Archive | October 28th, 2017

Seeking happiness beyond neoliberal consumerism

NOVANEWS
True happiness

By Graham Peebles

Irrespective of nationality, religion, race or gender; whether stinking rich, desperately poor or somewhere in between, happiness is the one thing everyone is seeking – consciously or not.

The architects of the socio-economic system in which we live have devised a system that promises to satisfy this yearning. But instead of building a society at ease with itself, full of peaceful, happy people, collective discontent is fed, resulting in a range of mental health issues and in some cases suicide.

Happiness, according to the duplicitous devotees of neoliberalism, is to be found in the homogenous shopping centers of the world, the sterile holiday resorts and brash casinos. It is to be found, they claim, In things, in products and services that stimulate and excite. Happiness in this perverse paradigm has been replaced by pleasure, love exchanged for desire, choice substituted for freedom.

Echoes of happiness

Happiness that lasts is what we yearn for, not a transient state in which one feels the tingle of happiness for a moment or so, only to see it evaporate as the source of our happiness loses its appeal, or is exhausted – the holiday comes to an end, a relationship breaks up, the gamble doesn’t pay off, a new iPhone or handbag hits the high street making the old one redundant, etc. We sense that a state of lasting happiness is possible but know not where it is or how to find it. The mistake commonly made, and one we are constantly encouraged to make, is to search for happiness within the sensory world where all experiences, pleasant or unpleasant, are facile and transient. The inevitable consequence of such shallow encounters with happiness is discontent and frustration.

Despite being repeatedly confronted with disappointment, and instead of refraining from this never-ending quest, the searcher becomes increasingly desperate: a new relationship may be sought, a change of job or new home, more shopping outings, dinners planned, alcohol and drugs taken, and so on into the darker reaches of sensory satisfaction and hedonistic indulgence.

Pleasure is not happiness, nor does it bring lasting happiness. At best, it creates a false sense of relief from unhappiness and inner conflict, a momentary escape before dissatisfaction and desire bubble up again.

Of course, it is important to enjoy life, and yes, something resembling happiness is experienced on these excursions, but it is a happiness dependent on something, on other people, and on certain elements being in place: take these away and the “happiness” very quickly evaporates. Such happiness is a mere echo of “true happiness”, and one that carries with it conflict, fear and anxiety; this taste of happiness, functioning via the desire principle and the medium of the senses is relentlessly stoked by the exponents of neoliberal idealism.

The success of their divisive project, i.e. profitability, growth, development, progress – call it what you will – is totally contingent on consumerism, and the act of consuming relies on and is the result of perpetual desire. To their utter shame, despite having a responsibility to create the conditions in which “true happiness” can be experienced, most, if not all governments collude with corporate man/woman to promote the unhealthy, materialistic values that are the source of unhappiness.

Desire is constantly agitated through advertising, television, film and print media; fantastical, sentimental, idealised images of not just where happiness lies, but what love looks like are pumped around the world every minute of every day. The aim of this extravagant pantomime is to manipulate people into believing they need the stuff that the corporate state is selling in order to be happy. But happiness cannot be found within the world of sensations – pleasure yes, but not happiness, and pleasure will never fill the internal void that exists and is perpetuated through this movement into materiality. Pleasure is not happiness, nor does it bring lasting happiness. At best, it creates a false sense of relief from unhappiness and inner conflict, a momentary escape before dissatisfaction and desire bubble up again.

Cycles of discontent

Nothing but discontent is to be found within this endless cycle of desire, temporary satisfaction and continued longing. It is an insatiable, inherently painful pattern that moves the “seeker of happiness” further and further away from the treasure he or she is searching for, creating disharmony and conflict, for the individual and society. Add to this polluted landscape competition and inequality, and a cocktail of division and chaos emerges: competition between individuals and nations separates and divides, working against humanity’s natural inclination towards cooperation, sharing and tolerance; qualities that were crucial in the survival of early man.

Competition fosters ideas of superiority and inferiority and, together with conformity, an image of “success” and “failure”, of beauty, and what it means to be a man or a woman – particularly a young man or young woman – is projected and thrust into the minds of everyone from birth. One of the effects of this is the tendency towards comparison, leading to personal dissatisfaction (with myriad symptoms from self-harming to addiction and depression), and the desire, or pressure, to conform to the presented ideal.

At the root of these interconnected patterns of discontent and misery, lies desire. Desire not just for pleasure, but desire for things to be other than they are; it is this constant movement of desire that creates unhappiness and deep dissatisfaction. If desire is the obstacle to happiness, then all desire needs to be negated, including the desire for happiness. Perhaps the question to be addressed then is not what will bring lasting happiness, but how to be free of unhappiness and discontent.

In ancient Greece, where life was hard and happiness was widely believed to be reserved for those rare individuals whom the gods favoured, Socrates (470 BC – 399 BC) proposed that happiness could be attained by everyone by controlling their hedonistic desires, turning their attention towards the soul and by living a moral life. His view finds its root in the teachings of the Buddha who, almost 100 years earlier, had made clear in the Second Noble Truth, that far from bringing happiness, desire is in fact the cause of all suffering and, further, that freedom from suffering and unhappiness is brought about when desire is overcome.

“True happiness” is an aspect of our natural self; it will not be found within the world of pleasure and material satisfaction, comfort and indulgence. Such happiness is experienced when the causes of unhappiness are negated; when we cease searching, when we stop desiring. It is an inherent part of who and what we are and, in principle at least – and herein lies the beauty and wonder of life – the possibility of unshakable happiness exists for everyone, everywhere, irrespective of circumstances.

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Is UK Reading Councillor Rachel Eden a British politician or an Israeli asset?

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Rachel Eden - a possible Israeli asset?

Gilad Atzmon writes:

It keeps getting better. Rachel Eden, the shameless “Labour” councillor who organised a protest against me without knowing who I am or what I stand for, is on the ultra-Zionist We Believe in Israel list of 216 General Election candidates who have pledged their support for Israel.

Eden, who is councillor for Whitley ward in Reading, in the UK county of Berkshire, has also been colluding with a discredited Zionist rabbi who was sacked by his own congregation.

In the video below, you can see that she doesn’t even recognise me, let alone understand my views.

Along with other Israeli stooges among UK parliamentary candidates, Rachel Eden vowed “to oppose the extremists who challenge Israel’s right to exist”.

Is it really extreme to demand that Israel become a state of its citizens as opposed to a state of the Jews? Our disgraceful “Labour” candidate, Eden, is pledging support for the existence of a state that is defined by race and racial privileges.

Eden further promised “to support the right of people in the United Kingdom to enjoy Israeli culture… without fear of discrimination, boycotts, harassment and/or intimidation”. Yet, Eden is the same wannabe MP who harassed, intimidated and threatened to boycott an arts festival that gave a platform to yours truly, a law-abiding citizen who happens to oppose Israel. I guess that moral integrity is a rare trait within friends of Israel circles.

Eden’s next pledge was “to celebrate the fact that Israel is a free society and parliamentary democracy that extends to all its citizens the right to practice their religion and have access to religious sites in Jerusalem”.

Eden ought to inform us what she thinks about the status of millions of Palestinians who live in Israeli-controlled territories but lack all rights of citizenship as well as running water and electricity.

And if Eden genuinely believes in “free societies”, why is she so upset by Reading International Festival providing the elementary freedom to speak?

