Archive | April 11th, 2020

“Stolen Freedom” … on the diaries of families and isolation

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

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Nazi Occupied Palestine: With the spread of Corona virus in Palestine, the declaration of a state of emergency and calls to adhere to the quarantine, it was not until two weeks ago that the families began wondering about the ability of five thousand prisoners to live isolated from everything that is abroad for years in the occupation prisons, and how Prisoners spend their time?

“The prisoner is willing to pay his full life, in exchange for him to live among his family members in their house. Now I can move freely in my house, I see my family, if I feel hungry I open the refrigerator and eat what I desire, but everything that we have today while we are in the house is missing Have prisoners in Israeli jails, ” says liberated prisoner Bilal Kayed.

The editor, Kayed, adds to ” Quds News “, that social relations are a basis in our society, and that those relationships are almost the most important thing for a prisoner, but in families he lacks everything including the human dimensions and his ability to communicate even with his family, sitting with them in one room and talking to them But the prisoners were able to program their lives on the basis of the existing reality, and so that they could overcome the harshness of reality.

On the families ’diaries, as Kayed experienced, the prisoners wake up in the morning. Those who wish to practice morning sports go out to the spree, then the prisoners return to the section, they take a group breakfast, and after the completion they hold an educational morning session that deals with the political, intellectual and militant reality of the prisoner inside and outside the families.

And in the afternoon, the time for nap will come, during which the rest of the prisoner will be provided as much comfort as possible, until after the time of the outburst and it will be from one to two hours, and the prisoners will meet each other and talk, to return after the end of the time to the department and lunch, and in the evening program the prisoners will be seen Newsletters, which are a way for them to communicate with the outside and learn about everything that happens, to hold the educational evening session, and then the prisoners will sleep.

Fifteen years was the life of Bilal in this manner, the most cruel when he spent in solitary confinement a whole year, he was forbidden by a decision from the “Shin Bet”, from television and radio, and he had a novel every three days, he used to spend time retrieving the stories of the prisoners, and recalling images in his mind You put him in his cell.

Today Bilal can enjoy freedom in the period of domestic isolation in light of the spread of corona, and the time has become his possession, as well as what he wants food, unlike the prisoners, and if the prisoners desire the “tomato tray”, they have to wait six days until they collect the tomatoes, in all One day they get one pill, but there are many things that are available to us, but they are forbidden and lost in captivity, that the captive sees in his imagination and does not taste it.

Female prisoners inside the prison walls

In prisons where women prisoners are held, the situation is not much different, as it is the same policy that the occupation pursues in all its prisons. At exactly six o’clock in the morning, the prisoners are forced to wake up and wear their clothes in preparation for what is known as the number.

The freed prisoner Salam Abu Sharar tells “Quds Al-Akhbariya ” about the diaries of the captives in Damoon Prison. Every day at 7:30 am, what is known as the examination and the roads begin on the walls, after they are taken out of the rooms without taking into account their circumstances, then the captives go out to the yard Narrow to accommodate 26 prisoners, the walls are high and covered by a net that does not see the sky and the sun.

“Your life in captivity is determined by the warden, you are not free, but forced, do not have the will, and you lose all means of communication with the outside, privacy is also lost, if the warden wants to break into the room and search in your possessions and your clothes have freedom.” Peace says.

As for the time inside families, it is heavy for them, and most of it is spent in the process of cleaning rooms, preparing food, and reading permitted stories. As for television, the channels were limited, and with dialogues and paper games their day was spent.

As for Eid for them, it is the day of the family’s visit, and in the bloody prison it was every two weeks. Today, in light of the closure of prisons and the prevention of visiting, the prisoners have lost their means of communicating with the outside and knowing what is new, at a time when their families live in fear for their unknown fate And, in light of the news received, that two prisoners and investigators were wounded and mixed with a number of prisoners.

The most difficult thing for peace was during her presence in the cells of the investigation of the maskobiya, there is no air and no sun there, do not communicate with the prisoners, a closed grave as you describe it, the detainees are continuously insulted, the food is very bad, and all amenities are lost. It was a dream of peace in the cells to see her family or hear their voice.

As for the dreams of prisoners and female prisoners in prisons, they are simple and we see them every day. They wish to see the spring of the country and roses, to see the sky clear without clasping, or even to see the sunrise and sunset.

Salam says: “When I retrieve my memories of isolation and imprisonment, I tell myself that I am in absolute luxury. Now, in the period of domestic isolation, I enjoy the freedom and will that I have been missing in captivity, I eat whatever food I want while we are deprived of many kinds, I stand across the window and see the streets or mountains, sit with my family and communicate with my friends over the phone, if anyone in us is bored with all the amenities and options, he can walk in his garden, you are free inside your house and have dignity. ”

Receiving his father, who is recovering from Corona .. “Baba, but you will recover in Nigeria.”

Who saves the capital and its people from the Corona pandemic?

A family in quarantine in Halhoul complained about poor conditions … and the governorate clarifies

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Health, Human RightsComments Off on “Stolen Freedom” … on the diaries of families and isolation

Al-Zahar responds to Nazi “Bennett”: the prisoners versus the captured soldiers, and we reject blackmail

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

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Gaza- Kassem Al-Quds News : Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, responded today, Thursday, to the Minister of the Nazi Occupation War, Nazi Naftali Bennett, in which he linked the release of the captured soldiers to the resistance to help the sector in the face of the Corona virus.

