this article are from Creative Commons unless otherwise stated.

  • Posted in English, Mobile
  • Comments Off on Propaganda during World War I: An Illustrated Account

Raging California Wildfires

November 12th, 2018 by Stephen Lendman

Extreme weather related events are becoming more common in America and elsewhere, including severe hurricanes, droughts, and blazes like what’s ravaging California.

They’re likely related to global warming, a reality Trump and regime hardliners ignore. According to bioclimatologist Park Williams:

“In pretty much every single way, a perfect recipe for fire is just kind of written in California. Nature creates the perfect conditions for fire, as long as people are there to start the fires,” adding:

“But then climate change, in a few different ways, seems to also load the dice toward more fire(s) (and other extreme weather related events) in the future.”

The Trump regime’s reckless environmental agenda is part of the problem, making a bad situation worse by its indifference to responsible policymaking – putting profits and self-interest above ecosanity.

Raging wildfires are the worst in California’s history – three separate ones in the state in northern and southern areas, greatly exacerbated by seasonally high Santa Ana winds.

So far, over 250,000 residents had to evacuate areas where staying could risk death – at least 25 reported dead so far, perhaps many more before blazes are contained.

Paradise, California, a community of around 26,000, covering about 1,400 square miles, was virtually destroyed.

Resident Rex Stewart lamented that “Paradise is gone. There’s nothing to go back to.”

According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Captain Scott McLean,

“(p)retty much the community of Paradise is destroyed. It’s that kind of devastation. The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out.”

Fires continue raging in northern and southern parts of the state. The 1933 Griffith Park fire killed 29 people, the toll from current blazes likely to way exceed the earlier record number. Over 100 people are reported missing.

The Butte County northern California Camp Fire (named after Camp Creek Road) so far consumed around 105,000 acres, destroying over 6,700 structures since November 8 – including homes, schools, a nursing home and area hospital.

The blaze forced evacuation of Paradise and Magalia residents. It threatens Stirling City and Inskip. It began on the same day as the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire.

The Woolsey blaze so far scorched around 70,000 acres, burning homes in Malibu, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, threatening parts of Simi Valley and West Hills – forcing evacuation of thousands of area residents.

Malibu city authorities issued a statement, saying

“(f)ire is burning out of control, heading into populated areas of (the upscale community). All residents evacuate now.”

The Hill blaze destroyed about 4,500 acres in canyons near Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands.

On November 9, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for most of northern California’s interior areas, along with southern parts of the state.

Trump falsely blamed poor forest management for the blazes. California Professional Firefighters president Brian Rice slammed him, calling his accusation “dangerously wrong,” explaining that around 60% of state forrest areas are federally managed.

Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

State officials said high winds and dry conditions are responsible for why ongoing blazes spread quickly.

On Friday, a White House statement said Trump declared a state of emergency in California, “order(ing) federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from wildfires beginning on November 8, 2018, and continuing.”

On Saturday, Trump threatened to cut off federal help, falsely claiming state “mismanagement…Remedy now or no more Fed payments,” he roared.

Critics called him heartless. In all respects, he’s mindless about the destructiveness of his domestic and geopolitical policies – greatly harming countless millions of people he clearly doesn’t give a hoot about.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Axios.

“Kosovo Will Again be a Part of Serbia”

November 12th, 2018 by Petr Bystron

Interview conducted by Dragana Trifkovic, Director of the Centre for Geopolitcal Studies with the MP of the German House of Representatives (Bundestag), Mr. Petr Bystron.

***

Dragana Trifkovic: Dear Mr. Bystron, recently we have met at the International Conference on the Development of Parliamentarism in Moscow. In front of representatives of Parliaments from all around the world, international experts and journalists you held a well-received speech, calling for an end to sanctions against Russia. Why?

Mr. Petr Bystron: I demanded an end to sanctions because they have not achieved anything except harming German business. There’s no point to maintaining these useless sanctions any longer.

Dragana Trifkovic: The Russian-German relations are very complex. On the political agenda, they are burdened with the sanctions which the EU countries imposed to Russia, but on the other hand, Germany and Russia cooperate on a strategic project such as North Stream 2. How do you see the prospect of developing further relations between your country and Russia, and also how the United States relations towards the possibility of greater convergence between Germany and Russia?

