Archive | March 4th, 2020

The Palestinian artist jailed by Nazi Gestapo for the ‘crime’ of inspiring his people

Hafez Omar, a Palestinian artist who was arrested by Israeli forces in March 2019 [Twitter]

Hafez Omar, a Palestinian artist who was arrested by Israeli forces in March 2019 [Twitter]

By: Asa Winstanley 

Today he may be sitting and rotting in an Israeli cell, but in 2012 Palestinian graphic designer Hafez Omar’s posters were setting the internet alight. On Facebook in particular, his simple, iconic, anonymous brown avatars in support of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel spread like wildfire. People all over social media changed their profile photos to one or other of the male or female versions.

In a 2013 interview, Omar explained that his work drew on a far older Palestinian tradition of popular political posters. This trend, going back many decades, has always helped to rally and inspire the people towards resisting Israel. It is a common method for the mass mobilisation of the people in many societies around the world.

Omar’s work in many ways was a modern, digital extension of such work into the online realm. In that interview he noted how he saw it as encouraging when the Palestinian people themselves adopt and print his posters. “I take it as a sign that I’m still with the people when I see people [have] printed and [are] using things that I design.”

READ: Listing companies to boycott over Israeli war crimes is a start…

Hafez Omar is not a criminal; he is not a “terrorist” and nor is he an “extremist”. He is not even a resistance fighter. The only “crime” that he has committed is to stand up for the rights of his people, the people of Palestine. For this, Israel has kept him imprisoned without trial for almost a year.

Israel army thugs first kidnapped Omar in March last year. During the interrogation process, the Israelis demanded to know about “his artworks and publications on social media, especially those in support of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.” He was not accused of any wrongdoing, except the “crime” of inspiring his people to resist the Israeli occupation.

Lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - Cartoon [Arabi 21]

Lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – Cartoon [Arabi 21]

According to Human Rights Watch, the Israelis’ invalid charge sheet consisted “almost entirely of peaceful activities, such as meetings with other activists and involvement in protests, including several against the Palestinian Authority.” Even the allegedly “non-peaceful” activities he is accused of are unspecified “clashes” four years earlier; it is alleged that he “threw stones at [Israeli] security forces”.

Had Omar really done this, though, he would have been entirely justified. Even armed resistance to illegal and oppressive military occupation is a basic right enshrined in international law, never mind a few stones. Israeli soldiers routinely lie about this, and habitually invent charges against Palestinian protesters.

READ: Trump’s plan is the logical conclusion of the ‘two state’ delusion – Part 1

This is all incredibly well documented, and I experienced it myself in the mid-2000s in the Jerusalem area when I was filming a peaceful Palestinian protest against an Israeli checkpoint. The protesters were attacked instantly by the Israeli occupation forces, who proceeded to beat them up and arrest several, as well as myself as a solidarity activist. We were all bundled into a van and taken to a police station.

As a Westerner with privileges bestowed by Israel’s racist system, I was released after a few hours without charge. Before I left, I was told by the Israeli police that we had all been accused of throwing stones. This was a blatant lie, but it was obvious from the casual manner in which the lie was told that such fabrications were routine in Israel’s racist, apartheid, military dictatorship imposed on the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

My point is that Hafez Omar is guilty of no crime. He has been jailed for almost a year by the Israeli dictatorship very simply because the occupation state considers the very existence of the indigenous Palestinian people to be a crime against their racist settler-colonial project fuelled by that pernicious ideology Zionism.

This week, almost a year after his arrest, Israel’s illegitimate occupation military “court” at Ofer sentenced Omar to a year in jail. In other words they had arrested him then made up the charges as they went along.

READ: Trump’s plan is the logical conclusion of the ‘two-state’ delusion – Part 2

Israel’s system of military “courts” in the West Bank is a racist system, used against Palestinians only, not the illegal Jewish settlers. The system has a 99.7 per cent conviction rate, just like the very worst of kangaroo courts. And, remember, such courts are operated by what is supposedly “the only democracy in the Middle East”, a state which we are browbeaten into supporting unconditionally on pain of being accused of anti-Semitism. This really won’t wash.

Hopefully, Hafez Omar will be released soon. However, like all Palestinians kidnapped by Israel’s military dictatorship, there is a real threat that he will be re-arrested almost immediately on similarly made-up charges. That’s how Israel works. Palestinian legislator and women’s rights activist Khalida Jarrar, for example, has been in and out of jail for years, and is once again being held with neither charge nor trial under the infamous “administrative detention” system.

It is a sham to claim that Israel is a democracy, for its policies and practices prove otherwise. The state is a racist military dictatorship which denies the indigenous people of Palestine their most basic human rights. As such, Hafez Omar — the Palestinian artist jailed for inspiring his people — must not be left to stand alone; we all need to challenge and resist Israel’s brutal occupation.

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Only in apartheid Nazi can an app offer option not to be picked up by Arab cab drivers

Gett, an app which allows you to hail a taxi through your smartphone, 24 February 2020 [Twitter]

Gett, an app which allows you to hail a taxi through your smartphone, 24 February 2020 [Twitter]

An Israeli taxi-hailing app, offering its Jewish customers the option which guarantees that they will not be picked up by an Arab cab driver, is being sued by human rights lawyers. Gett, a global firm with users in most major cities, is facing a pay-out of $47 million in damages for providing a function that discriminates against non-Jews.

