Archive | June 14th, 2020

Masses of Americans Dying… Trump Doesn’t Give a Toss….

The grotesquely obese orange genocidal maniac could not look more bored….

[Editor’s note: If you voted for Trump, you are an accomplice in this genocide. I hope you feel proud of yourselves. Ian]

Mother Jones
The Coronavirus Is Still Killing Thousands of Americans Every Week, But Trump Isn’t Very Interested

by David Corn

He would rather fight imaginary threats.

In the past week, the coronavirus has killed more than 5,000 Americans. Yet during this stretch, Donald Trump has said nothing about these lost souls. And since the gruesome 100,000 mark was hit at the end of last month, Trump has tweeted about the pandemic only a few times.

Once to note this milestone, once to blame China for this “bad ‘gift,’” once to vaguely claim there was “good news” coming on a vaccine, and once to hail the National Guard.

Over the same period, he has tweeted relentlessly about his tough-guy approach to the wide-ranging Black Lives Matter protests, and he has used Twitter repeatedly to assail political enemies (the NFL commissioner, retired General James Mattis, Joe Biden, the media), to fuel his phony “Obamagate” scandal, and to spread the bogus conspiracy theory that an elderly man assaulted by a Buffalo cop during a protest was an Antifa provocateur trying to disrupt police communications with a “scanner.”

In fact, Trump has tweeted more about Antifa, the left-wing street activists, than the pandemic, depicting this unorganized band as an existential threat to the United States. How many Americans have been killed by Antifa? None. Coronavirus is still claiming nearly one thousand lives a day.

If Trump’s tweets are an indication of what’s on his mind, he barely thinks about the pandemic and the horrific toll that it continues to take. When last week he visited a plant in Maine that manufactures swabs for coronavirus tests—a plant that happens to be in a congressional district he won in the 2016 election—Trump spoke for 30 minutes without mentioning the victims of COVID-19.

Instead, he touted the recent encouraging economic news and declared, “Open the state.” He referenced the coronavirus crisis—”this horrible plague”—in his usual fashion: he defended his administration’s record on testing, and he blamed China for the pandemic.

But he said nothing about the need to stay vigilant regarding masks, social distancing, and other countermeasures. (Trump even toured the plant without wearing a mask, and the swabs he watched being made in a sterile environment were later thrown out.) He said nothing about coronavirus remaining a serious threat to the United States.

Trump has essentially shoved the pandemic aside. Been there, done that. Time to move on. Even though the crisis continues and worsens in parts of the country. Puerto Rico and fourteen states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah—just experienced their highest weekly average of coronavirus cases. And the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States this week topped 2 million.

Recently, the public learned that Trump doesn’t want to be bothered by steady meetings on the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader of the White House coronavirus task force, said that his meetings with Trump “have been dramatically decreased.”

He told the AP that he had not spoken to Trump in two weeks. He also noted that task force meetings, which used to happen daily, “have not occurred as often lately.” The news service reported that the task force “now has a smaller portfolio as the federal priority shifts to helping states safely reopen and the race for a vaccine has been put under the separate auspices of ‘Operation Warp Speed.’”

In an interview taped for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s annual conference this week, Fauci said of the pandemic, “When is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it.”

In another sign that the Trump White House is moving the pandemic from the top of its to-do list, the coronavirus testing czar is leaving his position. Admiral Brett Giroir announced he will soon be “demobilized” from overseeing coronavirus testing at FEMA and head back to his old job at the Department of Health and Human Services. The administration said there were no plans to replace him.

With protests against police violence and social inequities spreading across the land, Trump has pivoted. In his address to the nation on June 1—prior to his Bible-holding stunt at St. John’s Church—Trump said nothing about the pandemic. Nothing about the Americans who are dying each day.

And when he marched across Lafayette Park—after security forces had violently cleared away peaceful protesters—and awkwardly posed in front of the historic church, he and his large posse (with the exception of Ivanka Trump) wore no masks and did not engage in social distancing. He refuses to set an example for how citizens can keep COVID-19 at bay. The White House even compelled reporters at a Trump press briefing to sit closer to one another than the customary six feet.

Trump has not called on the country to be steadfast in its response to the killer virus. He has even not championed his administration’s own guidelines for reopening. There still is no national testing strategy. And governors and other local officials have largely been left to their own devices in determining what to do. Trump has talked little about preparing for coming coronavirus spikes that are widely expected by public health officials. As he did at the start of the crisis, he has downplayed this chilling prospect.