Mr. Petr Bystron: Of course German companies are still trying to do business with Russia. The sanctions mainly hurt the meat and fruit exporters, as well as the machine tool industry. Exports dropped as much as 60% in the early days of sanctions in these sectors. Naturally, German businesses want to maintain their traditionally good contacts to Russia. North Stream 2 is just one example of this. But it’s no secret there is a lot of pressure from the United States to stop this project. There was a bipartisan initiative in the U.S. Senate in March supported by 39 Senators, urging the government to do everything it can it stop the pipeline. President Trump has come out against North Stream 2 as well.

I don’t think Germany should let itself be blackmailed by anyone, and should be free to get its energy supplies from wherever is best. Even during the Cold War, Russia was a reliable supplier of energy, and there’s no reason to think that will change.

Dragana Trifkovic: At the Moscow conference, we discussed about the perspective of Eurointegration of Balkan countries that are not yet members of the EU. You represent the view that the EU has no perspective and that EU candidate countries do not have much to hope for. What are in your opinion the biggest problems in the EU, and are they solvable? What kind of future can expect the EU, and can the EU be reformed and become a functional community?

Mr. Petr Bystron: There are two problems here: First of all, the EU is in no state to accept new members right now, with all its problems. The EU is in a deep crisis and is fighting for its survival. The main example is Brexit, of course: The first nations are leaving the sinking ship. If the EU doesn’t undergo far-reaching and fundamental reform, it is doomed to failure. The Euro currency system is not sustainable in its present form.

These problems have been exacerbated by the migration crisis, which was caused by Angela Merkel’s completely unnecessary and undemocratic opening of the borders in 2015. In a precarious situation like this, it is completely irresponsible to think about expanding the EU even further, especially with candidates who are not able to meet the most basic standards for joining the Union.

We already saw what problems it causes to accept members who don’t meet the criteria or even cheated to get in, as in the case of Greece. The EU now faces huge problems with Greece, Romania and Bulgaria for this reason. These are countries which shouldn’t have been accepted to the EU in the first place. Accepting the West Balkan countries in these circumstances would be tantamount to suicide.

If there is any country from this region which would qualify for membership, both economically and culturally, it is Serbia. Countries like Albania and Macedonia have huge problems in regard to corruption and economic development. And then there’s the problem with Kosovo, which is not recognized as a country by several European nations, Russia or China, for example. That’s a very unstable situation.

The EU wants very much to expand their influence in the Balkans. However, given the current state of the EU, it’s not even advisable for Serbia to want to join the EU, when countries like the UK, Italy and Eastern Europe are moving away from the broken monstrosity in Brussels. Serbia should be glad it is not in the EU, and stand up squarely for its own national interests.

Dragana Trifkovic: You are particularly interested in the problem of Kosovo and Metohija. The territory of the southern Serbian province since 1999 and the end of the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia is under occupation. The Western powers want to resolve the problem of Kosovo and Metohija outside the framework of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Negotiations on resolving this issue are underway in Brussels, although Serbia is not a member of the EU and this community has no basis to deal with this problem. How and where, in your opinion, should the issue of Kosovo and Metohija be solved?

Mr. Petr Bystron: Kosovo is a powder keg with no solution in sight. It will remain a problem for many years. I’m convinced the current situation can not be maintained. This territory was part of Serbia for centuries, an I am very sure it will belong to Serbia again in the long run. The EU protectorate in Kosovo will be short-lived.

Dragana Trifkovic: How well in the German public do you know the facts about what is happening in Kosovo and Metohija and how the so-called democracy in this territory works? Are there known facts about violence against Serbs in the presence of international forces UMNIK, KFOR and EULEX? How well do you know the results of these international missions?

Mr. Petr Bystron: The problem began with the way the EU treated the UCK. We should not be supporting a terrorist organization aiming to break up a country. A group like this would be immediately outlawed if it were trying to break up Germany, for example, and they would all be locked up. In the case of Yugoslavia, the EU and Germany for some reason supported this terrorist group, which was a tragic mistake. We are very concerned about the current situation, the human rights violations and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo.

An entity like Kosovo – which I refuse to call a country – based on injustice and terror, is not viable in the long term, which is evidenced by the continued need for KFOR peacekeeping forces to keep this creation alive.

Dragana Trifkovic: Recently has been an a discussion in the German Bundestag about the continuation of the mission of German soldiers in Kosovo. At KFOR, there are currently about 400 German soldiers in Kosovo. The Bundestag supported German soldiers remain in Kosovo, thanks to the votes of the ruling CDU / CSU and SPD and the Greens and Liberals (FDP). Alternative for Germany voted against it. How do you assess the mission of the German army in Kosovo and why did you vote against continuation of mission in Kosovo?

