Archive | May 31st, 2014

Stop Hillary Now … Before She Kills Again!

Come Back Monica Lewinsky


There is an outstanding book by Nomi Prins about the machinations of the deregulated financial predators let loose upon the world during the Clinton years.  It is called It Takes a Pillage.  Too bad that the title is therefore unavailable; it could come in handy in the weeks and months ahead.

It would be a fine taunt to use in polemics about the author, the official one, of the 1996 bestseller It Takes a Village, a public relations confection contrived to repackage Hillary Clinton’s persona in time for her husband’s run for a second term.

The Hillarycare episode had to be shoved down the memory hole and, along with it, the image of a policy wonk with an unwomanly penchant for political hardball — one who ends up on the losing side anyway.

Evidently, the flacks trying to sell the public on a second Clinton term felt they needed a softer, more caring First Lady to stand by their man.  Obligingly, the Mrs. addressed traditionally feminine topics like parenting and education in a soft and caring way.

Even so, by today’s standards, the saccharine concoction that came out under her name seems a tad risqué.  It upholds notions of cooperation and social solidarity – as ends in their own right and as means for rearing children right.

Clinton’s PR people permitted – indeed, encouraged – that high minded  message because the neoliberal worldview that went along with the kinds of policies she and her husband were promoting had not yet entirely taken hold.

To praise cooperative ideals back then was hardly edgy; if anything, Clinton’s book suffers from too much pious cant.  It was only later that traditional values took on a more sinister coloration.  That happened around the time that “socialist” became a dirty word; a phenomenon the Clintons also helped to bring about.

Back then too, women who were high-flyers were still supposed to be nurturers and care givers first.  This was a fine point Clinton’s handlers felt they needed to pin down.

Since then, times have changed and Hillary Clinton along with them.  The persona she presents now is tougher and less gendered.  The Hillary of Hillarycare is back.

Nowadays, this is OK for a candidate, but still not for a First Lady.  By “partnering” with Bill, Hillary spoiled the First Lady gig for her successors.  Michelle Obama, potentially a more capable leader than either Hillary or Barack, understood this from Day One.

Too bad for First Ladies; life is unfair.  And too bad for serious critics of Clintonian politics that, after Nomi Prins, the best title imaginable for a book about the Clinton phenomenon is now out of bounds.

The wicked have all the luck.  Hillary had a good thing going for a while; Michelle is stuck in a golden cage, planting vegetables and steering fat kids away from junk food.  And Hillary’s detractors, the hordes of them who are not morally or intellectually serious, have no need for apt book titles or clever turns of phrase.  Turn on Fox News and see for yourself.

Prins’s title is doubly apt.  It describes the world the Clintons have brought upon us; a world in which the super-rich loot and plunder.  And, it suggests what we need to do to rid ourselves of their depredations — when “niceness” is simply not enough.

Taunt Hillary with that?  As the eminently quotable Sarah Palin would say: “you betcha.”

But why bother?  After all, in America today, it makes little difference if she loses or wins.  In the real world of electoral politics, the ship of state stays on a neoliberal course no matter what happens at election time.

The personalities at the top change; everything else stays the same.  At the policy level, even cosmetic changes are now so rare that they seem almost out of reach.

When Obama came out of nowhere to run for president in 2008, it looked like there would be at least a few cosmetic changes ahead.

But none were forthcoming.  The knight in shining armor was an illusion in Freud’s sense, an unconscious expression of a wish.   He did fool a lot of people, though — for a while.

By now, however, everyone who is not willfully blind has figured out that there will be no “hope” or “change” on his



And, with Obama in mind, it is dawning on the voting public too that it doesn’t matter what winners say — or let people believe — during political campaigns.

Hence the question: if all comes out the same in the end, why be concerned that Hillary Clinton is on track for 2016?

That there is no significant political difference between her and husband Bill is not reason enough.  It would make no difference if there were.

The idea of a Clinton in the White House again is alarming — but no more than the thought, say, of a President Joe Biden, the other “rival” Obama empowered.

There are other imaginable “mainstream” (actually, right-wing) Democratic contenders out there who may seem less onerous.  But that is only because we know less about them.  If they are mainstream enough to be taken seriously, they are cut from the same cloth.

In any case, it is Hillary, not Biden or anyone else, who is on the move right now; and therefore, if any of them must be stopped, it is she.

But why must anyone be stopped when candidates are not where the action is?

The short answer is that even when it doesn’t matter who wins elections, it sometimes matters who runs.

  • *

Who runs in the 2016 Democratic primaries matters more than usual because, barring momentous developments that cannot now be foreseen, the winner will win the general election too.  Those primaries are therefore bound to focus the collective mind.

Whoever wins will become the next president because the GOP will again be unable to produce a candidate that sane Republican and “independent” voters can abide and that plutocrats can entrust to look after their interests.  Their “base” won’t let them.

The problem is not that the Republican base is “populist” in a way that might give “establishment Republicans” reason to bolt.

We don’t hear much about “false consciousness” these days, but the benighted souls the GOP has recruited into its ranks since Nixon’s “Southern strategy” took off are a textbook case — always at the ready to sacrifice their own material interests for the benefit of one per-centers who wouldn’t otherwise give them the time of day.

But because there are so many of them and because they are obstinate to a fault, they have made the GOP hostage to their warped sensibilities.

Much has been made lately about how the hyper-rich have decided to throw “free speech” at the problem.  They want the Tea Party out, and respectable candidates in – provided, of course, that the more respectable candidates are as subservient to their needs.

Perhaps they will get their way; they will certainly spend huge sums trying.  But even if they succeed, the payoff will only be that someone like Mitt Romney will again be their standard-bearer.

If this happens, the Republican base will probably acquiesce once more.  But grudging acquiescence is not enough.

The demographics are now such that without an energized base of hate-filled, subliminally racist, patriarchal, gun toting, Bible thumping, white folk growing old gracelessly together, a Republican presidential candidate doesn’t stand a chance.  2016 will be 2008 and 2012 all over again.

This doesn’t mean that 2014 will be a bad year for Republicans; quite the contrary.  Thanks to understandable indifference on the part of those who should know better, gerrymandering, voter suppression, the peculiarities of our electoral institutions, and, above all, the largesse of billionaires, Republicans can still control Congress, along with many state governments.

This year, they will probably retain control of the House of Representatives, and may well become the majority party in the Senate.

But the White House is out of reach for the foreseeable future – because their candidate will either be despised by the yahoos in the base or will be abhorrent to everyone else.

Republicans can still win governorships and state houses in states with sizeable contingents of reactionary voters; and Congress is full of Tea Party whackos.  Lately, a few have even made it into the Senate – Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are among the most prominent examples.

But the presidency?  Not a chance; not even with the Electoral College having the ultimate say.

In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, and if all the votes cast in Florida had been counted, he would have lost Florida’s electoral votes too.  But five partisan Supreme Court Justices made sure that Florida’s votes wouldn’t all be counted, and Bush was inflicted upon the world.

This was only possible because it occurred at a time when, despite yawning cultural differences, the pillars of the Republican Party and their useful idiots still got along tolerably well.

This has not been the case for some time; and since Romney’s defeat in 2012, the rift has widened.  It is not about to close.

We can therefore be confident that, whatever happens in this year’s elections, the next president will be a Democrat.

Therefore if the nomination goes to Hillary Clinton, expect the Clintons to move back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in January 2017.

