Archive | May 21st, 2020

Nicola Sturgeon Is Leading Scotland Out of Lockdown, and Out of the UK

By Johanna Ross

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been voted the UK’s ‘most impressive’ politician according to a recent poll. The survey, carried out by Press Gazette, asked 2700 people who they thought was doing best at handling the current crisis. Sturgeon came out top, with 29% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Labour opposition leader Keir Starmer. The poll follows on from a recent Scottish Government survey which gave Nicola Sturgeon a rating of 84% for her slow and measured approach to lockdown. For in defiance of Westminster’s lifting of lockdown restrictions earlier this month, Scotland has until now kept them in place, only hinting recently that some may be lifted on 28th May.

The statistics regarding Sturgeon’s performance will not come as a surprise to many, given the contrast with her Westminster counterpart. Boris Johnson has faced a barrage of criticism in recent weeks over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. And with the highest death rate in Europe, and second highest death toll in the world, it’s no surprise that questions are being raised. Yet the PM has of late, not provided the consistent, strong leadership required at this time. In contrast to his Scottish counterpart, who gives a daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Scotland, without fail; Boris Johnson has not given a press conference for days, and has not been seen in public for days, prompting #WhereisBoris to trend on Twitter.  The difference between the two leaders could not be greater; every time Boris puts a foot wrong, it boosts Sturgeon, and the case for Scottish independence.

Unlike the Scottish government, which has yet to make any change to the current social distancing guidelines, other than being able to leave home now twice a day for exercise – instead of once as previously stated – Boris Johnson announced last week that people from different households could now meet; that if required, workers could return to work, and that from 1st June some shops would reopen and some pupils would return to school. The messaging also changed – rather confusingly, from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Alert’ – with no-one quite clear as to what the latter actually means. The motivation for beginning to lift lockdown measures is no doubt, mainly, economic, with experts warning that the UK is headed for a recession like no other. But there are concerns that Johnson has acted too soon, as with the death toll rising to the virus every day, we could be faced with another ‘peak’ if we return to normality too soon.UK Government Causes Widespread Confusion with New COVID-19 Guidelines

For the reality is the virus is still with us, and is likely to remain with us for years to come. Boris Johnson himself gave the example of SARS, for which, he highlighted, a vaccine has not been found in the last 18 years. Although scientists across the globe are working tirelessly in a bid to discover a vaccine as soon as possible, there are no guarantees that they will succeed in the short term. The key in the meantime, will be testing – both for those infected with coronavirus and for immunity, with antibody testing. But the UK government has only recently started to take testing seriously. Early on in the pandemic it downplayed the importance of it, favouring ‘herd immunity ’instead.  This was in contrast to countries like China and South Korea that saw testing as a vital way of managing the crisis. Back then, Britain’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallancesaid

‘We think this virus is likely to be one that comes year on year, becomes like a seasonal virus. Communities will become immune to it and that’s going to be an important part of controlling this longer term. About 60% is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity’.

Britain has paid dearly for this ‘laissez-faire approach.

The case against the UK government is building by the day. Aside from the overall death toll of 35, 341, it has been established that an additional 23,000 deaths took place this year in care homes. Far from putting a ‘protective ring’ around care homes as Health Minister Matt Hancock has said, the government has been accused of putting a ‘noose’ around them, with elderly patients effectively like sitting ducks in the wake of the pandemic. It has been observed that no real attempts were made to prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout Britain’s nursing homes, with patients regularly admitted into homes from hospital, without being tested for the virus. Recently it was even reported that Personal Protective Equipment originally intended for care homes was diverted to NHS hospitals. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland admitted on Wednesday that:

“We needed to make a choice about testing, we did decide to focus upon the NHS.’

Choices indeed have been made. And increasingly, questions are being raised as to whether the right decisions have been taken – both before and during the pandemic. For at a time when the country is ‘clapping for carers’ every week, in a display of public support for NHS staff, the government is passing its immigration bill, targeting the very migrants who play such an important role in Britain’s health service. As MP Valerie Vaz put it: ‘With this immigration bill the government is effectively clapping them out of the country’. Indeed the harsh reality of Tory policy cannot be escaped during this pandemic. The under-funding of public services over the years, particularly the NHS, primarily by the Conservative government is manifesting itself during this crisis like at no other time.  We have entered an era where capitalism is under more strain than ever, where the only solution to this crisis comes from state interference – with the transport industry to care homes to universities all set to require substantial financial aid to survive. A different Britain will emerge from the pandemic.

As for Scotland, it must decide whether it wants to continue being at the receiving end of Tory policies which favour business over people, or whether it will finally carve out for itself a fairer society with welfare at the fore. With a resurgence of coronavirus potentially looming on the horizon, I know which society I’d prefer to live in…

Posted in Health, UKComments Off on Nicola Sturgeon Is Leading Scotland Out of Lockdown, and Out of the UK

Canada Missing in Action on ‘Israel’s Proposed Annexation of the West Bank

By Michael Lynk

The leaders of the two of Israel’s largest political parties — Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz — have formed a coalition government.

In an initial six-month period, the coalition will address only two issues: fighting COVID-19 and annexing significant parts of the West Bank.

The annexation agreement was met with swift condemnation by an array of countries and institutions, as well as Israeli human rights activists. In contrast, Canada has developed a debilitating case of diplomatic laryngitis on this issue.

Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, stated on April 23 that:

“… any annexation would constitute a serious violation of international law. The European Union will continue to monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly.”

At the UN Security Council, the French ambassador offered a strong denunciation on the same day:

“It would constitute a blatant violation of international law, which strictly prohibits the acquisition by force of occupied territories. Such steps if implemented would not pass unchallenged and shall not be overlooked in our relationship with Israel.”

The other four European members of the Security Council — the United KingdomBelgiumGermany and Estonia — also criticized the looming threat of annexation.

Ireland, Norway speak up

Ireland and Norway, the two countries Canada is competing against for two open United Nations Security Council seats in 2021-22, have both publicly opposed Israel’s annexation plans.

Leading Israeli human rights organizations, including B’Tselem and Yesh Din — have spoken out against the proposed annexation. A joint letter by prominent liberal Israelis — including former ambassadors, the former speaker of the Israeli Knesset and prominent writers — said:

“For too long the world has sufficed with issuing condemnations in response to the government of Israel’s ongoing breach of international law and its human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

But where’s Canada? As a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in the Palestinian territory, I argue that Canada is missing in action.

No public statements against Israel’s annexation proposal have been issued. No planned accountability measures have been floated. No criticism, however mild, has been offered.

In mid-March, Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne did, however, issue a statement related to illegal annexation. He marked the sixth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea by saying that:

“Canada unequivocally condemns this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and of international law.”

Violation of international law

The unilateral annexation of territory is strictly prohibited in international law. This is a centrepiece of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, and has been consolidated by treaties and resolutions, judicial rulings and scholarly writings ever since.

Indeed, this prohibition has acquired the status of a jus cogens norm in international law, meaning that it is accepted as a fundamental principle of law by the international community and no exceptions are permitted.

Territorial conquest and annexation are now regarded as intolerable scourges from darker times because they invariably incite devastating wars, political instability, economic ruin, systematic discrimination and widespread human suffering.

Speaking specifically to the five-decade-long Israeli occupation, the UN Security Council has affirmed, on eight occasions since 1967, the principle of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory” by war or force. This principle was cited by the council to condemn as unlawful Israel’s two prior annexations of East Jerusalem, in 1980, and the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981.

When Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, Canada, along with most of its western allies, swiftly followed their unreserved condemnations with substantive economic and political counter-measures.

Russia was expelled from the G8, import and export bans were imposed for goods manufactured in Crimea, an array of economic sanctions and restrictions were enforced and targeted individuals faced travel bans and asset freezes.

Part of Trump’s ‘peace’ plan

The Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank is a central feature of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called Peace to Prosperity Plan on the Middle East, announced in late January 2020.

In response, the European Union stated that the plan broke with “internationally agreed parameters,” while Pope Francis warned about the “danger of inequitable solutions.”

According to an open letter from 50 former European prime ministers and foreign ministers:

“The plan envisages a formalization of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid — a term we don’t use lightly.”

Canada’s official response was a vanilla statement by Champagne that would have left no one in the White House unhappy. He said:

“Canada recognizes the urgent need to renew efforts toward a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will carefully examine the details of the U.S. initiative for the Middle East peace process.”

