Archive | August 10th, 2020

Jewish National Fund is uprooting Palestinians – not planting trees

Jewish National Fund Crimes
By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

The Jewish National Fund, established more than 100 years ago, is perhaps the most venerable of the international Zionist organisations. Its recent honorary patrons have included prime ministers, and it advises UN forums on forestry and conservation issues.

It is also recognised as a charity in dozens of Western states. Generations of Jewish families, and others, have contributed to its fundraising programmes, learning as children to drop saved pennies into its trademark blue boxes to help plant a tree.

And yet its work over many decades has been driven by one main goal: to evict Palestinians from their homeland.

The JNF is a thriving relic of Europe’s colonial past, even if today it wears the garb of an environmental charity. As recent events show, ethnic cleansing is still what it excels at.

Crimes against humanity

The organisation’s mission began before the state of Israel was even born. Under British protection, the JNF bought up tracts of fertile land in what was then historic Palestine. It typically used force to dispossess Palestinian sharecroppers whose families had worked the land for centuries.

But the JNF’s expulsion activities did not end in 1948, when Israel was established through a bloody war on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland – an event Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe.

Israel hurriedly demolished more than 500 cleansed Palestinian villages, and the JNF was entrusted with the job of preventing some 750,000 refugees from returning. It did so by planting forests over both the ruined homes, making it impossible to rebuild them, and village lands to stop them being farmed.

These plantations were how the JNF earned its international reputation. Its forestry operations were lauded for stopping soil erosion, reclaiming land and now tackling the climate crisis.

Environmental damage

But even this expertise – gained through enforcing war crimes – was undeserved. Environmentalists say the dark canopies of trees it has planted in arid regions such as the Negev, in Israel’s south, absorb heat unlike the unforested, light-coloured soil. Short of water, the slow-growing trees capture little carbon. Native species of brush and animals, meanwhile, have been harmed.

These pine forests – the JNF has planted some 250 million trees – have also turned into a major fire hazard. Most years hundreds of fires break out after summer droughts exacerbated by climate change.

Early on, the vulnerability of the JNF’s saplings was used as a pretext to outlaw the herding of native black goats. Recently the goats, which clear undergrowth, had to be reintroduced to prevent the fires. But the goats’ slaughter had already served its purpose, forcing Bedouin Palestinians to abandon their pastoral way of life.

Despite surviving the Nakba, thousands of Bedouin in the Negev were covertly expelled to Egypt or the West Bank in Israel’s early years.

Ongoing crimes

It would be wrong, however, to imagine that the JNF’s troubling role in these evictions was of only historical interest. The charity, Israel’s largest private land owner, is actively expelling Palestinians to this day.

In recent weeks, solidarity activists have been desperately trying to prevent the eviction of a Palestinian family, the Sumarins, from their home in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers.

Last month the Sumarins lost a 30-year legal battle waged by the JNF, which was secretly sold their home in the late 1980s by the Israeli state.

The family’s property was seized – in violation of international law – under a draconian 1950 piece of legislation declaring Palestinian refugees of the Nakba “absent”, so that they could not reclaim their land inside the new state of Israel.

The Israeli courts have decreed that the Absentee Property Law can be applied outside Israel’s recognised territory too, in occupied Jerusalem. In the Sumarins’ case, it appears not to matter that the family was never actually “absent”. The JNF is permitted to evict the 18 family members next month. To add insult to injury, they will have to pay damages to the JNF.

A former US board member, Seth Morrison, resigned in 2011 in protest at the JNF’s role in such evictions, accusing it of working with extreme settler groups. Last year the JNF ousted a family in similar circumstances near Bethlehem. Days later settlers moved on to the land.

Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights group focusing on Jerusalem, warned that these cases create a dangerous legal precedent if Israel carries out its promise to annex West Bank territory. It could rapidly expand the number of Palestinians classified as “absentees”.

New colonial project

But the JNF never lost its love of the humble tree as the most effective – and veiled – tool of ethnic cleansing. And it is once again using forests as a weapon against the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian, survivors of the Nakba.

Earlier this year it unveiled its “Relocation Israel 2040” project. The plan is intended to “bring about an in-depth demographic change of an entire country” – what was once sinisterly called “Judaisation”. The aim is to attract 1.5 million Jews to Israel, especially to the Negev, over the next 20 years.

As in Israel’s first years, forests will be vital to success. The JNF is preparing to plant trees on an area of 40 sq km belonging to Bedouin communities that survived earlier expulsions. Under the cover of environmentalism, many thousands of Bedouin could be deemed “trespassers”.

The Bedouin have been in legal dispute with the Israeli state for decades over ownership of their lands. This month, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Daniel Atar, the JNF’s global head, urged Jews once again to drop money into its boxes. He warned that Jews could be dissuaded from coming to the Negev by its reputation for “agricultural crimes” – coded reference to Bedouin who have tried to hold on to their pastoral way of life.

Trees promise both to turn the semi-arid region greener and to clear “unsightly” Bedouin off their ancestral lands. Using the JNF’s original colonial language of “making the desert bloom”, Atar said his organisation would make “the wilderness flourish”.

The Bedouin understand the fate likely to befall them. In a protest last month they carried banners: “No expulsions, no displacement.”

After all, Palestinians have suffered forced displacement at the JNF’s hands for more than a century, while watching it win plaudits from around the world for its work in improving the “environment”.