Al-Zahar said in exclusive statements to ” Quds News “: “The linking of the handing over of captured soldiers with Gaza’s assistance to confronting Corona is a cheap bargaining,” adding: “We reject extortion, and the release of the soldiers is subject to the release of all prisoners.”

Al-Zahar added: “What Naftali Bennett presented comes in the context of the political trade that occurs after the elections, and if his soldiers want him, he must release the prisoners and detainees without exception, then the resistance offers what it has and what it proposes is cheap and unacceptable blackmail.”

Regarding aid to the Gaza Strip, the leader commented enthusiastically, “The occupation has a duty to help the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as it is an occupying power, and it must provide all health and medical supplies and is responsible to the world for the spread of the disease among the Palestinians.”

Al-Zahar held the Israeli occupation responsible for any infection that occurred among Palestinian prisoners in prisons with the Corona virus, calling on the Palestinian Authority to move internationally in this file through various channels to pressure the occupation.

In another context, the leadership considered enthusiastically that the government agencies in Gaza, according to the limited capabilities available to them, are successful in managing the crisis in an acceptable manner, despite the presence of some observations and limited complaints received by the Legislative Council in Gaza.

Al-Zahar added, “Its actions in Gaza are successful for the time being, especially since the injuries are limited to a specific scope and did not affect the public in general, and therefore the measures in the quarantine are acceptable despite the limited capabilities.” He pointed out that there are contacts with various parties to bring support to Gaza to confront the virus.

Regarding opening the Rafah crossing again, Al-Zahar commented: “There are many caveats in opening the Rafah crossing and there are large numbers on the Egyptian side, and we do not guarantee that the crossing will be opened among them, given the weak capabilities we have, perhaps after weeks the situation is better than Gaza.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Health, Human Rights1 Comment

Steps to protest the prisoners of “Ofer” after refusing to take samples from them

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

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Nazi occupied Ramallah: The prisoners in Section (14) of the Nazi military “Ofer” detention Camp returned meals as a first protest step, against the Camp administration’s refusal to take samples of the prisoners in contact with the injured editor, Noureddine Sarsour, and only examining the prisoners.

The prison administration requires that the prisoners receive a medical report stating that Sarsour was injured during his detention in the department. 

And the Al-Asir Club announced today, Thursday, that, according to information received successively, the prisoners began to take self-steps, in an attempt to ward off the risks of spreading the virus infection, specifically in section (14).

And he handed over the prisoners from yesterday a list of demands to the Nazi administration, so that it leads to the lowest level of communication with the prisoners, in addition to the basic requirement, which is to take samples from the prisoners who mixed with the injured editor. 

Nevertheless, the Prison Administration continues its allegations that there are no injuries among the prisoners, despite announcing that cases have been recorded between its prisons and the quarantine of others.  

The Prisoners Club renewed its call to all international human rights institutions to intervene to release the sick prisoners, the elderly, women and children, as well as the Red Cross in order to ensure the safety of the prisoners in the “Ofer” Nazi Camp, and to press hard to provide the necessary procedures and measures in all Camps. 

It is noteworthy that the prisoners had taken protest steps during the month of March, which were to return meals and close sections to demand provision of the necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, and to stop the administrative management procedures imposed on them, but the administration and until this day procrastinate to take real measures within the departments.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Health, Human RightsComments Off on Steps to protest the prisoners of “Ofer” after refusing to take samples from them

Coronavirus-hit countries are asking Cuba for medical help. Why is the US opposed?

By Patrick Oppmann,

Doctors and nurses of Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade pose with a portrait of Cuban late leader Fidel Castro before travelling to Italy, at the Central Unit of Medical Cooperation in Havana, on March 21, 2020.

Doctors and nurses of Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade pose with a portrait of Cuban late leader Fidel Castro before travelling to Italy, at the Central Unit of Medical Cooperation in Havana, on March 21, 2020.

Havana (CNN)Cuba is offering to send doctors to more countries struggling with the coronavirus. But don’t accept their help, the US State Department says.As health care systems around the world are strained to the point of collapse, Cuban health care “brigades” have been invited to assist medical workers in Italy, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Suriname, Jamaica and Grenada. On Tuesday, Cuban officials released video of a field hospital its health care workers had built in Lombardy, Italy, one of the regions hit hardest by the coronavirus.

Cuba Fast Facts But the State Department wants countries to reconsider asking Cuba for help in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. “Cuba offers its international medical missions to those afflicted with #COVIDー19 only to make up the money it lost when countries stopped participating in the abusive program,” tweeted an account for the US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor on Wednesday.”Host countries seeking Cuba’s help for #COVIDー19 should scrutinize agreements and end labor abuses,” the message said.Recent requests for help by other countries have marked an abrupt turnaround. Cuba saw hundreds of doctors sent home from medical missions in Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia in recent years, after the US criticized Cuba’s medical assistance programs, accusing them of exploiting health care workers and spreading propaganda.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Cuba offers some countries free medical assistance out of solidarity, while other countries pay for the services. The workers who deploy typically receive only about 20% of the salaries the host countries pay for their assistance — a reduced wage, but much more than Cuban doctors earn in hospitals back home, where a top salary is about $60 a month.

Extremely effective at disaster relief

Like many institutions in Cuba, the local health care system has seen better days. But the hyper centralization of the Cuban government, which has been so disastrous for the island’s economy, makes Cuba extremely effective at disaster relief. And while health professionals on the island operate on a shoestring, the system is geared to preventing disease rather than waiting to treat it.