In the class-action lawsuit filed this week, Gett’s additional function-which is a unique service known as “Mehadrin” offered to religiously observant Jews-was described by the lawyer working on the case, Asaf Pink, as “a racist service that provides taxis with Jewish drivers.” Pink and local rights group, the Israel Religious Action Centre, submitted the case following a private investigation that proved the service was tailored to meet the specific needs of Jewish passengers despite it being discriminatory.

In the 2018 investigation, Gett’s Jerusalem representative, Herzl Moshe, allegedly said he would never sign an Arab driver to the special service offered to Jews, even if they agreed to Gett’s terms. “Let me tell you a secret,” he said in recorded comments. “Gett Mehadrin is not for religious [Jews]. It is for people who don’t want an Arab driver. When my daughter wants to travel, I order her a Gett Mehadrin. She doesn’t care if the driver is religious or not because what she wants is a Jewish driver.”

The firm commissioned to carry out the private investigation also sent an Arab man to ask if he could join the service, but he was refused. Moshe is reporting saying: “I have 1,500 Arab drivers, and not even one of them works for Mehadrin; nor will they.”

‘Feels like prison’: Palestinian family cut off from their village by Israel’s Separation Wall 

The case has triggered a debate over the nature of racism in Israel. Despite its many similarities with South Africa during the apartheid era, the Zionist state has been relatively successful in shielding itself from the kind of stigma that brought down the racist regime in 1991.

Part of that success has been down to the fact that Israeli lawmakers have avoided the imposition of what is often referred to “petty apartheid”. This practice is the most visible side of apartheid and includes the segregation of facilities based on race such as public amenities like parks, bathrooms and public transportation. The Gett app would certainly have fallen into this category.

The second “grand apartheid” refers to the underlying limitations placed on black South Africans’ access to land and political rights. These include laws that prevented black South Africans from even living in the same areas as white people. They also denied black Africans political representation, and, at its most extreme, citizenship in South Africa.

Palestinians take part in a rally against apartheid in the West Bank town of Hebron on 14 September 2012 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]

Palestinians take part in a rally against apartheid in the West Bank town of Hebron on 14 September 2012 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]

While both forms of apartheid can be found in Israel, signs like “For Whites Only” – or in Israel’s case “For Jews Only” – do not exist. To find examples of both requires expending more of one’s effort than simply reading a sign on the bus.

READ: Leading British Zionist warns Jews that they have ‘second class’ citizenship 

Components of grand apartheid in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is seen on a daily basis. Over five million Palestinians have been kept under a state of occupation for nearly seven decades without their right to vote. Israel oversees a territory where law is not enforced equitably. There exist separate legal and judicial systems for Jews and non-Jews. Israelis and Palestinians are also segregated in areas of housing, education, health care, transportation and welfare. Jews living in the occupied territories are considered state residents eligible for all rights conferred by the state, however the same law does not apply to their Palestinian neighbours.

Any country presiding over such a situation would rightly be considered an apartheid state, but somehow this is tolerated, presumably because the occupation is seen to be a temporary character of Israel. It ought to be pointed out, though, that the period of apartheid in South African history lasted less than Israel’s so-called “temporary occupation” of Palestine.

Discrimination runs much deeper than racist policies in the occupied territory. Israel is unique in the way that it has created a multi-tier citizenship model within the state for the purpose of maintaining its Jewish character. A number of laws have been enacted to build the state around institutionalised discrimination. The 1950 Law of Return, for example, incorporates the fundamental ideology of Zionism: all Jews, no matter where they were born, have the inalienable right to migrate to Israel.

Timeline: Israel’s anti-Palestinian laws since 1948

The 1952 Law of Citizenship (better known as the Nationality Law), meanwhile, gives all persons who are accorded Jewish nationality in the above Law of Return the right to claim Israeli citizenship automatically upon arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, without any formal procedures. The same law, however, stipulates specific protocols for non-Jews who wish to have citizenship.

Image of Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel [lleewu/Flickr]

Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel [lleewu/Flickr]

Under Israel’s extraterritorial notion of sovereignty, citizenship is granted to anyone sharing the same ethnicity or religion, regardless of where they live in the world. In Israel’s case, only Jews are granted nationality rights, while non-Jews residing in the same territory are deprived of such rights. Israel is unique in this regard. No Muslim majority country for example grants automatic citizenship on the basis of religion or ones “Arabness” for that matter. Likewise, no western democracy grants automatic citizenship purely on the grounds of race and religion.

Unlike liberal democracies in the West, Israel upholds a constitutionally-imposed distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality”. Only Jews are granted nationality and are able to enjoy the full spectrum of rights granted by the state. This has generated an odious system of delivering state benefits to foster the impression that Israel is not discriminating against non-Jews.

By separating services between “national” institutions and “government” institutions, Israel has been able to legally siphon resources to provide services for Jewish citizens only. For example, institutions financed by Zionist groups such as the Jewish National Fund can and do discriminate openly in favour of Jews without seeming to taint the apparently democratic government with the stench of racism.

READ: Jewish ‘hero’ in US Hanukkah attack refused $20,000 reward over Zionism

This kind of Jew/non-Jew bifurcation of public services denies non-Jewish citizens of the state from accessing funds and services open to Jews only. With 92 per cent of the land of Israel “owned” by the JNF, much of it expropriated from Palestinians, inaccessible to non-Jewish Israeli citizens; they are unable by law to own, lease, live or work on it.

Despite efforts to curtail displays of petty apartheid and hide discrimination under layers of obfuscations, racist practices such as segregation of public transport, which has a charged history and triggers spontaneous outrage, often breaks out.