In 2010, Canada lost its prior bid for a Security Council seat partly because of the Stephen Harper government’s supine embrace of Israel.

In 2015, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that “Canada is back” on the world stage and promised to support a rules-based international order.

Same as it ever was under Trudeau

Yet under Trudeau, Canada has maintained Harper’s consistent pro-Israel voting record at the UN General Assembly, and avoided even polite criticism of Israeli behaviour in the occupied Palestinian territory that most other middle powers routinely censure.

In 2018, Canada’s Parliament renewed its free-trade agreement with Israel, which continues to allow goods from the illegal Israeli settlements to enter the Canadian market tariff-free, notwithstanding domestic legislation that designates civilian settlements in occupied territory to be war crimes.

In its current Security Council bid, Canada faces two serious challengers in Norway and Ireland that have solid international reputations, the built-in support of their European neighbours and a principled position on the protracted Israeli occupation of Palestine.

If Canada’s campaign for a council seat is once again unsuccessful, its taciturn approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will surely have been a contributing factor.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, CanadaComments Off on Canada Missing in Action on ‘Israel’s Proposed Annexation of the West Bank

Trump Admin. Punishes Renewables While Bailing Out Oil and Gas

Interior Department Hits Solar And Wind Projects With Hefty Retroactive Bills Amidst After Giving Excessive Gifts To Oil And Gas Industry

By Christian Correa

Trump’s Interior Department is demanding payment from the past two years from solar and wind projects on federal lands, Reuters is reporting. The move, described as a “multi-million-dollar hit” to the wind and solar industries, is a stark contrast to the gifts and bailouts the administration has been showering the oil and gas industry with since the coronavirus pandemic started.

“Making renewable industries pay millions of dollars while pandering to extractive industries exposes this President’s priorities,” said Chris Saeger, a spokesman for Western Values Project. “The Trump administration’s hypocrisy is astounding: they are using a public health crisis as an excuse to bail out the President’s corporate cronies while leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.” 

According to the Reuters story, the Interior Department expects to collect $50 million in retroactive fees from renewable projects in 2020. Interior had stopped charging renewable industries rent in 2018 to review company complaints but had consistently refused to comment on the results of that review. In contrast, Interior– run by former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt– has helped oil and gas drillers on federal lands get relief from paying royalties amid an oil market slump. 

The Trump administration has been blatantly bailing out the oil and gas industry during the coronavirus pandemic. In just the first two weeks of the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP), oil, gas and mining companies got a whopping $3.9 billion in PPP funding, even though the program was designed to help small businesses, not publicly traded corporations. In its bailing out of extractive resource corporations, the administration has given PPP funding to a foreign-owned uranium mining corporation with ties to the Trump administration, a Indiana-based coal corporation with a former Trump official as its lobbyist, and oil corporations that spent millions on stock buybacksIn Bid to Save Big Oil $900M, Trump Moves to Scrap Offshore Drilling Safety Rules

And last month, the administration granted the oil lobby another one of its wishes and made it easier for the oil and gas industry to access funding. Following requests from the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Main Street Lending Program eased restrictions on borrowing for heavily indebted oil companies and allowed them to use the loans to refinance existing debts. 

The Trump administration has also been letting corporate polluters off the hook. Since the coronavirus began, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) all recently announced enforcement holidays for government fines, penalties and settlement payments, including for companies that had committed major environmental violations. 

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Debt Cancellation for the World to Survive: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed

By Lawrence Freeman

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has made an audacious salient call for debt cancellation for low income countries. It was published in the Opinion section of the April 30, New York Times, Why the Global Debt of Poor Nations Must Be Canceled, (printed in full below). PM Abiy is correct, debt cancellation is absolutely necessary to save lives and for developing nations to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. To compel a nation like Ethiopia to spend almost half of its revenue on debt service, while its people are suffering from a perfect storm of Desert Locust swarms, food insufficiency, and a weak healthcare infrastructure, is immoral if not criminal. PM Abiy wrote:

“At the very least, the suspension of debt payments should last not just until the end of 2020 but rather until well after the pandemic is truly over. It should involve not just debt suspension but debt cancellation…

“These steps need to be taken with a sense of urgency. The resources freed up will save lives and livelihoods in the short term, bring back hope and dynamism to low-income economies in the medium term and enable them to continue as the engines of sustainable global prosperity in the long term.

“In 2019, 64 countries, nearly half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, spent more on servicing external debt than on health. Ethiopia spends twice as much on paying off external debt as on health. We spend 47 percent of our merchandise export revenue on debt servicing…

“The dilemma Ethiopia faces is stark: Do we continue to pay toward debt or redirect resources to save lives and livelihoods?”

PM Abiy’s analysis of the urgent need for the cancellation of debt service is relevant to the exacerbating effect of COVID-19 in Africa’s rising food insecurity.

image

Smoked fish produced in Ghana is sold all over the country and in neighboring Togo – as long as transport routes and borders can remain open for the movement of food to markets. Credit Jane Hahn/Oxfam America

COVID-19 Worsens Food Crisis

In the month from March 30 to April 30, COVID-19 cases in Africa rose from 4,760 to 37,296-800% increase, and the total of deaths from 146 to 1,619-1,100% increase.  Experts are legitimately concerned, that millions more may die from hunger and poverty as a result of the needed efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Closing borders, stay at home orders, loss of income, interruption of supply chains, and disruption of traditional animal migration cycles inauspiciously contribute to amplifying food insecurity.

“If the pandemic worsens, as many as 50 million more people could face a food crisis in the [Sahel} region,” according to Coumba Sow, Food and Agricultural Organization Resilience Coordinator for West Africa in her interview: FAO: COVID19: 50 Million in Sahel Could Face Food Crisis. Coumba Sow reports that across West Africa, 11 million people need immediate food assistance and that this number could rise to 17 million in the period from June to August. She says that it is “crucial to anticipate COVID-19’s impacts on agriculture, food security and the lives of vulnerable women and children. Ensuring that food systems and food supply chains are maintained is one of the most important action to take at national and regional levels.”

The World Food Programme (WFP) projects that the number of people facing acute food insecurity could rise from 135 million to 265 million in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.  According to the WFP, five of the countries that had the worst food crisis in 2019 were located in Africa; Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Arif Husain, economist for the WFP said:

“COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are hanging by a thread. It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat it they earn a wage. Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock—like COVID-19 to push them over the edge.”

Mauritanian herders (Courtesy of UN-FAO)

A New Financial Architecture Required

While debt cancellation is essential, international and federal mechanisms are required to issue i.e. create new lines of credit to build up nation-wide advanced healthcare infrastructure, which all African nations lack. This endeavor should be part of a much larger undertaking to place African nations on a path to become developed industrialized economies.  I discuss the importance of emerging nations  to generate physical economic wealth in my earlier article: World Needs New Economic Platform to Fight COVID-19Trillions of dollars of new credit must become accessible for African nations to address the dearth of infrastructure in energy, roads, railroads, and healthcare, that is literally killing Africans, every day. Successful transformation of African nations requires an urgent focus on nurturing combined manufacturing-agricultural processing industries. Speaking at a Johns Hopkins webinar on April 22, Gyude Moore, former Liberian Minster of Public Works (2014-2018) emphasized that creating manufacturing jobs is essential to transitioning to a more developed economy.

What has been glaringly brought to the surface by the combined COVID-19 pandemic and the malnourishment of Africa’s population is; that the global economic-political system of the last five decades has failed. A new financial architecture is compulsory to save lives and put civilization on the trajectory of progress. This new financial architecture should encompass the following essential missions in Africa:

  • Cancellation of debt
  • New credit generation for physical economic growth
  • Massive investment in hard infrastructure
  • Urgent mobilization to establish modern health infrastructure
  • Significant upgrading of manufacturing and agricultural sectors

It is unacceptable in the twenty-first century for every nation not to be equipped with advanced modern healthcare infrastructure.  One of the most egregious defects of globalization is that nations have become dependent on imported food from thousands of miles away because it is somehow construed to be cheaper than producing food at home.

Nations exist to foster the continuation of a human culture moored to the conception that human life is sacred. There is no equivalency between servicing debt and safeguarding human life.  Money really has no intrinsic value. Banks are mere servicing bureaus of an economy.  Governments legitimately create credit to generate future physical wealth to benefit their citizens. When borrowing or lending arrangements fail to benefit society then they should be restructured or cancelled. Such financial reorganizations have been achieved many times throughout history.

