Archive | August 29th, 2014

Venezuela: Maduro in Chávez’s Shoes

NOVANEWS

VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-BIRTHDAY-ANNIVERSARY

By FRANCO VIELMA – MISION VERDAD,

A politically refined reading on the presidency of Nicolás Maduro starting with a recognition of the morass of circumstances he has had to face as the country’s leader.

Source: Mision Verdad

To begin with, and with no desire to rain on a flood, Maduro took the place of someone who possessed an absolute leadership previously unknown throughout the country’s political history. Without seeking it, he put himself in Chávez’s shoes, as Chávez himself was the one to put him in that role. That circumstance already implies a comparison with Chávez, and politically implies understanding the national dynamic between the ambiguity and confusion in the great vacuum left by the Comandante.

On the other hand, there is the well-known circumstance of specific attacks on the economy and destabilization of the country, guarimba barricades, threats of sanctions, and constant international attacks. Maduro has been on the receiving end of an absurd amount of internal attacks by Chavismo factions (the same four opinionated critics who used to attack Chávez so much) who have contributed a great deal to the ultraright’s script, debilitating  Maduro’s image and eviscerating Chavismo. Maduro’s situation is complex, as it would be for anyone who assumed the role of conducting the Chavismo Revolution without the physical presence of Chávez.

Without a doubt, the legacy of Maduro’s recent but extremely turbulent presidency is based on constructing a leadership with its own characteristics: its own attributes, its own styles, its own errors, its own incongruities, in a context of structures, as well as new circumstances. But there is something we must not ignore about what Maduro has in fact done: his emphasis on maintaining the political connection identifying Chávez’s work, and this in spite of the contradictions, as even Chávez himself had them. The sociopolitical outcome of Maduro’s leadership can be appreciated by basically examining the sensitive elements of issues that Chávez never dealt with or did inconsistently, correcting Chávez’s mistakes, elaborating on what Chávez did or continuing what Chávez left unfinished. The elements that stand out and are worth knowing about are:

  • In 30 years of intermittent currency control, under a system of redistributing dollars gained through petroleum revenues through subsidized pricing to individuals, never, repeat, never, not even during 15 years under Chávez, has there been a large-scale referral process involving the General Treasury of the Republic or the nation of reporting or accusations of currency fraud.The largest source of corruption in the country, heretofore untouchable, is now at the epicenter of hundreds of cases referred to the courts by Cencoex [The National Foreign Trade Center] involving billions of dollars in fraud committed by corrupt businesses and officials. Cadivi’s bloodletting is the preamble to the first and only large-scale legal case of corporate fraud in 100 years of petroleum profits in Venezuela. It is a case that no one would have brought – except for Maduro.
  • During the Fourth Republic, the only prisoners who became involved in politics were from the Left, including Chávez. It was a time when there really were political prisoners. During the era of the Chávez presidency, the coup-mongering Democratic Coordination leadership and later the MUD [Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, The Democratic Unity Roundtable] were allowed to enact fascism, coups, petroleum sabotage, and destabilization with impunity. Throughout this period there was never a notable political prisoner arrested for crimes openly committed.When Maduro became President, Leopoldo López was his most notable counterpart, reaching a higher position than even Capriles in the opposition. López began to use his enormous political licence as a licence to kill openly and with impunity. He challenged Maduro to imprison him, and now he is being held. We must ask ourselves how many opposition politicians, coup-mongers and murderers on the scale of Leopoldo Lopez were imprisoned during the Chávez era.

    How many? We could say that the circumstances were not the same, but obviously the circumstances surrounding Maduro are not at all easy. Another question we must ask ourselves: Is Nicolás Maduro weak, or is he being underestimated by the right and some other Chavists?

