Archive | March 1st, 2014

The Lethal Legacy of US Interventions

Cluster-Bomb Imperialism



Americans seem to believe that once the U.S. military exits a foreign country, its moral accountability ends. But the deadly consequences — and culpability — continue long after the last soldier leaves.

Take Iraq, which the U.S. military left at the end of 2011 (though not before President Obama pleaded with the Iraqi government to let some American forces remain). Violence is flaring in Iraq, as Sunni Muslims, fed up with the oppressive, corrupt, U.S.-installed and Iran-leaning Shi’a government, have mounted new resistance.

Not our responsibility, most Americans would think. The U.S. troops are long gone, so “our hands” are clean. Not so fast, says University of San Francisco Middle East scholar Stephen Zunes.

“The tragic upsurge of violence in Iraq in recent months, including the temporary takeover of sections of two major Iraqi cities by al-Qaida affiliates,” Zunes writes, “is a direct consequence of the repression of peaceful dissent by the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad and, ultimately, of the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation.”

He goes on,

The U.S.-backed Iraqi regime is dominated by sectarian Shia Muslim parties which have discriminated against the Sunni Muslim minority. The combination of government repression and armed insurgency resulted in the deaths of nearly 8,000 civilians last year alone.

But can the United State really be responsible? Wasn’t Iraq a terrible place before the 2003 U.S. invasion, devastation, and occupation? Iraq was certainly ruled by a bad man, Saddam Hussein, who repressed the majority Shi’a, but also mistreated Sunnis. Yet Iraq was not plagued by sectarian violence before the U.S. military arrived. “Until the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, Iraq had maintained a longstanding history of secularism and a strong national identity among its Arab population despite sectarian differences,” Zunes writes.

Not only did the U.S. invasion and occupation fail to bring a functional democracy to Iraq, neither U.S. forces nor the successive U.S.-backed Iraqi governments have been able to provide the Iraqi people with basic security. This has led many ordinary citizens to turn to armed sectarian militia[s] for protection.

Zunes notes that “much of Iraq’s current divisions can be traced to the decision of U.S. occupation authorities immediately following the conquest to abolish the Iraqi army and purge the government bureaucracy — both bastions of secularism and national identity — thereby creating a vacuum that was soon filled by sectarian parties and militias.”

So, once again, arrogant American policymakers lumbered into a foreign country thinking they could remake it in their image — apparently without knowing anything about the cultural or social context. This is hardly the first time, which is why Eugene Burdick and William Lederer’s 1958 novel, The Ugly American, still packs so much power.

Horrific as the Iraq story is, consider what’s happening today in Laos, in southeast Asia. The U.S. military bombed Laos from 1964 to 1973, during its war on Vietnam, to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh trail, the route for military personnel and equipment from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, which ran through Laos and Cambodia. According to the website Legacies of War, “the U.S. dropped over 2 million tons of ordnance over Laos in 580,000 bombing missions, the equivalent of one planeload every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 9 years.”

That would have been bad enough, but the U.S. government dropped cluster bombs, which are made up of many so-called bomblets, about 30 percent of which did not explode immediately:

At least 270 million cluster bomblets were dropped as part of the bombing campaign; approximately 80 million failed to detonate.

Data from a survey completed in Laos in 2009 indicate that UXO [unexploded ordnance], including cluster bombs, have killed or maimed as many as 50,000 civilians in Laos since 1964 (and 20,000 since 1973, after the war ended). Over the past two years there have been over one hundred new casualties each year. About 60% of accidents result in death, and 40% of the victims are children. Boys are particularly at risk. [Emphasis added.]

Thus, 40 years after America’s war of aggression against the people of Southeast Asia, American munitions continue to kill people.

Remember this the next time you hear antiwar advocates smeared as isolationists and American foreign intervention lauded as a blessing to mankind.

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U.S: Russian military action in Ukraine would be ‘grave mistake’

An ethnic Russian Ukrainian man holds the Crimea flag on top of an old Soviet tank during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

An  ethnic  Russian  Ukrainian  man  holds the Crimea flag on top of an old Soviet tank during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.

(Reuters) – The United States warned Russia on Wednesday it would be a “grave mistake” to intervene militarily in Ukraine and said it was considering $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and additional funding to help Kiev.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the warning after Russian President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 combat troops on high alert for war games near Ukraine, Moscow’s boldest gesture since the ouster of ally Viktor Yanukovich as president in Kiev.

“For a country that has spoken out so frequently … against foreign intervention in Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere, it would be important for them to heed those warnings as they think about options in the sovereign nation of Ukraine,” Kerry told a small group of reporters at the U.S. State Department.