Eden also promised “to support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism”. She must believe that when it comes to racism, anti-Semites form a category of their own. I would actually expect a “Labour” candidate to equally oppose all forms of racism and bigotry.

British people who saw Rachel Eden and her Zombie league performing their collective book burning ritual, should ask themselves: Is Rachel Eden really British parliament material? Or is she more of a candidate for the Israeli Knesset?

Being in Time: If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto
If they want to burn it, you want to read it!
Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com
 and  here.  

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The real secret of Traitor Khrushchev’s speech

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Image result for Khrushchev CARTOON

The real secret of Khrushchev’s speech
Fifty years ago a Soviet leader dared to criticise Stalin. But was this bravery or a cynical ploy?
The following correction was printed in the Guardian’s Corrections and clarifications column, Friday February 25 2006

English point: In the article below, the following description of the speech was used: “a coruscating indictment of Stalinism that would roll out across the world”. This is the wrong use of “coruscating”. As the Guardian stylebook says – supported by a great weight of dictionaries: coruscating means sparkling, emitting flashes of light; people seem to think, wrongly, that it means the same as excoriating, which means censuring severely.
Many of those who were present recall the “deathly silence” that fell across the hall. It was the evening of February 25 1956. Unexpectedly, delegates at the 20th congress of the Communist party had been ushered into a final, closed session at central committee headquarters in Moscow. When the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, took the tribune and began to speak, some members of the audience fainted. Others clawed their heads in despair. Most could not believe their ears.

Without warning, Khrushchev had launched a fierce attack on his predecessor, the revered Joseph Stalin. The great vozhd (chief) who had guided the country through the second world war and died three years earlier was a “capricious and despotic character”, Khrushchev said. In a four-hour indictment he condemned Stalin for creating a personality cult and unleashing “brutal violence” on anyone who stood in his way.

Uttered 50 years ago tomorrow, this was Khrushchev’s secret speech: a coruscating indictment of Stalinism that would roll out across the world; the beginning of the “thaw” and the end of terror in a country where hundreds of thousands had been shot or sent to the gulags.

In the west, the speech has mostly been interpreted as a brave and moral step that changed the fate of the country. Earlier this month Khrushchev’s granddaughter Nina, a lecturer who lives in the US, lauded him in the Washington Post for “outing Stalin as a monster”.

Yet in Russia, amid muted celebrations of the anniversary, there is growing evidence that Khrushchev’s speech was a cynical ploy to save his skin and that of his party cronies. “Khrushchev was trying to dump all the blame on Stalin when his own hands were drenched in blood,” says Yuri Zhukov, a historian from the Russian Academy of Sciences who has studied newly declassified archives on the period.

The re-evaluation comes as critics accuse President Vladimir Putin of leading a drift towards an authoritarianism that resembles the rule of the communist strongmen who dominated the 20th century. New measures have included increased state control over broadcast media and the replacement of elected governors by appointees.

While he is not actively promoted by the Kremlin, Stalin remains hugely popular, with higher approval ratings than Khrushchev. Few politicians dare criticise his legacy despite pleas to do so from victims of his oppression. A survey by the All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion found that 50% of Russians believe Stalin played a positive role, up from 46% in 2003.

In 1956 Khrushchev’s speech was certainly a rent with the past. Stalin, he said, had committed “serious and grave perversions of party principles” and triggered the “cruellest repression” by inventing the concept of the “enemy of the people”. In 1937 and 1938, 98 of the 139 members of the central committee had been shot on Stalin’s orders, Khrushchev revealed.

Many of the 1,400 people at the congress had only heard innuendo about such events and their shock was real; as was the fury of Stalin’s supporters. “My impression was very negative,” says Nikolai Baybakov, 94, then head of Gosplan, the Soviet central planning agency, and whose voice is still dark with fury at the insult meted out to his hero. “Yes, negative. Compared to Stalin, Khrushchev was a zero.”

No debate was allowed, however, and the delegates went home in awe. Many were sunk in depression; two committed suicide within weeks.

Almost immediately, changes began. Although the full text of the speech was not published in the Soviet Union until the late 80s, excerpts were passed to local party officials and read at meetings. Political prisoners were rehabilitated, the press was given limited freedom and ties were re-established with foreign powers such as France and the US. Khrushchev’s political enemies were sidelined, but they escaped the death sentence that would have been automatic under Stalin. Abroad, the speech sparked intense interest after it was leaked by foreign communists. The Observer devoted an entire issue to the 26,000-word text.

But while Khrushchev set unstoppable changes in motion, experts say he concealed his own role in bloody repressions. Only in the past five years has the full extent of his complicity in Stalin’s terror become evident.

A telegram discovered in Politburo archives by Mr Zhukov shows that Khrushchev sent a request to Moscow to kill or imprison 30,000 people when he took over the leadership of Ukraine in 1938. A brutal purge of intellectuals and “hostile elements” was soon under way.

The year before, when he was party chief in the Moscow region, documents show Khrushchev asked permission to shoot 8,500 anti-Soviet “traitors” and dispatch almost 33,000 to camps. “These persecutions were real and they were carried out on Khrushchev’s orders,” Mr Zhukov says.

Dima Bykov, a young Russian intellectual, says Khrushchev was a willing servant of Stalin. “When I was a teacher I explained the 20th congress to my pupils using an analogy: imagine Himmler giving an anti-fascist speech at a Nazi congress after Hitler’s death.”

The limits of Khrushchev’s thaw were evident a few months after the speech when he sent Soviet tanks to crush the Hungarian uprising. And while he allowed Alexander Solzhenitsyn to publish a novel about the gulags, he banned Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago for its unsympathetic portrait of the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution.

Nikita Khrushchev, 46, a journalist who was named after his grandfather, admits the Soviet leader was not the hero he is often made out to be. “Of course, grandpa participated in the repressions,” he says. “Of course, you can see his signatures on the lists of those to be dealt with. And, of course, many documents have yet to be released from the archives. But the fact that he dared to expose Stalin was his own courageous step. It was a real feat … It meant he had overcome the Stalinist inside himself.”

Mr Bykov says Khrushchev was a brave man who recognised his faults and attempted reform, but lacked the will to smash the system completely. “Khrushchev was half dictator, half liberal,” he says. “Putin is just the same. The difference is that in Khrushchev’s time the main movement was towards freedom. Now it is backwards. Krushchev initiated freedom. Putin is its graveyard.”

Corncob Nikita

· Khrushchev was best known as “corncob Nikita” for his attempts to plant vast tracts of maize

· His Khrushchev’s “secret speech” in 1956 took four hours to deliver and the full text – not published in the Soviet Union until 1989 – was 26,000 words long. In it, he said Josef Stalin had “practised brutal violence, not only towards everything which opposed him, but also towards that which seemed, to his capricious and despotic character, contrary to his concepts”

· The speech included details of a furious letter from Vladimir Lenin to Stalin in 1923 in which the former leader accused Stalin of insulting his wife

· Politburo archives show that Khrushchev concealed that he had requested permission to shoot or imprison about 70,000 people himself as a party boss in the late 1930s

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

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Shameless Anti-Stalin Imperialist Propagand

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Image result for Nikita Khrushchev cartoon

Three cheers for The Death of Stalin

Andy Stowe is impressed by Armando Iannucci’s new film, The Death of Stalin.

In 1956 * Nikita Kruschchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) addressed the party’s congress saying this about Stalin:

“Stalin” put the Party and the NKVD [1] up to the use of mass terror when the exploiting classes had been liquidated in our country and when there were no serious reasons for the use of extraordinary mass terror.