In 2015 the Israeli government was forced into the embarrassing position of having to suspended new rules that would have separated Palestinian and Jewish passengers on buses. Last year, three Israeli hospitals admitted for the first time that they segregate Jewish and Arab women giving birthIn 2018, residents of northern Israeli town Afula demonstrated against the sale of a house to a family of Palestinian citizens. The same city imposed a ban on Palestinians from entering a park. Months earlier, a public swimming pool in southern Israel was exposed for separating Jews and Palestinians in a public swimming pool.


Arab League calls for sending international protection forces to Hebron

Arab League calls for sending international protection forces to Hebron

New app allows settlers to measure distance from Palestinian territories 

New app allows settlers to measure distance from Palestinian territories 

Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is ongoing; we need a united response

Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is ongoing; we need a united response

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The Nazi occupation renounces the release of the prisoner Zahran and extends his detention for 4 months

Sit-in of the family of the beaten prisoner Ahmed Zahran (3)

Ramallah:  The occupation authorities decided, “This evening,” Tuesday, to continue the detention of the prisoner Ahmad Zahran from Deir Abu Mishaal in Ramallah, for a period of 4 months under the terms of administrative detention, in a renunciation of the agreement that took place after his recent hunger strike.

The occupation authorities postponed more than once the decision to release Zahran (42 years), under the pretext of allowing the occupation police to appeal against the decision.

The military occupation court decided a few days before the release of Zahran, on condition that a financial guarantee of 10,000 shekels be paid.

It is noteworthy that the prisoner Ahmed Zahran had spent a total of 15 years in the detention camps of the occupation, and he is the father of four children, and was last arrested in the month of March 2019.

Zahran went on hunger strike for 113 days in the past months, before he ended his strike in the middle of last month after an agreement with the Occupation Prison Administration.

The strike that Zahran recently fought is the second, as he went on a strike against his administrative detention that lasted for 39 days, and ended after promises to release him, but the occupation authorities re-renewed his administrative detention for a period of four months and fixed it for the entire period.

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18 years since Operation “Ayyoun Al-Harami”

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr


Occupied Palestine – Jerusalem News : Today marks the 18th anniversary of the “Wadi Harami” operation carried out by the young guerrilla Thaer Hammad near his town of Silwad, east of Ramallah, on the morning of Monday, March 3, 2002, to be one of the operations that has dug for itself a place in the minds of the occupation Before the lovers.

With his conventional rifle, Thaer managed to snipe 19 soldiers one by one, killing 10 of them and wounding 9 others.

In the details of the operation, Thaer woke up before the dawn of that witnessed day, performed the dawn prayer, wore a military uniform that he had not been previously seen and wore, combed with bullets and carried the old American M1 rifle that was used in World War II and lost his ammunition consisting of 70 bullets of this old style. Of the rifles before he rode his horse and rode it to Jabal Al-Batin to the west from the town of Silwad, north of Ramallah, in rugged mountain paths, and he reached the place he had previously seen and examined, so he got off his horse and left him going where he wanted to be sure of his testimony in that process but The wind is running in a way that the ships don’t desire what he said.

At the bottom of the mountain where Thair was stationed at four o’clock in the morning, a barrier for the occupation soldiers was called the “Ayoun Al-Haramiyya” checkpoint, according to the valley where it is located. The bullets are watching and getting ready while waiting for the zero hour he set for himself.

Thaer spent about two hours watching and carefully planning the length of his distance from his target between 120-150 meters antenna to the east of it and with the hand clocks indicating his hand until six in the morning and the sun shining, everything became clear. It only takes a few seconds for the soldiers to reproduce, so that they can plunge them into what they have planned and begin sniping them one by one.

According to Thaer’s account, there were three soldiers guarding the barricade, and he hit the first one, so the bullet settled in his forehead, so the second hurried with a bullet that settled in the heart before he grew up and fired his third bullet to cause the third soldier to be killed. : “I did not find it difficult to catch them from those who preceded them and from inside the same room. I saw a sixth shouting like a madman who touched the surprise. He was calling in Arabic and Hebrew that they left while he was inside. Bullet and sound was interrupted There was stillness of death barrier moment area, I think I dealt with something pink six bullets, and suddenly arrived at the scene in a civilian car Israeli got out of settlers two towards the first weapon and before he could press the trigger had received a bullet and fell to the owner next to him with the pressure of the next trigger.

According to Thaer, two minutes passed before a military jeep arrived to replace the soldiers. As soon as the officer and his group became clear, they got out and dispersed, and started shooting in the wrong direction in every direction.

Thaer said that the barrier’s location at the bottom of the mountain enabled him well to define his goals, so he dealt with these soldiers’ orders coinciding with the arrival of another car for the settlers and an Arab truck whose driver was forced to dismount, but Thaer managed to hit the settlers next to him without untouching him.

Thaer, who is serving a life sentence of 11, remembers how an Israeli civilian vehicle arrived, noting that an Israeli woman with her children inside arrived and says she was within the target, but I refrained from aiming at her, but she shouted in Arabic and Hebrew that if you leave, take your children back and mention that he waved to her also in his hand asking them to get away And then his rifle (which could not be shot quickly for his foot) exploded, and his hands were scattered around the place, forcing him to end the battle in a way different from what he had planned, he had fired only 24 to 26 bullets from his equipment consisting of 70 bullets believed that they all settled In the bodies of his targets where 11 soldiers were killed The settlers and wounded nine others.