“I don’t think there should be any doubt whatsoever that any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge – a grave mistake,” he added.

“If there were any kind of decision like that, I do not think that’s a cheap decision. I think it’s a very expensive decision.”

Kerry said Washington was considering $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for Ukraine, as well as possible budget support for the former Soviet republic, but said no decisions had been made. He said Europe was also mulling roughly $1.5 billion in assistance to Ukraine.

“We are formulating initially a $1 billion loan guarantee with some other pieces, but we are also looking at the possibility of additional assistance,” Kerry said. The Obama administration was discussing the matter internally, he said.


“I don’t think it’s enough to be heralding the advent of democracy and applaud the courage and conviction of the people who brought about this transition and then just not do anything. I think that is unconscionable,” he added.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later said the United States was prepared to take immediate steps to help Ukraine’s economy after a new government was formed and in coordination with a lending program from the International Monetary Fund, the global financial institution.

Ukraine fell into political crisis last year when Yanukovich spurned a broad trade deal with the European Union and accepted a $15 billion Russian bailout that is now in question.

After weeks of popular protests and clashes between security forces and demonstrators, Yanukovich fled his Kiev office and Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove him from power on Friday.

With Kiev desperate for cash as it charts a new future, U.S. officials have emphasized that any U.S. funding  would complement an IMF program, which would offer oversight of economic reforms and ensure money is being spent properly.

IMF officials told Reuters this week that one option under review to help prop up Ukraine’s ailing economy was a bailout that would include IMF money as well as bilateral loans and guarantees from the U.S. and other governments.

The United States is the IMF’s largest and most influential member country. But as the IMF prepares to send a technical mission to Ukraine to assess the state of the economy, IMF insiders say it is important that the institution be seen as an independent broker in Ukraine.


U.S. officials from the White House on down said Russia must respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Moscow put combat troops on high alert for war games near its Western neighbor.

Earlier this month, a Kremlin aide warned that Moscow could intervene and accused Washington of breaching their 1994 treaty under which Russia removed Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine.

It is unlikely the United States and its allies in NATO would risk an outright military confrontation with Russia but such Russian rhetoric, ringing with echoes of the Cold War, underlines the high stakes in Ukraine, whose 46 million people and sprawling territory are caught in a geopolitical tug-of-war.

Kerry said Russia should respect the Ukrainian people’s desire for change and that they should not have to choose between relations with Europe and the United States on one hand and Russia on the other.

“This is not Rocky IV,” he said in a reference to a 1985 film pitting U.S. boxer Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone against a Soviet portrayed by Dolph Lundgren.

“It is not a zero-sum game. We do not view it through the lens of East-West, Russia-U.S. or anything else,” Kerry added.

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U.S. anti-Semitism envoy to meet European Jewish leaders


Ira Forman will visit the U.K.and the Netherlands next week to discuss efforts to combat anti-Semitism, State Department says.


Ira Forman, who in 2013 was named Secretary of State John Kerry’s envoy to combat anti-Semitism, will travel to the U.K. and the Netherlands next week, the State Department said on Friday.

According to the statement, Forman will “discuss efforts to combat anti-Semitism, including tracking and reporting hate-crimes, as well as interfaith engagement and promoting tolerance through sports,” in meetings with Jewish and other religious leaders, as well as government officials and non-governmental organizations.

Forman, a longtime director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, led President Obama 2012 campaign effort to push back against Republican and conservative depictions of Obama as hostile or indifferent to Israel. He was especially active in Florida.

Forman replaced Hannah Rosenthal, who was appointed by Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and who left in 2012 to direct Milwaukee’s Jewish Federation.

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Jewish Democratic donors urge Congress: Back off Iran sanctions



Fragile negotiations must be allowed to continue without threats that could derail them,says letter sent to top Democrats.


Major Democratic donors, many of them Jewish, wrote to party congressional leaders urging them not to advance new Iran sanctions legislation.

“Although success in achieving a final agreement is far from guaranteed, Congress should allow these fragile negotiations to proceed without making threats that could derail them or tying the hands of the negotiators by imposing unrealistic terms for a final agreement,” said the letter sent Feb. 27 to top Democrats in both chambers and reported the same day by National Journal.

The negotiations the letter refers are talks underway between Iran and the major powers aimed at keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Eighty-two donors, many of them Jewish and identified with Democratic and liberal Jewish groups, signed the letter.

These included Morton Halperin, a close associate to George Soros and an adviser to J Street; Alan Solomont, a former ambassador to Spain who also helped found the Israel Policy Forum, a liberal group; and Marc Stanley, who has held leadership positions with the National Jewish Democratic Council.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a number of Democrats and Republicans in Congress back the sanctions, saying they would strengthen the U.S. hand in talks.