This terror was actually directed not at the remnants of the defeated exploiting classes but against the honest workers of the Party and of the Soviet state; against them were made lying, slanderous and absurd accusations concerning “two-facedness,” “espionage,” “sabotage,” preparation of fictitious “plots,” etc.”

And he didn’t limit his crimes to torturing and murdering tens of thousands of innocent people. He collectively punished whole nationalities. Khrushchev told the congress:

“In March, 1944, all the Chechens and Ingushi were deported and the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic was liquidated. In April, 1944, all Balkars were deported from the territory of the Kabardino-Balkar Autonomous Republic to faraway places and their Republic itself was renamed the Autonomous Kabardian Republic.”

This is unpromising material for a comedy, but Armando Iannucci has made a comic masterpiece out of the events immediately following the old butcher’s death.

Stalin was found on the floor of his office following a stroke and the inner leadership scuttles around panic stricken and scheming in the hours before he dies and in the days after the happy event. Khrushchev, played by Steve Buscemi in a sweary New York accent emerges rather well from it.

Inevitably Iannucci is obliged to play fast and loose with the real events, but Kruschchev’s first reaction was to use the transition to liberalise the Soviet Union. Even the people at the top of the Soviet bureaucracy were liable to be tortured and summarily executed. Khrushchev, Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich all knew that on a whim they could be put on a list, declared an “enemy of the people” and there was no appeal against the executioner’s bullet. It’s not too hard to understand how after twenty years of not knowing if you’d be in a torture chamber the next morning you’d be keen to return to something that resembled the rule of law.

The real strength of the film is how it conveys the random, generalised brutality of Stalin’s regime. Citizens have no rights and the army and NKVD secret police are more of less free to murder at will. Iannucci translates this primal panic into moments that recall the variable frenetic comedy of the Carry On series of films but with a much a sharper sense of danger. The laughs come from the fear.

The film will have a particular resonance for readers of this site. Socialist Resistance is the section of the Fourth International in the British State. Our political tradition began in the revolutionary Marxist struggle against everything that Stalin and the CPSU bureaucracy represented.

Trotsky and many of his early followers were murdered, tortured and imprisoned by Stalin’s supporters. It won’t have been intentional, but the film is a reminder that there was always a Marxist alternative to Stalinism, one which insisted on dealing with political differences by debate, which defended a socialist morality and explained that the Soviet state was in the hands of a bureaucracy which was principally interested in defending its own privileges.

Read Khrushchev’s speech before you watch the film. It’ll help you enjoy all the more the scene where Beria, head of the NKVD, gets what he deserves.

“Beria was unmasked by the Party’s Central Committee shortly after Stalin’s death. As a result of particularly detailed legal proceedings, it was established that Beria had committed monstrous crimes and Beria was shot.”

Perhaps Khrushchev was allowing himself a private joke with the reference to “detailed legal proceedings.”


[1] The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs  (Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del), abbreviated NKVD , was the leading Soviet secret police organization from 1934 to 1946.

Shoah note:

  • Traitor Khrushchev was responsible for the Zio-ation of the Soviet Union.

On February 25, 1956 Traitor Khrushchev delivered his historical Secret Speech. As soon as Khrushchev came to power, he asked the secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Comrade Pospelov, to prepare a report about Stalin’s personality cult. The report, Khrushchev said, was supposed to paint Stalin black as much as possible, so that he would be portrayed as a tyrant and talentless politician and commander, who won the war against Hitler’s Germany by miracle. Pospelov was trying to add something positive about Stalin in the report, but Khrushchev did not accept anything.

Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/history/14-09-2011/119040-nikita_khrushchev-0/

.The Secret Speech changed the world. The USA, England and the FRG were applauding Khrushchev. However, the members of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party did not discuss the report. They listened to the speech in breathless silence. Experienced politicians knew that Stalin was a giant, whereas Khrushchev was just a pygmy, who was trying to varnish his own reputation by laying the blame for the failure of the Kharkov Operation in the spring of 1942 and the defeat of 20 divisions of the Red Army on Stalin.  Some Soviet politicians believed that the people would not believe Khrushchev and would lose confidence in the Communist Party.  The Central Committee published the document on June 30, 1956, in which the Secret Speech was called a “step back.”

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On November 4, 1962 at 5 a.m., Traitor Khrushchev ordered to open artillery fire on the Hungarian capital. Nearly 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet soldiers were killed.


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On February 14, 1954, Traitor Khrushchev delivered the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine as a token of eternal friendship between the Russian and the Ukrainian nations. From March 1, 1954, the Russian port of Sevastopol became subordinated to Kiev, instead of  Moscow.

“They bring grist to enemy’s ill,” Traitor Khrushchev said speaking about the faithful during the next party congress. He promised to show the last Soviet priest on TV in 1975 and said that the destruction of churches and mosques in the country should be accelerated. During the 1960s, Soviet citizens, especially young people, would be expelled from the party and colleges for visiting temples and for resorting to such church services as baptism, church wedding and funerals. The Russian Orthodox Church became a state enemy on the anti-religious front. The bells of nearly all temples in the country stopped tolling for decades.


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The Balfour Declaration

 NOVANEWS

Documentary film, produced by Noon Films

 

Al Jazeera Arabic channel will broadcast on Sunday 29/10/2017 a film entitled “The Balfour Declaration” marking one century after British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to the first Jewish peer in England Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild. This letter, which later became known as “The Balfour Declaration”, which had led to the creation of the state of Israel.
The film was produced and filmed in six countries: Britain, the United States, France, Italy, Jordan and Palestine. It was produced by Noon Films for Al Jazeera Media Network.
The film was directed by Mohammed Salameh. The drama scenes were directed by Rick Platt and executive producer Mohammed Alsaedi.

The film contains a number of documents from several sources obtained by our research team under the supervision of senior researcher Hany Bishr, specifically the British and Scottish archives in addition to the special diaries of the most important characters of the film. These documents include the first drafts of the Balfour Declaration, as well as the most important meetings that led to the declaration, including formal and informal governmental meetings.

It also shows some classified information from the Scottish archives that clarify what exactly the British Government meant by issuing this declaration, as well as some quotations of Chaim Weizman.
The film also includes dramatic reconstruction to some of the breakthrough events that took place during the issuing of the Balfour declaration, based on the available documents and relying on the testimonies of historians that were hosted in the film.
Arabic promo video

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Balfour merrymaking a potential PR disaster for the British government

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Theresa May propagandising for Israel

By Stuart Littlewood

The extraordinary programme of centenary celebrations in the UK to honour Lord Balfour and his lunatic Declaration – and the British government’s continuing part in it – is an affront to citizens here and to countless millions abroad. And many a sharp pin is waiting to burst the pretty Balfour balloon being desperately inflated by Israel-firsters at Westminster.

Balfour’s 1917 pledge and its consequences, played out over the last 70 years, ride roughshod over Christian values and humanitarian law. Rothschild replied to Balfour’s letter saying that “the British government has opened up, by their message, a prospect of safety and comfort to large masses of people who are in need of it”. Well, it also opened up the prospect – and the reality – of a lifetime of abject misery for millions of Palestinians who had no need of it and certainly didn’t deserve it. It also helped to plant in the most sacred part of the Middle East an evil regime that shows contempt for human rights and international law and is bent on creating instability all around and confiscating every acre of land and every natural resource to aid its expansion.

