Archive | March 15th, 2013

India’s History of Hostility Against Pakistan

NOVANEWS

by Asif Haroon Raja

India has a long history of aggressions against Pakistan since its inception in August 1947. Soon after partition, India burdened Pakistan with plethora of unsettling problems and then forced a war on newly born Pakistan in October 1947 by making illegal intrusion in princely state of Kashmir that was to become part of Pakistan in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris and laws framed for princely states by outgoing British rulers. India then closed water canals and imposed trade war to suffocate Pakistan economically. In 1951, Indian military carried out huge deployment all along Pakistan’s border to coerce Pakistan and force it to withdraw its support for Kashmir. Between 1948 and 1954, umpteen proposals made by the UN to solve Kashmir dispute were rejected by India on one plea or another while Pakistan accepted all the proposals. In 1954, Nehru took a sudden u-turn on his pledge he made to allow right of self determination to the people of Kashmir and started claiming that Kashmir was integral part of India. Pakistan’s alliance with the US was touted as a threat to India and a reason to backpedal from the commitment.

During 1962 Indo-China border conflict when Pakistan had a golden chance to free two-thirds Kashmir under Indian control, Nehru had it conveyed through President Kennedy that if Pakistan didn’t exploit the situation he would fulfill his promise of plebiscite under UN supervision. But once India got out of trouble, Nehru once again backtracked and Bhutto-Swaran Singh several rounds of talks proved inconclusive. Indian forces encroached in Rann of Katch in Sindh in April 1965 forcing Pakistan to retaliate and push back the encroachers but left behind Sir Creek issue. Indian Army then made incursions in Azad Kashmir in July 1965 forcing Pakistan to launch its stealthy Operation Gibraltar in August, which led to an all-out war in September. India’s high-flying plans to overwhelm Pakistan failed in the face of extraordinary steely resistance put up by heavily outnumbered Pakistan armed forces in the 17 days high intensity war.

Thereon, India changed its tactics and started subverting East Pakistan through psychological operations to soften the target from within and then launch the hammer. After truncating Pakistan in 1971, India kept 93000 civilian and military prisoners of war till May 1974. India signed Simla Treaty with Pakistan in 1972 to convert ceasefire line in Kashmir into Line of Control (LoC) and to enforce policy of bilateralism designed to keep outside powers from interfering in Kashmir issue. LoC was to be respected by both sides but Indian forces in violation of the agreement occupied important heights across the LoC in Chorbat La sector in 1972.

From 1973 till 1978, India extended support to Balochistan insurgency. In 1974, India carried out overt nuclear test at Pokhran to overawe Pakistan and other South Asian countries. In 1982, Indian forces again violated LoC and captured a post in Kashmir’s Qamar sector. In 1983, India supported Sindhi nationalist movement led by PPP. India also got aligned with Israel to strike Pakistan’s nuclear plant. In April 1984 Indian forces quietly sneaked into Siachin and occupied important heights on Soltoro Range. Indian military carried out inter-service Brass-tacks Exercise in 1986/87 perilously close to Pakistan’s desert belt in Sindh with clear intention of provoking a war. Besides these anti-Pakistan activities, RAW joined hands with KGB and KHAD and indulged in clandestine operations to harm Pakistan throughout the Afghan war in 1980s. RAW imparted training to al-Zulfiqar terrorists in India and launched them for sabotage and subversion purposes in Pakistan till as late as 1993-4.

In 1990, Indian forces heated up Kashmir front in reaction to armed uprising in occupied Kashmir and threatened to annex AJK. India agreed to become a strategic partner of USA on the condition that it distanced itself from Pakistan and stopped supporting Kashmir cause. In connivance with USA, India accused Pakistan of aiding terrorism in occupied Kashmir. Theme of cross border terrorism was hyped so profusely that the US put Pakistan on the watch list of countries abetting terrorism. In May 1998, BJP government in India carried out five nuclear tests and deployed surface-to-surface nuclear tipped Prithvi missiles along the LoC which could strike any city of Pakistan. Jingoistic BJP leaders continued to hurl threats to annex AJK till Pakistan gave a tit-for-tat response, which put sense into their agitating minds and calmed them down. In September 1998, Pak Navy Atlanta aircraft was callously shot down by Indian air force.

Forgetting its several incursions in disputed Kashmir, Indian military over reacted to a small incursion in Dras-Kargil sector in occupied Kashmir in 1999 by using up its entire infantry formations as well as its airpower using Israeli made precision guided missiles to recapture lost heights and also raising hue and cry in the world. Although Pakistan vacated the heights under US pressure, Indian media continued to deprecate Pakistan military by describing Pak Army as a rogue Army and Kashmir freedom movement as terrorism.

In reaction to a terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, India carried out massive deployment all along Pakistan’s border and remained in highly offensive mood for ten months. From 2002 onwards, RAW married up with CIA, Mosad, MI-6, BND, RAAM at Kabul and collectively undertook massive covert war to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and Balkanize Pakistan and is still deeply involved in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi. In order to dupe Pakistan by showing its soft face, India signed peace treaty with Pakistan in January 2004 and agreed to resume stalled composite dialogue and work towards resolution of disputes. However, since it had no intention of resolving any of the issues and wanted to keep the issues in pending tray for times to come, it gave priority to confidence building measures (CBMs).

India has been trying to build confidence through CBMs since 1997 as a prerequisite for solving chronic issues. These were given impetus from 2004 onwards but got nowhere near the core issues. It was like circling around the pole star. Even the first hurdle of lack of trust was not crossed. With trust deficit remaining at the same old level, CBMs couldn’t make any headway and often led to breakdown of talks and at times came close to a clash.

In reaction to terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI were blamed and drums of war sounded. In December 2008, Indian forces once again carried out forward deployment of troops and remained in battle locations till July/August 2009. Composite dialogue was stalled and exerted extreme pressure on Pakistan to hand over accused persons.

In addition to covert war from Afghan soil, India is also involved in cultural invasion to loosen the morals of the youth and to dilute their warrior spirit. India also undertook water terrorism as a tool to coerce Pakistan and restrain her from raising Kashmir issue on international forums. India has resorted to water terrorism. She has already built over 40 small and big dams including Baglihar and Kishanganga dams over Indus, Jhelum and Chenab Rivers despite the fact that Pakistan has exclusive rights over these rivers in accordance with Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960.