This would be a revolting development – but not because a Clinton presidency would be significantly more awful than the presidency of anyone else, Democrat or Republican, whom our plutocrats might decide to bless.   On the awfulness scale, they would all register about the same.

Four or eight more years of Clintons in our face would be too much for normally sensitive people to bear; this “aesthetic” problem is hardly irrelevant.  But it too is not the main reason why it is important to stop Clinton now.

The reason for that is that if she isn’t stopped – or, at the very least, if there isn’t a serious and sustained effort to stop her – opportunities opened up by the approaching primary season will be squandered.

  • *

There are two general problems with lesser evil voting in contests between Democrats and Republicans in the United States today.

For one, the practice is myopic.

Even if we concede, what is far from obvious, that, say, President Obama made better appointments and proposed better initiatives than John McCain or Mitt Romney would have if they had had the chance, his presidency made the ostensibly Lesser Evil party more pusillanimous and more conservative than would have otherwise been the case.

Between 2006 and 2008, when there was still a Republican president and when Democrats controlled the House, there were intimations of what even post-(Bill) Clinton Democrats could do.   Impeaching George W. Bush was high on the list.

That effort, even if unsuccessful, would have made it harder for Bush to keep his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going, and harder still for Obama to take up where Bush left off.

But the Pelosiite leadership in the House made sure to quash any chance of impeachment along with every other worthwhile initiative – ostensibly to help elect a Democrat in 2008.  A more plausible explanation is that they too are Clintonites (neoliberals, liberal internationalists) under the skin.  These explanations are not mutually exclusive.

The Democratic leadership in the House is less noxious, or at least less risible, than the Republican leadership that has run that institution since 2010.    But, it is far from obvious even so, taking all factors into account, that electing Democrats is the way to assure that less evil outcomes will result.

A combative Democratic Party in Congress is worth a dozen Barack Obamas in the White House.

The other problem is that lesser evil voting doesn’t take a long enough view.

Even if Democrats really are the lesser evil at a particular moment in time, voting for them as they shadow the greater evil on its rightward course fosters a race to the bottom — or rather to the hellish wasteland our political scene has become.

The consequences become more apparent with each election cycle.

But these considerations don’t apply, at least not directly, to intraparty primary elections.

The only worthwhile purpose Republican primaries serve is to provide material for late night comedians.  The increasingly tedious and unfunny MSNBC pundits who come on earlier in the evening use the same material, but that doesn’t count.

Democratic primaries sometimes have more redeeming features.

Even if there is no one to vote for, only against, making the less bad choice as good as can be is sometimes worth doing.

And, when all the choices are equally bad, as they usually are, Democratic primaries nevertheless provide opportunities for voting expressively, for making a statement.

Writing in names of candidates not officially in the running can be a productive way to “waste” a vote.  Voting for a mainstream Democrat on the ballot is almost always an unproductive way.

Since voting for a Republican is unthinkable, that option hardly warrants mention.  I will therefore say no more about it.

For years, I have been writing in the names of my dogs.  This year, I plan to do better; I will write in Edward Snowden for something, maybe for everything.  Hardly anyone, certainly no Democratic muckety-muck will notice, but maybe a few county-level party functionaries will.

Until “none of the above” – or some functional equivalent, like casting a blank ballot — becomes an option that the powers that be will be unable to ignore, voting for a hero, or an estimable pet, is as good a way as any to cast a protest vote.

Sometimes, though, we can do better than that.  This can happen in primary elections at the local level, and it sometimes happens in primaries that pick candidates for president.  It happens whenever there are candidates, outliers, whom a person can in good conscience vote for.

In local elections, there is sometimes a chance that such a candidate can win.  In presidential elections, there is no chance – not with corporate media working diligently to marginalize the candidacies of anyone not one hundred percent in the pocket of the one percent.

But if true outliers are heard at all – in candidate debates, for example – they can expand the universe of discourse, at least for a while.

This was what Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel did in the 2008 Democratic primaries.  To them, much credit is due.

This time around, there are more plausible candidates being talked about; they could therefore do even more good than Kucinich or Gravel did.

The two most likely, at this point, are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  They both command media attention, and they both fall enough outside the neoliberal mainstream to give one percenters and free market theologians cause for concern.

Also they both seem to know how to be oppositional while remaining “viable within the system.”   Persons of a certain age will recall that this was Bill Clinton’s express reason for not resisting the draft in a more militant way than dragging out a student deferment.  It worked for him; it can work for Sanders and Warren too.

To be sure, there is no reason to think that either of them would turn American diplomacy around or dismantle the national security state.

Neither is there any reason at this point to think that either of them would do much to steer the world away from environmental catastrophes.

But we can infer a priori that they wouldn’t be worse in these regards than the malefactors now running the show.

Of the two of them, Warren has to be the favorite, if only because hers is a fresher face, and because her candidacy would help keep on board voters who think that the most important thing, this time around, is electing the first woman president.

Needless to say, many who think like that are politically on the Clintons’ page.  No doubt some of them can be weaned away, however; even aging baby boomers can still learn.

Because hope springs eternal, I am tempted to add that maybe Sanders or Warren could play a role in the process of de-Clintonizing the Democratic Party.

The god-awful collection of “lesser evils” that the Democratic Party has become is probably beyond redemption.  But since there is no “third party” that the media won’t ignore, and since there seems to be no way to get rid of our duopoly party system, the best chance we have to salvage anything out of our electoral politics, in the short run anyway, is to try – even if only in vain –to make the Democratic Party better or, better yet, to refashion it altogether.

This would involve more than just stopping Hillary in her tracks.  But stopping her is an indispensible first step.

What it would take would be a campaign organized from the bottom up, as in peoples’ movements in Latin America and elsewhere.

Campaigns organized from the top down, like the ones that got Obama elected twice, are no doubt less messy.  And they too can energize masses of voters; we know this from the Obama fiascos.

But they lead nowhere good.  In Obama’s case, they led to drones, 24/7 surveillance and carte blanche for banksters and anyone else willing and able to stuff Democratic Party coffers.

Would campaigns for Sanders or Warren be any different?  It is not impossible; those two seem less cooptable than most, and instinctively more (small-d) democratic.

But it will only happen if their electoral efforts build more on the Occupy movements of 2011 than the Obama frenzy of 2008.

This is unlikely at best.  But it will be impossible if, like Obama in 2012, Hillary Clinton gets to turn all the positive energy there could be in the next two years into the usual electoral detritus.

  • *

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”   Nevertheless, joining forces with Republican Hillary-bashers is out of the question, and not just because they are utterly vile.

Karl Rove says that he suspects that Hillary is brain damaged from a concussion.  The man aptly called “Bush’s brain,” should know about damaged brains.  But he is only blowing air.  Even Fox News watchers, the ones who still have some grey matter left, are bound to figure that that out soon enough.

Then there are the pending Benghazi hearings.

It would be extremely useful to investigate what the CIA was up to in Libya.  Among other things, we might learn the extent to which our “humanitarian interveners,” in league with their French counterparts, deliberately or inadvertently armed fanatical Islamist and Christian militias in sub-Saharan Africa, where many of the arms they sent ended up.

The Obama administration has long wanted a larger military footprint in Africa; to what extent were its post-invasion, post-coup activities in Libya part of this project?  It would be good to know.

But the Obama administration will never come clean on its own, and Congressional hearings set up by House Republicans are unlikely to shed much light.  Their only aim is to damage the woman they expect their man to run against in 2016.

