Archive | June 25th, 2020

Frankenstein Chimeras: COVID, Wuhan Labs and Biosafety

by: EVAGGELOS VALLIANATOS

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

In 2015, the Wuhan Institute of Virology started experimenting how to make a natural virus more pathogenic and easier to transmit. In the military jargon of hiding reality, experts call this weaponization of viruses “gain of function.”

University of North Carolina scientists trained Chinese scientists how to manipulate viruses, while leaving no traces of their genetic engineering methods, which create microscopic pathogenic monsters known as Chimeras.

According to Milton Leitenberg, Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland, lab manipulated viruses could become part of lab aerosols, moving from experimental animal to experimental animal, including lab scientists and technicians.

“In other words,” Leitenberg said, “gain of function techniques were used to turn bat coronaviruses into human pathogens capable of causing a global pandemic.”

Leitenberg reviewed the published literature on the corona virus and China and reached the following conclusions:

There’s a record of poor safety and viruses escaping from Chinese labs, at least since 2004. This includes the Wuhan institutes. China suppressed information, especially about the corona virus. In addition, China initiated a “disinformation campaign” regarding the “origins” of the corona virus: “targeting “US biological laboratories.”

Leitenberg also stated there’s “a record of gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, including passage of a bat coronavirus construct through experimental animals.”

These charges against China are almost impossible to prove, and Leitenberg admitted as much. US virology labs are probably no better than Chinese labs.

Biological warfare on the name of biosafety and biodefense reminds us of similar claims of advocates of nuclear warfare. We need the nuclear bombs to protect ourselves from the nukes of our enemies.

Truth is the first victim of this kind of propaganda.

The Animal factor

In addition to the genetic engineering of viruses and lab accidents, the other major avenue of plague pandemics has an agricultural origin. The Confined Animal Feeding Operations – CAFOs – have always been fertile grounds for animal and human pestilence.

Mass crowding of mammals creates an ideal environment for “new and lethal viral mutations.”

Put thousands, much less millions, of animals very close to each other and you guarantee pandemic disease among those animals and diseases among humans feeding and slaughtering those animals.

Frankenstein Chimeras

Expand CAFOs to include rice-duck farming and pig-duck-fish aquaculture and you multiply mischief in pandemic diseases. This is especially true for the 10-million bird mega CAFOs, making possible genetic drift among confined animals and possibly human workers.

Living near CAFOs is abhorrent not merely because of stench. The dust and aerosols from CAFOs contains pathogens making people sick.

Writing in 2013, Indiana University professor J. E. Hollenbeck said that, “With so many swine and poultry CAFOs in close proximately, the acceleration of the “mixing” and assortment of influenza viruses is unfathomable.”

Hollenbeck worries that human, swine, and poultry viruses are spreading. His solution:

“The best defense against another pandemic is constant monitoring of the livestock and handlers of CAFOs and the live animal markets of Southeast Asia. These are the most likely epicenters of the next pandemic.”

However, I would not trust a mega bureaucratic and business virology lab establishment to protect public health. The example of what happens to “regulations” under conditions of tyranny, like those exemplified by the Trump administration, should warn us of technical and convenient solutions.

The best defense against another pandemic is to dismantle, worldwide, the biological warfare laboratories and bring to an end the agricultural causes for global pestilence.

These technologies have given rise to a Frankenstein Chimera taking the shape of ever changing genetic mixture of different species that don’t belong in the natural world or among people. Such a monster is without control, almost immortal, threatening its creators with disease and death. It has become a ticking bomb, not much different than the streaming fire of the Greek original monster.

The seventh century BCE epic poet Hesiod describes Chimera as a mighty, gigantic, dreadful, fleet-footed monster breathing fire ceaselessly. She had three heads: that of a shining lion, another one of a goat and still another (the third) of a savage snake. Her front was lion, her back dragon, and the upper middle was goat, which emitted an awesome gleaming stream of fire (Theogony319-324).

It’s the fire of Chimera that has taken the form of disease and death. Humans then and now cannot manipulate or engineer the natural world.

Bio-CAFOs disarmament

Biological disarmament – no more Chimeras — should be no less important than nuclear or chemical weapons  disarmament.

Eliminating CAFOs would be the logical and necessary reform to ease the risks of pandemics from thousands of giant animal farms in America. Rural America without CAFOs would be safer and healthier.

I don’t think we should slaughter animals for meat. It’s exceedingly cruel, immoral, and unnecessary.

In addition, CAFOs emit great amounts of greenhouse gases. Banning them would be a blessing for our fight against climate change, by far the most ominous threat to human survival and the survival of the natural world.

Posted in China, HealthComments Off on Frankenstein Chimeras: COVID, Wuhan Labs and Biosafety

The UK and Boris Johnson on the Skids

by: KENNETH SURIN

Photograph Source: Matt Brown – CC BY 2.0

As I write (the weekend of 20-21 June), the UK’s death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has reached 43,632, and the total number of cases over 300,000. The total number of excess deaths (the number of deaths for a period of a particular year typically calculated against the average for that time of year for the preceding 5 years) is 64,500 (according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics).

The ONS also reported a rise in unemployment of 600,000, with more expected to be out of a job in the coming months, and even more when a likely No Deal Brexit starts to kick-in at the end of 2020.

The UK economy has declined by 20%, and is already in an official recession, which will only deepen with Brexit.

The UK’s COVID-19 death toll is now the highest in Europe, and the highest in the world after the US and Brazil. Speaking of Brazil, jokes are made in British social media about Bolsonaris Johnson.

The UK is second in the world for COVID-19 deaths per million of population (631.22), with only Belgium placing higher (845.99).

Another fiasco involved the “test, track and trace app” said only a few weeks ago to be the key to easing lockdown restrictions, but which has now been abandoned after 3 months.

The Tories, under the auspices of the NHS, awarded a no-bid £90m/$112m contract for this app to a private company, despite repeated warnings from experts that it would not work on Apple and Google phones (the latter companies would have to do a major reconfiguration of their operating systems to accommodate the doomed app, and this being a no-brainer for them because of the huge expense involved, they told BoJo Johnson and his colleagues to get lost).

So, in yet another U-turn, BoJo’s government said it was going to switch to an alternative designed by Apple and Google themselves (!), since presumably an app designed by them would be compatible with their operating systems. This app, however, is months away from being ready. Moreover, Apple said it was news to them that they were to be involved in the production of the new app.

It was also revealed that the unit responsible for the government’s failed contact-tracing app attempted to block rival apps to safeguard its own version, thereby hindering efforts to track the early spread of COVID-19.

Contrast this with the German government’s Corona Warn app, the largest open-source project undertaken by the German government, which was ready to go after just 50 days, and has been available to download from both the Apple App Store and Google Play since the evening of June 15. The app, produced by Deutsche Telekom, SAP, and other companies, has already been downloaded over 6 million times since then.

Critics wondered why BoJo did not do the sensible and obvious thing by paying for the German app, along with any modifications required for its deployment in the UK, which would have saved time and money (and lives!).

The obvious answer is that Brexiters such as BoJo, having touted the UK’s superiority over anything to do with the EU, couldn’t now turn to an EU-member to bail him out in a situation that might signal the UK’s inferiority in comparison with the EU and its members.

This is not the only Tory U-turn in the past few weeks.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the 22-year-old Manchester United and England soccer player Marcus Rashford (who has already played 38 times for England despite his relative youth), teamed up with food charities to raise £20m/$25m to provide food for children who would not receive free school meals during the lockdown.