India wants to negotiate and settle disputes with Pakistan and is desirous of peace and friendly relations but strictly on its terms. It negotiates only when it finds itself in a difficult position diplomatically or militarily but not when it is on a stronger wicket. Indian leaders must understand that amicable solution of Kashmir dispute acceptable to the people of Kashmir will help in enhancing the respect and prestige of India and in fulfilling its wish of becoming a world power. Non-resolution of the dispute would not only keep South Asia destabilized and impoverished, but would lead to fragmentation of India.

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The Strange Death of Hugo Chavez

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Chavez Banner in Cuba

By Michael Shrimpton

As I may have observed in a posted comment, before an IT snafu made uploading comments problematic, Hugo Chavez was already dead.  Precisely when he did snuff it is a matter for informed speculation within INTELCOM.

I incline to the view that he shuffled off the mortal coil before Christmas.  There is no confirmation of his being alive at any time after early December.  When the Cubans sent him back to Venezuela they were sending back a body.  Admittedly it was a warm body, not a cold body, but it was a body nonetheless.  With artificial respiration you can go on pretending that a dead ‘polly’ is still alive months after he has become an ex-politician and fallen off his perch.

Usually it’s a question of being able to hang onto a signature for offshore accounts, or use existing account codes.  It can be easier to shift money before the death is confirmed.  That may have been a factor, as Chavez was into MTN trading, but I suspect in this case the delay was prompted by the need to line up a successor and maintain German control of Venezuela.  DVD again, of course.  Chavez was one of their biggest assets south of the border.

Forget the cheerful hospital bed photos with his family.  I gather he wasn’t that cheerful anyway.  Those piccies were probably taken months ago, indeed they probably had a whole bunch more taken.  It was a bit like bin Laden videotapes.  Al Qaeda probably still have a few of those in their dodgy video library.

The claim that the CIA gave him the cancer is just plain silly.  The CIA are nice people.  They just don’t go around poisoning people, at least not without a very good reason.  The DVD (it stands for Deutsches Verteidigungs Dienst by the way) have developed a method of coating cancerous cells with certain types of virus.  This allows them to assassinate people by giving them cancer, the last known case being poor old Christopher Story FRSA, a friend, in 2010.  Induced cancers tend to be quite aggressive by the way, not by accident.

Certain people in Caracas know this, hence the anxieties over a possible assassination.  The illness seems to have taken a natural form however.  The CIA simply don’t have that level of access to DVD-developed biological weapons.  They require tests on human subjects by the way, not something the CIA would be into.

Chavez’s death makes a war between Britain and Venezuela less likely.  Chavez had been making noises about entering the next Falklands War on the side of the Bad Guys, a.k.a. Argentina.   There will be another war in the South Atlantic, but it looks now like it will be a straight fight between Argentina and the UK.

The referendum result has not been announced at the time of writing, but I predict a vote in favour of staying British, with the numbers approaching those Obama might get in a dodgy ward in Chicago.  It won’t quite be Obama numbers (i.e. it will be less than 110%), but it won’t be far short.  We should then reinforce the islands and ramp up development expenditure.  We could take it from the useless overseas aid programs, which usually do more harm than good anyway.

The First Falklands War was a classic example of the price of failing to adhere to the principles of that great Roman general Vegetius.  Si vis pacem para bellum.  I am all in favor of a loving, peaceful world.  The problem is that the Bad Guys aren’t.  They have to be deterred.  The motto was well expressed by that nice man Curtis LeMay and his boys in SAC – “Peace is our Profession.”   It sure was, and they kept it.

Cameron is a weak leader and is cutting defense.  He is repeating the same mistakes the Thatcher Government made in the run up to the first war, when they slashed the Royal Navy and withdrew HMS Endurance.

Since I cannot upload comments at the moment, only articles, I will reply if I may to any sensible questions.  I shall not rise to the abuse from Steve and the other trolls!  I have never had anything to do with DISA, but I have of course heard of the Defense Systems Information Agency.  They do good work, but not at the level where they could be expected to know of the DVD.  The NSA are aware, but the intel tends to be confined to senior people.  DSIA are more a technical support agency than an intelligence agency.  Of course they are in the front line of the cyber war, and I do not devalue the work that they do, but they are not the folk to go to if you want the big picture.

Talking of big pictures I can warmly recommend A Good Day to Die Hard, if you want to give your brain a rest.  There are other ways of resting your brain of course, like listening to Democrats, or reading the Washington Post.  It’s good fun and the helo scenes are great.  Some of the technical comments are correct.  Hanging a military truck off the end of your helicopter will affect your CG.  I like Bruce Willis.  I think he’s a good actor.  TheDie Hard movies are great entertainment.  That’s what it’s all about.

As I predicted Cameron’s leadership is coming under question.  Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has been setting out her stall.  Frankly she has as much chance of winning the leadership of the Conservative Party as Mother Theresa had of making Pope.

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“Washington’s Pope”? Who is Pope Francis I? Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Argentina’s “Dirty War”

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Global Research

The Vatican conclave has elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I

Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

In 1973, he had been appointed “Provincial” of Argentina for the Society of Jesus.

In this capacity, Bergoglio was the highest ranking Jesuit in Argentina during the military dictatorship led by General Jorge Videla (1976-1983).

He later became bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope John Paul II elevated him to the title of cardinal in 2001

When the military junta relinquished power in 1983, the duly elected president Raúl Alfonsín set up a Truth Commission pertaining to the crimes underlying the “Dirty War” (La Guerra Sucia).

The military junta had been supported covertly by Washington.

US. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a behind the scenes role in the 1976 military coup.

Kissinger’s top deputy on Latin America, William Rogers, told him two days after the coup thatwe’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long.” … (National Security ArchiveMarch 23, 2006)

“Operation Condor”

Ironically, a major trial opened up in Buenos Aires on March 5, 2013 a week prior to Cardinal Bergoglio’s investiture as Pontiff. The ongoing trial in Buenos Aires is: “to consider the totality of crimes carried out under Operation Condor, a coordinated campaign by various US-backed Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to hunt down, torture and murder tens of thousands of opponents of those regimes.”

For further details, see Operation Condor: Trial On Latin American Rendition And Assassination Program 

By Carlos Osorio and Peter Kornbluh, March 10, 2013

Photo above: Henry Kissinger and General Jorge Videla (1970s)

The military junta led by General Jorge Videla (left) was responsible for countless assassinations, including priests and nuns who opposed military rule following the CIA sponsored March 24, 1976 coup which overthrew the government of Isabel Peron:

”Videla was among the generals convicted of human rights crimes, including “disappearances”, torture, murders and kidnappings. In 1985, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment at the military prison of Magdalena.”

