Archive | March, 2019

Everyone Washington Supports, by Definition, Is a Moderate Centrist

Alan Macleod looks at how US backed figures get portrayed by the mainstream media, regardless of their true colors.

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AFP depiction of Juan Guaidó (Frederico Parra)
AFP depiction of Juan Guaidó (Frederico Parra)
By Alan Macleod 

The Trump administration seems to have found their man in National Assembly leader and self-appointed president of Venezuela Juan Guaidó. Guaidó has been extremely attentive to US interests, promising to allow US oil companies to increase their activity in Venezuela. He has also pledged mass privatizations and harsh rounds of austerity, as FAIR contributor Ben Norton reported (Mint Press News1/24/19). Having met with and secured the support of the Trump administration before he acted, the previously unknown 35-year-old emerged as a prominent opponent of the leftist government, championed by right-wing nations in the region keen to see the end of President Nicolás Maduro’s administration.

Despite this, or rather precisely because of it, the media are presenting Guaidó not as a conservative (or further still to the right), but as a centrist social democrat who can unite a fractured nation. CBC (1/23/19) and Forbes (1/24/19) both described him as a “centrist social democrat,” the former adding that he is also an activist and a “salsa-loving baseball fan.” Others went further, claiming that he and his party are “center left” (Reuters1/24/19) or even “socialist” (London Independent1/24/19). The New York Times (3/4/19) claimed, more broadly, that Gauidó had “captured the heart of the nation” and that “a vast majority of Venezuelans support him.”

In reality, Guiadó’s Popular Will party has always represented the most radical right-wing elements of the Venezuelan opposition, perhaps the reason that Fox Business’ Trish Reagan (1/29/19) eagerly endorsed him as a “freedom fighter leading his country to democracy” amid “massive cheers from the people.” Popular Will has consistently favored confrontation and violence over negotiation; a recent opposition plan to amass an army of 200 soldiers to shoot their way across the border to bring Guaidó back into Venezuela after an overseas tour was only stopped by a panicked Colombian government, according to Bloomberg (3/6/19).

But Guaidó is merely the latest in a long line of Washington-backed Venezuelan conservatives the media has sugar-coated. Leopoldo López, a Harvard-educated “hardliner” (London Independent,4/11/14; Guardian3/4/14) who led a wave of demonstrations in 2014 aimed at removing Maduro by force that left 43 dead, including some passersby beheaded with razor wire, was a darling of the press. The Washington Post (2/18/143/29/14) described him as a “courageous,” “left-leaning” “moderate,” while Newsweek (2/28/14) discussed his “twinkling chocolate-colored eyes and high cheekbones.”

Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles’ 2012 campaign platform advocated privatization or increased business influence across the country, in schools, the oil industry, healthcare, water and electricity, promising to work closely with the IMF and World Bank and to re-design the national curriculum at all levels to teach “the connection between property, economic progress, political liberty and social development.”

Nevertheless, Capriles presented himself as a social democrat, and the media followed suit. He was described as a “moderate” (New York Times2/24/14Washington Post3/11/14) or even a “center-left reformer” (Miami Herald, 4/11/13), and a disciple of popular Brazilian democratic socialist President Lula da Silva (London Times3/8/13Daily Telegraph4/7/13). This despite the fact that Lula had declared it “absurd” that he would support Capriles, and even campaignedagainst him and for Hugo Chavez.

Perhaps the most egregious Venezuelan example of this phenomenon was during the briefly successful US-backed coup of 2002. As business mogul Pedro Carmona was installing himself as a dictator, dissolving the constitution and firing every elected official in the country, declaring that he could rule by decree—and while hundreds of people were killed, imprisoned or publicly tortured—the New York Times (4/13/02) presented him as a savior. The paper editorialized, “Venezuela is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator”—meaning Chávez. Elsewhere (4/13/02) it called Carmona a “respected business leader” and a “level-headed” and “meek” “conciliator,” uninterested in personal power.

An iron law of journalism

This phenomenon of presenting any political figure Washington approves of as a centrist, moderate or other positively charged words is hardly confined to Venezuela. In fact, it is virtually an iron law of journalism that descriptions of US government-friendly groups will be designed to signal readers that they deserve support.

For instance, Guaidó was described (New York Times3/3/19) as enjoying support both from right-wing governments and Ecuador’s “center-left president,” Lenin Moreno. This is a highly questionable framing of Moreno’s position, considering that  immediately after being elected, he offered to work with right-wing parties, cut the salaries of government employees, met with Trump officials to discuss handing over WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange (living in asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy) and very publicly went to war with his predecessor and former mentor, leftist President Rafael Correa. Even the Financial Times (1/2/18) noted that he was “unpicking Ecuador’s left-wing legacy.” However, this has met with approval in Washington, hence his subsequent  designation as “moderate” (Financial Times12/28/18Washington Post2/5/18).