Rashford wrote an open letter pleading for the extension of free school meals into the summer holidays, an extension refused initially by the Tory government.

With huge public backing for Rashford’s initiative (in a poll Rashford was supported by a majority of Tory voters), BoJo announced his government would be rescinding its initial refusal of the extension.

I have already mentioned in a previous CounterPunch piece the U-turn on foreign NHS staff having to pay a surcharge for their NHS medical treatment. However, nothing has been done to implement the new policy, and foreign NHS workers are still having to pay the surcharge.

Another government U-turn involved the decision to send children back to school on June 1st, despite the fact that no track and trace system would be operational by that date. Facing pressure from parents, teachers and their unions, and the medical associations, the government caved-in, and assigned September 1st as the new date for a return to school.

In the last Opinium poll for The Observer in late March, the week after the lockdown started, the Conservatives had a huge 26-point lead over Labour (54% to 28%). BoJo’s personal approval rating was at +29%. This weekend’s poll, by comparison, has Labour under Keir Starmer in a virtual dead heat with the Tories, while BoJo’s approval ratings and those of his government have plummetted.

BoJo, notorious for his failed vanity projects when he was mayor of London, also ordered a £900,000/$1,111m paint job for the RAF’s Voyager aircraft set aside for VIP use. The plane’s camouflage exterior is to be replaced by the patriotic red, white, and blue, even though the gaudy makeover will render the plane useless for military operations when not ferrying dignitaries such as BoJo and members of the royal family.

The root cause of these fiascos is apparent. The Tories had reconfigured themselves to be a Brexit campaigning party, with no real ideas or plans or policies for the task of government itself. The fact that nearly all of BoJo’s team of advisers, including his Rasputin-like chief adviser Dominic Cummings, are holdovers from the Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum, speaks for itself.

The PR, spin, and “optics” that are a priority for political campaigners in these populist and media-saturated times, do not in themselves translate into the proficiencies required for adequate government.

In a time of great peril, marked by the sheer complexity and rapidity of events, the arch-philanderer Boris Johnson has thus been caught with his pants down.

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The Two-Headed Hydra of Racism and Imperialism

by: BEHROOZ GHAMARI TABRIZI

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has raised mass consciousness against the institution of police violence and the brutality it inflicts on Black communities around the country. The movement has placed the question of police brutality at the top of the political and juridical reform agenda. The naked display of the oppressive state apparatus has now forced everyone, from the fascist residents of the White House to the liberal democrats of the House, politicians speak of the need to reform policing–more training, more screening, more record-keepings, judicial vigilance, and other haphazard sutures for the centuries old wounds. Many observers have pointed out the depth of this chronic pain and different ways it might be remedied.

Here I would like to propose that this acutely American dilemma needs to be viewed and explicated in close relation to U.S colonialism and imperialism. Race relations in the U.S. and the violence with which the country operates has always been accompanied by the civilizing logic of colonial expansion and imperialist wars that the United States has raged around the world. The two heads of the hydra of imperialism and racism stem from the same body of the political order that defined this imperialized nation from its inception. So long as the American war machine runs on high gear, leaving destruction, devastation, and death around the world, here at home, Black Americans will not be treated as equal citizens. Drone attacks overseas are inherently linked to the murderous impulse of the police against Black Americans.

The concomitant rise of liberal political philosophy and modern colonialism is an established historical fact. One might still question whether colonialism and the atrocities through which it expanded ought to be regarded as an aberration in liberal thought or as an inherent feature of its worldview. But one thing is clear, the British and American founding fathers of liberalism did not understand democracy and colonialism in mutually exclusive terms, both were understood to be different elements of the same civilizing project. Far from contradicting liberal tenets, writes Uday Mehta, imperialism in fact stemmed from liberal assumptions about reason and historical progress. Evoking the same sentiment, more than a century ago, Jamal al-Afghani (1838-1897), the anti-colonial Muslim transnationalist, ridiculed the seemingly incongruous attitude of British colonialists in India: “They drew their swords to cut the throats of the Muslims, while weeping for them and crying: ‘We kill you only out of compassion and pity for you, and seeking to improve you and make your life comfortable.’”

No other liberal philosopher has articulated and justified this contradiction better that J. S. Mill. His philosophy made clear the entanglement of liberal political thought with colonial expansion. John Stuart, like his father James, Mill was an employee of the British East India Company. But economic interest alone cannot explain his ideological commitment to the idea of progress and the higher civilization that the British afforded the backward Indians. He believed that the transmission of civilization to colonized subject could only materialize through a benevolent despotism. “England,” J. S. Mill believed, “had a right to rule despotically because it brought the benefits of higher civilization.” In a chilling assertion in his Principles of Political Economy, he declared that “the question of government intervention in the work of Colonization involves the future and permanent interests of civilization itself.”

There is no doubt that the plunder of human and natural resources of the colonies shaped imperial expansions. But the reality that the inhabitants of Africa, Asia, Oceana, and South America were all subjected to these atrocities has roots in a racialized worldview that gave legitimacy to Europeans to situate themselves on top of the racial hierarchy as the torch bearers of reason and progress. Th light of the world was the Europeans’ gift to all nations to overcome their superstitions, ignorance, tyranny, and backwardness. The light was lit by prey and pray, by plunder and proselytizing, by power and pauperization, and by pots and pans.

Despite her own prejudicial views on race, in The Origins of TotalitarianismHannah Arendt highlights that it was European imperialists who initially reordered “mankind into master and slave races, into higher and lower breeds, into colored peoples and white men” during their conquest and exploitation of much of Asia, Africa and America. That is how the ruling classes “imperialized the nation,” by expanding and acquiring new territories abroad and by solidifying and policing racial hierarchies at home. Expressed in no ambiguous terms by Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. president during the Great War, the goal was clear, “to keep the white race strong” and to preserve “white civilization and its domination of the planet.”

The eugenicist structure of the white supremacy that motivated great European and American ruling classes operated with great consistency within and outside national boundaries. The same generals who led the American conquest of the Philippines in 1898-1902 fought the wars of annihilations against American Indians at home. One of them, Brigadier General Jacob H Smith, explicitly stated in his order to the troops that “I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn. The more you kill and burn the better it will please me.” More than 200,000 civilians were massacred during the war. During a Senate hearing on the atrocities in the Philippines, General Arthur MacArthur (father of Douglas) referred to the “magnificent Aryan peoples” he belonged to and the “unity of the race” he felt compelled to uphold.

At the end of both world wars, sustaining the purity of whiteness and racial boundaries became increasingly challenging. The world wars shook the old structure of colonialism to its core. But that did nothing to change the colonial powers’ perception of racial superiority. Learning from the experiences of the two wars, the emerging superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, entered a “Cold War” that meant that superpowers ought not to fight their wars in the European theater. Cold War was a misnomer. Proxy wars raged around the world and claimed more than 20 Million lives from 1946 to 1989. The old colonial structures had collapsed, but the propagated racialized ideology that peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin and Central America were incapable of exercising the right of self-determination persisted.

As the atrocities of American superpower proliferated around the world, Black Americans struggled for recognition of political rights and social justice at home. Despite legal gains, the ideology that incentivized the U.S. to commit mass murder around the globe, disincentivized it to put in place meaningful structural changes that would recognize racial hierarchies that informed the existing political order. The growing black population in Europe, Afro-Caribbean, North African, and South Asians among others, forced European states to face the consequences of their colonial past on the streets of Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and London. What the authors of The Empire Strikes Back wrote almost forty years ago about the United Kingdom eerily resonates today with Trump’s America that “the construction of an authoritarian state in Britain is fundamentally intertwined with the elaboration of popular racism.” The kind of racism that has historically been exercised through colonialism, slavery, segregation, ghettoization, militarized border controls and mass incarceration.