Another profound crisis is now capturing the nation’s attention. But that’s all the more reason why the president of the United States should keep the country also focused on the public health threat that is still claiming thousands of Americans each week and that may roar back in the months ahead. Public health experts have raised concern that the protests could lead to a spread of the virus.

Yet it’s obvious why Trump cannot help Americans in this way. Caring about the public’s health doesn’t coincide with his political agenda—and his own pathologies. He is a man driven by the need for enemies and by the pursuit of revenge. A virus doesn’t easily fit into his psychologically warped world view.

He did endeavor to cast coronavirus as the “invisible enemy” that he would smite. But that soundbite fell flat, and Trump didn’t have the attention span to develop a truly effective set of policies to neutralize this unseen foe. It is much better for his political narrative if the number one enemy can be be looters, anarchists, Antifa, thugs, and the like.

These are heads he can crack (or order to be cracked). These are tangible bad guys (even if imaginary) he can depict as the most pressing threat to voters. Best of all, he can act like a law-and-order strongman and vow to crush them. And it certainly is easier to declare victory against a made-up foe than a true threat like a killer virus that keeps replicating. Trump has tried to change the channel. Coronavirus? Nothing to see. But the protesters! Mr. and Mrs. America, that’s the real danger you and your families face.

As for those Americans who remain at risk due to the pandemic—a disproportionate number of whom are within communities of color—Trump has nothing to say to them. His own political needs come first.

When Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina raised questions about holding a full-blown GOP convention in Charlotte in August, Trump huffed that if he could not have a large-scale event in a packed arena, then he would hold it elsewhere. “I don’t want to be sitting in a place that’s 50 percent empty,” Trump told Cooper, a Democrat, during a phone conversation. “We can’t do social distancing,” Trump said on the call.

Now the Republican National Committee is considering moving the prime-time parts of the convention to Jacksonville, Florida. Moreover, the Trump campaign announced this week that it will start staging big rallies with Trump next week. The message Trump is sending: his show is more important than the health and safety of even his own supporters.

Trump is only engaged by those political battles he can concoct and shape. And he can’t do that with this pandemic. Consequently, he’s just not that interested in the deaths of thousands of Americans. So Trump is putting aside those lives to pursue a course that he believes will save what he most cares about: his own political life.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on Masses of Americans Dying… Trump Doesn’t Give a Toss….

Another Cop Murder, Los Angeles, Not the First Today

“He was murdered without justification,” the family’s lawyer said. “It was 100 percent avoidable.”By VT Editors -June 12, 202011141

Michael ‘Blue’ Thomas

Daily Best: A Los Angeles man was fatally shot in his home by deputies Thursday morning in a tragic domestic dispute call gone wrong. His family, however, insists the tragic incident could have been avoided if authorities didn’t prematurely pull the trigger.

Michael “Blue” Thomas, 62, was killed in his living room in the early hours on Thursday after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a domestic dispute call, a spokesperson told The Daily Beast. But while authorities claim Thomas was shot after reaching for one of the deputy’s guns, his fiancée and attorney insist the opposite—that he was turning away.

“They broke the front down and they grabbed Mr. Thomas immediately,” Bradley Gage, the family’s attorney, told The Daily Beast on Friday. “As they were holding him, they hurt him by twisting his arm. At that point, because he was uncomfortable, Mr. Thomas tried to move and one deputy just stepped back and shot him.”

“He was murdered without justification,” he added. “It was 100 percent avoidable.”

According to the Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a “domestic violence in progress call” in Lancaster at around 5:30 a.m. The 911 call was made by Thomas’s fiancée, Kimberly. She later told deputies she “was assaulted by the suspect,” according to a statement from authorities.

“During the call to 911, she never speaks to the operator but rather the phone line is left open,” the statement said. “For several minutes arguing and fighting between the caller and the suspect can be heard in the background.”  Read more…

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Another Cop Murder, Los Angeles, Not the First Today

UK Breaks With Trump Over Threats Against War Crimes Investigators and Judges (censored in US by orders of Donald Trump)

By Sputnik News – Russia 

Sputnik/Moscow: On Thursday, President Trump issued an executive order authorizing economic sanctions and travel restrictions against the International Criminal Court investigators involved in probing US troops and intelligence personnel for possible war crimes in Afghanistan without US consent.

In a rare break with its US ally, London has expressed its support for the ICC, stressing that the legal body should be allowed to work impartially and without fear of sanctions in investigating international criminal activity.

