Archive | May 20th, 2018

NDP MPs must stop being ‘friends’ with the Nazi regime

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NDP MPs must stop being ‘friends’ with Israel

By Yves Engler 

Is it appropriate for NDP Members of Parliament to be working for “greater friendship” with a country that is killing and maiming thousands of non-violent protestors?

Would it have been appropriate for any elected member of the party to be a “friend” with South Africa’s government during the apartheid era?

Victoria area MPs Randall Garrison (left) and Murray Rankin are members of the Canada Israel Interparliamentary Group (previously named Canada-Israel Friendship Group).

Garrison is vice-chair of a group designed to promote “greater friendship” and “cooperation” between the two countries’ parliaments.

The chair of the group is York Centre MP Michael Levitt, a former board member of the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund, who issued a statement blaming “Hamas incitement” for Israeli forces shooting thousands of peaceful protesters, including Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani.

The Interparliamentary Group is one of many pro-Israel lobbying organizations in Canada. In conjunction with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, the Interparliamentary Group has hosted wine and cheese lobbying events on Parliament Hill. Three hundred parliamentarians and parliamentary staff attended their 2014 “Israeli Wine Meets Canadian Cheese” gathering in the East Block courtyard.

The group regularly meets the Israeli Ambassador and that country’s other diplomats. Representatives of the Group also regularly visit Israel on sponsored trips. For their part, Garrison and Rankin both participated in CIJA-organized trips to Israel in 2016.

The Interparliamentary Group works with its Israeli counterpart the Israel-Canada Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group. In 2016 the Group sent a delegation to the Israeli Knesset and last year they organized a joint teleconference with Israel-Canada Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group co-chairs Yoel Hasson and Anat Berko.

Last month Hasson responded to Meretz party Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg’s call for an investigation into the Israel Defense Forces’ killing of non-violent Palestinian protesters by tweeting, “there was nothing to investigate, the IDF is doing what’s necessary to defend the Gaza border.”

Chairman of the Zionist Union Knesset faction, Hasson opposed the UN resolution on a Palestinian state. When the Knesset voted to strip Arab MK Hanin Zoabi of parliamentary privileges for participating in the 2010 Gaza flotilla Hasson and MK Carmel Shama “nearly came to blows” with Zoabi and her fellow Balad party MK Jamal Zahalka. Hasson later called Zoabi a “terrorist”.

Berko is even more openly racist and anti-Palestinian. A Lieutenant-Colonel in the IDF reserves prior to her election with Likud, Berko openly disparaged African refugees. In February Israel National News reported, “Berko said that the MKs should see the suffering that African migrants have caused South Tel Aviv residents before jetting off to Rwanda” to oppose an effort to deport mostly Eritrean and Sudanese refugees to the small East African nation.

In January Berko co-sponsored a bill to bypass a High Court ruling that Israeli forces cannot use the bodies of dead Palestinian protesters as bargaining chips. The aim of the bill was to make it harder for the bodies to be given over for burial, which should happen as soon as possible under Muslim ritual, in the hopes of preventing high profile funerals. In a 2016 Knesset debate Berko make the ridiculous claim that the absence of the letter “P” in the Arabic alphabet meant Palestine did not exist since “no people would give itself a name it couldn’t pronounce.”

In response Richard Silverstein noted, “Apparently, the fact that the word is spelled and pronounced with an ‘F’ (Falastin) in Arabic seems to have escaped her. It’s worth noting, too, that according to her logic, Israeli Jews do not exist either, since there is no letter ‘J’ in Hebrew.”

Garrison and Rankin must immediately withdraw from the Canada–Israel Interparliamentary Group. If the NDP MPs refuse to disassociate themselves from the pro-Israel lobby organization, party leader Jagmeet Singh should replace them as (respectively) NDP defence and justice critics.

Israel’s slaughter in Gaza should lead to an end of the NDP’s anti-Palestinian past.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Africa, ZIO-NAZI, South AfricaComments Off on NDP MPs must stop being ‘friends’ with the Nazi regime

US becoming ‘world champion of extreme inequality’ under Donald Trump, says UN poverty envoy

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‘The American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion’

Andrew Buncombe

Donald Trump turning US into ‘world champion of extreme inequality’, says UN poverty expert

The United States under Donald Trump is fast becoming “the champion of inequality”, according to a scathing report by the United Nation’s expert on poverty.

While the US is one of the richest nations, entrenched poverty already experienced by many will be made worse by policies promoted by Mr Trump and the Republicans, in particular a planned tax overhaul that critics say gives huge cuts to the wealthy, it added.

“The American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion, as the United States now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries,” said Philip Alston the UN Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Philip Alston@Alston_UNSR

FULL STATEMENT on my two-week visit investigate available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22533&LangID=E  @UNHumanRights

“American exceptionalism was a constant theme in my conversations. But instead of realising its founders’ admirable commitments, today’s United States has proved itself to be exceptional in far more problematic ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights.”

He added: “There is no other developed country where so many voters are disenfranchised and where so few poor voters even care to go to the polls.”

Mr Alston delivered his comments alongside a draft report which he made public. His final report will be available in the spring of 2018 and will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June of next year.

On his 15-day visit around the US, the Australian Mr Alston, a law professor at New York University, visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico and West Virginia. He spoke to low-income families and officials.

Help A Hungry Child: Independent teams up with The Felix Project to tackle food poverty

In Alabama, he saw conditions he said he had never previously witnessed in the developed world. Taken to Butler and then Lowndes counties he was shown families whose homes had no proper sewage system and who create their own unhygienic systems using PVC piping.