There may be free speech in Britain on every issue under the sun but not on Palestine. (Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian ambassador to UK)

The daft thing is, Balfour didn’t even write the Declaration. He was simply the upper-class twit who signed it and did so without even bothering to consult the people whose homeland he intended giving away. The carefully worded letter to Rothschild (the so-called Declaration) was the work of Leopold Amery, political secretary to the War Cabinet at the time, who cleverly kept hidden his Jewish ancestry throughout his quite impressive career. He was also largely responsible for forming the Jewish Legion battalions which were the forerunners of the hated Israel Defence Forces, which Israeli Miko Peled describes as “one of the best trained and best equipped and best fed terrorist organisations in the world”.

Amery was an eager Zionist and had a supervisory role in the British mandate government in Palestine during the 1920s, actively preparing it for eventual Jewish takeover. He operated within a government the upper echelons of which were stuffed with Zionist sympathisers such as Winston Churchill and Lloyd George.

In response to the avalanche of pro-Balfour celebratory tosh, the Palestine Mission to the UK commissioned a “Make It Right” campaign featuring contrasting images of Palestinian life before and after 1948, when Israel declared statehood on land it had overrun and ethnically cleansed. The campaign message, of course, objects to the Balfour Declaration, which promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Posters were supposed to appear on buses and in Underground rail stations, but London’s transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), has banned the advertisements on the grounds that they “did not comply fully with our guidelines”. It seems TfL doesn’t like  “images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy or sensitivity” or causes that are “party political”.

The Palestinian ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, accused TfL of censorship, saying:

Palestinian history is a censored history. There has been a 100-year-long cover-up of the British government’s broken promise, in the Balfour Declaration, to safeguard the rights of the Palestinians when it gave away their country to another people. TfL’s decision is not surprising as it is, at best, susceptible to or, at worst, complicit with, all the institutional forces and active lobby groups which continuously work to silence the Palestinian narrative. There may be free speech in Britain on every issue under the sun but not on Palestine.

Prime Minister Theresa May has invited her Israeli counterpart, “Bibi” Netanyahu, to the London celebrations. It is unthinkable in government circles for an honoured guest to be confronted with a London plastered with such inconvenient messages. Nevertheless, they’ll appear on 52  London black cabs, which aren’t under TfL’s control, so our prime minister’s loathsome visitor may not entirely escape embarrassment, assuming he’s capable of feeling it.

Conflating justice and tolerance with anti-Semitism

Speaking of declarations, I’m reminded of a far more sensible one by Shimon Tzabar, who had been a member of Jewish terrorist organisations in Palestine during the British mandate, including the Stern Gang, Irgun and Haganah. After 1948 and the establishment of the Israeli state, he fought in its 1948-50, 1956 and 1967 wars but spoke out against the annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He even began calling  himself a “Hebrew-speaking Palestinian”. Tzabar and others eventually felt moved to publish the following declaration:

Occupation entails foreign rule. Foreign rule entails resistance. Resistance entails repression. Repression entails terror and counter-terror. The victims of terror are mostly innocent people. Holding on to the occupied territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murder victims. Let us get out of the occupied territories immediately.

Wouldn’t Mrs May prefer to celebrate Tzabar’s Declaration? He moved to England where he famously published the MUCH BETTER THAN THE OFFICIAL MICHELIN Guide to Israeli prisons, Jails, Concentration Camps and Torture Chambers. The best and safest way to begin a tour of these horrible establishments, it said, was to look like a Palestinian Arab and get yourself arrested .”Once you look like a Palestinian you have a good chance of being arrested. Your chance is actually so good, that you don’t have to do anything in particular.”

That other Israeli straight-talker, Miko Peled, mentioned above, put the cat among the pigeons at the Labour Party conference last month when he told activists that Israel is “terrified” of Jeremy Corbyn becoming British prime minister and will do everything it can to stop him. He said:

They are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn from being prime minister. It’s up to Labour, it’s up to you [to ensure] that they don’t have the ability to do that… Jeremy Corbyn is an opportunity for Britain that, if it gets lost, won’t come back for a very long time.

The reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument, there is nothing to say… How can a call for justice and tolerance be conflated with anti-Semitism? I don’t know if they realise this but they are pitting Judaism against everything good and just.

Peled is an Israeli Jew, the son of an Israeli general, and a former soldier in the Israeli army. You couldn’t find a more authentic insider source. Here’s a flavour of his message:

The name of the game: erasing Palestine, getting rid of the people and de-Arabizing the country…

  • By 1993 the Israelis had achieved their mission to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible. By 1993 the Israeli government knew for certain that a Palestinian state could not be established in the West Bank – the settlements were there, billions of dollars were invested, the entire Jordan River valley was settled… there was no place any more for a Palestinian state to be established. That is when Israel said, OK, we’ll begin negotiations…
  • When people talk about the possibility of Israel somehow giving up the West Bank for a Palestinian state, if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the objective of Zionism and the Zionist state.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has just announced a temporary easing of the fishing limits imposed on Gaza’s fishermen. For two months, in the southern half of Gaza, they will be able to sail out nine miles after which the limit reverts back to six. miles. Sounds generous? No, it’s ridiculously cruel. And restrictions remain even tighter in the northern half. Under the Oslo agreements (1993) Israel is supposed to allow the Palestinians to fish up to 12 miles out, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea but, as with so many other agreements, the Zionist regime has never honoured its obligation. Furthermore, Israel’s 10-year blockade on Gaza has made it impossible for many fishermen to buy parts to maintain their vessels, so the once flourishing fishing industry has been crippled.

And Netanyahu recently locked up the Palestinians for 11 days while Israelis enjoyed festive holidays. Marilyn Garson, writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, reported: “Netanyahu seals the gates of the West Bank and Gaza for 11 days, to enjoy Sukkot. How flagrant, to confine millions of people in the name of a holiday that celebrates the flimsy, temporary nature of our walls. If Jews were herded behind concrete walls and locked away for 11 days, so that someone else might enjoy a Jew-free holiday, would we shrug that off?” Haaretz is a relatively honest source and to print such a thing in Israel is quite daring.

On the same subject the Jewish Chronicle had this to say: “Border closures over the High Holidays and other Jewish festivals are routine, but are usually much shorter. The original decision stoked complaints within the Israeli security establishment that it was principally ‘grandstanding’ by ministers eager to burnish their right-wing credentials.” The Jewish Chronicle went on to explain that the 11-day closure had been demanded by Israeli police and the Internal Security minister, and was initially opposed by the Israeli military and senior Defence Ministry officials who said that it would be an unnecessary punishment to tens of thousands of law-abiding Palestinian workers.

However, both Israeli papers omitted to say that, thanks to Balfour’s legacy, there has been no freedom of movement for Palestinians since the closure of Gaza and the West Bank by Israel 26 years ago. Closure is the normal state of affairs and not to be confused with foolish ideas that crossings are usually open.

Contradictory promises

The Balfour Project, which promotes justice, security and peace for both Jews and Arabs, has made available a wealth of information. One of its publications sums up the problem very neatly:

The Declaration pledges Britain’s support for a “national home” in Palestine for the Jewish people on the understanding that the rights of “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” would not be prejudiced. The failure to uphold this second clause, for which Britain bears much responsibility, has caused conflict between Palestinians and Israelis ever since.

