Archive | August 2nd, 2020

To Defeat Systemic Racism, America Must End Endless War

As we look inwards to dismantle America’s legacy of racism that pervades the law enforcement and national security apparatuses, we must also recognize that racism and militarism are mutually reinforcing.

by: Nima Gerami

The racism that permeates U.S. foreign policy today, writes Gerami, "is an extension of the belief in white supremacy that shaped the territorial and ideological boundaries of our nation from its inception." (Photo: U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mike Brady, Task Force Cyclone, 38th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

The racism that permeates U.S. foreign policy today, writes Gerami, “is an extension of the belief in white supremacy that shaped the territorial and ideological boundaries of our nation from its inception.” (Photo: U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mike Brady, Task Force Cyclone, 38th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

The police killing of George Floyd and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color has focused the world’s attention on structural racism and inequality. Black Lives Matter can no longer be dismissed as a fringe movement — it has become a global rallying cry in the wake of Floyd’s death.

In this unique moment of solidarity and introspection, hundreds of organizations within Washington’s national security community (including the Quincy Institute) have committed to improving racial diversity in their ranks. And as U.S. rivals seize on anti-racism protests for political gain, some national security experts have highlighted the need to recognize racial injustice at home as a barrier to America’s moral authority on the world stage.

Yet it would be a mistake to limit our critical self-reflection to promoting diversity and inclusion within the national security workforce: we must have an open and honest debate about the ways race and racism have influenced America’s foreign policy for centuries, perpetuating racial injustice and inequality abroad in the name of national security.

Of course, the underrepresentation of minorities in the national security community is a serious problem that must be redressed. Despite efforts in recent years to increase diversity, people of color at the State Department and USAID remain disproportionately represented, especially at senior levels, and are less likely to be promoted than their white counterparts, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

But as important as it is to improve racial equity in public service, these efforts do not automatically translate to fewer wars against predominantly black and brown countries, so long as the connection between race and foreign policy remains largely ignored.

As political scientists Kelebogile Zvobgo and Meredith Loken observe, the role of race is strikingly absent in mainstream international relations scholarship. This is because the major theories of international relations — realism, liberalism, and constructivism — view political events through a Eurocentric perspective that justifies Western dominance. After all, the study of international relations, as the late Stanley Hoffman famously said, is an “American social science” whose development roughly coincided with the emergence of the U.S. as a global hegemon. It should therefore come as no surprise that the paradigmatic work of international relations, mostly written by Western white male scholars, ignores the issue of race in foreign policy.

Still, history is replete with examples of how race and racism have influenced America’s role in the world. The racism that permeates our foreign policies today is an extension of the belief in white supremacy that shaped the territorial and ideological boundaries of our nation from its inception.

The United States was built on the backs of black slaves and consolidated through Manifest Destiny-era policies that denied indigenous peoples the right to own and cultivate their own land. This legacy has found expression in America’s interventions abroad, from Theodore Roosevelt’s expansionist doctrine to support for CIA-backed coups across what was then referred to as the Third World during the Cold War.

The xenophobic discourse surrounding the so-called “global war on terror” — which all too often conflates violent extremism with Islam — is merely the latest manifestation of a tendency to “otherize” people of color and portray their values, customs, and beliefs as nefarious forces in the world. 

For many in the black freedom movement, the struggles for racial justice in the United States and global peace have always been closely intertwined. In his essay, “The Color Line Belts the World,”  W.E.B. Du Bois articulates an internationalist vision of racial equality, emphasizing that the challenges that black Americans faced at home were “but a local phase of a world problem.”

Expressing solidarity with people of color worldwide, figures such as Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson explicitly linked race and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. As Hughes muses, perhaps the U.S. waited until after V-E Day to drop the bomb on Japan, a nation of “colored” people, rather than on the white Germans.

The pernicious effects of racism have also shaped the prosecution of America’s endless wars. African Americans were disproportionately drafted and killed in Vietnam: in 1967, blacks accounted for 16 percent of all draftees and 23 percent of all combat troops, but represented only 11 percent of the civilian population. Today, blacks account for 18 percent of active duty enlisted personnel that are sent into harm’s way — still higher relative to their number in the U.S. population. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us, endless war endangers incremental progress on civil rights because the “triple evils” of racism, poverty, and militarism are inextricably linked and must be defeated together.

Dr. King’s words ring loudly today. Last year, the U.S. dropped more bombs on Afghanistan than in any previous year since the Pentagon began to keep a record. Although the United Nations has called for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. continues to drop bombs in Iraq, as it has done every year since 1991. The Trump administration is also reportedly considering an end to the congressional review of arms sales to the Saudi-backed war in Yemen, deepening the “worst humanitarian crisis” in one of the poorest countries in the world. And on the African continent, the U.S. has drastically increased its counterterrorism operations. Somalia alone has suffered from a threefold increase in the number of drone strikes under the Trump administration.

Crucially, the U.S. remains an outlier in international human rights law given its refusal to adopt the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, thus skirting international legal obligations concerning genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In fact, the U.S. has not only failed to adopt the Rome Statute, the Trump administration is going a step further in the wrong direction by sanctioning ICC officials because of their intention to investigate war crimes on all sides of the war in Afghanistan. Racial justice at home simply cannot be realized without securing justice and accountability for breaches of international law.

As we look inwards to dismantle America’s legacy of racism that pervades the law enforcement and national security apparatuses, we must also recognize that racism and militarism are mutually reinforcing. The militarization of police occupying American cities and communities is inseparable from the militarization of American foreign policy that has put the U.S. on a war footing in the Middle East and Africa. Moral outrage over racial injustice and inequality should not stop at the water’s edge — the color line that divides our domestic politics extends to our foreign affairs.

Posted in USA, Human Rights0 Comments

Fears of Going ‘Through Hell Again’ as US Covid Infection Rate Hits Record High for 27th Straight Day

“With American lives on the line, the question now is whether members of the Republican Party will continue to stand by in silence as the President peddles fiction about a deadly virus.”

by: Eoin Higgins,

A disposable surgical face mask is seen on the sand at Brighton Beach in Coney Island as New York City moved into Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on July 5, 2020. (Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Public health advocates pleaded for federal action as the U.S. recorded its 27th straight day of record high seven-day-average of coronavirus cases Sunday, another grim milestone as the pandemic continues to sweep across the country and governmental responses are increasingly seen as insufficient.

“We went through hell,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told Meet the Press Sunday. “We cannot afford to go through hell again.”

The country recorded 43,347 new cases Sunday. Thirteen states including West Virginia, Tennessee, and Montana saw their highest cases to date as hospitalizations in Florida and Texas—two states now considered major epicenters of the nation’s pandemic—spiked. 

Data obtained via a lawsuit from the Centers of Disease Control by the New York Times shows that Black and Latin Americans are around three times as likely as whites to contract the disease.  

As the Washington Post reported:

The somber numbers have caused frustration among local leaders, who say they have had to grapple with conflicting orders regarding the pandemic and frequently changing guidelines from governors and the White House as they try to curb sharply rising infections.

President Donald Trump lied over the weekend during two July 4th speeches by falsely claiming that the virus is safe for 99% of those who catch it. The White House is reportedly planning on taking a sanguine approach to the ongoing outbreak and presenting it to the American people as something the country just has to “live with.”

According to NBC News:

At the crux of the message, officials said, is a recognition by the White House that the virus is not going away any time soon—and will be around through the November election.

As a result, President Donald Trump’s top advisers plan to argue, the country must figure out how to press forward despite it. Therapeutic drugs will be showcased as a key component for doing that and the White House will increasingly emphasize the relatively low risk most Americans have of dying from the virus, officials said.

CNN‘s Maeve Reston opined that the political consequences of the president’s rhetoric versus the reality of the outbreak could be dire for Republicans.

“With many Americans flouting public health guidelines during the holiday weekend, Trump’s conduct is creating an inflection point for the GOP at a time when his poll numbers have tumbled,” wrote Reston. “With American lives on the line, the question now is whether members of the Republican Party will continue to stand by in silence as the President peddles fiction about a deadly virus, and if so, will they pay a price at the ballot box in November.”