After his gun exploded, Thaer decided to pull up on the way back to the house. That was about seven thirty in the morning when he got to his house and hurried to take a hot bath and went to bed, so he took some sleep before waking him up by his brother’s voice urging him to hurry up to prepare for the funeral of a relative who died on the same day. .

And in conjunction with the work in performing the duty of condolence, everything was natural and Thaer did not appear to any unknown appearances about him even when the news began about the operation hesitated in the village with the rumors that accompanied it that an old man is a sniper who carried out the operation that Thaer confirms that someone He did not help him in its implementation or knew of its secret.

As the scale of the operation became clear, the occupation forces imposed a cordon around the town of Silwad, adjacent to the roadblock, and carried out a sweep campaign in search of potential perpetrators. Thaer was arrested and released after 3 days after the occupation intelligence painted a picture of the bomber as an old man, which was also reinforced by the presence of rolls of Arab tobacco What the elderly usually smoked after preparing it with their hands, they found him at the place where he fired at the checkpoint.

The release of Thaer the first time reinforced his confidence that he was safe and had no doubts about him, and he started repeating in every council that wore the story of the old sniper who carried out the operation, who was saying that he might have moved next to his Lord and would not fall into the hands of the occupation.

Almost 30 months had passed since the Thair family received an intelligence order demanding that Thair review it but he did not revise. This was a week before his house was raided and arrested at dawn on 2/10/2004. He does something that must be arrested and nothing against him.

The Maqam was not overlooked when Israeli newspapers published on the morning of 6/10/2004 the news of the arrest of the “Sniper Valley of Ayoun al-Haramiyya” and that he himself was Thaer Hammad.

Thaer’s arrest was accompanied by the arrest of three of his brothers, Nidal, Akram, and Abd al-Qadir, who was arrested ten days before, while the arrest of others accompanied the disclosure of the operation.

After 30 sessions of the trial, Thaer was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

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Syrian Army targets Turkish drone with Russian-made air defense system

A new video has emerged showing the Syrian Arab Army targeting a Turkish drone near the city of Saraqib in the eastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate.

According to the author of the video, the Syrian Arab Army was targeting a Turkish drone with their Russian-made BUK-M2 air defense system.“Legal Steroid” Turning Men Into Beasts With No ExerciseGrowth AdviceAds by Revcontent

While it is not clear if they managed to hit the Turkish drone, it is known that the Syrian Arab Army has shot down ten unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces in the past four days.

The Syrian Arab Army has been steadily advancing around Saraqib since they retook the city on Monday.

They are now working to capture the towns of Afis and Nayrab in order to officially reverse all of the militant gains made over the last week.

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The Informational War that Got Us to Where We Are

By True Publica

Global Research,

Every day of your life there is an informational war going on. You are not really aware of it – that’s the point. Its purpose is to distort the narrative and swing the political direction of a country to favour those who can afford to fund it. Here is just one small story that demonstrates the scale of aggression being waged against democracy. It very often starts in America and ends up on your mobile phone, laptop, newspaper, TV and so on.

You may have read recently that a major Republican donor has purchased a stake in Twitter and is reportedly seeking to oust its chief executive, Jack Dorsey. It was Bloomberg News that first reported that Elliott Management has taken a “sizable stake” and “and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Dorsey”.

Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of Elliott Management, is a Republican mega-donor who originally opposed Donald Trump during the real-estate magnate’s run for the presidential nomination but has since come onside.

Recently, Twitter made headlines last October when it announced a ban on political advertising. Its use and potential manipulation by politicians of all stripes, from Trump to Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg, remains a source of fierce contention.

News of the Elliott stake saw Twitter’s share price rise on Friday, during general market slides in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Elliott Management is an activist investor, which means it regularly pushes for change in companies in which it buys shares.

Singer has even taken on whole countries: in 2016, after a relentless campaign, he secured a partial repayment of debts by Argentina, arising from its financial collapse in the early 2000s.


Within two years of Brexit, amid the problems it brought to the country, Singer’s Elliott Management Corp started targeting U.K. companies, outstripping the number of public campaigns by locally based funds. It turned out that sixty per cent of the British-based companies that have been publicly subjected to activist demands were targeted by investors that aren’t headquartered in the U.K., according to researcher Activist Insight. That compares to an average of 38 per cent annually for the previous five years. And Singer was significant in this.

And it’s not as if Singer has simply seen an opportunity, he’s the type that creates them. Hundreds of millions of dollars are given through Singer’s foundation to Conservative right-wing think tanks and front charities that campaign ruthlessly for deregulation and lower taxes.

Singer, described as a “passionate defender of the 1%”, has emerged as a major force in the Republican party in recent years but has been under the radar in Britain. Of course, like any vulture capitalist, it is in Singer’s interests to see the pound sterling fall, share prices and asset prices fall as a direct result of Brexit. And to ensure Brexit stays on track, Singer is the biggest donor to an organisation called ‘America Rising’.

America Rising is now taking aim at potential 2020 Democrat presidential candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Cuomo and Bernie Sanders, with the aim of attaching negative ‘narratives’ to opponents early in the campaign cycle. It uses ‘trackers’ to follow target Democrats around, filming their public appearances in a bid to catch them saying something that could be used now, or in the future, to undermine, or embarrass them as they head towards elections.

America Rising is now in the UK. It originally registered their London affiliate with Companies House as ‘UK Rising’, aligning it with the political attack fund they co-founded rather than their commercial lobbying firm, Definers Public Affairs (UK Rising underwent a name change to UK Policy Group in May last year).