This was just one of Britain’s contradictory promises during the First World War. After the war we secured a mandate from the League of Nations which included a “sacred trust” to prepare the people of Palestine for independence. But in the end Britain walked away.

Yes, in 1948 we abandoned the mess we had created. As the last British soldiers marched away, Jewish leaders declared statehood without borders, pushing far beyond the boundaries set out in the UN Partition Plan the year before, their terror militia putting to flight hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, massacring many more and stealing their homes and farms.

What Britain caused to happen in the Holy Land was contrary to all decency and justice. History will not judge kindly the British government’s decision to celebrate Balfour “with pride” while refusing to apologise and make amends. There’s a fair chance the whole sorry spectacle will backfire on Theresa May and teach her unpleasant associates a sharp lesson.

A colleague wrote only yesterday to one of our government ministers and what she said is worth repeating here:

Ministers, from the prime minister down, should reflect with humility that but for that disastrous decision by their predecessors 100 years ago, the Holy Land might still be a land of peace where all the faiths lived in harmony together.

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The poison of Christian Zionism ‘VIDEO’

NOVANEWS

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The poison of Christian Zionism

EVERY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LOVES THEM

“ISRAEL BEFORE JESUS”

Israel, defense contractors and bogus media preachers have done a good job of turning a huge swatch of American Christians into unwitting pro-war monsters.

They make up the biggest voting block in the US

What do these people believe? How did they come to believe it? How can these people be brought back to the light?

The future depends on the answer to this question.

 

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U.S. Troop Deaths in Niger: AFRICOM’s Chickens Come Home to Roost

NOVANEWS

“The Trump administration is talking about a potential imminent U.S. military action to hit back.”

From the outset, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has incorrectly presumed the stupidity of Africans and others who are concerned about the continent. To answer accusations that the U.S. uses its military to ensure continuing imperialist domination of Africa, AFRICOM has stubbornly insisted that its sole objectives are to advise and support the armies of African government “partners” and to provide humanitarian assistance. But we know the truth to be otherwise.

U.S. Army General Donald Bolduc shamelessly told NBC News:

“America is not at war in Africa. But its partner forces are.”

But even a soldier can recognize the farce. Former Green Beret Derek Gannon said:

“[U.S. military involvement in Africa] is called Low Intensity Irregular Warfare, yet technically it’s not considered war by the Pentagon. But warfare is warfare to me.”

The U.S. maintains two facilities in Africa that qualify as military bases. However, according to NBC the U.S. increased the number of embassy-based military missions called “Offices of Security Cooperation” from nine in 2008 to 36 in 2016. Researchers say the U.S. military now has a presence in at least 49 African countries, presumably to fight terrorism. Even if anti-terrorism were the actual ultimate objective, military.com has pointed out:

“The U.S. has found some of its efforts to fight extremists hobbled by some African governments, whose own security forces are ill-equipped to launch an American-style hunt for the militants yet are reluctant to accept U.S. help because of fears the Americans will overstay their welcome and trample their sovereignty.”

“Researchers say the U.S. military now has a presence in at least 49 African countries, presumably to fight terrorism.”

In the face of Africa’s suspicion, the U.S. still sees strategic benefits to extending AFRICOM’s tentacles into every corner of the continent. In one case the Obama Administration sent 100 troops to Niger in 2013 to set up a drone base in a location where the U.S. was already providing aerial refueling assistance to the French. By June of this year, the number of U.S. military personnel in Niger had grown to at least 645, and by now there may be as many as 800 U.S. troops in that country. While the military establishment may believe that ever-deepening engagement of this kind is helpful to U.S. interests, there is a cost. Earlier this month four U.S. soldiers in Niger were killed in a firefight with alleged terrorist forces. According to at least one account:

“On October 5, about 30 Nigerien troops were patrolling in unarmored trucks alongside a dozen U.S. Army soldiers, among them Green Beret special forces. The patrol was coming from a meeting with tribal leaders and came within striking distance of the border between Niger and its war-torn neighbor Mali. The militants rode in on motorcycles and attacked the patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, killing eight: four Nigeriens, three Green Berets, and another U.S. soldier whose body wasn’t discovered until two days after the attack.”

Implicit in AFRICOM messaging is that U.S. troops help African soldiers protect helpless Africans from an unwanted “terrorist” presence. However, a CNN report about the ambush in Niger states:

“Some of the soldiers who attended the meeting with local leaders said that they suspected that the villagers were delaying their departure, stalling and keeping them waiting, actions that caused some of them to suspect that the villagers may have been complicit in the ambush…”

“By June of this year, the number of U.S. military personnel in Niger had grown to at least 645, and by now there may be as many as 800 U.S. troops in that country.”

Military commanders who intervene in other countries should know that when non-combatant villagers have taken up the cause of any group — regardless of the group’s objectives — a military victory for the interveners is practically hopeless. Nevertheless, “[m]ultiple officials told CNN that the Trump administration is talking to the Nigerien government about a potential imminent U.S. military action to hit back at the militant group that killed the American soldiers.”

Under U.S. law, Congress has the opportunity to arrest any continuing reckless military engagement by Trump. The War Powers Resolution provides that under certain circumstances a President can deploy troops into combat situations, but there are periodic reporting requirements for a President as well as time limits on how long troops can remain engaged in conflicts without a formal declaration of war or specific Congressional authorization. Nevertheless, the Congress has a history of failing to curb U.S. military intervention in other countries, and we should not expect them to do it now. Notwithstanding the deaths in Niger, Africa is not regarded in the minds of Congress or the broader public as a place where the U.S. is at war.

AFRICOM has been confident of its ability to expand the U.S. military presence in Africa while flying below the radar because of its supposed advisory role. Its plan has been to use proxy African soldiers to engage in actual combat without worries of U.S. casualties and the attendant controversies and backlash. But the deaths in Niger represent an unexpected snafu.

“Congress has a history of failing to curb U.S. military intervention in other countries.”

While it may be true that on this occasion, the deaths in Niger faded quickly from media focus, and consequently from the attention of the U.S. public, there is good reason to believe there are more deaths to come. Africans are not stupid, but U.S. military officials are if they ignore the possibility that even the most humble African villagers passionately resent an ever-widening presence of U.S. military personnel in their communities. These humble people may lack the wherewithal to effectively demonstrate their hostility, but the recent killings in Niger with the suspected assistance of villagers evidence the possibility that there are forces eager to exploit African anger and confusion about the presence of U.S. troops.

If the death toll of U.S. troops continues to climb and AFRICOM loses its low profile, there should be no surprise in the Pentagon about its chickens coming home to roost.

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Naziyahu Is Leading US President Trump to War with Iran

NOVANEWS

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu Is Leading US President Trump to War with Iran

Can Generals James Mattis (US Secretary of Defense) and John Hyten (Head of US Strategic Command) Prevent a Disaster?

 

Introduction

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish American Organizations are leading President Trump, like a puppy on a leash, into a major war with Iran. The hysterical ’52 Presidents’ and ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu are busy manufacturing Holocaust-level predictions that a non-nuclear Iran is preparing to ‘vaporize’ Israel, ,  The buffoonish US President Trump has swallowed this fantasy wholesale and is pushing our nation toward war for the sake of Israel and its US-based supporters and agents. We will cite ten recent examples of Israeli-authored policies, implemented by Trump in his march to war (there are scores of others).

1. After many years, Israel and ‘the 52 President’ finally made the US withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of its detailed documentation of Israeli crimes against Palestinian people. Trump complied with their demands.