President Obama has said he would veto the sanctions, saying they could scuttle the talks with Iran. Democratic leaders in Congress are deferring to his concerns and will not advance the sanctions.

AIPAC has stepped back for now from pressing for the sanctions, and is waiting for a veto-proof majority of members of both parties to endorse the sanctions until it presses for another vote.

Republicans in the Senate on Thursday attempted to attach new sanctions to a veterans benefits law; the Democratic majority quashed the bid, citing among other reasons AIPAC’s opposition to a vote until the sanctions had solid bipartisan backing.

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Jewish leader fears right-wing bloc ahead of European elections




EJC President Moshe Kantor says he believes a euro-skeptical bloc is actually more dangerous than explicit extremists. EJC President Moshe Kantor

EJC President Moshe Kantor Photo: Reuters The European Jewish Congress fears far-right gains in upcoming European elections and believes a grouping presenting itself as simply populist and euro-skeptical is just as dangerous as out-and-out extremists, the EJC’s president said.

Some analysts forecast that a group of anti-euro parties could capture 20 percent of seats in May’s European parliament elections as high unemployment, austerity and anemic growth offer prime conditions for fringe parties to flourish.

The group, trying to work as a bloc for the first time in a bid to attract EU funds, consists of the Freedom parties of Austria and the Netherlands, France’s National Front, Italy’s Northern League, the Sweden Democrats, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang and Slovakia’s National party.

The bloc explicitly rejects xenophobic and anti-Semitic views, and says it wants nothing to do with ultra rightist parties like Greece’s Golden Dawn or Hungary’s Jobbik.

EJC President Moshe Kantor said, however, he did not believe their rejections of extremism, challenging them to clean up their own ranks if they were serious.

“Make order in your own home if you are not racist or anti-Semitic. Demonstrate this in fact and behavior but not in promises,” he said in an interview with Reuters this week.

Kantor said he believed this group, which is on track to reach a size big enough to attract EU funding, was actually more dangerous than explicit extremists.

“We don’t see a big difference. If they allow even a minority in the party to publicly express their opinion as party members, they are all as bad and as weak as the weakest link.” Some of the parties, including Austria’s Freedom, have gone out of their way to reject anti-Semitism.

But Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache has come under fire for a series of incidents.

A cartoon posted on his Facebook page in 2012 depicted a banker with a hooked nose and Star of David cufflinks gorging himself from the hand of the government, while a figure labeled “the people” is fed just scraps. The cartoon was altered the next day.

Strache caused a backlash when he reportedly described himself and his party as “the new Jews” after protesters heckled right-wing students at the Vienna Akademikerball.

The ball, which traditionally draws right-wing student fraternities, was held on International Holocaust Remembrance day in 2012.

A Gallup poll for Austrian paper Oesterreich this month has the Freedom party running neck-and-neck with the two main centrist parties in the European vote at around 23 percent.

In France some recent polls suggest the Front National could top the EU election with about 25 percent of the vote.

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Christian Soldiers Revisited



Phil Giraldi

I recently wrote a piece for The American Conservative (TAC) website describing how evangelical Christianity is becoming a force to be reckoned with within the military and outlining what the downside of such a development might be, including the growing acceptance of wars and war crimes because they are somehow God’s will. I cited instances of senior officers, including Generals William Boykin and David Petraeus, who openly encouraged prayer breakfasts and Bible study among their staffs to develop “spirituality,” which they then incorporated into their warrior ethos. I also described attempts being made by soldiers in places like Afghanistan and also at the service academies to proselytize. I anticipated that the article, which was entitled “Old Testament Warriors” by the TAC editorial staff, would produce a negative response from some of the many self-described devout Christians who frequent the site. I was not disappointed, with comments ranging from the dismissive to the insulting, calling me, for example, a “whiny Vietnam vet also infused with today’s mainstream culture,” a “hack,” a “leftist,” a “B.S. merchant,” an “idiot,” and even “anti-Catholic.” Eventually, however, most of the 100+ comments were favorable and many even strongly supportive.