Posted in USA, Health0 Comments

‘The Swamp Is Alive and Well’: Trump-Connected Lobbyists Have Raked in $10 Billion in Covid-19 Aid for Corporate Clients

“The crisis offered an especially lucrative opportunity for those lobbyists who enjoy close ties to President Donald Trump and his administration—and they seized it.”

by: Jake Johnson,

Demonstrators attend a protest in Center City Philadelphia on April 15, 2017. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In yet another sign that the “swamp is alive and well in Washington, D.C.” despite President Donald Trump’s repeated promises to drain it, consumer advocacy group Public Citizen released a new report Monday morning identifying at least 40 Trump-connected lobbyists who have raked in over $10 billion in federal Covid-19 relief for their corporate clients since the pandemic began.

The dozens of lobbyists with ties to Trump through his campaigns, his administration, and/or his transition team “collectively have represented at least 150 clients on Covid matters,” Public Citizen notes in its new report titled “COVID Lobbying Palooza” (pdf). Those clients include such corporate behemoths as Pfizer, Comcast, McDonald’s, MasterCard, and American Airlines.

“Few scenarios would better embody most people’s image of the Washington ‘swamp’ than dozens of hired-gun lobbyists cashing in on their government connections during a public health emergency.”
—Public Citizen

“The crisis offered an especially lucrative opportunity for those lobbyists who enjoy close ties to President Donald Trump and his administration—and they seized it,” reads the report, which briefly profiles all 40 of the lobbiysts and details some of their activities. “They have reported lobbying to obtain special industry carveouts for aid, government approval of their clients’ products and, most commonly, Covid-related aid across a myriad of programs.”

Public Citizen found that 27 clients of Trump-connected lobbyists have secured $10.5 billion in taxpayer coronavirus aid—a sum that is likely an underestimate because it does not include data from the $650 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which the White House has worked to keep under wraps.

The $10.5 billion total, according to Public Citizen “consists of $6.3 billion in grants, $4.2 billion in loans, and $67 million worth of support in the form of corporate bond purchases by the Federal Reserve.”

Five of the lobbyists identified by Public Citizen—including former Transportation Department official Geoffrey Burr and former Treasury adviser Jordan Stoick—”may have violated a Trump executive order that restricts lobbying activities by former officials,” the group said.

“In many cases, the forms indicate that the former officials’ agencies were directly lobbied,” the report reads.

Craig Holman, a registered lobbyist for Public Citizen and a campaign finance expert, told the Associated Press that the group is planning to file ethics complaints with the White House over the apparent violations.

“There does not appear to be anyone who is enforcing the executive order,” said Holman. The report says an investigation into the activity is warranted.

Arguing that sweeping reforms will be necessary to prevent such profiteering in the future, Public Citizen said “few scenarios would better embody most people’s image of the Washington ‘swamp’ than dozens of hired-gun lobbyists cashing in on their government connections during a public health emergency.”

“In the short term, the government, of course, should do everything it possibly can to offer the public an unobstructed window into the details of where the trillions in public dollars are going,” the group said. “In the long term, future administrations and the Congress should embrace systemic reforms to sever the conflicts of interest that incentivize government officials to favor the wealthy and well-connected over the constituents whom they are hired to serve.”

Posted in USA0 Comments

As Covid-19 Crisis Continues, UNEP and Global Partners Release 10-Point Plan to Prevent the Next Pandemic

“The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead.”

by: Jessica Corbett,

Flying foxes or fruit bats (Pteropus sp.)

“Climate change is a force of growing importance that influences the future geographic distribution and abundance of species such as bats, monkeys, and rodents, including those in which zoonotic pathogens often originate,” says a new UNEP report. (Photo: nutsiam / Shutterstock.com via Preventing the Next Pandemic)

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide neared 11.5 million on Monday and the death toll topped 535,000, a new United Nations report detailed trends in human activity that are driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases and offered steps countries can take to prevent future pandemics.

“To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment.”
—Inger Andersen, UNEP

The report, entitled Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic Diseases and How to Break the Chain of Transmission (pdf), was released on World Zoonoses Day. Zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses, are infectious diseases that are passed from animals to humans.

“The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead,” U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) executive director Inger Andersen said in a statement announcing the report.

“Pandemics are devastating to our lives and our economies, and as we have seen over the past months, it is the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer the most,” Andersen added. “To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment.”

Scientists of the UNEP, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the South African Medical Research Council produced the report in partnership with other multilateral agencies and research institutions.

Researchers identified seven human-caused drivers of zoonotic disease emergence: increasing demand for animal protein; unsustainable agricultural intensification; increased use and exploitation of wildlife; unsustainable utilization of natural resources accelerated by urbanization, land use change, and extractive industries; travel and transportation; changes in food supply chains; and climate change.

“This report makes many recommendations, all based on the One Health approach, which unites experts from multiple disciplines—public health, animal health, plant health, and the environment—to deliver outcomes that improve the health of people, wildlife, and the planet,” Andersen explained in a foreword.

The UNEP summarized 10 key policy recommendations from the report:

  • Investing in interdisciplinary approaches, including One Health;
  • Expanding scientific enquiry into zoonotic diseases;
  • Improving cost-benefit analyses of interventions to include full-cost accounting of societal impacts of disease;
  • Raising awareness of zoonotic diseases;
  • Strengthening monitoring and regulation practices associated with zoonotic diseases, including food systems;
  • Incentivizing sustainable land management practices and developing alternatives for food security and livelihoods that do not rely on the destruction of habitats and biodiversity;
  • Improving biosecurity and control, identifying key drivers of emerging diseases in animal husbandry and encouraging proven management and zoonotic disease control measures;
  • Supporting the sustainable management of landscapes and seascapes that enhance sustainable co-existence of agriculture and wildlife;
  • Strengthening capacities among health stakeholders in all countries; and
  • Operationalizing the One Health approach in land-use and sustainable development planning, implementation and monitoring, among other fields.

In addition to acknowledging the devastation of Covid-19, the report highlights other recent examples of “headline-hitting and dramatically destructive novel diseases,” including zoonotic influenza (Bird Flu), pandemic human influenza (H1N1), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).


UN Environment Programme@UNEP
Addressing zoonotic disease emergence requires addressing its root cause–primarily, the impact of human activities on ecosystems. On today’s #WorldZoonosesDay, we’re releasing a new #ZoonosesReport with @ILRI – stay tuned for the launch at 19:00 EAT.

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The report also underscores the importance of addressing “neglected zoonoses” that “are continuously present in affected (mainly impoverished) populations, yet receive much less international attention and funding than emerging zoonotic diseases,” such as anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, rabies, cysticercosis (pig tapeworm), echinococcosis (hydatid disease), Japanese encephalitis, leptospirosis, Q fever, rabies, Lassa fever virus, and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).

Jimmy Smith, director general of the Kenya-based ILRI, noted in a statement Monday both the elevated risks faced by many African nations and the potential leadership opportunities in terms of future zoonotic pandemics, given population growth and experiences combating diseases in countries across the continent.

“The situation on the continent today is ripe for intensifying existing zoonotic diseases and facilitating the emergence and spread of new ones,” Smith said. “But with their experiences with Ebola and other emerging diseases, African countries are demonstrating proactive ways to manage disease outbreaks. They are applying, for example, novel risk-based rather than rule-based approaches to disease control, which are best suited to resource-poor settings, and they are joining up human, animal, and environment expertise in proactive One Health initiatives.”


ILRI Director General – Jimmy Smith@ILRI_JimmySmith
African countries have the potential to lead the way in preventing the spread of new zoonotic diseases—learn more at the UNSG’s daily press briefing today at 12 pm EDT/7 pm EAT:

The report was welcomed by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, according to U.N. News.

Echoing both the report and previous remarks he has made during the Covid-19 pandemic, Guterres said that “to prevent future outbreaks, countries need to conserve wild habitats, promote sustainable agriculture, strengthen food safety standards, monitor and regulate food markets, invest in technology to identify risks, and curb the illegal trade in wildlife.”

Posted in USA, Health0 Comments

Roaming Charges: Demon Seed

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Portland under federal occupation. Photo: Bette Lee.

Der Spiegel: Professor, two weeks ago the world still seemed in order…

Theodor Adorno: Not to me.

+ They came for Portland and Portland didn’t back down in the face of extreme state-sponsored violence. Instead, the resistance grew every night. The Feds got their asses kicked, here and in Seattle. Let’s hope it provides a model for the people of Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, and ABQ.

+ I got the sense from how the invasion of Portland has played out that Trump’s Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time-Gestapo wasn’t prepared for the kind of resistance they might face in Oakland, so now they’re planning to descend on the well-known ANTIFA strongholds of Kansas City, Milwaukee and the ABQ instead…

+ When Trump’s goon squads are finally run out of Portland by unarmed mothers wearing bicycle helmets, medical masks and Birkenstocks, the city’s streets will still be patrolled by an ultra-violent and unaccountable police force that employs Nazi-sympathizers who have repeatedly used tear gas in defiance of city ordinances.