While E. coli is common in both communities, which are largely made up of African Americans, academics recently discovered that hookworm, a disease associated with extreme poverty and which was thought to have been eradicated in the US more than 100 years ago, still persists in pockets of Lowndes County, located just 20 miles from the state capital, Montgomery.

“I think it’s very uncommon in the first world. This is not a sight that one normally sees,” Mr Alston told AL.com as he visited Alabama. “I’d have to say that I haven’t seen this.”

Mr Alston said statistics from the US Census Bureau in September 2017 indicated more than 40m people – more than one in eight Americans – were living in poverty. Almost half of those, 18.5m, were living in deep poverty, with reported family income below half of the poverty threshold.

He said while it was frequently assumed that poor people belonged almost entirely to minority groups, but noted there were eight million more white people than African-Americans living in poverty. “The face of poverty in America is not only black or Hispanic, but also white, Asian and many other colours,” he said.

He said the tax and welfare reforms being proposed by Mr Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress, were likely to have “devastating consequences” for the poorest 20 per cent of Americans.

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The UN said policies pursued by Donald Trump and the Republicans were making inequality worse (Getty)

“The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world,” Mr Alston said.

“It will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest one percent and the poorest 50 percent of Americans.”

He added: “The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes.”

Republicans declined to meet Mr Alston in Washington, with the office of Speaker Paul Ryan saying he was too busy. Yet independent senator Bernie Sanders seized on the envoy’s findings.

He wrote on Twitter: “Our job: fight back against the reactionary Trump agenda and for a progressive agenda that works for the middle class, not the one per cent.”

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BBC gets “technical difficulties” when reporter mentions MI6’s involvement in torture

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Comments:

  1. Interesting. The look of alarm (from being hissed or gestured at by some minder off-camera?) on the female anchor’s face is precious! One might like to chat with her in “replay” reminiscence over dinner, or in the shower, or in bed….

    Comment by roberthstiver | May 19, 2018 | Reply

  2. The people who work for, report for, and the “Presenters” as well, are all paid for by the BBC(ie The Government) and therefore, ‘they do as they’re told’. Just like in the “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, the Destruction of Libya, and the disgrace of the “Rebellion” in Syria, the BBC conveys the “Government Line”.
    The BBC is as corrupted as the rest of the “Western MSM”.
    We can no longer(and probably never could) trust the propaganda put out into our airwaves.

    It doesn’t hurt to compare the Western “News” with the “News” put out by RT(Russia) and Press TV(Iran). The “Truth” lies somewhere in between.

    Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | May 19, 2018 | Reply

  3. Stupendous!! When I point out to family and friends these “phenomena” may be routinely executed against anyone anywhere by companies like the NSA, they respond with blinkering incredulity. Yet, other private companies like Palantir for quite some time have been able to monitor and alter the electronic Presenter’s presentation in “real time”. Watching this hamfisted reaction by the Presenter’s overlords suggests either the people in power lost control of the narrative or they have more to gain from a rather naked expression of their aggression, a projection of power, terrorism by any other name.

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Dr Amer Ghantous on Al Jazeera March 2011 lies on Syria

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Eva K Bartlett 

When in Syria, and before going to Dara’a itself, I interviewed Dr. Amer Ghantous about his experiences and observations on having worked in a military hospital in Dara’a governorate in March 2011. He spoke of being instructed to give priority to treating any civilians who came to the hospital before soldiers. He also spoke of the hospital receiving soldiers who had clearly been shot by snipers.

In this short clip, Dr. Ghantous speaks of the lies of Al Jazeera, and touches on the pre-planned nature of events in March 2011. Full interview to follow.

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Gaza Massacre Exposes Western Hypocrisy on Russia’s ‘Annexation’ of Crimea

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By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 

This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new 19-kilometer bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland southern Russia. Thousands of kilometers away, in occupied Palestine, a massacre was being carried out by Israeli soldiers with full support of the United States as it opened a new embassy.

The two events are not as disparate as one might think at first glance. They both involve “annexation” – one fictitious, the other very real. But Western hypocrisy inverts the reality.

While US dignitaries were opening the new American embassy in Jerusalem amid pomp and ceremony, some 60 unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot dead in cold blood by Israeli snipers. Among the dead were eight children. Thousands of others were maimed by live fire. The bloodshed could increase in coming days.

The relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli-occupied city of Jerusalem, ordered by President Trump, has been rebuked by the majority of nations. The American move pre-empts any negotiated peace settlement which was supposed to bequeath East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy effectively endorses Israeli claims to the whole of Jerusalem as the “undivided capital of the Jewish state”. Israel has occupied all of Jerusalem in contravention of international law since the 1967 Six Day War.

In other words, Washington has shifted from tacit acceptance to an openly complicit policy in Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory, an annexation which has been going on for seven decades since the inception of the Israeli state in 1948. The now de facto American approval of the annexation of all Jerusalem marked by the opening of the US embassy is the culmination of 70 years of Israeli expansion and occupation.

Meanwhile, Putin’s unveiling this week of the bridge linking southern Russian mainland to the Crimea Peninsula is a timely reminder of the brazen hypocrisy of American and European states.

Since Crimea voted in a referendum in March 2014 to rejoin its historic homeland of Russia, Washington and its allies have continually complained about Moscow’s alleged “annexation” of the Black Sea peninsula.

Never mind that the Crimean people were prompted to hold their accession referendum following a bloody coup in Ukraine against an elected government by CIA-backed Neo-Nazis in February 2014. The people of Crimea voted in a peacefully constituted referendum to secede from Ukraine to join Russia, which it was historically a part of until 1954 when the Soviet Union arbitrarily assigned Crimea to the jurisdiction of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine.