  • Any member of the country’s commune movement knows, and can testify, that there has been a radical change in the Government’s political will to leverage and accelerate (without it becoming by Government decree) the consolidation of the Communes. There have been huge advances over just the last year. The communes, a political legacy of Chávez and part of his fundamental idea of revolutionary transformation, have been dormant, mired in bureaucracy and considered vestigial. Maduro has taken on the task and the situation is changing.
  • Maduro has proposed to transform the Government, the way it is run and the mechanisms for attending to the people’s demands. Candidates for Cabinet posts are not just part of a political moment, but part of a sustained and perennial process that Maduro has proposed as a formula to revitalize the Government, and transform it in terms of political efficiency. Reviewing goals, strategies, management methodologies and even officials’ job descriptions has been an ongoing task.The old State has been an enormous counterweight to the Revolution’s politics, and to transform it first it must be demolished by its parts: the interest groups, cliques, factions, conclaves, overlords and patronages within the very same Government. Some may think this will lead to disputes, conflicts of interest and even fragmentation in leadership. In any event, one has to have the guts to seriously take on this political demand, to no longer coexist with bureaucracy and corruption. The solution to these structural vices is systemic, and only possible with an essential change in the conscience of the leadership, but there are reforms to be made in the Government as well. Maduro is taking them on.
  • Creating economic equilibrium implies rigorous regulation in the process of foreign currency allocation to avoid a bloodletting, an extremely delicate operation that was once “untouchable” because it directly affects importation and supply. Blackmail used to be the precursor to deregulation and corruption, but that is no longer the case. Economic equilibrium also consists in taking on the issue of gasoline, also supposedly “untouchable” because of the threat of social unrest. Maduro is inviting debate on this issue and is sure that the way will be enacted. Regarding the question of PDVSA [Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., the Venezuelan national oil company] sustainability in terms of balancing its resources given the exorbitant cost of subsidizing gasoline, it will be done, requiring leadership and political will. Maduro doesn’t appear to be a “put off until tomorrow” type. He’s been accused of being “pragmatic.” Others believe the importance of decisions varies with the will and consistency with which they are undertaken.
  • Overcoming two coups d’états straining one presidency is not small thing. Although Maduro counts upon consolidated Chavismo that has “matured” [Madurado] politically, all of Chavismo’s consistency would be a house of cards if he had not acted with the political intelligence and consistency he did during these difficult times. At this conjuncture, he consolidated his leadership.
  • The central orientation of the Government is also based on the sociopolitical orientation. In reinforcing the Social Missions System, the Chavismo projects’ egalitarian and inclusive structure was erected. Losing sight of this would be a political catastrophe for both the Revolution and the historical process. Maduro has understood this.In contrast to theories (including those from Chavistas themselves) such as containing “social costs,” Maduro has rather expanded prioritized attention to social matters, now with a strategy more directly focused on nodes of extreme poverty, which are structural and have been in existence during the more than 100 years of petroleum revenues. Maduro has taken on the social debt which Chávez had begun to pay.

Analyzing Maduro’s presidency as a political process in development implies recognition of the country’s own adverse circumstances, as well as the structural, sustained deficiencies of his Government. Expecting Maduro to eliminate corruption and bureaucrats with a stroke of the pen, is not only impossible but absurd. Expecting Maduro to not make any missteps is equally so. But there must be a reading of the substance of what’s happening. There are things underway that are of great value and meaning, that maybe because our own political myopia we are not analyzing and discussing thoroughly.

We who are taking on the responsibility for the Bolivarian Revolution as a collective process, without ceasing to be critical and aware, and maintaining the firm position that revolutionary cohesion must be unshakeable, also understand that the Maduro presidency and the revolutionary political leadership deserve our assistance, our effort, and our support.

Defeatist, fatalistic and demobilizing language contributes little to our historic task. Many believe Maduro must continue to surpass his contradictions, and continue to reorient his decisions and working teams, with an emphasis on giving a clear reading on what is happening in order to take on situations and critical issues in leading the country, but we are satisfied that there is a clear orientation.

Something Comandante Fidel Castro once said sums up all of Maduro’s important acts in Government: “Maduro has demonstrated the talent, integrity and energy that the great leader knew he had.” Fidel doesn’t play children’s games. That’s why he said that, and many of us are convinced that he is right.

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Britain on red alert: Terror threat level raised to ‘severe’

NOVANEWS
Anti-terror crackdown in the city. The City of London Police mount a large scale operation on Tower Bridge at the launch of project Servator, which aims to put on a more visible Police presence on the streets in the City of London, which is designed to deter, disrupt and detect criminal and terrorist activity earlier and more actively. Picture date: Monday February 10, 2014. See PA story POLICE City. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire URN:18945322
Anti-terror crackdown in the city. The City of London Police mount a large scale operation on Tower Bridge at the launch of project Servator, which aims to put on a more visible Police presence on the streets in the City … more >
By Cheryl K. Chumley – The Washington Times 

British Prime Minister David Cameron raised Friday the nation’s terrorism threat level to “severe,” saying bluntly that “poisonous” Islamic extremism is causing widespread problems that are spreading from the Middle East to other parts of the world.

“We have to confront it from home and abroad,” he said Friday during a press conference, calling for more intelligence, smart military airstrikes and a slew of other “building blocks” that will require “perseverance” to succeed.