PM Abiy has brought to the attention of the world, a profound underlying principle that should govern all national and international policy: the promotion of human life is supreme, monetary instruments are not.

***

Why the Global Debt of Poor Nations Must Be Canceled

Delaying the repayments to the Group of 20 is not enough.

By Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 2019

April 30, 2020, New York Times

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — On April 15, Group of 20 countries offered temporary relief to some of the world’s lowest-income countries by suspending debt repayments until the end of the year. It is a step in the right direction and provides an opportunity to redirect financial resources toward dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

But if the world is to survive the punishing fallout of the pandemic and ensure that the economies of countries like mine bounce back, this initiative needs to be even more ambitious.

At the very least, the suspension of debt payments should last not just until the end of 2020 but rather until well after the pandemic is truly over. It should involve not just debt suspension but debt cancellation. Global creditors need to waive both official bilateral and commercial debt for low-income countries.

These steps need to be taken with a sense of urgency. The resources freed up will save lives and livelihoods in the short term, bring back hope and dynamism to low-income economies in the medium term and enable them to continue as the engines of sustainable global prosperity in the long term.

In 2019, 64 countries, nearly half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, spent more on servicing external debt than on health. Ethiopia spends twice as much on paying off external debt as on health. We spend 47 percent of our merchandise export revenue on debt servicing. The International Monetary Fund described Ethiopia as being at high risk of external debt distress.

The dilemma Ethiopia faces is stark: Do we continue to pay toward debt or redirect resources to save lives and livelihoods? Lives lost during the pandemic cannot be recovered; imperiled livelihoods cost more and take longer to recover.

Immediate and forceful action on debt will prevent a humanitarian disaster today and shore up our economy for tomorrow. We need to immediately divert resources from servicing debt toward responding adequately to the pandemic. We need to impede a temporary health crisis from turning into a chronic financial meltdown that could last for years, even decades.

Ethiopia must spend an extra $3 billion by the end of 2020 to address the consequences of the pandemic, while our balance of payments is set to deteriorate. Increasing health care spending is essential, irrespective of debt levels, but we have less money on hand, and much of it is due to creditors.

A moratorium on bilateral and commercial debt payments for the rest of this year will save Ethiopia $1.7 billion. Extending the moratorium till the end of 2022 would save an additional $3.5 billion.

Low income countries can use the financial resources freed up by cancellation or further deferment of debt repayments to invest in our battle against the pandemic, from providing necessary medical care to our citizens to ameliorating our financial difficulties.

In October, the I.M.F. reported that the five fastest-growing economies in the world were in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Ethiopia. In early April, the World Bank reported that sub-Saharan Africa would face its first region wide recession in over 25 years and the region’s economy could shrink by as much as 5.1 percent.

This is not a result of bad policies, mismanagement or any other ill typically associated with developing economies. The recession will be the product of the coronavirus outbreak.

Preventing or at least minimizing the recession is critical to maintaining years of hard-won economic gains across the continent. The current moratorium in bilateral debt collection until the end of the year will help, but it won’t be enough, given the gravity of the challenge we face.

The moratorium must be extended until the coronavirus health emergency is over or canceled altogether. The creditors need to do this unconditionally.

Official bilateral creditors are no longer the principal source of external debt financing for many developing countries. Private-sector creditors, including investment banks and sovereign funds, are. They should play their part in the effort to rescue African economies from permanent paralysis with a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility. It would help avoid widespread sovereign defaults and chaos in the market.

And it would be morally indefensible if resources freed up from a moratorium in bilateral debt collections were to be used to pay private creditors instead of saving lives.

Most of our countries managed to borrow funds on the back of solid economic performance and highly promising and evidence-based development programs and trajectories. Nobody foresaw this promise being derailed by a once-in-a-century event such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Under these circumstances, there is no room for traditional arguments such as moral hazard. Low-income countries are seeking relief not because we squandered the money but because we need the resources to save lives and livelihoods.

It is in everybody’s enlightened self-interest that the borrowers be allowed breathing space to get back to relative health. The benefits of rehabilitation of the economies of the hardest-hit countries will be shared by all of us, just as the consequences of neglect will harm all of us.

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US imperialism digging its own grave ever faster in the middle east

Slavishly supported by Britain as it does so.

Proletarian writers

‘Yes Soleimani, no America.’ Following the murder of Iranian national hero Major General Qasem Soleimani, people across the middle east are more determined than ever to rid the region of its imperialist occupiers.

For long it seemed that the US government in Washington was for the most part happy to outsource direct military aggression against Iran to its trigger-happy friends in Tel Aviv, preferring to concentrate its own efforts (in public at least) on trying to strangle Iran economically through the imposition of brutal sanctions, leaving it to Israel to lob rockets at supposed ‘Iranian targets’ in Syria.

Cowardly attack on Kata’ib Hezbollah bases

However, this familiar pattern started to shift on Sunday 29 December, when direct US airstrikes against five Iraqi army Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) bases slew an estimated 32 militiamen and wounded another 45. The pretext for this cowardly attack on the KH base was an attack on a US base a few days earlier that had killed one US ‘contractor’ (read mercenary/spy).

The finger was pointed at the KH without any proof being offered, and it transpires that the KH positions that came under fire had been established to counterattack and raid an Islamic State (aka IS, Isis or Daesh) pocket at al-Qaem on the border between Iraq and Syria. (After US strike on Iraqi forces its troops will (again) have to leave, Moon of Alabama, 30 December 2019)

The KH brigades are an integral part of Iraq’s armed forces, alongside other Iraqi militias that originated in the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) that have been key to the expulsion of Isis terror gangs from Iraqi soil. These Iraqi militias have benefited from fraternal assistance from Iran, and it is they who have been most successful in defeating the terrorists and driving them out of Iraq.

Despite imperialist propaganda that portrays them as ‘tools of Tehran’, the reality is that these are Iraqi militias which sprang directly from the urgent need to free Iraq from the presence of US troops and from the plundering of national resources by foreign powers.

It suits imperialism to pretend that every patriotic Iraqi voice that is raised against the continued and intensifying US military occupation of their country must by definition be further proof of a malign Iranian influence. Yet it is Iranian support and the incorporation of Iranian-backed militias into Iraq’s armed forces that were largely responsible for ridding the country of Isis – a fact well-known to all Iraqis.

It is not the fraternal assistance of Iraq’s Iranian neighbour that is trampling on the sovereignty of Iraq, but the would-be puppet-masters in Washington.

The cowardly attack upon KH forces, Iraqi soldiers who had been tasked with uprooting the last remnants of Isis, will only have succeeded in convincing more Iraqis that the fight against the US occupation follows on logically from fight against Isis – the unacknowledged offspring of imperialism.

Murder of Major General Qasem Soleimani

Less than a week after the airstrike against the KH bases, in an act of criminal aggression that has electrified the middle east, Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, was assassinated by a drone strike near Baghdad.

The outgoing prime minister strongly implied that the general had been lured into a trap, explaining: “I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from the Saudis to Iran.” (The reason Qasem Soleimani was in Baghdad shows how complex the Iran crisis is by Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 7 January 2020)

About half an hour before the murder took place, US defence secretary Mark Esper warned Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi what was planned. Both Prime Minister Mahdi and the president, Barham Salih, begged Esper to call off the attack, but to no avail.

To increase the humiliation, it turned out that at the very time that US president Donald Trump was on the phone to Abdul-Mahdi, thanking him for helping to end a siege of the US embassy in Baghdad, plans to murder the Iranian general on Iraqi soil were already far advanced.

While most world leaders reacted at first with stunned silence, struck momentarily speechless by the enormity of what had been done, Britain’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab leapt to Trump’s defence, claiming:

“It was General Soleimani’s job description to engage proxies, militias across not just Iraq but the whole region not just to destabilize those countries but to attack western countries who were legitimately there. In those circumstances the right of self-defence clearly applies.” (UK foreign secretary says Soleimani’s job was to attack western troops ‘legitimately’ in the middle east – like in Syria?, RT, 5 January 2020)

In which middle-eastern countries does Raab suppose that the west’s armies have a ‘legitimate’ presence? Syria has made it clear from the outset that US troops are not welcome, and two days after the assassination Iraq’s parliament formally denounced the continued de facto occupation of their country.