For the past four years, Western governments, their corporate news media and think-tanks, as well as the US-led NATO military alliance, have mounted an intense anti-Russian campaign of economic sanctions, denigration and offensive posturing all on the back of dubious claims that Russia “annexed” Crimea.

Relations between the US and the European Union towards Russia have descended into the freezer of a new and potentially catastrophic Cold War, supposedly motivated by the principle that Moscow had violated international law and changed borders by force. Russia’s alleged “annexation” of Crimea is cited as a sign of Moscow threatening Europe with expansionist aggression. Putin has been vilified as a “new Hitler” or “new Stalin” depending on your historical illiteracy.

This Western distortion about the events that occurred in Ukraine during 2014, and subsequently, can be easily disputed with hard facts as a blatant falsification to conceal what was actually illegal interference by Washington and its European allies in the sovereign affairs of the Ukraine. In short, Western interference was about regime change; with the objective of destabilizing Moscow and projecting NATO force on Russia’s borders.

That is one way of challenging the Western narrative about Ukraine and Crimea. Through weighing up factual events, such as the CIA-backed false-flag sniper shootings of dozens of protesters in Kiev in February 2014. Or the ongoing Western-backed military offensive by Kiev’s Neo-Nazi forces against the breakaway republics of Donbas in Eastern Ukraine.

Another way is to ascertain the integrity of supposed Western legal principle about the general practice of annexation of territory.

From listening to the incessant public consternation expressed by Western governments and media about Russia’s alleged annexation of Crimea, one might think that the putative expropriation of territory is a most grievous violation of international law. Oh how chivalrous, one might think, are Washington and the Europeans in their defense of territorial sovereignty, judging by their seeming righteous repudiation of “annexation”.

However, this week’s grotesque opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem accompanied by the massacre of protesting unarmed Palestinians shows that Western professed concerns about “annexation” are nothing but a diabolical sham. In seven decades of expanding illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by the Israelis, Washington and the Europeans have enacted no opposition.

But when it comes to Crimea, even though their case is not valid, the Western powers never stop hand-wringing about Russia’s “annexation” as if it was the biggest crime in modern history.

Worse than hypocrisy, the US and European Union have been silently complicit in allowing Israel to continue annexing more and more Palestinian territory despite the stark violation of international law. Periodic massacres and whole populations held under brutal military siege in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have never registered any effective opposition from Western powers.

This week, Washington has gone one step further to, in effect, exult in the Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory in the most provocative way by opening its embassy in occupied Jerusalem. Then on top of that violation of international law, we have the obscenity of the Trump White House defending the massacre of unarmed civilians as “an act of self-defense” by the illegally occupying and US-armed Israeli military. A White House license to kill.

The pathetic, muted response from the European Union and the United Nations towards this state terrorism and criminality exposes their cowardly complicity.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has for months been hysterically accusing Russia of violations in Ukraine and Syria. Yet, on the mass murder of Palestinians this week, Haley was silent. Her only remarks were to congratulate Israel over the new US embassy in occupied Jerusalem.

So, the next time we hear Washington and its European allies pontificate to Russia about “annexation”, the only fitting response should be one of contempt for their vile hypocrisy towards Palestinian rights and the ongoing genocide of its people under Western-backed occupation.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Gaza Massacre Exposes Western Hypocrisy on Russia’s ‘Annexation’ of Crimea

Nazi police break activist’s leg while in custody

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Activists say Nazi police have brutally beaten an Arab-Israeli NGO worker after arresting him at a Haifa demonstration, which landed him in hospital with a broken leg.

Jafar Farah, the CEO of the Mossawa Center, was one of the 21 people arrested on Friday during a demonstration against the May 14 Nazi carnage in the Gaza Strip.

Footage of Farah’s arrest shows him being escorted away from the protest on his own feet and in handcuffs.

However, the police said the activist is now hospitalized, without providing further details on his condition.

Farah’s relatives and Adalah, an organization dedicated to Palestinian legal rights in the Nazi state, accused the police of breaking the campaigner’s leg while in custody.

Adalah said in a statement that the Nazi police had dealt with the Haifa demonstration “like a war,” beaten those who attempted to escape and denied the detainees access to lawyers for over an hour after their arrest.

“All the detainees were handcuffed for the entire night and kept sitting on the police station floor. Many of them experienced serious bruising to their wrists. Adalah considers these arrests to be illegal, as the police violence in Haifa was unprecedented and unprovoked,” the statement read.

Additionally, the Mossawa Center said on Facebook that Farah had been assaulted while in police custody and is now in Bnai Tzion Hospital with a broken leg. Nazi policemen arrest a protester in Haifa on May 18, 2018.

Nazi lawmaker Ilan Gilon said he had passed an urgent question to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan regarding Farah’s arrest.

“I demand to know if police brutality led to the broken leg by Jafar Farah,”  he said on Facebook. “The idea that a protester leaves his home to use his democratic right and is taken to an interrogation because of that, and as it ends it turns out his limbs are broken, is a thought that makes my blood run cold.”

In a Twitter post, Merav Michaeli, another Israeli lawmaker, called Farah “a partner in the struggle for equality and peace,” condemning his “frightening” treatment at the hands of policemen.

Member of the Knesset (MK) Ayman Odeh, who met the Haifa detainees, said police forces brutally oppressed the protest without any explanation.

He said Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu’s regime “wants to silence any voice of resistance and dissent coming from here, to silence any voice that embarrasses it and its actions.”

MK Aida Touma-Suleiman also spoke against the Nazi police clampdown on Haifa demonstrators, saying, “the attempts to scare and silence people will fail again!”

“The violence exerted on protesters was unchecked. Interrogators continued to beat up the detainees after they were arrested without any explanation or justification. As a result, some of them were injured. Jafar Farah’s leg was broken,” she added.