Going back to the 1980s, the Washington-backed far-right Contra paramilitaries in Nicaragua were referred to as the “equivalent of the founding fathers” by President Ronald Reagan (New York Times3/2/85) and as “moderates” in the media  (e.g., LA Times2/20/85).

The US-backed administration of El Salvador’s José Napoleón Duarte presided over some of the worst massacres and human rights abuses in Central American history. Yet the New York Times(6/8/88) presented Duarte as a “decent democrat” “deserving of sympathy and appreciation,” who was “beset on the left by dogmatic Marxist insurgents and on the right by death squads.” By conveniently ignoring Duarte’s links to those same right-wing death squads, the Times was able to present him as “holding the center ground” and being a “moderating” influence in Salvadoran politics, rather than a perpetrator of the violence.

Meanwhile, the label “moderate” was used by the Christian Science Monitor (2/6/87) to describe Indonesian military dictator General Suharto, who presided over a genocide against ethnically Chinese Indonesians in 1965–66 (FAIR.org10/18/17), and again in East Timor after 1975 (Extra!11–12/93). What made Suharto’s mass killing “moderate,” of course, was the active support of Washington (Extra!9–10/98).

Indeed, even Hitler himself was approvingly described by the State Department in 1937 as a “moderate” between the extremes of the German left and right. Leading news outlets likewise saw “a new moderation in the political atmosphere” of Nazi Germany (New York Times, 3/7/33) or “indications of moderation” on Hitler’s part (Philadelphia Daily Bulletin, 1/30/33; both cited in Daily Beast12/20/15).

The most notorious recent example of the media wishfully finding moderation is surely the case of Syria, where US-backed rebels are often prefixed by the term “moderate” (CNN1/16/15NPR4/8/17Wall Street Journal5/28/14) to distinguish them from jihadist groups like Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, Washington’s official enemies, although the line between them is frequently blurry, as Gareth Porter (FAIR.org3/21/16) has previously exposed. “Moderate” groups often work hand in glove with extremist forces. The Washington Post (2/19/16) admitted as much when it noted that moderate rebel forces were “intermingled” with jihadists, making negotiations problematic.

Very often, terms like “moderate,” “centrist” or “democrat” are not used in media to refer to any particular political outlook, but rather are used as a framing mechanism to convey the media’s approval—which usually depends on US government support. Regardless of their actions or political outlook, groups with media and official endorsement will be rewarded with such monikers.

In contrast, those media disapprove of will be denied such titles. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is dismissed as part of the “loony left” (Washington Post, 2/13/19), and Bernie Sanders is described as “far-left” (Detroit News3/18/19), largely on the basis of his support for Medicare for All. Though Ocasio-Cortez’s core platform enjoys widespread public support (FAIR.org1/23/19), and Medicare for All has gotten as much as 70 percent support in polls (The Hill8/23/18), these sorts of politicians are never going to be granted the “moderate” seal of approval.

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Mass Surveillance and the Intelligence Industrial Complex

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Abby Martin and Bill Binney: Mass Surveillance and the Intelligence Industrial Complex
DC Rally Against Mass Surveillance

Image by Susan Melkisethian via Flickr

Dandelion Salad
with Abby Martin

Abby Martin interviews former Technical Director of the National Security Agency, Bill Binney, who blew the whistle on warrantless spying years before Edward Snowden released the evidence. They discuss mass surveillance and the Intelligence Industrial Complex.

from the archives:

Russiagate: A Trump-Boosting Triumph of Diversion and Inauthentic Opposition? by Paul Street + Democrats’ Russophobia Hid Trump’s Real Crimes

Silicon Valley Will Not Save You from the Surveillance State by David Swanson

Industrializing Class War by William Bowles

Thomas Drake: From 9/11 to Mass Surveillance, The Man Who Knew Too Much (must-see)

Not a Shred of Evidence that Russia Hacked Emails or Served as a Source for WikiLeaks by David Swanson

Craig Murray: Russia Played No Role At All In The Email Leaks, interviewed by David Swanson

Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges: They Know Everything About You, Part 1

America’s Surveillance State, Part 2: Inside The NSA: How Do They Spy?