“The UK strongly supports the International Criminal Court in tackling impunity for the worst international crimes,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement Saturday.

“We will continue to support positive reform of the court, so that it operates as effectively as possible. ICC officials should be able to carry out their work independently and impartially, and without fear of sanction,” Raab added.

Raab’s comments follow Thursday’s announcement by the Trump administration that it has authorized sanctions and travel restrictions against ICC officials investigating the activities of US military and intelligence personnel in Afghanistan for possible war crimes. In a statement to the media following Trump’s signing of the executive order to that effect, Attorney General William Barr claimed that the US had substantial, credible information about alleged ‘financial corruption’ in the ICC that “calls into question the integrity of the ICC’s investigations.”

Along with the UK, France, another key US ally, has also expressed its disapproval over Washington’s decision. On Friday, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the Trump administration’s actions an attack on the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and demanded an immediate withdrawal of sanctions measures.

The ICC expressed its “profound regret” over Washington’s “further threats and coercive actions,” but promised to continue its work.

United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville, meanwhile, indicated that the ICC’s independence “and its ability to operate without interference must be guaranteed so that it can decide matters without any improper influence, inducement, pressures, threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reasons.”

Long Build-up to Probe

In March, after years of preparation, the ICC launched a probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan going back to 2003, including the alleged torture of prisoners at secret CIA black site prisons in Eastern Europe, and criminal actions by US forces, Afghan troops and the Taliban. Before the probe’s approval, the US attempted to block investigative efforts and to issue individual restrictions against ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, denying her a US entry visa in 2019.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the “corrupt” ICC of going after America and “our friends and allies in Israel and elsewhere,” stressing that Washington was “determined to prevent” this from happening. On Thursday, Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Tel Aviv and Washington had coordinated their actions to sanction the ICC. The ICC has a separate Israel investigation dedicated to alleged Israel crimes committed in “occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014.” The Palestinian Authority formally joined the ICC in April 2015.

Britain’s Drone Programme May Be ‘Jointly Liable’ for US War Crimes, NGO Explains

Britain’s use of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs) or armed drones in secret missions has been confirmed by the MoD. However the nature, location and scope of the missions, along with their legality and possible civilian causalities, remains a complete mystery according to a new report from Drone Wars UK.

The UK and US’s drone programmes share infrastructure, manufacturing, intelligence and coordination to such an extent that their two programmes are inextricably linked to each other, according to the latest report from the monitoring group Drone Wars UK. A Joint Enterprise: How the UK and the US co-operate on drone warfare is the product of 18 months investigation by the NGO which also includes responses to freedom of information requests submitted to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) by Drone Wars UK.

Chris Cole, the director and founder of Drone Wars UK, explains to Sputnik that being embedded with the US drone programme including their bombing campaigns may well make Britain culpable in any crimes which are being committed.

Sputnik: What evidence is there of the UK’s armed drone programme being integrated with the US’s rather than being independent from it?

Chris Cole: Close historic ties, shared use of infrastructure and tightly integrated operations draw the two programmes together as a joint enterprise. This includes RAF pilots being embedded within the US Air Force operating US drones, and UK use of US communication and satellite infrastructure for UK operations.

Sputnik: Are US drones being operated from within the UK and why should it matter if they are?

Chris Cole: The US is not operating US drones from the UK, although US bases within the UK are being used to gather analysis and communicate intelligence.

Sputnik: Why should it matter whether Britain’s drone programme is “separate and independent” from the US drone programme?

Chris Cole: The US is engaged in drone strikes which are widely seen as in violation of international law. The UK has in the past distanced itself from these US targeted killings outside active areas of hostilities and is keen to be seen as separate and independent and not connected to this unlawful activity.

Sputnik: Explain what you mean when you say there may be “joint liability” as a result of the UK and US operating a jointly managed drone programme.

Chris Cole: Partners engaged in a joint enterprise can be said to be jointly complicit and would be liable legally. Whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden have shared evidence of UK involvement in US drone programmes, especially in regard to the provision of intelligence information on potential targets.

Sputnik: To what extent is the apparent use of UK drones on secret missions evidence of Britain’s independence, or lack thereof, in so far as their UAV programme is concerned?

Chris Cole: The secret missions are not apparent – their existence has been confirmed by the MoD. However they will not say where they are taking place or for what purpose.

It is possible these secret missions are closely tied to US drone operations, but we simply don’t know because of the secrecy. We are arguing that if the UK wants to verify and demonstrate its independence it has to be much more transparent.