Cuba is repurposing factories to produce face masksAfter the first cases of coronavirus were discovered in Cuba on March 11 in three Italian tourists visiting the colonial city of Trinidad, thousands of Cuban health workers, including medical students, were sent by the government to go door to door across the island to search of people suffering from respiratory illness that could be the coronavirus.Soon all the government resources were focused on the pandemic. Currently, Cuba has 57 confirmed cases with 1,479 other people who are hospitalized and being monitored for symptoms of the coronavirus.Earlier this month, the government also took the unusual step of offering help to a British cruise liner with at least five confirmed coronavirus cases aboard and dozens more people suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Several other islands including the Bahamas and Barbados, had already turned down the cruise ship.The MS Braemar docked in the Port of Mariel, site of the boatlift of refugees fleeing the island to the US in 1980, and Cuban health workers carried out the risky, daylong operation of transporting more than 600 cruise ship passengers from the port to the runaway at Havana’s airport, where four charter planes to England were waiting.

Virus-hit cruise ship MS Braemar docks in Cuba after Caribbean odyssey” I am very grateful to the Cuban government for allowing this operation to move forward,” said Antony Stokes, the UK’s ambassador to Cuba, on the day the Braemar arrived.Now, as other countries’ health care systems falter, more Cuban doctors are likely to be on the front lines of the pandemic. Those efforts should make the US government reconsider the nearly 60-year-old trade embargo on Cuba, said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which recently called on the Trump administration to lift economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran and Venezuela as part of the fight against coronavirus.

Why Cuba is watching America’s election race so closely“The sanctions have a more generalized and deadly direct effect by contributing to a more generalized scarcity of life-saving medicine and equipment because they exacerbate an economic downturn,” Weisbrot wrote to CNN in an email. “This means more scarcities of vital medical needs and supplies, and more deaths.”If Trump did offer Cuba any sanctions relief, it would fly in the face of his policy of dismantling the Obama administration’s opening to Cuba.

Trump has also made clear he believes a tough on Cuba posture wins votes with Florida’s conservative Cuban American community.Last week, Trump offered an olive branch to a communist adversary, saying he would be willing to send aid to help North Korea fight the coronavirus. Despite Cuba’s growing contributions to the battle against the pandemic, Havana is unlikely to receive a similar offer.

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April 09: Webinar “Prisoner of Palestine in France, the case of Georges Abdallah”

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

April 09: Webinar "Prisoner of Palestine in France, the case of Georges Abdallah"

Thursday April 9, 2020
From p.m. (UTC + 1)
Via ZOOM
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2568057420116045/

Join the  Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network  for a webinar on Georges Abdallah, Lebanese communist and fighter for the Palestinian cause imprisoned in France since 1984, with the Palestine Vaincra Collective (conference in English). We will address in particular the political commitment of Georges Abdallah, the international mobilization for his release and the current situation linked to the COVID-19 epidemic.
To join this event online on ZOOM, register here:  http://bit.ly/freegeorges

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Campaigns, France, Human RightsComments Off on April 09: Webinar “Prisoner of Palestine in France, the case of Georges Abdallah”

China Locked in Hybrid War with US

Fallout from Covid-19 outbreak puts Beijing and Washington on a collision course

By Pepe Escobar

Global Research,

Among the myriad, earth-shattering geopolitical effects of coronavirus, one is already graphically evident. China has re-positioned itself. For the first time since the start of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, Beijing openly regards the US as a threat, as stated a month ago by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference during the peak of the fight against coronavirus. 

Beijing is carefully, incrementally shaping the narrative that, from the beginning of the coronovirus attack, the leadership knew it was under a hybrid war attack. Xi’s terminology is a major clue. He said, on the record, that this was war. And, as a counter-attack, a “people’s war” had to be launched.

Moreover, he described the virus as a demon or devil. Xi is a Confucianist. Unlike some other ancient Chinese thinkers, Confucius was loath to discuss supernatural forces and judgment in the afterlife. However, in a Chinese cultural context, devil means “white devils” or “foreign devils”: guailo in Mandarin, gweilo in Cantonese. This was Xi delivering a powerful statement in code.

When Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, voiced in an incandescent tweet the possibility that “it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan” – the first blast to this effect to come from a top official – Beijing was sending up a trial balloon signaliing that the gloves were finally off. Zhao Lijian made a direct connection with the Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019, which included a delegation of 300 US military.

He directly quoted US CDC director Robert Redfield who, when asked last week whether some deaths by coronavirus had been discovered posthumously in the US, replied that  “some cases have actually been diagnosed this way in the US today.”

Zhao’s explosive conclusion is that Covid-19 was already in effect in the US before being identified in Wuhan – due to the by now fully documented inability of US to test and verify differences compared with the flu.

Adding all that to the fact that coronavirus genome variations in Iran and Italy were sequenced and it was revealed they do not belong to the variety that infected Wuhan, Chinese media are now openly  asking questions and drawing a connection with the shutting down in August last year of the “unsafe” military bioweapon lab at Fort Detrick, the Military Games, and the Wuhan epidemic. Some of these questions had been asked – with no response – inside the US itself.

Extra questions linger about the opaque Event 201 in New York on October 18, 2019: a rehearsal for a worldwide pandemic caused by a deadly virus – which happened to be coronavirus. This magnificent coincidence happened one month before the outbreak in Wuhan.

Event 201 was sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the CIA, Bloomberg, John Hopkins Foundation and the UN.  The World Military Games opened in Wuhan on the exact same day.