As I consider the issue to be important, possibly even critically so, I took another look at the piece in light of the comments and decided that it should be revisited, mostly in terms of the additional observations made by readers. First I might mention some areas in the original article that I perhaps failed to make clear enough. I was not implying that the military is overrun with out of control evangelicals or anything like that. My article’s sub-headline “Zealotry runs rampant in the US military…” was written by an editor, not by me. Evangelicals are still a minority and possibly even a small minority of all active duty military personnel and comments from some service members that they had never encountered a proselytizing officer or an inappropriately behaving chaplain are most certainly correct, though there were also comments saying the opposite. One reader noted that most senior officers are not fundamentalist – they just are louder and more noticeable when they do go off the reservation. Nor was I implying that anyone who holds strong Christian beliefs is automatically suspect or should conceal those beliefs under a bushel. Freedom to practice religion is as fundamental as the right not to do so.

Another point that I did not satisfactorily address is the tendency among American elites, mostly in the media and among the political and punditry classes, to encourage religiosity among the soldiery because it mitigates possible internal criticism of foreign and security policies in general. One comment noted that “the sword of God is a very useful weapon” because no one wants to die to defend “free markets.” This development might well be part and parcel of a developing warrior culture, which deepens the divide between soldier and civilian, and is driven by its own imperatives. One reader opined that a professional army “inevitably becomes counter to a republican form of government.”

For me the issue is simple and actually quite practical. A soldier swears an oath to the Constitution of the United States. If he believes that his loyalty to the tenets of a particular religion or to whatever God he believes in supersedes his obligation to his country he should be up front about that and not be a soldier because a soldier must protect all the citizenry as a servant of the constitution, not as a servant of God. If he cannot or will not make that distinction he should instead choose a different profession. Several commenters objected to that view, arguing that soldiers are always subject to a “higher law” in that they must refuse to participate in actions that are immoral or criminal. I agree, but there is a huge difference between personally behaving ethically and promoting a particular religious viewpoint in a hierarchical organization where an individual’s success is very much dependent on the approval of a superior. Or, in a worst case, empowering someone who desires to be raptured to heaven as soon as possible to make decisions on war and peace.

One commenter, a self-described Christian fundamentalist, also noted that there is an intrinsic problem that derives from fabricating a “Christian” justification for engaging in unjust wars, which has been the norm since 9/11. Another reader noted that accepting a non-historical narrative on faith makes it easier to apply a similar process in accepting “without question the lies and double standards associated with the war on terror.” One commenter astutely added that an aggressive nation craves sanction from a higher power or morality to justify its crimes, which tends to translate into holy war on the political right and progressive nation building or “responsibility to protect” on the left. Motivating soldiers to fight in wars that do not actually defend the United States has required a subtle shift away from secular patriotism towards a quasi-religious or moralistically based substitute.

Religious (or other) personal belief is not an appropriate yardstick for measuring the performance of any soldier, and I might add that standard should also apply to any government employee. That is not to say that a soldier or a bureaucrat should not be ethical or moral but ethics and morality are not necessarily linked to religion and should not be defined in those terms. Any soldier who witnesses a criminal or immoral act has the responsibility to report the same to the appropriate authorities in his chain of command, but one’s religiosity or lack thereof is not necessarily part of the process.

All of the above obviously does not apply to most Americans, who generally regard their religion as a private matter, but it does most definitely relate to some evangelical Christians and even more particularly to the so-called “dispensationalists” who believe in a particular form of Christianity that is so rigorous in its practical application that it sometimes advances the viewpoint that others who do not share the same beliefs are sinners or even evil. There is frequently preoccupation with the Second Coming of Christ, which many adherents believe is imminent. As part of their belief, many dispensationalists think that the gathering in of the Jews into Israel is a precursor event, so the desire to bring about the Second Coming has obvious real world consequences in terms of US foreign policy. There may be as many as 40 million dispensationalists in the United States, many of whom also have been described as Christian Zionists.

Many fundamentalist Christians also accept that the Second Coming will be preceded by a clash of civilizations type war in the Middle East in which all non-believers, including Jews who haven’t converted, will be killed. One comment noted how religious zealotry and war promotion come together with the “flag waving militarism” promoted by groups like John Hagee’s Cornerstonemegachurch in San Antonio, a ministry that has 20,000 local adherents and a television and radio audience measuring in the tens of millions. Hagee’s Christians United for Israel claims a membership of 426,000. Fundamentalists who believe that helping to bring about the Second Coming is the most important thing they can accomplish in their lifetimes are sometimes referred to as Armageddonists, derived from the name of the great battle prophesied in the Book of Revelation that will precede the Second Coming. One commenter asked if a general who eagerly awaits Armageddon is called upon by the White House to give advice on a national security issue what kind of advice will he give?