Mr. Petr Bystron: This is one of the paradoxes of German politics: That the first German combat mission since WW II was ordered by the formerly pacifist Green Party and their Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer under the Socialist Gerhard Schröder, and they continue to support the KFOR mission. The AfD does not believe in sending German troops to the Balkans, especially not to prop up an artificial entity like Kosovo.

Dragana Trifkovic: The US supports the formation of the Kosovo Army, although this is contrary to Resolution 1244. German instructors train Albanians to become part of the official army. How is it possible to prevent the taking of illegal actions and violations of the international law by the Western countries?

Mr. Petr Bystron: This is a difficult question and will be a difficult process. But in countries like Germany and the USA, governments and policies can change, thank God. So Serbia needs to be very patient, continue to stand up for itself over the long haul, and reach out to allies and supporters who will see it the same way.

Dragana Trifkovic: Have you personally, or a delegation from your party Alternative for Germany, visited Kosovo and Metohija? Is there an opportunity for you to do so in the coming period and to make sure of the state of democracy on the spot as well as to evaluate the results of the work of international missions, as well as the the German Bundeswehr?

Mr. Petr Bystron: That’s a good idea. We should definitely visit Serbia and Kosovo with an AfD delegation, to find out more about the situation on the ground. We have already been to Syria, for example, where the situation is completely different from the way it is portrayed in the Western mainstream media, so I’m sure visiting Kosovo would be very interesting.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Petr Bystron is the Speaker of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) on the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Bundestag. He came to Germany in 1988 as a political refugee and joined the Euro-critical AfD in 2013. He was chair of the AfD for the State of Bavaria 2015-2018. Under his leadership the party reached the best tally of all states in West Germany in the federal elections 2017. In 2018, he pushed to grant imprisoned British Islam critic Tommy Robinson political asylum in Germany, and filed criminal charges against migrant NGOs engaged in people-smuggling in the Mediterranean. He is a leading political publicist who has won several prizes for his writing and edited a book for University of Geneva with Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. He is currently one of the 10 most popular German politicians on social media.

All images in this article are from the Center for Geostrategic Studies

Who Is Afraid of American Sanctions?

November 12th, 2018 by Dr. Elias Akleh

The American administration under Trump has become so addicted to waging economic sanctions; a new form of war, against other countries to a point where it does not hesitate to break international laws, to impose sanctions against its strategic allies, and to face the risk of international condemnation and isolation as a result.

Since his election (selection) as president, Trump has imposed economic sanctions and waged tariff wars against Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Turkey, Sudan, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and many European corporations. All have been added to the still going on 58 years old sanctions against the small island of Cuba; an indication that most sanctions fail to achieve planned results.

In May 2018 Trump announced that the US will withdraw from Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and will re-impose sanctions against Iran claiming the deal was bad for the US and needs to be replaced with another that includes a ban on Iran’s ballistic missiles. On November 5th, Trump has re-instated economic sanctions against Iran aiming to drive Iranian oil exports to zero.

The JCPOA was signed by Iran, US, Germany, England, France, Russia and China, and was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231. It must be emphasized that although Iran has been complying with its commitment to the JPCOA as has been confirmed by Director General of the International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano in September 10th 2018, the sanctions against Iran have never been lifted. The JCPOA had resolved only Iran’s nuclear program and its oil trade. Iran restricted its nuclear activities and allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities in exchange for the release of its oil money that was held by international banks.

Re-imposing the sanctions was condemned by the whole international community except, of course, by Israel, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). The European Union issued a statement regretting the US new sanctions against Iran. It states the following:

“Our aim is to protect European economic actors, who have legitimate commercial exchange with Iran in line with European legislation and the United Nations’ Security Council resolution 2231 … the 2015 agreement is crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world.”

Russia rejected the sanctions and declared them illegal. China declared that it will continue its trade with Iran in confirmation to its commitment to the nuclear deal. South Korean and Indian industries depend greatly on Iranian oil. Iran’s neighbors; Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, consider Iran their major trade partner and their economies would be devastated without such trade.