Nazi forces killed at least 65 Palestinians during protests near the Gaza fence on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 2,700 Palestinians were also wounded as the Nazi forces used snipers, airstrikes, tank fire and tear gas to target the demonstrators.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) convened on Friday, demanding an “independent, international commission of inquiry” into the Gaza killings and denouncing “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force” by Nazi forces against Palestinians.

Nazi officials angry with UN rights council

The move infuriated Nazi officials, with the minister of military affairs claiming that the council had become a “cheerleader for terrorists.”

In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Nazi Avigdor Lieberman rejected the probe into the Gaza killings. He had earlier urged Tel Aviv and the US to immediately withdraw from the UNHRC.

Naziyahu also railed against the UNHRC, saying the Geneva-based body had backed terrorism by launching the Gaza investigation.

“There is nothing new under the sun. An organization that calls itself a council for human rights has once again proven that it is hypocritical and biased” and that its “purpose is to harm Israel and support terror,” the Nazi premier said.

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My Random Encounter With Jeremy Corbyn

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This is just a short one; and is really just an anecdote and not anything important.

But the most random, odd thing happened to me a couple of weeks back. It was on the day my grandfather passed away – in fact, it was just a few minutes before my grandfather passed away and it took place in the hospital.

A number of family members and extended family members were gathered in the Whittington Hospital in North London. My grandfather was on life-support and we were told he was unlikely to last the day. My mother and I decided that we would stay the night with him so that everyone else could eventually go home. I had spent the last year-and-a-half or so living in my grandfather’s house and attending to him in the night hours, so it felt only natural that I would stay the final night too.

So my mother and I, my sister, and my father left the other family members in the ward and we intended to drop my father back home and then for me and my mother to collect some overnight things and return to the hospital.

As we came out of the elevator and started walking across to the entrance, I was in a distracted state of mind, suspecting (correctly, as it happened) that I might’ve just seen my grandfather for the last time.

Lost in my thoughts, I barely registered someone saying, “Is that Jeremy Corbyn?”

I looked up and saw the famous Anti-Semite, terrorist and threat-to-national-security walking towards us from the entrance. For a moment, I thought it must’ve just been someone who looked like him. But no, the closer he got, the more obvious it was.

It was already in a daze and this felt surreal, like a glitch in The Matrix.

He only had one other person with him – there was no entourage. I smiled at him and he smiled back. I briefly thought about shaking his hand and having a word – had the circumstances of the day been different, I certainly would’ve done so: but, as it was, I was too absent-minded.

Then my mother – before I could ask her not to embarass me – blurted out to him “My son’s a big fan of yours!”

Corbyn paused and smiled. My mother nudged me to go talk to him. Before I could do so, my father (a man whose sense of etiquette is highly questionable at the best of times) seemed to be motioning towards the Labour leader with outstretched arms. I wanted to stop him: wanted to tell him, “You can’t just go up to the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and bear-hug him! He doesn’t know who you are!”

But I didn’t have time to say any of that.

Instead, I watched in nervous slow-motion as my father put his arms around Corbyn as if he was greeting an old friend. I watched Corbyn closely, worried he would be uncomfortable with this or feel threatened.

Not only did Corbyn seem to reciprocate the hug, but he then started chatting amiably with my father, randomly talking to him about football and cricket. I wondered afterward if perhaps the Labour leader had mistaken my father for someone he knew: if perhaps my father’s unusual over-friendliness had tricked Corbyn into assuming they must’ve met before.

Either way, what struck me is that Jeremy handled it very well, very naturally, without ever seeming uncomfortable, inconvenienced or annoyed at the invasion of personal space. When my father was done, I shook Jeremy’s hand. And then – seeing as how my father had already violated his personal space and ignored basic etiquette (you don’t hug strangers) – I decided to go for a hug too.

Corbyn then asked us what we were in the hospital for. We explained our situation and he offered his sympathies. He then explained to us that he was here to visit a friend who had just had a baby; I think my mother then said something vaguely philosophical about a life always starting when another life is ending.

It was the nature of the encounter – and the timing of it – that made it feel strange. I’ve encountered famous people before, including high-profile politicians before, such as Ken Livingstone: but those tend to be fairly dry, spiritless affairs. A girlfriend of mine from when I was a teenager met Tony Blair and in fact interviewed him: she thought it made her a big-shot journalist (it really didn’t). In fact, she’d forgotten about it within a month, so it clearly made no impression.

It occurred to me days later that it was the informality of running into Corbyn in that sort of environment that made it register so strongly. It wouldn’t be that easy to just randomly go up to any other major political leader, hug him against his will and have him seem perfectly okay with it. I can’t imagine it would’ve gone so amiably with any previous Labour Party leader, or with any leader of the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats. You would almost forget that he’s the leader of the major opposition party of Britain.

This happened also at the same time as the Anti-Semitism ‘crisis’ was flaring up again a few weeks back, so Corbyn had also been the major television news item for a couple of days (in fact, what was also odd was that I had been writing a draft of an article on that very subject the night before).

I have to say he didn’t seem stressed or bothered by any of that negative media coverage.

With hindsight, I should’ve had a more serious chat with him about things. Or craftily put a couple of intelligent questions to him that I could’ve then reproduced his answers to here. But I wasn’t in that frame of mind. And it probably wouldn’t have been nice to take advantage of his good nature.

In the car, I chastised my father. “You don’t just go and put your arms around someone like that! What if he had reacted badly?”