“I believe we will be fighting for years, and perhaps decades,” Mr. Cameron said, adding that the U.K. has already taken many actions, such as “legislating so that we can prosecute people on all aspects of terrorism.”

Mr. Cameron estimated about 500 people have traveled to the Middle East for terrorism training and to join the Islamic State.

He dismissed the theory that poverty fosters terrorism.

“The [current] terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq War … it existed even before the horrific attacks on 9/11,” he said. “It cannot be solved by addressing poverty, or dictatorships or instability in the region. The root cause is quite clear: a poisonous ideology of Islamic extremism that is condemned by all … [and that will] force people to live in a Medieval state” that includes beheadings, the enslavement of people, the rape of women.

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The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”: How the U.S. is Using ISIS as a Pretext for War Against Syria

NOVANEWS

Global Research

 

Absurdity beyond comprehension.

Washington supported the Free Syria rebels who aligned themselves with the terrorist group called Al-Nusra to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad,

Then the Syrian rebels and other groups in Iraq form another terrorist organization who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The consequences of Washingtons policies of aiding the Syrian rebels including ISIS have served a purpose. ISIS has spread to both Syria and Iraq gaining territory. ISIS has claimed it has executed 250 Syrian soldiers last weekend as they seized an airbase in the province of Raqqa.

Washington considers the advancement of ISIS a threat to its national security. As reported by the Associated Press, US surveillance planes were already deployed to pinpoint specific targets. The article titled US surveillance planes fly over Syria, officials say stated that

Two U.S. officials said Monday that Obama had approved the flights, while another U.S. official said early Tuesday that they had begun. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter by name, and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey did not comment on surveillance flights currently in use but did say that Clearly the picture we have of ISIS on the Iraqi side is a more refined picture, said Dempsey, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State group. The existence and activities of ISIS on the Syrian side, we have … some insights into that but we certainly want to have more insights into that as we craft a way forward. Obamas rationale is that ISIS is a direct threat to American citizens after the public execution of photojournalist James Foley. Republicans are willing to give the Obama administration an authorization to take military action against ISIS in Syrian territory. Historically, Both Republicans and Democrats have always agreed on foreign policy issues, especially when war is on the agenda:

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday the administration has not yet shared with us what their plans are. He said he hoped the White House would go to the Congress with a request for an authorization to act.

I think its our responsibility as elected officials to let the American people know where we stand with respect to national security matters, Corker told MSNBC. For the American peoples sake, Congress should weigh in. Congress should be a part of it

Rest assured, Congress would vote for military action against Syria. They have an agenda that is multi faceted. First, it supports weapons manufacturers such as Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon in a time of war. An online guide to campaign contributions that influence politicians called opensecrets.org states that there were 227 Republicans and 188 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 49 Democrats and 40 Republicans that received funding from the defense industry. Second, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has an interest in removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because of his diplomatic relations with several of Israels enemies including Iran.

Washington also has a keen interest of having a military presence in the Middle East to control the natural resources including oil and gas. Washington and its corporate partners want its military to stay in the Middle East for the long term. By supporting Israel (a U.S. watchdog in the region) and having their military bases in key areas in close proximity to oil producing facilities, it would guarantee the import of natural resources into US and European markets. China would then have limited capacity to obtain natural resources it needs for its economy. Now Washingtons favorite enemy, ISIS is in the picture. The Obama administration will obviously use this crisis as a way to prepare US forces for a future blitzkrieg against Assads forces. According to the Daily Beast, A mainstream media online news source stated the following:

One former senior U.S. diplomat who has consulted with the administration on the ISIS threat told The Daily Beast that he would expect Obama to be presented with an option similar to Vice President Joe Bidens favored policy from 2010 for Afghanistan known then as counter-terrorism plus. This kind of approach would be a drone and air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria. The United States has conducted drone and airstrikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. But in all of these cases the host government has requested them. This week, Syrias foreign minister warned the United States not to enter Syrian air space

According to the Associated Press, Obama is concerned that if he orders airstrikes against ISIS, it would weaken the US position to topple the Assad government, because on the international stage it would solidify the fact that the U.S. and Syria has partnered to take out a common enemy Administration officials have said a concern for Obama in seeking to take out the Islamic State inside Syria is the prospect that such a move could unintentionally help embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But it would also become an act of aggression on Syrian territory. The Obama administration has publically stated that it would not ask the Syrian government for permission to enter its air space. Why? Maybe Washington wants to raise tensions with the Assad government? A top Syrian official said Monday any U.S. airstrikes without consent from Syria would be considered an aggression the AP report said. It also stated the fact that The Islamic State is among the groups seeking Assads ouster, along with rebel forces aided by the U.S. So ISIS and the U.S. government has a common enemy?