Chris Hedges and William Binney on Obama #NSA Guidelines, Part 1 + Transcript

William Binney: Everyone in US is Under Virtual Surveillance

Posted in USA, C.I.A0 Comments

Christian Zionists and the Christchurch Massacre

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American Christian Zionists have wholeheartedly supported the war on Islam to protect Israel and harbor a fear and loathing of Muslims and Islam. Christian Zionist preacher, John Hagee confirmed this notion when he prayed, before the 2003 war on Iraq, for the US to go to war to protect Israel (see, “John Hagee with Benny Hinn: Praying for Israel in the Name of Jesus“).

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In this lively, 16 minute podcast, that you won’t find on the MSM, Chuck Carlson and Craig Hanson of We Hold These Truths discuss Chuck’s article, “Christchurch Massacre: Devout Christians and Israeli Zionists are Responsible.”

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Nazi regime hiding 300,000 documents about massacres against Palestinians

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Israel hiding 300,000 documents about massacres carried out against Palestinians

The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Zionist paramilitary groups Irgun and Lehi attacked Deir Yassin, a Palestinian Arab village of roughly 600 people near Jerusalem

The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Zionist paramilitary groups Irgun and Lehi attacked Deir Yassin, a Palestinian Arab village of roughly 600 people near Jerusalem

Israeli Jewish journalist Asaf Shalev, who lives in California, has said that Israel had been hiding 300,000 documents about crimes carried out against the Palestinians, thousands of them date back to 1800s, +972 Magazine reported early this week.

Shalev was reported saying to the magazine that Israel’s State Archives declassified secret documents last summer including documents which are more than a century old; however, he said, 300,000 documents which predate the creation of Israel remained classified.

The very existence of the 300,000 classified files—their names, dates, and origin within the state bureaucracy—had been kept a secret, until now, he was reported saying by +972 Magazine, noting that one-fifth of the files, deemed too sensitive still by the government, were excluded from the disclosure.

Palestinian archives: A reflection of a rich history 

“There were many people who were concerned about the opening of this catalog,” +972 Magazine reported Israel’s State Archivist Yaacov Lozowick writing in a statement accompanying the release.

Shalev noted that the oldest of these documents, which remained classified, titled “Parker Report” dates back to 1821. In addition, there are 125 classified documents dating back to the 19th century and about 2,000 documents from before the Nakba of 1948.

He added, according to +972 Magazine, we cannot access the files so that it is impossible to say why they are still classified over 70, and in some cases, nearly 200 years later.

Amongst the documents are files on Deir Yassin and Kfar Qasim, the two most notorious massacres carried out by Israeli forces.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Irish Senator Frances Black Makes the Case Against Nazi illegal Settlements

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By Dr. James J. Zogby

This past week, we hosted Irish Senator Frances Black in Washington. Black is the Chair of the Irish Seanad’s (Senate) Palestine Working Group and the lead sponsor of the legislation to ban the import of products from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian lands into Ireland.

The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territory) Bill of 2018” (CEA-OT) has passed the Seanad and successfully completed two rounds in the lower house (Dail) of the Irish parliament. In the Dail’s first vote the bill passed by a wide 78-45 margin. All of Ireland’s major parties, except for the minority governing party, have endorsed Black’s legislation and there is strong support for the bill and for Palestinian rights among the Irish public.

The CEA-OT has been carefully crafted and doesn’t over reach. By limiting its purview to products from settlements, it is clearly not an effort to impose BDS (Boycott Divestment & Sanctions) on Israel. When this legislation was first brought up for a vote in the Seanad, Senator Black’s remarks in support included the following poignant observations:

“Though these settlements are repeatedly condemned as illegal by the European Union, the United Nations, and the Irish government, they continue to extract valuable natural resources and agricultural produce.

“These goods are exported and sold on shelves around the world, including in Ireland…There is a clear hypocrisy here – how can we condemn the settlements as ‘unambiguously illegal,’ as theft of land and resources, but happily buy the proceeds of this crime?

“I saw the impact of settlement expansion when I visited the West Bank this year: the restrictions on movement, the shrinking space for housing and health care, the lack of electricity. I witnessed the crushing indignity of a Palestinian community cut off from their water supply so that it could be diverted to an Israeli chicken farm. That commercial settlement, built on stolen land beyond internationally recognized borders, is a war crime. Is the moral response to condemn this illegality, but then ask, ‘how much for the eggs?’

“Ultimately, trade in settlement goods sustains injustice. We can criticize all we want, but years of empty rhetoric simply have not worked. As long as we buy their produce and they stay profitable, nothing will change.”