A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi. The version here is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.

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Woodrow Wilson’s racism: The basis for his support of Zionism

Woodrow Wilson
By Lawrence Davidson

Woodrow Wilson’s racism

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was born in Staunton, Virginia, to Christian fundamentalist parents – his father was a Presbyterian minister – who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. Thus, Wilson grew up and was educated in the segregated American South. This upbringing imbued him with both a literal interpretation of the Bible and a lifelong racist outlook which he brought with him to every position, every office he ever held. For instance, while he served as president of Princeton University (1902-08), he refused to allow the university to admit African Americans. Despite his racist orientation, Princeton subsequently named a School of Public Policy and International Affairs, sub-colleges and buildings after Wilson. Today, in the wake of uprisings against not only police brutality towards African Americans and other minorities, but also America’s racist legacy, Princeton has removed Wilson’s name from these institutions and buildings. 

Wilson went on to become the 28th president of the United States (1913-21). He led the United States into World War I, was instrumental in the founding of the League of Nations, appointed the first Jewish member of the Supreme Court and, notably, facilitated the eventual establishment of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine through his support for the Balfour Declaration (1917). At the time he remarked: “To think that I, son of the manse [minister’s house], should be able to help restore the Holy Land to its people.” Subsequently, this decision made him as much a hero to Zionists, and American Zionists in particular, as he was a villain to African Americans. 

The Zionist dilemma

Given today’s reaction against the country’s historical racism, American Jews’ understanding of Wilson’s legacy is being debated. The challenge for Zionists is to save Wilson’s heroic image without totally disregarding his racist record. An attempt to do just that came in an essay, recently published on 2 July 2020, in the American Jewish newspaper the ForwardThe essay is entitled “Woodrow Wilson was a hero to Jews. What should we do with his racism?” and was written by Jonathan D. Sarna, a Brandeis University professor of American Jewish history.

Sarna notes both facets of Wilson’s career. On the one hand, “The Jews of his day considered Wilson a hero and a saviour, a man of principle and ethical uprightness.” On the other, African Americans “learn a totally different narrative” wherein “Wilson … staunchly defended segregation and characterised Blacks as an ‘ignorant and inferior race’.” 

Sarna seeks to square this circle by retreating to a frankly banal apologia: ”Many a flawed hero accomplished great deeds and changed the institutions and nations they led for the better… They remind us that good people can do very bad things – and vice-versa.” This is poor consolation for African Americans. It also turns out to be a shaky basis for Jewish admiration of Wilson. This is so because the alleged good Woodrow Wilson did for the Jews – his support for the Balfour Declaration – was based on the same racist foundation shaping his behaviour toward African Americans.  

Wilson supports the Balfour Declaration

What is the connection between Wilson’s racism and his support for the Balfour Declaration? The president was a European race supremacist, or what today would be called a “white supremacist”. As he saw it, African Americans were not the only “ignorant and inferior race” out there. All the non-European peoples, such as those of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestinians, qualified for this designation.

On 8 January 1918, in the run-up to America’s entrance into World War I, President Wilson announced his “Fourteen Points”. These were the nation’s war aims – notions around which to rally the American people. A major theme that runs throughout these “points” is the promise of self-determination for peoples then under the rule of the enemy Central Powers: Germany, Austria and the Ottoman Empire. Referring specifically to the last-mentioned, point twelve reads: “The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development.”

Such a promise, of course, included the Arabs of the Ottoman province of Greater Syria, which in turn included Palestine and its indigenous population. This pledge might seem to conflict with Wilson’s racist outlook, but one has to keep in mind that point twelve was meant as a propaganda piece in support of the broader claim that America was joining a war to make the world safe for democracy. As a vehicle for arousing the enthusiasm of the American people, it was effective. However, it transformed itself into something problematic as soon as Wilson got to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. US allies Britain and France wanted to incorporate most of the Ottoman lands, which they considered the spoils of war, into their own existing empires, and so objected to point twelve. 

Because of his European supremacist point of view, Wilson really had no deep objections to this expansion. The question was how to go along with his allies’ wishes while still appearing to honour the Fourteen Points. He achieved this goal in a way that also meshed with his racist worldview. He and his allies established the Mandate System. Real self-determination was now to be reserved for the European peoples previously belonging to the German, Austrian and Russian empires. For instance, Poland and Serbia, among others, were to be “accorded the freest opportunity for autonomous development”. Non-European peoples were  viewed as unprepared for this reward. They were to be placed under the tutelage of a “mandatory power”, which in the case of most of the Arab lands meant either Britain or France. Such imperial powers, in turn, were to instruct these inferior peoples in the art of self-government. It should come as no surprise that Palestine was given over to the British as a “mandate territory”. Indeed, the Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the preamble and second article of the mandate document for Palestine.  

Back to Sarna’s suggestion

Woodrow Wilson supported the Balfour Declaration because he was a Christian fundamentalist who believed that God desired the Jews, whom Wilson understood to have been civilised through long residence in the West, to “return to their ancient home”. The instruments for that return were the Balfour Declaration and the British mandate. The Palestinians were not even relevant to the issue for Wilson.

Given this history, what do we learn when, as Sarna suggests, we “probe more deeply into [our hero’s] flaws”?