My father simply said he’d been excited to see him and he did what came naturally. I told him he’d probably just bear-hugged the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

On a different note, it occurs to me that it would be very easy for someone to do harm to Jeremy Corbyn if they wanted to. The man seems to have no security. Though, if anyone did ever intend harm to Mr Corbyn, it is unlikely it would ever be a member of the public.

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Crucial presidential elections upcoming in Venezuela amid imperialist threats

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President Nicolás Maduro and “First Combatant” Cilia Flores on
re-election campaign tour across Venezuela.

Editor’s update: In a gross violation of international law, Canada is prohibiting Venezuelans living in Canada from voting in the May 20 election. On May 16, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned this move as an attempt to meddle in Venezuela’s election process. 

“They denounce that there is a dictatorship in Venezuela, but who is denying the right to vote? Only dictatorship countries do not allow citizens to exercise their right to vote, so I ask if Venezuela –according to some world nations – is a dictatorship, how is it that today Canada intends to curtail Venezuelans’ right to vote?

“Who is preventing here the right to suffrage and to vote, the government of Venezuela or the government of Canada?” Arreaza said. (Telesur)


President Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has been welcomed in the streets by hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan workers over the past few weeks as his re-election campaign tour has visited many diverse areas of the country. These demonstrations fly in the face of the divided Venezuelan political opposition, the U.S. government and its neoliberal collaborator regimes in the region, all of whom claim that Venezuelans are suffering under an unpopular, undemocratic dictatorship.

These claims do not stand up to scrutiny. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in his capacity as head of The Carter Center, a non-governmental organization which has observed numerous elections in Venezuela dating back to 1998, has described the country’s election process as “the best in the world.”

Why is that the case?

Ease of voting and security guarantees

At the voting booth, Venezuela employs biometric technology in concert with simple paper receipts to ensure that eligible voters are who they claim to be, and that the electronically-tallied totals are verifiable with a hard-copy backup. The voting machines currently in use enable audits at each stage of the voting process as well as randomized storage order of the votes cast to protect voter identities.

Additionally, Venezuela holds a “dry run” exercise in the lead-up to its elections which gives voters a chance to find a route to their local polling place and interact with voting machines so there will be no surprises on election day. The dry run in preparation for the May 20 presidential election was held on May 6, with many localities reporting higher than expected participation.

While many ordinary working people and the precariously employed masses in the United States are forced to choose between voting or logging crucial paying hours of work on U.S. election Tuesdays, Venezuela holds its elections on Sundays.The National Electoral Council (CNE) publishes all documents related to vote counting, including results from each voting station, to its website. The CNE announced in April that special steps would be taken around the country to ensure voters with motor, visual and other disabilities would be guaranteed assistance in exercising their right to participate in the election.

Divided opposition to Maduro and the socialist vision

In March, Maduro and presidential hopefuls from the moderate wing of the political opposition met at a neutral site in the Dominican Republic to ratify an Electoral Guarantees Agreement, which among other points included an invitation for the United Nations to send election observers with technical staff to observe the May 20 election.

By contrast, controversial hard-right opposition figures such as Leopoldo López have renewed their years-old call to boycott all elections. This is part of a strategy to delegitimize the country’s model election process and ultimately to invite intervention, sanctions or other meddling from external forces like the Organization of American States or
the government of the United States–a strategy which violates Venezuela’s hard-won sovereignty and which 2018 presidential election opposition polling leader Henri Falcon has spoken out against.

López was instrumental in promoting and stoking the deadly, fascistic “guarimba” street demonstrations which in 2017 claimed the lives of dozens of Venezuelans, targeted Black and Brown people, and included fire-bombings of public buildings, a maternity hospital and more. While in 2015 Washington political establishment mouthpiece Foreign Policy Magazine exposed and detailed López’s involvement in the short-lived 2002 coup of the capitalist elite against Bolivarian Revolutionary hero Hugo Chávez, among other violent exploits, today the New York Times, Washington Post and other outlets of the corporate-owned media uphold López as a legitimate political figure and fighter for human rights akin to Martin Luther King, Jr.

United States and regional partners a broken record

Despite all the evidence, a slate of electoral victories over the last three years, and popular support for the progressive Great Patriotic Pole electoral alliance of which PSUV and the Communist Party of Venezuela are members, the government of the United States has not backed down from its claims that a Venezuela led by Maduro is a threat to U.S. national security and a dictatorship with sham elections. The U.S. has been working overtime, using the so-called Lima Group of empire-friendly Latin American countries as well as the Organization of American States to further try to diplomatically isolate Venezuela and discredit the May 20 elections.

The Lima Group is a relatively new formation founded in 2017 mainly in reaction to Venezuela’s successful National Constituent Assembly process. The Organization of American States is known to many as the “U.S. Ministry of Colonies” due to the fact that it has functioned largely as a tool of empire against nationalist and socialist movements in Latin America since the McCarthyite era of anti-communism and the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

In a bizarre, racist move, a bipartisan group of U.S. legislators has even tried to discredit Venezuela’s elections by insinuating that “despotic foreign powers like Russia and China” are somehow involved in propping up Maduro’s “dictatorship.” The U.S. embassy in Venezuela got into the act, Tweeting a cryptic warning for Americans to avoid demonstrations or political gatherings in the lead-up to the May 20 election for fear of violence. Whether this is an attempt to promote the fizzling call for protests made by the extreme wing of the opposition or to dissuade journalists from covering the massive mobilizations of progressive Maduro supporters around the country is not clear.

Solidarity from the peoples of the Americas

In light of this heated rhetoric, leftist president of Bolivia and friend of the Bolivarian Revolution, Evo Morales, has warned that the U.S. may be planning with its regional partners to stage an invasion of Venezuela, one which he pledged, “will be thwarted by the dignity, sovereignty and unity of [the] democratic peoples” of the region.