In this, their brazenness rivals JFK’s feigned alarm over a “missile gap” with the Soviet Union when he ran against Richard Nixon in 1960.  Kennedy knew that Eisenhower’s Vice President could not disclose the real extent of American military dominance.  So he squeezed all the benefit he could out of talking tough on “defense.”

Similarly, Republicans know that Obama’s former Secretary of State cannot reveal the nature and extent of the CIA’s shenanigans in Africa or the American military’s plans for dominating that poverty-stricken but resource-abundant continent.  Republicans don’t know much, but they know that.

Kennedy’s ploy worked; this one won’t.  Unless some truth comes out of the House investigation, even Fox News won’t be able to sustain interest beyond a few mindless news cycles.

Someday, no doubt, the world will know all about what went on in the American Consulate in Benghazi; and what we learn will not redound to Clinton’s or Obama’s credit.  But unless a whistle-blower as courageous as Edward Snowden materializes soon, that time is not now.

What is coming instead will be unseemly and uninformative.  And it is more likely to backfire on the Republicans than to harm Clinton’s electoral prospects.  This is only to be expected; Republicans are not the brightest bulbs on the tree.

Democrats who counseled having as little to do with the coming charade as possible were probably right.  But the hearings will probably work to the Democrats’ advantage anyway. Time will tell.

In any case, those of us who want to stop Hillary for the right reasons would do well to steer clear of the impending farce altogether.

It would be wiser by far to take the high road.

If this means mobilizing behind a Sanders or Warren candidacy, then so be it.  Now might be a good time to dust off the hoary but still useful notion of “critical support.”

There is no reason not to take the low road too, so long as Republicans don’t sully it first.  Doing so would at least make the struggle against Clintonism entertaining.

Where the Clintons are involved, there are so many low roads to take!

Is it an accident, for example, that Monica Lewinsky is back in the news, thanks to the article she wrote for Vanity Fair?

Lynne Cheney thinks Bill and Hillary are behind it; she thinks they want to get that story out of the way.  Could she, for once, be right?

It goes without saying that the Cheneys outdo even the Bushes and the Clintons for sheer noxiousness.  Their politics is as bad as it gets.

And they are rank ingrates.  If our country was governed by the rule of law, the Paterfamilias of that wretched clan would now be doing hard time for war crimes, crimes against the peace, and crimes against humanity.

Instead, Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, protect him assiduously.  Yet, the Cheneys heap abuse upon Obama (for all the wrong reasons) with the zeal of a Sean Hannity or a Glenn Beck.

Still, even Cheneys sometimes speak the truth.   The idea that the Clintons are behind the Vanity Fair article may be one of those times.  There is no smoking gun — but the contention rings true.

In any case, well-timed preemptive strikes don’t always work.

What a delicious prospect it would be too: to remind the world of Bill Clinton’s finest moment.  “Not (having) sex with that woman, never” ranks up there with (maybe) smoking weed but (certainly) not inhaling.

I am being facetious, of course, but these really were the best things the man has done.

Before 2008, I called for the establishment of Monica Lewinsky Democratic Clubs in every corner of the land.  “That woman” deserves no less.

For her – admittedly inadvertent — role in bringing about a situation that made it impossible for her paramour to privatize Social Security, as he was hankering to do, she did more for her country than any woman in Bill Clinton’s life – bar none.

But much like my efforts in behalf of Socialists for Bush – an organization (with two members) that I cofounded in 1992 when Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination in order to go back to Little Rock to superintend the judicial murder of Ricky Ray Rector, a brain damaged convict on death row — that call fell on deaf ears.

Socialists for Bush is now a dead letter; history has moved on.

But as long as there are Clintons threatening, “the Lewinsky matter” lives on.

This time, it is Hillary’s enthusiasms that constitute the clear and present danger.

More even than the future of Social Security is at stake because the forces behind the Clintons now are targeting more than just the feeble welfare state institutions we still have left.

As the economy that sustains the American empire falls into permanent decline, the goal of the one percent now is to make the world safe for the military-industrial-national security state complex.  Hillary Clinton has made this cause her own.

In this, she even surpasses Obama – witness her greater fondness for using military force.  Libya was an especially egregious example, but it is not the only one.

And her efforts to encourage a new Cold War raise the threat level she poses to the very highest order of magnitude.

The country and the world need Monica’s help again – now more than ever.

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The U.S., Colombia & the Spread of the Death Squad State

The False-Positive Nightmare


Colombia continues to be ground zero for the U.S.’s crimes against Latin America, and its continued quest to subjugate the region.   Several recent events, virtually uncovered in the mainstream press, underscore this reality.

First, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report just this week detailing the grisly practices of paramilitary death squads in the port town of Buenaventura. [1]   These practices by the paramilitaries which act with impunity and with the tacit support of the local police, include disappearances of hundreds of civilians; forced displacement; and the dismemberment of individuals, while they are still alive, in local “chop houses.”   That the port town of Buenaventura was to be the model city of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is instructive as to what the wages of free trade truly are.   Jose Vivanco of HRW called Buenaventura “the scandal” of Colombia.   Sadly, it is not Colombia’s only one.

Thus, this past weekend, the VI Division of the Colombian Army entered the peasant town of Alto Amarradero, Ipiales in the middle of the night, and, without warrant and in cold blood, gunned down four civilians, including a 15-year old boy.  Those killed were  Deivi López Ortega, José Antonio Acanamejoy, Brayan Yatacue Secue and José Yiner Esterilla — all members of the FENSUAGRO agricultural union.  [2]

The Army then displayed the bodies of those murdered for all to see, and falsely claimed that they were the bodies of guerillas killed in combat.


Official military photo of deceased, courtesy of Equipa Nizkor.

These are the latest victims of the ongoing “false positive” phenomenon in which nearly 6,000 civilians have been killed by the Colombian military and then falsely passed off as guerillas in order to justify the continued counterinsurgency program in Colombia and the U.S. aid that funds it.  As my Colombian friend, Father Francisco de Roux, S.J., recently stated at a peace conference in Washington, “if these ‘false positive’ killings had happened anywhere else, they would have been a scandal!”  However, having happened in Colombia, the U.S.’s closest ally in the Western Hemisphere, the killings have elicited a collective yawn from the media and policy-makers.

A damning report just released by the Fellowship of Reconciliation – a report which, in a just world, would have been covered on the front page of The New York Times — demonstrates how there is a direct correlation between U.S. military funding and training, particularly at the School of the Americas (aka, WHINSEC), and the incidence of human rights abuses, including “false positive” killings.  [3]

As to the latter issue, the report concluded that “[o]f the 25 Colombian WHINSEC instructors and graduates for which any subsequent information was available, 12 of them – 48% — had either been charged with a serious crime or commanded units whose members had reportedly committed multiple extrajudicial killings.”    Moreover, “[s]ome of the officers with the largest number of civilian killings committed under their command (Generals Lasprilla, Rodriguez Clavijo, and Montoya, and Colonel Mejia) received significantly more U.S. training, on average than other officers” during the high water mark of the “false positive” scandal.