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David Friedman (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

2. Tel Aviv demanded a Zionist fanatic and backer of the illegal Jewish settler occupation of Palestinian lands, the bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, be appointed US Ambassador to Israel. Trump complied, despite the ambassador’s overt conflict of interest.

3. Israel launched waves of savage bombings against Syrian government troops and facilities engaged in a war against ISIS-mercenary terrorists. Israel, which had backed the terrorists in its ambition to break-up of the secular Syrian state, demanded US support. Trump complied, and sent more US arms to the anti-government terrorists.

4. Israel denounced the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal Framework and Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed by 6 major states and UN Security Council Members, (US, France, UK, Germany, China and Russia). A furious Netanyahu demanded that President Trump follow Tel Aviv and abrogate the multiparty agreement signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump complied and the US is at risk of openly violating its international agreement.

Trump parrots Netanyahu’s falsehoods to the letter: He raves that Iran, while technically in compliance, has violated ‘the spirit of the agreement’ without citing a single instance of actual violation. The 5 other signers of the ‘Framework’, the US military and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency have repeatedly certified Iran’s strict compliance with the accord. Trump rejects the evidence of countless experts among US allies and ‘his own generals’ while embracing the hysterical lies from Israel and the ‘52’. Who would have thought the ‘hard-nosed’ businessman Trump would be so ‘spiritual’ when it came to honoring and breaking treaties and agreements!

5. Israel and the ‘52’ have demanded that Washington imprison and fine US citizens who have exercised their constitutional First Amendment Right of free speech by supporting the international boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which is designed to end the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and crimes against Palestinians. Trump complied. Americans may soon face over a decade in prison and complete economic ruin for supporting a peaceful economic boycott of Israeli settler products. This will represent an unprecedented violation of the US Constitution. At present, US public employees, like teachers in certain US states, are facing job loss for refusing to sign a ‘loyalty oath’ not to boycott products from Israel’s illegal settlements. Desperate American victims of the floods and natural disasters in Texas are being denied access to public US taxpayer relief funds unless they sign similar loyalty oaths in support of Israel.

6. Israel demanded that the US appoint Zionist fanatic real estate attorney, Jason Greenblatt and real estate speculator, Jared Kushner as Middle East peace negotiators.  Trump appointed South Carolina businesswoman Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Israel pushed for Ms. Haley, the first US governor to criminalize support for the peaceful BDS movement.

7. Trump went against the advice of ‘his Generals’ in his own cabinet regarding Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement, and chose to comply with Netanyahu’s demands.

8. Trump supports the long-standing Israeli project to maneuver a Kurdish takeover of Northern Iraq, grabbing the oil-rich Kirkuk province and permanently divide the once secular, nationalist Iraqi nation. Trump has sent arms and military advisers to the Kurds in war-torn Syria as they attempt to grab territory for a separate ‘Kurdistan’. This is part of an Israeli plan to subdivide the Middle East into impotent tribal ‘statelets’.

9. Trump rejected the Turkish government’s demand to extradite CIA-Israeli-backed Fethullah Gulen, self-exiled in the US since 1999, for his leadership role in the failed 2016 military coup d’etat.

10. Like all his predecessors, Trump is completely submissive to Israeli-directed ‘lobbies’ (like AIPAC), which operate on behalf of a foreign power, in violation of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. Trump chose his Orthodox Zionist son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a callow real estate investor and prominent supporter for war against Iran, as his chief foreign policy adviser.

President Trump’s irresponsible pandering to Israel and its American-Jewish agents has caused deep unease among the Generals in his cabinet, as well as among active duty and retired US military officers, who are skeptical about Tel Aviv’s push for open-ended US wars in the Middle East.

Ten Reasons Why Military Officers support America’s Nuclear Accord with Iran

The Netanyahu-Israel First power configuration in Washington succeeded in convincing Trump to tear-up the nuclear accord with Iran. This went against the advice and wishes of the top US generals in the White House and active duty officers in the field who support the agreement and recognize Iran’s cooperation.

The Generals have ten solid reasons for rejecting the Netanyahu-Trump push to shred the accord:

1. The agreement is working. By all reliable, independent and official observers, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US intelligence community and the US Secretary of State – Iran is complying with its side of the agreement.

2. If Trump violates the agreement, co-signed by the 6 members of the UN Security Council, in order to truckle to the whims of Israel and its gang of ‘52’, the US government will lose all credibility among its allies. The US military will be equally tainted in its current and future dealings with NATO and other military ‘partners’.

3. Violation of the agreement will force the Iranians to restart their nuclear, as well as advanced defensive, weapons programs, increasing the risk of an Israeli-Trump instigated military confrontation.  Any US war with Iran will be prolonged, costing the lives of tens of thousands of US troops, its land bases in the Gulf States, and warships in the Persian Gulf. Full-scale war with Iran, a large and well-armed country, would be a disaster for the entire region.

4. US generals know from their earlier experiences under the George W. Bush Administration that Zionist officials in Washington, in close collaboration with Israeli handlers, worked tirelessly to engineer the US invasion of Iraq and the prolonged war in Afghanistan. This led to the death and injury of hundreds of thousands of US military personnel as well as millions of civilian casualties in the invaded countries. The ensuing chaos created the huge refugee crises now threatening the stability of Europe. The Generals view the Israel-Firsters as irresponsible armchair warmongers and media propagandists, who have no ‘skin in the game’ through any service in the US Armed Forces. They are correctly seen as agents for a foreign entity.

5. US generals learned the lesson of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Somalia – where disastrous interventions led to defeats and loss of potential important regional allies.

6. US generals, who are working with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to negotiate an agreement with North Korea, know that Trump’s breaking a negotiated agreement with Iran, only reinforces North Korea’s distrust of the US and will harden its opposition to a diplomatic settlement on the Korean Peninsula. It is clear that a full-scale war with nuclear-armed North Korea could wipe out tens of thousands of US troops and allies throughout the region and kill or displace hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of civilians.

7. US generals are deeply disturbed by the notion that their Commander in Chief, the elected President of the United States, is taking his orders from Israel and its US proxies. They dislike committing American blood and treasure for a foreign power whose policies have only degraded US influence in the Middle East. The generals want to act for and in defense of US national interests – and not Tel Aviv’s.

8. US military officials resent the fact that Israel receives the most advanced US military weapons and technology, which have been subsidized by the US taxpayers.  In some cases, Israelis receive advanced US weapons before US troops even have them. They also are aware that Israeli intelligence agents (and American citizens) have spied on the US and received confidential military information in order to preempt US policy. Israel operates within the United States with total impunity!

9. US generals are concerned about negotiating accords with China over strategic military issues of global importance. The constant catering and groveling to Israel, an insignificant global economic entity, has reduced US prestige and status, as well as China’s trust in the validity of any military agreements with the Americans.

10. Trump’s total reliance on his pro-Israel advisers, embedded in his regime, at the expense of US military intelligence, has led to the construction of a parallel government, pitting the President and his Zionist-advisers against his generals. This certainly exposes the total hypocrisy of Trump’s presidential campaign promise to ‘Make America Great Again’. His practice and policy of promoting war with Iran for the sake of Israel are placing US national interest and the advice of the US generals last and will never restore American prestige.