A soldier should rightly be judged on his or her ability to do the job, not for how he or she spends a Sunday morning or whether he or she has attended a prayer breakfast and Bible study with Generals Boykin and Petraeus. But several commenters noted how a little faith can be a good thing. A soldier fighting in a senseless war and possibly being killed might well do so more effectively if he believes in an afterlife, though someone also quoted Vietnam vet Tim O’Brien’s observation that “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior…” Another comment noted that while it may be true that religious soldiers perform better, senior officers in the field who make too much of their religiosity turn an overseas conflict into a holy war ipso facto, a war that we will ultimately lose.

Regarding the role of military chaplains, one reader noted that historically they have little to do with actually following Jesus and more to do with taking a shell shocked soldier and convincing him to pick up his rifle and return to the fray. True Christians are more likely to be pacifists “because they really do take Jesus seriously,” or as another reader put it, “I’ve always wondered about the illogic of religion that teaches the people of every nation to render unto their Caesar the lives of the other Caesar’s people.” Andrew Sullivan makes a distinction between actual Christians and what he calls “Christianists,” followers of an ideology rather than a faith.

Kelley Vlahos has recently written an interesting article on corruption in the military and, at first glance, corruption and a growing overt religiosity would not seem to go together. But she also opines that the post 9/11 generation of officers is actually only thinly inspired by principles and is largely motivated by careerism, as the would-be flag officers compete for fewer senior positions while the armed forces shrink in size. Meanwhile, the concept of the military as an elite society unto itself that makes its own rules has been growing, of which the evangelical religiosity, which frequently conflates war with God’s will, might be considered a subset. The overt religiosity and Bible study sessions promoted by General David Petraeus did not restrain him from entering into an extra-marital affair, which rather suggests that there is more than a touch of hypocrisy regarding how our officer caste self-identifies. And the fact that 85% of Petraeus’s staff in Afghanistan joined him in Bible study is perhaps better explained by careerism than by any genuine religious fervor. In today’s army, you follow the leader if you want to get promoted and what he does you do.

Finally, I can’t help but be amused by the one commenter’s quoting of Edward Gibbon, from his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.” Maybe America’s overt religious fervor is more useful than genuine, but in the end utility did not save Rome. It is certainly an interesting observation.

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Australian left on Syria



Dear Comrades,

                          As imperialism’s proxy war against Syria enters its third year, I’d like to update the CPGB-ML on the current position of the Australian ‘left’ towards Syria. As in Britain, the Australian socialist movement is dominated by a plethora of Trotskyist & revisionist ‘Marxists’. I will give a brief analysis of the various parties respective positions.

Communist Party of Australia (CPA). The CPA is a revisionist party which long ago abandoned the dictatorship of the proletariat & jumped on the bandwagon of a ‘parliamentary’ road to socialism. Like the genocidal war against Libya, the CPA for a long time sat on the fence concerning Syria, coming out against ‘imperialist intervention’ (as it wasn’t happening from day one), while repeating imperialist slander against President Assad’s ‘tyranny’. Eventually, reality intruded, & the CPA were forced to recognise the reactionary nature of the Syrian ‘rebels’. Despite this, never has the CPA called for unconditional support for Assad & the Ba’ath Party.

Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML). The CPA-ML emerged from a split in the CPA in 1963-64 over Khrushchevite revisionism. Of all the Communist/Socialist parties in Australia, the CPA-ML has the strongest commitment to theory & its understanding. However, in my opinion, the CPA-ML has a distinctive nationalist outlook, which derives from their viewpoint that Australia is not an imperialist country, but is subjugated by foreign, principally U.S., imperialism. In that regard, attention to international events takes second place. It’s few public pronouncements on Syria do condemn imperialism in its aggression. Yet, I have yet to read any statement offering full support for President Assad.

Now comes the myriad of Trotskyist groupings.

Socialist Alliance. This group emerged from a affiliation of several Trotskyist trends, has undergone the standard name changes, but its counter-revolutionary position hasn’t. Despite hollow proclamations against imperialist intervention, & ‘extremist’ influence in the ‘rebels’, this statement sums up their pro-imperialism “The Socialist Alliance supports the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyranny of the Bashar al-Assad regime”.

Socialist Alternative. Another Trotskyist grouping, which perhaps the largest Trotskyist organisation inAustralia. It was formed in 1995 after the usual evolutions from other groups. It characterises the counter-revolutionary assault on secular Syria as a “heroic uprising against Syrian dictator Assad”. To leave no one in doubt, it opposes imperialist bombing of Syria, simply because bombing will only increase “repressive” forces in Syria! It laments “toothless” U.S. sanctions against Assad, and for allowing Syria’s allies (i.e.Russia) to supply it with weapons. These Trotskyist stooges wrap themselves in a muddle. Basically, they support revolution from ‘below’, i.e. the Syrian masses overthrowing the ‘tyranny’ of Assad.