Irrespective of its origin, which is still not conclusively established, as much as Trump tweets about the “Chinese virus,” Covid-19 already poses immensely serious questions about biopolitics (where’s Foucault when we need him?) and bio-terror.

The working hypothesis of coronavirus as a very powerful but not Armageddon-provoking bio-weapon unveils it as a perfect vehicle for widespread social control – on a global scale.

Cuba rises as a biotech power

Just as a fully masked Xi visiting the Wuhan frontline last week was a graphic demonstration to the whole planet that China, with immense sacrifice, is winning the “people‘s war” against Covid-19, Russia, in a Sun Tzu move on Riyadh whose end result was a much cheaper barrel of oil, helped for all practical purposes to kick-start the inevitable recovery of the Chinese economy. This is how a strategic partnership works.

The chessboard is changing at breakneck speed. Once Beijing identified coronavirus as a bio-weapon attack the “people’s war” was launched with the full force of the state. Methodically. On a “whatever it takes” basis. Now we are entering a new stage, which will be used by Beijing to substantially recalibrate the interaction with the West, and under very different frameworks when it comes to the US and the EU.

Soft power is paramount. Beijing sent an Air China flight to Italy carrying 2,300 big boxes full of masks bearing the script, “We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.” China also sent a hefty humanitarian package to Iran, significantly aboard eight flights from Mahan Air – an airline under illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic could not have been more explicit:

“The only country that can help us is China. By now, you all understood that European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairy tale on paper.”

Under harsh sanctions and demonized since forever, Cuba is still able to perform breakthroughs – even on biotechnology. The anti-viral Heberon – or Interferon Alpha 2b – a therapeutic, not a vaccine, has been used with great success in the treatment of coronavirus. A joint venture in China is producing an inhalable version, and at least 15 nations are already interested in importing the therapeutic.

Now compare all of the above with the Trump administration offering $1 billion to poach German scientists working at biotech firm Curevac, based in Thuringia, on an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, to have it as a vaccine “only for the United States.”

Social engineering psy-op?

Sandro Mezzadra, co-author with Brett Neilson of the seminal The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism, is already trying to conceptualize where we stand now in terms of fighting Covid-19.

We are facing a choice between a Malthusian strand – inspired by social Darwinism – “led by the Johnson-Trump-Bolsonaro axis” and, on the other side, a strand pointing to the “requalification of public health as a fundamental tool,” exemplified by China, South Korea and Italy. There are key lessons to be learned from South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

The stark option, Mezzadra notes, is between a “natural population selection,” with thousands of dead, and “defending society” by employing “variable degrees of authoritarianism and social control.” It’s easy to imagine who stands to benefit from this social re-engineering, a 21st century remix of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

Amid so much doom and gloom, count on Italy to offer us Tiepolo-style shades of light. Italy chose the Wuhan option, with immensely serious consequences for its already fragile economy. Quarantined Italians remarkably reacted by singing on their balconies: a true act of metaphysical revolt.

Not to mention the poetic justice of the actual St. Corona (“crown” in Latin) being buried in the city of Anzu since the 9th century. St. Corona was a Christian killed under Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD, and has been for centuries one of the patron saints of pandemics.

Not even trillions of dollars raining from the sky by an act of divine Fed mercy were able to cure Covid-19. G-7 “leaders” had to resort to a videoconference to realize how clueless they are – even as China’s fight against coronavirus gave the West a head start of several weeks.

Shanghai-based Dr. Zhang Wenhongone of China’s top infectious disease experts, whose analyses have been spot on so far, now says China has emerged from the darkest days in the “people’s war” against Covid-19. But he does not think this will be over by summer. Now extrapolate what he’s saying to the Western world.

It’s not even spring yet, and we already know it takes a virus to mercilessly shatter the Goddess of the Market. Last Friday, Goldman Sachs told no fewer than 1,500 corporations that there was no systemic risk. That was false.

New York banking sources told me the truth: systemic risk became way more severe in 2020 than in 1979, 1987 or 2008 because of the hugely heightened danger that the $1.5 quadrillion derivative market would collapse.

As the sources put it, history had never before seen anything like the Fed’s intervention via its little understood elimination of commercial bank reserve requirements, unleashing a potential unlimited expansion of credit to prevent a derivative implosion stemming from a total commodity and stock market collapse of all stocks around the world.

Those bankers thought it would work, but as we know by now all the sound and fury signified nothing. The ghost of a derivative implosion – in this case not caused by the previous possibility, the shutting down of the Strait of Hormuz – remains.

We are still barely starting to understand the consequences of Covid-19 for the future of neoliberal turbo-capitalism. What’s certain is that the whole global economy has been hit by an insidious, literally invisible circuit breaker. This may be just a “coincidence.” Or this may be, as some are boldly arguing, part of a possible, massive psy-op creating the perfect geopolitlcal and social engineering environment for full-spectrum dominance.

Additionally, along the hard slog down the road, with immense, inbuilt human and economic sacrifice, with or without a reboot of the world-system, a more pressing question remains: will imperial elites still choose to keep waging full-spectrum-dominance hybrid war against China?

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Brazilian Military Plan to Overthrow Bolsonaro

By Lucas Leiroz de Almeida

Global Research,

The political situation in Brazil worsens day after day. The irresponsible way in which President Jair Bolsonaro is managing the effects of the pandemic has been causing concern and fury in all sectors of Brazilian society. All the bases that have so far guaranteed President Bolsonaro’s power are being shaken by his irresponsible policies. At the same time as its popularity plummets exponentially, the group that guaranteed the inviolability of his mandate – the military – is increasingly distant from the president’s projects.