The truth is that the man whom the demented US president now identifies as the “number one terrorist anywhere in the world” was an outstanding national hero who commanded enormous respect for his services to his country. His death has been mourned by millions of his people, who took to the streets in every town and city in a great outpouring of popular grief and rage.

Even the imperialist media on occasion displayed some grudging respect for the general’s military genius, as for example in a Newsweek report back in 2015, entitled ‘Iranian military mastermind leading battle to recapture Tikrit from Isis’.

The report said that Soleimani “is spearheading the Iraqi offensive on the Isis-held city of Tikrit, providing tactical expertise and a key link to Tehran for supplies to the Iraqi militias advancing on the terror group’s territory.

“This week, a combination of 30,000 Iraqi security forces, sunni and shia militiamen launched a campaign to retake Tikrit from the terror group after it swept through northern Iraq last summer. Iraqi security forces, backed by the majority-shia Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), are advancing on the city from three directions, north, east and south, where the main entry points into and out of the city lie.

“Major General Qasem Soleimani, the shadowy former leader of the elite Quds Force, the special operations arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), is directly overseeing the eastern offensive on Tikrit.”

It would be interesting to read the present thoughts of “top US general Martin Dempsey”, paraphrased in the Newsweek report as maintaining “that the involvement of Iran in the fight against Isis in Iraq could be a positive step”, and noting that “almost two-thirds of the 30,000 offensive were Iranian-backed militiamen, meaning that without Iranian assistance and Soleimani’s guidance, the offensive on Tikrit may not have been possible.

“Without the financial and military backing of Iran, it would be extremely difficult for Iraq to launch a successful offensive on Tikrit.” (Jack Moore, 3 May 2015)

But of course it was never the intention of the US to completely eradicate Isis. It would rather keep Iraq weak and plagued by jihadis than let it be restored to independence and sovereignty.

Iran’s prompt reprisal attacks against occupying US forces have served preliminary notice to imperialism that the axis of resistance will never bow down in the face of aggression.

If Anglo-American imperialism chooses to continue down the road of aggression against Iran, it will surely be digging its own grave in the middle east.

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Britain is acting as the US’s sanctions lapdog; will it follow into all-out war?

If the British imperialists fall in line with the US’s drive to war against Iran, they will share the bitter fruits of humiliation and defeat with their partner in crime.

The USA is the world’s number one crusher of workers’ and oppressed peoples’ liberties. Its maniacal drive towards war with free Iran could plunge us all into World War Three.

This article is reproduced from the No Gulf War website with thanks.

The antiwar group will be holding a public meeting opposing war with Iran this Friday at 7.00pm in Southall, west London, addressed by George Galloway. Entrance is free. Reserve your place now.

*****

Thwarted in its efforts to impose regime change on the Syrian people, US imperialism is gearing up for war against Iran. Britain is closely implicated in the bellicose preparations, but is showing signs of hesitancy as social unrest at home gathers pace.

Having spent the summer engineering a series of naval incidents in the Persian Gulf, pointing the finger of blame at Tehran for what carry all the hallmarks of false flag provocations, US imperialism is now massing an armada of warships and troops in the region, codenaming its manoeuvres Operation Sentinel, supposedly with the aim of ‘protecting shipping’ passing through the strait of Hormuz, but in reality to prepare for war with Iran.

Britain, the junior partner in the Anglo-American imperialist alliance, has already dispatched two warships in support, and has been a key player in this war of nerves. In early July a tanker bearing Iranian oil, the MT Grace 1, was illegally detained in a joint raid by Royal Navy Marines and the Gibraltar police.

The excuse for this act of piracy was the allegation (unproven, and denied by Tehran) that the ship was bound for Syria, and was therefore in breach of European Union sanctions against that country. This excuse was chosen because officially the EU and Britain do not support US sanctions against Iran, only against Syria.

But imperialism is trying to steer British public opinion towards yet another US-led war in the middle east at a moment when the refusal of parliament to carry out the wishes of the public as expressed in the Brexit referendum is undermining the confidence of the public in the whole parliamentary racket.

Whilst some in ruling class circles might favour another foreign war to distract the population from Brexit, harder heads will view with dismay the prospect of seeing the country dragged into another failed US military adventure at a time when social unrest is already starting to seethe.

A straw in the wind has been the U-turn recently performed by the British authorities in Gibraltar. After having colluded in the Royal Navy’s seizure of the MT Grace 1, the Gibraltar government got cold feet about prolonging the detention when it became clear that the ship was not planning on heading for Syria.

Since Britain does not publicly support US president Donald Trump’s actions in tearing up the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions, there was no longer any excuse to hang on to the vessel. Declaring that it was not bound by US law, Gibraltar then sent the ship on its way, leaving the US justice department to shoot off an impotent warrant for the seizure and forfeiture of the tanker and its oil.

Whilst too gutless to openly challenge the legality of the sanctions Washington has now reimposed on Iran (and on all those who do business with her), British imperialism has so far (publicly) tried to distance itself from the US policy of open economic war against the Iranian people.

If the British imperialists ends up falling in line with the US’s sanctions and war against Iran, they should understand that that they will also share the bitter fruits of humiliation and defeat with their partner in crime.

Posted in USA, UKComments Off on Britain is acting as the US’s sanctions lapdog; will it follow into all-out war?

Self-identifying ‘communists’ blame Iran

Self-defence is no offence; those who really want to stop war must stand with the resistance.

Party statement

Despite years of economic warfare and regular acts of military aggression by the imperialists and their local stooges against Iran, the revisionists are still managing to blame Iran and the forces of resistance for the bloodshed in the middle east.

On Monday 13 January, a joint statement between revisionist ‘communist’ parties – the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) , the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Tudeh Party of Iran – was published denouncing the escalation of tensions between Iran and the USA. Typically, the statement lacked any anti-imperialist analysis and indulged instead in a disgusting display of victim-blaming.

Equating the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressor

The following statement is made in the second paragraph: “We view the Iranian regime’s threat to hit US personnel and interests in the region as a dangerous and irresponsible position that serves only to escalate tension.”

But what is Iran to do in the situation in which it finds itself? Capitulate to imperialist aggression? Is not appeasement a ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ position? Do these ‘communists’ not understand that imperialism recognises only one logic: that of force? Are not ‘US interests’ synonymous with imperialism?

Not only does this criticism of Iran’s response to the US’s assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani – a blatant act of war – fly in the face of all past experiences of attempts to appease imperialist aggressors (from the USA to the German Reich) but it had been proven wrong before the statement was even published! The US backed off from its threat of major escalation as soon as Iran had hit its Ayn al-Assad military base in Iraq.

The administration of US president Donald Trump has been forced to recognise Iran’s strength and its determination to defend its sovereignty. Although an all-out war would favour the US in terms of military technology and air superiority, any attempt to conquer the country would require huge numbers of boots on the ground, crippling the US perhaps beyond repair whilst ultimately proving to be impossible to achieve.

The revisionists’ statement asserts otherwise, however: “The missile strikes on US bases in Iraq on Wednesday 8 January by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] clearly heightened tension and threatened to bring about an all-out war with USA. It is clear that these bellicose moves have the potential to transform Iraq once again into a regional and international battlefield and immerse a swathe of countries in yet another bloodbath.”

So Iran’s act of self-defence is presented by these self-identifying ‘progressives’ as being equally ‘bellicose’ as the US’s illegal and unjustified aggression, and Iran is held equally culpable with the imperialist invaders for the spread of violence across the region.

Who is responsible for the bloodbath in the middle east?

But it is Iran that has played a pivotal role in defeating Isis and al-Qaeda, all but ending their reign of terror over the people of Iraq and Syria, while the US has been quietly funding and facilitating the headchoppers’ activities – and then using those activities as a justification for retaining a military occupation in both countries.

It should be clear to anyone with half a brain that it is the bellicose moves of US imperialism that are entirely responsible for the ongoing (not merely ‘potential’) bloodbath in the middle east, and it is the desperate US drive to crush all resistance to its diktat that is driving it towards an all-out war with Iran. It is also abundantly clear that any serious US-Iranian conflict would have the potential to spiral rapidly into a regional and international conflagration.

Only Iran’s heroic and defensive stance against imperialist aggression can reduce this drive to war by making it clear that the price for imperialism will simply be too high.

There are times when the only way to deter imperialist aggression and bring the aggressors to the negotiating table is to counter-attack. That is why it is essential for all true communists and anti-imperialists to defend Iran’s just retaliation.