Sputnik: If the use of drones in armed conflicts reduces the number of civilians killed, isn’t that a good thing?

Chris Cole: Drones are lowering the threshold for the use of armed force and transferring the cost of armed conflict from the shoulders of combatants onto civilians. Areas occupied by civilians which would not previously have come under aerial bombardment, are now doing so because of the narrative that drones are precise and ‘save’ civilians. The reality is, as journalists and casualty recorders have demonstrated over and over again, there are numerous civilian casualties from drone strikes.

Sputnik: What are you calling for now as a result of the findings of your report?

Chris Cole: We are calling for the UK government to be transparent about its drone operations – to details how many are deployed, where they are based, what is the purpose of the missions they are undertaking.

The UK should also ensure that intelligence supplied to the US is not used for operations that breach international law.

We also believe that due to the unique nature of drones, deployment of UK drones should be approved by parliament.

Posted in USA, UKComments Off on UK Breaks With Trump Over Threats Against War Crimes Investigators and Judges (censored in US by orders of Donald Trump)

Saudi Child Killed by Bulldozer as it Destroys Her Home

By: Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio 

by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio

At the age of 11, she would have died crushed by the rubble of her home torn down by bulldozers. From the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia comes the tremendous story of Noura first reported by an Arabic website and then by PressTV, the television in English of the IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting), by Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and by Uprising Today.

«Humanity is nonexistent. Here an innocent girl was run over because her family built these houses in the wrong place» Tweeted @bodour_alyami attaching the video of the destruction that immediately went viral with over 190 thousand views.

The image of Noura published by Middle East Monitor

The tragedy occurred in the southern Asir region of the Harajah governorate. «She died on Wednesday as several bulldozers were ordered to raze buildings alleged to have been constructed without permits – told Middle East Monitor – A report by the New Khaleej yesterday revealed that Noura was killed while she slept in her home»

It is hoped that she died immediately under the rubble and not after a slow agony. Images of the slain child and video footage of the demolition circulated on Twitter, with the hashtag “Critical assaults kill the girl Noura” in Arabic being used to highlight the crime.

Bulldozer in action in Saudi Arabia

Public Prosecutor Sheikh Saud Bin Abdullah Al-Moajab has apparently ordered an investigation into circumstances surrounding the girl’s death.

But no other news has leaked from the official sources of the Kingdom of Riyadh who in the past has been very skilled in burying between many mysteries and an ambiguous sentence the truth about the death of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi, killed and torn to pieces to hide the corpse inside the consulate  Saudi Arabia of Istanbul on October 2, 2018.

The dramatic story of Noura also emerges in a context of political and religious rivalries because in April, Saudi forces shot and killed a citizen who refused to leave his home to pave the way for the construction of the so-called mega-project NEOM of the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Abdul Rahman Al-Huwaiti was a prominent member of the Al-Huwaiti tribe, which had lived in the north-western area Al-Khuraybah for hundreds of years. Eight tribal members were arrested days after his murder.

But as early as August 9, 2017, as PressTV points out, a violent campaign of the regime against political dissidents had started in the eastern part of the country and precisely in the city of Awamiyah, populated by Muslims of Shiite confession hated the Sunni Wahabites of the royal family, suspected to be among the founders and main recruiters of Al Qaeda fundamentalist militiamen.

On April 13, Saudi regime forces killed dissident tribal activist al-Howeiti because he «had censured the House of Saud over uprooting Saudi nationals for the sake of a project that runs counter to the history and traditions of the region» highlighted Teheran’s TV.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced the contentious NEOM tourism development project at an international conference in October 2017, which will turn 50 islands and other sites on the Red Sea into luxury resorts.

The plan is also supported by the Israelis who, through the Check Point Software Technologies company, have taken on the task of protecting the cybersecurity of the megacity.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi Child Killed by Bulldozer as it Destroys Her Home

Palestine: Nazi regime Internet Censorship War

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Israel’s Internet Censorship War – If Americans Knew from If Americans Knew on Vimeo.

An exposé on Nazi Gastapo detailed projects – some public, some covert – to influence what people see on the Internet, and what they don’t. From the article, “How Gastapo and its partisans work to censor the Internet”


Israel and World Jewry In “Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism”

Who Rules America? The illusion of Self Rule In “Book Review”

How Israel and its partisans work to censor the Internet In “Deception”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Palestine: Nazi regime Internet Censorship War

France must halt ‘abusive’ identity checks by police: Human Rights Watch

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Protesters hold up placards during a demonstration on June 14, 2020, in Strasbourg, eastern France, as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality. (Photo by AFP)

France should halt identity checks by the police that are ‘abusive and discriminatory,’ Human Rights Watch said on Sunday, following angry protests over alleged racism in the security forces.