Racism was and is not about an attitude. Rather, it is the problem of a political order that sustains and perpetuate that attitude through a complex system of legal and economic institutions at home and around the world. Black Lives Matter protests has now razed or forced the local and federal agencies to remove monuments that celebrated the legacies of slavery, lynching, and segregation. Corporate America now “recognizes” the pandemic of racism. Nike employees were offered a paid holiday on Juneteenth. The same goes for workers at Twitter, Target, General Motors, the National Football League and a variety of other businesses. JPMorgan, Chase, Capital One and other banks will close branches early. All those institutions that maintain and perpetuate the dominance of racism and imperialism are at work hard to coopt the movement. Centuries of racism in the Untied States will not wane by bringing down statues or tearing down monuments, despite their significant symbolic values, or having a half-day off at JPMorgan. The entire American political order, economic organization, and social hierarchies are informed by the question of race and a commitment to white supremacy. The veneer of great American ideology of meritocracy and opportunity is crumbling. America needs that ideology, the “American dream,” a myth that turned the land of slavery and indigenous annihilation into the land of milk and honey. “This mythology is not benign, as Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor explores, “it serves as the United States’ self-declared invitation to intervene militarily and economically around the globe.” The United States needs to conceal its racial injustices at home in order to advance and legitimize its imperialist ambitions around the globe.

Police brutality is inextricably linked to the military industrial complex. This link is not only through the sales of surplus hardware, uniforms, and other equipment. Yes, the military leadership stood firm against Trump’s recent transgressions and reminded him that the military cannot get involved in suppressing the right of protest for American citizens. But since its inception, the same military has operated as the instrument of imperialist projects that carried out mass murders and subjugated people of color around the world. In his recent book, Jakarta Method: Washington’s anti-Communist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our WorldVincent Bivens shows how the U.S. masterminded the project of annihilation of communists and members of labor unions in Indonesia during the 1965 coup against the nationalist leader Sukarno. Although all the documents about the CIA involvement in the coup that brought the tyrannical regime of Suharto to power are not yet released, those declassified documents show how the CIA operatives provided the names of the unionists and members of the Indonesian Communist Party to death squads for extermination. According to more conservative estimates between 500,000 to one million people were massacred during the coup. More than one million were sent to concentrations camps many of whom vanished. Later it became evident, as Bivens discloses, that it wasn’t only US government officials who handed over kill lists to the Army. Managers of US-owned plantations furnished them with the names of “troublesome” communists and union organizers, who were then murdered.

What Bivens uncovers is that the extermination project in Indonesia, became a model for the U.S. covert operations in Latin and Central America. “Jakarta,” the capital of Indonesia, in this new sinister vocabulary of political oppression became the code word for massacre of civilians. In Brazil, Operação Jacarta became the modus operandi of the military junta. In 1971, in eastern parts of Santiago, up in the hills where many supporters of President Allende lived, a short message was plastered on the walls. “Jakarta se acerca” (“Jakarta is Coming”)! Or sometimes, simply, “Jakarta.”

I do not intend to provide an exhaustive list of atrocities committed by the United State around the world in the name of democracy, in defense of freedom. I bring this up to insist that Black American will not be recognized as equal citizens so long as people of color around the world remain subjected to the brutality of imperialized nations such as the United States of America. The drones that kill the Iraqi, Yemeni, Pakistani, Somali civilians, the bombs, the fighter jets, the missiles and guns that are sold to the tyrants, they are all parts of the same system of oppression that brutalizes Black Americans. The Palestinians know the meaning of ghettoization in American cities. The immigrants who are dehumanized by ICE understand the depth of police brutality and the meaning of murder with impunity. These voices need to hear one another. Black America has given voice to a global movement.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on The Two-Headed Hydra of Racism and Imperialism

There is a Spectre Haunting Ireland: Emigration

by KERRON Ó LUAIN

Photograph Source: William Murphy from Dublin, Ireland – CC BY-SA 2.0

The bargaining now underway between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, the traditional parties of the right, plus the centre-left/centrist/neoliberal Greens, in Ireland’s Twenty-Six Counties has provoked once more in the youth the urge to emigrate.

In particular, the announcement that Mícheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil, will lead the state as Taoiseach until 2022 incited a wave of dejection.

On social media platforms people in their teens and twenties recoiled at the thought of Martin becoming Taoiseach.

This cohort – struggling students, vulnerable tenants, unemployed, precariously employed, and low-paid workers – recall Martin as responsible in bringing the state to economic ruin in 2008.

They also recollect, in a frequently visceral way, the impact of the austerity his party conjured up and presided over in the wake of that crash.

One Twitter user noted how “since the news of new government, all I’ve seen is young people discuss emigrating as soon as they graduate with their degree”.

Another remarked that their “unwilling emigration from Ireland to the US been retroactively justified with events like this that make me delighted I escaped the shit hole Ireland has become”.

An Bád Bán

The image of an bád bán (the white boat) of emigration stretches back in the popular imagination to at least the nineteenth century.

As Conamara writer Mícheál Ó Conghaile elucidated in a 2018 Irish Times piece:

An bád bán refers to a certain white passenger ship which brought the Irish emigrants abroad to Britain or the US, perhaps the Nianda Dane which sailed from Cobh.

From this the phrase “thug sé an bád bán air féin” [he took the white boat on himself] came into the [Irish] language. Most of the currachs and small boats people used when fishing or working were black, but the big white boat was a symbol of emigration.

Thus, as it did at various points throughout Irish history, but most recently between 2008-2016 when around 400,000 emigrated, the bád bán looms in the collective mind once again.

Emigration from Ireland is primarily economic, but it is also cultural. This culture is woven into the fabric of Irish society and is given succour by networks of chain migration.

Family, friends, and distant relations, already established in communities throughout the globe, relate stories of success and a better life – frequently filtered through the often-distorted lens of social media – and offer vital support to the emigrant upon arrival in the host country.

Cultural nationalist organisations like the Gaelic Athletic Association are now global in scope. The Irish bars found in almost every city in Europe and North America offer familiar points of contact and solace for those in exile.

These institutions – though, in their own way, benevolent – facilitate the flight of the Irish from their homeland.

Present Day Economy

The political and ruling classes are completely aware of, and comfortable with, this culture of mass emigration.

At the height of the recession in 2012, then Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, brought upon himself the wrath of families scarred by emigration. He claimed young people left Ireland’s shore for “lifestyle reasons”.

Recent OECD research has shown the Irish state to have the highest proportion of its “native-born population” living abroad out of all 37 countries in the organisation, ranging from 17.5% to 20%.

The prevalence of this culture suits the Irish comprador class who play on what they term the “strength of the Irish diaspora”.

In tandem with this imagined ethnic bond with those of Irish extraction in different parts of the globe, but particularly in the US, runs the Irish state’s status as a tax haven.

The diaspora is utilised as an additional form of leverage in attracting multinationals, tourism, and other forms of external “investment” under the auspices of the Industrial Development Authority and the tourism body, Fáilte Ireland.

Safety Valve of Emigration

Yet, emigration suits the Irish élite in a much more malignant way. It is almost a cliché by now to refer to the “social safety-valve” engendered by emigration from Ireland.