Trotskyist Platform. This is a small, somewhat obscure outfit, yet, despite its title, has probably taken the clearest stand AGAINST the counter-revolutionary ‘rebels’! They have stood out from their Trotskyist brethren and have been public in opposing  the ‘rebels’ & condemning imperialism. In fact, compared to the CPA & the clandestine CPA-ML, their public support for Syria has been superior; & compared to the various Trotskyist imperialist puppets, they have been positively revolutionary! However, being the Trotskyists they are, they are hindered in offering actual support to President Assad, & are always quick to point out the essentially ‘repressive’ nature of Assad. To reinforce this, they constantly dredge up memories of Syria’s past which have no relevance to today’s struggle, such as Hafez al-Assad’s support of imperialism in the 1991 Gulf War. It is also quick to point out that the Ba’ath regime is a capitalist one, to ensure proletarians get to close to Assad’s anti-imperialist government. It refuses to take the position of ‘VICTORY TO ASSAD’, instead calling for support of ‘pro-government’ forces.

Comrades, this is only a brief glimpse at the ‘leading’ ‘socialist’ organisations in Australia. I think the last word should be that the one group in Australia who have taken the most PUBLIC stance against imperialist plots against Syria is a minor outfit who proudly wears the badge of Trotskyism! Further comment on the Australian ‘left’ would be superfluous. Comrades, if you have any further comments or questions, feel free to contact mr/


Fraternally Yours

Mark Window

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The ex-I$raHelli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit



‘Delta’ has headed ‘the Blue Helmets of Maidan’ of 40 men and women – including several IDF veterans – in violent clashes with government forces.


He calls his troops “the Blue Helmets of Maidan,” but brown is the color of the headgear worn by Delta — the nom de guerre of the commander of a Jewish-led militia force that participated in the Ukrainian revolution. Under his helmet, he also wears a kippah.

Delta, a Ukraine-born former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, spoke to JTA Thursday on condition of anonymity. He explained how he came to use combat skills he acquired in the Shu’alei Shimshon reconnaissance battalion of the Givati infantry brigade to rise through the ranks of Kiev’s street fighters. He has headed a force of 40 men and women — including several fellow IDF veterans — in violent clashes with government forces.

Several Ukrainian Jews, including Rabbi Moshe Azman, one of the country’s claimants to the title of chief rabbi, confirmed Delta’s identity and role in the still-unfinished revolution.

The “Blue Helmets” nickname, a reference to the UN peacekeeping force, stuck after Delta’s unit last month prevented a mob from torching a building occupied by Ukrainian police, he said. “There were dozens of officers inside, surrounded by 1,200 demonstrators who wanted to burn them alive,” he recalled. “We intervened and negotiated their safe passage.”

The problem, he said, was that the officers would not leave without their guns, citing orders. Delta told JTA his unit reasoned with the mob to allow the officers to leave with their guns. “It would have been a massacre, and that was not an option,” he said.

The Blue Helmets comprise 35 men and women who are not Jewish, and who are led by five ex-IDF soldiers, says Delta, an Orthodox Jew in his late 30s who regularly prays at Azman’s Brodsky Synagogue. He declined to speak about his private life.

Delta, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, moved back to Ukraine several years ago and has worked as a businessman. He says he joined the protest movement as a volunteer on November 30, after witnessing violence by government forces against student protesters.

“I saw unarmed civilians with no military background being ground by a well-oiled military machine, and it made my blood boil,” Delta told JTA in Hebrew laced with military jargon. “I joined them then and there, and I started fighting back the way I learned how, through urban warfare maneuvers. People followed, and I found myself heading a platoon of young men. Kids, really.”

The other ex-IDF infantrymen joined the Blue Helmets later after hearing it was led by a fellow vet, Delta said.

As platoon leader, Delta says he takes orders from activists connected to Svoboda, an ultra-nationalist party that has been frequently accused of anti-Semitism and whose members have been said to have had key positions in organizing the opposition protests.

“I don’t belong [to Svoboda], but I take orders from their team. They know I’m Israeli, Jewish and an ex-IDF soldier. They call me ‘brother,’” he said. “What they’re saying about Svoboda is exaggerated, I know this for a fact. I don’t like them because they’re inconsistent, not because of [any] anti-Semitism issue.”

The commanding position of Svoboda in the revolution is no secret, according to Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation think tank.

“The driving force among the so-called white sector in the Maidan are the nationalists, who went against the SWAT teams and snipers who were shooting at them,” Cohen told JTA.

Still, many Jews supported the revolution and actively participated in it.