France has seen a number of demonstrations over the last days protesting the actions of police and highlighting the death of young black man Adama Traore in police custody in 2016.

The protests have been given additional impetus by the death in the US of George Floyd, with thousands turning out in Paris on Saturday for a new protest that ended with clashes against police.

HRW said French President Emmanuel Macron, who is due to address the nation at 1800 GMT, should identify concrete reforms to end racism within the police.

“These reforms should include an end to abusive and discriminatory identity checks,” it said, describing them as a “longstanding problem” and “at the heart of concerns around institutional racism and discrimination.”

Benedicte Jeannerod, HRW’s France director, said: “President Macron should not just condemn racism, but announce specific reforms to end ethnic profiling and abusive identity checks that all too often cause real harm… particularly for minorities in France.”

French riot police run to dissolve a rally of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, in Nantes, June 13, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

HRW said next week it will publish a report documenting the “overly broad powers” of French police to conduct “discriminatory” stop-and-search checks on black and Arab males.

The rights group said that it had documented “repetitive, baseless” police checks targeting ethnic minorities, including children as young as 10.

It called on Macron to endorse reforms to require reasonable suspicion based on individual behavior as the grounds for all stops and to explicitly prohibit discrimination.

France’s police forces vehemently reject allegations of institutionalized racism, saying that while there have been problems they are down to individuals.

Posted in FranceComments Off on France must halt ‘abusive’ identity checks by police: Human Rights Watch

UAE-sponsored militants seize billions of Yemeni riyals destined for central bank

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Fighters loyal to Yemen’s so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) stand guard while on the frontline of clashes with militiamen linked to C.I.A puppet, Abd Rabbuh Mansur, for control of Zinjibar, the capital of the Abyan Province, on its eastern outskirts in the Sheikh Salim area, on May 15, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Forces affiliated with Yemen’s so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC), who are backed by the Zio-Wahhabi regime of United Arab Emirates, have seized a convoy of billions of riyals destined for the central bank in the southern port city of Aden, as they seek to wrench control from the rival Saudi-backed militiamen linked to C.I.A puppet, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The monetary institution said in a statement on Saturday that the separatists, who broke off alliance with Hadi’s administration and announced “self-administration rule” in Yemen’s southern areas in April, commandeered the convoy as it departed, warning of “dangerous consequences.”

An unnamed source was also quoted by AFP as saying that the convoy was carrying 64 billion riyals (approximately $256 million US dollars) in banknotes printed in Russia for the Hadi-controlled Yemeni central bank.

Rival Saudi-, UAE- backed militants claim advance in southern Yemen amid infighting

Rival Saudi-, UAE- backed militants claim advance in southern Yemen amid infightingSaudi-backed militants claim making advances in the fight against once-allied UAE-backed militants in southern Yemen.

Another Hadi loyalist source said the cash was taken to a military base, describing the act as “piracy.”

“The action is part of several measures to end sources of corruption and to prevent the use of public money in supporting terrorism,” the STC said in a statement in return.

Back on June 8, pro-Hadi forces claimed territorial gains following fierce clashes with southern separatists in Yemen’s Abyan Province.

A military official told Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity at the time that Hadi loyalists had captured the city of Ja’ar.

Yemeni bodies condemn Saudi-led coalition over use of banned cluster bombs in Sana’a

Yemeni bodies condemn Saudi-led coalition over use of banned cluster bombs in Sana’aYemeni bodies have denounced the continued use of cluster munitions on residential areas by Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

STC spokesperson Mohammad al-Naqib, however, dismissed the report, saying the UAE-backed militants had repelled an “infiltration attempt” against the city.

“Within half an hour, the infiltrators were eliminated,” he said in a tweet.

Aden has been the seat of Hadi’s administration after Houthi Ansarullah fighters took over the capital, Sana’a, in late 2014.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime and a number of its C.I.A allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush Ansarullah movement.

Saudi blockade of Yemen ‘a new crisis’ amid pandemic: Minister

Saudi blockade of Yemen ‘a new crisis’ amid pandemic: MinisterYemen’s health minister says the ongoing blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia against the war-torn country has created a new crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, US and other Western nations.