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New York Senator Charles Schumer (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Trump’s decision not to certify Iran’s compliance with the accord and his handing the ultimate decision on an international agreement signed by the six members of the UN Security Council over to the US Congress is ominous:  He has effectively given potential war making powers to a corrupt legislature, often derided as ‘Israeli occupied territory’, which has always sided with Israeli and US Zionist war mongers. Trump is snubbing ‘his’ State Department, the Pentagon and the various US Intelligence agencies while giving into the demands of such Zionist zealots as New York Senator Charles Schumer, Netanyahu’s alter ego in the US Senate and a huge booster for war with Iran.

Conclusion

Trump’s refusal to certify Iran’s compliance with nuclear accord reflects the overwhelming power of Israel within the US Presidency. Trump’s rebuke of his generals and Secretary of State Tillerson, the UN Security Council and the 5 major cosigners of the 2015 accord with Iran, exposes the advanced degradation of the US Presidency and the US role in global politics.

All previous US Presidents have been influenced by the billionaire and millionaire die-hard Israel-Firsters, who funded their electoral campaigns. But occasionally, some ‘Commanders in Chief’ have decided to pursue policies favoring US national interest over Israel’s bellicose ambitions. Avoiding a catastrophic war in the Middle East is such a case: Obama chose to negotiate and sign a nuclear accord with Iran. Tel Aviv’s useful fool, Donald Trump, intends to break the agreement and drag this nation further into the hell of regional war.

In this regard, international opinion has sided with America’s generals. Only Israel and its US acolytes on Wall Street and Hollywood applaud the blustering, bellicose Trump!

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Jeremy Scahill on Trump’s Embrace of Duterte’s Deadly War on Drugs in the Philippines

NOVANEWS

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In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested he might impose martial law across the country, after declaring it this week in his native island of Mindanao. This comes as a transcript of the call of Trump praising Duterte for his controversial drug war was leaked and published by The Intercept. According to the leaked transcript, Trump said, “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing, and I just wanted to call and tell you that.” Duterte’s bloody war on drugs has led to the deaths of nearly 9,000 people, most of whom are poor. Human rights groups have blasted Duterte for the way he’s waged his anti-drug campaign, defined by extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers and users. For more on Trump and Duterte, we speak to Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept and host of the new weekly podcast, “Intercepted.” Scahill recently co-wrote a three-part series on the leaked call for The Intercept.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today’s show looking at the Philippines, where Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has been overseeing a bloody war on drugs. Since last June, more than 7,000 people have been extrajudicially killed by police or vigilantes. Duterte has also suggested he might impose martial law across the country, after first declaring it this week in his native island of Mindanao. While human rights groups have condemned Duterte, he has received backing from President Trump, who recently invited him to visit the White House. Human Rights Watch slammed the invitation, saying, quote, “By effectively endorsing Duterte’s murderous ‘war on drugs,’ Trump has made himself morally complicit in future killings.”

Well, earlier this week, a transcript of the call of Trump inviting Duterte to the White House was leaked and published by The Intercept. According to the leaked transcript, Trump said, quote, “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Duterte responded, quote, “Thank you, Mr. President. This is the scourge of my nation now, and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.”

Trump then responded, quote, “I understand that and fully understand that, and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that, but I understand that, and we have spoken about this before.”

On May 1, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about Trump’s decision to invite Duterte to the White House.

JOHN ROBERTS: Chris Coons said that the president is giving his stamp of approval to human rights abuses. Governor John Sununu, on the other hand, said this is part of the unpleasant things that presidents have to do. What’s the White House’s perspective on Duterte and him coming here?

PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: I think it is an opportunity for us to work with countries in that region that can help play a role in diplomatically and economically isolating North Korea. And frankly, the national interests of the United States, the safety of our people and the safety of people in the region are the number one priorities of the president.

AMY GOODMAN: The leaked transcript of the Trump-Duterte call does confirm North Korea came up, but only after Trump praised the Filipino president on waging his war on drugs. During the call, Trump said, quote, “We have a lot of firepower over there. We have two submarines—the best in the world—we have two nuclear submarines—not that we want to use them at all.” Trump went on to say, “I’ve never seen anything like they are, but we don’t have to use this, but he could be crazy, so we will see what happens,” unquote.

Well, to talk more about Presidents Trump and Duterte, we’re joined by Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, host of the new weekly podcast, Intercepted. Jeremy recently co-wrote a three-part article on the leaked call for The Intercept.

Jeremy, it’s great to have you with us here at the SkyDome, where the Blue Jays play, in Toronto, Canada, where we all participated in a forum on journalism last night. But talk about this really explosive exposé that you did for The Intercept around Trump’s phone call with Duterte.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, first of all, just to, you know, establish what this is that we published, this was a transcript from a phone call that took place on April 29th between Trump and Duterte. And Trump initiated the call. What we published was a Philippine government document, a classified Philippine government document. So this was the transcript that Duterte’s people made of his call with Trump.

The reason I emphasize that is because after we published this, Matt Drudge put it at the top of Drudge Report, and so we had an enormous surge in traffic from many people who are supporters of Donald Trump. And we got bombarded, and Drudge got bombarded with a boycott campaign from Trump supporters, who were saying, “Whoever leaked this should be prosecuted for treason. And the journalists who published this should be put in prison,” which echoes what we know Trump has sort of suggested in meetings, most recently to James Comey right before he fired him, the idea that journalists should be arrested. This was not a U.S. government document. Also, people were saying, “Oh, this is proof that Obama left the White House bugged.” You know, it’s like they don’t understand the basic fact of when two foreign leaders are speaking, you know, there’s two sides of this conversation. So there we have it. We have the phone conversation between these two. So—

AMY GOODMAN: How did you get it?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, we’re not going to talk about sources or methods, as the U.S. government likes to talk about. All we’ll say is that we obtained it, and both the White House and the Philippines government—well, the Philippines government validated that it is a legitimate document. The White House said that the transcript was accurate.

Now, what does that leave us with? Well, it leaves us with the fact that Donald Trump begins a phone call with Rodrigo Duterte, who is one of the most unrepentant, murderous heads of state in the world today, openly brags about how he’ll give a pardon or immunity to people who extrajudicially kill anyone involved with the drug war. And the dominant perception and the way that this is portrayed by Duterte’s people is that they’re just going after narcotraffickers. In reality, many drug users have been assassinated as part of this campaign. Duterte actually enjoys a pretty wide base of support in the Philippines, and he kind of mixes in anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist rhetoric with these very harsh policies. He also is one of the few heads of state in the world who will—you know, he regularly swears. I mean, he called Barack Obama things that I can’t even say on this program, “the son of a”—and then referenced his—as though Obama’s mother had been a sex worker. I mean, he’s, you know, calling the president of the United States and saying, “I’m going to divorce the United States and orient myself toward China and Russia.” And he said that under Obama because Obama’s administration criticized the tactics that Duterte was using, the kind of paramilitary gangster tactics that they were using.