These particular unilateral American sanctions against Iran are unprecedented illegal and most dangerous events in the American history. For the first time in world history, the US; the host of the United Nations and the Security Council, is violating UNSC resolution 2231. Worst than that, Trump’s administration is threatening to punish other nations; the whole world in fact, who would abide by this particular legal resolution. This constitutes a mockery of international decisions and a criminal blackmail of responsible nations, who seek to uphold international laws and agreements. This American violation of UNSC resolution will marginalize and weaken international organizations such as the UN, SC, ICC, IAEA and others. The present international legal world order would be rendered irrelevant and could be gradually dissolved leading to international chaos.

For the first time in American history, its close allies such as EU, Japan, South Korea, India and even Turkey, firmly opposed the American policies, decided to create new financial and trade mechanism; Special Purpose Vehicle, based on barter system to circumvent American sanctions, and to continue doing business with Iran. Furthermore, the EU declared that its 1969 law would protect all and any European corporation, who wants to do business with Iran, from any lawsuit by non-European courts.

States and corporations started abandoning the use of Petro dollar and American banking systems and are using instead local currencies and local banks to pay for Iranian oil. India and Iran are using Indian currency; the rupees, to trade oil. South Korea is paying for Iranian oil via the Central Bank of Iran’s accounts at Woori Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea.

All this could usher a new international economic and trade system independent from the hegemonic American financial system. This will gradually isolate the US further and will render its Dollar and its financial banking weaker.

Trump’s “America first” motto is perceived, although not openly expressed, by European leaders as similar to Hitler’s “Deutschland über alles”; “Germany over all” motto, and even more dangerously threatening world peace. Trump called to build the US/Mexico separation wall against “illegal criminal” Hispanic immigrants, imposed unfair trade tariffs against other nations, demanded EU to contribute more money to NATO, withdrew from climate agreement, recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel in violation of all international agreements,  demanded UN member countries to blindly and automatically adopt American policies because the US is the largest financial contributor to the UN, cut American contributions to world organizations such as UNRWA, threatened to withdraw US from World Trade Organization, sold weapons to Saudi Arabia to continue its terrorist inhumane war against Yemen, is working to cover up the Saudi terrorist support in Syria and its local crimes against its own dissenters and journalists such as Khashoggi’s murder, is imposing unilateral illegal sanctions against other states, and lately but not lastly is withdrawing from nuclear INF treaty to allow the US to deploy advanced nuclear weapons into Europe.

Such policies had caused Donald Tusk; the President of the European Council, to warn of the emergence of“… a new phenomenon; the capricious assertiveness of the American administration … with friends like that who needs enemies… Trump’s doctrine is dangerous for Europe”

In his interview in French with Europe 1 radio Mr. Macron; the French President, criticizing Trump’s move to scrap the INF treaty with Russia that eliminated a whole class of missiles stationed in Europe, had suggested that Europe needs to form its own true European army to defend itself against Russia, China and even the US: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.” Macron’s sentiment was endorsed by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Macron has also rebuked Trump’s nationalist policies in his speech during the WWI armistice centenary ceremony this Sunday Nov. 11th.

These strong oppositions from America’s European allies and the international condemnations of the sanctions against Iran had forced Trump’s administration to ease its sanctions by granting oil waivers to eight countries; Japan, South Korea, India, China, Taiwan, Turkey, Greece and Italy, for a period of six months. European Union did not receive such a waiver, which led Bruno Le Maire; the French economy minister, to complain to The Financial Times about Trump’s bullying stating that “Europe refuses to allow the US to be the trade policeman of the world.”

Trump’s administration is under the illusion that what they call “toughest sanctions” would bring Iran to its knees, and they are trying to sell this illusion to the public as John Bolton; the National Security Advisor, was trying to do on fox news. Bolton asserted that:

“sanctions are having enormous economic consequences … Iran is in a depression … the rial currency declined about 70% … inflation had quadrupled … the country is in recession … riots and demonstrations all around the country.”

The facts show that 40 years of real international toughest sanctions against Iran had failed to even weaken Iran’s economy and resolve. On the contrary, after all the devastation Iran had suffered during the eight years Iraq/Iran war, Iran had successfully flourished back to become one of the strongest economic and military country in the Middle East. During the last decade Iran had adopted what was described as a resistant economical plan that had modernized all Iranian industrial and technological avenues leading to self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Finally, the world was convinced that they could not accomplish any results except through negotiations that led to the 2015 JCPOA.