Now let get this straight. Originally the Obama administration has repeatedly called for the removal of the Assad government. The Obama administration has consistently supported the Syrian rebels to remove Assad, but has failed because the Syrian government defeated the Western backed Free Syrian Army (FSA). Another question is why would the Syrian government allow the US to battle ISIS on its territory? Syria is more than capable of defeating ISIS as it did with the Syrian rebels. The Obama administration will not ask the Assad government for permission to launch airstrikes in Syria. Now lets see who the enemies of all parties involved are. First, the U.S. Governments enemy is clearly the Assad government who was recently re-elected by a majority of the people. ISIS is an enemy of the U.S. and the U.S. is an enemy of ISIS, especially after the brutal beheading of James Foley made it somewhat clear. Syrias enemy is the U.S. government who has destabilized many areas of Syria resulting in the deaths of at least 160,000 people. The US has aided the FSA which resulted in the creation of Al-Nusra and ISIS, all considered enemies of Syria. Now all terrorist organizations operating in Iraq and Syria are supposedly enemies of each other. Lebanons Daily Star reported this past May that:

Al-Nusra Front and ISIS have in recent months fought intense, bloody battles against each other, particularly in eastern Syria on the border with Iraq. We will follow the orders of… Ayman al-Zawahiri… to stop any attack from our side against ISIS, while continuing to respond whenever they attack Muslims and all that is sacred to them, Al-Nusra said in a statement.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend is hard to comprehend. Syria is the enemy of the U.S. government and its terrorist organizations it has supported over the years. In this case, who is the enemy and who is the friend? The U.S. does not have a real friend in this fight because it already has what it wants, instability. All parties are expendable as we clearly seen with U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS in Iraq. Washington has friends in the Middle East, and that is Israel and the Gulf state dictatorships. Syria is back in the spotlight. Washington is determined to oust the Assad government and create a fragmented state as they did to Libya. By supporting Israel and its Gulf states allies including Turkey and Jordan militarily and economically, U.S. interests would be secure. In a sense, it is order out of chaos.

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“These are war crimes,” says father of Gaza family wiped out by Nazi airstrike

NOVANEWS

Issam Jouda mourns during the funeral of his wife and four children in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, on 24 August.

An elder cousin daubed the blood that dripped from a wound near Thaer Jouda’s left eye Tuesday afternoon as the nine-year-old lay in a bed in Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.

“He’s very good in English,” the cousin said. But Thaer, his face and body lacerated by shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike on Sunday and his right leg amputated at the knee, had little interest in talking.

The bombing, which injured Thaer and his eleven-year-old sister Rahaf, also killed his mother Rawiya (43 years old), his sisters Tasnim (14) and Raghida (13) and his brothers Muhammad (8) and Usama (6).

The five deaths made the Joudas, residents of Tal al-Zaatar in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya area, one of the hardest-hit of the 91 families counted by the Palestinian Ministry of Health who lost multiple members during single attacks during Israel’s 51-day military offensive.

An earlier list from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, including some casualties not yet confirmed by the Ministry of Health, counted 140 families that had lost three or more family members in a single incident by 20 August.

Many families were killed by Israeli strikes on almost 190 mosques, more than 140 schools and other civilian institutions, some used as shelters for Palestinians displaced from their homes by Israeli military operations near the barrier that separates Gaza from present-day Israel.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has recorded at least 990 people killed inside their homes in Israeli attacks, including 324 children. That’s almost half of all people killed in the Israeli assault. Israeli strikes affected at least 10,589 homes, 2,715 of which were completely destroyed, by 25 August.

“My ears broke”

In the hallway outside Thaer’s room, his father, Issam, recalled the airstrike that ended the lives of his wife and four children two days earlier.

“At 4:00 pm, I was inside the house,” he said. “All the rest of my family was sitting in the front hall. Their mother was standing in the middle of the boys. They were playing as they were accustomed. ”

“As Rahaf was coming inside, I heard a massive explosion. My ears broke. I saw a huge mass of dust in the area and shrapnel scattered all over the hall.”

“After the blast, my daughter Rahaf grabbed my neck. She was screaming ‘Father! Where is my mother? Where are my brothers?’”