At this critical juncture, with just a few more steps before the legislation comes to a final vote in the Dail, a group of pro-Israel US Members of Congress, led by Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) have inserted themselves into the process with a letter to the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and Foreign Minister threatening Ireland with “severe implications were this bill to become law.” The Congressional letter falsely claims that the boycott of settlement products called for in the legislation would run counter to the US Export Administration Act (EAA) thereby making it difficult for US companies (like Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.) to continue to do business in Ireland. The King-Engel letter more than suggests that what is at stake for Ireland is the 67% of its foreign direct investment that comes from the US.

While it is disturbing that US Members of Congress would attempt to blatantly interfere in the democratic processes of another country on behalf of Israel, even more troubling is their brazen mischaracterization of the EAA. That law was passed in the 1970’s to prohibit US companies from submitting to pressures from the Arab League to boycott Israel. The Irish CEA-OT, however, has nothing to do with Ireland responding to the Arab League. It has everything to do with international law. And, in any case, the boycott does not apply to Israel. It only boycotts goods produced, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. (The Geneva Conventions specifically prohibit an occupying power from transferring its people into the territories it has occupied, displacing the indigenous population, and exploiting the resources from those territories for its own benefit. The United Nations and the International Court of Justice have repeatedly ruled that Israel’s behaviors in the occupied Palestinian territories are in violation of the Conventions.)

During her four day visit to Washington, Senator Black had one public event co-hosted by the Arab American Institute and the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a luncheon with a number of organizations working on issues related to Israeli-Palestinian peace, as well as meetings with a number of Members of Congress. There was broad support for her efforts and a determination to help correct the record on the mischaracterization of EAA.

As she repeatedly noted, should the CEA-OT become law, its economic impact on Israel will be minimal – the best estimates are that Irish imports from the settlements only amount to between €500,000 and €1,000,000 annually. The importance of the CEA-OT is, therefore, not in the economic impact it makes, but in the clear message it sends that Israel’s incessant drive to colonize the West Bank with continued settlement expansion will no longer be tolerated. Instead of wringing its hands in frustration with Israeli policy, the Irish government will send a clear message that “enough is enough.”

In this context, it is irritating that the King-Engel letter disingenuously claims to share “Ireland’s goal of a peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and claims that the CEA-OT “undermines the prospect for a sustainable two-state solution.” In fact, it is the US Congress’ refusal to act in any way to help halt Israel’s aggressive expansion of settlements that have put the very possibility of a two-state solution at risk.

Ireland alone can’t change Israeli policy. But Ireland is determined to lead. The reason why the Israeli government and their US allies are responding so forcefully, with threats and more, is because they know that should Ireland lead, the EU may follow. And with more countries taking concrete measures to demonstrate their disapproval of Israel behavior, only then will a “sustainable” peace based on justice and respect for international law become possible.

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Why are Palestinians paying for Germany’s sins?

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Israel’s wanton, daily aggression against Palestinians remains unchecked. Najeh HashlamounAPA images

No matter who you are, no matter what greatness you’ve achieved in your life or what gifts you’ve given to the rest of humanity, if you criticize Israel, you must expect to become persona non grata.

You should expect an utter onslaught of attacks. Otherwise rational and decent people will, one by one, genuflect and sign onto the stupid clichés and tiresome accusations that question your character, integrity and even sanity. You will be called an anti-Semite, or a self-hating Jew if you happen to be Jewish. The Holocaust will be invoked. You’ll be reminded of Hitler and Himmler and Goebbels and perhaps likened to Nazis, or caposif you’re Jewish. You’ll be accused explicitly or implicitly of secretly supporting the genocide of Jews and having a deep-seated desire for it.

Incredibly, this nonsense does not occur among the paranoid fringe, but in mainstream culture.

It happened to moral authorities like Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, both of whom were called anti-Semites, crazy old fools and worse, for daring to criticize Israel’s criminal policies toward Palestinians — the natives of the Holy Land.

It happened to renowned scholars like John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt for publishing a well-documented and supported audit of Israel’s manipulation of US foreign policy through their domestic proxy lobby.

Judge Richard Goldstone was chastised, shunned and punished by his own community for reporting his findings which stated that Israel had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. In response, he then utterly discredited himself as a jurist by retracting his well-reasoned legal conclusions based on irrefutable evidence, which was nonetheless upheld by all his colleagues and by the international legal community.

Among many abuses, they called him a “capo” and a “self-hating Jew” and he was told he would not be welcome at his grandson’s bar mitzvah. Those labels too have been hurled at intellectuals like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky — the latter actually banned by Israel from entering the West Bank to speak at Birzeit University. The list is too long for one article, but it stretches the full breadth of international thinkers, artists, intellectuals, clergy, moral authorities and political figures. No one is immune from this insanity.