  • It is now recognized that Wilson’s major flaw was his racist worldview and the behavioUr that flowed from it.
  • This racism was the basis of his mistreatment of African Americans.
  • As it turns out, that same racist outlook was part of the basis for his support of the Balfour Declaration – the very act that makes Wilson a hero for both past and present Zionists. 

Now we come to the second part of Sarna’s suggestion, that an examination of the hero’s flaws “invites us to think harder about our own flaws”. What are the resulting implications of such a self-examination for today’s Zionists?

  • What sort of flaw in ourselves should an examination of Woodrow Wilson bring Zionist Jews to consider?
  • The fact is that contemporary Israeli Jewish and Zionist attitudes toward the Palestinians in many ways mimic those of Woodrow Wilson towards African Americans. 
  • If we are to consider Wilson’s racism a flaw from which Jews too can learn, the consequence must be a reconsideration of the inherently racist Zionist attitudes and policies towards the Palestinians.

I do not know if Jonathan Sarna really meant to inspire a serious assessment of Israel’s and Zionism’s flaws through the re-examination of those of their champion, Woodrow Wilson. However, such an assessment would certainly reveal a shared racism. Wilson never ceased to be a racist and, at least since 1917, the Zionists have been following his “heroic” model. How many of them can be counted upon to take up Sarna’s suggestion and look into this shared historical mirror in any honest way?

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COVID-19 infections surge in West Bank

Tamara Nassar 

Men wearing surgical masks in queue
Palestinian laborers queue to enter Israel via the Mitar checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on 28 June. Mosab ShawerAPA images

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen almost sevenfold in the occupied West Bank over the past three weeks.

The total number of cases jumped from 690 on 16 June to more than 4,700 on 6 July.

There have been 20 deaths in the West Bank, more than half of them recorded in the past week.

The United Nations monitoring group OCHA said this was one of the highest increase rates recorded worldwide during this period.

The Palestinian Authority has renewed lockdown measures in certain areas in light of the recent surge, after easing them in May.

The recent uptick has been attributed to the easing of restrictions – including reopening businesses and houses of worship.

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed cases in Israel now exceeds 30,000. More than half of the people infected have recovered and 332 have died.

Initial antibody tests suggest that 2.5 percent of Israel’s population has been infected with the virus – more than 10 times the number of confirmed cases.

Restrictions renewed

Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, has urged Israel to close all the checkpoints in and out of the West Bank to stymie the spread.

Palestinian laborers who continue to work in Israel are believed to be a primary vector for the spread of COVID-19 in the West Bank.

Hundreds of thousands of workers travel between their homes in the West Bank and their jobs in Israel on a weekly basis.

In response to the recent surge, the Palestinian Authority imposed a week-long lockdown on Hebron in the southern West Bank and a two-day closure on Bethlehem to its north.

Shorter lockdowns were imposed on other Palestinian towns throughout the West Bank.

All shops were ordered closed, barring grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies.

The Palestinian Authority renewed prohibitions on large gatherings, such as weddings, graduation parties and funerals.

Shtayyeh has appealed to the public to avoid holding such gatherings.

The Allenby Bridge separating the West Bank from Jordan has opened a number of times in recent weeks, allowing passengers to cross into the West Bank.

No exiting Gaza

No new cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in the Gaza Strip since 10 June.

This is largely due to a sharp decrease in the number of people moving in and out of Gaza in the past few weeks.

There have been 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gaza, one of them fatal. The vast majority of people infected have recovered.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been closed by the Egyptian authorities. It is the sole entry and exit point for the vast majority of Gaza residents to the outside world.

The Erez checkpoint, the only crossing for people between Gaza and Israel, has been practically inoperative since March in an attempt to stymie the spread of COVID-19.

Exits from Gaza into Israel are limited to mostly medical cases in general.

But since the Palestinian Authority announced it was suspending coordination with the Israeli authorities on 21 May, Palestinians have had no means by which to apply for travel permits to enter Israel.

That includes Palestinians in need of critical medical treatment unavailable in the coastal enclave.

Human rights groups have sent a letter to the Israeli government demanding that Israel ensure that Palestinians with medical or humanitarian needs be allowed to travel outside Gaza.

“Israel may not, no matter the circumstances, prevent travel on procedural, bureaucratic grounds, all the more so when travel is required in order to exercise basic human rights,” the letter stated.

“Denying these individuals travel would be a blatant, severe violation of their fundamental rights, including the right to life and bodily integrity.”

The letter was signed by human rights groups Adalah, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, HaMoked and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

The Gaza authorities have decided that all those entering the Strip will be placed in mandatory three-week quarantine for the remainder of the year.

Israel’s siege on the territory has entered its 13th year.

Pandemic propaganda

The Kerem Shalom checkpoint, the only place Israel allows goods to enter and leave Gaza, is still operating.

COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation, has been using the coronavirus pandemic as a propaganda opportunity to boast of the medical equipment and other supplies it allows into Gaza through the crossing.