All progressive and revolutionary people should stand with the truly progressive peoples’ movements of Latin America and the Caribbean, in full support of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, the socialist vision for the future of the region and in defense of the right of the sovereign peoples of Venezuela to chart their own course.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on Crucial presidential elections upcoming in Venezuela amid imperialist threats

Draft Dodger in Chief Dodges “Historic” Opening of US Embassy, Jerusalem

NOVANEWS
 

It was NBC’s Cal Parry who summed up the obscenity of Donald Trump’s ignorant and igniting decision to move the US Embassy to West Jerusalem, then to celebrate the inauguration on Monday, 14th May: “Well dressed American and Israeli officials on one side of the screen: desperation, death and fires on the other.”

In 1948, 700,000 Palestinians began their flight from the city and the region trying to escape the massacres by Jewish militias on that date, seventy years ago. Commemorated ever since as the day of “Nakba” – disaster, catastrophe, cataclysm – following them to this day as land is stolen, families expelled and “settlements” encroach, and Palestinian history is bulldozed.

‘ “When the massacre started the (paramilitaries) took a kid and strapped him on an army jeep and drove him around different neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, saying ‘the same will happen to you if you don’t leave,’ ” Abu Kaya said, retelling his grandfather’s story to Middle East Eye.’ (1)

“ … not a single country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem because such a move is widely considered to violate international law.”

Further:

‘Under United Nations Resolution 181, which in 1947 set out the conditions for the partition of Palestine into an “Arab State” and a “Jewish State”, Jerusalem was to be administered by the UN under a “special international regime.”

‘The 1949 armistice agreement that formally ended the first Arab-Israeli war divided the city along the “Green Line” into Israeli-controlled western areas, and Jordanian-held East Jerusalem, which included the Old City.’

“Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is widely recognised as illegal and violates further United Nations resolutions.

“For Palestinians then, sovereignty over the city is not something for leaders of other countries to determine, as US President Donald Trump did when he announced the embassy move in December.”

In the few minutes it took to jot down notes for this piece, the Palestinian death toll of those demonstrating rose from twenty eight dead, shot by Israeli soldiers, to forty three. The injured rose from 1,693 to “near two thousand.”

Fadi Abo Salah, 30, who lost both legs in a bombing by Israeli aircraft, was one who lost his life, in his wheel chair – targeted by an Israeli sniper – in front of his wife and three small children. (Palestine Live group.)

Israel, frequently declaring itself “the only democracy in the Middle East”, carried out a very democratic slaughter and target practice. Young, old, disabled, male, female, all were equally entitled to be shot, sniped at, tear gassed.

Tiny Laila al-Ghandour who died from teargas inhalation was just eight months old. (Guardian, 15th May 2018.)

Journalist Sharif Kouddos recorded:

“Wails of grief inside family home of Laila al-Ghandour, 8-month old who died of gas inhalation yesterday. Her aunt says the gas came from everywhere, including drones.”

By Monday’s end he Tweeted:

Sharif Kouddous

@sharifkouddous

Casualty toll from today in Gaza now stands at 55 dead, including 6 minors. 2,770 wounded, including 225 children. Of the wounded over 1,350 were hit with live ammunition, according to Ministry of Health.

“It is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time,” stated Médecins Sans Frontières.

As the Embassy partied and visitors “clapped and cheered”, Gaza’s hospitals, already teetering on collapse resulting from restrictions on all coming in to the besieged Strip – including electricity, with water contaminated – had surgeons operating day and night, with the injured being treated in the hospital car parks even, due to the overwhelming influx of those targeted.

In another world, just sixty miles away: ‘Washington’s Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stood on a stage painted with the US flag and said:

“Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, courage and moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude: President Donald J Trump.”

The crowd cheered and gave a standing ovation.’ (Guardian, 15th May 2018.)

Deaths had risen to fifty nine.

Of the eighty six Ambassadors to Israel, only thirty two attended the ceremony, with fifty four boycotting and only four EU Member countries attending. (2)

Moreover:

“The Haaretz newspaper reported that most EU member States did not participate in the ceremony because they have a firm policy towards the transfer of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It said that the ambassadors of Russia, Egypt, India, Japan and Mexico also did not attend the celebration.”

Fallout has been swift. French President Emmanuel Macron in a telephone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to Jordan’s King Abdullah condemned the “violence of the Israeli armed forces …” and again criticized the moving of the Embassy.

King Abdullah, of course, has custodianship of all Jerusalem’s Holy Sites and: ‘has the right to exert all legal efforts to safeguard them, especially Al Aqsa Mosque, which is defined as “The Entirety of Al Haram Al Sharif.” ‘ (3) As far as can be ascertained thus far, it seems that this important, indeed unique, historic custodianship was neither discussed with the King or his representatives, nor even a consideration of the Trump Administration as they bulldozed their way through diplomacy, history and all norms in their Jerusalem settlement.

NATO ally President Erdogan of Turkey has recalled his Ambassadors to Israel and the US.

South Africa recalled their Ambassador to Israel, with immediate effect, as the Embassy celebrations were ongoing.

Ireland has summoned Israel’s Ambassador to protest Israeli violence.

Kuwait moved for an emergency meeting of the UN, which was blocked by the US. A ‘draft statement included language expressing “outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest.” ‘

‘It also reaffirmed UN resolutions on the status of Jerusalem, saying that recent events had “no legal effect” under international law. The statement was withdrawn once the US indicate that it would block it, a UN diplomat said.’ (CNN, 15th May 2018.)

Qatar condemned “a massacre” and “savage killings.”