Wall Street and the Neoliberal Economic Agenda

One of the key appointments of the military junta (on the instructions of Wall Street) was the Minister of Economy, Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, a member of Argentina’s business establishment and a close friend of David Rockefeller. (See Image below: From left to right: Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, David Rockefeller and General Jorge Videla)

The neoliberal macro-economic policy package adopted under Martinez de Hoz was a “carbon copy” of that imposed in October 1973 in Chile by the Pinochet dictatorship under advice from the “Chicago Boys”, following the September 11, 1973 coup d’Etat and the assassination of president Salvador Allende.

Wages were immediately frozen by decree. Real purchasing power collapsed by more than 30 percent in the 3 months following the March 24, 1976 military coup. (Author’s estimates, Cordoba, Argentina, July 1976). The Argentinean population was impoverished.

Under the helm of Minister of Economy Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, central bank monetary policy was largely determined by Wall Street and the IMF. The currency market was manipulated. The Peso was deliberately overvalued leading to an insurmountable external debt. The entire national economy was precipitated into bankruptcy.

Wall Street and the Catholic Church Hierarchy

Wall Street was firmly behind the military Junta which waged “The Dirty War” on its behalf. In turn, the Catholic Church hierarchy played a central role in sustaining the legitimacy of the military Junta.

The Order of Jesus –which represented the Conservative yet most influential faction within the Catholic Church, closely associated with Argentina’s economic elites– was firmly behind the military Junta, against so-called “Leftists” in the Peronista movement.

“The Dirty War”: Allegations directed Against Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

In 2005, human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman filed a criminal suit against Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the military junta in the 1976 kidnapping of two Jesuit priests.

Image Left: Jorge Mario Bergoglio and General Jorge Videla

Bergoglio, who at the time was “Provincial” for the Society of Jesus, had ordered two “Leftist” Jesuit priests “to leave their pastoral work” (i.e. they were fired) following divisions within the Society of Jesus regarding the role of the Catholic Church and its relations to the military Junta.

Condemning the military dictatorship (including human rights violations) was a taboo within the Catholic Church. While the upper echelons of the Church were supportive of the military Junta, the grassroots of the Church was firmly opposed to the imposition of military rule.

In 2010, the survivors of the “Dirty War” accused Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of complicity in the kidnapping of two members of the Society of Jesus Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio, (El Mundo, 8 November 2010)

In the course of the trial initiated in 2005, “Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court, and when he eventually did testify in 2010, his answers were evasive”:

“At least two cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads… by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005)

The accusations directed against Bergoglio regarding the two kidnapped Jesuit priests are but the tip of the iceberg. The entire Catholic hierarchy was behind the Military Junta. According to lawyer Myriam Bregman: “Bergoglio’s own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens, and yet publicly endorsed the dictators. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005 emphasis added)

Holy Communion for the Dictators (image right: General Jorge Videla takes communion from priestJorge Mario Bergoglio)

The Catholic hierarchy was tacitly complicit in torture and mass killings, an estimated 22,000 dead and disappeared, from 1976 to 1978 … Thousands of additional victims were killed between 1978 and 1983 when the military was forced from power.” (National Security ArchiveMarch 23, 2006)

The Catholic Church: Chile versus Argentina

It is worth noting that in the wake of the military coup in Chile on September 11,1973, the Cardinal of Santiago de Chile, Raul Silva Henriquez openly condemned the military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet. In marked contrast to Argentina, this stance of the Catholic hierarchy in Chile was instrumental in curbing the tide of political assassinations and human rights violations directed against supporters of Salvador Allende and opponents of the military regime.

Had Jorge Mario Bergoglio taken a similar stance to that of Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, thousands of lives would have been saved.

“Operation Condor” and the Catholic Church

The election of Cardinal Bergoglio by the Vatican conclave to serve as Pope Francis I will have immediate repercussions regarding the ongoing “Operation Condor” Trial in Buenos Aires.

The Church was involved in supporting the military Junta. This is something which will emerge in course of the trial proceedings. No doubt, there will be attempts to obfuscate the role of the Catholic hierarchy and the newly appointed pope Francis I, who served as head of Argentina’s Jesuit order during the military dictatorship.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio: “Washington’s Pope in the Vatican”?

The election of Pope Francis I has broad geopolitical implications for the entire Latin American region.

In the 1970s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was supportive of a US sponsored military dictatorship.

The Catholic hierarchy in Argentina supported the military government.

Wall Street’s interests were sustained through Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz’ office at the Ministry of Economy.

The Catholic Church in Latin America is politically influential. It also has a grip on public opinion. This is known and understood by the architects of US foreign policy.

In Latin America, where a number of governments are now challenging US hegemony, one would expect –given Bergoglio’s track record– that the new Pontiff Francis I as leader of the Catholic Church, will play de facto, a discrete “undercover” political role on behalf of Washington.

With Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis I in the Vatican (who faithfully served US interests in the heyday of General Jorge Videla) the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Latin America can once again be effectively manipulated to undermine “progressive” (Leftist) governments, not only in Argentina (in relation to the government of Cristina Kirschner) but throughout the entire region, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

The instatement of “a pro-US pope” occurred a week following the death of president Hugo Chavez.

Washington and Wall Street’s Pope in the Vatican?

The US State Department routinely pressures members of the United Security Council with a view to influencing the vote pertaining to Security Council resolutions.

US covert operations and propaganda campaigns are routinely applied with a view to influencing national elections in different countries around the World.

Did the US government attempt to influence the election of the new pontiff? Jorge Mario Bergoglio was Washington’s preferred candidate.

Were undercover pressures discretely exerted by Washington, within the Catholic Church, directly or indirectly, on the 115 cardinals who are members of the Vatican conclave, leading to the election of a pontiff who will faithfully serve US foreign policy interests in Latin America?

Author’s Note

From the outset of the military regime in 1976, I was Visiting Professor at the Social Policy Institute of the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina. My major research focus at the time was to investigate the social impacts of the deadly macroeconomic reforms adopted by the military Junta.

I was teaching at the University of Cordoba during the initial wave of assassinations which also targeted progressive grassroots members of the Catholic clergy.

The Northern industrial city of Cordoba was the center of the resistance movement. I witnessed how the Catholic hierarchy actively and routinely supported the military junta, creating an atmosphere of intimidation and fear throughout the country. The general feeling at the time was that Argentinians had been betrayed by the upper echelons of the Catholic Church.

Three years earlier, at the time of Chile’s September 11, 1973 military coup, leading to the overthrow of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, I was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Economics, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago de Chile.