Instead of taking this clear line, the revisionist spivs of the CPB et al repeatedly push their ‘Neither Washington nor Tehran’ line – an incongruous and anachronistic throwback to Mr Trotsky’s playbook that essentially calls for the defeat of the anti-imperialist forces. The CPB have been working hand in glove with the ‘Socialist Worker’ and Counterfire Trotskyites for decades, and this statement suggests that they have given up any attempt at independent thought.

“The present ‘tinder box’,” they tell us, “is a concoction fuelled by the adventurous policies of US imperialism – including harsh sanctions against Iran, withdrawal from the JCPoA and continuing military presence in Iraq.” So far so good, but this nod to reality (and even a stopped clock is right twice a day) is quickly negated by the authors’ insistence that US aggression is compounded by “the interventionist policies and actions of the Iranian theocratic regime, particularly its Quds Force, across the region”.

One cannot help wondering exactly which ‘interventionist policies’ the CPB and friends would rather that Iran’s brave Quds fighters had not taken. Is it that they would have preferred to see the black flag of the Islamic State flying over Baghdad and Damascus?

The world watched in horror and fear as Isis expanded its sway across large swathes of the region, just as the world once watched Hitler’s troops march into Austria and Czechoslovakia. It was the Syrian Arab Army, the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and Iraq’s popular militias, assisted by Iran’s Quds force, that drove the heart-eating, head-chopping, Saudi and US-backed terrorist scum from the region.

As one of the main tacticians behind the rout of Isis and al-Qaeda, it is clear that Major General Soleimani saved the lives of many thousands of people and liberated many more from their barbaric rule. Iranian General Soleimani was not a terrorist; he was a war hero!

What does meaningful antiwar work look like?

Communists oppose war, and aim to avoid conflict wherever possible, because it is always the working people who suffer most at time of war. But it is equally clear that sanctions are a weapon of mass destruction, aimed at the peace, health and sovereignty of the Iranian people.

And it is abundantly clear also that an unjust, imperialist-imposed state of economic superexploitation is not a state of ‘peace and harmony’ for the world’s working masses, but is itself a state of perpetual agony and war, which cannot but give rise to the desire for a better life, and to wave upon wave of fierce resistance.

It was for this very reason that Vietnam’s renowned leader Comrade Ho Chi Minh famously stated: “Nothing is more important than independence and freedom!” The world’s working class can never accept a false US-imposed ‘peace’, at the expense of the sovereignty and self-determination of the oppressed countries.

We therefore oppose imperialist war, but we are clear that the guilt for such wars lies with the imperialist aggressors.

We stand by the oppressed countries in their just wars of national liberation against such aggression. Lasting global peace is impossible while imperialism dominates the world. Bourgeois pacifists like the authors of the CPB and co’s statement are deluded if they imagine otherwise, and they certainly have no right to call themselves communist.

According to these revisionists, it is not Iran and the rest of the heroic anti-imperialist axis of resistance that will bring peace to the middle east, but the United Nations (clearly and repeatedly revealed as a hostage to US imperialism) and the toothless ‘international community’ that gathers under its auspices:

“Our parties call on the United Nations, its agencies and the international community to help find peaceful approaches to resolve the current issues in the region.”

It is a glaring and telling omission that no mention is made here of the refusal by the US to grant Iran’s representative a visa so he could come and address the UN assembly in Washington! What kind of diplomatic effort can take place without the participation of the attacked party? And if Iran is blocked from such diplomatic avenues, what right does anyone have to demand it should ‘de-escalate’ regardless?

“US imperialism and the Iranian dictatorship are disarmed and toothless without their allies’ support,” says the statement. And there we have the crux of the matter. Alongside the usual nod (for form’s sake) towards ‘opposition’ to US imperialism, we see that the real desire of these ‘revolutionaries’ is to render the Iranian government, a real cornerstone of the anti-imperialist axis of resistance in the middle east, ‘disarmed and toothless’.

It is rare that revisionists and opportunists declare their treachery so openly. Let workers beware: the true content of the political line expressed in the formula ‘neither Washington nor Tehran’ is to render the anti-imperialist (ie, workers’) movement, particularly here at home in the imperialist core, ‘disarmed and toothless’.

The CPB has teamed up with Trotskyites and Labour party social democrats in order to deliver the working people of Britain, supine and defenceless, into the hands of their British imperial ruling class.

Anyone honestly seeking to play a part in a meaningful antiwar and anti-imperialist movement that is actually capable of helping oppressed countries defend themselves against imperialist attack must let go once and for all of this social-chauvinistic talk about Iranian ‘dictatorships’, ‘mullahs’ and ‘regimes’, and recognise the right of Iran to self-determination.

We must also recognise the prevailing atmosphere of Iran – particularly following the US’s illegal assassination of Iran’s second-most senior political leader – which is the overwhelming unity of the Iranian people in supporting their government against imperialist aggression.

All other secondary contradictions within Iranian society will be resolved by the Iranian people themselves.

Meanwhile, our job here in Britain is to mobilise British workers to side with their brothers and sisters under attack in Iran; to reject the lies that seek to demonise Iran’s government and soften us up for war; and to refuse to help in any way with the unjust and unjustifiable economic and military war being waged against Iran.

No cooperation with imperialist war; victory to the resistance!

Posted in IranComments Off on Self-identifying ‘communists’ blame Iran

Occupation at sixes and sevens as resistance gathers pace in Iraq

Damned if they do and damned if they don’t: US rulers face dilemma about how to proceed as their forces face escalating fire.

Lalkar writers

As a result of increasing fire on their facilities, the US occupiers have had to withdraw from four bases across Iraq, consolidating their presence in the remaining two. How long they can hold out in those as a new wave of resistance gathers pace remains to be seen.

For 17 years, British and US soldiers have been in occupation of Iraq. At first, this occupation was openly acknowledged. Later, it was presented as offering security to the US-sponsored regime, which in turn ‘invited’ the troops to stay on.

Gradually, successive Iraqi governments, acting under popular pressure, have sought to set deadlines for the troops’ departure – but the army never quite managed to find the exit.

As things stand, there are still about 7,500 coalition grunts squatting on Iraqi soil, of whom 5,000 are from the US. Needless to add, this conservative estimate does not include the huge army of contractors, mercenaries and other camp-followers who buttress the occupation.

Now, though, with the imperialist proxy war against Syria collapsing in disarray, national resistance in Yemen gathering pace, and Iran acting as a powerful pole of attraction for anti-imperialist struggle across the middle east, patriotic Iraqis are growing ever more vocal in their demands that the continuing de facto occupation must end forthwith.

In January, Iraq’s parliament demanded that the troops should finally pack their bags, making it plain that the writing is on the wall for the occupation.

The murder in January, by US drone, of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, right in the middle of Baghdad airport, brought matters to a head. Initial retaliation by the resistance took the form of a missile strike on a US base, followed soon after by further attacks.

In February, one British and two US soldiers were killed when the Taji military base was rocketed, and the retaliatory airstrikes that followed only triggered more punishment for the occupying forces as the base drew further attacks.

These bases, intended by the US as launchpads for aggression against Iraq’s neighbour Iran, are starting to look more like sitting ducks for Iran-backed militias. Consequently, in March, bases at Kirkuk, Qaim and Qayyarah were closed down, and, in April, al-Taqaddum airbase was shuttered too, and the keys turned over to the Baghdad government, along with $3.5m worth of equipment.

British, French and Czech contingents began to melt away from as early as February, their departure hastened by fears of Covid-19.

The official line to explain the base closures was the laughable assertion that the task of training up the Iraqi military to combat terrorists had been ‘successfully completed’, rendering the presence of coalition forces superfluous.

Brigadier General Vincent Barker, speaking for the grandly titled Operation Inherent Resolve, assured the public that the Iraqis have “proven capability to bring the fight to Isis”, and no longer need American troops beside them. (Downsizing, but no departure: US military leaves another base in Iraq, RT, 4 April 2020)

The reality is that the coalition mission was never really about getting rid of Isis, but all about the US push for full-spectrum dominance in the region, culminating in war against Iran. Patriots in Iraq’s armed forces who are serious about fighting terrorists are cooperating with the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), Iraqi militias supported by neighbourly assistance from Iran.

For the PMF themselves, the fight against terrorists is inseparable from the fight against the imperialist sponsors of terrorism.