At least 80 percent of the 28 million-strong population is also reliant on aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Posted in Middle East, UAE, YemenComments Off on UAE-sponsored militants seize billions of Yemeni riyals destined for central bank

Canadian policy on Venezuela, Haiti reveals hypocrisy that media ignores

Couple Holding Two Puzzles Pieces Canadian Venezuelan Flags Canada ...
By Yves Engler

If the dominant media was serious about holding the Canadian government to account for its foreign policy decisions, there would be numerous stories pointing out the hypocrisy of Ottawa’s response to recent political developments in Haiti and Venezuela.

Instead silence, or worse, cheer-leading.

Venezuela is a deeply divided society. Maybe a quarter of Venezuelans want the president removed by (almost) any means. A similar proportion backs Nicolas Maduro. A larger share of the population oscillates between these two poles, though they generally prefer the president to opposition forces that support economic sanctions and a possible invasion.

There are many legitimate criticisms of Maduro, including questions about his electoral bonafides after a presidential recall referendum was scuttled and the Constituent Assembly usurped the power of the opposition dominated National Assembly (of course many opposition actors’ democratic credentials are far more tainted). But, the presidential election in May demonstrates that Maduro and his PSUV party maintain considerable support. Despite the opposition boycott, the turnout was over 40% and Maduro received a higher proportion of the overall vote than leaders in the US, Canada and elsewhere. Additionally, Venezuela has an efficient and transparent electoral system — “best in the world” according to Jimmy Carter in 2012 — and it was the government that requested more international electoral observers.

Unlike Venezuela, Haiti is not divided. Basically, everyone wants the current “president” to go. While the slums have made that clear for months, important segments of the establishment (Reginald Boulos, Youri Latortue, Chamber of Commerce, etc) have turned on Jovenel Moïse. Reliable polling is limited, but it’s possible 9 in 10 Haitians want President Moïse to leave immediately. Many of them are strongly committed to that view, which is why the country’s urban areas have been largely paralyzed since February 7.

In a bid to squelch the protests, government forces (and their allies) have killed dozens in recent months. If you include the terrible massacre reported here and here in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of La Saline on November 11-13 that number rises far above 100.

Even prior to recent protests the president’s claim to legitimacy was paper-thin. Moïse assumed the job through voter suppression and electoral  fraud. Voter turnout was 18%. His predecessor and sponsor, Michel Martelly, only held elections after significant protests. For his part, Martelly took office with about 16 per cent of the vote, since the election was largely boycotted. After the first round, US and Canadian representatives pressured the electoral council to replace the second-place candidate, Jude Celestin, with Martelly in the runoff.

While you won’t have read about it in the mainstream media, recent protests in Haiti are connected to Venezuela. The protesters’ main demand is accountability for the billions of dollars pilfered from Petrocaribe, a discounted oil program set up by Venezuela in 2006. In the summer demonstrators forced out Moïse’s prime minister over an effort to eliminate fuel subsidies and calls for the president to go have swelled since then. Adding to popular disgust with Moïse, his government succumbed to US/Canadian pressure to vote against Venezuela at the OAS last month.

So what has been Ottawa’s response to the popular protests in Haiti? Has Global Affairs Canada released a statement supporting the will of the people? Has Canada built a regional coalition to remove the president? Has Canada’s PM called other international leaders to lobby them to join his effort to remove Haiti’s President? Have they made a major aid announcement designed to elicit regime change? Have they asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the Haitian government? Has Justin Trudeau called the Haitian President a “brutal dictator”?

In fact, it’s the exact opposite to the situation in Venezuela. The only reason the Haitian president is hanging on is because of support from the so-called “Core Group” of “Friends of Haiti”. Comprising the ambassadors of Canada, France, Brazil, Germany and the US, as well as representatives of Spain, EU and OAS, the “Core Group” released a statement  last week “acknowledging the professionalism shown by the Haitian National Police.” The statement condescendingly “reiterated the fact that in a democracy change must come through the ballot box, and not through violence.” The “Core Group’s” previous responses  to the protests expressed stronger support of the unpopular government. As I detailed  10 weeks ago in a story headlined “Canada backs Haitian government, even as police force kills demonstrators”, Ottawa has provided countless forms of support to Moïse’s unpopular government. Since then Justin Trudeau had a “very productive meeting” with Haitian Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant, International development minister Marie-Claude Bibeau‏ declared a desire to “come to the aid” of the Haitian government and Global Affairs Canada released a statement declaring that “acts of political violence have no place in the democratic process.” Trudeau’s government has provided various forms of support to the repressive police that maintains Moïse’s rule. Since Paul Martin’s Liberals played an important role  in violently ousting Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government in 2004 Canada has financed, trained and overseen the Haitian National Police. As took place  the night Aristide was forced out of the country by US Marines, Canadian troops  were recently photographed  patrolling the Port-au-Prince airport.