In fact, the relationship between Bolsonaro and the military lasted a long time until its decline, which in itself is curious when we look at the concrete data. Despite his speech praising the Armed Forces and his apologies for the military dictatorship that prevailed in Brazil between 1964 and 1985, Bolsonaro’s government has been marked by a serious process of scrapping of the Armed Forces. The public budget allocated to the Ministry of Defense in 2020 was the smallest in more than two decades.

Clearly, Bolsonaro’s project has as its main objective the complete subordination of Brazil to the foreign military and economic powers of the western axis and this project requires the definitive bankruptcy of national military institutions. For this reason, the common discourse of the Brazilian political left, stating that Bolsonaro intends to militarize the country, is a flawed and shallow one, which does not understand the real problem of the current government.

Certainly, the great military mass was deceived by the Bolsonarian speeches and thus formed his electoral base. On the other hand, a small group of generals and high-ranking officials agreed to political positions with the neoliberal leadership and agreed to support the regime in exchange for personal benefits. However, these same soldiers are already beginning to realize the serious mistake they made.

Jair Bolsonaro’s neoliberal ideological fanaticism has led him to make serious mistakes that endanger national security itself. Examples of this attitude can be seen in the irresponsible creation of unnecessary friction and tension with Venezuela, at the regional level, and China, at the global level.Bolsonaro Needs Help to Overcome Coronavirus Pandemic Despite Loyalty to Trump

With an economically bankrupt country, facing the serious pandemic of the new coronavirus and with the Armed Forces absolutely scrapped, how to manage geopolitical crises of this magnitude? This is the big question that generals are beginning to ask and realizing that the only possible way is the end of the Bolsonaro’s government.

Since then, the military has started a series of moves that indicate they are planning a political intervention. Recently, Vice President Hamilton Mourao met with a group of generals to discuss ways to bring him to power. In practice, this means that the Brazilian military are openly planning a political coup to withdraw Bolsonaro and place Mourao in the presidency of the Republic.

Undoubtedly, the height of tensions between Bolsonaro and the military is being the inertia with which the president has dealt with the serious COVID-19 epidemic that plagues the country. The president’s neglect to take quarantine and social isolation measures has led to the exponential growth of the infection, causing the fury not only of the military, but also of all sectors of the civil society.

In the Parliament, an impeachment request has already been initiated. In The Hague, Bolsonaro has already been reported to the International Criminal Court for encouraging actions that lead to the growth of the pandemic, which could lead to the death of thousands of people. In fact, from all points of view, it seems that Bolsonaro’s tenure as president is almost over. Legally denounced, without popular support and rejected by the Armed Forces, all that remains for the Brazilian president is to count on foreign aid, coming from the nation to which he has sworn allegiance: the US. However, since the US is currently the country most affected by the global pandemic, having to deal with a serious domestic economic and political crisis, is Washington really interested in helping Bolsonaro? In the end, who will save the Brazilian president from the oncoming fate?

Everything indicates that Bolsonaro will fall in a matter of weeks or months. It remains to be seen what will come after him. It is unlikely and even undesirable that Bolsonaro will be brought to international trial. Still, taking into account all the bureaucracy surrounding the impeachment process in the Brazilian system, it is also unlikely that he will fall through the legal channels of the Brazilian Constitution, since the country’s situation is an emergency due to the pandemic. Therefore, it is speculated that the idea of ​​military intervention will gain more and more strength in the coming days.

However, it is also unlikely that a military intervention to remove Bolsonaro will start a military dictatorship. The more realistic scenario indicates that the generals will overthrow the president and surrender the office to the current vice president, without militarizing the country anyway. It is also possible that this is the pretext for the establishment of a new constituent assembly, taking into account that for a long time the most liberal factions of the Brazilian Congress have proposed the installation of a parliamentary system in the country. Another possible scenario is that Bolsonaro gives in completely to the demands of the military and changes his attitudes, becoming a decorative figure in Brazilian politics.

Finally, the situation is one of several doubts and with a single certainty: Bolsonaro is alone and weakened.

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Bernie’s Last Tape

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

[Author’s Note: In fact, this transcript (printed as the epilogue to Bernie and the Sandernistas) turned out to be Bernie’s second-to-last tape. But the last tape itself proved to be a less vigorous re-run of the previous tape. As the man said, Fail. Fail again. Fail worse. –JSC]

Bench. Lafayette Park. Facing White House. An old man in a sleeping bag, fiddling with a vintage cassette recorder. Suddenly a pigeon alights on his shoulder. Shits. It is a sign. The man speaks.