Employees in the London branch were being trained up in these skills by their American counterparts over a year ago. UK Policy Group similarly promises to provide ‘dossiers’ on ‘targets’ that provide ‘comprehensive, detailed analysis’ of an opponent’s record, background and views, information which, they say, can be used to shape stories in the media. UK Policy Group has said that its services will be aimed at private sector clients.

UK Policy Group’s all-male leadership team isn’t from the commercial world though but appears instead to be drawn almost exclusively from the Conservative Party, including some with a background in opposition research.

All these links, billionaires, think tanks, front charities, social media and the attack dog organisations in oppositional research are all linked. Their purpose is the weaponisation of information in elections – an informational war if you like, for the explicit purpose of defining a political opponent in the eyes of voters, increasing their ‘negatives’, depressing their support, and driving away potential voters.  It might not be illegal, but whichever you look at it, it is immoral and undemocratic. The other problem here is that unlimited sums of money can be thrown at these campaigns without breaching electoral funding guidelines. It’s called dark money and by far, the majority of it comes from people or organisations who oppose democracy and the rule of law.

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Venezuela Responds with Principled Conviction to the US’ Desperate Attempts at Regime Change

By Nino Pagliccia

Global Research,

The continued effort to overthrow President Maduro does not seem to produce the intended results for the perpetrators, but rather sends signals of desperation. The regime change plotters may be wishing to achieve what they did in Bolivia. But that is not likely to happen anytime soon. That must cause some political frustration in Washington and of course more resistance in Caracas.

We can summarise the main tenets of US foreign policy for regime change as to reject any progressive sovereign and independent government that challenges the capitalist and imperialist ideology of the US, by simply labelling it as a threat to its national security, in order to secure, gain control and exploit the rich natural resources of that country on behalf of US corporations no matter where they are.

The US has failed in Venezuela at least since the unsuccessful coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002. And even more dramatically since January last year when Washington zeroed in on the previously unknown Juan Guaidó as their candidate for the virtual government of their choice.

Washington miserable failure is not due to lack of trying.

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza (image on the right) on February 25 reported at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva – of which Venezuela is a member for the third time – that “since 2014, more than 300 unilateral measures have been taken by the United States to affect the functioning of the economy and undermine the human rights of the Venezuelan people.” He also referred to other research that establishes the death toll by US sanctions at 40,000 Venezuelans.

The unilateral coercive measures not only impact Venezuelan assets and people, but they also exert a full economic and financial blockade that prevents Venezuela to access financial and trade markets for essential imports like medicine and food. Perhaps more critically they have an extra territorial component by threatening or forcing other countries to comply with US coercive measures. This is when the term “coercive measures” becomes more descriptive to Venezuelans as opposed to “sanctions” that by definition are “provisions of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience” where “law” is a foreign law.

The consistent US drive in its aggression since the beginning of 2019 is to entirely crush Venezuela’s oil sector, the main source of revenues for the country. Just last February 18 the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted Russia by blocking “all property and interests in property of [Russian subsidiary] Rosneft Trading S.A. and [its chairman] Didier Casimiro that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons”. Rosneft is associated with the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA and is the largest receiver of Venezuelan oil.

According to Reuters, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams declared that Washington will “push harder on the Venezuelan oil sector.” The US Treasury Department first levied financial sanctions against PDVSA in August 2017. Abrams went further suggesting the international policing role of the US watching possible ship-to-ship or company-to-company transfers of Venezuelan oil, “We are going to follow up with the companies that are engaged in this and we are going to sanction them.” He made it clear that the second largest receiver of Venezuelan oil, the China National Petroleum Corp, will not be ignored.What’s the Deal with Sanctions in Venezuela, and Why’s It So Hard for Media to Understand?

Caracas, Moscow as well as Beijing consistently continue to reject US unilateral coercive measures. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also being reported to express his opposition to the US “sanctions” against Russian state oil company Rosneft for trading with Venezuela: “We oppose any interference in the internal affairs of other countries, just as we are against unilateral sanctions and extraterritorial jurisdiction.”

However, despite last October visit to India by Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez to enhance bilateral cooperation, India has made a different choice. Two Indian oil companies have announced that they will comply with US threats of “sanctions” declared by President Trump in a press conference during his visit to India in late February. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s pro-Trump pivot may well be a political move that may reveal Modi’s pathetic attempt to please Trump. Modi’s ultimate intentions may well be to distract the international opinion from his abysmal Hindu supremacist policy by preventing the #US from using that against him if he did not comply to US demands.

More significantly, countering India’s about face, is the failure of the “Lima Group” meeting in Ottawa last February 20. The meeting of an undeclared number of foreign ministers was met by protests of Canadians, and this author addressed an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with relevant political questions about Canada’s intervention in Venezuelan affairs.

The “Lima Group” only managed to produce a bland statement where the strongest threat was “In the coming days and weeks, representatives of the Lima Group will participate in an intensive period of international efforts and consultation with all countries interested in the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.” That they have being doing now for two and half years and is expected to continue with no predictable successful outcome. By far what stood out in the statement is the absence of any reference to the unelected “interim president” Juan Guaidó.

The urgency to overthrow Maduro is not founded on re-establishing “democracy” and the “rule of law” in Venezuela but rather on the “danger” of “normalising the situation”, as Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gustavo Meza Cuadra, who participated in the “Lima Group” meeting, stated in a press conference in Lima. This is urgency masking desperation.