In the immediate wake of the coup in Chile, I witnessed how the Cardinal of Santiago, Raul Silva Henriquez –acting on behalf of the Catholic Church– confronted the military dictatorship.

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Events Across the Country Commemorate the Life of President Hugo Chávez

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Shows of support for the Bolivarian Revolution

Since the tragic passing of President Hugo Chávez, the ANSWER Coalition and a wide range of other progressive organizations and individuals have been organizing and participating in events to commemorate his life and show support for the ongoing revolutionary process. Below are several reports from cities across the country.

San Francisco

Filling up the busy 24th and Mission BART plaza with red shirts and Venezuelan flags, over 300 activists, revolutionaries and supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution came out to pay homage to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on March 11. In a celebratory rally and march, everyone paid respect to Chávez by thanking him for bringing dignity to the poor, the oppressed and the workers in Venezuela and for standing up against the giant U.S. empire that has caused so much misery across the world and amongst its own people.

With chants like ¡Venezuela escucha, San Francisco está en tu lucha! (Venezuela listen, San Francisco is with your struggle) and ¡Chávez no murió, se multiplicó! (Chávez didn’t die, he multiplied), organizations from a wide range of backgrounds marched together in the heart of the Latino district, the Mission. The action was called by individual Venezuelan revolutionaries and supported by the ANSWER Coalition, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, BALASC – Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition, FMLN-Bay Area – Frente Faribundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional, Haiti Action Committee, SOA-School of the Americas Watch, the Center for Political Education, and Marin Interfaith Task Force for the Americas.

After chanting and singing through the Mission, the march ended up by the statue of the revolutionary whom Chávez named the Venezuelan Revolutionary process after, Simon Bolívar.  In closing and sobering words, a long list of individuals read poetry, sang songs, and reminded people that the struggle is far from over. People were urged to learn about the Bolivarian Revolution and support its continuation by informing others about the reality in Venezuela. The need to have Nicolás Maduro win the presidency on Sunday, April 14 was also stressed.

A vigil was also held on March 5, the day that Chávez died. More activities are being planned as a follow-up to the march with the hope that people make the connection between what Chávez did for Venezuela and how that same kind of change is needed for us here in the belly of the beast.

Watch a slideshow of photos from the event by Bill Hackwell

Chicago

On March 8 at Calles y Suenos in the Pilsen Neighborhood in Chicago activists and progressives from around the city came to pay their last respects to Comandante Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. General Consul of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Chicago Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza spoke to the saddened yet optimistic gathering, assuring that in the upcoming elections Nicolás Maduro is strongly expected to be successful. Speakers active in the struggle, including representatives of the Afro-Colombian community, gave heartfelt testimonies to the gains and momentum of the Bolivarian Revolution and of the struggles that the people will face in the future.

A well-attended vigil was also held on March 6 at Trinity Episcopal Church on the south side of Chicago. Participants signed a condolence book provided by the Venezuelan Consulate and attended a service in honor of Chávez. At the end of the vigil, solidarity speeches were given by Chicago supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution. The memory of Comandante Chávez will continue to inspire progressives who continue to stand against U.S. imperialism in Latin America and everywhere.

Washington, D.C.

On March 9 supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution gathered at the Bolivar Plaza in Washington, D.C., to honor the life and legacy of President Hugo Chávez. Supporters from around the region came to honor President Chávez in a variety of ways. An array of posters, artwork, flowers and other offerings were arranged at the feet of the Bolivar statue in honor of President Chávez.

A number of supporters from the region also represented various immigrant communities bringing an array of flags from Central and South American nations that mingled with Venezuelan flags in a prominent display of the Latin American unity spurred on by President Chávez and the Bolivarian process.

Throughout the program artists offered musical tributes to President Chávez. Well known D.C.-based progressive artists Luci Murphy, Devin Walker and Patricio Zambrano all performed pieces celebrating the life of Hugo Chávez and the ongoing Bolivarian Revolution. Greetings also came from across Washington’s faith community. Rev. Whit Hutchinson and Rev. Graylan Hagler spoke movingly about the struggle to defeat poverty and exploitation led by Hugo Chávez.

A common theme throughout the program was the determination of all those present to redouble their efforts to show solidarity with the continuing Bolivarian Revolution. The MCs and other program speakers often led the crowd in chants in both Spanish and English, while long lines formed to sign the official book of condolences.

Following Saturday’s gathering, a memorial service was held on March 12 at St. Stephen’s Church, where again friends of Venezuela from across the region joined together to express their sorrow at the loss of President Chávez, but continued determination to fight on in support of the goals he sought to achieve for the people of Venezuela, Latin America and the world.

Tributes to Chávez came from members of the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore faith communities, which were featured alongside musical selections and videos of President Chávez. In attendance were also a number of diplomats and representatives of various social movements, many of whom brought flowers and posters to commemorate President Chávez.

New York City

Hundreds of activists and community members gathered outside of 1199 SEIU’s headquarters for a candlelight procession to honor the life of President Hugo Chávez. Chávez’s determined will to win a new Venezuela transformed not only his homeland for the betterment of the people, but also opened the road for a united and sovereign Latin America and the Caribbean. For this tremendous accomplishment, he earned the love and admiration of both the people of Venezuela and the people of the world.

The procession made its way through the streets of Manhatten and arrived at Times Square. Despite the loss of President Chávez, the large crowd was energized by their desire to continue his work. The procession turned into a fast-paced march, chanting “Uh ah Chávez vivirá!” (Uh ah Chávez lives!) and “Chávez vive, la lucha sigue!” (Chávez lives, the struggle continues!). The crowd confirmed the proclamation of now-Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro: those who die for life cannot be called dead.

Later in the week, on March 13, supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution packed the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan for a ecumenical service in memory of President Chávez. The event was sponsored by the Permanent Mission to the United Nations of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Consulate General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in New York. A moving speech was delivered by the special guest Elias Jaua, the Minister of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Although the grief for the loss of Comandante Chávez was at times overwhelming, there was also a great sense of hope in the future of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Los Angeles

On March 10 community groups, solidarity organizations and activists, celebrities and progressive people gathered to pay tribute to the life and accompishments of President Hugo Chávez at a memorial service held at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. TV and film actor Fernando Carrillo; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers; and other prominent public figures participated in the event. The gathering was sponsored by a wide range of progressive organizations, including ANSWER LA, Simón Bolívar Association of Los Angeles at Immanuel Presbiterian Church, FSLN Los Angeles, William Velasquez Institute, FMLN Los Angeles, ALBA USA, MTBA, Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, Colectivo Suplemento Comunitario KPFK, FUPA, Comite ProDemocracia en Mexico, and more.