Günter Grass and obvious truths

But the world still has brave people who are willing to take significant risks for the rest of humanity. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, renowned crime fiction writer Henning Mankel, 84-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, and many like them risked their lives to break the siege of Gaza when they boarded the Freedom Flotilla, joining an unarmed group of people carrying humanitarian aid who were attacked, and, in some cases, killed by Israeli forces.

Others, like Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, likewise have risked the abuse and attacks that come with speaking up for the rights of Palestinians against Israel’s unchecked aggression.

The latest case in point is Günter Grass, the German Nobel laureate who dared to suggest glaringly obvious truths: that Israel has a robust nuclear program and its hinted intention to attack Iran is a threat to world stability.

Of course, the so-called “only democracy in the Middle East” is banning him from ever entering the Holy Land, which happens to be my homeland. I’m barred from living there, too, but for different reasons. By the laws of the State of Israel, I am not the right kind of human being to inherit my family’s property and live where all my ancestors have dwelled for millennia. But I digress.

Germany sits on sidelines

Günter Grass has entered forbidden intellectual and political territory, and the criticism against him has been intense. The other side of Germany’s silence when it comes to Israel is loud and sure chastising of Israel’s critics. Every article here in the mainstream US press mentions Germany’s “understandable” reluctance to criticize Israel, as if it’s a foregone and logical conclusion that it’s perfectly fine for Germany to sit on the sidelines — eyes, ears and lips sealed — sending aid and weapons to a country that has placed itself above the law, a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world, and one that is engaged in systematic ethnic cleansingof the native population of the land it occupies.

As a member of that native population, I do not accept that it is “understandable” for Germany to continue unreservedly support Israel no matter what. It is convenient, for sure. Because Germany is not the one paying for its sins. We, the Palestinians, are.

Everything — home, heritage, life, resources, hope — has been robbed from us to atone for Germany’s sins. To this day, we languish in refugee camps that are not fit for human beings so that every Jewish man and woman can have dual citizenship, one in their own country and one in mine.

We are the ones who find ourselves at the other end of the weapons that Germany supplies to Israel. It is Palestine that is being wiped off the map. It is our society that is being destroyed. Of course, Germany’s silence is easy and convenient, but “understandable” it is not.

We remember

Israel is not Judaism. It is a nuclear power with the most advanced death machines ever known to man, which it unleashes frequently against a principally unarmed civilian population that dares to demand freedom. It is a country that is currently in violation of hundreds of UN resolutions and nearly every tenet of international law. It is a country that has been condemned by every human rights organization that has ever investigated the situation on the ground there.

It is a country with multi-tiered legal and social infrastructure that measures the worth of a human being by his or her religion. It is the regional bully that has refused a comprehensive peace proposal set forth by all Arab states. It has in the past attacked EgyptLebanonSyriaJordan and Iraq, all on the pretext of pre-emption. And now it wants to attack Iran under the same pretext, citing the tired “existential threat” mantra.

We are reminded of the Jewish Holocaust. But there is no need because we remember it. We also remember the Armenians, the Serbs, and we remember Rwanda. We remember the holocaust of the extermination of Native Americans and we remember the holocaust of slavery — 200 years of kidnapping, buying and selling human beings as a commodity. And we remember Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatila, Qibya and the many other atrocities Israel has committed against Palestinians.

But no matter how great or unspeakable the crimes, victims are not, and should not be, granted license to commit crimes against others with impunity.

None of us can fully predict the ramifications of an Israeli attack on Iran but we can all imagine the immensity of loss, blood, upheaval and instability that will reverberate far beyond the region. All so that Israel can maintain unchecked military dominance in the region.

I can only thank Günter Grass for making a minimal gesture that Germany should take measures not to remain complicit in the destruction of Arab or Persian life.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Widespread Arab protests hit Trump’s support for Zio-Nazi theft of the Golan

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Widespread Arab protests hit Trump’s support for Israeli theft of the Golan

Syrians in Israel Occupied Golan Heights protest Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty there. Photo: Prensa Latina.

Tens of thousands of Arab people took to the streets this week to protest Donald Trumps recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights. The move has also been condemned by Arab governments, including U.S. allies, by all 14 other members of the United Nations Security Council, and all 38 members of the European Union. The Syrian foreign ministry called the move a “blatant aggression” on its sovereignty and said it represents the “highest level of contempt for international legitimacy.”

The U.S. government is the only one in the world to recognize Israeli sovereignty there. The Golan Heights, a strategic and vital part of Syria, was occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1981 — both actions in blatant violation of international law. Over the years, many United Nations resolutions have condemned this Israeli land theft as a slap in the face to international law.