COGAT@cogatonlineLast week, 152 tons of medical supplies were transferred through the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Image

COGAT@cogatonlineLast week, 235 tons of medical supplies were transferred through the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Image

COGAT has also boasted of making its occupation apparatus more efficient during the pandemic, in connecting the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank directly to a bus station:



COGAT

@cogatonline


A pedestrian bridge was recently completed at the Qalandiya Crossing to allow for the safe passage of tens of thousands of Palestinians who travel through the crossing every day. The bridge was built with assistance from the Central Command of the IDF and the Israeli Police Force
Image

COGAT masks its oppressive role as the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation through seemingly “humanitarian” acts, including trying to make the occupation more “efficient,” by adding high-tech systems to checkpoints and building shortcut routes.

Such propaganda provides no comfort to the victims of Israeli oppression.

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Trump is Daring Us to Stop Him

by SONALI KOLHATKAR

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

President Donald Trump’s recent reelection campaign advertisement is straight out of the plot of a horror movie. Just days after he deployed federal officers to the streets of Portland, Oregon, his campaign released a 30-second television spot featuring an elderly white woman watching on her television the news of activists demanding a defunding of police. The woman shakes her head in disapproval as she notices a figure at her door trying to enter her house. She nervously calls 911, but apparently the activists she disapproves of have been so effective in their nefarious demands that the universal emergency hotline Americans rely on now goes unanswered. The vulnerable woman drops her remote control as the intruder enters her home, and we are only left to imagine the horror of what he does to her as the words “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America” appear on the screen. In this dystopian version of America, only Trump promises law and order.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, supports the defunding of American police. He does not, and in fact, in keeping with his historic support for police, Biden has demanded increased funding for law enforcement. But Trump has already proven that he will not let truth get in the way of his desires, and therefore a little more digging on the part of voters and a little more forthright reporting on the part of journalists is necessary to understand exactly who is breaking American laws.

The paramilitary units from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Trump has deployed to Portland have engaged in disturbing violations of human rights. They have used munitions to injure people, and acted like “thugs and goons” in the words of a Navy Veteran who was beaten with batons and pepper-sprayed in the face. They have arrested and detained people without documentation. Trump has defended their tactics saying the targets “are anarchists. These are not protesters… These are people that hate our country.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Director Chad Wolf took Trump’s characterization of protesters as “anarchists” to comical extremes in his public record of how and why his officers engaged with protesters. Saying that he “Condemns The Rampant Long-Lasting Violence In Portland,” Wolf used the words “violent” 76 times to describe what protesters have done to justify arrests and repression. Wolf’s definition of violence seems to almost entirely encompass property damage such as vandalism and graffiti. The closest that Portland protesters came to actual violence, it seems, was when they apparently, “attempted to cause eye damage to officers with commercial grade lasers,” and in another instance, “proceeded to launch aerial fireworks at federal property.”

The DHS records used the term “violent anarchists” 70 times and the term “protesters” only once, without making any effort to explain how exactly they distinguished “violent anarchists” from protesters, journalists or passersby. Nowhere in the document was there any documented behavior by protesters that came close to an attack on vulnerable elderly white women like the fictitious one in Trump’s ad. In not a single instance reported in the DHS account did a protester—or in Wolf’s words, violent anarchist—actually commit intentional violence against a human being.

Trump’s policy violates an idea that Republicans have long supported—that states ought to have the right to set their own laws and rules and that the federal government ought to respect that right. It also goes against the warnings that pro-gun Republicans have echoed for years—that mass gun ownership is necessary so that vigilant citizens can counter federal government tyranny of the sort that Trump has unleashed. Now that the kind of federal government overreach they have warned against for years is actually unfolding, there is nary a peep from the “gun rights” crowd.

It isn’t just Republicans who have embraced the march toward authoritarianism. Eighteen years ago Congress passed the Homeland Security Act to create the DHS—an agency with an Orwellian name—with 88 Democrats joining more than 200 Republicans in voting yes. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted a reconfiguring of American society and government that reverberates today, unleashing excessive surveillance and harsh immigration enforcement, while doing little to address the factors that provoked the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the first place.

Yet year after year, Democrats have voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act and other aspects of the post-9/11 authoritarian architecture. Now even as DHS officers are being deployed by a president they strongly criticize, Democratic lawmakers are trying to tie up funding for the DHS with that of the Department of Health and Human Services, which, according to the Intercept’s Ryan Grim, is “making it more difficult for progressive Democrats to oppose.”

But Trump has abused the infrastructure of the post-9/11 state repression to a far greater extent than either Presidents George W. Bush or President Barack Obama. The Washington Post reported that Tom Ridge, the notorious DHS secretary under Bush, denounced Trump’s move saying the agency was formed to counter “global terrorism,” and that, “It was not established to be the president’s personal militia.” A former Bush-era DHS official, Paul Rosenzweig, characterized the deployment as “lawful but awful,” while seeing the phenomenon as clearly unconstitutionalMichael Chertoff, another Bush-era DHS secretary, told a Washington Post columnist, “While it’s appropriate for DHS to protect federal property, that is not an excuse to range more widely in a city and to conduct police operations, particularly if local authorities have not requested federal assistance.” Chertoff added that Trump’s move is “very problematic,” and “very unsettling.” If those GOP officials who served under Bush—who were considered the political villains of their time—are disturbed, Trump has indeed crossed a line.

But another figure from the Bush years is rearing his head under Trump and encouraging his authoritarianism. John Yoo, the infamous lawyer who helped craft the “torture memos” during the Bush administration’s “war on terror” to justify the CIA’s use of torture during interrogations, is apparently advising the Trump administration on how best to use his executive power to skirt congressional authority, the Guardian reports. In June, Yoo wrote in an article in the National Review, “Even if Trump knew that his scheme lacked legal authority, he could get away with it for the length of his presidency.”