How revealing, then, that, as reported by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the head of the U.S.’s Southern Command, General John Kelly, recently explained to a Congressional hearing that the U.S. is utilizing Colombian military personnel to do military training in other Latin American countries in order to get around human rights restrictions which prevent the U.S. from doing the training directly.  [4]

As Kelly explained, in a moment of candor:

“The beauty of having a Colombia – they’re such good partners, particularly in the military realm, they’re such good partners with us. When we ask them to go somewhere else and train the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the Guatemalans, the Panamanians, they will do it almost without asking. And they’ll do it on their own. They’re so appreciative of what we did for them. And what we did for them was, really, to encourage them for 20 years and they’ve done such a magnificent job.   . . .   But that’s why it’s important for them to go, because I’m–at least on the military side–restricted from working with some of these countries because of limitations that are, that are really based on past sins. And I’ll let it go at that.”

In other words, the U.S. is exporting the abysmal practices of the Colombian military – practices the U.S. has trained them in to begin with — throughout the region.   Sadly, the silence in response to this nightmare reality is deafening.

Daniel Kovalik is labor and human rights lawyer and teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.






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US Aids Syrian Rebels

Americans Deserve to Know


What began in Syria as modest protests in 2011 driven largely by widespread hunger from four years of drought in the Middle East’s breadbasket known as the Fertile Crescent  (including Iraq), grew into a full scale civil war with unbelievable suffering thanks to foreign intervenors intent on ousting Syrian President Bashar alAssad.   According to the UN, famine conditions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future and now threaten to exacerbate an already direrefugee crisis.

Late last summer, the American public spoke with one voice in opposition to the Obama Administration’s proposed bombing of Syria.  Even as Secretary of State John Kerry promised an unbelievably small strike, the response from Americans spanned the political spectrum with a resounding No.    The denial of the British Parliament’s participation in the strike on Syria represented a historic break with US policy as Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated (at Pope Francis’ behest) negotiations to rid Syria of its chemical weapons; providing President Obama with an opportunity to avoid a disastrous foreign policy blunder.

Imagine today’s reaction if the American people knew that the US is, in fact, invigorating the war in Syria – true, there are no boots on the ground; at least no boots that we know for certain are American boots but who would be willing to bet that somewhere between Aleppo and Damascus there is a US military presence engaged in perpetuating the violence.  The American public deserves to know.

While Ahmad al-Jarba, president of Syria’s National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces visited  President Obama and National Security Adviser Susan Rice last week seeking support for anti-aircraft missiles, the President warned of “risks posed by growing extremism in Syria and  on the need to counter terrorist groups on all sides of the conflict.”  With all of its sophisticated intel and CIA presence, it is difficult to believe that the president remains unaware of the growing liaison between the mythical ‘moderate’ Coalition and radical Sunni extremists.

Is the president aware of  Coalition leader Jarba’s criminal background in Saudi Arabia?

In the White House ‘readout’  of his meeting with Jarba, a shady character with close ties to the Sunni monarchy in Saudi Arabia,  the president “reaffirmed that Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy to rule Syria” but the president cannot be unaware that the loss of the strategically important city of Homs represents a distinct shift over the last several months with the opposition, which  has never been able to solidify a base of support with the Syrian population, having now ‘surrendered’ a distinct military advantage.     With evidence of a growing split amongst the armed extremists themselves, how does the US  identify the difference between multiple islamist rebel groups  and  how do we know, with any certainty, where  their loyalties lie?

In an earlier meeting with Jarba and despite Secretary of State John Kerry touting a “negotiated political settlement that puts an end to the violence,” the White House approved the use of American-made anti-tank missiles to Jarba’s Coalition eschewing the Administration’s earlier concern that such weapons could eventually end up in the hands of al-Qaeda related groups and  pose a threat to commercial aircraft.  That same day, UN Special Envoy for Peace Lakhdar Brahimi resigned.   What intelligence did the President receive to accelerate the proxy war to justify US weaponry to the rebels?

Despite a ceasefire that returned Homs to the Syrian military marking a significant turn in the conflict with Assad seen as more firmly in control, other high-level US officials met with Jarba who remained in hot pursuit of surface-to-air missiles. After making the diplomatic rounds, the Coalition was awarded with official foreign mission status since the US gave up on a negotiated settlement and suspended its relationship with the Syrian Embassy in March thereby ceasing all diplomatic contact.  An additional $27 million was pledged to the rebel cause bringing the total to $287 million in non-lethal military aid in addition to the $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid; complemented by weapons and additional funds from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Conferring official diplomatic status on the rebel group appears to be a replay of the State Department role in Libya when the US officially recognized a questionable opposition force as it engineered the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi.   A more moderate ruler than acknowledged, Qaddafi was less a fan of international financiers and the existing monetary structure than permissible.   Today, the US State Department, which had a hand in Qaddafi’s removal, considers Libya a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists.  Has anyone in the White House or the National Security Council (which apparently has more influence formulating  foreign policy than the State Department) learned anything from former DOD Secretary Robert Gates caution in Duty regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan interventions that “We entered both countries oblivious to how little we knew.”

As reported by, the agreed to pilot program’  will provide sophisticated weapons to Syrian rebels as part of “new clandestine program” to be coordinated by US and Saudi intelligence in “close collaboration.”  In early April, Israel’s Debkafile reported that the Pentagon had supplied Syrian rebels with the powerful armor-piercing, optically-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles.   Citing anonymous military sources, Debkafile further reported that US Joint Chief Chair Gen. Martin Dempsey requested Israeli officials to help Saudi Arabian fighter jets provide air cover as American forces moved the weapons into southern Syria. The Jerusalem Post reported that during their visit in Riyadh in late March, Obama assured King Abdullah that Saudi concerns that “Washington was slowly disengaging from the Middle East and no longer listening to its old ally were unfounded.”  If the Wall Street Journal and the international media report on budding cooperationbetween US-supported ‘moderates’ and the Islamic Front as long ago as last January, does the President of the United States have that information at his fingertips?

While the Administration’s public position had been no weapons to Syria, the American public remains unaware that in December, 2013 the Congress (via classified Defense appropriation bills) secretly agreed to provide small anti-tank rockets.   In other words, several months after the bombing of Syria was shelved by popular demand, the Congress and Administration used a back-door to circumvent public opinion and provide weapons to the ‘moderate’ rebels.  Why would the rocket shipment be kept secret other than in fear of the American public’s reaction?

Of more immediate concern is the news of a major shift in US policy that up to 13,000 troops  have arrived in Jordan and Israel for ‘joint exercises’ near the Syrian border and the deployment of  two Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean off the Israeli coast with additional US reinforcements due  to arrive in Aqaba, Jordan this weekend.  Hezbollah, a long time Syrian ally, is reportedly on the move to south Syria to reinforce the outnumbered Syrian Army.   At stake is control of areas in the Golan Heights and control of a highway from Quenitra to Damascus, recently abandoned by the rebels.   A phone call initiated by President Obama to the King of Jordan regarding the situation in Syria does not bode well for peace.

The timeline of events raise considerable questions of exactly what role American public opinion  plays in the government’s foreign policy decision-making – an issue of contention since the 1960’s war in Vietnam.   As if all of the unanswerable questions were not troubling enough to conclude that US foreign policy is a distorted mish-mash beyond comprehension, US Joint Chief General Martin Dempsey spoke recently to the Atlantic Council indicating that Syria would not necessarily benefit from removal of Assad and offered a less than enthusiastic appraisal of the ‘rebels’ as not having the necessary ‘counterterrorism capability’ to defeat the al-Qaeda related groups.  In Pentagon-ese lingo, one guess is that Dempsey, who has proven to be a thoughtful Chief, is saying No – just like the American people.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on US Aids Syrian Rebels

Iraq: the Biggest Petroleum Heist in History?