Earlier this week, an interim government was announced ahead of election scheduled for May, including ministers from several minority groups.

Volodymyr Groysman, a former mayor of the city of Vinnytsia and the newly appointed deputy prime minister for regional policy, is a Jew, Rabbi Azman said.

“There are no signs for concern yet,” said Cohen, “but the West needs to make it clear to Ukraine that how it is seen depends on how minorities are treated.”

On Wednesday, Russian State Duma Chairman Sergey Naryshkin said Moscow was concerned about anti-Semitic declarations by radical groups in Ukraine.

But Delta says the Kremlin is using the anti-Semitism card falsely to delegitimize the Ukrainian revolution, which is distancing Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence.

“It’s bullshit. I never saw any expression of anti-Semitism during the protests, and the claims to the contrary were part of the reason I joined the movement. We’re trying to show that Jews care,” he said.

Still, Delta’s reasons for not revealing his name betray his sense of feeling like an outsider. “If I were Ukrainian, I would have been a hero. But for me it’s better to not reveal my name if I want to keep living here in peace and quiet,” he said.

Fellow Jews have criticized him for working with Svoboda. “Some asked me if instead of ‘Shalom’ they should now greet me with a ‘Sieg heil.’ I simply find it laughable,” he said. But he does have frustrations related to being an outsider. “Sometimes I tell myself, ‘What are you doing? This is not your army. This isn’t even your country.’”

He recalls feeling this way during one of the fiercest battles he experienced, which took place last week at Institutskaya Street and left 12 protesters dead. “The snipers began firing rubber bullets at us. I fired back from my rubber-bullet rifle,” Delta said.

“Then they opened live rounds, and my friend caught a bullet in his leg. They shot at us like at a firing range. I wasn’t ready for a last stand. I carried my friend and ordered my troops to fall back. They’re scared kids. I gave them some cash for phone calls and told them to take off their uniform and run away until further instructions. I didn’t want to see anyone else die that day.”

Currently, the Blue Helmets are carrying out police work that include patrols and preventing looting and vandalism in a city of 3 million struggling to climb out of the chaos that engulfed it for the past three months.

But Delta has another, more ambitious, project: He and Azman are organizing the airborne evacuation of seriously wounded protesters — none of them Jewish — for critical operations in Israel. One of the patients, a 19-year-old woman, was wounded at Institutskaya by a bullet that penetrated her eye and is lodged inside her brain, according to Delta. Azman says he hopes the plane of 17 patients will take off next week, with funding from private donors and with help from Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel.

“The doctor told me that another millimeter to either direction and she would be dead,” Delta said. “And I told him it was the work of Hakadosh Baruch Hu.”

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‘Shut the f**k up, b*tch!’ Notorious far-right Ukraine leader attacks prosecutor (VIDEO)



Ukrainian radical nationalist leader Aleksandr Muzychko went on with the rampage against regional authorities, lashing out at a local prosecutor with obscene language, punches and threats. The radical claimed the prosecutors were “sabotaging” their job.

Muzychko, who is a member of the Right Sector radical movement, arrived at Rovno (Rivne) Oblast prosecutor’s office after he heard claims that a criminal investigation into a local murder is being delayed.

The controversial “activist,” known for taking part in the Chechen conflict against Russian troops, for his recent Kalashnikov brandishing in front of regional authorities and for making openly anti-Semitic statements, decided to take the matter into his own hands.

Without going into detail, Muzychko grasped a procedural prosecutor he found present at the workplace, nearly strangling the clerk with his own tie and shouting at him in dirty language.

The prosecutor asked to be given a chance to explain the situation, but the heated radical did not want to hear any explanations.

“Shut the f**k up, you b*tch! Your f**king time is over,” he uttered, threatening to rope the clerk like a dog and lead him to the people on Maidan.


Muzychko was furious to learn the regional prosecutor was not at his workplace because he was “in hospital.” Calling the prosecutors useless “chairwarmers,” he accused them of deliberately shirking their job.

“Does it mean I have to elect my own prosecutor, if these animals do not want to work? What is this, a sabotage? Should we have mayhem, anarchy in the country, they will keep sitting here and covering [the criminals]?”

The clerk tried to intervene in the radical’s speech, but received a slap on the face.

“If you think I am goodie because I’ve come without my rifle, you are gravely mistaken. I’ve come with a pistol. Work!” local paper also quoted some of Muzychko’s words that were not caught on film.

According to the paper, the radical threatened that otherwise he will have the clerk lynched by an angry mob.