Trump has made clear that norms, ethics, laws, and even the U.S. Constitution are merely suggestions that mildly constrain him and that can be tossed aside when needed. His modus operandi is to push the limits of what he can do and dare the nation to stop him. Will we?

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The UK’s Russia Report on the “Londongrad Laundromat”

by KENNETH SURIN

Photograph Source: Adrian Pingstone – Public Domain

The UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), drawn from MPs and peers of all parties, last week published its report on possible Russian interference in UK politics.

The report’s release had been delayed by 9 months after it had been blocked by Boris “BoJo” Johnson in the run-up to the December 2019 general election.

The 55-page report– containing 175 redactions as well as several secret annexes– investigated possible interference by the Kremlin in UK politics.

The ISC does not come to firm conclusions, because it was not in a position to do so. It was impossible to say whether the Russians had in fact tried to influence UK politics—quite simply, the government made no attempt to find out what, if anything, was going on, or could have been going on.

If the report could not come to any conclusions about the activities of Russian bots, it certainly had enough to say about Russian oligarchs.

While UK politicians were turning their collective back on this issue in an act of willful blindness, the report makes it clear that quite a few in the top echelon of the Tory party had become particularly good pals with Kremlin oligarchs. Indeed, a cynic would say, why take an interest in the origins and uses of the iffy money pouring into the “Londongrad laundromat”, as long as the roubles were coming in by the truckload?

The report is forthright about the corruption of the UK associated with the inflow of wealthy Russian oligarchs, making use of easy-to-acquire “investor visas” if you could afford it, from the late 1990s onwards (Blair’s New Labour was in office at that time).

According to the ISC report:

“Russian influence in the UK is the new normal. Successive governments have welcomed the oligarchs and their money with open arms, providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’, and connections at the highest levels with access to UK companies and political figures”.

The report goes on to say:

“There are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene, and accepted because of their wealth…. The money was also invested in extending patronage and building influence across a wide sphere of the British establishment – PR firms, charities, political interests, academia and cultural institutions were all willing beneficiaries of Russian money”.

Though the report does not name these “Russians with very close links to Putin”, the Tories are reported to have received donations from 9 Russian individuals.

In addition, a reading of the Byline Times reveals who some of them are.

They include Alexander Lebedev, the former London KGB chief who owns the Evening Standard and the Independent. The playboy BoJo often parties at Lebedev’s properties in the UK and Italy, and met him soon after the Novichok nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

Lebedev and BoJo call each other “Sasha”, the Russian diminutive of “Alexander” (“Alexander” being BoJo’s first name).

Former and current big players in the UK political and commercial scene include Roman Abramovich (the owner of the Premier League soccer club Chelsea), Oleg Deripaska (known to have business dealings with Trump’s felonious associate Paul Manafort), Dmytro Firtash (wanted in the US for loan fraud), and the former Russian arms chief Alexander Temerko, who has donated more than £1.3m to the Conservatives. Temerko has been a citizen of the UK since 2011.

Just last week the Electoral Commission published new data showing continued financial support for the Conservative party from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to ex-Russian finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin, donated £325,000/$410,000 to BoJo’s party in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest data, making her the biggest ever female political donor in the UK.

In 2014, she paid £160,000/$202,000 for a game of tennis with BoJo and then-prime minister David Cameron, as well as a further £30,000/$38,000 for dinner with the UK government’s current education secretary, Gavin Williamson.

In May last year, Chernukhin dined with ex-prime minister Theresa May and numerous female members of the Cabinet at the time, after donating £135,000/$170,000 to a Conservative Party fundraising event.

The Northern Ireland secretary former and former Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis received £25,000/$32,000 from Chernukhin. (Lewis also received £23,000/$29,000 from Alexander Temerko.)

In all, Lubov Chernukhin has given over £1.7m/$2.16m to the Tories. As a British citizen her donations are legal.

An investigation by Open Democracy found that the Conservative Party received at least £498,850/$642,000 from Russian business executives and their associates between November 2018 and October 2019. This was a substantial increase from the previous year when donations from Russian sources amounted to less than £350,000/$441,000.

The Independent reports that 13 Tory cabinet ministers received “large sums” from Russian donors.

Alok Sharma, the business secretary, received £10,000/$13,000 from Temerko’s energy firm Aquind in 2020 and £15,000/$20,000 from Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN) in 2014. Temerko was vice-chairman of OGN.

Simon Hart, the Wales secretary, received £9,000/$11,500 from Temerko between 2016 and last year and a further £23,000/$29,500 from Aquind in 2019.

The chancellor of the exchequer/finance minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency party received £6,000/$7,700 from Temerko in 2015.

The justice secretary Robert Buckland’s constituency party received £5,000/$6,400 from OGN in 2014.

The international development secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, received £2,500/$3,200 from Temerko and her constituency was given a further £17,000/$21,700.

James Wharton, the former MP and Northern Powerhouse minister, received £25,000/$32,000 in donations over 4 years from Temerko.

David Morris MP received a £10,000/12,800 from Temerko’s Aquind.

Theresa Villiers, minister for environment, food and rural affairs from 2019 to 2020, received £2,000 through her constituency party in 2019 from Lubov Chernukhin.