The memorial featured a panel of commemorations, a community speak out, music and other tributes to the late president and revolutionary. Participants wore red in solidarity with the Venezuelan people and brought offerings such as flowers, candles, photos and flags. Although participants expressed a feeling of sadness and loss, all were united in their defense of the sovereignty of Venezuela and confidence that the revolution Chávez led will continue.

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U.S. drones out of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere!

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Be part of the action on Saturday, April 13 at the White House

Drone Widescreen

Dear friend,

National and local organizations are coming together for a major protest on April 13 at the White House to Say NO to U.S. Drone attacks in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere.

The Coalition sponsoring the demonstration is growing rapidly as new organizations join the effort.

Endorsers include:

ANSWER Coalition; Cynthia McKinney, former Congressperson; Akbar Muhammad, International Rep. of Nation of Islam; Revival of Pan Africanism Forum; African Diaspora for Democracy and Development; CRI-Panafricain; Democratic Union of Gambian Activists – D.C.; Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general; Veterans for Peace; Col. Ann Wright; CODEPINK; CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations); CAIR-MD; Nisa Muhammad, writer, Final Call newspaper; Jared Ball, radio host, WPFW (Pacifica); Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; Imam Mahdi Bray, Freedom Coalition; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund; Zaki Baruti, Universal African Peoples Organization; American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC); Peta Lindsay, Party for Socialism and Liberation; Haiti Liberte; Political Education and Action Committee-Howard University; Students for Justice in Palestine-Temple U.; Conflict Free Campus Initiative–Temple U.; and many more.

Add your name or the name of your organization to the endorser’s list now.

Join the rising tide of support for the April 13 demonstration and start mobilizing from your area to be at the White House on as we take our message straight to the war makers!

Buses, vans and car caravans will be coming from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities.

Background:

As U.S. forces have begun to deploy to Niger to expand the deadly drone warfare program, now more than ever the importance of the April 13 demonstration is becoming clear. 100 armed U.S. troops are heading to Niger to set up a drone base aimed at assisting the French-led intervention in that country. This is on top of the 4,000 troops currently training in various war-fighting tactics to serve as a fast-response and “training” force for Africom. On every level and in a number of countries, the United States is expanding its drone program and deepening its military presence on the African continent.

On April 13 at the White House a growing coalition of groups and individuals will be coming together to say NO to this expansion of imperialist military power with drones at the tip of the spear. Endless war and hostility to the peoples of Africa and around the world is a policy that is totally contrary to the interests of the broad mass of American people. On the eve of the massive budget cuts of the so-called sequester, and despite all the hype about “Pentagon cuts,” the machine of war still rolls on in the African continent and across the world, as working and poor people in America will be made to suffer more hardship.

The message from the Obama administration, Congress, the Pentagon and the entire elite establishment is more war, less for people’s needs, here and across the globe. Add your name to the growing list of endorsers. Organize from your cities and towns to be in Washington, D.C., on April 13 to demand U.S. Imperialist Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!

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Seeds of Destruction: The Diabolical World of Genetic Manipulation

NOVANEWS
Global Research

This skillfully 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.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.

What follows is the Preface to Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation by F. William Engdahl (available through Global Research):

Introduction

“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so,we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.”
-George Kennan, US State Department senior planning official, 1948

This book is about a project undertaken by a small socio-political elite, centered, after the Second World War, not in London, but in Washington. It is the untold story of how this self-anointed elite set out, in Kennan’s words, to “maintain this position of disparity.” It is the story of how a tiny few dominated the resources and levers of power in the postwar world.

It’s above all a history of the evolution of power in the control of a select few, in which even science was put in the service of that minority. As Kennan recommended in his 1948 internal memorandum, they pursued their policy relentlessly, and without the “luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.”

Yet, unlike their predecessors within leading circles of the British Empire, this emerging American elite, who proclaimed proudly at war’s end the dawn of their American Century, were masterful in their use of the rhetoric of altruism and world-benefaction to advance their goals. Their American Century paraded as a softer empire, a “kinder, gentler” one in which, under the banner of colonial liberation, freedom, democracy and economic development, those elite circles built a network of power the likes of which the world had not seen since the time of Alexander the Great some three centuries before Christ—a global empire unified under the military control of a sole superpower, able to decide on a whim, the fate of entire nations.

This book is the sequel to a first volume, A Century ofWar: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. It traces a second thin red line of power. This one is about the control over the very basis of human survival, our daily provision of bread. The man who served the interests of the postwar American-based elite during the 1970’s, and came to symbolize its raw realpolitik, was Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Sometime in the mid-1970’s, Kissinger, a life-long practitioner of “Balance of Power” geopolitics and a man with more than a fair share of conspiracies under his belt, allegedly declared his blueprint for world domination: “Control the oil and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.”

The strategic goal to control global food security had its roots decades earlier, well before the outbreak of war in the late 1930’s. It was funded, often with little notice, by select private foundations, which had been created to preserve the wealth and power of a handful of American families.

Originally the families centered their wealth and power in New York and along the East Coast of the United States, from Boston to New York to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. For that reason, popular media accounts often referred to them, sometimes with derision but more often with praise, as the East Coast Establishment.

The center of gravity of American power shifted in the decades following the War. The East Coast Establishment was overshadowed by new centers of power which evolved from Seattle to Southern California on the Pacific Coast, as well as in Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami, just as the tentacles of American power spread to Asia and Japan, and south, to the nations of Latin America.

In the several decades before and immediately following World War II, one family came to symbolize the hubris and arrogance of this emerging American Century more than any other. And the vast fortune of that family had been built on the blood of many wars, and on their control of a new “black gold,” oil.

What was unusual about this family was that early on in the building of their fortune, the patriarchs and advisors they cultivated to safeguard their wealth decided to expand their influence over many very different fields. They sought control not merely over oil, the emerging new energy source for world economic advance. They also expanded their influence over the education of youth, medicine and psychology, foreign policy of the United States, and, significant for our story, over the very science of life itself, biology, and its applications in the world of plants and agriculture.

For the most part, their work passed unnoticed by the larger population, especially in the United States. Few Americans were aware how their lives were being subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, influenced by one or another project financed by the immense wealth of this family.