Did they cheer me once? Did they? So hard to tell. The echoes are dim now. Fading. People pass by and give me looks. Someone pitches a quarter and a couple of pennies. 27 cents. It was dollars once, wasn’t it? Don’t they know me now? Hearing has gone. Gone since the batteries died. Jane used to buy them. At Costco, was it? Not Wal-Mart. Never Wal-Mart. I could never put them in. Big fat fingers, tiny little hearing machine. She had such nice hands. Jane. Small, delicate. Good for that kind of stuff. Hearing is the first to go. Of the senses. It warmed me once. Those cheers. On a cold night in Des Moines. Corn stubble covered with snow. I could have won Iowa, they told me. Someone did. Later. Who, I don’t know. Memory fades. Something about missing ballots. Coin tosses. I should have objected, they said. Too late. Didn’t want to make a fuss. They pulled the same trick, time after time. Nevada. Missouri. Arizona. But I did better than I hoped. Hope is what kills you. In the end. At the beginning there was no hope. I was free then. Free to say what I wanted. Crazy old man, yelling at the banks. That’s what they said. Some of them. I think. I could say what they couldn’t. What they thought. That’s why they came. Maybe. To hear the crazy man speak their thoughts. People came. Out of nowhere. Madison. Portland, where that other bird came. Propitious bird. [Turns to pigeon.] He didn’t shit did he? Not on TV. Not like you. Berkeley. Boulder. Masses of people. Young ones. Young women. Younger than Jane. Whiter than Jane. Most of them. My flock. All I had to do was whistle. They would come. Eager faces. Eager to please. Eager for revolt. Even that Rachel at MSDNC. She used to call every week. Seemed to like me. Once. Later they turned on me. Like that Warren woman. Just when I was closing in, the knives came out. Didn’t they? So hard to recall.

Pause. Wipes away a tear or perhaps a flake of snow.

It was the blacks who did me in. The blacks who never got me. The blacks who didn’t vote. Why did they go for her, after all I did for them. Getting arrested in Chicago. Marching with Dr. King. It was Dr. King, wasn’t it? One of them. Wasn’t there a photo? The only time they came to my rallies was to interrupt me. Heckle me. To make demands. From me. Of all people. So ungrateful. Black Lives Matter. Of course, they do. But did that give them the right? Yes, I voted for the Crime Bill. But I didn’t call them Super-Predators, did I? Rude. Unyielding. Never build a movement like that. I tried to tell them. Ours was the real Revolution that would carry them, too. Eventually. Patience. They wouldn’t listen. Not like my Sandernistas. Someone called them that. The kids who came running when I called.

Pause. Closes his eyes. Broods.

Ah, youth. You were my nectar. Then came hope. Bitter, bitter hope. That woman. The other. The woman with the pant suits, the Armani jackets and the Super Pac. She seemed invincible. Super Delegate Woman. I showed her. Didn’t I? At the beginning. My instincts. I should have trusted them. Base old instincts. Not the Advisors. Where did they come from? The Advisors. Who sent them? That first night. Under the lights. With the cameras rolling. Funny little Chaffee, down on the end. Had he been smoking weed? That’s what someone whispered. I didn’t smell it on him. Perhaps he vaped. I miss him now. Silly little Lincoln. Town Car we called him. Old family. Small state. Spoke his mind. Not much on it. Still…

Pause. Rummages in a garbage bag. Pulls out frayed photo of him hugging Hillary.

I close my eyes and it slowly comes back to me. I had my chance. I could have taken her that night. I could have gone for the throat. Tiny little throat. Ripe for the slashing. The question hangs before me even now. CNN. Clinton News Nitwits. That Anderson Cooper. Why did I say it? It was scripted wasn’t it? By whom? The question and the answer. We knew it was coming. The one about the emails. They were her weakness. Stupid little emails. Stupid little answer. Jane didn’t like her. Never did. Go for the throat, Bernie. She said. Take her down. Take them all down, Bernie. Jane said. Where is she now? Jane? With Chaffee? She saw something in me. Once. What was it? Be above the fray, they said. Don’t go negative. Preserve your image. Be chivalrous. So I intervened. Came to her rescue. Made my pact, can’t turn back. “The American people are sick of hearing about her damn emails!” The press loved it. I was the white knight. It was over then. I didn’t know it. Hillary did. She knew, dammit. That smirk. Walking dead. That’s what Jane said. You blew it, Bernie. But the polls, I said, look at the polls! I’ll always have the polls to comfort me. They can’t take that away from me. The polls and the money. $220 million. Where did it all go? If I could have it all back. The fire. The children. Hope. No, better this way. Better not to hope.

Bernie hangs his head. The tape records only silence.

Post-script: My pal Carl G. Estabrook, looking very trim, devotes the first few minutes of his must watch show on politics, culture and the media out of Champaign-Urbana, News From Neptune (the antecedent is Chomsky not Hendrix or William Morris) to a reading of my little drama, “Bernie’s Last Tape.” Carl has actually performed Beckett, to great acclaim, I’ve merely slandered Lonesome Sam’s reputation through parody. (Someone should stop me before I write the sequel: Bernie’s Last Krapp.)

Posted in USAComments Off on Bernie’s Last Tape

As Russia Sends Aid, US and NATO Sneer and Smear

By Ulson Gunnar

Global Research,

When Russian military planes and trucks arrived in Italy to provide relief for communities hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Italian government, elected into power by the Italian people, was thankful for the assistance offered by Moscow.

Named officials within the Italian government, including the foreign minister, the minister of defense and the governor of Apulia, Michele Emiliano, publically expressed thanks to Russia for the aid.

But finding any mention of this across the Western media is difficult, often buried deep within articles aimed entirely at smearing Russia for sending aid and depicting Italians as victims of a publicity stunt.

Reuters, in a smear piece published by the New York Times and aimed at vilifying Moscow, still had to admit regarding Russian aid that Italians were grateful, noting:

There are no new geopolitical scenarios to trace, there is a country that needs help and other countries that are helping us,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio was quoted as saying by Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera newspaper on Thursday.

Despite Italy being capable of speaking for itself and bringing up any suspicions (if they had any), the West decided to step in and speak for Italy instead.

Sneering and Smearing 

Western headlines are flooded with scorn for both Russia and the aid they sent, completely indifferent to how Italians themselves perceived the gesture.