+ Portland Police Bureau General Funds have increased over time, with a sharp spike after timber trust fund Mayor Ted Wheeler took office. The police budget has increased by more than $37 million since Wheeler was elected and would have increased by $52 million without the 3% cut imposed after the death of George Floyd.

+ Oregon Public Broadcasting interviewed 26 protesters in Portland, ranging in age from 17 to 43, who said they believe regular exposure to tear gas has caused irregularities within their menstrual cycle.

+ The Trump Gestapo’s use of flash-bang explosives and concussion grenades in Portland severely agitated the mentally ill people jailed in Multnomah County’s psych ward.

+ Apparently, Trump DHS has been compiling intelligence dossiers on reporters covering the protests in Portland. They used to call them “enemies lists”. Clinton’s paranoid Secretary of Energy, Hazel O’Leary, compiled one on journalists and environmental and anti-nuke activists. I was disappointed not to make it and kept trying harder to infuriate her in my reporting on radioactive malfeasance at the Hanford, Savanah River and Idaho Nuclear Lab sites….

+ The Portland Police Bureau alone has made at least 455 arrests since the mass demonstrations began…

+ Portland Police Bureau Chuck Lovell told City Commissioner Joann Hardesty that, “He did not believe that media had the right to stand and record and document police activity.” Fortunately, a federal court disagreed.

+ A dozen protesters in Portland facing federal charges have been banned from going to “public gatherings” as a condition of their release from jail, a restriction one legal expert described as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”

+ Trump on Ghislaine Maxwell: “I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is.” Meanwhile, his Goon Squads are shooting concussion grenades at unarmed mothers in Portland.

+ Meanwhile, 90 miles south of Portland, in the mill town of Springfield, Oregon…

+ Number of murders in the US linked to ANTIFA in the last 25 years: 0.

Number of murders in the US linked to rightwing domestic terrorism since 1994: 329.

+ Blow(er)back in Portland…

+ Border Patrol has already deployed more than 2,174 personnel, 46 aircraft and 2 drones to assist dozens of police departments across the country since June…

+ Trump is threatening to send 75,000 more federal troops into US cities in August and September. Imagine if they sent 75,000 nurses, doctors, testers, or contract tracers, instead?

+ Trump on sending federal goons into Chicago: “I think in their own way, they want us to go in.”

+ This is the same line Trump uses every time he is accused of molesting or raping a woman…

+ In the USA, you’re much more likely to be killed by the very police you called to protect you from the person you thought might kill you….

+ It’s not even August yet and Trump is threatening to postpone the elections. How weird will it get in October?

+ Note: Trump shot out this tweet 15 minutes after the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported a 33% drop in GDP for the second quarter of 2020, the worst performance by the economy in modern history.

+ If I were Ari Fleischer, I’d have ripped that Mission Accomplished banner off of the USS Abraham Lincoln about three seconds after the newly rehabilitated George W. Bush said, “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

+ Here’s Stephen Calabresi, a co-founder of the Federalist Society, which has apparently filled its quota of Federalist Society judges, and is now ready to dump Trump: “This latest tweet [on postponing the election] is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”

+ You can’t make it up, you’ve just got to grin and swallow it.

+ Take a breath. Trump can’t send federal goons into an American city, against the wishes of its mayor and governor, and begin snatching people off the street in unmarked vans….

+ To those who say that the Constitution prohibits Trump from delaying the fall elections, consider the fate of the US Post Office, who existence and operation is also inscribed in the Constitution, Article 1 Sec 8. Yet Trump’s killing it, day by day. The “emergency powers” assigned by a Democratic Congress to the president have given Trump the power to do almost anything he wants. Unless someone stops him. Who will?

+ There are no Constitution Cops. Those who are charged with enforcing the Constitution (Bill Barr) are the same ones most eager to shred it. Only a mass movement–Portland coast-to-coast–can defend democracy as we know it or, even better, democracy as we want & need it to function.

+ US Constitution: “I can’t breathe!”

+ Reopen the schools! Don’t open the mail-in ballots!

+ To update Emma Goldman: “If voting by mail changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

+ Mail-in voter fraud rate over the last 20 years: .00006%.

+ Now the NYPD is disappearing protesters right under Bill DeBlasio’s complicit nose…

+ Pro Publica has published a database listing active-duty officers who’ve had at least one allegation against them substantiated by the CCRB: That’s about 4,000 officers out of the NYPD’s 36,000-member force.

+ Police agencies are refusing to work the Democratic convention if they’re not allowed to tear gas people

+ The United States now has the highest number of COVID19 deaths per day of any country in the world since the outbreak began: 1054.7, closing in on one death every minute since early May.

+ Coronavirus cases are rising in 48 places across the U.S., according to analysis by NPR analysis. Here’s how much cases are up compared to just 2 weeks ago:Puerto Rico: +126%North Dakota: +122%Montana: +112%Kentucky: +102%Missouri: +92%

+ One of those deaths was Herman Cain. Cain’s last public appearance was as one of the unmasked surrogates at Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where at least eight Trump advance team staffers tested positive for coronavirus.

+ There are two things that we should always remember about Herman Cain: first, he died of a disease he spent months telling others was harmless; second, his xenophobia was so pathological that he wanted to electrocute immigrants on the southern border.

+ Trump’s Tulsa event was an act of political theatre, designed to promote unsafe behavior. If the USA had a functional contact tracing program, we might be able to track the train of negligent homicides, finding out who gave COVID-19 to Herman Cain and who Cain gave COVID-19 to…

+ We know why Herman Cain, and many others, got sick and died after attending an anti-science rally encouraging people to take lethal risks for the benefit of corporate America. We won’t know the names of the thousands of people who have and will continue to die because of the anti-science policies of both parties that have ignited a lethal climate for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry and the banks and corporations that feed off of it.

+ Then there’s Bill Montgomery, founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative group supporting Trump, who just died from the coronavirus. Montgomery introduced Trump at a crowded and largely unmasked rally in Phoenix in June….

+ Multiple Republican Congressional aids report that they are forced to work without masks….No wonder Congress exempted itself from OSHA.

+ Similarly, no email was sent out informing NSC staff that their boss, Robert O’Brien, had tested positive for coronavirus. He abruptly left the office last Thursday. Several found out from press reports…

+ Speaking of schools reopening, O’Brien reportedly contracted the virus from his daughter.

+ Hermiston is an agricultural town on the Columbia Plateau in eastern Oregon. Random testing of local residents by Oregon State University revealed that as much as 17% of the city may be infected with COVID-19, or about 3,000 active infections in a city of about 18,000 residents.

+ All of Europe, including eastern Europe and Russia, reported about the same name number of Covid-19 deaths on Thursday (347) as the state of Texas (322). Why does the “ChinaVirus” hate us?

+ Someday it will disappear…(the testing, he meant.)

Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,  Redux, wherein Peter Hoekstra, the US ambassador to the Netherlands, strolled through a cemetery for Nazi soldiers, while reflecting on the “cost of going to war.”


Ambassador Pete Hoekstra@usambnl
Walked among the graves at Ysselsteyn, a cemetery for German soldiers from WWI & WWII. A terrible reminder of the cost of going to war and why we must always work towards peace.

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+ What’s the reading on the Susan Collins “concern-meter” today?

+ How many more changes in presidential tone can the country survive?

+ “We are in a worse place than we were in March,” when the virus coursed through New York, said Dr. Leana S. Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner. “Back then we had one epicenter. Now we have lots.”

+ Here’s a press release from Hidalgo County in Texas reporting that deaths from COVID-19 are more than twice the state’s count, which they imply is because people are dying too fast to record….

+ There have been more than 6,300 cases of the coronavirus linked to college campuses across the US. And fall classes haven’t even started yet at most schools.

+ A new study has linked the spring school closures to a decrease in COVID-19 cases and deaths…

+ The right-to-lifers would never tolerate treating fetuses like this…

+ A 23 percent surge in child cases and hospitalizations in Florida directly contradicts Cruella DeVos’ claims that children are “stoppers of the disease” who “don’t get it and transmit it themselves.”

+ Kimora “Kimmie” Lynum, a 9 year-old girl from Putnam County, Florida, died of COVID-related causes this week. She had not underlying “co-morbidities.”