The American unilateral on-going 58 years long economic sanctions against the small island of Cuba had failed to bring Cuba to its knees, yet, Trump’s administration believes that its own unilateral sanctions against large powerful Iran would yield some results!

One may question what made the Trump’s administration risk losing its international political credibility, lose its closest allies, face isolation, and suffer probable economic and financial losses by imposing doomed to failure sanctions. To find the answer one must consider these sanctions as only one small piece in the puzzle of the New Middle East Project.

It is a very well-known fact by now that a Zionist Jewish elite owns and controls the Federal Reserve and almost most of the western banking systems, which fund Jewish lobbies to influence the foreign policies of most of the Western world for Israel’s benefit. It is also a well-known fact that the latest few American presidents, few of whom were not qualified for the position like Trump, would not have attained the presidency except through Jewish money. For such money and prestigious office, the selected president has to follow the dictates of the Jewish lobby, otherwise he would meet a fate similar to that of assassinated president Kennedy.

The Greater Israel Project was planned for the Middle East. The state of Israel was illegally and forcefully established on occupied Palestinian land. Yet, after three successive generations of Zionist Jewish Israeli soldiers got psychologically and emotionally exhausted by continuous wars, terrorist groups were brought into the region to destroy any Arab resistance axis to the project. Syria was the latest victim.

A military coalition of Syria, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah was able to defeat the terrorist groups. This coalition forms an obstacle to the expansionist Greater Israel Project, and might become the seed of a new world order competing with the old American unilateral world order. Trump exposed this fear when he answered reporters who asked him about the effectiveness of the sanctions. He stated:

“when I came in office it looked like Iran would take over the Middle East, it was a question of literally less than years, very quickly, and now nobody is talking about that.”

Trump’s administration seems to have received Zionist orders to destroy this dangerous seed no matter what the cost is, including the use of economic sanctions and MESA; Arab NATO-like alliance.

The establishment of the illegal expansionist terrorist state of Israel in the heart of the Arab World has been the root of all evil in the region for the last hundred years. Unfortunately, as long as Israel exists more devastating wars are in the future of the Middle East, and the whole world will not be spared of its evil effects.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

World War I Centenary: “War Is a Racket”. Unlimited Imperialism

November 12th, 2018 by Prof. Francis Boyle

Don’t know how any of you feel about this. Been watching the Centenary Coverage on BBC and teaching origins of World War I to my law students because today it is looking like the run up to World War I all over again.

Ten Million People died for nothing. Smedley D. Butler had it right. War is a Racket. And Woodrow Wilson murdered 116,000+ Americans in that war. The American People and Congress did not want to fight in that God-forsaken war. Wilson lied, tricked, deceived, maneuvered and finagled us into that war.

 And then their punitive Treaty of Versailles against Germany paved the way for the rise of Hitler and the Nazis culminating in World War II where another 60 million died. As I have repeatedly told my law students the world today looks very much like it did in the run up to World War I.fab.

It is the Unlimited Imperialists along the line of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon and Hitler who are now in charge of conducting American foreign policy…

Historically this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898.  Then the Republican administration of President William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to genocidal conditions.

Additionally, McKinley’s military and colonial expansion into the Pacific was also designed to secure America’s economic exploitation of China pursuant to the euphemistic rubric of the “open door” policy.  But over the next four decades America’s aggressive presence, policies, and practices in the so-called “Pacific” Ocean would ineluctably pave the way for Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and thus America’s precipitation into the ongoing Second World War.

Today a century later the serial imperial aggressions launched, waged, and menaced by the neoconservative Republican Bush Junior administration then the neoliberal Democratic Obama administration and now the reactionary Trump administration threaten to set off World War III.

By shamelessly exploiting the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, the Bush Junior administration set forth to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim States and Peoples of Color living in Central Asia and the Middle East and Africa under the bogus pretexts of

(1) fighting a war against “international terrorism” or “Islamic fundamentalism”; and/or

(2) eliminating weapons of mass destruction; and/or

(3) the promotion of democracy; and/or

(4) self-styled humanitarian intervention and its avatar “responsibility to protect” (R2P).

Only this time the geopolitical stakes are infinitely greater than they were a century ago:  control and domination of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and thus the very fundaments and energizers of the global economic system – oil and gas.  The Bush Junior/ Obama administrations targeted the remaining hydrocarbon reserves of Africa, Latin America (e.g., the Pentagon’s reactivization of the U.S. Fourth Fleet in 2008), and Southeast Asia for further conquest and domination, together with the strategic choke-points at sea and on land required for their transportation (e.g., Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Djibouti).  Today the U.S. Fourth Fleet threatens oil-rich Venezuela and Ecuador for sure along with Cuba.