Mission Accomplished, Indeed


“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market. But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”

– Antonia Juhasz, oil industry analyst,  Al Jazeera.

These are the ‘best of times’ for the oil giants in Iraq.  Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough.  Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:

“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.”  (Wall Street Journal)

Mission accomplished?

You bet.  But for those who still cling to the idea that the US was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or  eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks. Here’s the story from Aljazeera:

“While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.

On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal. Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.

Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala. Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.” (“Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq”, Dahr Jamail, Aljazeera.)

If it sounds like the big boys are dividing the spoils among themselves; it’s because they are. Exxon, BP, Shell; they’re all here. They all have their contracts in hand, and they’re all drilling their brains out thanks to the American servicemen and women who gave their lives for some trumped up baloney about WMD. Isn’t that what’s going on?

Sure it is. And even now–after all the reasons for going to war have been exposed as lies–the farce continues. Nothing has changed. Nothing. There’s still no talk of reparations, no official investigation, no indictments, no prosecutions, no trials, no penalties, no nothing. Not even a stinking apology. Just a big “up yours” Iraq. We’re way too important to apologize for killing a million of your people and reducing your five thousand year old civilization to a pile of rubble.  Instead, we’ll just screw you some more and paper it over with a little public relations, like Obama did a couple weeks ago when he promised to “leave behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people”.

Oh yeah. Obama’s all about sovereignty and stability, everyone knows that.  That’s why Baghdad is the terror capital of the world, because Obama’s so committed to security.

These PR blurbs are effective though, they provide the necessary cover for leaving enough troops behind to protect the oil installations and pipelines.  That’s the kind of security Obama cares about. Security for the oiligarchs and their stolen property.  Everyone else can fend for themselves, which is why Baghdad is such a bloody mess.  Here’s more from Aljazeera:

“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.” (Aljazeera)

Yeah, thanks for that invasion, Mr. Bush. We couldn’t have done it without you, guy. Hope you have a great retirement painting pictures of poodles and stuff while people continue to get blown to pieces in the terrorist Hellhole you created. Here’s more Al Jazeera:

“Juhasz, author of the books The Tyranny of Oil and The Bush Agenda, said that while US and other western oil companies have not yet received all they had hoped the US-led invasion of Iraq would bring them, “They’ve certainly done quite well for themselves, landing production contracts for some of the world’s largest remaining oil fields under some of the world’s most lucrative terms.”

Dr Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an international oil consultant and economist …(said) he believes western oil companies have successfully acquired the lions’ share of Iraq’s oil, “but they gave a little piece of the cake for China and some of the other countries and companies to keep them silent”. (Aljazeera)

How do you like that? These guys operate just like the Mafia. The Bossman pays off China with a few million barrels, and China keeps its mouth shut. Nice. Everyone gets “their cut” so they don’t go blabbing to the media about the ripoff that’s taking place in broad daylight. The stench of corruption is overpowering.

And here’s something else you won’t see in the media. In a White House press release,  the Obama administration announced that they would continue to support Iraq’s “efforts to develop the energy sector” in order  to “help boost Iraq’s oil production.”….

According to Assim Jihad, spokesman for Iraq’s ministry of oil, “Iraq has a goal of raising its oil production capacity to 12m bpd by 2017, which would place it in the top echelon of global producers.” (Aljazeera)

“12 million barrels-per-day by 2017″?

That makes this the biggest petroleum heist in history. And we’re supposed to believe that the oil bigwigs didn’t know anything about this before the war? What a crock! I’ll bet you even money the CEOs and their lackeys figured out that Saudi Arabia was running out of gas, so they decided to pick up stakes and move their operations to good old Mesopotamia. That’s why they put their money on Bush and Cheney, because they knew that two former oil men would do the heavy lifting once they got shoehorned into the White House.  The whole thing was a set-up from the get-go, right down to the 5 shady Supremes who suspended the voting in Florida and crowned Bush emperor in 2000. The whole thing was probably mapped out years in advance.

Big oil runs everything in America. People talk about the power of Wall Street and Israel, but oil is still king. They run it all, and they own it all. And “what they say, goes.”  Here’s more:

“Juhasz explained that ExxonMobil, BP and Shell were among the oil companies that “played the most aggressive roles in lobbying their governments to ensure that the invasion would result in an Iraq open to foreign oil companies”.

They succeeded,” she added. “They are all back in.” (Aljazeera)

Hooray. Big oil wins again, and all it cost was a million or so Iraqis who got blown to bits air raids or shot up at checkpoints, or beaten to death with a rubber hose at Abu Ghraib or any of the other democracy reeducation centers that dot the countryside. But, hey, look at the bright side: At least production is up, right? Can you see how sick this is? Here’s more:

“Under the current circumstances, the possibility of a withdrawal of western oil companies from Iraq appears remote, and the Obama administration continues to pressure Baghdad to pass the Iraq Oil Law.” (Aljazeera)

And what is the “Iraq Oil Law”, you ask?

It’s a way to privatize the oil market using Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) which disproportionately benefit the corporations.  Obama’s a big backer of the law since it means even heftier profits for his thieving  friends.  In other words, the humongous profits they’re already skimming off aren’t quite good enough. They want more. They want to own the whole shooting match lock, stock and barrel.

This is really an outrage. What other country behaves like this?

No one. No other country in the world goes out and kills a million people, destroys their country, and leaves them to scrape by on next to nothing just so they can pad the bank accounts of voracious plutocrats have more dough than they know what to do with. No one else would even dare to act like that for fear that they’d get bombed into annihilation by the world’s biggest bullyboy, the US of A.  Only the US can get away with this type of crap, because the US is a law unto itself.

Iraq was the Cradle of Civilization. Now it’s the cradle of shit. The US decimated Iraq; blew it to bits, bombed its industries, its bridges, its schools, its hospitals, leveled its cities, polluted its water, spread diseases everywhere, killed its kids,  pitted brother against brother,   and transformed a vibrant, unique country into a dysfunctional cesspit run by opportunists, gangsters, and fanatics.

And, here’s the corker:  No one gives a rip. Face it: No one gives a flying fu** about Iraq. The American people lost interest long ago, the politicians can’t be bothered, and the UN is too afraid of the US to lift a finger to help. They’d rather stamp their feet and scold Putin over Crimea than utter a peep about the genocide in Iraq.  That’s the state of things today, right?  No accountability for the men who started the war, and no justice for the victims. Just the infrequent (phony) pronouncement of support from the White House or the all-too-frequent sectarian bombing that leaves an untold number of civilians dead or wounded. This is all the US leaves behind; hatred, death and destruction.

Here’s a clip from a poem by Iraqi writer who wants readers to take a minute and think about all the suffering the United States has created. The poem is titled “Flying Kites”:

“Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us…

You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you…

Come and search for them in the rubble of your “surgical” air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head…pleading for your attention.

Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food…

Come and see  our little ones, under-nourished or dying from disease. Cholera, dysentery, infections…

Come and see, come….”  (“Flying Kites” Layla Anwar)

A million people were killed so a few rich fu**ers could get even richer. That’s a hell of a legacy.

Posted in IraqComments Off on Iraq: the Biggest Petroleum Heist in History?