Splits within US imperialism

However, it is too early to hang out the bunting for a full US retreat. The plan appears to be to decant the troops from the abandoned bases into two major facilities – one in Baghdad and the other at an airbase about 100 miles to the west of Baghdad, Ayn al-Assad, where a new airport is under construction and regular patrols operate in the vicinity.

This move is open to interpretation: it could be seen as a retreat or as a consolidation. And this ambiguity is reflected in radically contradictory signals coming from the National Security Council (NSC), the Pentagon, the state department, and the top commander in Iraq concerning policy over Iraq and Iran.

In March, a classified internal military directive issued by the Pentagon was leaked to the press. The directive ordered commanders in the field to draw up plans for an escalation of US combat in Iraq, targeting in particular one of the PMF militias, Kata’ib Hezbollah, credited with having originated some of the most impressive attacks on the occupying forces.

But a leaked memo from the most senior military commander in Iraq, Lt Gen Robert P White, warned in blunt terms that such a campaign would need thousands more US troops and would be bloody and counterproductive. White’s memo pointed out that such a campaign would divert resources from what was ostensibly the primary mission: training Iraqis to fight Isis. (Whether even he really believes this hoary propaganda line is hard to credit.)

The New York Times reported recently that secretary of state Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert C O’Brien “have been pushing for aggressive new action against Iran and its proxy forces, and see an opportunity to try to destroy Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq as leaders in Iran are distracted by the pandemic crisis in their country”.

Meanwhile, defence secretary Mark T Esper and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff General Mark A Milley are said to be “wary of a sharp military escalation” that could “further destabilise the middle east”.

Pressed for clarification of the US war plans, the Pentagon spokesman (ludicrously still claiming that the US is in Iraq ‘at the invitation of the Iraqi government’, despite it having been given its marching orders back in January), flannelled hopelessly, bristling that “We are not going to discuss hypotheticals or internal deliberations.” (Pentagon order to plan for escalation in Iraq meets warning from top commander by Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, 27 March 2020)

In short, US imperialism is having the greatest difficulty in deciding what to do about either Iraq or Iran. It is too scared to leave Iraq for fear of losing face, but if it just lingers on like a bad smell then, sooner rather than later, patriotic forces in Iraq will find a way to fumigate their homeland.

Yet if it tries to regain the offensive by extending its attack on patriotic Iraqi militias into open hostilities against Iran, it will surely be digging its own grave.

These are the unsavoury ‘hypotheticals’ between which the US must now choose.

Posted in IraqComments Off on Occupation at sixes and sevens as resistance gathers pace in Iraq

THE JEWS OF LIBYA

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The new Libya has forgotten its colonial past – Middle East Monitor

Zionism came in and seduced the Jews in Arab countries, when not able to seduce it terrorized them into fleeing to Israel, ( just like the Jews of Europe) pretending this was a safe zone, when it was Israel who terrorized them in the first place. Once the Zionists ‘escaped’ the non Ashkenazim Jews, they gave them low status, sterilized the women, stole babies and experimented on them (the ringworm children).

http://www.lcu-libya.co.uk/aaa25feb2011.htm#emajla

We in the Libyan Constitutional Union (LCU) dearly hope that your mother’s wish to visit her birthplace Benghazi is realised soon.  We also support your right to receive the remains of relatives who were lost during the security disturbances which engulfed many Libyan towns, and which appeared to be a spontaneous public response to the 6-day war in 1967.  We also support your wish to have the remains taken to their final resting places in the appropriate manner.

We have previously expressed our views in this paper regarding what happened to your community in 1967, long before the case began to be publicly discussed and became one of America’s conditions for the rehabilitation of the current Libyan regime and for prolonging its lease to reign. (a copy of an article published on 9th March 1995 may be seen in the pages allocated to this case on the LCU archive web site: http://www.lcu-libya.co.uk/libjews.htm). We expressed our views again in an open letter to you, dated 10th June 2005, which was published in many Libyan internet sites, and therefore there is no need to reiterate these views here.  We continue to share your sorrow and pain and fully understand your ordeal.

However, you were not completely accurate in your speech when you compared your situation with that of the Palestinian’s and equated your ordeal with theirs.  You were also far from accurate when you described the Israeli-Arab struggle as a conflict between a democracy and a dictatorship.

I do not wish to elaborate further on this particular matter because I wish to focus our dialogue on the Libyan case in the hope that we succeed in building stronger friendly links based on truth and good intentions to bridge the regrettable sad gap that clearly exists between us.

In the above mentioned speech, you stated that in 1967 a decision was made to expel the Jewish community from Libya and that they were allowed only one small suit case and twenty pounds per person.  Here I do feel that it is in the benefit of all concerned that this information is made accurate.

Travelling with this meagre amount of money was in accordance with the then existing currency regulations which prevented any Libyan national from taking abroad more than 20 pounds in cash.  The regulation was not applied specifically or only to the Libyan Jews.  It was possible to transfer any amount in accordance with the currency regulations of the bank of Libya in the form of traveller’s cheques, bank credits or bank guarantees.

With regard to the decision to leave Libya hurriedly, it was a decision taken by the leaders of the Jewish community and was not an order of expulsion by the Libyan government.  The Jewish historian, Renzo De Felice, published a book in 1978 entitled “epri in un paese Arabo”, which was dedicated to this matter.  On page 278 of the English translation of the book, he wrote:  “The First official step was taken by Lillo Arbib on 17th June.

He sent a message to Prime Minister Hussein Mazegh asking him to allow Jews so desiring to leave the country for a time, until tempers cool and the Libyan population understands the position of Libyan Jews, who have always been and will continue to be loyal to the State, in full harmony and peaceful coexistence with the Arab citizens at all times.”  The Government quickly agreed: the emigration office started work on June 20 preparing the documents necessary for departure.”

In order to enable Al-Hayat readers to follow this dialogue, I wish to introduce a brief account of some relevant aspects of the case of Libya’s Jewish community:

According to Jewish sources a community of about 40,000 Jews lived in Libya during the period prior to 1948. Only some were routed in Libyan society since before the Islamic era, others migrated to Libya from the neighbouring countries of North Africa, while others were refugees from Andalusia who fled the Spanish Inquisition.The community lived in peace and dignity among the rest of the Moslem communities of the Libyan society, until the Zionist movement crept into its fabric and preached the idea of migration to the “Promised Land” to colonise and establish a Jewish state.  This prompted the attitude of the young towards contempt and defiance against the society – a behaviour against the interests of any minority in a multicultural society.

The first clash, Libya witnessed in all its history, between Jews and Moslems was on 3rd November, 1945 when a wave of strikes spread in many Arab countries marking the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.  The clashes were repeated in 1948 as a reaction to the bloody news from Palestine. According to official British Government documents the Libyan Moslem uprisings were spontaneous and without pre-planning, sticks and stones were used.  Whereas, the documents recorded, the Libyan Jewish uprising was premeditated and guns and ammunition were employed.

This testimony is from an independent and responsible party – The British Government when it ruled Libya at the time during the UN mandate.  A party that may not be accused of being biased to Moslems or indeed of being anti Jewish.

We have previously written on the subject in Al-Hayat and included the said British Government official papers in a three-part documentary series (21-23 September 1997).  A copy of the series may be found through this link: http://www.lcu-libya.co.uk/documentary.htm#Docs3 .

Following the 1948 clashes, the British authorities in Libya encouraged the Libyan Jews to migrate to Israel after selling off properties and taking their few possessions with them.  Libya at that time was more or less devoid of resources and all citizens suffered from severe poverty, illiteracy and diseases resulting from decades of Italian colonisation and the war between the Allies and Axis (Second World War) which was fought on its land.

Despite these hardships and a lack of any sign of recovery in the foreseeable future, about 7000 Jews were not influenced by the Zionist calls nor by The British “encouragement” and chose to remain in Libya.  The stand shown by that section of the Libyan Jews at that time requires no rhetoric or further emphasis of loyalty or true belonging to their Libya.

The surprise came with the discovery of oil in the country after independence.  Prosperity and wealth spread among all sections of the society.  With that momentous change came suspicious interests in Libya by the International Zionist Organisations, wickedly employing the existence of the small Jewish minority in Libya.