Mark Pritchard MP received £5,000/$6,400 from Temerko’s Aquind for his constituency in 2019.

As the money laundering capital of the world, Londongrad has been the primary recipient of this dark money fed into it by the Russian kleptocracy.

Just two known cases – the Moldovan Laundromat scheme and the Deutsche Bank ‘mirror trades’ scam – saw £20bn/$25bn shifted into the UK through shell companies and limited liability partnerships in the past decade alone, successfully corrupting large areas of the financial industries which process this illicit money. A chunk of it then finds its way into the coffers of the Tory party.

Brits have also cashed in on the Russian connection. Brexit-supporting businessmen such as Jim Mellon and the Chandler brothers made huge fortunes in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some senior parliamentary figures, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg (the Leader of the House of Commons), still have important investments there.

The ISC report also noted that “a number of members of the House of Lords have business interests linked to Russia, or work directly for major Russian companies”.

Several peers and ex-peers sit on the boards of wealthy Russian companies. They include Lord Barker, who is chairman of EN+, co-owned by the already-mentioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Tony Blair’s former adviser, Lord Mandelson, was a non-executive director of the Russian conglomerate Sistema, for which he was paid £200,000/$255,000 a year. Mandelson reportedly continues to be a shareholder in Sistema.

Other members of the Lords work for Russian enterprises, including the shipping firm Sovcomflot UK, the oil firm RNG joint stock company, and the oil refining giant Russneft.

BP, the petroleum multinational, has a 19.75% stake in Rosneft (not to be confused with Russneft). Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin is a close ally of Putin’s. Other leading companies with branches in Russia include Barclays and Citibank.

The ISC report recommended that members of the House of Lords should register payments above £100, in line with the register of interests required of members the House of Commons.

In addition to blocking the ISC report for 9 months, and rejecting every one of its rather tepid recommendations, BoJo and the Tories have opposed, consistently, every legal measure to introduce tax transparency. As a result, their billionaire backers can continue on their merry ways with little or no accountability.

Anyone for tennis with BoJo? At £160,000/$202,000 a pop?

And those handsome donations? If you are a Russian billionaire, Tory HQ will probably provide you with details of the appropriate account for a bank transfer.

Trump and the Republicans have corrupted and weakened the US political system, and BoJo and the Tories have done something similar to its UK equivalent.

It is impossible to avoid the thought that this state of affairs brings a gleam of satisfaction to the eyes of Putin and Xi Jinping.

Posted in Russia, UKComments Off on The UK’s Russia Report on the “Londongrad Laundromat”

Black Lives Matter and the Nuclear Family

by NICK PEMBERTON

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

“We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).” —BLM website

To discredit Black Lives Matter the right and center point to Marxism and cultural Marxism as signs of Black Lives Matter. While the founders of the movement admirably identify as trained Marxists (and intersectional ones at that), I still contend that European models such as Marxism/communism and fascism do not explain everything about this state of global capitalism and the white supremacy necessary to maintain the order of this system. What the democratic socialism left is having to reckon with at this point in time is how has Black Lives Matter been able to organize the American spirit into collective action when the left generally thought of itself as small before this historic outbreak.

I will continue to contend that the left is too small for us to limit ourselves to an either/or approach. We must embrace all elements of the left project in the most intersectional way possible. That being said Black Lives Matter’s heroic exposure of the state has brought to light some contradictions amidst the electoral gambit of the largely white electoral strategy that in many ways ignored international governance of the black and brown poor through violence and authoritarianism rather than through democracy. This does not mean we should cancel this side of the left that is so essential but rather that we must begin to elevate those primarily black and brown voices who have effectively diagnosed the specifically American predicament.

With Donald Trump undemocratically elected at the helm, he is making clear to many with shut eyes that America is authoritarian and white supremacist. The next step is embracing a strategy that confronts his ruthlessness head on. Trump may try to win the vote this November but if he loses he won’t accept the the results. Does this mean we should ignore the election as he does? Not exactly but it means we must embrace what Cornel West calls an inside-outside strategy that aims to infiltrate American institutions while also recognizing this comes with a brutal reality check that at a certain point capital and the violence behind it always intervenes in purely political projects.

The electoral strategy Trump is playing to is most obvious in his reversal of Obama era anti-discrimination in housing initiatives, his bizarre claim that Joe Biden will destroy suburbs, his takeover of American cities with federal occupying armies and his advertisement of an elderly white woman being attacked by a burglar. All of these point to a recycling of his 2016 effort to demonize multiracial American cities by painting them as dangerous to the white American male as they could steal your job, your property, and your woman—the three defining ownerships of capital. All ownership itself is theft and violence upon the natural world.

How do white American women factor into this equation? Once again we must be careful to avoid easy answers and not reduce an identity group to a single coalition (Cedric Johnson’s insight) or one that is free from oppressive power dynamics (Andrea Dworkin’s work on right wing women being essential reading). Rather we can look broadly at the Trump strategy to appeal to the white nuclear family as a singular unit with singular value systems headed by white men in the name of protecting the women, children and the “way of life” which is just another way of saying protecting property and wealth theft taken from the environment and the poor and multiracial exterior heavily policed by American Empire and systematically defunded from by capital.