Germany, somewhat weakly, expressed concern at the massacre saying:

“The right to peaceful protest must also apply in Gaza”, via a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman

In the UK, the Labour Party’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry in an unusually unequivocal statement said:

“We condemn unreservedly the Israeli government for their brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified actions on the Gaza border, and our thoughts are with all those Palestinians in Gaza whose loved ones have been lied or injured as a result.

“These actions are made all the worse because they come not as the result of a disproportionate over-reaction to one day’s protests, but as the culmination of six weeks of an apparently systemic and deliberate policy of killing and maiming unarmed protestors and bystanders who pose no threat to the forces at the Gaza border, many of them shot in the back, many of them shot hundreds of metres from the border, and many of them children.

“Throughout that six-week period, the UN’s Secretary General has been calling for an independent investigation into these incidents, one that should urgently determine whether international law has been broken, and hold the Netanyahu government to account for their actions. The UK should lead calls for the UN Security Council to order such an investigation today.

“These incidents must also be the catalyst for urgent and concerted international pressure on the Netanyahu government to lift the blockade on Gaza, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. No longer can Netanyahu act as a law unto himself, under the protection of the Trump administration, whose decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem today has further inflamed the situation.”

Chile, with the largest population of Palestinians outside the Arab world, raised Palestinian flags outside the main entrance of the Presidential Palace of La Moneda.

Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz, Bolivia’s UN Ambassador, read the names of the Gaza massacre victims at the UN session, wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh.

The mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau has demanded an arms embargo on Israel, demanding backing of Amnesty International’s call for a global arms embargo on Israel. Amnesty has condemned:

“ … an abhorrent violation of International Law and human rights. “

Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated:

“Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account.”

Writer, broadcaster and academic, Kenan Malik Tweeted:

 

Kenan Malik@kenanmalik

Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the UK, considers the shooting dead of 58 Palestinians and the wounding of 2700 as ‘measured’ and ‘surgical’. I’d hate to know what is his definition of ‘unmeasured’ or ‘non-surgical’.

From the Trumposphere, Donald Trump input:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Big day for Israel. Congratulations!

However, on this day of diplomatic vandalism – which the US State Department flagged as a “historic move” – the five times Draft Dodger in Chief it seems reverted to type. The man to whom limelight is seemingly indispensible, stayed in Washington and addressed the Embassy gathering by video, from a safe 5,897 miles away, dodging any potential conflict, demonstrations, dissent. Trump of course, pulled out of a visit to London in February, to open the new US Embassy, which has also relocated, reportedly for fear of the massive protests planned at his stay.

The man who can menace Iran, threaten North Korea with: “ … fire and fury and frankly the power the likes of which like this world has never seen”, cowers from peaceful protesters with placards. No wonder he had no intention of showing up in Jerusalem, even as guest of honour, surrounded by steel rings of security, in a region destabilized by the US and “allies” for decades, with the unarmed, indigenous population simply demanding some justice sixty miles away.

Donald Trump, it seems, talks the talk but can’t walk the walk. Perhaps someone also told him Armageddon is in Israel (site now named Megiddo.)

*

Veteran War Correspondent Felicity Arbuthnot is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization and Associate Editor of Global Research.

Notes

1. http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/our-land-us-embassy-move-riles-palestinian-refugees-west-jerusalem-2027680826

2. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180515-54-ambassadors-boycott-israeli-american-embassy-celebration/

3. https://kingabdullah.jo/en/page/the-hashemites/custodianship-over-holy-sites

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USAComments Off on Draft Dodger in Chief Dodges “Historic” Opening of US Embassy, Jerusalem

Brzezinski’s Ghost Shapes Washington Eurasia Geopolitics

NOVANEWS

One of the most outstanding features of a truly standing-out Trump Presidency to date is how precisely the actual policy developments, when we clear away the deliberate smoke and mirrors of tweets and scandal, follow a basic strategy of Washington geopolitics going back to at least 1992. This is the case in the latest unfortunate and quite illegal unilateral decision to leave the Iran nuclear agreement. This is also the case in the relentless Cold War-style demonization campaign against Russia and the deployment of insidious new sanctions. This is also the case with the looming trade war the Trump Administration has initiated with the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Contrary to a widely-held belief that US President Trump acts only out of impulse or is being unpredictable, I believe that the opposite is the case. Strategic geopolitical policies of the Trump Administration are a response, not of the President himself, but rather of the powers that be, the permanent establishment who actually control what is sometimes called the Deep State. The geopolitics of that policy determines to a large degree who they allow to be President.

The first official formulation of today’s Washington foreign policy came in 1992 when Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary under Bush senior. The Soviet Union had collapsed and Bush triumphantly declared America as Sole Superpower. Cheney’s deputy secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, was responsible for developing a Defense Planning Guidance, 1994-1999. It was blunt, and later described by Senator Ted Kennedy as imperialist. In part the unedited Wolfowitz Doctrine declared

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere…to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Under George W. Bush the Wolfowitz Doctrine re-emerged as the Bush Doctrine after 2002 in the runup to the Iraq war, declaring unilateralism and use of preventative war as central to US policy.

Basic Geopolitics

Going back to my title, I quote from the 1997 book of the late Presidential advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives to make the point of what US foreign and defense policy under Trump today is. It is nothing less than application of the Brzezinski geopolitical challenge and the preventive war notion of the Bush-Wolfowitz doctrine in context of today’s emerging resistance to an American sole superpower domination.

Brzezinski, was of course architect of Jimmy Carter’s Afghan war against the Soviet Army using Mujahideen Islamic terrorists trained by the CIA, Saudi Intelligence and Pakistan ISI.

In 1997 he wrote that it was

“imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

He further declared,

“Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances…a grand coalition of China, Russia, perhaps Iran…Averting this contingency…will require US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.”