The channelling away of discontented youth has insulated the ruling class from revolt for centuries. Historically, most rebellions in Ireland, as indeed globally, have been driven by the young.

Key figures in the United Irish Rebellions of 1798 and 1803 such as Wolfe Tone (35), Henry Joy McCracken (30), Robert Emmet (25) were quite, or very, young when they met their demise for their revolutionary activism. Likewise, the Young Ireland (the clue’s in the name!) Rising of 1848 and the Fenian movement of the 1860s.

Later on, the upheaval of the 1916-23 period was characterised as much by intergenerational conflict between younger, more radical republicans and older conservative nationalists, as it was by a discrepancy in the methods each deployed to end British rule in Ireland.

Arguably, the most successful rebellions coincided with periods of restricted emigration. The agrarian rebellion of Captain Rock between 1821-24, when emigration was curtailed by the British government, severely tested the ability of the state to control vast swathes of the country.

Several years later, in 1827, all restrictions on leaving Ireland were lifted. In the subsequent decade 400,000 emigrated to North America.

The same decade, not uncoincidentally, also witnessed the maintenance of a cosy alliance between Daniel O’Connell and the English Whigs. This had the effect of diverting the revolutionary potential of the peasantry into a blind faith in O’Connellite electoralism.

20th century

Though falling far short of the ambitions of the “revolutionary generation” of the 1890s, the period 1916-23 and the Black and Tan War can perhaps be counted among the most “successful” of Irish rebellions in that it achieved a form of autonomy for Twenty-Six Counties in Ireland.

The recently deceased authority on the history of Irish emigration, David Fitzpatrick, has postulated that the restrictions and difficulties in emigrating presented by World War One (1914-18), led to a building up of pressure in Ireland that erupted in its wake.

Emigration resumed once the war ended. But the usual release valve, created by the steady departure of Ireland’s young demographic, had not been open.

For this, and a myriad of other reasons, Ireland witnessed a series of seismic events: the Sinn Féin wins in the by-elections of 1917; the Anti-Conscription Campaign of 1918; the general election Sinn Féin victory, also of 1918, and the beginning of the Black and Tan War early in 1919.

However, the Civil War of 1922-23, described by some as a counter-revolution pushed through by church, state, and bourgeoisie, put paid to any dreams of far-reaching change. As Gavin Foster, author of The Irish Civil War and Society: Politics, Class and Conflict, has documented:

In July 1923, roughly two months after the IRA abandoned its armed campaign against the Free State, Éamon de Valera issued a defiant statement on behalf of the anti-treaty cause. ‘There will be no “Wild Geese”… this time’, he vowed.

‘The soldiers of the Republic have been ordered to live and die in Ireland, and they will obey. Living or dead, we mean to establish the right of Irish Republicans to live and work openly for the complete liberation of our country.’

Despite De Valera’s bold assertion, many found the climate in 1920s Ireland intolerable and were cast into exile like generations of revolutionaries before them. Ironically, and hypocritically, De Valera later oversaw the deportation in 1933 of communist Jimmy Gralton.

Covid-19 and emigration

Given the context of centuries of emigration it is understandable that the (un)natural reflex of Ireland’s youth is to emigrate. Who can blame them?

When faced with an ever-rising cost of living, pathetic public services and the apparently insurmountable inertia of the capitalist state, emigration allows them some agency in their lives.

But the situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic will not allow for ease of emigration as in the past. Some states have suspended immigration programmes, while others have placed stringent measures in place at their borders.

Emigrating to traditional centres of Irish immigration like England, with the Tories in charge and the country about to crash out of the EU, may not seem as attractive as before.

With the lockdown in the Twenty-Six Counties of Ireland being lifted amid a mixture of relief, trepidation and euphoria, sight is being lost of the reality that a second wave of Covid-19 will most likely hit again at some point.

This week the R number (the rate at which the virus reproduces) increased considerably in Germany to 2.88, meaning it is quite a bit above the relatively safe level of 1. Germany had been far more efficient in dealing with the initial outbreak than either jurisdiction in Ireland.

Clearly, until a vaccine or anti-viral treatment is found for Covid-19, the ability previously enjoyed by emigrants of easily travelling home by air for Christmases and other occasions will be severely curtailed.

There is, of course, no guarantee the youth of Ireland, with the option of emigrating temporarily less feasible, will direct their frustrations at those deserving of it; the government and the capitalist class. Addiction, mental health issues, consumerism, and individualism may continue to dominate.

Vast swathes of society are far less politicised than they were during the abovementioned periods of upheaval.

Potential

Yet, there have also been massive social movements which culminated in success in the last five years alone: marriage equality (2015), anti-water privatisation (2016) and abortion rights (2018).

The election earlier this year also heralded a “vote for change”. Though ill-defined, this sentiment, if harnessed correctly by radical forces instead of being driven down parliamentary and clientelist paths, could prove decisive.

Unlike previous waves of recession/emigration which occurred once a generation (for example, the 1950s and 1980s), the last crisis and wave post-2008 is still fresh in the mind of many as we stare into yet another new phase.

It is worth mentioning here, as a final positive note, the last time the Irish collective memory recalled such injustice this vividly was the year 1879.

That year, the popular memory of the Great Famine of 1845-50 and the threat of famine once more ignited the Land War of 1879-82. That period of struggle signalled the beginning of the end of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and the feudal-type land system it upheld.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted how “life is flux” – a concept more commonly understood as “the only constant in life is change”. The despondent youth who took to social media last week, faced as they are with a seemingly immutable situation, might do well to ponder on his words.

Posted in Europe, IrelandComments Off on There is a Spectre Haunting Ireland: Emigration

Masters of Space: Deep Space Strategy in the Age of Trump

by: KARL GROSSMAN

Image Source: United States Space Force – Public Domain

The United States “must be capable of winning wars that extend into space,” asserts a just-released “Defense Space Strategy” report. It is the first space strategy document issued by the U.S. since President Donald Trump, after declaring that the U.S. must achieve “dominance in space,” signed a measure this past December authorizing establishment of a Space Force.

The U.S. space strategy is highly aggressive.

“The Department of Defense is embarking on the most significant transformation in the history of the U.S. national security space program,” the report says. “Space is now a distinct warfighting domain, demanding enterprise-wide-changes to polices, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities, and expertise for a new strategic environment.”

“The Department,” it continues, “is taking innovative and bold actions to ensure space superiority and to secure the Nation’s vital interests in space now and in the future. Establishing the U.S. Space Force as the newest branch of our Armed force and the U.S. Space Command as a unified combatant command, as well as undertaking significant space acquisition reform across the DoD, has set a strategic path to expand space power for the Nation. It is a path that embraces space as a unique domain of national military power that, together with the other domains, underpins multi-domain joint and combined military operations to advance national security.”

A rationale for the strategy is the claim in the report that “China and Russia each have weaponized space as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness and challenge our freedom of operation in space.”

However, China and Russia, for decades now, have sought to expand the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, put together by the U.S., the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union and now signed on to by most nations on Earth, declaring space a global commons to be used for “peaceful purposes” and outlawing weapons of mass destruction in space. China and Russia along with U.S. neighbor Canada have been seeking to widen that to ban all weapons in space under a Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS) treaty. But the U.S. has voted no to the proposed PAROS treaty, affectively vetoing its enactment at the United Nations.

The new U.S. Defense Space Strategy is “aggressive,” said the Russian foreign ministry in a statement following the report’s release on June 17th. “This document confirms the aggressive course by Washington in the space sphere,” it said.