Trump announced the decision on March 25 in a Washington news conference standing beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While in the United States, Netanyahu also addressed the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, where he joined in on the Islamophobic attack on Representative Ilhan Omar and promoted his hardline anti-Palestinian agenda. The Israeli head of state then shuttled back to the Middle East to direct an attack on Gaza.

The U.S. recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory not only violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 of 1981, which identifies the 700 square mile region as occupied territory. It is also a deliberate attempt to colonize Syria and weaken the right of Palestinians and all those displaced by Israeli aggression to return to their land. Israel’s occupation and annexation of the region decades ago reveals that imperialism and its clients have long planned to dismember Syria.

Protesters say: ‘Golan is Arab and Syrian’

In Syrian cities, major cities in the Arab world, and especially throughout the Golan Heights, tens of thousands took to the streets to protest Trump’s decision. These protests have received scant coverage in the major U.S. media.

Prensa Latina reports that in Golan, Syrian authorities, local leaders and social groups issued a joint statement expressing, “The people of the occupied Syrian Golan assert to everyone, including the U.S. government, that stability in the region will not be achieved through this continued occupation and by supporting and consolidating the racial policies of the Zionist entity.”

At one Golan demonstration, Adnan al-Safari said, “If Trump wants to give land to Israel, it is better to give it one or two of his states in America.” According to Prensa Latina.

Haeil Sharaf, another Golan protestor, said, “from here we say the Golan is Arab and Syrian, and neither Trump nor any other person can decide its fate.”

Half a century of Israeli occupation

The Golan Heights is an extremely important part of Syria. It is strategic, as Mount Herman is the highest point in the region. Now the Israeli military uses those heights to spy on the region.

In an arid area of the world, the Golan Heights is water rich and feeds the Jordan River and tributaries going to Lebanon and Jordan. This water is now stolen and redirected to Israel. Tel Aviv currently receives 15 percent of its potable water from the region, after a highly inequitable distribution of the Jordan River system, according to a study by the London School of Economics.

It has rich farmland. In its half-century of occupation, Israel has expropriated this farmland by forcing more than 130,000 Golan Syrians to leave their land, and by destroying 164 villages and 112 family farms.

It is rich in oil. Israel has granted a U.S. company, Genie Energy, the first license to explore oil and gas in the Golan. Genie Energy is advised by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who used his connections to profit off of the wars he helped start in Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as for a brief moment the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela).

It is only 40 miles from Damascus, placing an Israeli military presence dangerously close to Syria’s capital. Throughout the Syrian war, Israel used the Golan Heights as its base to assist religious extremist militias trying to dismember Syria.

No matter what Netanyahu or Trump may do or say, however, the Golan Heights is really not theirs to take, or to give away. The Arab people have made clear through protest this week that it belongs to the people of the region, and is Syrian territory, and this will not change.

Posted in Middle East, USA0 Comments

A socialist orientation

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A socialist orientation: The collapse of the Trump-Russia hoax and the need for an independent movement

A socialist orientation: The collapse of the Trump-Russia hoax and the need for an independent movement

Statement from the Party for Socialism and Liberation

The Trump-Russia conspiracy hoax promoted by the “liberal” wing of the capitalist establishment has collapsed with the core conclusion of the Mueller investigation that no such conspiracy existed.

In the narrowest sense, Trump and his gang of ultra-right capitalist operatives are the big winners. They were insisting that there wasn’t collusion with Russia during the 2016 election campaign. Trump told his base that he was the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt by the Democratic Party and its allies in the capitalist media. Trump now claims vindication, and his hapless critics from the Democratic Party and their adjunct media are left hand-wringing and despairing – although they are quickly and disingenuously pivoting to change the narrative that at last they can focus on “kitchen table” issues like health care before the 2020 election.

In a broader sense, however, the biggest winners in the whole sordid affair are the Pentagon, the U.S. spy agencies and Wall Street.

No grand reveal

Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally submitted his finished report to the attorney general after two years of very extensive investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, mainly focused on two principal issues: first, whether the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government to rig the U.S. presidential elections and, secondarily, whether Trump’s actions as President in relation to the investigation into these issues could constitute obstruction of justice.

On the first, Mueller could not have been more clear. According to Attorney General William Barr’s summation of Mueller’s report: “Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”

On the second issue, Mueller declined to make a judgment on whether or not Trump did obstruct justice. He also, however, declined to recommend charges on this issue, which is a statement in and of itself. According to Barr, Mueller laid out the case for both sides. However, his decision to not recommend prosecution and the decision of Barr and other DOJ officials to not pursue such charges means Trump is almost certainly safe from them in a court of law.