Taking their cue from Ottawa, the dominant media have downplayed the scope of the recent protests and repression in Haiti. There have been few (any?) stories about protesters putting their bodies on the line for freedom and the greater good. Instead the media has focused on the difficulties faced by a small number of Canadian tourists, missionaries and aid workers. While the long-impoverished country of 12 million people is going through a very important political moment, Canada’s racist/nationalist media is engrossed in the plight of Canucks stuck at an all-inclusive resort!

The incredible hypocrisy in Ottawa’s response to recent political developments in Haiti and Venezuela is shameful. Why has no major media dared contrast the two?


Crisis & Critique: US Ramps up Aggression amid Pandemic In “War Crimes”

Ottawa’s ties with far right Colombian president undermines human rights rhetoric regarding Venezuela In “War Crimes”

Trudeau’s extraordinary campaign to overthrow Maduro In “Progressive Hypocrite”

Posted in Canada, VenezuelaComments Off on Canadian policy on Venezuela, Haiti reveals hypocrisy that media ignores

Trump boosts Georgia candidate who peddles anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and posed with a neo-Nazi

President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the White House for Florida, Jan. 23, 2020. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump boosted a Georgia Republican candidate who refuses to disavow a white supremacist she posed with in a photograph and has seemingly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

“A big winner,” Trump said in a tweet Friday attached to a story on a pro-Trump website noting that Marjorie Taylor Greene in the heavily Republican 14th District had performed well in the primary despite having an ad banned by Facebook. “Congratulations!”

Greene, the owner of a construction company, was the leader in Tuesday’s primary but did not secure 50 percent of the vote and so is headed to a runoff against her closest rival, Dr. John Cowan, a neurosurgeon.

Greene has posed in photos with Chester Doles, a Georgia man who once was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan and served a prison sentence for beating nearly to death a black man he saw in the company of a white woman. She has dismissed media queries about the photos as “silly” and “fake news.”

Greene has peddled conspiracy theories about QAnon, a complex fantasy about a group of influential pedophiles trying to bring down  Trump that at times has veered into anti-Semitism. Jewish Insider uncovered a 2018 posting on a QAnon website signed by a Marjorie Greene that brought in anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jewish billionaire George Soros and the Rothschild family of being involved in the conspiracy.

The Republican Jewish Coalition told Jewish Insider this week that it would not support Greene if she won the runoff, but would not oppose her either.

In the banned Facebook ad, Greene cocks an automatic rifle and warns antifa, a group that organizes counterprotests against the far right and has become fodder for conspiracy theories peddled by Trump, not to come to her district.

Posted in USA, CampaignsComments Off on Trump boosts Georgia candidate who peddles anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and posed with a neo-Nazi

‘Israel’ and the US step up efforts to intimidate the Hague war crimes court

Netanyahu and Pompeo
By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

In the near-two decades since the International Criminal Court was set up to try the worst violations of international human rights law, it has faced harsh criticism for its highly selective approach to the question of who should be put on trial.

Created in 2002, the court, it was imagined, would act as a deterrent against the erosion of an international order designed to prevent a repetition of the atrocities of World War II.

Such hopes did not survive long.

The court, which sits in The Hague in the Netherlands, almost immediately faced a difficult test: whether it dared to confront the world’s leading superpower, the United States, as it launched a “war on terror”.

The ICC’s prosecutors refused to grasp the nettle posed by the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead, they chose the easiest targets: for too long, it looked as though war crimes were only ever committed by Africans.

Now, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, looks poised finally to give the court some teeth. She is threatening to investigate two states – the US and Israel – whose actions have been particularly damaging to international law in the modern era.

The court is considering examining widespread human rights abuses perpetrated by US soldiers in Afghanistan, and crimes committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially Gaza, as well as the officials responsible for Israel’s illegal settlement programme.

An investigation of both is critically important: the US has crafted for itself a role as global policeman, while Israel’s flagrant violations of international law have been ongoing for more than half a century.

The US is the most powerful offender, and Israel the most persistent.