“Space is seen by the U.S. side as an arena of war,” it continued, calling this a “destructive” approach which “provokes an arms race in space.”

“Russia holds the diametrically opposing position, giving priority to using and study space only for peaceful purposes,” said the Russian foreign ministry statement.

Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space  commented that “this ‘new’ Pentagon Space Strategy is really nothing new. At least since the 1997 U.S. Space Command’s ‘Vision for 2020’ report, Washington has been declaring that it will ‘control and dominate space’ and ‘deny other nations access to space.’ The big difference is that in 1997 there were actually no real competitors to U.S. in space as the former Soviet Union had recently collapsed and China had not fully grown into the economic and military rival it is today.”

As for the PAROS treaty, “the idea” has been “to close the door to the barn before the horse gets out.” But the U.S. during “both Republican and Democrat administrations” have taken the position: “There are no weapons in space—we don’t need a new treaty.”

“Of course, this is disingenuous and this blocking posture is largely motivated by the aerospace industry which views space as a vast new market for profit,” said Gagnon. “The nuclear industry similarly views space as we see the current drive to ‘privatize’ space so wealthy resource extraction corporations can ‘mine the sky.’ They are planning nuclear-powered mining colonies on celestial bodies and nuclear-powered rocket engines providing heavy lift capability to get to Mars and beyond.”

He said, “The aerospace industry has long maintained that an arms race in space, ‘Star Wars,’ would be the largest industrial project in human history. Some years back the aerospace publication, ‘Space News,’ ran an editorial stating that the industry needed to come up with a ‘dedicated funding source’ to pay for all its desired projects in space.” It said, Gagnon related, that the aerospace corporations were “sending their vast team of lobbyists to Washington to defund the ‘entitlement programs’ that officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the social safety net.  The industry is like a pirate—grabbing the national treasure chest so they can be the ‘Masters of Space.’”

“So what are Russia and China to do? We know that whomever controls space will control the planet below and also be able to control the pathway on and off the planet. Moscow and Beijing have requested new treaties, asked for stability, and warned that they cannot allow the US to ‘control and dominate’ space,” said Gagnon. “So today we hear the Pentagon screaming that Russia and China are now trying to dominate space and that the Pentagon needs even more of our tax dollars to ‘defend’ the heavens from these ‘existential enemies.’ The plan is in motion, the U.S. is leading the pack to weaponize space, and ever so ‘innocently’ accuses its primary competitors of doing what Washington itself is doing. Thus, we are on the edge of a cliff and the aerospace industry is pushing the whole planet into a chaotic abyss.”

To challenge this, “to beat this insane and provocative plan,” said Gagnon, “we must starve the beast. We can do that by fighting for social progress—programs like health care for all and funding to deal with our real problem today called climate crisis.”

The “Defense Space Strategy” report also declares: “Great power competition defines the strategic environment. Space is both a source of and conduit for national power, prosperity, and prestige. As a result, space is a domain that has reemerged as a central arena of great power competition, primarily with China and Russia. More than any other nation, the United States relies on space-based capabilities to project and employ power on a global scale. Today, U.S. reliance on space has increased to the point where space capabilities not only enhance, but enable our way of life and war of war.”

It says: “The creation of new space-focused organizations in DoD offers an historic opportunity to reform every aspect of our defense space enterprise. The USSF [U.S. Space Force], the newest branch of the Armed Forces, will bring unity, focus, and advocacy to organizing, training, and equipping space forces.”

Under a heading “Strategic Approach,” the report says the Pentagon will “pursue the following prioritized lines of effort….1) Build a comprehensive military advantage in space. 2) Integrate military spacepower into national, joint, and combined operations. 3) Shape the strategic environment. 4) Cooperate with allies, partners, industry, and other U.S. Government departments and agencies.”

“Specific objectives,” the report continues, “include: Build out the U.S. Space Force. Develop and document doctrinal foundations of military spacepower. Develop and expand warfighting expertise and culture.”

In its “Conclusion,” the report says: “Successful implementation of this strategy requires embracing space activities as a unique source of national and military power and incorporating the principles of joint warfare into space operations.”

For more information see the Beyond Nuclear handbook, The U.S. Space Force and the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war in space.

Posted in USA, Uncategorized, Environment, Politics, WorldComments Off on Masters of Space: Deep Space Strategy in the Age of Trump

Amazon Rain forest Hit By Killer Droughts

By: ROBERT HUNZIKER

Photograph Source: Neil Palmer/CIAT – Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0

Over the past 20 years, like clockwork, severe droughts have hit the Amazon every five years with regularity 2005, 2010, 2015. Of course, droughts have hit the Amazon rainforest throughout paleoclimate history, but this time it’s different. The frequency and severity is off the charts.

Recent data is starting to show 2020 as another dire year. “The old paradigm was that whatever carbon dioxide we put up in [human-caused] emissions, the Amazon would help absorb a major part of it,” according to Sassan Saatchi of NASA’s JPL. (Source: NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage, NASA Earth Science, Aug. 9, 2018)

But serious episodes of drought in 2005, 2010 and 2015 are causing researchers to rethink that idea. “The ecosystem has become so vulnerable to these warming and episodic drought events that it can switch from sink to source depending on the severity and the extent,” Saatchi said. “This is our new paradigm,” ibid.

According to a detailed study: “Several studies indicate that the region has been suffering severe drought since the end of the last century, as in 1997/1998, 2005, 2010 and 2015. The intensity and frequency of these extreme drought episodes in the AB during the last years, approximately one episode every five years with a significant increase in the coverage area, is remarkable.” (Beatriz Nunes Garcia, et al, Extreme Drought Events Over the Amazon Basin: The Perspective from the Reconstruction of South American Hydroclimate, Departamento de Meteorologia, Instituto de Geociências, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Nov. 7, 2018)

This year 2020 is shaping up to be a repeat performance, another “remarkable event.” Recent studies indicate: “The data suggests 2020 could be a particularly dire year for the Amazon.” (Source: “14 Straight Months of Rising Amazon Deforestation in Brazil,” Mongabay d/d June 12, 2020)

All of which begs the question: How much more abuse can the magnificent rainforest handle for how long?

However, hard-hitting droughts are not the only negative hitting the Amazon rainforest. Failure by political forces is also pounding the rainforest, as the Bolsanaro regime gooses abuse and overuse. As a result, people are striking back. Civil society groups and public prosecutors in Brazil are taking President Jar Bolsonaro’s government to court for failing to protect the rainforest.

“The Amazon rainforest — 60 percent of which lies in Brazil — is one of the world’s great carbon sinks. Preserving its trees and plants is crucial to meeting international targets that limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” (Source: To Stop Amazon Deforestation, Brazilian Groups Take Bolsonaro to Court, Deutsche Welle, June 13, 2020)

Meanwhile, hydrologic studies clearly indicate the Amazon rainforest is “drying out.” Nothing could be worse.

Matthew Rodell, a scientist and hydrologist who works with NASA’s GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) satellite system monitors water levels stored deep beneath Earth’s surface. The data is important for predicting droughts on a worldwide basis.

Based upon current images, GRACE’s satellite shows an Amazon that is in tenuous condition in an unprecedented state of breakdown.

Within only the past few months, the world’s two leading Amazon rainforest scientists made a startling announcement. Thomas Lovejoy (George Mason University) and Carlos Nobre (University of Sao Paulo) reported: “Today, we stand exactly in a moment of destiny: The tipping point is here, it is now.” (Source: Amazon Tipping Point: Last Chance for Action, Science Advances, Vol. 5, no. 12, December 20, 2019)

Tipping points are equilibrium between life and death.