In the course of researching for this book, a work nominally on the subject of genetically modified organisms or GMO, it soon became clear that the history of GMO was inseparable from the political history of this one very powerful family, the Rockefeller family, and the four brothers—David,Nelson, Laurance and John D. III—who, in the three decades following American victory in World War II, the dawn of the much-heralded American Century, shaped the evolution of power George Kennan referred to in 1948.

In actual fact, the story of GMO is that of the evolution of power in the hands of an elite, determined at all costs to bring the entire world under their sway.

Three decades ago, that power was based around the Rockefeller family. Today, three of the four brothers are long-since deceased, several under peculiar circumstances.However, as was their will, their project of global domination—“full spectrum dominance” as the Pentagon later called it—had spread, often through a rhetoric of “democracy,” and was aided from time to time by the raw military power of that empire when deemed necessary. Their project evolved to the point where one small power group, nominally headquartered in Washington in the early years of the new century, stood determined to control future and present life on this planet to a degree never before dreamed of.

The story of the genetic engineering and patenting of plants and other living organisms cannot be understood without looking at the history of the global spread of American power in the decades following World War II. George Kennan, Henry Luce, Averell Harriman and, above all, the four Rockefeller brothers, created the very concept of multinational “agribusiness”. They financed the “Green Revolution” in the agriculture sector of developing countries in order, among other things, to create new markets for petro-chemical fertilizers and petroleum products, as well as to expand dependency on energy products. Their actions are an inseparable part of the story of genetically modified crops today.

By the early years of the new century, it was clear that no more than four giant chemical multinational companies had emerged as global players in the game to control patents on the very basic food products that most people in the world depend on for their daily nutrition—corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, even vegetables and fruits and cotton—as well as new strains of disease-resistant poultry, genetically-modified to allegedly resist the deadly H5N1 Bird Flu virus, or even gene altered pigs and cattle. Three of the four private companies had decades-long ties to Pentagon chemical warfare research. The fourth, nominally Swiss, was in reality Anglodominated. As with oil, so was GMO agribusiness very much an Anglo-American global project.

In May 2003, before the dust from the relentless US bombing and destruction of Baghdad had cleared, the President of the United States chose to make GMO a strategic issue, a priority in his postwar US foreign policy. The stubborn resistance of the world’s second largest agricultural producer, the European Union, stood as a formidable barrier to the global success of the GMO Project. As long as Germany, France, Austria, Greece and other countries of the European Union steadfastly refused to permit GMO planting for health and scientific reasons, the rest of the world’s nations would remain skeptical and hesitant. By early 2006, the World Trade Organization (WTO) had forced open the door of the European Union to the mass proliferation of GMO. It appeared that global success was near at hand for the GMO Project.

In the wake of the US and British military occupation of Iraq, Washington proceeded to bring the agriculture of Iraq under the domain of patented genetically-engineered seeds, initially supplied through the generosity of the US State Department and Department of Agriculture.

The first mass experiment with GMO crops, however, took place back in the early 1990’s in a country whose elite had long since been corrupted by the Rockefeller family and associated New York banks: Argentina.

The following pages trace the spread and proliferation of GMO, often through political coercion, governmental pressure, fraud, lies, and even murder. If it reads often like a crime story, that should not be surprising. The crime being perpetrated in the name of agricultural efficiency, environmental friendliness and solving the world hunger problem, carries stakes which are vastly more important to this small elite. Their actions are not solely for money or for profit. After all, these powerful private families decide who controls the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and even the European Central Bank. Money is in their hands to destroy or create.

Their aim is rather, the ultimate control over future life on this planet, a supremacy earlier dictators and despots only ever dreamt of. Left unchecked, the present group behind the GMO Project is between one and two decades away from total dominance of the planet’s food capacities. This aspect of the GMO story needs telling. I therefore invite the reader to a careful reading and independent verification or reasoned refutation of what follows.

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How Gullible Christians Became Zionists

NOVANEWS

scofield.jpg

Cyrus Scofield (1843-1921) was an Illuminati agent whose 1909 annotated Bible

duped countless evangelicals into unconditional support of Zionism.

Scofield is an example of how the Illuminati can amend or interpret the Bible

to advance their agenda of world tyranny. 

Nature abhors a vacuum. That’s why the Illuminati own and control the world.

The vacuum is between the ears of goyim who believe Illuminati shibboleths instead

of using their own common sense. 

 

By Rev. Ted Pike

(edited & abridged by henrymakow.com

A flawed foundation lies under most evangelicals’ understanding of God’s moral dealings with humanity and particularly Jews. This foundation drives their support of the Jewish state. It is called “Scofield Dispensationalism.”

Written at the dawn of the modern Zionist movement, Scofield’s commentaries suggested that a nation of suffering and persecuted Jews, though Christ-rejecting, had a divine right to return and occupy Palestine. This idea was virtually absent from Christianity before the mid-1800s. How did such permission gain so great a foothold that it’s now unquestioned dogma for most evangelicals? …
CYRUS SCOFIELD

Cyrus Scofield taught that … God gave the patriarch and his descendants unconditional rights as God’s chosen people. They were guaranteed the Promised Land and rights of occupation, even without obedience. Scofield said Israelites automatically receive “all blessings” by just being there….