+ The same people who loathe public schools are also the most insistent upon sending kids, teachers, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and janitors back into virus-ridden public schools. I wonder why?

+ Meanwhile, St Andrews Academy, the Maryland school attended by  Trump’s son, Barron, will not fully reopen in September out of concern over the coronavirus pandemic…

+ More than 4,000 federal employees have already contracted Covid-19 in the workplace. The total number of claims is expected to increase to 6,000 within weeks…

+ It’s really friggin’ nuts out there: A healthy 45-year-old nurse died of COVID in Idaho. Then social media accounts started circulating that she died of a heart attack, not COVID. Now her doctor is forced to explain exactly how she died

+ Sarah Palin, it looks like we’ve found your Death Panels, down in south Texas, where a hospital in Starr County is prepared to send Covid-19 patients “home to die“, if they’re deemed “too sick” to waste a bed and ventilator on…

+ The most useful information yet from a Trump doctor: “Sex with demons makes you sick.”

+ Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko, who just tested positive for COVID-19, should have tried demon seed instead of demon drink

+ Imagine how berserk Americans would get if stores required people to wear shirts and shoes before entering…

+ Officially, Mexico has reported about 410,000 Covid cases. But Mexico’s actual Covid case count may be closer to 7.1 MILLION people, according to Amesh A. Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

+ Mexico reported excess deaths of over 70,000 from March 15 to June 27. And that’s just in 20 of its 32 states alone…(The Mexican government has attributed on 45,000 deaths to COVID from all regions of the country through July 30.)

+ According to new research from the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms persist for weeks after discharge from the hospital, even for young adults with no co-morbidities…

+ Over half of the coronavirus patients in Spain have developed lingering neurological problems

+ A modeling study of doctor’s and hospital’s exam rooms finds that simply by breathing an infected person can raise the concentration of coronavirus in a small room to over a thousand viruses per cubic meter. Coughing raises it to seven million…

+ House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer declared this week that the Democrats are willing to agree to a new coronavirus stimulus package that doesn’t include an extension of an extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits, saying the party’s position is “not $600 or bust.” Clearly Hoyer is just another socialist puppet whose strings are being pulled by Sanders and AOC….

+ Platform fights are the most ludicrous fights of all. For decades, the Democratic platform read like it could have been written by Subcomandante Marcos, while their elected politicians shoved neoliberalism down the country’s throat. Still…

+ The Democratic National Committee’s platform committee voted 106 to 50 to reject an amendment to endorse legalizing marijuana. Biden, of course, is in the drug warrior hall of fame.

+ The DNC Platform Committee has voted down support for Medicare For All: 36 yes,  125 no, and  3 courageously abstaining.

+ The Song Remains the Same: By a vote of 177-34, the DNC platform committee members voted to oppose language that would express the party’s opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and support conditioning aid to Israel in response to annexation.

+ Ralph Nader called Christopher Dodd the “Senator from Aetna.” Dodd was also present with Teddy Kennedy at the infamous “waitress sandwich” incident. So he’s obviously the perfect person to vet Biden’s choice for VP …

+ Here are the House Democrats who voted against Ilhan Omar’s amendment to accelerate the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan…

+ Some Sanders supporters are urging Bernie to take his delegates and walk out of the Democratic Party Convention. Why? Sanders did his job. He’ll probably get a biscuit for his services.

+ Bernie come home!

+ Forget the Gettysburg Address, every school child should be required to recite WEB DuBois succinct demolition of the myth of Robert E. Lee…

Robert E. Lee

Each year on the 19th of January there is renewed effort to canonize Robert E. Lee, the greatest confederate general. His personal comeliness, his aristocratic birth and his military prowess all call for the verdict of greatness and genius. But one thing–one terrible fact–militates against this and that is the inescapable truth that Robert E. Lee led a bloody war to perpetuate slavery. Copperheads like the New York Times may magisterially declare: “of course, he never fought for slavery.” Well, for what did he fight? State rights? Nonsense. The South cared only for State Rights as a weapon to defend slavery. If nationalism had been a stronger defense of the slave system than particularism, the South would have been as nationalistic in 1861 as it had been in 1812.

No. People do not go to war for abstract theories of government. They fight for property and privilege and that was what Virginia fought for in the Civil War. And Lee followed Virginia. He followed Virginia not because he particularly loved slavery (although he certainly did not hate it), but because he did not have the moral courage to stand against his family and his clan. Lee hesitated and hung his head in shame because he was asked to lead armies against human progress and Christian decency and did not dare refuse. He surrendered not to Grant, but to Negro Emancipation.

Today we can best perpetuate his memory and his nobler traits not by falsifying his moral debacle, but by explaining it to the young white south. What Lee did in 1861, other Lees are doing in 1928. They lack the moral courage to stand up for justice to the Negro because of the overwhelming public opinion of their social environment. Their fathers in the past have condoned lynching and mob violence, just as today they acquiesce in the disfranchisement of educated and worthy black citizens, provide wretchedly inadequate public schools for Negro children and endorse a public treatment of sickness, poverty and crime which disgraces civilization.

It is the punishment of the South that its Robert Lees and Jefferson Davises will always be tall, handsome and well-born. That their courage will be physical and not moral. That their leadership will be weak compliance with public opinion and never costly and unswerving revolt for justice and right. it is ridiculous to seek to excuse Robert Lee as the most formidable agency this nation ever raised to make 4 million human beings goods instead of men. Either he knew what slavery meant when he helped maim and murder thousands in its defense, or he did not. If he did not he was a fool. If he did, Robert Lee was a traitor and a rebel–not indeed to his country, but to humanity and humanity’s God.

+ No less of a rightwing icon than Ammon Bundy, occupier of federal lands, has come out in favor of BLM and defunding the police…(Bundy previously announced his opposition to Trump’s border wall, which didn’t impede it from going up or being knocked down by Hurricane Hannah.)

+ In January, in the first known case of its kind, Robert Williams was arrested for in Detroit, Michigan for a crime he did not commit due to a flawed algorithmic facial recognition match.

+ The banality of evil, redux…ICE agents, complaining about being compared to Nazis, claim they are only following lawful orders.

+ ICE officers threw sick and disabled immigrants to the floor after they asked for care, at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. Two were in wheelchairs. Another lost vision from the impact of his head hitting the floor.

+ Tom Cotton, whose family owned generations of slaves, says that enslaving Black people was a “necessary evil.”

+ Here’s Bill Clinton in full-triangulation mode at John Lewis’s funeral, invoking cancel culture and dissing black power movement in one sentence: “When he could have been angry and determined to cancel his adversaries, he tried to get converts instead. He thought the opened hand was better than a clenched fist.” (This is, of course, a largely accurate description of Lewis’ timid and accommodating political career and a major reason for his split from Stokely Carmichael and the other radical leaders of SNCC.)

+ I challenge you to detect the differences between Clinton’s eulogy for John Lewis and the speeches he gave after Nixon and Reagan died. Like Obama, there’s really only one Clinton speech, he repeats endlessly, occasionally re-arranging the order of the platitudes of compromise and capitulation…

+ In one of his last interviews, with CSPAN’s Brian Lamb, Stokely Carmichael joked that at SNCC HQ there were two offices. On Lewis door the sign read,”Student Non Violent.” Carmichael’s door the sign read, “Coordinating Committee.” (h/t Jack McCarthy.)

+ Kathleen Cleaver joked last year that SNCC’s unofficial name was the Non-Student Non-Nonviolent Non-Coordinating Non-Committee.

+ In a funeral service that rambled on for 3.5 hours, the highlight of which was Jennifer Holliday’s shattering performance of “Precious Lord”, the organizers couldn’t find time to invite one of Lewis’ former SNCC colleagues to speak.

+ I’m told that many of the widows, mothers and children of his drone victims share this experience…

Elie Mystal@ElieNYCIt’s normal to just start randomly weeping when Barack Obama is talking, right?8:10 PM · Jul 30, 2020

+ Biden said this week that Trump was the first racist to be elected president of the United States. Biden’s cognitive challenge should be to name the presidents who weren’t racists…

+ Biden’s hero FDR put American citizens into concentration camps based solely on the color of their skin.

+ “Healer:” a liberal who seeks to bring the nation (and more importantly the banks) together by forgiving the crimes of the fascists they replaced and proving the sincerity of their political absolution by implementing many of their policies.