Of recent, GRACE’s images detected large areas of Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado biomes in what’s classified as “Deep Red Zones,” meaning severely constrained water levels. According to Rodell: “If we see normal to low precipitation this year, then there is potential for drought… I would be concerned.” (Source: Satellite Data Show Amazon Rainforest Likely Drier, More Fire-Prone This Year, Mongabay, April 23, 2020)

Rodell’s statement “If we see normal to low precipitation, then there is potential for drought,” is like a slap to the face, a wake up call, implying “normal precipitation” by itself will not get the job done. Problem: Precipitation has been way below normal for way too long.

Today’s potential for a fourth major drought within only two decades magnifies into a virtual horror show when conjoined with the recent record. According to NASA, damaging episodes of three-100/yr droughts back-to-back-to-back, 2005, 2010, 2015 have already undercut and damaged the stability of the Amazon ecosystem. Of major concern, it’s already starting to lose its special “carbon sink” status. That’s unprecedented.

The rainforest doesn’t react like it used to. It does not have enough time between droughts to heal itself and regrow. Throughout all of recorded history, this has never been witnessed. In a word, it’s a horribly dreadful discovery. (Source: NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage, NASA Earth Science News Team, August 9, 2018)

In many respects, the Amazon ecosystem is a facsimile of the larger biosphere but more sensitive to climate change, similar to the Arctic. In other words, some ecosystems are ultra-sensitive to changes in the climate system and thus serve as proxies or early warning signals prior to recognition of the looming threat by civilization at large. Meantime, whilst climate change disrupts ecosystems on the fringes of civilization, society comfortably exists in artificial complexities of concrete, steel, glass, and wood within a vast chemically induced world that only recognizes the danger of collapsing ecosystems after it’s too late. Then, it is too late!

Because of fabricated/artificial life styles, humans are the last living organisms to see and feel, and indeed, truly comprehend the impact of climate change. Artificial life styles masquerade the bigger issues. Artificiality thus breeds ignorance and stupidity, as reflected in political elections. It’s the “Steel, Glass, Wood, Chemically Induced Syndrome,” and it’s deadly.

Meanwhile, Amazon deforestation is on a bender. According to INPE (National Institute for Space Research in Brazil National Penitentiary Institute) it’s up 40% since January.

“The rise in deforestation troubles scientists who fear that the combination of forest loss and the effects of climate change could trigger the Amazon rainforest to tip toward a drier ecosystem which is more prone to fire, generates less local and regional rainfall, sequesters less carbon from the atmosphere, and is less hospitable to species adapted to the dense and humid forests of lowland Amazonia.” (Source: Rhett A. Butler, 14 Straight Months of Rising Amazon Deforestation in Brazil, Mongabay, June 12, 2020)

The question arises what is the impact of deforestation?

For starters, hands down, it’s the leading cause of extinction on the planet. Secondly, forest loss contributes approximately 15%-20% to increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions as loss of forests mass removes one of the planet’s natural carbon sinks. Additionally, forests play a critical role in the hydrological cycle, all the way north to Iowa’s cornfields with remarkable “rivers in the sky.”

A long list of additional major benefits could be enumerated, but suffice it to say that, of significant interest, scientists have discovered up to one-half of all trees greater than 4 inches in diameter in the Amazon are more than 300 years old, some 1,000 years old.

Ergo, artificial life supplants hundreds and thousands of years of nature with one quick cut of a buzz saw, but in all honesty, 300-year-old trees take quite a bit longer than one quick cut.

Posted in Brazil, EnvironmentComments Off on Amazon Rain forest Hit By Killer Droughts

Will Biden Remain Tone Deaf to Palestinian Rights?

by MEDEA BENJAMIN – ARIEL GOLD

Joe Biden wants you to believe that he is opposed to Israel’s likely annexation of parts of the West Bank that Netanyahu plans to carry out in July. “I do not support annexation,” he said during a call with American Jewish donors on June 16. But only a month ago, Biden senior foreign policy advisor Tony Blinken insisted that under absolutely no circumstances, not even the annexation of the West Bank, would Biden consider reducing or withholding U.S. military aid to Israel. And contrary to the position of his former boss, President Obama, Biden also pledged that if elected, he would keep disagreements with Israeli policies private.

That’s not what the American people want. In a new Washington Post poll, 67 percent of respondents said that it is “acceptable” or actually the duty of elected representatives to question the Israeli-American relationship. Among Democrats, that number was an overwhelming 81 percent.

The call to be more openly critical of Israeli policy reflects Israel’s continued lurch to the right and President Trump’s embrace of that, as well as diligent campaigning by Palestinian-Americans and progressive American Jews. Another factor was the example set by Jewish presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who talked passionately about Palestinian rights.

This sentiment that U.S. leaders must take a critical look at Israeli policies is reflected in a letter recently sent to Biden by over 100 groups, calling on him to adopt policies toward the Israeli government and Palestinian people “based on the priciples of equality and justice for all.” Endorsers of the letter include the American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace.

The letter came out of concern that Biden’s positions on Israel/Palestine are to the right of those of President Obama—who openly clashed with Israel regarding such issues as settlements and the Iran nuclear deal—and only a pinch less hawkish than those of Trump.

Biden’s positions were made painfully clear in a May 18 statement on his campaign website entitled Joe Biden and the Jewish Community: a record and a plan of friendship, support, and action. It opened by conflating the Jewish state with Jewish values, and went on to brag about Biden’s role in increasing military aid to Israel at the end of the Obama administration. It also promised that Biden, in violation on the First Amendment, would continue attacks on individuals and organizations that boycott Isrrael for political reasons and referred to Palestinian “choices” to commit violence.

Within days of the statement’s release, the backlash was so fierce that the degrading language of Palestinian “choices” was removed. But the statement remains a testament to Biden’s unwavering support for the rightwing Netayahu government.

While Biden represents a candidate who is tone deaf to changing U.S. sentiment towards Israel, many in the Democratic party are leaving him in the dust. The sea change among Democrats in general, and young Jews in particular, was best captured in a few key moments during the Democratic presidential race. The first was in March 2019, when eight out of the ten Democratic presidential candidates refused to attend the conference sponsored by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), recognizing the pro-Israel lobby as an impediment to achieving a just and lasting peace in Palestine/Israel. Another key moment was at the October 2019 conference organized by the liberal Jewish group J Street, when the audience burst into applause after then candidate Bernie Sanders suggested leveraging the $3.8 billion the U.S. gives to Israel towards pushing Israel to respect Palestinian human rights. On the debate stage during the primaries, Bernie Sanders was also lauded for accurately referring to Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman as a murderer and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a racist.

When Sanders suspended his run for the Democratic nomination, Biden indicated that he would integrate some of the politics of the party’s progressive wing to reflect the energized grassroots movement the Sanders campaign had built. He set up task forces to focus on health care, immigration, education, criminal justice reform, climate change and the economy, and tapped popular politicians such as Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. But no task force was set up for foreign policy, and Biden has done nothing to incorporate progressive concerns into his Israel/Palestine platform.