“Shrapnel everywhere”

After checking his surviving daughter for injuries, Issam said, he told her to leave the house quickly. Looking at the rest of his family in the hall, he said, “They lay with shrapnel everywhere and a pool of blood around them. It’s like they were swimming in it. There were six of them, five killed.

“I heard the voice of my son saying, ‘Dad.’ The others were scattered everywhere. You couldn’t distinguish between them because of the heavy shrapnel wounds in their faces.

“The voice was Thaer. I carried him and left the house quickly. I felt my body cut from the shrapnel as I carried him. Then our neighbors took him and the rest of our family to al-Awda hospital.”

At the hospital, Issam said, Thaer was alert, asking him for water. “In another bed, I saw my little boy, Usama. He was smiling in his sleep. I tried to hug and kiss him. There was no response.

“I tried to convince myself that he had returned my smile. And I refused to listen to anybody saying that he was dead.”

On Saturday, Issam said in passing, he had bought his youngest son a track suit for the winter.

In another bed, he recalled, “I saw my wife covered by a sheet. I removed it quickly, and saw that she was also dead.”

His other three children had been transferred to a separate hospital, Kamal Edwan. By the time he arrived to identify them, he said, staff had moved them into the refrigeration units used to store the dead before burial. “You could not recognize the features of their faces and heads.”

“Incremental genocide”

In an interview with Rania Khalek, published by The Electronic Intifada shortly after aceasefire between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups was declared yesterday, Center for Constitutional Rights former executive director Michael Ratner called Israel’s ethnic cleansing and massacres of Palestinians “incremental genocide.”

Sitting outside his only surviving son’s hospital room, Issam said, “The international community must punish the Israeli war criminals and end the occupation as soon as possible.”

“Global society, which talks about justice and international law, must take responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from this massive destruction. These are war crimes.”

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What Ella Baker Taught Us About Ferguson And Gaza

NOVANEWS

by: Dorothy M. Zellner 

“In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become a part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed.”– Ella Baker Credit: Creative Commons/Wikipedia

In late June I traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, for the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer, where some 1,000 of us met after decades and celebrated the heroism of young volunteers and local African Americans who struggled and died for the right to vote. We talked about the way forward to eradicate still-existing racism in the country and we called the names of all our dead, a list of men, women and children whom the nation has never mourned.

As a recruiter for Freedom Summer and staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) fifty years ago, I had the honor of being approached by several volunteers whom I had helped select and who told me that going to Mississippi that faraway summer had forever changed their lives.

What propelled me into the civil rights movement in the first place as a young woman was the exhortation I had received from my secular Jewish progressive parents: that it is unethical to stand idly by while people are oppressed and suffering. What SNCC taught me was that I needed to act in my own community. It took me some time to put all of this together but finally, eleven years ago, I went to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza for the first time. Based on what I saw with my own eyes and the anguish I felt in my own heart I became a Jewish activist against Israeli governmental policies of injustice and inequality.

It was only a few days after I got home from Mississippi this past June that a new assault on Gaza began, the third in seven years. I had already seen in my two visits to Gaza what the siege was like for Palestinians living in Gaza.

At the time of this writing, the death toll is horrifying: a staggering total of 2,114 Palestinians, of whom 506 are children, and 10,529 wounded. Four Israeli civilians and sixty-four soldiers have died. Can we even begin to imagine the horror all these families are experiencing? Despite several short ceasefires, “Operation Project Edge” continues and rockets continue to be fired.

And now in the midst of an already terrible summer, Ferguson happens. Another incident of violent racism in our country.

For me, the events in Ferguson and the events halfway around the world are linked. I am not saying they are the same. I am not even saying there are many parallels, but there are some similar lessons.

In 1969, Ella Baker, SNCC’s great mentor, pointed us in the direction of meaningful action when she said, “In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become a part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed.” This means that we are going to have to learn to think in radical terms. I use the term radical in its original meaning – getting down to and understanding the root cause. Baker continued, “It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system.”

This is the crux.

We have not yet managed to understand the “root cause” of deaths like Michael Brown’s in our country. This is the work still ahead of us. I understand Ferguson to be one more example of the basic inequality that still exists in the U.S., where communities of color are still unrepresented in their police departments or their city governments and live amidst poverty and neglect.