+ There are fascist goon squads snatching people off the street and shooting concussion grenades at unarmed women in Portland, a deadly virus is raging across the country, millions are unemployed, their pittance of insurance about to run out, millions more are facing eviction, it’s 104 in the Arctic, but for Biden, and most of his Democratic Party colleagues, it’s still RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA…


Joe Biden@JoeBidenToday, I am putting the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice: If elected president, I will direct my administration to impose substantial and lasting costs on those who interfere with American elections.

+ Matt O’Brien: “A question that is rarely asked: did Vichy collaborators have some good ideas about judicial nominees?”

+ Between 1929 and 1974, North Carolina officials sterilized an estimated 7,600 people for being sick, disabled or deemed “feebleminded,” many by force or coercion. A recent study out of the University of New Orleans also finds that the state’s eugenics program targeted Black people who were considered economically “unproductive” in society.

+ Under Texas’ restrictive voter ID law, voters can vote with gun permit but not a student ID. More than 80% of Texas handgun licenses went to white people in 2018. By contrast, more than half the students in the University of Texas system are people of color…

+ As it gobbles up more and more Palestinian land, Israel is converting mosques into synagogues and bars.

+ Making America Safe for White Flight Again…

+ The number of inmates in Chicago’s Cook County jail reached a low of about 4,000 in May, after prosecutors and judges took steps to reduce the jail population in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But since mid-May, the population has been steadily increasing, and last week the number of people incarcerated at the jail topped 4,800, according to data published by the Sheriff’s office.

+ Some of the most sexually insecure and intellectually fragile men in the country are running the government: Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) chased down and verbally scolded AOC in the House office building, calling her “disgusting” and a “fucking bitch.”

+ In the same misogynistic vein, after NSA whistleblower Reality Winner tested positive for COVID-19, one correctional officer approached her in middle of outbreak and said, “I just wanted to congratulate you on your positive results.”

+ Before yesterday, there’d never been an Atlantic hurricane season with more than 7 named storms prior to August 1st. With the advent of Isaias, we’re now at 9.

+ Record high temperatures have been plaguing the Middle East, the mercury soaring to extreme levels during a blistering & unforgiving heat wave. Baghdad surged to 125.2 degrees (51.8 Celsius) on Tuesday, its highest temperature ever recorded.

+ As the US economy ground to a halt this spring, U.S. energy consumption plummeted to its lowest level in more than 30 years.

+ Oil giant Shell reports a net loss of $18.4 billion for the second quarter of 2020. Last year they posted a $3.5 billion profit for the same period. Shell’s profits fell by $22 billion dollars in one year and sank well into the red. BP’s losses may be even larger.

+ The French oil company Total has taken a $7 billion write down on its oilsands assets in Alberta, acknowledges that they’re unlikely to be fully tapped and withdraws from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

+ In more ominous news for the climate, the first sea-bed leak of methane has been detected in Antarctica.

+ From disappearing sea ice to coast erosion to scorching heat and tundra, nearly ever dire forecast for the consequences of climate change is already dramatically playing out in the Arctic.

+ Thawing permafrost may have caused a catastrophic diesel spill in the Russian the Arctic Circle, hopefully throwing an ecological wrench in Putin’s expansive plans for military and industrial development in the region…

+ Washington, DC has shattered the mark for most days hitting at least 90 during July. It’s now done it 28 times out of 30 days. The capital’s weather has best resembled Houston’s this summer.

+ With an average temperature of 99.0 °F, July 2020 now becomes the hottest month on record for Phoenix, crushing the previous mark of 98.3 °F.

+ Nearly one-quarter of the earth’s human population lives in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, a region where the level of air pollution has risen by 44% over the last twenty years. The air is so toxic on the subcontinent that it is expected to cut at least five years off the lifespan of everyone living there.

+ Migratory fish populations have fallen globally by more than 76% since 1970, with the worst declines in Europe (93%), and hitting specific groups of fish, where sturgeon and eel populations are both down by more than 90%…

+ Trump in Texas this week: “Generations of oil workers loved our country so much, they couldn’t breathe.” And neither can the rest of us…

+ The Tesoro High Plains Pipeline, which delivers 74,000 barrels of oil a day to a Mandan, North Dakota refinery, has been shutdown after the Department of Interior determined it was trespassing on Native land for the past seven years. The corp must pay $187 million in damages.

+ Of the 30 operating gold mines in Nevada in 2019, 14 of them declared enough deductions to zero out their state mining tax bill even though the combined value of the gold extracted at those 14 mines was more than $716.5 million dollars.

+ The Trump administration is working to transfer ownership of federal water infrastructure to California’s Westlands Water District, the country’s largest water hog and a former lobbying client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

+ According to a new study reported in Science News, global lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the amount of seismic noise produced by humans by up to 50 percent.

+ Some cheerful news for a change: California’s only wolf pack has 8 new pups.

+ Even Lautréamont, the master of the macabre, couldn’t write something this weird…

+ Peter Green, who founded the best version of Fleetwood Mac, died this week at 73. He was one of the most gifted of the English blues guitar players–the precision of Freddie King with the feeling of Otis Rush.

+ I got some most unwelcome news this week that longtime CounterPunch writer Michael Dickinson died in England earlier this month. Michael was a member of the Stuckist Art Movement & was tried and expelled from Turkey for lampooning Erdogan. He designed the covers for two Cockburn/St. Clair books: Serpents in the Garden & Dime’s Worth of Difference. I hadn’t heard from him in months & my emails had gone unanswered not unusual because since his expulsion from Turkey he’d been living a cardboard box & later a tent in Camden, where he was often seen walking backwards–a case of retropulsion, he called it. This obituary gives a pretty vivid introduction to Michael Dickinson’s wide-ranging and subversive life…

+ Here’s the archive of Michael’s writings for CounterPunch…

+ Here’s Michael’s cover art for our book Serpents in the Garden: Liaisons with Culture and Sex, prominently featuring Angelina Jolie in homage to Alex’s amusing essay on Jolie and the French Revolution…

+ Fans of Roaming Charges might want to checkout the brand new Roaming Charges t-shirts featuring the RC bison on really soft cotton. Type in “workuniform” for a nice discount courtesy of Deva.

Hang in There America…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act
Nicholson Baker
(Penguin Press)

Chasing the Light: Writing Directing and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface,  Salvador and the Movie Game
Oliver Stone
(Houghton Mifflin)

Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War
Ted Glick
(PM Press)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Dialectic Soul
Asher Gamedze
(On the Corner)

Love Letter
Jimmy Heath
(Verve)

That’s How Rumors Get Started
Margo Price
(Loma Vista)

Core Beliefs

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” (Frantz Fanon, Black Masks, White Skin)

Posted in USA, Human Rights0 Comments

Tear Gas and Thugs at the BLM Protests in Portland

by BETTE LEE

On the 59th night of BLM protests on July 25th at the federal courthouse, I was one of the thousands of protestors who went there. It took me a while to struggle through my fears of getting infected with the virus and the limits to my mobility due to old age and hip arthritis.  But like so many others, I could no longer stay home.  I knew from my previous experiences at many protests over the years, against war, racism, ICE, inequality, and exploitation of workers, that the police were extremely violent, often attacking us with little or no provocations.   What was new was that the police had been attacking the BLM protestors non-stop for 58 nights with tear gas, pepper spray, flash grenades, and “non-lethal” munitions.  In contrast to their long history of using violence against non-violent protestors, the Portland police were seen protecting and fraternizing with white supremacist groups like the Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys at their rallies in this whitest of all US cities.   When Mayor Ted Wheeler appeared at a protest last week, he was booed by many there, who called out “Tear gas Ted.”   Later that night, Wheeler got a big dose of his own “medicine.”

The recent deployment of over 100 federal troops to Portland under “Operation Diligent Valor” by Trump added more fuel to the already fired-up protestors.  Trump claims that he sent the feds there to protect federal facilities and officers against “violent anarchists,” but the reality is this:  they have been deployed as an occupying army to crush the protests.  Since their arrival in early July, unidentified federal thugs in camouflage have grabbed BLM protestors off the streets, putting them in unmarked vehicles, and detaining them for hours without charge.   They have also escalated the violence at the nightly BLM protests at the (In)justice Center and the Federal Courthouse, working with the Portland police to attack non-violent protestors with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, flash grenades, and “non-lethal” projectiles.  The videos of their actions pepper-spraying people at point blank, firing an impact munition at 26 year-old Donovan La Bella , causing a skull fracture which required an emergency surgery, beating and pepper-spraying Chris David, a 53-year old Navy Vet who was just standing there, and attacking non-violent protestors night after night with copious amounts of tear gas and pepper spray have not only intimidated and terrorized people, but also enraged them.