At the front of these organisations and most active in the sudden dubious interest was the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the president of which (Mr Louis Caplan) visited Libya in the summer of 1961.  Following that visit the Jewish community leaders (Lillo Arbib, Hai Glam, Clemente Habib, Angelo Nahum, and Pinhas R.Naim) submitted a written complaint to the Libyan Prime Minister (Mr Mohammed Othman Assaid) demanding a list of rights for the Jewish community in the country.

The International Organisations succeeded to convince the former UN envoy to Libya, Mr Adrian Pelt, to carry out a discrete investigation about the affairs of the Libyan Jews during his visit for the 10th anniversary of Libya’s independence.  His report, published on page 230 of Renzo De Felice’s book, was disappointing to the organisations. “The former U.N commissioner wrote that anti-Semitism, in the sense in which it is understood in the west, did not exist [in Libya], but that there was strong feeling against Israel ((….)).

In the field of personal relations there was not much animosity against Jews. ((….)) Arabs and Jews would meet privately…((…))”. However, in spite of that, the Zionist international organisations continued to subject the newly born Libyan state to sustained pressure, intimidation and embarrassment portraying it internationally as an anti-Semitic country (as De Felice recorded).

The sustained pressure forced the Libyan government to ask the leaders of its Jewish community to issue a statement to the UN contradicting the accusations of anti-Semitism.  This request of assistance was refused.

In order to add additional useful material to this important dialogue, we believe that it is helpful to make reference to an interesting letter dated 15th October 1964 from Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs to the British Ambassador in Tripoli.  In this letter, the Canadian official requested specific information about the Libyan Jewish community following allegations by Canadian Jewish Organisations that Libyan Jews were being persecuted.The British Ambassador in Tripoli, Mr. Rod Sarell, replied on 28th November, 1964.  The following are short extracts from his letter (kept in the British National Archives, file No: FO371/178894, Document No. VT 1571/2).

“I have the honour to refer to your letter of October 15, 1964, concerning the position of the Jewish Community in Libya.
There are probably between 6,500 and 7,000 Jews in Libya, the majority of whom are resident in Tripoli.

With the exception of a few manual workers, usually engaged in carpentry or the ritual preparation of Jewish food and wine, their means of livelihood are mainly commercial.  They are merchants, commission agents, or shop keepers.  At present it is probably true to say that they are experiencing, in common with Libya as a whole, prosperity unparalleled in the long history of the community.

There is no official discrimination against the Jews but the tension between the Arab States and Israel results from time to time in attacks in local press, which allege that some members of the community are agents of Zionism.

This has on occasions resulted in local disorders, of whatever origin, taking on an anti-Jewish bias. ((….))  It is only fair to say however, that a very large part of local business is in Jewish hands including many of the most valuable British agencies. ((….)).

For this reason and because the Jews here are essentially a Mediterranean people, whose history can be traced back to Roman times, it is unlikely that any significant number would wish to emigrate to Canada unless under extreme duress ((….)).  In fact about 300 are entitled to British passports facilities mostly on the basis of ancestors born in Gibralter in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The latter class of Jews are, of course, eligible to apply for permits to emigrate to Canada under existing regulations.  It is perhaps indicative of the attitude to migration that the only recent application in this category dealt with by the Consular Section of the Embassy, that of the Habib family – which is the subject of your letter of 30 August 1963 – resulted in one member of the family leaving for Canada although the others were eligible to do so.”

The question that forces itself here is: How and why the Jewish leaders in Libya took the decision on behalf of their community to leave the country in 1967?  A choice which members of this small community refused to make in 1948 at a time of extreme poverty and hardships, with the lure of the Zionist movement on one hand and by the British “encouragement” on the other.

Furthermore, the bloody clashes of 1948 were more serious than what they were subjected to in the riots of June 1967.  How and why the leaders took the decision while the Jewish Libyan community were among the earliest to become wealthy from the returns of oil?  It was clearly obvious to all that the economic improvements were only the beginnings of greater fortunes.

Here we wish to introduce a testimony by Renzo De Felice about the state of affairs of the Jewish community in Libya during that period.  On page 269 of the English translation of “epri in un paese Arabo”, De Felice states:  “Over less than six years [after discovery of oil in the country], the Jewish community’s economic situation went from the “disastrous” condition of 1957 to one in which half of its members might be described as “well off”; there were cases for being “very wealthy” ((…))”.

In the answers to these questions there is concealed the secret behind the 1969 Libyan Coup d’ Etat and an explanation of its eccentric behaviour; factors that have baffled all for more than three decades.  In order to systematically introduce possible answers, one should include a relevant series of historical facts with direct links to this convoluted case.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish international organisations were divided in their selection of a national homeland for Jews.  While there was a section among them not prepared to accept anything less than Jerusalem and mount Zion, there was another equally significant section who were cautious of this choice, believing that it was an impossible dream to realise.

They sought alternative destinations easier to colonise and convince the world by historical rights to the claim, where resistance would be minimal as well as being far from the religious hotspots of conflict.  The choice of the latter party, after several expeditions and relevant research, settled on Libya to be the dream national homeland for the Jews.

The idea was put forward by the British Jewish traveller, Sir Harry Johnston, who introduced it to Mr Israel Zangwill, Head of the Jewish Territorial Organisation in London.  The organisation sent a scientific expedition to Libya in 1906 led by Mr Nahoum Sloush, a professor at the Sorbonne, which was followed by another in 1908.

The reports of both expeditions were very encouraging to the extent that Mr Zangwill stated that Cyrenaica (a province in the east of Libya), rivals Palestine itself in becoming a Jewish national homeland.  For more details about this subject and the reasons behind the choice of Libya as a Jewish homeland, one may consult the documentary book by Mr M. Bayou, published in March 1975 entitled: “The Zionist Project to Inhabit Libya”.

In addition, Al-Hayat published a brief account of the subject on 20th September 1997: Jewish Emigration to Palestine and the Story of the Alternative Homeland: http://www.lcu-libya.com.uk-documentary/htm.

The Jewish International Organisations approached the Ottoman Empire with their intentions.  The Ottoman Empire agreed to the requests but offered only the area of Sirt and its surroundings as a destination (an area on the Western Libya coast which had been a refuge for the Jews of Cyrenaica following their revolt against the Roman Empire in year 115 AD). In addition, the Ottomans made it a condition that only the Jews from Ottoman territories would be allowed to migrate into the allocated areas.   However, the Zionist organisations were insisting on being given all of Cyrenaica, and planned to relocate large numbers from Ottoman territories to outnumber the local inhabitants, which was small at the time (the inhabitants of all of Libya totalled less than 1 million).

The intention was to create a new geographical reality on the ground that would be difficult to dispute, and then continue to open the doors for the Jews of Europe and Russia to flood into the new occupied areas.  They (the Jewish international organisations) offered much needed financial and political facilities to the Sultanate which softened its position regarding the choice of Cyrenaica.

The negotiations were going speedily in favour of the Jewish interests, when the coup of 1908 against the Sultan took place in Turkey.  The new rulers (in Istanbul) would no doubt have gone on to grant all of the Jewish desires without conditions,  however, the swift move by Italy to invade Libya in 1911 put an end to that dream and united the focus on Palestine.

We in the Libyan Constitutional Union are certain that the self-confidence of the Zionist movement after accomplishing the dream of fully colonising Palestine, achieving significant influence over the international public opinion and securing supremacy on the Arabs in every field, coupled with the discovery of vast reserves of oil re-kindled the dream to exploit Libya.This explains the conspiratorial and suspicious interests in Libya by the Zionist organisations immediately after the discovery of oil and the sustained campaigns to embarrass and portray the Kingdom as an anti-Semitic country.  It is quite clear that the organisations succeeded in attracting the loyalty of some leaders of the Libyan Jewish community as evidenced by their refusal to support the government with a testimony to the UN (when the government faced persisting false accusations of anti-Semitism).

Here I am not accusing the Libyan Jewish community of conspiracy or treason, their loyalty to Libya was demonstrated in making the difficult choice in 1948 as mentioned above, but pointing the finger at some of its leaders.

We are seriously concerned that the influence of the Jewish organisations inside the American institutions responsible for the Middle Eastern policies were employed to materialise the Zionist desires to control Libya politically and exploit it economically as soon as the Palestinian case reaches a solution and the two sides arrive at some sort of accord that satisfies the Arabs and forces peace between them and the Israelis.  Thus came the Libyan coup d’Etat of 1969.