US accuses Chinese officials of cyber espionage


Meanwhile, US is engaged in massive electronic surveillance

The United States announced this week that it would press charges against five Chinese military officials for cyber spying. Claiming these five officers had hacked into U.S.-owned nuclear, metal and solar companies’ databases, the U.S. foreign policy establishment made history by pressing the first charges of cyber espionage.

This is the latest in the United States’ protracted smear campaign against the Chinese government. It comes out of the long-standing discussion on the so-called Asia Pivot, or the U.S. military’s effort to rebalance its strategic posture to focus on East Asia.

The very idea of an Asia Pivot is a symptom of imperialism: why else does the United States station so many troops in Asia? What do most people in the United States gain by having troops there in the first place?

Anyone even vaguely familiar with the history of these troop deployments understands that they are there to counterbalance other imperialist powers and to quell national liberation movements. The Pentagon and their friends in the White House make no pretenses about the U.S. troop presence in South Korea serving as a threat against North Korea and China.

These accusations of cyber espionage are part of the same effort to maintain U.S. global military and political dominance.

Who is the real cyber spy?

This agenda is clearest in light of the revelations regarding National Security Agency global wiretapping. Last week, the Washington Post, the New York Times and several other news sources revealed the NSA’s MYSTIC program which monitors every single phone call made in several foreign countries. This comes as part of a series of revelations of the agency’s unwarranted meta-data collection in the United States  and U.S. monitoring of the calls of German President Angela Merkel and other high-profile international leaders.

This new chapter in the NSA mass surveillance scandal shows the United States’ foreign policy in its true colors. It is perfectly willing to comprehensively spy on entire countries and to station hundreds of thousands of troops abroad, but deems it completely unacceptable for other countries to collect any information whatsoever. The United States can spy indiscriminately; every other country cannot do even limited research into private corporations in the United States.

This foreign policy double-standard is the essence of imperialist foreign policy. Like the Asia-Pivot, its logic is “anything and everything for the United States.”

The People’s Republic of China does not pose a threat to the people of the United States. The Chinese government does not threateningly station troops in neighboring states nor indiscriminately wiretap whole populations abroad. It is not the Chinese but the U.S. government which chronically bullies the peoples of the world. It is not the Chinese but the U.S. government  that has been  shown time and time again to be the enemy of poor and working people not just in the United States but around the world.

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The election of Narendra Modi and the dangerous rise of India’s far-right


Fascists capitalize on growing social contradictions

Wall Street is overjoyed about Narendra Modi, a far-right Hindu nationalist, who as new Indian prime minister will aim to “discipline” the country’s vast working class and peasantry.

Modi led the state of Gujarat in 2002, when a Hindu nationalist lynch-mob claimed the lives of over 1,000 Indian Muslims — with Modi’s implicit encouragement.

While Modi has duped millions with promises of economic progress, the militant struggles of workers, peasants, Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities will only intensify.

India’s national elections swept to office the far-right candidate Narendra Modi as prime minister and his party, Bartiya Janata Party (“Indian People’s Party,” or BJP) to an overwhelming parliamentary majority. The election is likely to open a new, ominous chapter in the country’s history. More than 550 million people voted over the election period of five weeks, concluding May 16.

The Indian National Congress, a nominally social-democratic party that has adopted a neoliberal program, has led for most of the country’s post-independence history. This election cycle, however, many of India’s elites responded to heightened social tension by mobilizing behind and promoting Narendra Modi, a far-right Hindu nationalist.

As chief minister of the province of Gujarat, Modi spearheaded the same neoliberal economic policies, leaving poor and working people behind in poverty. He will now take that agenda national at an accelerated pace.

But Modi is more than a neoliberal. He also relies heavily on connections with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (“National Volunteer Organization,” or RSS), a far-right paramilitary organization that has spearheaded violent attacks on ethnic and religious minorities. The RSS participates in the BJP.

Growing social antagonisms

For decades, India has adopted a neoliberal model of development, which advocates near-total privatization and deregulation of the economy. This has boosted India’s economic performance on paper by attracting Western corporate investment, but conditions for most Indians remain largely unchanged. As skyscrapers crowd India’s skyline, beneath them stand India’s working masses, left further and further behind in face of the country’s growing “prosperity.” For them, neoliberalism has meant poverty wages, few job protections, corporate land-grabbing and environmental destruction.

Growing inequalities have heightened antagonisms in cities and countryside alike between super-wealthy elites—often the owners and bosses of enterprises which sell Indian labor to the capitalists of the imperialist countries—and the vast majority of Indians. It has manifested in a militant social and labor movement in the cities, a Maoist-led people’s war in the most oppressed rural areas, and an explosion of women’s street militancy against sexual violence.

The RSS and Fascism

The ideology of the RSS organization is, like fascism everywhere, built on backwards-looking, right-wing national chauvinism. It aims to regiment society according to “traditional national values” and the preservation of “national unity” at all costs, which invariably includes militarism, sexism, racism and other forms of bigotry. Far-right, fascist politics differ between countries and cultures, with different features, symbols and traditions, but these are its core values.

The RSS has historically represented the most right-wing and reactionary segments of India. It grew out of the Indian independence movement in the 1920s, when much of the movement was beginning to take a socialist character in the wake of the Russian Revolution. The RSS rejected this trajectory, pointing instead to the path taken by the far-right movements in Germany, Italy and Spain trying to “restore” their “national greatness.”

M. S. Golwalkar, an early leader of the RSS and open admirer of Hitler, once said of Nazi Germany, “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of… the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here…. Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, [cannot] be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan [India].”

Grave danger lurks in India

A common misconception about India is that it is an entirely Hindu country with a relatively uniform culture. In fact, India is a multi-national state with over two dozen languages spoken and with a large Muslim minority. Over 13 percent of Indians are Muslim, accounting for 10 percent of the world’s Muslim population.

Relations between the many national minorities of India are complex and sometimes strained. Muslims often face severe oppression and bigotry from the Hindu majority. There is a long history of persecution at the hands of far-right Hindu nationalists, as well as British colonialists, who used divide-and-conquer tactics to dominate the sub-continent.

The long-dominant National Congress Party is formally multi-ethnic and secular. But its capitalist economic program could not eliminate caste, class and ethnic divisions—it merely modified, and in many cases accelerated these divisions.

As the National Congress Party declined, the Hindu far-right has grown, espousing a “communalist” tradition of ethno-religious solidarity to target and scapegoat India’s Muslims for the country’s social problems and inequalities. The movement is based on the upper and middle-class elements on Indian society, but has increasingly pulled in lower-class Hindus on the basis of religious solidarity.

This is a tried-and-true tactic of fascism throughout history: mass movements are built based on bigoted violence and the suppression of alleged “traitors” or “alien elements.”

Like the fascist movements of the 1930s, the RSS’ anti-Muslim rhetoric is not limited to words: there have been several RSS-linked anti-Muslim riots—including inciting the Jamshedpur riots during April of 1979—aimed at violently purging India of those in the way of “Indian patriotism and unity.”

Modi himself led the state of Gujarat in 2002, when a lynch-mob and pogrom claimed the lives of over 1,000 Indian Muslims — with Modi’s implicit encouragement.