Articles like Bloomberg’s “Italy Questions Russians Over Their Goodwill Virus Gestures,” admit several paragraphs in that officially, Italy was grateful for the aid, noting:

“Our country can only be grateful” for the solidarity of many countries, including Russia, the Italian defense and foreign ministries said in a joint statement Friday.

Yet claims that “Italy questions Russia” suggest the entire nation is suspicious of the aid. Upon reading Bloomberg’s article, the only source cited is a single article in the Italian newspaper “La Stampa.” It is hard to believe an article in “La Stampa” constitutes all of “Italy.”Italy Leans on Russia After the EU Fails to Deliver. Russian Doctors and Disinfection Units. New Alliances Emerging

According to the pro-Western Moscow Times in their article, “80% of Russia’s Coronavirus Aid to Italy ‘Useless’ – La Stampa,” also entirely based on the La Stampa article, its admits La Stampa’s information came from an “unnamed source.”

Other articles, like the BBC’s “Coronavirus: What does ‘from Russia with love’ really mean?,” Foreign Policy’s “Beware of Bad Samaritans,” and Forbes’ “From Russia With Love? Putin’s Medical Supplies Gift To Coronavirus-Hit Italy Raises Questions,” all used similarly disingenuous tactics to depict the Russian aid as somehow sinister and unwanted.

The Guardian in its article, “Coronavirus: Russia sends plane full of medical supplies to US,” explains:

Critics likely to claim Moscow will exploit goodwill gesture as public relations coup.

France 24 in headline alone makes Western criticism even clearer, claiming, “Flying aid to virus-hit Italy, Moscow flexes soft power.

So by sending aid to Italy, Russia is somehow supposedly flexing its “soft power.”

So How is the West Using Its Soft Power? 

The West faced a collective decision. They could have used their own, very substantial soft power to one-up Russia by sending even more aid to Italy and other regions of the globe impacted by the spread of Covid-19.

Instead, they mobilized the entirety of their soft power to sneer and smear Russia’s efforts with Western-funded media fronts writing entire articles doing just that.

The West’s attempts to depict the Russian media reporting on the aid as also somehow sinister rather than simply telling the world what Russia is doing is also particularly surreal.

The Western media itself spends the summation of its own time and energy promoting what their respective governments are doing abroad which usually involves illegal invasions, wars, occupations and interventions… not sending aid.

A Missed Opportunity 

Because certain special interests in the West fear some Western governments growing closer to nations like Russia and China in the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefits and derailing the Washington-led “international order” that has prevailed post World War 2, resources have been committed to attacking any development that could spur this process further.

But because these resources have been invested into attacking, even when attacking is not the best option, that is all the West appears capable of doing.

The answer to Russian aid to Italy was Western aid to Italy. The benefit would have been a flood of resources sent to where it was needed and everyone involved enjoying the benefits of lending a helping hand to those who would be grateful in return.

Instead, the West appears to be throwing rocks at a time when others are coming together to help, and throwing those rocks at those who are helping.

Rather than teaching the Italians never to deal with Russia again, it is likely this process is going to remind Italians as to why they’ve diversified their foreign relations outside the West in the first place.

Posted in Europe, NATO, RussiaComments Off on As Russia Sends Aid, US and NATO Sneer and Smear

Freedom Virus

by JOHN DAVIS

Photograph Source: Osajus Photography – CC BY 2.0

The Pilgrims and Puritans arrived in America in the first half of the seventeenth century determined to practice a religion other than the one sanctioned by the Stuart kings of England, James I, and his successor, Charles 1. Their determination was founded on a single characteristic – a ‘freedom’ meme that was firmly lodged in their minds.

This meme has now evolved into a deeply held conviction, in many Americans, of the immense value of personal freedom. But, it is a conviction, as Wendy Brown suggests in her most recent work, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism – The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West, 2019,  that, “walls out that monster coercive power, the state, but also democratic norms such as equality, inclusion, access, and social justice.”

In recent weeks, it appears that this ‘freedom’ meme also inhibits the manufacture, procurement, and maintenance of essential medical equipment, the provision of hospital beds, the necessary planning and development of infrastructure for medical emergencies, as well as the population’s adherence to the social distancing and travel restrictions imposed upon them during the current pandemic by local, state and federal authorities. This meme, then, is now directly implicated in the level of intensity with which the COVID-19 virus has attacked the U.S.A.

That memes behave like viruses in the human consciousness has been well established by the evolutionary biologist Roger Dawkins, and elaborated upon by Richard Brodie, Daniel C. Dennett, and many others. In a classic example of punctuated equilibrium – an episode of rapid speciation in the otherwise glacial pace of evolution – the freedom virus, as I will now call it, was suddenly transformed when it was embraced within neoliberal ideology in the mid 1970’s. Newly weaponized  in the political sphere, it has raged virulently over the last forty years with truly devastating results.

The official history of this country, which celebrates its independence and its freedom from the dead hand of governmental strictures that inhibit personal agency and reveres the Founding Fathers for their creation of a new democratic society in a new land, has long been at war with the reality that the United States arose out of a massive genocidal project which largely eliminated the Native peoples and was formed amidst the brutal dehumanization of its African slave population. These assaults on the intellectual coherence or, more bluntly, the veracity intrinsic to the freedom virus, now so entrenched in American consciousness, began first when the earliest English colonists refused to honor Native Americans’ personal freedom, their right to live in the lands in which the Christians had so recently arrived, or even their right to life. But, they, like the Founding Fathers, are a part of an official history that continues to give life to the freedom virus, despite the rank hypocrisies practiced by those infected by it.