Without an underlying crime, and given that obstruction requires specific knowledge of the effect of specific actions on specific legal proceedings, making a case for obstruction would be difficult, more so with Trump as the president. Impeachment proceedings technically could begin without meeting the legal standards for obstruction, but statements from the Democratic Party leadership show that this is highly unlikely.

The findings of the Mueller report themselves are not notable, and the general contours have actually been clear for some time. As individuals associated with the Trump campaign and administration pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes, none of them pleaded guilty to an underlying criminal conspiracy with Russia. It is the height of absurdity that some liberal elites whipped up a frenzy expecting that the final report would contain the long sought-after “bombshell”.

Sabotaging real resistance to the Trump agenda

The anti-Russia witch-hunt succeeded in winning over millions of people who consider themselves liberals and progressives and securely fastened them as cheerleaders for the central institutions of capitalist power – especially the Pentagon and the surveillance state.

As the Pentagon gears up for major power conflict with Russia and China, the liberal part of the population was convinced that Russia was the evil empire that foisted a monster like Donald Trump on “our democracy.” In fact, it is “liberal” public opinion that was most convinced that rapprochement with Russia is wrong or that a peace treaty with North Korea is a “capitulation” to evil. This is music to ears of the Pentagon high command that continues to loot the nation’s resources to meet the next supposed war threat.

This narrative led a section of the population to invest all its hopes for the restoration of “our democracy” in former FBI heads Mueller and Comey and in the CIA. This too was welcome relief for the ever-growing surveillance state apparatus that had been reeling under the revelations offered by courageous whistle-blowers like Ed Snowden and journalists like Julian Assange. Now many liberals hate Assange, even though they loved Wikileaks just a decade ago for revealing Bush’s war crimes in Iraq.

Wall Street banks and corporations are also the big winners in this hoax. Millions of progressive people who should have and would have been in the streets mobilizing to stop Trump’s wholesale de-regulation of corporate polluters and his massive tax giveaway to the billionaires and millionaires of America were instead reduced to powerless spectators watching the media and hoping a right-wing anti-democratic former head of the FBI, the same man who approved of torture and the rounding up of thousands of Muslims after 9/11, would save the country from a Donald Trump presidency.

The role of the Democratic Party elites in leading the country in a sharp rightward direction, especially on foreign policy and political suppression, is not novel. It was the Democratic Truman White House after World War ll that inaugurated the fierce anti-communist witch-hunt that drove leftists from their strong position within the U.S. labor unions. Communists and socialists were hauled before congressional committees. Socialists in academia were driven from their jobs. Leaders of the Communist Party were imprisoned simply for being communists. Paul Robeson, the Hollywood Ten and other leading cultural figures were purged as the witch-hunt gathered steam – they lost their jobs, passports and freedom. During this same period, liberal organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union willingly joined in providing the government with names of communists and “suspected” communists.

Strengthening the corporate monopoly on the flow of information

Trump would not have stood a chance of becoming president except for the billions of dollars in free media coverage provided him by CNN, MSNBC and the other ratings/profit-driven capitalist media outlets in 2016. These American media capitalists not Putin should be held responsible for making Trump “a thing” in 2016, because that is actually what happened.

The corporate media’s role only became more shameful as the “Russia-gate” phenomenon took shape. Throughout this process, the capitalist press did not at any time air even the slightest skepticism – and in fact generally ridiculed it – not even of the rear-end-covering variety, which is a powerful indictment of those institutions. Relying on anonymous sources, often from the intelligence community and perhaps Mueller’s staff itself, the media built a universe in which there were no questions at all about the allegations of a Trump-Russia “collusion.”

In fact, the intense focus on Russia has essentially sidelined many of these issues and robbed them of oxygen in the broader media environment. This, of course, now gives Trump a stronger position from which to fight as his varied opponents are left picking up the pieces of their shattered anti-Trump strategy.

Current and former intelligence officials, along with the capitalist press and social media giants, have aggressively fanned the flames of this narrative, raising the specter of Russia behind almost everything.

Many of these truly odious figures who have been rehabilitated by Russia-gate, mainly neocon war enthusiasts and torture proponents, have also become a bulwark for capitalist domestic policies, writing op-eds and tweets warning the Democrats away from embracing any of the policies popular among the Democratic bases so as not to endanger the 2020 election campaign. In other words, “if you hate Trump, drop universal health care and focus on Russia, or you’ll lose.” People like former CIA Director John Brennan have become mainstays on liberal TV outlets such as MSNBC.