Yes, certain aspects have changed in the South; these days you don’t take your life in your hands if you travel in an automobile in an interracial group, and you are unlikely to be arrested if, as an African American, you try to eat in a restaurant, and you did, up until recently when voter ID laws and other impediments were invented, have the right to register to vote. But by all other measures, specifically education, housing, jobs, poverty, and an unequal criminal justice system that retains more than two million people, mostly Black and Brown, in prison, we are a racist society. South and North, East and West. We have not attacked the “root cause”: a basically flawed economic and social system that sanctions exploitation and needs racism and division to survive.

And what, in my opinion, is the “root cause” of all the death and destruction in the Middle East? It isn’t Hamas, it isn’t who sent the rockets first, who killed which teenager first, and it isn’t who broke which ceasefire first. The underlying cause flows from the injustice of one group controlling the lives and future of another group. As long as Israel occupies Palestine, and as long as Palestinians resist (which, according to International human rights law, they have the right to do), confrontations and death will result. The root cause is the occupation, which itself flows from the previous dispossession of Palestinians from the land they inhabited for generations.

Though the situations are thousands of miles away from each other in different languages and different cultures, somehow or other we will all have to follow Miss Baker’s teaching: to look deeply, beyond the horror of the moment and our particular loyalties.

Because once we understand that there are root causes, we will be able to make effective efforts to change them.

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The UK and US Jewish mercenaries serving in I$raHell Wehrmacht

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UK Jewish mercenary Isaac Allen

Isaac Allen, a Londoner, has been trumpeted as the Israeli Wehrmacht’s latest poster-boy (Source: the Jewish Chronicle)

Much has been made of the European and American citizens who have joined the ranks of the terrorist group, Islamic State, which is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

But what about the Europeans and Americans who have flocked to join another terrorist organisation that is engaged in wholesale war crimes, the Israeli Wehrmacht?

According to a British Channel 4 News report, there were about 100 British nationals serving with the Israeli Wehrmacht at the time of the report on 7 July. A CNN report on 24 July, citing a New York-based Israeli lobby group, estimated that there were around 750 US citizens serving in Israel’s Wehrmacht.

The Britons and the Americans, and many other foreign Jews, serve in the IsraeliWehrmacht under a programme called Mahal, which allows non-Israeli nationals of Jewish descent to join the ranks of the Wehrmacht for an 18-month tour of duty.

Up until now, these Jewish mercenaries have been either ignored or treated with kid gloves by Western politicians and media, while all attention has been on the Islamist cutthroats – as if the terror and crimes committed by the Israeli Wehrmacht was somewhat more acceptable than that of the Islamists, just because one was perpetrated with hi-tech weapons while the other was carried out with primitive tools.

As the writer Daniel Patrick Welch said in reference to an earlier phase of the mayhem in Iraq,

They behead – we do it with smart bombs. There is, of course, an ugly truth to this recently minted axiom: the horror of state terrorism is that the overwhelming machinery of death in the hands of all-powerful governments far outweighs individual atrocities by madmen, groupuscules and non-state entities. While the heathen thugs and killers may indeed be barbarians, such an axiom tacitly concedes, with their beheadings and murders of innocents, it is almost impossible to accomplish the slaughter of half a million children, as did the Anglo-American/UN sanctions in Iraq, with such amateur methods.

Things, however, may be about to change.

According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the Palestinian Authority has urged foreign states with citizens serving in the Israeli Wehrmacht to investigate them for possiblewar crimes committed during the aggression against the people of the Gaza Strip.

Thousands of soldiers with dual nationality are conscripted into the IsraelDefence Forces, while non-Israelis also volunteer under the IDF’s Mahalprogramme…

Malki’s letter, which was also sent to Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, sets out the requirements under international law for governments to investigate alleged violations over which they have jurisdiction, including the actions of their nationals.

It demands that foreign states identify nationals serving in the IDF, notify them of alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, and investigate allegations that foreign nationals “were involved in the commission and/or the aiding and abetting of war crimes during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, and prosecuting these individuals where appropriate”.

Malki’s letter says that Israeli forces have “committed war crimes during the repeated assaults on Gaza in the present, as in the past. They have engaged in indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Such actions have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, and massive destruction to civilian properties, in grave breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

The Israeli military has “deliberately targeted vital civilian infrastructure” and “carried out attacks against clearly marked facilities sheltering displaced civilians, including six [UN] schools”, the letter adds.

As the Guardian says, the absence of specific allegations against named individuals will limit the capacity of foreign governments to act – for now.

However, the fact that the subject of dual loyalty Jewish citizens of Britain, the US and other countries serving as mercenaries in the Israeli Wehrmacht is being mentioned in Western media is a big step forward, given the conspiracy of silence that has until now made this too much of a taboo subject to even utter.

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