When we add to this the recent Pentagon National Defense Strategy document that defines Russia and China as the greatest potential threat to American hegemony, then combine this with the growing ties between Russia, China and Iran since lifting of sanctions in 2015, especially in Syria, it becomes clear what Washington is doing. They are in an all-out effort to break what I call the Eurasian Challenge to the sole hegemon—Russia, China, Iran.

As Brzezinski pointed out, for American purposes of continued domination, it matters not that there are ethnic, religious and other differences between Russia, China and Iran. US foreign policy since September 2001 has increasingly forced those three to cooperate, despite those differences, for what they see as defense of their national sovereignty.

Target Russia…

Look at the recent events in light of the Brzezinski Eurasia warning of 1997. Washington stood behind the UK in the bogus Skripal poisoning affair that was blamed, with no proof, on Russia. A fake chemical attack outside Damascus then was used as pretext for the illegal US bombing raid, ignoring all precepts of the UN Charter and international law. That, in retrospect, was more of a test of possible Russian reaction. Whether or not US Tomahawk and other missiles hit or not, the precedent was set for Israel and other US allies to escalate attacks on Iran in Syria.

Then come diabolical new crippling sanctions against “Putin’s oligarchs” such as Deripaski of Rusal, world’s second largest aluminum producer. Washington doesn’t even try to make up excuses for new sanctions. They state as reason that the Russian government is involved in “a range of malign activity around the globe.”

The new sanctions punish any Western banks or investors holding shares in sanctioned Russian companies even if they were bought before the new sanctions. It is the US Treasury’s new form of financial war, every bit as deadly as shooting wars, if not more so. It developed in the wake of 911 and has since been refined to a devastating weapon of warfare using the fact that under economic globalization, the world is still dependent on the US dollar for trade and for central bank currency reserves to an overwhelming degree.

For the first time, under the latest US sanctions on Russian individual oligarchs and companies, not only is future access to borrow in western capital markets blocked. Non-Russian investors who invested billions in select Russian companies in recent years have been forced to panic liquidate or face secondary sanctions for holding Russian assets. But who will buy? Already the two major EU securities clearing companies, Clearstream and Euroclear have been forced to refuse clearing sanctioned Russian securities. They also face sanctions to hold the Russian shares. If, say, a Chinese state bank is borrowing from dollar markets, they are now de facto prohibited from doing business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Target China…

At the same time as Washington escalates pressure on Putin’s Russia over Syria and Ukraine, they launch the early stage of what will clearly be a devastating economic war with China using trade as the initial lever. Washington, as I pointed out in a previous article, is aiming to force China to dismantle its strategy to bring China’s economy over the next decade into leading status of hi tech producer. The strategy is called China 2025 and is the heart of the Xi Jinping strategic agenda and of his Belt Road Initiative or economic Silk Road project.

The first taste of what Washington plans to target China’s move to become a high-tech world leader under China 2025 is the treatment of leading China telecomm maker ZTE and Huawei, major challengers of Apple. ZTE was sanctioned in April by Washington for allegedly selling telecommunications equipment to Iran. US suppliers have been banned from supplying essential components to the China tech group. The company has temporarily shut operations as it tries to win a reprieve from the US.

Target Iran…

Now, over the vehement protests of Germany and France and other EU states, Trump unilaterally tears up the Iran nuclear agreement. The aim is clearly to reimpose crippling sanctions again on Iran, disrupt the feeble progress that was begun since 2015. The fact that the EU refuses to break its treaty agreement with Iran will be ultimately of little consequence as US sanctions on Iran also threaten with sanctions EU companies doing business in Iran.

As part of the latest Trump tearing up of the nuclear agreement with Iran, the USA gives other countries like China or Japan or EU countries 180 days to end any purchase deals for Iran oil. European companies like Airbus that have multi-billion aircraft purchase orders from Iran will be forced to cancel. On 6 August, the purchase of US dollars, trade in gold and certain other metals, as well as aviation and the car industry will be sanctioned. After 4 November US sanctions will target Iran’s financial and oil institutions and sanctions reinstated against individuals previously on the US Treasury sanctions list.

The clear aim is to use the devastating new weapons of US Treasury pin-point sanctions to plunge Iran’s fragile economy into crisis. At the same time reports are that NSC Adviser John Bolton is advocating reinvigorating the Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq, or MEK terrorist organization to launch a new try at a Color Revolution. MEK was removed from the US State Department terror list by Secretary of State Clinton in 2012.

CENTCOM

If we step back from the specific details of each country and Washington actions against each, we see that the three Eurasian powers—Russia, China, Iran—are being systematically targeted and so far with varying degrees of success.

At the end of February, General Votel, commander of US Central Command or CENTCOM gave an interview to DoD News. There, in addition to listing Russia and especially her involvement in Syria and China and both its new Belt Road Initiative and its military bases in Djibouti and elsewhere, Votel cites the ties of both to Iran. Votel states that,

“both Russia and China are cultivating multidimensional ties to Iran. The lifting of UN sanctions under the joint comprehensive plan of action opens the path for Iran to resume membership application to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”

Ironically, the simultaneous opening of a de facto three-front war, even if on the level of economic warfare at present, creates a strategic imperative for the three powers to work even more closely. China is the largest buyer of Iranian oil. Russia provides military equipment and is negotiating far more. Each of the triad—China, Iran, Russia—for reasons of self-survival –have no better option than to collaborate as never before, whatever mistrust or differences, in face of Washington’s geopolitical three-front war.

Posted in USAComments Off on Brzezinski’s Ghost Shapes Washington Eurasia Geopolitics

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