Toward accomplishing that first objective, in 2007 the neoconservative Bush Junior administration announced the establishment of the U.S. Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to better control, dominate, steal, and exploit both the natural resources and the variegated peoples of the continent of Africa, the very cradle of our human species.

In 2011 Libya and the Libyans proved to be the first victims to succumb to AFRICOM under the neoliberal Obama administration, thus demonstrating the truly bi-partisan and non-partisan nature of U.S. imperial foreign policy decision-making. Let us put aside as beyond the scope of this paper the American conquest, extermination, and ethnic cleansing of the Indians from off the face of the continent of North America.  Since America’s instigation of the Spanish-American War in 1898, U.S. foreign policy decision-making has been alternatively conducted by reactionary imperialists, conservative imperialists, and liberal imperialists for the past 119 years and counting.

Trump is just another White Racist Iron Fist for Judeo-Christian U.S. Imperialism and Capitalism smashing all over the world.

Trump forthrightly and proudly admitted that the United States is in the Middle East in order to steal their oil. At least he was honest about it. Unlike his predecessors who lied about the matter going back to President George Bush Sr. with his War for Persian Gulf oil against Iraq in 1991. Just recently, President Trump publicly threatened illegal U.S. military intervention against oil-rich Venezuela. Q.E.D.

This world-girdling burst of U.S. imperialism at the start of humankind’s new millennium is what my teacher, mentor, and friend the late, great Professor Hans Morgenthau denominated “unlimited imperialism” in his seminal book Politics Among Nations 52-53 (4th ed. 1968):

The outstanding historic examples of unlimited imperialism are the expansionist policies of Alexander the Great, Rome, the Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, Napoleon I, and Hitler. They all have in common an urge toward expansion which knows no rational limits, feeds on its own successes and, if not stopped by a superior force, will go on to the confines of the political world. This urge will not be satisfied so long as there remains anywhere a possible object of domination-a politically organized group of men which by its very independence challenges the conqueror’s lust for power. It is, as we shall see, exactly the lack of moderation, the aspiration to conquer all that lends itself to conquest, characteristic of unlimited imperialism, which in the past has been the undoing of the imperialistic policies of this kind….

Since September 11, 2001, it is the Unlimited Imperialists along the lines of Alexander, Rome, Napoleon, and Hitler who have been in charge of conducting American foreign policy decision-making.

The factual circumstances surrounding the outbreaks of both the First World War and the Second World War currently hover like twin Swords of Damocles over the heads of all humanity.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Francis Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is the author of many books on International Law and an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on World War I Centenary: “War Is a Racket”. Unlimited Imperialism

This weekend, heads of state from 70 countries met in Paris to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, amid rising conflicts between the great powers and growing popular anger. Despite the ritualistic criticisms of nationalism and calls for peace, it is clear that none of the “world leaders” in Paris had any plan to halt the accelerating collapse of international relations between the major powers.

Arriving in Paris to protests by thousands of people on Republic Square, Donald Trump fired off a Tweet denouncing European Union (EU) plans to build an army aimed at the United States, Russia and China. Trump wrote, “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidizes greatly!”

Macron’s call last week for “a real European army” so Europeans can “protect themselves from China, Russia and even the United States” reflected a deep breakdown of the US-EU relations. After US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s threat to “take out” Russian missiles in Europe and Trump’s call to cancel the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, his ability to hold on to the US Senate in the midterm elections shocked European ruling circles.

Facing the prospect of a major US nuclear arms build-up targeting Russia, and more trade war threats from the White House against hundreds of billions of dollars of European and Chinese goods, they are stepping up calls to militarize the EU.

Trump retaliated on Saturday by refusing to attend ceremonies for US war dead at the military cemetery in Belleau Wood, 50 miles from Paris. As light rain fell across the Paris metro area, the White House justified this decision by ludicrously citing “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.”

Yesterday, the heads of state including Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came together at the Arch of Triumph in Paris to listen to a speech by Macron. International media largely present Macron’s speech as a criticism of nationalism—and so, by implication, of Trump’s “America First” nationalism.