So far, Homeland Security and the Trump administration have refused to withdraw the federal thugs despite lawsuits filed by Oregon’s attorney general, the ACLU, state legislators and activist groups.   Many of us can no longer remain silent as these accounts of daily violence by the police and feds make clear that what is at stake is not only racial injustice and inequality, but also an attack on our 1st Amendment right to free speech and civil rights.

I was heartened to see so many recent newcomers like the “Wall of Moms,” the dads, veterans, teachers, union workers, nurses, doctors and healthcare workers at the protest, as well as the die-hards who had been at the frontlines for 58 nights.   Their presence makes it much harder for Trump, his supporters and critics of the BLM protestors to separate us into “good” vs. “bad” protestors, or to demonize us all as “violent anarchists.”  The government, police and law enforcement agencies have a long history of suppressing many political movements for social change in the past by using this strategy of criminalizing our right to dissent and by deploying police and law enforcement violence to crush the resistance.

Now is the time for us to meet this challenge to protect our rights and to resist being under the boot of a fascist police state.  The stakes are high as what happens in Portland will soon be replicated in other cities as Trump threatens to send more federal troops to Chicago, Seattle, Albuquerque and other cities to squash the BLM movement and our demands for justice and equality for all.

As the crowds grew in numbers throughout the night, we sang and chanted words which have become mantras:   “No justice, no peace,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Hands up, don’t shoot!” “Feds go home,” “Stay together, stay tight!”  “Feds stay clear, the moms are here!”  Light projections of George Floyd’s last words flashed across the JC building.  “I can’t breathe.   Everything hurts.  Please don’t kill me.  Mama, I’m through.”   We read them in silence, while others were chanting “Black Lives Matter”  over and over again.   Other messages flashed by, “The power of the people is greater than those in power,” “The Revolution is Live,” “Black Lives Matter.”

There were thousands of us around midnight.  We were there at this nightly ritual of resistance, waiting for the inevitable to happen.   Several protestors were trying to pull down the metal fence, which had been reinforced recently.   After much effort, some succeeded in breaching the fence at one location.   We heard the disembodied voice announcing over the loudspeaker:   “This is the Portland Police” declaring a “riot” and ordering us to disperse immediately or be subjected to chemical attacks and arrests.   The protestors booed and yelled, “Fuck the police!  Feds out of Portland!”  in response.   Then the attacks began.   Loud explosions went off, and clouds of tear gas rapidly spread down the streets from SW 3rd and Salmon.  People were screaming and running, ignoring shouts of “Don’t run!”

Despite my old legs and hip arthritis, I managed to run through the waves of tear gas.  For a few terrifying moments, my eyes were burning, and I was blinded and disoriented.   Luckily, I was helped by the amazing medics, who treated my eyes with a saline solution.   I saw them treat other protestors injured by pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets.  The feds and cops came running towards us, and chased us further and further downtown.  None of the protestors who were standing with me had done anything wrong, but the feds and cops kept firing tear gas at us.   I saw a few people being arrested near the Apple store downtown.  Dozens of police cars with sirens blasting, blue lights flashing, sped down the streets.   It was scary how quickly Portland had been transformed from the City of Roses to “Little Beirut.”  Then the police and feds marched off, got into their cars, and drove off.   It was a surreal scene—the streets were suddenly empty and quiet again, as if nothing had happened.   But we know better.   Our resistance is growing, and we will be back!

All photos by Bette Lee.

Posted in USA, Human Rights, Politics0 Comments

Russiagate, Nazis, and the CIA

by ROB URIE


The political success of Russiagate lies in the vanishing of American history in favor of a façade of liberal virtue. Posed as a response to the election of Donald Trump, a straight line can be drawn from efforts to undermine the decommissioning of the American war economy in 1946 to the CIA’s alliance with Ukrainian fascists in 2014. In 1945 the NSC (National Security Council) issued a series of directives that gave logic and direction to the CIA’s actions during the Cold War. That these persist despite the ‘fall of communism’ suggests that it was always just a placeholder in the pursuit of other objectives.

The first Cold War was an imperial business enterprise to keep the Generals, bureaucrats, and war materiel suppliers in power and their bank accounts flush after WWII. Likewise, the American side of the nuclear arms race left former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA to put their paranoid fantasies forward as assessments of Russian military capabilities. Why, of all people, would former Nazi officers be put in charge military intelligence if accurate assessments were the goal? The Nazis hated the Soviets more than the Americans did.

The ideological binaries of Russiagate— for or against Donald Trump, for or against neoliberal, petrostate Russia, define the boundaries of acceptable discourse to the benefit of deeply nefarious interests. The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so. Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences.

The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ‘liberal, nonviolent and honorable,’ is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. Furthermore, Steinem’s aggressive ignorance of the actual history of the CIA illustrates the liberal propensity to conflate bourgeois dress and attitude with an imagined gentility. To the point made by Christopher Simpson, the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so?

On the American left, Russiagate is treated as a case of bad reporting, of official outlets for government propaganda serially reporting facts and events that were subsequently disproved. However, some fair portion of the American bourgeois, the PMC that acts in supporting roles for capital, believes every word of it. Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business.

Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings, to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA’s overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world.

By the time that (Senator) John F. Kennedy claimed a U.S. ‘missile gap’ with the Soviets in 1958, the CIA was providing estimates of Soviet ICBMs (Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles), that were wildly inflated— most likely provided to it by the Gehlen Organization. Once satellite and U2 reconnaissance estimates became available, the CIA lowered its own to 120 Soviet ICBMs when the actual number was four. On the one hand, the Soviets really did have a nuclear weapons program. On the other, it was a tiny fraction of what was being claimed. Bad reporting, unerringly on the side of larger military budgets, appears to be the constant.

Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ‘Operation Paperclip’ thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the ‘Butcher of Lyon,’ was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara. Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip ‘scientists,’ worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered.

The historical sequence in the U.S. was WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, to an economy that was heavily dependent on war production. The threatened decommissioning of the war economy in 1946 was first met with an honest assessment of Soviet intentions— the Soviets were moving infrastructure back into Soviet territory as quickly as was practicable, then to the military budget-friendly claim that they were putting resources in place to invade Europe. The result of the shift was that the American Generals kept their power and the war industry kept producing materiel and weapons. By 1948 these weapons had come to include atomic bombs.

To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy— the ‘military industrial complex,’ adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind.

What ties the Gehlen Organization to CIA estimates of Soviet nuclear weapons from 1948 – 1958 is 1) the Gehlen Organization was central to the CIA’s intelligence operations vis-à-vis the Soviets, 2) the CIA had limited alternatives to gather information on the Soviets outside of the Gehlen Organization and 3) the senior leadership of the U.S. military had long demonstrated that it approved of exaggerating foreign threats when doing so enhanced their power and added to their budgets. Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War.

Where this gets interesting is that American whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was working for the Rand Corporation in the late 1950s and early 1960s when estimates of Soviet ICBMs were being put forward. JFK had run (in 1960) on a platform that included closing the Soviet – U.S. ‘missile gap.’ The USAF (U.S. Air Force), charged with delivering nuclear missiles to their targets, was estimating that the Soviets had 1,000 ICBMs. Mr. Ellsberg, who had limited security clearance through his employment at Rand, was leaked the known number of Soviet ICBMs. The Air Force was saying 1,000 Soviet ICBMs when the number confirmed by reconnaissance satellites was four.

By 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA had shifted nominal control of the Gehlen Organization to the BND, for whom Gehlen continued to work. Based on ongoing satellite reconnaissance data, the CIA was busy lowering its estimates of Soviet nuclear capabilities. Benjamin Schwarz, writing for The Atlantic in 2013, provided an account, apparently informed by the CIA’s lowered estimates, where he placed the whole of the Soviet nuclear weapons program (in 1962) at roughly one-ninth the size of the U.S. effort. However, given Ellsberg’s known count of four Soviet ICBMs at the time of the missile crisis, even Schwarz’s ratio of 1:9 seems to overstate Soviet capabilities.

Further per Schwarz’s reporting, the Jupiter nuclear missiles that the U.S. had placed in Italy prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis only made sense as first-strike weapons. This interpretation is corroborated by Daniel Ellsberg, who argues that the American plan was always to initiate the use of nuclear weapons (first strike). This made JFK’s posture of equally matched contestants in a geopolitical game of nuclear chicken utterly unhinged. Should this be less than clear, because the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike— and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith.