This trend is not confined to traditional media outlets. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have, in the past year, engaged in large purges and suspensions of users and alternative media outlets on the basis of them being connected to Iran, Russia or Chinese “influence operations.” This is a loosely defined category that is often determined as much by supposition and guessing as by fact.

‘Great power competition’ and the threat of a catastrophic new war

Mueller, as a right-wing political animal, cleared Trump of wrongdoing but affirmed that “Russia” interfered in the U.S. elections. Thus, the anti-Russia hysteria is given license to grow, and it will grow because it conforms to the reorientation of U.S. imperialist policy, which is preparing the population for a major escalation of military expenditures, a new generation of nuclear weapons, the militarization of outer space and possible open military clashes with Russia and China. Short of an all-out confrontation, these global tensions are playing out in other conflicts around the world, as in Venezuela, where Russia is opposing the U.S.-orchestrated coup plot.

While both political wings of the ruling class are moving decidedly to the right and in the direction of war, there is a new movement for social change and socialism that is starting to sweep the country. Therein lies the source of hope and optimism. Bourgeois liberalism and bourgeois conservatism are nothing more than sources of mass deception and misdirection.

Both parties of the U.S. ruling class are servants of Wall Street and the Military-Industrial Complex. Both parties insist that the “rights” of big capital must take precedence over the “rights” of the working class and humanity to access health care, affordable housing, a decent education, a job or income that provides a secure living standard, an end to mass incarceration, and in defense of the environment from the predatory ravaging of nature by capitalist corporations and banks.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation is engaged in all areas of this monumental struggle. This moment is the clearest indication that it will be impossible to prevail in the struggle for social justice and socialism at home without a clear cut, principled and persuasive opposition to imperialism, war and militarism, the institutions of state repression, and the capitalist-owned media. We are in a battle of ideas. Bourgeois and imperialist ideology – in both its liberal and conservative varieties – are a ball and chain on the oppressed classes. The genuine socialist left has to be both fearless and effective in resisting bourgeois ideology and the social pressure it is designed to engender. That’s the task at hand.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Ex-Nazis ‘gave Mossad the edge in Six-Day War’

NOVANEWS
Israeli soldiers survey a burnt Egyptian aircraft at El Arish airport, Sinai, Egypt
Israeli soldiers survey a burnt Egyptian aircraft at El Arish airport, Sinai, EgyptCORBIS/GETTY IMAGES

Israel was able to launch its surprise attack against Egypt and Syria at the beginning of the Six-Day War thanks to information provided to Mossad by an intelligence network of former Nazis, according to a book by an Italian who claims to have played a role.

Adriano Monti fought, aged 15, in the international division of the German SS at the end of the Second World War and was recruited into a postwar intelligence organisation founded by General Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen had run German army espionage efforts against eastern Europe during the war and worked closely with the CIA after it. His “Gehlen Organisation” became the backbone of West Germany’s foreign intelligence organisation, the BND.

In his book Mr Monti, 89, claims to have travelled…

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Solidarity with TKP for the upcoming municipal elections

NOVANEWS

The Party for Socialism and Liberation sends revolutionary greetings to the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and extends its best wishes for the utmost success in their electoral campaign for upcoming municipal elections on March 31, 2019.

As the party of the working class, TKP is the only revolutionary force in the elections that is putting forth the class struggle against the rule of capitalists. We are following with excitement and inspiration the electoral campaign that TKP is conducting with the slogans “Against the reign of capital, the people have TKP” and “We are not in the same boat”.

All the bourgeois parties in the municipal elections, whether on the left or right, see the municipalities as institutions for plunder of public resources and exploitation of the municipal workers for the benefit of the capitalist class. In total contrast, TKP puts forth the communist municipal program based on the administration of the municipalities by the active and organized participation of the workers, guaranteeing the people the right to public housing, the right to public transport, education and public parks.

With a list of mayoral candidates who are all workers themselves and the Party’s militants out on the streets engaging with the working class and the poor all over Turkey, presenting them the program for socialism, we are confident that TKP will emerge from these elections having raised the class consciousness and won many workers to the fight for socialism.

It is our firm conviction that the victory for a working class revolution in any country depends on the presence of a strong revolutionary party that will lead the working class in the struggle to overthrow the capitalist class and fulfill its historic mission by constructing socialist society where the political and economic power is in the hands of the workers. In Turkey, TKP is that revolutionary party.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation once again expresses its international solidarity with TKP and wishes great success in the municipal elections next week.

Long live the TKP!

Long live socialism!

PSL International Relations Department

Posted in Turkey0 Comments

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