In fact, Macron’s speech was itself an ignorant and nationalistic paean to war. While decrying its 10 million dead, 6 million maimed, 3 million widows, 6 million orphans, and millions of civilian casualties, Macron hailed the war for supposedly allowing patriotism to overcome France’s class divisions. He said it built “one united France, rural and urban; bourgeois, aristocratic and popular; of every color, where priests and anti-clericals suffered side by side; and whose heroism and pain made us.”

Implicitly rebuking Trump’s recent boast that he is a nationalist, Macron clumsily tried to argue that his own invocation of the war was not nationalist, but patriotic. He called patriotism “the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism betrays patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first and pay the others no heed,’ one destroys the most precious thing a Nation has, what makes it live and encourages it to be great, what is most important: its moral values.”

Macron’s moralizing deserves only contempt. The reactionary content of his invocations of nationalism was exposed last week—when he prompted shock and revulsion across France by insisting that it is legitimate to honor Philippe Pétain, the fascist dictator of France’s Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II, as a great general.

Macron’s remarks Sunday underscore that his statement of support for Pétain was not accidental, but is deeply rooted in his politics. Indeed, his hailing of war as the cement of national unity echoes the views of the fascistic groups that backed Pétain between the world wars, and then became Vichy’s social base.

In reality, across Europe and internationally, the world war was a crisis of international capitalism that escalated class tensions to the point of revolution. Under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, the working class took power in Russia in October 1917 and took Russia out of the war. This led to a wave of revolutionary struggles across Europe that toppled the German and Austrian empires, and the emergence of mass communist parties in the working class in countries across the world, including France.

A century later, none of the contradictions of capitalism that led to war and social revolution—above all, that between global economy and the nation-state system—have been resolved. With trade wars and arms races spreading between the major powers, it is clear that the same inter-imperialist struggles for profit and strategic advantage that produced two world wars in the 20th century are rapidly escalating. After the G7 summit of the main NATO powers plus Japan collapsed in June, European-American relations are on the verge of disintegration.

Yesterday afternoon, Trump skipped a “Forum for Peace” held by Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and instead went to the Suresnes American Cemetery to speak.

“We are gathered together at this hallowed resting place to pay tribute to the brave Americans who gave their last breath in that mighty struggle,” he said. “It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.”

Trump’s call to protect the peace is fatuous and absurd. US policy under successive administrations both Republican and Democratic over more than a quarter century since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 has been relentless neocolonialist wars across the Middle East. The fact that this has now led Washington to repudiate all nuclear arms control treaties in order to step up nuclear threats against Russia in Europe, and China in Asia, is a warning of the enormous dangers posed to the working class and, indeed, all of humanity by imperialism.

The “Peace Forum” attended by Merkel and Macron was itself no less bankrupt. Merkel—whose Grand Coalition government in Berlin has played a major role in inciting nationalism and far-right politics, by constantly pushing to militarize German foreign policy and prepare for war—delivered a warning on the lessons of World War I.

“One hundred years later,” she said, “we look back on this war, it makes us aware of the devastating consequences that the lack of communications and unwillingness to compromise in politics and diplomacy can have.”

Merkel did not say, however, how she intended to overcome the repeated failure to reach an acceptable compromise in the rising number of disputes between Washington and the EU.

In fact, European governments’ relentless incitement of nationalism, anti-immigrant xenophobia and militarism encourages violent far-right extremists across Europe to prepare terror attacks and assassinations.

Yesterday it emerged that while investigating Franco A., a far-right extremist who had planned terror attacks in order to blame them on refugees, German police uncovered a far larger, far-right plot. Some 200 soldiers linked to the Special Forces Command (KSK) had prepared a plan for “Day X” to murder left-wing politicians. Targets allegedly included Left Party politician Dietmar Bartsch, Green Party leader Claudia Roth, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and ex-president Joachim Gauck. Franco A. himself was released last year.

Such plots are spreading across Europe. On November 6, six far-right supporters were arrested for plotting “violent action” against Macron. Similarly, a 63-year-old former soldier was arrested with 16 firearms in Spain, for plotting to attack social-democratic Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from WLOX.com

Court Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking Off California

November 12th, 2018 by Center For Biological Diversity

A federal court today ordered the Trump administration to stop issuing permits for offshore fracking in federal waters off the California coast. U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez concluded that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act when it allowed fracking in offshore oil and gas wells in all leased federal waters off California.

“Stopping offshore fracking is a big victory for California’s coast and marine life,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re glad the Trump administration lost this round in its push to expand dangerous oil operations off California. This decision protects marine life and coastal communities from fracking’s toxic chemicals.”