The sheer power of the US coercive measures is obviously having a quantifiable stunning impact on the growth of the economy and on the well-being of the general population, but that is not sufficient to deter resolved Venezuelans to preserve their sovereignty and what they have achieved in more than twenty years of establishing a fully autonomous State. To what appears to be a step up of US threats against Venezuela the Venezuelan government has also stepped up its resistance.

In contrast to the desperate actions for regime change by the US and its accomplices, Venezuela acts with the strength of principled conviction and optimism.

To the threats of a US military invasion and a naval blockade, and in the face of crippling “sanctions” as an act of war, Venezuela responds with military exercises in a display of unique civic-military coordination.

Maduro declared recently, “We have to consider that we have constantly lived in a war economy.” In fact, we can add that this is a Hybrid War that relies on disinformation, on smear campaigns, and on a virtual army of financiers and the might of the US dollar. As a response to this challenge Maduro is aiming to increase oil production and to this end he has appointed a “commission to overhaul the country’s oil industry”. More broadly, Venezuela is also reviving an additional “army” called “Productive Army Workers” as an “unconventional army for an unconventional war”. This group of about 2,300 workers have the objective of helping reactivate the national productive apparatus by refurbishing factories, machinery and equipment in a recovery process across the country so that they may start producing again.

Perhaps the most visible action at the international level has been the filing of a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Holland, by the Venezuelan government to investigate the actions of the US government over the use of “sanctions”. A 60-page supporting document describes unilateral coercive measures as a “crime against humanity” and equates them to “weapons of mass destruction.” They are considered by many to be illegal under UN, OAS and US Law. Although the US is no longer a member of the ICC, the lawsuit will make a clear statement internationally.

With the kind of background described above that includes a domestic environment akin to a country under siege only seen in war situations, Venezuela prepares for yet another election. Legislative elections are scheduled to take place in December of this year with the participation of various opposition parties. Only Guaidó has taken the position of the US government and the “Lima Group” of not participating unless a transition government is formed leading to presidential elections…like in Bolivia. But we need to ask, do foreign governments decide about elections in Venezuela?

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, VenezuelaComments Off on Venezuela Responds with Principled Conviction to the US’ Desperate Attempts at Regime Change

The Threat of a Nuclear War Between the US and Russia Is Now at Its Greatest Since 1983

The military commander of entire NATO doesn’t mind lobbing nukes first

By Scott Ritter

Global Research,

When the Commander of NATO says he is a fan of flexible first strike at the same time that NATO is flexing its military muscle on Russia’s border, the risk of inadvertent nuclear war is real.

US Air Force Gen. Tod D Wolters told the Senate this week he “is a fan of flexible first strike” regarding NATO’s nuclear weapons, thereby exposing the fatal fallacy of the alliance’s embrace of American nuclear deterrence policy.

It was one of the most remarkable yet underreported exchanges in recent Senate history. Earlier this week, during the testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee of General Tod Wolters, the commander of US European Command and, concurrently, as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) also the military head of all NATO armed forces, General Wolters engaged in a short yet informative exchange with Senator Deb Fischer, a Republican from the state of Nebraska. 

Following some initial questions and answers focused on the alignment of NATO’s military strategy with the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the US, which codified what Wolters called “the malign influence on behalf of Russia” toward European security, Senator Fischer asked about the growing recognition on the part of NATO of the important role of US nuclear deterrence in keeping the peace. “We all understand that our deterrent, the TRIAD, is the bedrock of the security of this country,” Fischer noted. “Can you tell us about what you are hearing…from our NATO partners about this deterrent?”

Wolters responded by linking the deterrence provided to Europe by the US nuclear TRIAD with the peace enjoyed on the European continent over the past seven decades. Fischer asked if the US nuclear umbrella was “vital in the freedom of NATO members”; Wolters agreed. Remarkably, Wolters linked the role of nuclear deterrence with the NATO missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere outside the European continent. NATO’s mission, he said, was to “proliferate deterrence to the max extent practical to achieve greater peace.”

Then came the piece de resistance of the hearing. “What are your views, Sir,” Senator Fischer asked, “of adopting a so-called no-first-use policy. Do you believe that that would strengthen deterrence?”

General Wolters’ response was straight to the point. “Senator, I’m a fan of flexible first use policy.”

Under any circumstance, the public embrace of a “flexible first strike” policy regarding nuclear weapons employment by the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe should generate widespread attention. When seen in the context of the recent deployment by the US of a low-yield nuclear warhead on submarine-launched ballistic missiles carried onboard a Trident submarine, however, Wolters’ statement is downright explosive. Add to the mix the fact the US recently carried out a wargame where the US Secretary of Defense practiced the procedures for launching this very same “low yield” weapon against a Russian target during simulated combat between Russia and NATO in Europe, and the reaction should be off the charts. And yet there has been deafening silence from both the European and US press on this topic.

There is, however, one party that paid attention to what General Wolters had to say–Russia. In a statement to the press on February 25–the same date as General Wolters’ testimony, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister stated that “We note with concern that Washington’s new doctrinal guidelines considerably lower the threshold of nuclear weapons use.” Lavrov added that this doctrine had to be viewed in the light “of the persistent deployment of US nuclear weapons on the territory of some NATO allies and the continued practice of the so-called joint nuclear missions.”US Preparing for “Hybrid War” with Russia? Positioning US-NATO Forces on Russia’s Doorstep

Rather than embracing a policy of “flexible first strike”, Lavrov suggested that the US work with Russia to re-confirm “the Gorbachev-Reagan formula, which says that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed.” This proposal was made 18 months ago, Lavrov noted, and yet the US has failed to respond.