Scofield, as no other figure, legitimized Christian participation in Zionism. Evangelicals then united pre-tribulationism and its “rapture escapism” with Zionism. The new prophetic script for Christians read like this:
The right of God’s dispersed and persecuted chosen people to the Promised Land is covenanted to them by God unconditionally, forever. It is the duty of every Christian to honor God’s great last day’s regathering of His people, bidding them godspeed by any possible means. If any nation or person refuses to stand by God and the Jewish nation, he is in league with Satan.
Israel makes possible fulfillment of biblical prophecy that empowers Jesus to return as predicted. Without Israel’s existence and the hundreds of prophecies it fulfills, Christ cannot return. Christ stated clearly that “it must needs be that Scripture be fulfilled” before He could go forward with God’s plan.
Criticizing the state of Israel is thus to oppose the Almighty. It is to curse the Jewish people, incurring dire judgment. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you…” (Genesis 12:3)
SECOND COMING HINGES ON ISRAEL
In accordance with an end-times storyline created by Scofield and others, Zionist evangelicals now keenly watch Israel for necessary fulfillment of the following Scriptural predictions:
1. Rebuilding a Jewish temple. The new temple is necessary because Scripture says anti-Christ must profane it, and proclaim himself to be god. Without such a temple and its defilement, Christ cannot return as He predicted.
2. Israel enters a “covenant” or peace treaty with Anti-Christ.
Once such a covenant has taken place, Daniel’s prophetic “clock” of a “week” or seven years leading to Christ’s second second coming will begin to tick.
The problem, however, for pretribulationists is this: If the church is to be raptured when the anti-Christ is “revealed,” what does Scripture mean by that term? Does it mean “revealed” as in anti-Christ signing a peace treaty with Israel or “revealed” such as occurs in the middle of Daniel’s week when anti-Christ manifests himself as the enemy of the Jews, bringing his armies against Jerusalem (Ez. 38).
At that time, he desecrates the temple, kills two thirds of Jerusalem’s inhabitants, and exiles the remainder to the nations. Also, since most evangelicals believe Christ could come in his first second coming and rapture us out without preconditons, perhaps we will not even have to wait for the “revealing” of Anti-Christ at all.
GULLIBLE GOYIM
The pretribulationist viewpoint could not be simpler: Dark as the world may become, if the church above all things makes sure to bless Israel, it will be blessed and kept safe. Jesus will be faithful to take out true believers before anything resembling great tribulation begins.
In reality, nothing could be more unbiblical, corruptive to the church and the Jewish people, and ultimately dangerous to Christianity than building up that Zionist one-world system of oppression Scripture calls Babylon the Great. (See, ‘Babylon the Great’ is Israel)
Pre-tribulationism is thus escapism. Calvinists also very largely adhere to this idea. It fits well with their belief that once we are soundly “born again” we are always saved, even if committing the grossest sin. 
If we as citizens fail in our duty to occupy and resist evil, this Calvinist/pretribulationist theology says Jesus understands. He will not require us to bear the consequences of our neglect. We will soon be gone. The consequences will be passed on to those of our children who are not born again, not fortunate enough to be raptured.
Of course, Scripture does promise a first resurrection or “rapture” of the dead and living of Christ at His second coming. Yet a high percentage of evangelicals actually believe the rapture will occur within several years. What’s the point of knocking ourselves out opposing evil, especially as Jewish big media corrupts our children…because very soon we’ll be in heaven? …
Yet Jesus said that the church would not be taken out of tribulation. Instead, He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” (John 16:33)

 

CS.jpg

And who was Cyrus Scofield?  A con man and Illuminati Jewish agent 

As a young con-artist in Kansas after the Civil War, he met up with John J. Ingalls, an aging Jewish lawyer who had been sent to Atchison by the “Secret Six” some thirty years before to work the Abolitionist cause.  Pulling strings both in Kansas and with his compatriots back east, Ingalls assisted Scofield in gaining admission to the Bar, and procured his appointment as Federal Attorney for Kansas.  Ingalls and Scofield became partners in a railroad scam which led to Cyrus serving time for criminal forgery.

While he was in prison, Scofield began studying the philosophy of John Darby, pioneer of the Plymouth Brethren movement and the “any moment now” rapture doctrine.

Upon his release from prison, Scofield deserted his first wife, Leonteen Carry Scofield, and his two daughters Abigail and Helen, and he took as his mistress a young girl from the St. Louis Flower Mission.  He later abandoned her for Helen van Ward, whom he eventually married.

 

Following his Illuminati connections to New York, he settled in at the Lotus Club, which he listed as his residence for the next twenty years.  It was here that he presented his ideas for a new Christian Bible concordance, and was taken under the wing of Samuel Untermeyer, who later became chairman of the American Jewish Committee, president of the American League of Jewish Patriots, and chairman of the Non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League.

Untermeyer introduced Scofield to numerous Zionist and socialist leaders, including Samuel Gompers, Fiorello LaGuardia, Abraham Straus, Bernard Baruch and Jacob Schiff. These were the people who financed Scofield’s research trips to Oxford and arranged the publication and distribution of his concordance.

It is impossible to overstate the influence of Cyrus Scofield on twentieth-century Christian beliefs. The Scofield Bible is the standard reference work in virtually all Christian ministries and divinity schools.  It is singularly responsible for the Christian mistaken belief that the Hebrew Prophecies describe the kingdom of Jesus’ Second Coming, and not in fact the Zionist vision of a man-made New World Order.

And it is precisely because Christians persist in this belief that they remain blind to the reality of Zion.  Scofield served as the agent by which the Zionists paralyzed Christianity, while they prepared America for our final conquest.

– See more at: http://henrymakow.com/2013/03/how-gullible-christians-became-zionists.html#sthash.0NHSoNEp.dpuf

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Why Zio-Nazi regime Is Calling For Jonathan Pollard’s Release Now

NOVANEWS

In advance of President Obama’s scheduled March 20 visit, Israeli society at every level is waging an unprecedented, all-out public effort to press for the release of Jonathan Pollard, the American Jew serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. The past month has seen figures as diverse as President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, far-right Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin and former Hamas hostage Gilad Shalit calling on Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served and set him free. So has the board of governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the massive international Jewish charity. More than 150,000 Israelis have signed an online petition calling for his release. The Knesset held a special debate in his honor on March 6.

Pollard’s case has been a cause celebre in Israel and the organized Jewish world since his arrest in 1985. A civilian analyst with U.S. Naval Intelligence, he had volunteered his information services to Israel in June 1984, believing, as he later claimed, that America was withholding data vital to Israel’s security. Arrested 17 months later, he pleaded guilty in return for leniency, but received a life sentence for reasons that remain murky and hotly contested. Some activist American Jews began calling in the early 1990s for his sentence to be reduced, claiming life imprisonment for spying for an ally was unprecedented and unjustified. Israel, after initially calling it a “rogue operation,” admitted in 1998 that Pollard had worked for a little-known intelligence agency and asked for his release. Every president since then has been asked and refused.

Israeli protesters hold portraits of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard during a protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on July 17, 2012 to call for the release of the spy. (JACK GUEZ / AFP / Getty Images)

Pollard’s advocates are a sometimes-uneasy coalition of far-rightists who view him as a Jewish martyr, if not a hero, and moderates who see his severe sentence as unfair. Opponents of his release say that while only a handful of American spies have received life sentences, few have ever compromised so vast a trove of highly sensitive information. The two sides also argue back and forth over whether he was motivated by ideals or money.