The court order is the result of three lawsuits filed by the state of California, Center for Biological Diversity and Wishtoyo Foundation, and the Environmental Defense Center challenging the federal government’s approval and environmental review of offshore fracking in the Pacific Ocean.

“Protecting the health of our coastal waters is essential to our commitment to conserving the ecosystem and marine life necessary for our maritime culture,” said Mati Waiya, executive director of Wishtoyo Foundation. “The decision by honorable Judge Gutierrez upholds the law that ensures the health of our ocean waters. We all celebrate this decision that honors the rights of our maritime resources.”

The court held that federal officials violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to complete its consultation with expert wildlife agencies on the impacts of offshore fracking on endangered species. The court also said the Trump administration violated the Coastal Zone Management Act when it failed to let the California Coastal Commission determine whether offshore fracking is consistent with California’s coastal management program. The judge ordered the feds to complete the process with the State of California before approving any permits for offshore fracking.

“Endangered sea otters and other critters just won a reprieve from the Trump administration’s assault on our oceans for dirty oil,” Monsell said. “We plan to celebrate this great victory in the fight against climate change and dirty fossil fuels.”

At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including marine mammals and fish, Center scientists have found. The California Council on Science and Technology has identified some common fracking chemicals to be among the most toxic in the world to marine animals.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Shark Attack in Queensland: Fearing Monsters in the Whitsundays

November 12th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Shark Attack in Queensland: Fearing Monsters in the Whitsundays

Last night, a federal judge invalidated Trump’s “presidential permit” for Keystone XL, ruling that the Administration violated key laws when it approved the pipeline.

This momentous ruling is a major delay that sends the Trump administration and TransCanada back to the drawing board on Keystone XL. While Trump suggested plans to appeal, we are ready to resist every step of the way.

TransCanada is on the ropes. If thousands of us pledge to resist Keystone XL, it could be enough to convince them that this project isn’t worth pursuing. Sign the Promise to Protect now.

This decision confirms what we’ve known all along — that Trump’s executive order and environmental review process were a sham. Big Oil may have the money to push policy and politicians in favor of their profits, but we have morality, science, and the law on our side.

This case was filed by seven groups including Indigenous Environmental Network and the Northern Plains Resource Council. The judge stated that the Trump Administration “simply discarded” the effect the project would have on climate change. This means that no work can go forward until the government more fully reviews the pipeline’s environmental impact.

From the plains of Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota to Capitol Hill, we won’t stop until Keystone XL is gone forever. 

For over a decade, Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers, and their allies around the world have been fighting to stop this pipeline. Despite every obstacle thrown our way, the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground has kept Keystone XL from being built.

And we’re just getting started. There are over 17,000 people who have already committed to take peaceful direct action to stop this pipeline and any project that threatens our climate and communities. Let’s double that number.

Read the full statement from the Promise to Protect coalition here. 

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Israeli Forces Detain 8-year-old Palestinian Child Near Hebron

November 12th, 2018 by If Americans Knew

According to Defense for Children International, Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees.

The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones, and three out of four experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation.

They are detained from their West Bank homes during the middle of the night by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. Interrogations tend to be coercive, including a variety of verbal abuse, threats and physical violence that ultimately result in a confession.

Unlike Israeli children living in illegal settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian children are not accompanied by a parent and are generally interrogated without the benefit of legal advice, or being informed of their right to silence.

They are overwhelmingly accused of throwing stones, an offense that can lead to a potential maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years depending on a child’s age.

Source: Ma’an News Agency

***

Israeli forces detained an eight-year-old Palestinian child, on Friday afternoon, near the entrance of the town of Beit Ummar, north of the southern occupied West bank district of Hebron.

Local sources said that Israeli forces targeted eight-year-old Omar Rabie Abu Ayyash and detained him near the entrance to the town of Beit Ummar.

The reason for Ayyash’s detention remained unknown.

Defense for Children International reported that since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been detained and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system infamous for the systematic mistreatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee reported, earlier in October, that Israel had detained 35 Palestinian minors during September 2018.

The committee’s August report documented testimonies from a number of Palestinian children during their detention by Israeli forces and revealed that the children were subjected to systematic beatings and torture during and after their detention.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 270 Palestinian child prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 50 are under the age of 16.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from IAKB.