A first step to prepare, with its extraordinarily narrow vision, the required environment for realising the scheme.  The coup ruined the infrastructure of the country, spread anarchy and confusion in the nation and tarnished the reputation of the country until it was expelled from the international community and lost the respect and sympathy of all.

With a deep American sense of history and realisation that political secrets are only temporary, and with a full commitment to the reputation of America, these institutions planned that when the conspiracy is eventually exposed, it would appear to be an angry, vengeful reaction against a savage nation that ravaged a God-fearing minority.

An act against every human standard and against the basic rules of the Islamic faith itself -expelling a minority from their own country, allowing each one only “a small brief case and twenty  pounds”.  This (the plot) would appear to be a justifiable angry response and would result in few prepared to condemn it  in defence of a country who’s coup lost it its respect, credibility and every friendship of note.  Neither would there be defence for the interests of a nation now retarded several centuries in every civilised field by the peculiar practices of the coup.

For history not to record that America conspired against a friendly nation and a loyal government, your community, Mr Lozon was manipulated and sacrificed to create that cover and to punish you for preferring Libya in 1948.  Furthermore, your community is to be used for the return to Libya in a planned fashion as an organised, trained and united community with many of its members brainwashed and a new generation brought up with first loyalty to Israel.

You have been convinced, as we are, that you were innocent victims.  However, this is an undisputed fact, exploited to achieve an evil.  Returning your community to a society in the grips of anarchy, ignorance and deep confusion will inevitably make you a leading elite minority in the society enjoying international respect and sympathy.

The outside world would no doubt choose to with the country through you on political and economic affairs.  The coup apparatus, once forced to realise that its existence and continuation are directly linked to the satisfaction of the elite minority, will endeavour to protect and serve it.  Additional analysis related to this subject may be found in an article entitled “Gaddafi and the abandoned constitution”: http://www.lcu-libya.co.uk/arab2000.htm#eng%20artcl .

Relationships can only be established and sustained on the basis of the fairness and righteousness that the heavens and earth were created upon.  Therefore, Dear Rapahel, I hope that your community joins us in demanding an international inquiry into the case to unveil its mystery before final decisions are made.

Perhaps the inquiry will unveil the most sordid conspiracy of the last century and save your community from being a Zionist tool (and enable you to realise the real reasons behind your exile) and participate in saving Libya’s independence without jeopardising your right to an honourable return home.Yours Sincerely
Mohamed Ben-Ghalbon
Chairman Libyan Constitutional Union

Posted in LibyaComments Off on THE JEWS OF LIBYA

‘Israel’: A Lab for “The New Vaccine Order”? Towards a Second Lockdown?

By Joshua Tartakovsky

In the fight against corona virus, when trying to discern in what direction the Western world is going, it is almost always useful to watch the steps taken by Israel, the Zionist State.[1].

Israel is not only a threat to the people of Iraq [3], Lebanon [4], Syria [5] and Egypt [6], it is also quite possibly a lab of sorts for human experimentation. In recent years, it has focused its experiments on the people of Gaza, testing weapons on the Gazan civilian population subject to siege who dared to rebel and subsequently selling those weapons to the world [7]. But now, Israel may be turning its gaze to its own population, the citizens of Israel itself.

As coronavirus broke out, Israel became the first Western country to close itself off to all flights . It then proceeded to enact a total lockdown, preventing its citizens from going beyond 100 meters from their homes. By relying on the General Security Services (Shabak), the Israeli regime using the mobile phone information of the various users, knew the exact location of each and every citizen and could round him up should he leave the confined area. The regime sent its security services, military and police, to arrest people who were walking beyond the confined area for what it deemed an unessential need. Extreme brutality was enacted against ultra-Orthodox Jews, who dared to leave their homes and walk in the streets [8].

The coronavirus lockdown was a turning point in Israeli history. Israel has also kept the Palestinians of the West Bank under constant siege and curfew [9] to be imposed randomly at will since 1967 until the present [10]. This military regime was new to the people of the West Bank, but not to the Arabs living within Israel proper, who have experienced it since the founding of the state in 1948 until 1966 [11]. Now the Israeli citizens themselves were subject to curfew. They could not leave their homes.

Why did the regime enact such an extreme total lockdown, that was later followed by the rest of the world? One possible cause may be the three corruption charges placed against the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The lockdown resulted in the closure of the Israeli Parliament. When the speaker of the house was ordered by the Supreme Court to open up the parliament, he simply resigned. In this way, Netanyahu avoided being voted against in the parliament.

But can there be other explanations? Is Israel a lab for population control? Israelis tend to disobey orders and most certainly orders to keep them locked at homes. This time, they largely silently obeyed and stayed in their homes for weeks.Israel Seeks ‘Jewish’ Non-Jews in Numbers Battle with Palestinians

Then there are the medical considerations. Some virologists argue people must be kept at home to slow the spread, others argue that staying at home reduces one’s immune system and makes him more vulnerable for disease. Either way, as Michel Foucault argued, using medicine to subjugate humanity has long been the norm. Giorgio Agamben argued how the state uses biological arguments to reduce our existence to bare life and suffocate us in a struggle for survival while relying on fear and on creating a state of exception that does not end.

Will the Zionist Regime conduct experiments against its own population? It did so in the past. The Zionists have experimented on Mizrahi Jews, especially children [12] on numerous occasions.

But in recent days, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that for the sake of safety, chips may be placed or inserted, he did not say, in children. The chip would alert the child every time he comes closer to a person in danger, just as in an alert system placed in a car, Netanyahu suggested. Is Netanyahu testing an idea that may be implemented later? Does he want to see if the people are willing to accept freedom of movement in return for vaccination and a chip?

For now the lockdown has been gradually relaxedNetanyahu is expected to stand trial on May 24. But the Health Ministry experts are already warning that a second wave may ensue, resulting in a new lockdown. If this is the case, will we see the same trend occurring around the world, with a second lockdown, more stringent than before, unfolding, and not to be released until citizens are vaccinated or given a chip?

On February 6,2020, Haaretz reported that most members of the high commission responsible for approving and supervising human experimentation were expected to resign. This was done due to the decision of Israel’s Health Ministry CEO, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, to promote a policy that would benefit pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the public interest, Haaretz reported. The Chairman, Professor Alice Shalvi, already resigned, Haaretz said [13].

With the committee cleared of conscientious people, will the Zionist regime move on to vaccinate Israeli children next week?

Israel was the first western country to ban all flights and enact an extreme lockdown. It was the first western country where the sitting leader recommended chipping children. It is worth paying attention to what may be the lab for the rest of the world.

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Author’s note: Thanks to Haim Yativ for his help with the article.

Joshua Tartakovsky is an independent journalist, a graduate of Brown University and London School of Economics. Currently residing in Minsk, Belarus.

Notes

[1] https://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-zionist-rabbi-gives-hezbollah-chief-in-beirut-gift-from-the-jewish-people/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/20/jewish-majority-israel-villa-in-the-jungle

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/world/middleeast/kerry-reminds-congress-netanyahu-advised-us-to-invade-iraq.html

[4] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200213-lebanon-army-fires-on-israel-drones-forcing-them-to-retreat-2/

[5] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-just-admitted-arming-anti-assad-syrian-rebels-big-mistake-1.6894850

[6] https://egyptindependent.com/israel-reacts-to-reports-that-its-defense-systems-will-protect-the-gerd/

[7] https://www.haaretz.com/gaza-war-is-arms-industry-cash-cow-1.5258893

https://www.972mag.com/wars-on-gaza-have-become-part-of-israels-system-of-governance-an-interview-with-filmmaker-yotam-feldman/

[8] https://www.facebook.com/bry.gl1/videos/2885883214802366/

[9] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161002-israel-places-curfew-on-west-bank-for-jewish-holiday/s

[10] Some Zionists seek to refute this claim by arguing that the West Bank was occupied by Jordan between 1948 to 1967. What they neglect to admit is that while the annexation of the West Bank by Jordan was not recognized by most countries, Palestinians occupied roughly half of the seats of the parliament and enjoyed full rights as citizens.

[11] https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/1.5280516

[12] https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/blog/2017/6/22/israel-conducted-illegal-medical-experiments-on-yemenite-children-testimonies

[13] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-members-of-israeli-committee-on-human-experiments-quit-over-health-ministry-policy-1.8500440

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, HealthComments Off on ‘Israel’: A Lab for “The New Vaccine Order”? Towards a Second Lockdown?

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