The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 was met with a promised reduction in U.S. military spending and an end to the Cold War, neither of which ultimately materialized. Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic ‘humanitarian wars’— liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 ‘Russian meddling’ meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia’s border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO’s control.

The Obama administration’s 2014 incitement in Ukraine, by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC’s directives can be found here and here. The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn’t exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2. The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20, the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA’s rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948.

That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges. Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders ‘democracy’ within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA ‘our Nazis?’

The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act came about in part because Nazi hunters kept coming across Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. who told them they had been brought here and given employment by the CIA, CIC, or some other division of the Federal government. If the people in these agencies thought that doing so was justified, why the secrecy? And if it wasn’t justified, why was it done? Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. Cue the Sex Pistols.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A, Russia0 Comments

The Space Wars Have Begun

by T.J. COLES

Artist rendering of ground and space based laser weapons. Image: US Air Force.

“Space is now a distinct warfighting domain,” says the U.S. Defense Space Strategy.

Last week, corporate media repeated U.S. military propaganda: that Russia had “tested new technologies that could lead to so-called ‘killer satellites’” (ABC); the U.S. and Britain “accused Russia of testing a weapon-like projectile in space that could be used to target satellites in orbit” (BBC); “the US has publicly accused Russia of testing an ‘orbit weapon’” (CNN); “The launch could represent a step towards the militarisation of space”(Sky News); and so on.

SOME CONTEXT

These reports invert the chronology of events and omit the U.S. agenda to dominate space. Like China’s verified destruction of its own weather satellite in 2007, Russia’s alleged maneuvers in space are—if true—a response to what the Pentagon calls “Full Spectrum Dominance”: “dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment.” This was a Clinton-era doctrine (1993-2001) which continues into the present. The Bush administration (2001-09) extended the policy, going from domination to “ownership”: Like the battles of old, “whoever owned the high ground owned the fight.” So-called Ballistic Missile Defense, which is supposedly designed counter nuclear weapons-carrying ICBMs, are actually missiles with the potential for first-strike capacity.

There is a way to stop Chinese and Russian anti-satellite tests: sign a treaty outlawing space weapons. But doing so would also prevent the U.S. from testing its own anti-satellite and other weapons, i.e., from “dominating” and “owning” space.

Beginning 2001, “China, at first alone but later with Russia, … made several proposals” to the UN Conference on Disarmament “on possible elements for a future treaty banning the weaponization of space,” says Arms Control Today. That’s not because the Chinese or Russian elites are good people who want peace, but rather because they know that they cannot complete with U.S. space domination. In 2002, Bush withdrew from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty 1972 and provoked Russia by constructing a missile system in Eastern Europe. In June of that year, Russia and China proposed a treaty committing signatories to “[n]ot place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons.” It was rejected by the U.S.

In 2010, President Obama (2009-17) launched the world’s first known, orbiting and geosynchronous space weapon—it had the capacity to do both and the military denied that it was a space weapon—the X37B, which had suspected anti-satellite capabilities.

In February 2018, the USAF Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, told Congress: “We own the high ground of air and space. We project decisive combat power forward with our joint team to defend America’s interests and our allies worldwide.” At the end of the year, Russia was accused by the U.S. of doing what the U.S. had done a decade earlier vis. the X37B: orbiting a potential space weapon. Making diplomatic efforts to defend against Full Spectrum Dominance, Russia and China continued their efforts to ban the weaponization of space. The U.S. continued its policy of “domination” and “ownership.”

BLOCKING PEACE

Notions of Full Spectrum Dominance and ownership of space mean that the U.S. rejects every effort at the UN General Assembly to strengthen the Outer Space Treaty 1967. In November 2018, Russia introduced a draft treaty, “No first placement of weapons in outer space” (A/C.1/73/L.51). The second draft passed, with 128 nations voting in favor and 12 against, including the U.S. and Britain. In November 2019, the General Assembly reported: “The Committee approved, by a recorded vote of 175 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the draft resolution ‘Prevention of an arms race in outer space’ (document A/C.1/74/L.3).”

But the General Assembly, unlike the Security Council, has no enforcement mechanism, meaning that the U.S. can and does ignore the result of the vote.

The draft resolution “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/C.1/74/L.58/Rev.1) was also approved, though the UN noted: “The representative of the United States reiterated his delegation’s opposition to the Chinese‑Russian draft treaty presented to the Conference on Disarmament.” In January 2020, the U.S. Space Force joined in Global Lightning, the annual exercise that sees Russia potentially getting nuked by U.S. forces. It is in this broader context that Russia is alleged to have tested an anti-satellite weapon.

CLAIMS VS. REALITY

“Russia conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon,” claims the Space Command (not to be confused with the Space Force). If this is true, the U.S.’s legal objection is unclear. As noted, the U.S. has rejected multiple efforts to ban anti-satellite weapons, so Russia has a legal right to test weaponry. This is against the spirit of the Outer Space Treaty 1967, but so are U.S. activities in space, such as the launch and test of the X37B. Either way, Russia rejects the claim as false. “On July 15, Russia injected a new object into orbit from [its satellite] Cosmos 2543,” the U.S. Space Command continues. The only evidence for this claim is a website: Space-Track.org.

But, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. space policy includes spoofing: “Spoofing deceives the receiver by introducing a fake signal with erroneous information.” How do we know that the Space-Track.org returns regarding Russia’s alleged probe were not spoofs?

Notice that the U.S. is not concerned about Chinese or Russian dominance in space. U.S. planners are aware that neither Russia nor China has the financial or technological means to dominate space. Rather, they are concerned about Sino-Russian capacity to limit U.S. operational freedoms; in other words to scupper U.S. attempts at Full Spectrum Dominance. The Defense Intelligence Agency does not mention Chinese or Russian space dominance, but rather, how those countries “view counter-space capabilities as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness.” Likewise, the Defense Space Strategy says: “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.”

CONCLUSION

In addition to nuclear war/accident and climate change, space weaponization poses a terminal threat. If and when something goes seriously wrong, national tensions will rise to the point of escalation and potential accident involving nuclear weapons. Furthermore, military planners are aware of this yet they do nothing to stop it: quite the contrary.

One UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) document casually notes: “By 2050, space-based weapons systems … could include nuclear weapons.” Another states: “nuclear possession may lead to greater adventurism and irresponsible conventional and irregular behaviour, to the point of brinkmanship and misunderstanding.” As noted above, Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) is a potential first-strike weapon. A third MoD document states: “the development of strategic BMD systems is likely to continue along multiple technical tracks by the major powers” (emphases in original).

Anti-satellite (AS) weapons expert, Nancy Gallagher, calls AS war without nuclear weapons “a mirage”: “Should a satellite be struck by a piece of space debris during a crisis or a low-level terrestrial conflict,” says Gallagher, “leaders might mistakenly assume that a space war had begun and retaliate before they knew what had actually happened.”

Time is getting short, threats are multiplying.

Posted in USA, C.I.A0 Comments

Climate Change is Genocide

by EVE OTTENBERG

Pulp mill, Halsey, Oregon. Photo:L Jeffrey St. Clair.

The only good thing to say about Covid is that it caused carbon emissions to drop. Not enough to save humanity from catastrophic climate change, but significantly. At the height of the global lockdown, carbon emissions fell 17 percent – when the whole world basically stopped driving and flying. According to Eric Holthaus’ new book, “The Future Earth,” by 2035 the United States must have a carbon neutral economy or face utter disaster. That, folks, pretty much means the end of capitalism as we know it.

Indeed, that’s what “The Future Earth” advocates. A planet of vegan eco-socialists – sounds good to me, though I think the ExxonMobil ceo might stand in the way. With such opposition and other, more ordinary lukewarm opponents in mind, Holthaus himself carefully avoids terms like socialism or eco-socialism, but that’s what his proposal amounts to. And even that won’t save us from the warming we’ve already locked in.

“Reducing emissions to zero is the best way to slow down climate change…what if after already greatly reducing our global emissions, the climate tipping points we previously set in motion are triggered anyway?” So even if we transform our economies, stop burning any fossil fuels, put the brakes on the disaster of animal agriculture (it consumes “half the world’s arable land and uses 80 percent of the world’s fresh water supply”) and so forth, by mid-century parts of the inhabited earth could still occasionally reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, coastal cities will be submerged, island nations will drown, megastorms and category 6 hurricanes will still tear up our countries, droughts will displace tens of millions of people and wild-fires will empty places like California and much of Australia. That this is our best scenario even when we go all out and totally redo our societies tells you a lot about how much damage we’ve already inflicted on the planet. And this list of what’s coming regardless of our best efforts looks like a walk in the park if we don’t cut emissions to zero by mid-century, when the effects of runaway climate change will be unimaginably awful. We don’t have time – we must de-carbonize at once.