The confused prosecutor later explained the situation to journalists, saying that Muzychko has probably been “misinformed.” According to the clerk, the suspected murderer of the local woman in question has been kept in detention without any formal charges placed on him only because the investigation was in progress. Now that the police have found some evidence, the charges will be brought against the man.

Meanwhile, the new Ukrainian authorities cast a blind eye on extremist actions of the armed Right Sector apparently in return for the group’s active help in overthrowing the government of ousted president Yanukovich.

Since the start of the turmoil in Ukraine, atrocities committed by the Ukrainian radicals have been routinely dismissed by coup d’état supporters as “propaganda” and mostly ignored by the Western media. However, with people like Muzychko appearing on YouTube, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the new authorities to veil the situation in the country as “peaceful protests.”

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ADL’s Foxman: ‘Son of God’ Should Be Antidote to ‘Passion of Christ’



Posted by: The Ugly Truth

Ed note–Remember that by the very definition of his being a Jew that Foxman & co ABSOLUTELY DESPISE Jesus Christ. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever for him or anyone else within organized Jewry to be taking even a middle of the road position with regards to a movie dealing favorably with JC, let alone praising it.

Given that there is now this thing known as the internet whereby Christians can now see youtube clips featuring Jews getting together and singing songs such as ‘Jesus was a bastard’, comedy skits featuring the Virgin Mary as a prostitute and Sarah Silverman yukking it up with ‘I’d kill Christ again, I’d f****** do it again’, clearly what is at work here is yet another maneuver on the part of Jewish interests these days in putting Christians back to sleep regarding the absolute organic hatred that Judaism and organized Jewry maintain not only for JC, but for His followers worldwide. 


The Bible saga “Son of God” will be “the antidote to the poison that ‘Passion of the Christ’ became,” Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said Tuesday.

“It’s almost a disservice to ‘Son of God’ to compare the two,” he said. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s pared-down version of the History channel miniseries “The Bible” opens nationwide Friday on roughly 3,000 screens Friday.

It’s been 10 years to the day since the Mel Gibson-directed “Passion of the Christ” debuted, and it’s still the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever. But it’s remembered as much for the charges of anti-Semitism, excessive violence and pre-release controversy as it is for its $370 million box-office haul.

“Gibson bloodied the Jews by portraying them as such villains,” said Foxman, who was among the Jewish leaders who a decade ago spoke out bitterly against Gibson’s brutal recounting of Christ’s crucifixion, saying its depiction of sadistic Pharisees and stereotypical characters fanned the flames of hatred against Jews.

But he has no problem with “Son of God.”

“The story of the crucifixion and the way it has been used through the centuries has never been good for the Jews,” he said.

“Having said that, ‘Son of God’ is the most sensitive, caring depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen. The producers have done everything possible to put the events into historical, political and psychological context.”

Foxman said that he thought “Son of God” could replace “Passion of the Christ” as the go-to movie for films about the life and death of Christ.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s done with the proper sensitivity and perspective and I would hope that for future generations, ‘Son of God’ will be the vehicle used to teach that part of history,” he said.

Foxman said that his organization met with Downey and Burnett and provided each other with “mutual guidance.”

“After ‘The Bible’ came out, we reached out and talked through the issues that could be hurtful or painful,” said Foxman. “We didn’t agree on everything, but it was clear there was respect on both sides.”

The ADL is even sponsoring a dinner honoring Burnett and Downey on May 8.

Foxman said that while it felt funny for him to endorse a film about the crucifixion, “in this context I said yes, absolutely.”

The love fest between the “Son of God” producers and the ADL is in stark contrast to the approach Gibson took with the “Passion,” which was controversial for months before its release. The director failed to reach out to Jewish leaders when the film was coming together, and Gibson came under blistering fire while he was taking a renegade approach to getting it into theaters.

When no studio stepped up to finance the project — an explicitly brutal retelling of Christ’s final 12 hours told in ancient Aramaic and Latin with no big-name stars — Gibson bankrolled the $30 million production budget himself.

He directed and co-wrote “The Passion,” which was filmed in Italy with Jim Cavaziel playing Christ. Fox, which had a deal with Gibson’s Icon Productions at the time, passed on distributing the film because of the complaints about its perceived anti-Semitism and excessive violence. So Gibson released it himself on Ash Wednesday, 2004.

The critics focused more on the brutality. Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars, but called it the most violent film he’d ever seen. Slate’s David Edelstein called it a “two-hour snuff film” and “the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre.”

But with conservative Christian leaders across the nation urging their flocks to turn out, “The Passion of the Christ” brought in $83 million in its first weekend, despite the criticism and protests at theaters.

The film went on to take in more than $611 million worldwide.

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