Today, the RSS has been consolidating its position inside the conservative BJP. The BJP is calling for a united Hindu-led India under Modi’s charismatic leadership. It promises further economic liberalization, for strengthening neoliberal capitalism and claims it will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Modi’s victory would signal a major defeat for India’s oppressed Muslim population and create significant new challenges and struggle for the people’s movements in India, including the revolutionary insurgency in the countryside. Not only would a prolific bigot be in the top office in a country of 1.2 billion people, but the social contradictions would intensify, further impoverishing the Indian masses and strengthening the grip of India’s capitalist exploiters. Because of the ideology of the RSS and BJP, Modi’s victory would increase the possibility of new deadly conflicts and military aggression with India’s neighbors.

The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times—who care only of U.S. corporate profits and control—are enthusiastic about a new Indian prime minister that could “discipline” the country’s vast working class and peasantry. The world’s leading banks and corporations are in fact facilitating the rise of Indian fascism, an enormous historic crime for which they must be held accountable.


Just as the capitalist class is international in character, the workers of the world too must join together across borders to expose the fraud of national chauvinism and build the resistance to fascism and neoliberalism.

Posted in IndiaComments Off on The election of Narendra Modi and the dangerous rise of India’s far-right

Take Action: Stop funds for neo-Nazis in Ukraine! Not another Odessa massacre!


Thousands of people in the United States have joined the effort

Far from their stronghold cities, a militia of fascists trap dozens of innocent civilians in Odessa’s trade union building on May 2, singing pro-Nazi songs to taunt those burning alive inside. Nazi symbols were spray painted on the ashes. At least 38 people died, including many who were beaten to death when they tried to escape the fire.

Join the nationwide grassroots movement to demand that the U.S. government cut all funds and military aid to the Ukraine government, which has a large number of neo-Nazis in its top positions.

During the past several weeks, thousands of people in the United States have joined the ANSWER Coalition’s “No funds for neo-Nazis in Ukraine” campaign.

People are using our Take Action: No funds for neo-Nazis in Ukraine internet tool to send thousands of emails to President Obama and members of Congress. We are also organizing street protests and other events in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

The menace of neo-Nazism for the people of Ukraine is very real.

Its rise there is  giving added momentum to other  European fascist parties in Greece, France, Austria, Netherlands and more. The revival of fascism poses a grave danger to all people everywhere.

On Saturday, May, 3 neo-Nazi militias massacred 38 anti-fascist activists in the port city of Odessa after they chased them into a trade union building headquarters and then set the building on fire. As the trapped individuals unsuccessfully struggled to escape from the burning building, the neo-Nazi Right Sector militia sang pro-Nazi songs while shouting taunts and insults against Vladimir Putin and Russia.

“As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading ‘Galician SS,’ a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front,” Journalist Robert Parry, formerly with the AP and now with Consortium News, wrote in his vivid description of the massacre in Odessa.

The overthrow of Ukraine’s government on February 22 was part of an operation led by the same Neo-con politicians that brought us the Iraq war in 2003.

Victoria Nuland, who served as Dick Cheney’s principal foreign policy adviser, is the State Department representative to Ukraine who was caught on tape in January 2014 naming the individuals who would serve in Ukraine’s post-regime change government. She and John McCain joined the Kiev street protests where they had their pictures taken and gave U.S. credibility to the political opposition leaders who are in turn the leadership of the neo-Nazi Right Sector and Svoboda Party. Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, the co-founder of the Neocon Project for a New American Century, whose officials outlined and provided the blueprint for George W. Bush’s war on Iraq.

Nuland, who was openly promoting the fascist-led protests in Kiev as a State Department official, is virulently anti-Russian. She explained the importance of the Ukrainian protest movement to a reactionary anti-communist think tank in Washington, D.C., in a speech she delivered in December 2013, immediately following her return from the protests in downtown Kiev: “We have invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”

The people of this country are being badly misinformed about the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, which began with a U.S.-backed regime change effort whose goal was to absorb all of Ukraine into NATO, and thus reverse Ukraine’s strong economic and political ties to Russia. Nuland, McCain and now the entire U.S. government seem content with the fact that it was the neo-Nazis who were the driving military force in their regime change operation.

It was neo-Nazi militias who stormed and seized the Parliament Building on February 22, torpedoing a political settlement between Ukraine’s elected government and a street protest movement, and established a new semi-fascist government that immediately banned Russian as an official minority language in Ukraine.

The people of this country are taking action. We do not support even one dime going to a regime that is loaded with neo-Nazis. Join the thousands of people in the United States have joined the ANSWER Coalition’s “No funds for neo-Nazis in Ukraine” campaign by taking action today.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on Take Action: Stop funds for neo-Nazis in Ukraine! Not another Odessa massacre!

Conference in Lebanon shows solidarity with Palestinian prisoners


ANSWER representative attends, gives presentation

Conference attendees are shown a cabinet used as a form of torture by Israeli jailers
Richard Becker and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark on al-Mayadeen TV in Lebanon
Palestinian youth from the Burj el-Shemali refugee camp welcome conference attendees

By Richard Becker, Western Regional Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition

A major international conference was held in Lebanon on April 30 and May 1 in support of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners illegally and unjustly held in Israeli jails. The conference, sponsored by the International Arab Forum for Communication and Solidarity, was attended by 450 people from more than 30 countries. Diplomatic representatives from 14 countries joined the opening session.

The conference sessions were held on April 30 in the Commodore Hotel in Beirut. On May 1, delegates traveled to the south of the country, visiting a refugee camp, a memorial to a 1996 Israeli massacre, the border with Occupied Palestine, and an infamous former prison that Israel and its Lebanese collaborators ran during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.

The opening session of the conference received extensive TV and other media coverage.

The focus of the conference was solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, of whom there are more than 5,200 held in prisons inside the 1948 borders of Israel. Prisoners suffer under deplorable conditions, and are subjected to torture and other forms of systematic abuse, denial of medical care, and many forms of humiliation and mistreatment. Among the prisoners are 210 children who also suffer abuse, often with long-term traumatic effects. Every single Palestinian prisoner held represents another violation of international law, which makes it illegal for an occupying power to transfer citizens of the occupied territory inside the occupiers’ borders.

None of the Palestinian prisoners have received anything resembling a fair trial. In the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military uses the emergency laws left over from the time when Palestine was under British rule, including administrative detention. Administrative detention allows the occupiers to hold Palestinians for up to six months without charges, and can be renewed indefinitely.

The conviction rate for those who do receive a trial before a military court is over 99 percent and guilty verdicts are frequently based on secret evidence submitted by the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police.

Sentences are typically extreme, including the longest in world. Abdullah Ghalib Al Barghouti from Ramallah is serving 67 life sentences, followed by Hassan Abdul Rahman Salama with 57 life sentences. Many others have multiple life terms.

Representatives of the major Palestinian political parties participated in the conference. The vast majority of the 450 people who attended were Palestinian and Lebanese. There were also delegates from Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Spain, France, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Greece and other countries.

Many of the conference speakers called for the release of Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the Fatah party; Ahmad Saadat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; and all Palestinian prisoners. Among the speakers was Fadwa Barghouti, wife of Marwan.

From the United States, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark was a featured speaker, and the author of this article attended and spoke as a representative of the ANSWER Coalition. We both participated in an hour-long interview program for Al-Mayadeen, a major television station.

On May 1, many of the delegates traveled to the south of Lebanon. The first stop was the Burj el-Shemali refugee camp in Tyre, one of 15 Palestinian refugee camps in the country.  More than 400,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, over half in impoverished camps. The delegates were welcomed by a youth drum and bagpipe group, and speeches by representatives of the camp.