What Trump wants to do is paint a picture of lawlessness, violence and chaos in the American city in order to further convince white women that the race gambit protects them and convince white men that the race gambit is an extension of their interest. What is also explicit in Trump’s politics (specifically family separation of Latinx) and in America’s history more generally (from slavery to mass incarceration to war) is that in order to maintain order over poor people of color the man or “head” of the family, the most dangerous to the white man’s authority, must be cut off through his imprisonment, enslavement or colonization. Then in comes the propaganda against black men’s absence from the family and the propaganda against the black woman as a false authority in this absence, left both without the rights of whiteness to victimhood and the rights of man to agency. She is left at the intersection of what Henry Giroux notes is a growing number of disposable people in late-stage capitalism.

However it is here where the white man’s own crisis in his masculinity shines through. He is so insecure about his legitimate authority over all of the property he has stolen that he must destroy any parallel the man of color has in order to feel safe in his own skin. This miscalculation of the value of family and property to essential human experience has now left this group feeing vulnerable and even more willing to embrace violence in the name of civility.

What is going on now in America with an entire generation or two denied the American Dream we see a growing disillusionment. No longer are specific gender roles embraced that were always roles played in order to justify the theft and enslavement of the underclass. Man needed to be a man and pillage. Woman needed to be a woman and be protected. Gone too is the faith in property as younger Americans are renting, in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. Increasingly, and the recent boom in protests is a sign, young Americans are trying to bid goodbye to a racist past. Jobs too, especially amidst the coronavirus have become an increasingly alienated form of identity and community as unions are busted, pay is slashed and meaning is lost. The coronavirus has made the future of jobs uncertain and the desire to form a health care system and a broader economic system outside of the increasingly fruitless and precarious workplace is being seen as a necessity.

All this is to say that a long history of assaulting the black and brown nuclear family has made this moment of fear for the right inevitable. They are wise to be afraid. Erasing the false protection racket of the police is highly related to erasing the false protection of the ruling class white American male and the things he has stolen. Once the moral protectors are exposed as the cause of oppression new systems begin to form. The necessity of said group is questioned and the regime then turns to ugly propaganda and militarization to protect itself.

However a coalition of queer black feminist Marxists really can’t be stopped. The traditional family will crumble into multitudes of communal gender fluid multiracial cooperative coalitions built on dynamic definitions and installations of love. There will no longer be a need for a tyrant protector as community control of not only police but the entire society will flourish. Solutions to manhood involving war, jail and police will be exposed as solutions that only create the mythic man over and over again. Instead a new order that intervenes in the life of young people through education, empowerment and community will effectively shape societies into ones that solve humanity’s many problems through democracy rather than punishment.

The capital class is killing us all through ecocide, coronavirus neglect, unaffordable health care, poisoned air, water and food, pointless jobs and militarization. Donald Trump and company want to blame all these problems on the lawless person of color disguised in many post-modern rhetoric aversions that can never cover up overt racism in language of ruthless law and order. What this has unleashed is nothing short of chaos with a last ditch effort of the militarized police force to step in as a reactionary solution to a multitude of problems caused directly by the corporate elite.

We can only effectively resist this powerful well-funded and soulless class through an underclass overwhelmed by solidarity for each other’s humanity and unique histories, interests and goals. So is Black Lives Matter secretly a Marxist organization here to break up your family, property and all the ugly racist capitalist privileges assumptions behind it? Of course. But there’s nothing secret about it. That’s why the police open fire.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Black Lives Matter and the Nuclear Family

NIH Seeks to Identify Children at Risk for Severe Complication of COVID-19

By Carol Duff, MSN, BA, RN 

Health Editor’s Note: It was no sooner announced, months ago, that children, when they contract COVID-19 do not get as ill as adults.  This was drastically disproved when children started to develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) which is a very severe complication of COVID-19.

Children with MIS-C develop inflammation of the lungs, kidneys, brain, heart, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.  Symptoms of MIC-C are fever with other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rash, neck pain, conjunctivitis (blood shot eyes), abdominal pain and feeling very tired.  The cause is not known other than children who developed MIC-C also had the COVID-19 virus or had been exposed to someone who had COVID-19.

Not all children who develop MIS-C have the same symptoms. Reasons for a child to be seen immediately by health care professionals is difficulty in breathing, constant pressure or pain in the chest, appearing to be confused, unable to stay awake or to wake up, severe abdominal pain, and/or bluish color of face and/or lips.  

MIS-C is a new medical phenomenon, as is COVID-19, and needs to be researched and  studied to see how this COVID-19 complication affects children and why some children go on to have MIS-C after being infected with COVID-19 and others do not. The best scenario would be to protect children against developing MIS-C

Medical science is still learning about MIS-C and how it affects children, so it is not predictable to determine which child will get sick with MIS-C and which child will not develop this severe complication. It is  also do not know if children with certain health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C. These are among the many questions researchers are working to try to understand……Carol

NIH-funded project seeks to identify children at risk for MIS-C

NIH News Release

The National Institutes of Health has announced research funding to encourage the development of approaches that identify children at high risk for developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), thought to be a severe complication of COVID-19. Up to $20 million will be awarded to successful research proposals over four years.