“Climate change is not a war,” Holthaus writes. “It’ is genocide. It is domination. It is extinction. It is the most recent manifestation of how powerful men throughout history have sought to steal from the less powerful and dismiss them as merely inconvenient.” More specifically the problem is growth. Capitalism depends on endless growth. So does cancer. In fact, cancer is an apt metaphor for capitalism. Of course plutocrats, confronted with this comparison, opt for chemotherapy, which is what Holthaus calls techno fixes like geo-engineering. But he argues convincingly that given the very real dangers, those should be a last, not a first, resort. Indeed, if Newt Gingrich supports geo-engineering, and he does, you can be pretty sure it’s a bad idea. “We need to become a society with a cultural focus on repair and maintenance,” Holthaus writes, “rather than innovation and efficiency.” The lunacy of planned obsolescence should be tossed into the insane asylum and left there.

“The Future Earth” sketches what must be done between now and 2050. It is a tall order. It includes: “carbon-free electricity generation through a blend of wind, solar, geothermal and hydro-power…phasing out petroleum-powered engines from all cars, trucks, trains, ships and aircraft…finding alternatives to fossil-fuel based chemical fertilizers…and finding new processes for cement production.” But all of this is doable – if we don’t have leaders like Trump, Bojo and Bolsonaro. Holthaus quotes folksinger Utah Phillips: “The earth is not dying, it’s being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” One address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Along with our so-called leaders, planet killers include fossil fuel corporate executives and investors. So: corporations, banks, Wall Street, political elites, basically the people an older generation of leftists called the ruling class.

Holthaus’ plan to limit the damage is wonderful; the problem is prizing the oligarchs’ fingers off the levers of power. They will not go willingly. They do not care if they render the earth uninhabitable for the next generation. They don’t care what happens after they die. They never did and never will. And if the catastrophe comes in their lifetimes, they delude themselves with the notion that they have a plan. They mistakenly believe they can flee climate change to their gated estates in New Zealand (billionaire Peter Thiel) or to a new abode on Mars (billionaire Elon Musk). Disabusing them of these fantasies is probably a waste of time, but still it’s worth noting that if climate change goes unchecked, typhoons and wild fires will ravage New Zealand. Even if terraformed, Mars will remain less hospitable to human life than a climate-scorched earth.

The only way to change our rulers is to make their current business model unprofitable. That means court cases for millions or billions of dollars in damages. It means legislation that zeros out subsidies for fossil fuel companies. It means the Green New Deal and Holthaus’ idea for an environmental global Marshall Plan. In other words, it means a fight, a huge fight against the ruling class, because that class has no intention of yielding power – environmental apocalypse or no. They would rather life on earth perish, with them in charge than survive, with them losing power.

“If what you’ve been doing for hundreds of years has brought you to the brink of extinction, maybe it’s time to try something new,” Holthaus writes. Most of his readers will agree. It’s that sliver, the one percent who hold power, who disagree and see no reason to alter business as usual. Their current attempts to suppress or ignore the truth about climate change condemns hundreds of millions of people to forced migration, homelessness and premature death. But truth will out. And truth can galvanize millions of ordinary people into taking matters into their own hands, ignoring their rulers and stopping more global warming once and for all.

Posted in Environment, Health0 Comments

List of Zionist Targets Leaked: Tel Aviv Fears the Worst in ICC Investigation of War Crimes

by RAMZY BAROUD

When International Court of Justice (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, confirmed last December that the Court has ample evidence to pursue a war crimes investigation in occupied Palestine, the Israeli government responded with the usual rhetoric, accusing the international community of bias and insisting on Israel’s ‘right to defend itself.’

Beneath the platitudes and typical Israeli discourse, the Israeli government knew too well that an ICC investigation into war crimes in Palestine could be quite costly. An investigation, in itself, represents an indictment of sorts. If Israeli individuals were to be indicted for war crimes, that is a different story, as it becomes a legal obligation of ICC members to apprehend the criminals and hand them over to the Court.

Israel remained publicly composed, even after Bensouda, last April, elaborated on her December decision with a 60-page legal report, titled: “Situation in the State of Palestine: Prosecution Response to the Observations of Amici Curiae, Legal Representatives of Victims, and States.”

In the report, the ICC addressed many of the questions, doubts and reports submitted or raised in the four months that followed her earlier decision. Countries such as Germany and Austria, among others, had used their position as amici curiae – ‘friends of the court’ – to question the ICC jurisdiction and the status of Palestine as a country.

Bensouda insisted that “the Prosecutor is satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to initiate an investigation into the situation in Palestine under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, and that the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza (“Occupied Palestinian Territory”).”

However, Bensouda did not provide definitive timelines to the investigation; instead, she requested that the ICC’S Pre-Trial Chamber “confirm the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in Palestine,” an additional step that is hardly required since the State of Palestine, a signatory of the Rome Statute, is the one that actually referred the case directly to the Prosecutor’s office.

The April report, in particular, was the wake-up call for Tel Aviv. Between the initial decision in December till the release of the latter report, Israel lobbied on many fronts, enlisting the help of ICC members and recruiting its greatest benefactor, Washington – which is not an ICC member – to bully the Court so it may reverse its decision.

On May 15, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, warned the ICC against pursuing the investigation, targeting Bensouda, in particular, for her decision to hold war criminals in Palestine accountable.

The US slapped unprecedented sanctions against the ICC on June 11, with President Donald Trump issuing an ‘executive order’ that authorizes the freezing of assets and a travel ban against ICC officials and their families. The order also allows for the punishing of other individuals or entities that assist the ICC in its investigation.

Washington’s decision to carry out punitive measures against the very Court that was established for the sole purpose of holding war criminals accountable is both outrageous and abhorrent. It also exposes Washington’s hypocrisy – the country that claims to defend human rights is attempting to prevent legal accountability by those who have violated human rights.

Upon its failure to halt the ICC legal procedures regarding its investigation of war crimes, Israel began to prepare for the worst. On July 15, Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, reported about a ‘secret list’ that was drawn up by the Israeli government. The list includes “between 200 and 300 officials”, ranging from politicians to military and intelligence officials, who are subject to arrest abroad, should the ICC officially open the war crimes investigation.

Names begin at the top of the Israeli political pyramid, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his current coalition partner, Benny Gantz.

The sheer number of Israeli officials on the list is indicative of the scope of the ICC’s investigation, and, somehow, is a self-indictment, as the names include former Israeli Defense Ministers – Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; current and former army chiefs of staffs – Aviv Kochavi, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot and current and former heads of internal intelligence, the Shin Bet – Nadav Argaman and Yoram Cohen.

Respected international human rights organizations have already, repeatedly, accused all these individuals of serious human rights abuses during Israel’s lethal wars on the besieged Gaza Strip, starting with the so-called ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008-9.

But the list is far more extensive, as it covers “people in much more junior positions, including lower-ranking military officers and, perhaps, even officials involved in issuing various types of permits to settlements and settlement outposts.”

Israel, thus, fully appreciates the fact that the international community still insists that the construction of illegal colonies in occupied Palestine, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the transfer of Israeli citizens to occupied land are all inadmissible under international law and tantamount to war crimes. Netanyahu must be disappointed to learn that all of Washington’s concessions to Israel under Trump’s presidency have failed to alter the position of the international community and the applicability of international law in any way.

Furthermore, it would not be an exaggeration to argue that Tel Aviv’s postponement of its plan to illegally annex nearly a third of the West Bank is directly linked to the ICC’s investigation, for the annexation would have completely thwarted Israel’s friends’ efforts aimed at preventing the investigation from ever taking place.

While the whole world, especially Palestinians, Arabs and their allies, still anxiously await the final decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber, Israel will continue its overt and covert campaign to intimidate the ICC and any other entity that aims to expose Israeli war crimes and to try Israeli war criminals.

Washington, too, will continue to strive to ensure Netanyahu, Gantz, and the “200 to 300” other Israeli officials never see their day in court.

However, the fact that a “secret list” exists is an indication that Tel Aviv understands that this era is different and that international law, which has failed Palestinians for over 70 years, may, for once, deliver, however a small measure of justice.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

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