That’s why the letter to Biden by over 100 organizations is so critical. It points out that by giving Israel “unlimited diplomatic protection and massive military financing,” the US “has enabled the country to entrench its occupation, expand its illegal settlements, impose a 13-year-long siege and wage three wars against Gaza, pass laws that officially deny equal rights to Israeli citizens who are not Jewish, all under the veneer of peacemaking.” The letter lays out the tenets of a strategy based on fairness and equality, including:

* explicit opposition to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and its unlawful blockade (abetted by Egypt) of the Gaza Strip;

* recognition of Israel’s obligations toward the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, a protected population, according to international law;

* support for conditioning U.S. military funding to Israel on an end to Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and adherence to all relevant U.S. laws;

* support for H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” to ensure that no U.S. dollars contribute to Israel’s a military detention, interrogation, abuse and/or other ill-treatment of Palestinian children;

* calling on Israel’s government to repeal the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law and to ensure that Palestinian citizens of Israel and other non-Jewish citizens in the country enjoy equal rights with Jewish citizens by passing a basic law guaranteeing those rights;

* opposition to the use of U.S. security assistance against protected populations, including in Gaza, and calling on Israel’s government  to protect civilians from settler violence;

* support for Palestinian refugee rights consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions;

* promise to relocate the U.S. Embassy back to Tel Aviv until such time as the international status of East Jerusalem has changed from its current status as occupied territory;

* a promise to provide full U.S. cooperation with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged war crimes committed by all sides in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip;

* rejection of U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over any territories now occupied, absent an internationally recognized final agreement with the Palestinians.

The groups want Biden to oppose illegal and immoral Israeli policies such as annexation with deeds, not just words. To be fair, Biden is far from the only Democratic Party leader paying lip service to opposing annexation while acting to maintain the status quo. Recently, 120 lawmakers in the House and 30 in the Senate sent letters voicing their opposition to annexation. They include such stalwart backers of Israel as Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, Ben Cardin, and Steny Hoyer. Hoyer is known for being the closest member of Congress to AIPAC and Schumer, Cardin, and Menendez were three of the only four Senate Democrats to support Israel’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. They are also leaders of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to outlaw the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, even at the expense of the First Amendment. While it is a remarkable achievement that so many Democratic lawmakers registered their opposition to annexation, without measures to hold Israel accountable such statements are toothless.

With annexation imminent, a case pending in the International Criminal Court for war crimes, and Gaza trapped in a 12-year-long siege complicated by a pandemic, the stakes are high. Biden’s unconditional support for Israel’s rightwing government is not only less and less popular among Americans, but it guarantees continued repression against Palestinians and continued unrest in the region. Let’s hope this letter from over 100 organizations shows Biden the widespread support for him to shed his ”Israel-right-or-wrong” position and instead openly and explicitly distinguish right from wrong.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, PoliticsComments Off on Will Biden Remain Tone Deaf to Palestinian Rights?

Belgian man sentenced to 2 years in prison for emailing ‘anti-Semitic’ death threats

Viviane Teitelbaum. (Wikimedia Commons)

Viviane Teitelbaum, a Brussels aldermen, was the target of email death threats.

A criminal court in Brussels sentenced a man to two years in prison for emailing death threats to a Jewish city alderman.

The man, who was not named in the Belgian media in reports about his sentencing Friday, sent the email in 2018 to Viviane Teitelbaum.

“You have 48 hours to ask your Zionist friends from Isra-hell to end their involvement in the conflict in Yemen,” the email said.

It contained various conspiracy theories, ranging from the involvement of Mossad in the 2014 slaying by a jihadist of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium to claims that Jewish diamond dealers in Belgium are funding Israel.

Two days later, the man wrote that Teitelbaum’s time is “over” and that she will “pay with one life for the lives of all the children you have taken since 2009,” the year that the Nazi Holocaust in Gaza.

The sentence is relatively harsh for the judiciary in Belgium, where authorities in recent years have faced numerous accusations by Belgian Jews Lobby of not being firm enough on ‘anti-Semitic’ hate speech. The man also was fined about $900.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Belgian, PoliticsComments Off on Belgian man sentenced to 2 years in prison for emailing ‘anti-Semitic’ death threats

Zionist puppet John Bolton writes in tell-all memoir

Trump Admin Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran ...

Zionist puppet John Bolton, and Zionist puppet Trump

Zionist puppet Donald Trump said he would support Zio-Nazi attack on Iran, former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said in his new tell-all book about the 18 months he spent in the Trump administration.

“The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” is scheduled to be released Tuesday by Simon & Schuster, but many reporters have been able to get hold of leaked copies.

A federal judge ruled Saturday that the Bolton book could be published, despite attempts by the Trump administration to stop its release saying it contains classified information.

Bolton writes that Trump asked him to remind Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu that he would support Nazi strikes on Iran.

“I warned Trump against wasting political capital in an elusive search to solve the Arab-Israeli dispute and strongly supported moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing it as Israel’s capital,” Bolton wrote. “On Iran, I urged that he press ahead to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and explained why the use of force against Iran’s nuclear program might be the only lasting solution.

“‘You tell Bibi [Netanyahu] that if he uses force, I will back him. I told him that, but you tell him again,’ Trump said, unprompted by me.”

Bolton also said that special White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, in cooperation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prevented phone calls from Naziyahu from reaching Trump during the August 2019 G7 meeting in France. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif paid an unexpected visit to the summit, and the two leaders were scheduled to meet at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. Netanyahu was calling to encourage Trump not to meet with Zarif.

Bolton wrote that he came upon Kushner on the phone with U.S. Ambassador to the Nazi entity Zionist David Friedman, saying that he would not put Netanyahu through to the president.

“When he hung up, Kushner explained he had stopped this and an earlier effort by Netanyahu because he didn’t think it was appropriate for a foreign leader to talk to Trump about whom he should speak to,” Bolton wrote.

While Bolton did not think Trump should meet with Zarif, Kushner thought there would be nothing to lose. Trump did not meet with Zarif in the end, but Bolton believes that either Kushner or Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin may have met with Zarif, writing that “this latter hypothesis was something that I believed agitated and worried senior Israeli officials, and which of course made Pompeo livid.”

Bolton said he had been prepared to resign if the meeting between Trump and Zarif went forward.

In excerpts of the book released last week by CNN, Bolton wrote that Netanyahu questioned Kushner’s ability to develop a Middle East peace plan.

Naziyahu is mentioned more than 30 times in Bolton’s memoir. Most of these are short descriptions of conversations between the Nazi prime minister and the author on the topic of Iran, Haaretz reported, noting that the reports contain “very little new or significant information.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Iran, PoliticsComments Off on Zionist puppet John Bolton writes in tell-all memoir

Children’s Dreams On Hold Behind Nazi Military Gate

Children’s Dreams On Hold Behind An Israeli Military Gate

Palestinian students from Dahr Al-Maleh pose for a picture while heading to school on November 10, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Children in Palestine face systemic dream-shattering obstacles living under an oppressive permit regime imposed by Israeli military forces

Reposted from Defense for Children International – Palestine

Ramallah, June 11, 2020—“I remember once when we were going to school, we asked the soldiers if we could go through the pathway without going through the search room,” 16-year-old Aya K. told Defense for Children International – Palestine. “One of the soldiers shouted at us and threatened to shoot at us. My classmates and I were afraid and immediately went into the search room.”

Aya lives in Dahr Al-Maleh, a village in the western part of Jenin governorate in the northern occupied West Bank, but attends school in the neighboring village of Tura. Every school day, Aya and other students from Dahr Al-Maleh, must cross through a military gate in Israel’s separation barrier to reach their school. The journey to school on foot takes around 20 to 30 minutes.