Complicating matters further are the ‘Defender 2020’ NATO military exercises underway in Europe, involving tens of thousands of US troops in one of the largest training operations since the end of the Cold War. The fact that these exercises are taking place at a time when the issue of US nuclear weapons and NATO’s doctrine regarding their employment against Russia is being actively tracked by senior Russian authorities only highlights the danger posed.

On February 6, General Valery Gerasimov, the Russian Chief of Staff, met with General Wolters to discuss ‘Defender 2020’ and concurrent Russian military exercises to be held nearby to deconflict their respective operations and avoid any unforeseen incidents. This meeting, however, was held prior to the reports about a US/NATO nuclear wargame targeting Russian forces going public, and prior to General Wolters’ statement about “flexible first use” of NATO nuclear weapons.

In light of these events, General Gerasimov met with French General Fançois Lecointre, the Chief of the Defense Staff, to express Russia’s concerns over NATO’s military moves near the Russian border, especially the Defender 2020 exercise which was, General Gerasimov noted, “held on the basis of anti-Russian scenarios and envisage training for offensive operations.”

General Gerasimov’s concerns cannot be viewed in isolation, but rather must be considered in the overall historical context of NATO-Russian relations. Back in 1983, the then-Soviet Union was extremely concerned about a series of realistic NATO exercises, known as ‘Able Archer ‘83,’ which in many ways mimicked the modern-day Defender 2020 in both scope and scale. Like Defender 2020, Able Archer ‘83 saw the deployment of tens of thousands of US forces into Europe, where they assumed an offensive posture, before transitioning into a command post exercise involving the employment of NATO nuclear weapons against a Soviet target.

So concerned was Moscow about these exercises, and the possibility that NATO might use them as a cover for an attack against Soviet forces in East Germany, that the Soviet nuclear forces were placed on high alert. Historians have since observed that the threat of nuclear war between the US and the USSR was at that time the highest it had been since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

US and NATO officials would do well to recall the danger to European and world security posed by the “Able Archer ‘83” exercise and the potential for Soviet miscalculations when assessing the concerns expressed by General Gerasimov today. The unprecedented concentration of offensive NATO military power on Russia’s border, coupled with the cavalier public embrace by General Wolters of a “flexible first strike” nuclear posture by NATO, has more than replicated the threat model presented by Able Archer ’83. In this context, it would not be a stretch to conclude that the threat of nuclear war between the US and Russia is the highest it has been since Able Archer ’83.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on The Threat of a Nuclear War Between the US and Russia Is Now at Its Greatest Since 1983

From Monroe to Trump. US Sponsored Military Coups in Latin America

By Global Research New

Video: Syrian Armed Forces Teach ‘2nd Strongest NATO Army’ Painful Lesson in Idlib

By South Front,

Units of the Russian Military Police entered the town of Saraqib in eastern Idlib following the second liberation of the town from al-Qaeda terrorists and Turkish forces. According to the Russian military, the deployment took place at 5:00pm local time on March 2 and was intended to provide security and allow traffic through the M4 and M5 highways. In fact, the Russians came to put an end to Turkish attempts to capture the town and cut off the M5 highway in this area.

From Monroe to Trump. US Sponsored Military Coups in Latin America

By Elson Concepción Pérez,

The latest threat to Venezuela of a possible military intervention, the recent coup in Bolivia under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS), the tightening of the blockade of Cuba, destabilization in Nicaragua, and open interference in the internal affairs of countries in the region, where democratic governments have set the standards for development and sovereignty, do not come as a surprise.

The US-Taliban ‘Peace Deal’? Imperial State Criminality and Terrorism, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and “Restorative Justice”

By Junaid S. Ahmad,

The US/NATO war and occupation of Afghanistan offers a glaring case of what US Senator Fulbright (yes, the one who started the Fulbright program of scholarships and exchanges) called the ‘arrogance of power’ (of his country), his book being of the same title. The wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, with a war machine on steroids, invading and occupying for nearly two decades one of the poorest countries on the planet – and one which had already undergone two decades of uninterrupted internecine war in the prior two decades.

Keep It Simple and Question: Propaganda, Technology, and Coronavirus COVID-19

By Edward Curtin,

Two of the major problems the world faces – world destruction with nuclear weapons and the poisoning of the earth’s ecology and atmosphere – are the result of the marriage of science and technique that has given birth to the technological “babies” (Little Boy and Fat Man) that were used by the U.S. to massacre hundreds of thousands of Japanese and now threaten to incinerate everyone, and the chemical and toxic inventions that have despoiled the earth, air, and water and continue to kill people worldwide through America’s endless war-making and industrial applications.

Turkey in Syria: Down a Blind Alley in an Unwinnable War?

By Tony Cartalucci,

Turkey had been making some promising steps in the right direction since Washington’s disastrous proxy regime-change war in Syria began unraveling – yet it still maintains a problematic position inside Syrian territory, backing what are unequivocally terrorists and obstructing Syria’s sovereign right to recover and restore order within its own borders.

The latest and most dangerous manifestation of this untenable policy is the increasingly frequent and fierce clashes between Turkish forces occupying Syrian territory and Syrian forces themselves moving deeper into the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

Neoliberal Globalization Is Pushing Humanity “Towards the Edge”

By Shane Quinn,

There have been a number of harmful consequences as a result of the neoliberal era, which emerged in the late 1970s, taking off during the tenures of Ronald Reagan (US president, 1981-1989) and Margaret Thatcher (British prime minister, 1979-1990). There has been an explosion of private power, splintering of societies, destabilization of the financial system, and so on.