Both states have long dreaded this moment – the reason they refused to ratify the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

Last week Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, stepped up US attacks on the court, saying its administration was “determined to prevent having Americans and our friends and allies in Israel and elsewhere hauled in by this corrupt ICC”.

A large, bipartisan majority of US senators sent a letter to Pompeo last month urging him to ensure “vigorous support” for Israel against the Hague court.

”A criminal suspect does not get to decide whether their victim can make a complaint, or whether the legal system should investigate. The same must apply in international law…”

Israel and the US have each tried to claim an exemption from international law on the grounds that they did not sign up to the court.

But this only underscores the problem. International law is there to protect the weak from abuses committed by the strong. The victim from the bully.

A criminal suspect does not get to decide whether their victim can make a complaint, or whether the legal system should investigate. The same must apply in international law if it is to have any meaningful application.

Even under Bensouda, the process has dragged out interminably. It has taken years for her office to conduct a preliminary investigation and to determine, as she did in late April, that Palestine falls under the ICC’s jurisdiction because it qualifies as a state.

The delay made little sense, given that the State of Palestine is recognised by the United Nations, and it was able to ratify the Rome Statute five years ago.

The Israeli argument is that Palestine lacks the normal features of a sovereign state. However, as the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently noted, this is precisely because Israel has occupied the Palestinians’ territory and illegally transferred settlers onto their land.

Israel is claiming an exemption by citing the very crimes that need investigating.

Bensouda has asked the court’s judges to rule on her view that the ICC’s jurisdiction extends to Palestine. It is not clear how soon they will issue a verdict.

Pompeo’s threats last week – he said the US will soon make clear how it will retaliate – are intended to intimidate the court.

… Washington has denied [ICC Chief Prosecutor Fetou] Bensouda a travel visa, and threatened to confiscate her and the ICC judges’ assets and put them on trial.

Bensouda has warned that her office is being subjected to “misinformation and smear campaigns”. In January, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the court of being “antisemitic”.

In the past, Washington has denied Bensouda a travel visa, and threatened to confiscate her and the ICC judges’ assets and put them on trial. The US has also vowed to use force to liberate any Americans put in the dock.

There are indications the judges may now be searching for a bolt hole. They have asked Israel and the Palestinian Authority to respond urgently to questions about whether the temporary Oslo accords, signed more than 25 years ago, are still legally binding.

Israel has argued that the lack of resolution to the Oslo process precludes the Palestinians from claiming statehood. That would leave Israel, not the ICC, with jurisdiction over the territories.

On 8 June Bensouda was reported to have given her view that the Oslo accords should have no bearing on whether an investigation proceeds.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, told the ICC last week that the PA considers itself exempt from its Oslo obligations, given that Israel has announced imminent plans to annex swaths of Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Annexation was given a green light under President Trump’s “peace plan” unveiled earlier in the year.

Bensouda’s term as prosecutor finishes next year. Israel may hope to continue stonewalling until she is gone. Elyakim Rubinstein, a former Israeli Supreme Court judge, called last month for a campaign to ensure that her successor is more sympathetic to Israel.

But if Bensouda does get the go-ahead, Netanyahu and an array of former generals, including his Defence Minister Benny Gantz, would likely be summoned for questioning. If they refuse, an international arrest warrant could be issued, theoretically enforceable in the 123 countries that ratified the court.

Neither Israel nor the US is willing to let things reach that point.

They have recruited major allies to the fight, including Australia, Canada, Brazil and several European states. Germany, the court’s second largest donor, has threatened to revoke its contributions if the ICC proceeds.

Maurice Hirsch, a former legal adviser to the Israeli army, wrote a column last month in Israel Hayom, a newspaper widely seen as Netanyahu’s mouthpiece, accusing Bensouda of being a “hapless pawn of Palestinian terrorists”.

He suggested that other states threaten to pull their contributions, deny ICC staff the travel visas necessary for their investigations and even quit the court.

That would destroy any possibility of enforcing international law – an outcome that would delight both Israel and the US.

It would render ICC little more than a dead letter, just as Israel, backed by the US, prepares to press ahead with the West Bank’s annexation.

Israel: A criminal state under investigation

Israel: A criminal state under investigation

In “QuickPress”

When will international justice save Palestine?

When will international justice save Palestine?

In “British stooges”

Palestine: The testbed for Trump’s plan to tear up the rules-based international order

Palestine: The testbed for Trump’s plan to tear up the rules-based international order

In “Home”

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on ‘Israel’ and the US step up efforts to intimidate the Hague war crimes court

Shoah’s pages