Notwithstanding the failures of Reconstruction and the institution of Jim Crow, the lynching of African Americans, the racist immigration laws that made the Chinese an outlaw population, the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent in WWII, the ongoing racial, class, gender, and economic injustices of this country, the freedom virus lives on. Explicitly invoked as the rationale for American wars of empire, the ‘spreading of freedom’ is rarely welcomed in countries chosen to host this viral attack. Embedded in neoliberalism over the last four decades, the continued virulence of the virus was exposed dramatically in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and is again ghoulishly revealed in the nation’s woeful response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The valorization of personal freedom and the demonization of the social is at the heart and soul of the neoliberal antidemocratic agenda that, as Brown contends, is infecting the West and is most egregiously personified in Donald Trump. While neoliberalism feeds on the freedom virus, it is traditional family values, traditional morals, and the machination of markets which, in the Friedrich Hayek designed model, fill the void of democracy. Nowhere is the state allowed room to provide for the welfare of its people (the public good) for fear of incipient totalitarianism and the dread lack of personal freedom that system portends. Hence, the lack of ventilators, testing kits, hospital beds and face masks. Health care, in this ideology, can only be tolerated if it is entirely beholden to markets run by insurers. The resistance to Medicare for All is founded on this fear of providing for the public good and marks those who oppose the program as craven advocates for neoliberalism. (I’m looking at you, Joe).

Who knew that the public good could be bad? Hayek knew, Steve Bannon knew, and now the Trump administration knows. Reagan knew, Margaret Thatcher knew, Augusto Pinochet knew. Over the last forty years, the politics of the United States have vividly demonstrated what they knew. America’s dead faint in the time of Corona is just the latest manifestation of this poisonous knowledge. When you have the social infrastructure of the traditional, God-fearing family, you don’t need repaired roads and bridges, high-speed rail or, indeed, any public transport; you don’t need hospitals, schools, public universities or childcare, contraception, abortion services or hospices. ‘Responsibilized’ men and women, rather than the state, are ‘free’ to care for teen pregnancies, for their children, the disabled, the elderly, the isolated, and the sick and dying.

The thinking goes like this. You need guns to defend your home. You need an S.U.V. or a truck to run over the pot-holed tracks that pass as roads and to take trips to your church and the out-of-town Walmart. You need a prison system that warehouses threatening, potentially heathen, populations and an immigration service that takes care of, i.e. deports, illegals. It’s also a good idea to have a military, intelligence services, and homeland security that protect the sanctity of your country, here and abroad, and provide employment opportunities for many of your home-schooled children. You also need a large American flag to fly from your flagpole or the back of your truck to demonstrate your devotion to freedom. Although both parties support the neoliberal regime that has now been in place since before you could vote, you favor conservative politicians. The ‘Libtards’ may take offense at your social mores, be true believers in democracy, be more concerned with public education, eschew guns, be slightly less supportive of a bloated military, but they too are largely accommodative of the predatory capitalism that thrives best under neoliberalism.

Friedrich Hayek, an economist and a philosopher, was educated in Vienna and London and taught at the London School of Economics before accepting a professorship at the University of Chicago, in 1950, where Milton Friedman was already a seminal figure in the post-war, ‘Chicago School’. Of all the neoliberal intellectuals (which included Friedman, the notorious ex-Nazi, Carl Schmitt, and others), Brown writes that Hayek was the most sustained critic of social democracy. He considered the social, “the signature of all misbegotten efforts at controlling collective existence, the token of tyranny.” Hayek viewed social justice to be “the gravest threat to most other values of a free civilization.” Those ‘other values’ at threat are most purely enshrined in markets and morals which Hayek considered to be supremely effective in gathering humans together in productive harmony without the oversight of a coercive state. Brown notes that while Hayek’s critique, “… was iconoclastic in the post-war decades, it has become the common sense of a robust neoliberal conservatism today.”

Hayek was scarcely more favorably inclined towards democracy, which as Brown writes, he considered a “dangerously self-expanding domain that had to be tightly bound and conformed to neoliberal purposes.” Neoliberal academics, such as Hayek and Friedman, objected to the platform that the political provides for “market distorting interests whether those of big capital or democratic majorities, the poor, or those advancing notions of the common good.” Anything approaching robust democracy was considered an invitation to rule by the mob, totalitarianism, or fascism. Thus the hobbling of popular democracy is a project that has long been pursued by neoliberal politicians using such traditional devices as disenfranchisement, voter suppression, and gerrymandering.  It is a project that has also greatly benefited from the Supreme Court’s conflation of free speech with corporate donations to political causes.

Neoliberal ideology has now been laid bare by the Corona epidemic. It is impotent in a public health crisis because it promotes the financial starvation of government through lower taxes while simultaneously expanding military budgets, both of which are inimical to the public good. Shortage of masks, ventilators and hospital beds, amidst a collapsing healthcare system, serve to highlight the vanquishing of democracy and the eradication of the social, while vividly demonstrating the failures of a predatory market to adequately serve the vulnerable poor and middle classes.

God, family, and free enterprise failed to save the United States from COVID-19 or ameliorate its consequences. But the freedom virus – that virulent precursor and necessary reagent to neoliberalism – will likely survive the pandemic and continue to infect large swathes of the American population, including most of its politicians, all proudly ‘free’, but inured to the suffering in the world.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on Freedom Virus

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