Neoliberal globalization has been an important factor too in political parties shifting further to the right, and succumbing to the power of increasingly dominant multinational corporations. This is most notable in America where the Republican Party (or organization) has moved so far off the spectrum that traditional republicans from previous decades would hardly recognize it today.

Why Are Stocks Crashing?

By Mike Whitney,

Uncertainty. It’s impossible for investors to gauge the economic impact of the rapidly-spreading coronavirus or its effect on stock prices. Investors buy stocks with the expectation that their investment will grow over time. In periods of crisis, when the environment becomes unfamiliar and opaque, expectations are crushed under the weigh of uncertainty. When expectations dampen, investors sell.

Posted in USA, Brazil, CUBA, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Peru, Puerto Rico, South America, VenezuelaComments Off on From Monroe to Trump. US Sponsored Military Coups in Latin America

How Globalization and China’s Economic Crisis Might Jeopardize Our Precarious Medical Supply Chains

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research,

The grave risks and dangers in the process of worldwide out-sourcing and so-called globalization of the past 30 years or so are becoming starkly clear as the ongoing health emergency across China threatens vital world supply chains from China to the rest of the world. While much attention is focused on the risks to smartphone components or auto manufacture via supplies of key parts from China or to the breakdown of oil deliveries in the last weeks, there is a danger that will soon become alarmingly clear in terms of global health care system.

If the forced shutdown of China manufacturing continues for many weeks longer, the world, could begin to experience shortages or lack of vital medicines and medical supplies. The reason is that over the past two decades much of the production of medicines and medical supplies such as surgical masks have been outsourced to China or simply made in China by Chinese companies at far cheaper prices, forcing Western companies out of business.

Sole source China

According to research and US Congressional hearings, something like 80% of present medicines consumed in the United States are produced in China. This includes Chinese companies and foreign drug companies that have outsourced their drug manufacture in joint ventures with Chinese partners. According to Rosemary Gibson of the Hastings Center bioethics research institute, who authored a book in 2018 on the theme, the dependency is more than alarming.

Gibson cites medical newsletters giving the estimate that today some 80% of all pharmaceutical active ingredients in the USA are made in China.

“It’s not just the ingredients. It’s also the chemical precursors, the chemical building blocks used to make the active ingredients. We are dependent on China for the chemical building blocks to make a whole category of antibiotics… known as cephalosporins. They are used in the United States thousands of times every day for people with very serious infections.”

The made in China drugs today include most antibiotics, birth control pills, blood pressure medicines such as valsartan, blood thinners such as heparin, and various cancer drugs. It includes such common medicines as penicillin, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and aspirin. The list also includes medications to treat HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, cancer, depression, epilepsy, among others. A recent Department of Commerce study found that 97 percent of all antibiotics in the United States came from China.Why West Fears ‘Made in China: 2025’

Few of these drugs are labeled “made in China” as drug companies in the USA are not required to reveal their sourcing. Rosemary Gibson states that the dependency on China for medicines and other health products is so great that, “…if China shut the door tomorrow, within a couple of months, hospitals in the United States would cease to function.” That may not be so far off.

At the time the outsourcing of US and European drug manufacture to China began no one could imagine the present health catastrophe growing out of Wuhan in a matter of days. The massive China quarantine since late January has shut some 75-80% of all Chinese factories and created an unprecedented domestic China demand for every kind of medical product since the WHO declaration of medical emergency around the coronavirus or COVID-19 events at the end of January. It is unclear how badly deliveries of vital pharmaceuticals including essential antibiotics from China to the USA or Europe or other countries will be affected though anecdotal reports of hospitals beginning to experience delivery problems are surfacing. Even the idea to turn to India, another major global pharmaceutical supplier, only finds that most Indian manufacturers are dependent on China for their active drug ingredients.

Clinton and Outsourcing

The emergence of China in recent years as the global giant in terms of pharmaceutical drugs and products is embedded in the Made in China-2025 national plan as one of the ten priority areas for China to gain world leadership. It has not been simply a random chance development. This in turn, as the present COVID-19 crisis makes starkly clear, is a huge vulnerability for the rest of the world.

How did such a one-sided situation develop? We have to go back to the role of the Clinton Presidency in what was then dubbed globalization, the Davos model of outsourcing any and everything from advanced industrial countries like the USA or Germany to especially China after 2000.

In May 2000 in one of the most far-reaching actions of his Presidency, Bill Clinton, with the strong backing of US multinational companies, succeeded, over the strong objections and warnings of many trade unions, to get Congressional passage of a permanent “most-favored nation” trade status for China and US support for China entry into the World Trade Organization. That gave the green light to corporate America for a flood of overseas investment in cheaper China manufacture known as “out-sourcing.” Major US drug makers were among them. Within two years of the passage of the US free trade agreement with China the US shut its last penicillin fermentation plant in New York State as a result of severe Chinese low-price competition.

In 2008, the Chinese government designated pharmaceutical production as a “high-value-added industry” and bolstered the industry through subsidies and export tax rebates to encourage pharmaceutical companies to export their products. By 2019 China had become by far the world’s largest source for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

The Achilles Heel of this globalization and sole dependency for vital medicines on one country now becomes alarmingly clear as the future of China as a reliable supplier of needed drugs and other medical supplies has suddenly become a matter of grave concern to the entire world.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on How Globalization and China’s Economic Crisis Might Jeopardize Our Precarious Medical Supply Chains

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