Palestinian students from Dahr Al-Maleh walk toward their school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village after crossing the Israeli military checkpoint on November 07, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)
Palestinian students from Dahr Al-Maleh walk toward their school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village after crossing the Israeli military checkpoint on November 07, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Dahr Al-Maleh is located inside the Barta’a enclave, a portion of the occupied West Bank that lies west of Israel’s separation barrier. With the village’s lands effectively annexed by Israel’s construction of the barrier, its residents are obstructed from accessing the rest of the West Bank, despite being West Bank ID holders.

Map depicting location of Dahr Al-Maleh, the Israeli separation barrier, military gate, and Tura Al-Gharbiya village. Screenshots: B'Tselem interactive map
Map depicting location of Dahr Al-Maleh, the Israeli separation barrier, military gate, and Tura Al-Gharbiya village. Screenshots: B’Tselem interactive map

Since the barrier’s construction in 2002, Tura, the nearest village—and closest link to the rest of the West Bank—is only directly accessible through an Israeli military gate only open for limited hours. The oppressive permit regime imposed by Israeli military forces requires residents to present permits each time they want to leave and return to their village. Even children must present their birth certificates in order to cross through the military gate.

Palestinian students cross the Israeli military checkpoint near Tura heading to their school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village on November 07, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)
Palestinian students cross the Israeli military checkpoint near Tura heading to their school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village on November 07, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

According to information gathered by DCIP, the children of Dahr Al-Maleh not only report daily difficulties in reaching their school, but also a series of violations by Israeli soldiers stationed at the gate.

“More than once, I was not allowed to cross the military gate due to a missing official document,” Mohammad K., 14, a resident of Dahr Al-Maleh village, told DCIP.

Palestinian students show a military permit (left) and a birth certificate (right) on November 07, 2019 at the Israeli military checkpoint near Tura. The documents are needed to cross the Israeli military checkpoint every morning on their way to school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)
Palestinian students show a military permit (left) and a birth certificate (right) on November 07, 2019 at the Israeli military checkpoint near Tura. The documents are needed to cross the Israeli military checkpoint every morning on their way to school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

“The journey to school is harder in the winter,” said Mohammad. “We walk in the rain 700 meters (2300 feet) from our home to the military gate, and the first 10 meters after we cross the gate is not a paved road. It is muddy and our shoes get dirty,” he explained.

Given the difficulties the children face getting to school, staff would find ways to ensure support is provided for the children. “I feel the school is part of my family. They understand the difficulties we face and provide us with heating equipment when we are cold and wet,” said Aya.

Mohammad also notes that during heavy rains the school principal tries to transfer the students in his personal car from the military gate to the school.

Despite the school’s efforts to ease the children’s challenges, they are not always successful.

“Last year in December, the military gate closed for long hours, and we were not able to reach our school,” said Mohammad. “We had midterm exams that day, the school administration sent the exam paper to Um Al-Rehan’s school, and we took the exams there.”

Um Al-Rehan is 3 kilometers (approx. 2 miles) away from Dahr Al-Maleh. While there are no checkpoints or military gates separating the two villages, the road which connects them is a main road that links Israeli settlements and military infrastructure.

“Dahr Al-Maleh children do not attend Um Al-Rehan school due to the distance between the villages, also because there are Israeli settlements between the two villages and a military base,” the president of Dahr Al-Maleh village council, Omar Khatib told DCIP. “There isn’t a public transportation line between the two villages which makes it hard for students to go there on a daily basis.”

Palestinian students from Dahr Al-Maleh walk next to the Israeli military checkpoint near Tura on their way to school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village on November 07, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)
Palestinian students from Dahr Al-Maleh walk next to the Israeli military checkpoint near Tura on their way to school in Tura Al-Gharbiya village on November 07, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

More than this, the military gate also makes being with family more difficult. “Other than for school, I cross the military gate to visit our relatives in Tura,” said Aya. “I also cross the gate if we need to buy home needs or visit health clinics and hospitals.”

The military gate is not only an impediment to the social lives of residents, but also carries economic consequences. With only the bare minimum in their village, residents of Dahr Al-Maleh must cross the barrier to meet their basic needs.

Out of necessity, all of their fruits, vegetables, and meat are bought in Tura, only to have them searched at the military gate.

“We don’t have stores in the village, we need to go to Tura to get our needs,” explained Munjed K.,17. “We don’t even have hair salons in the village,” he added.

A makeshift in-home mini-market in Dahr Al-Maleh is one of two shops established in private residential homes to provide village residents with basic goods. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)
A makeshift in-home mini-market in Dahr Al-Maleh is one of two shops established in private residential homes to provide village residents with basic goods. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Omar Khatib explained to DCIP that residents have restrictions on how much and what things they can carry through the military gate. They are only allowed to enter with two kilograms (5 lbs) of vegetables and fruits per household per day and 10 kilograms (25 lbs) of red meat per household per day. No other goods are permitted to cross through the gate, and residents must travel to Barta’a checkpoint, six kilometers (3.7 miles) away, to bring them home. Khatib also noted that Barta’a checkpoint is known for its strict security measures which often means a longer time to cross.

“We don’t face many obstacles leaving Barta’a checkpoint,” said Sima K., 10, from Dahr Al-Maleh. “But when we enter the checkpoint towards our village, we face many security checks that take a long time.”

Such challenges deter residents from using the checkpoint, unless it is an emergency, according to Omar Khatib.

Village residents have tried to confront the Israeli-imposed freedom of movement restrictions placed against them and enforced by the Israeli military. After the gate’s installation, Israeli forces severely restricted the previously unfettered access between Tura and Dahr Al-Maleh. The village council obtained an attorney to represent their interests and argue for the gate’s removal. Although the attorney filed a case with the Israeli High Court of Justice, it took several years before the court ruled that the gate must be open for more hours each day.

“From 2002 until 2008, the military gate opened only for students on their way to and from school,” explained Omar Khatib. “From 2008 until 2018, the gate opened from 7 am until 10 am then opened again from 12 pm until 9 pm. Starting from 2018, the gate is open from 7 am until 9 pm,” he added.

Palestinian students enter their school in Dahr Al-Maleh on November 10, 2019, which is under threat of demolition by the Israeli military. The elementary school was established so younger students in the village could avoid the daily journey through the Israeli military checkpoint to reach neighboring Tura Al-Gharbiya village. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)
Palestinian students enter their school in Dahr Al-Maleh on November 10, 2019, which is under threat of demolition by the Israeli military. The elementary school was established so younger students in the village could avoid the daily journey through the Israeli military checkpoint to reach neighboring Tura Al-Gharbiya village. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

In 2019, Dahr Al-Maleh elementary school—Tahadi 11—opened. It is the only school in the village, and it protects children aged 6 to 12 years from having to cross the Israeli military gate daily to reach school. Before the school’s establishment, even first-grade children were forced to cross the gate to attend school in Tura.

The school, however, is not entirely safe. In January 2019, Israeli authorities issued a demolition order, and Israeli forces raided the school and confiscated a mobile container that was used as the school’s cafeteria in October 2019.

“We don’t have safe places to play because we are surrounded by settlements, the separation barrier, and a military base,” said Sima. “I spend my time playing in front of the house, watching TV, or visiting relatives.”

“I hope the military gate is removed to stop restricting our lives and dreams,” said Aya, “I wish one day to open a flower store in my village, but with the existence of the military gate my dream is not possible.”


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Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Children’s Dreams On Hold Behind Nazi Military Gate

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