And, you know, I think the most—not astonishing, but the most relevant part of this is that Trump knows all of that and, in fact, views that as a positive thing. So he calls Duterte and says to him, you know, “Rodrigo, I just want to congratulate you for the amazing job that you’re doing.” And the reason that we know it’s not just kind of generic platitudes is because Trump himself references in this call the fact that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had said the obvious, which is, you know, this is not right, the way that this is being handled. And, you know, the Obama administration had a very hypocritical record on human rights, but, as Allan Nairn has pointed out before, hypocrisy has some virtue, in the sense that at least they—you’re able to call them out on it, because they say one thing but mean another. So the bottom line is, Trump calls Duterte and says, “Great job. Amazing job. Obama didn’t—you know, he didn’t get it. I get it. You have our full support. You’re a good man.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Jeremy, I wanted to ask you—almost as shocking as the call and the congratulations from Trump was the other part of the discussion about North Korea and Trump revealing to Duterte and, obviously, to lots of folks in the Philippine government about nuclear submarines of the U.S. that are off the coast of North Korea.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, well, first of all, we know that, you know, Trump still continues to use an insecure cellphone, that he tweets from, and has brought that cellphone to the table on classified discussions about North Korea. He did it when Shinzo Abe was at Mar-a-Lago with him, the Japanese leader. There were photos of Trump’s cellphone. His specific phone that he uses has been—already, that phone, for years, it’s been known to have been compromised by Chinese hackers. So Trump is bringing this insecure phone to meetings about North Korea. Then he’s on the phone with Duterte last month, and he says, “You know, we’ve got these two nuclear subs near North Korea.” And he’s saying this to Duterte, who was most certainly under surveillance by both the North Koreans and the Chinese. So anyone who says, “Oh, well, you guys revealed this information,” the most damaging revelation of classified information happened when Donald Trump told Duterte this. And Duterte also is a clever operator when it comes to China. And he has called Vladimir Putin his hero.

But the most newsworthy aspect of that is that—and I felt bad for you, Amy, having to read those quotes from Trump, because when you actually read his words and you’re not Trump, it sounds like the garbled mess that it actually is, because you don’t have the inflection, and you’re not, you know, sniffling and all these things. But Trump tells Duterte about these submarines off the coast, and he says, you know, “We’ve got so much more firepower than North Korea. At least 20 times more.” Twenty times? The United States is known to have more than 6,000 nuclear warheads. North Korea is believed to have around 10. So Trump’s math was way off in that equation.

And some people were saying, “Oh, well, Trump keeps saying, ‘We don’t want to use it. We don’t want to use it.’” That’s not what’s significant. What’s significant is that Trump says, “This is a madman. We don’t know what he’s going to do. We’d prefer not to go to war. But who knows?” That’s really frightening to hear from someone who is in command of the most lethal and powerful military in the world. He also—and this is sort of sad, on one level, but also frightening—he says, “Rodrigo, let’s talk about Kim Jong-un. Is he stable or unstable?” Huh? I mean, why is the president of the United States asking Duterte about if Kim Jong-un is unstable?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A man whose own stability is in question, Duterte.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right, right, of course. I mean, this is three madmen that are in this equation: Trump, Duterte and Kim Jong-un. And I really don’t know which of these three people is the sort of greater threat to civilization. I mean, it’s probably Trump, but it’s—you know, tough call.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s go to some of the clips of Duterte in his own words. Last September, the Philippines president likened himself to Hitler.

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE: Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there is 3 million—what is it? Three million drug addicts, there are. I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have [me]. You know, my victims, I would like to be all criminals.

AMY GOODMAN: Last fall, Duterte called then-President Obama “son of a whore” and warned him not to ask about his so-called drug war.

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE: I am a president of a sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. [translated] Son of a whore, I will swear at you in that forum.

AMY GOODMAN: Before he was elected, Duterte admitted he was linked to a death squad in Davao. He spoke on a local TV show in a mix of English and Visayan.

MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE: [translated] Me. They are saying I’m part of a death squad.

HOST: So, how do you react to that?

MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE: [translated] True. That’s true. You know, when I become president, I warn you—I don’t covet the position, but if I become president, the 1,000 will become 50,000. [in English] I will kill all of you who make the lives of Filipinos miserable. [translated] I will really kill you. I won because of the breakdown in law and order.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Meanwhile, in December, Duterte boasted about having personally killed criminal suspects when he was mayor of Davao City. The Manila Times reported he told a group of business leaders in the Philippines capital, quote, “In Davao, I used to do it personally—just to show to the guys that if I can do it, why can’t you? And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation, so I could kill.” Jeremy—

JEREMY SCAHILL: I mean—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: These comments from a president of the Philippines.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. Well, I mean, you know, those, of course, are of a more serious nature than the kinds of things that come out of Donald Trump’s mouth, but they do have that in common, where, you know, they’ll just sort of say what they’re thinking. And in a way, it’s refreshing, I guess, because most world leaders try to cover up the uncouth actions that they’re taking in their countries.

What I think is really significant for people to understand is that in the Hitler quote, where Duterte is saying Germany had Hitler, and, you know, he underestimates the number of people that Hitler killed—you know, he says 3 million—but he doesn’t say, “We have 3 million narcotraffickers that I want to kill.” He says, “We have 3 million addicts.” And that is—that’s the point here, is that they are not going after the kind of, you know, “Chapo” of the Philippines. Many of the people that have been killed are rank-and-file victims of a drug culture. And that’s who’s paying the heaviest price for all of this.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you about something else in those transcripts: the short discussion between Trump and Duterte toward the end about China and Xi Jinping, the president of China, that Trump said, “Oh, I met with him at Mar-a-Lago. He’s a really good guy.”

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You know, this is after months and months of Trump’s China bashing here during the political campaign. All of a sudden he seems to indicate that he needs to rely on China, China is the critical country in being able to keep North Korea at bay.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, and, you know, that has sort of—you know, under Obama, they called the policy on North Korea “strategic patience.” And I think that all serious observers of Korea politics and the history of Korea know that the North Korean regime is largely dependent on China for basically its survival, in many ways, in addition to the smuggling and organized crime that the North Korean regime is involved with. But on a tactical level, Trump spends, you know, a couple of days with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, and then he’s saying to Duterte, “Oh, we’ve got to get the Chinese to solve the problem.” And Duterte’s like, “Oh, yeah, I’ll give him a call.” It really shows how out of his depth Trump is, as though he just heard, oh, maybe China could do something about this. I mean, it’s frightening when you’re talking about the presence of nuclear weapons. China plays the United States like a fiddle all the time in international relations.

AMY GOODMAN: We just have 30 seconds before we go to break, and then we’ll also be joined by Glenn Greenwald, but—so, Duterte is coming to the White House? Is that clear?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, Donald Trump says to him, you know, “Anytime you’re in Washington, come by. I would love to have you in the White House.” After we published this, Senator Lindsey Graham said that he may join with Democrats who are calling for Trump to postpone that trip, so that they can discuss these issues.

And, I mean, I do think that what’s interesting, he just declared martial law in the south of the country, Duterte did, and he’s doing it in the name of fighting terrorism. That part of what Duterte is doing has long been aided by the United States, the Joint Special Operations Command, the CIA, military intelligence. The U.S. has poured resources into the Philippines in the name of fighting Islamist rebels. Duterte is now adopting that rhetoric, just like Bush and Trump—you know, Obama had different terms for it—are talking about this fight. In a way, it seems as though Duterte is outsmarting Trump in terms of how this is all playing.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill is going to stay with us, co-founder of The Intercept, host of the new weekly podcast, Intercepted. His most recent piece, we’ll link to, “Trump Called Rodrigo Duterte to Congratulate Him on His Murderous Drug War: ‘You Are Doing an Amazing Job.’” Jeremy’s books include Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, more recently, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program. This is Democracy Now! Back with Jeremy and Glenn Greenwald in a moment.

Posted in USA, PhilippineComments Off on Jeremy Scahill on Trump’s Embrace of Duterte’s Deadly War on Drugs in the Philippines

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