Some government sources suggest that the idealism defense actually works against Pollard. His arrest, it’s said, terrified Pentagon officials, who had grudgingly agreed since the late 1960s to end longstanding resistance to hiring Jews as potentially disloyal, only to find a case that seemed to confirm their suspicions. According to one source, a well-connected former Pollard attorney, he received a maximum sentence in order to make him an example to any other Jewish employees who might be tempted to help Israel. Pollard’s defenders say such a scenario would make his sentence a grave violation of his rights, since the justice system isn’t meant to be a pedagogic device. On the other hand, the very existence of a Jewish pro-Pollard campaign could be seen as proving the point. Indeed, Haaretz diplomatic affairs correspondent Barak Ravid reported last week that a senior U.S. official told him the current free-Pollard campaign would only hurt the prisoner’s chances for freedom.

If there’s an air of extreme urgency to this latest clemency campaign, that’s at least partly because time is running out. According to his Federal Bureau of Prisons profile, Pollard is scheduled for parole in November 2015. For those interested in making political hay from the poor guy’s misery, therefore, this is probably the last chance.

If a political splash is what’s desired, the stars are truly aligned right now. The long odds against early release have been clear at least since 1998, when then-prime minister Netanyahu put it on the table during negotiations with Yasser Arafat at the Wye Plantation in Maryland as a condition for his signature on an interim peace deal. President Bill Clinton consented, but reversed himself the next morning when CIA director George Tenet threatened to resign if Pollard were freed.

Clinton’s Republican successor, George W. Bush turned down at least three separate Israeli requests for Pollard’s release. Bush’s two visits to Israel, both during his eighth and last year in office, were accompanied by some public campaigning for Pollard’s release, but nothing like the nationwide outpouring underway greeting this president.

The difference, it appears, is that this president is Barack Obama. He’s viewed with widespread suspicion in Israel, and his visit is openly intended to smooth relations and improve his image. To some minds, this could make him vulnerable to pressure on the issue. Netanyahu in particular has made Pollard a personal issue; besides raising it with Clinton, he visited Pollard in prison in North Carolina in 2002 after leaving office the first time, the highest-ranking Israeli to make the trip.

And even if commutation or pardon isn’t forthcoming, as seems inevitable given the fierce opposition of the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community, raising Pollard during the visit offers a rare opportunity for the Israeli right to embarrass Obama before the world media. Already the president caused a stir in Jerusalem by declining to address the Knesset, reportedly out of fear that rightists would create a commotion. Feiglin had vowed to walk out of the chamber. It wasn’t clear how many others would join him. Instead Obama will address an invited audience at the Jerusalem convention center.

On the other hand, the potential for embarrassment cuts both ways. It was less than a month ago that Israel and the world were shocked by disclosures about another Diaspora Jew who was exploited by Israeli intelligence, trapped between two loyalties and ended up in prison. In that case the compromised agent was an Australian native, Ben Zygier, and the prison where he ended up was Israeli. And unlike Pollard, he didn’t survive his incarceration.

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Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion -study

NOVANEWS

reuters.com

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars and lives from the resulting wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion, based on actual expenditures from the U.S. Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans.

That estimate climbed to nearly $4 trillion in the update.

The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.

Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.

The interest on expenses for the Iraq war could amount to about $4 trillion during that period, the report said.

The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion.

FEW GAINS

The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women’s rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said.

Former President George W. Bush’s administration cited its belief that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s government held weapons of mass destruction to justify the decision to go to war. U.S. and allied forces later found that such stockpiles did not exist.

Supporters of the war argued that intelligence available at the time concluded Iraq held the banned weapons and noted that even some countries that opposed the invasion agreed with the assessment.

“Action needed to be taken,” said Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war and today a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think-tank.

Bucci, who was unconnected to the Watson study, agreed with its observation that the forecasts for the cost and duration of the war proved to be a tiny fraction of the real costs.

“If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in,” Bucci said. “Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short.”

Bucci said the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war.

“It was really in Iraq that ‘al Qaeda central’ died,” Bucci said. “They got waxed.”

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UEFA should cancel football tournament in Israel, says former French sports minister

NOVANEWS
Submitted by Adri Nieuwhof

Former French sports minister Marie-George Buffet has asked European football’s governing body to cancel its plan to hold this year’s under-21 championship in Israel.

In a 7 March letter to UEFA president Michel Platini, the member of parliament argued that Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinian athletes, and the groundless incarceration of football players on the Palestinian national team “are incompatible with the sport values that should be respected when organizing a major international competition.”

Israeli football racism

Also incompatible with sports values of fair play and respect is the amount of racism in Israeli football. In January, Ali Abunimah addressed racism in Israeli football on his blog. He quoted Haaretz:

Only in Israeli soccer can a club block Arabs from joining its ranks, and harsh violence is treated solely as a disciplinary infraction, to be handled by the Israel Football Association’s internal court. The anarchy and lack of police enforcement have turned Israeli soccer into a source of violence, racism and hatred, and has even started to attract dubious characters, who at times manage the teams.

The video above exposes the racism of the fans of Israeli Premier League team Beitar Jerusalem against a play on their own side.

Hundreds of Beitar fans leave the stadium after Zaur Sadayev — a Muslim player from Chechnya — scored a goal to protest the presence of a Muslim player on their team, as reported by the online magazine Jweekly.com.

The letter continues (translation from French original):

This plan has aroused strong emotions among many athletes – you are certainly aware of the protests by many football players – but also among the people and associations that are campaigning for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine. You are also familiar with my involvement in the promotion of sport for all in every corner of the globe, without demanding from athletes the endorsement of any political agenda.

It is this moral code that has prompted me to approach you with the request that the European Cup should not be held in Israel. I fully agreed with you in 2010 when you stated that “Israeli measures applicable to Palestinian sport constitute a breach of the international regulations and laws in force” to be a member of UEFA.

This situation, far from improving, persists today. It is a deplorable fact that Palestinian athletes are not only being denied travel permits within and outside the Palestinian territories so that they are unable to take part in competitions, but that many athletes are also frequently arrested and imprisoned. Mention may be made, in particular, of the groundless incarceration of the goalkeeper of the Palestinian Olympic team, Mr. Omar Abu Roïs, and of the Ramallah footballer, Mr. Mohammed Nmir, as well as that of Mr. Mahmoud Sarsak of the Palestinian national team, who was imprisoned on traveling from Gaza to the West Bank for a match.

You will agree with me, Mr. President and Dear Friend, that such adverse practices against athletes and a country’s right to engage in sport are incompatible with the sport values that should be respected when organizing a major international competition.

I am therefore convinced that you will be sensitive, in the name of sport and the right of all to engage in sport, to the current protests against the holding of the competition in question in Israel. I know that I can rely on your concern to ensure respect for that principle as a motive to reconsider the venue for the 2013 European Football Championship.

Warm regards,

Marie-George Buffet

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