Inside a dramatic memorial, delegates paid homage to the more than 100 Lebanese civilians murdered by Israeli shelling of a UN refugee center at Qana in 1996. Nearly 1,000 people had fled to the Qana center from neighboring towns and villages to escape Israeli aerial bombing. The center was then attacked by heavy Israeli artillery, leaving a gruesome scene of death and mutilation.

After a stop at the militarized border between Lebanon and Israeli-occupied Palestine, the delegation visited the infamous Al-Khaim prison and torture center. Al-Khaim operated during the 1982-2000 Israeli occupation of the country.  A former prisoner described enduring 11 years of ongoing torture and abuse at the hands of his Israeli jailers and their “South Lebanon Army” collaborators.

Testifying to the fierce and prolonged struggle that finally drove the Israelis out in 2000 are hundreds of roadside posters in southern Lebanon depicting the martyrs who died liberating their country.

Posted in Palestine Affairs1 Comment

Nobody to negotiate with in I$raHell and why

Binyamin Netanyahu the liar

By Alan Hart

The headline over an interview Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave to Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg was “Netanyahu: There is nobody to negotiate with in Ramallah.”

If he was still in the land of the living I feel sure that Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister for propaganda, would express grudging but nonetheless real admiration for Netanyahu. I can even imagine Goebbels thinking to himself something like: “I was a master at selling lies as truth but Bibi makes me look and sound like an amateur.”

Palestinians will not accept crumbs from Zionism’s table

In his interview with Goldberg, Netanyahu laid the blame for the failure of  US Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission squarely and completely on the shoulders of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And he, Netanyahu, said:

Negotiations are always preferable. But six prime ministers since Oslo have failed in their pursuit of a negotiated settlement. They’ve always thought we were on the verge of success, and then Arafat backed off, Abbas backed off, because they can’t conclude these negotiations. We don’t have a Palestinian leadership that is willing to do that. The minimal set of conditions that any Israeli government would need cannot be met by the Palestinians.

In a sense Netanyahu is correct. There is nobody in Ramallah for him to negotiate with but that’s because Israel’s “minimal set of conditions” require the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for justice and accept crumbs (a few Bantustans here and there on the occupied West Bank) from Zionism’s table.

…Zionist propaganda has deprived most Israeli Jews and very many Jews everywhere of independent thought on the matter of justice for the Palestinians.

It really does seem to me that Netanyahu learned much from the Nazis.

In his final speech at the Nuremberg trials, Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect and Minister for Armaments and War Production, said this: “Hitler’s dictatorship… made complete use of all technical means for domination of its own country. Through technical devices like the radio and loudspeaker, 80 million people were deprived of independent thought.”

I think it can be said without fear of contradiction that Zionist propaganda has deprived most Israeli Jews and very many Jews everywhere of independent thought on the matter of justice for the Palestinians.

Goebbels himself put into writing his golden rules for effective propaganda. He wrote: “It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent. It’s task is to lead to success.” And the key to success? “Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum level of anxiety.”

Nobody is better at doing that than Netanyahu.

Despite his outrageous propaganda assertions to the contrary, the plain, simple truth is that there is no military threat to Israel’s existence from the Arab and wider Muslim would, including Iran. And unless he is deluded to the point of clinical madness, Netanyahu must know that. (So he’s either a liar or nuts.)

Why John Kerry’s “peace mission” failed

The best analysis I have read of why the Kerry mission failed was in a Tikkun Dailyarticle by David Glick. (He is a psychotherapist, a poet, a peace and justice activist in Marin County, California, and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace). The headline over his piece for peace on 15 May was “Obstacles to a just and sustainable peace”. And this was his opening paragraph:

Secretary of State John Kerry’s frantic efforts to secure a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians has failed, like so many efforts before his, because of three major reasons that make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict one of the most intractable conflicts in the world today: the disparity in power between the warring parties, the essential nature of the Zionist enterprise and the underlying psychological dynamics of the conflict. The US provides Israel with three billion dollars annually in financial and military assistance and according to a US Congress report has provided Israel with 112 billion dollars since its birth in 1948. Of equal importance, the US provides Israel with total diplomatic immunity by exercising its Security Council veto to ensure that Israel is never held accountable to the many General Assembly and Security Council resolutions condemning its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The Zionist enterprise

On “the essential nature of the Zionist enterprise”, Glick wrote this:

The founders of the Zionist movement (in 1897) were secular Jews who nonetheless appropriated God’s promise in the Bible to legitimate their colonization of Palestine even as they sought to secularize Jewish life and free it from the grip of religious orthodoxy. The Israeli historian,  Ilan Pappe, once wryly observed that the founders of the Zionist movement did not believe in God, but the God they did not believe in nonetheless promised them Palestine.

Since its inception as a political movement, Zionism aimed at the creation of a Jewish state in a land populated by another people who had been living there continuously for many centuries. Political Zionism, as acknowledged in the writings of virtually every major Zionist politician prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, saw itself as a colonizing movement that could only succeed if the Palestinian people were dispossessed from the very land that was eyed as the future Jewish state. In as much as the Jews were a small minority and the Palestinians, Muslim and Christian alike, comprised the vast majority, expelling them was a necessity built into Zionism from the beginning. Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote about this most candidly and since then virtually every major Israeli political party has seen its task as acquiring as much land as possible while ridding it of as much of the indigenous Palestinian population as possible. Today we call this ethnic cleansing. The famous Zionist rallying cry, “a land without a people for a people without a land”, was pure nonsense and sophistry, designed for internal consumption and to win support from the outside world.

The tragic truth is that the Zionist movement, created to remedy Jewish victimization, ended up victimizing the people of Palestine who had nothing to do with the centuries-long anti-Semitism Jews had experienced throughout Christian Europe. To put it simply, the Zionists solved their European problem on the backs of the Palestinian people.

Thus, any just and sustainable solution to the conflict would require Israel to abandon the very essence of the Zionist project because it is incompatible with compromise and sharing the land. This de-Zionization would be tantamount to Israel abandoning its ideological birth mother. This dilemma accounts for Israel’s bad faith and intransigence in its negotiations with the Palestinians. Abandoning one’s cherished identity does not come easily and requires much courageous soul searching and internal education.

Glick went on to say that many Jews carry within their historical DNA the trauma of the persecution experienced in Christian Europe which climaxed with the Nazi holocaust.

Then this:

For many Jews this has resulted in a kind of psychological sickness, a deeply felt conviction that they are the eternal victims. This has resulted in an inability to reflect honestly about their own behaviour toward the Palestinians and their other neighbours in the region… It is essential that we Jews face our inner sickness and work to heal it. As long as we wrap ourselves in the righteous mantle of the eternal, innocent victim, we will avoid responsibility for our part in creating and perpetuating this tragic conflict.

Perhaps what Netanyahu needs most of all if he has any interest in negotiating with the Palestinians is some sessions with psychotherapist David Click.


For those who deny and/or are unaware of the fact that Zionism is continuing its ethnic cleansing of Palestine slowly and by stealth, I recommend the Al-Jazeera TV documentary called “Area C”, which you can see below.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nobody to negotiate with in I$raHell and why

Alison Weir (Part 1?)

Here Alison Weir exposes the corrosive role of organised Jewish Zionism on American foreign policy and on American life.

But what about the corrosive role of the Jewish anti-Zionists?

We’ll just have to wait for Part 2.

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Posted in USAComments Off on Alison Weir (Part 1?)

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