Most children exposed to or infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, develop only a mild form of the illness. However, others go on to develop MIS-C(link is external), a severe, sometimes fatal, inflammation of organs and tissues, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin and eyes. The new effort seeks to encourage studies of genetic, immune, viral, environmental, and other factors that influence how severe a case of COVID-19 will be and the chances of developing to MIS-C.

“We urgently need methods to distinguish children at high risk for MIS-C from those unlikely to experience major ill effects from the virus, so that we can develop early interventions to improve their outcomes, ” said Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The NICHD-led project, called Predicting Viral-Associated Inflammatory Disease Severity in Children with Laboratory Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence (PreVAIL kIds), is part of NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. PreVAIL kIds aims to encourage development of cutting-edge approaches for understanding the underlying factors influencing the spectrum of conditions that may occur in children and youth infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These range from no symptoms at all to fever and cough, abdominal pain and diarrhea, and inflammation of the coronary arteries. The goal of the initiative is to understand the range of symptoms of COVID-19 and the factors leading to MIS-C.

Read More:

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on NIH Seeks to Identify Children at Risk for Severe Complication of COVID-19

Trump’s War on the Environment and Its Inhabitants

by MELVIN GOODMAN

Oil wells on federal lands in Colorado. Photo: BLM.

There are no limits to the pernicious ugliness of Donald Trump and his  administration.  We have examples of personal ugliness toward the late Senator John McCain and his family as well as the treatment of the Gold Star family during the 2016 presidential campaign.  There is policy ugliness in the racist Muslim travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld, and the cruel separation of families at the U.S.-Mexican border, with children held in isolation from their parents. The use of federal forces against peaceful protestors in Washington, D.C. in June and in Portland in July are fascist in their intent. The director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Government Secrecy Project, Steven Aftergood, remarked that the “use of military aircraft in a domestic operation should set off all kinds of alarm bells.”

Trump’s lack of responsibility for the dangers and deaths of the pandemic should ensure his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, but there are no certainties in American politics.  Trump’s ignorance and indifference toward the novel coronavirus, which is causing tens of thousands of additional deaths, is ironic, given his attacks on Barack Obama for the Ebola outbreak in 2014.  Trump proclaimed that “President Obama has a personal responsibility to visit & embrace all people in the US who contract Ebola.”

The most loathsome aspect of Trump’s pathological behavior is related to the pandemic.  Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).  And yet Trump continues his attack on bedrock environmental regulations established over the past fifty years.  During the 2015-2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to dismantle most of the key climate and environmental policies that were in place.  He has been enormously successful, according to the New York Times, with more than sixty environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back.  An additional 34 rollbacks are in progress even during the pandemic.

“Science denialism” is one of the worst aspects of the current political climate, and Trump and Vice President Pence are leaders of the movement.  A key indicator of Trump’s hostility to science, his anti-intellectualism, was the two-year delay in appointing a director to the White House Office of Science and Technology, the science adviser to the president.  Until Trump entered the White House, the record for presidents without a science adviser belonged to George W. Bush, who went nine months without one.  Trump’s adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist, was not confirmed until January 2019.  He is conspicuous by his absence in the current health crisis.

Trump’s climate denial has made the United States an environmental “pariah state” in a global community committed to addressing the problem of climate change.  Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord made the United States the only nation in the world to reject the climate accord.  The two original outliers—Syria and Nicaragua—have joined, and Nicaragua stayed out initially because the agreement didn’t go far enough.  Trump has undermined the rich legacy of the Obama administration in the environmental field, which included getting the world’s other major polluters—particularly China and India—to agree to reduce their emissions.

The reversals of Obama’s legacy have worsened the environmental degradation at a time when the respiratory impact of Covid-19 is unabated. Transportation and the production of electricity are the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for more than half of the total.  Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has severely weakened the Obama-era fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for passenger cars and light trucks.  The EPA revoked California’s power to set stricter tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government, and withdrew the legal justification for limiting mercury emissions from coal power plants.  The Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which set strict limits on carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants, was replaced by a ruling to allow states to set their own rules.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany argued last week that “science should not stand in the way” of the full reopening of schools, meaning “kids being able to attend each and every day at their school.”  Accordingly, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, reversed direction and played down the health risks of returning to school.  As the pandemic began, Trump tried to cut the CDC budget, arguing that the charge Covid-19 would be worse than the flu was the Democrats’ “new hoax” designed to unseat him.  After accepting the validity of the pandemic, Trump touted ineffective drugs as a miracle cure and even suggested that injecting bleach into the body could cure the sick.  His ignorance and contempt for science is endless.

(For the Record: As of July 25, 2020, more than 4 million people in the United States have been infected with Covid-19, and more than 149,000 have died.  China with three times the population of the United States reports 86,000 infections and 4,600 deaths.)

His authoritarian contempt for the U.S. rule of law is contributing to the violence and discord in U.S. cities where Trump has employed unidentified federal law enforcement officers, unmarked cars, helicopters, and aerial surveillance to end peaceful protest.  The helicopters deployed a downdraft tactic designed to terrorize peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., and the Air Force deployed a surveillance aircraft in Portland with state-of-the-art sensors typically used in war zones.  The aircraft is outfitted with long-range surveillance equipment that supports U.S. Special Forces on their ground operations.

Steven Aftergood has asked the right questions on the use of the surveillance aircraft: “What is their mission?  Under what authority are they operating, and who authorized them?  It seems like the administration is pushing right through what had been established norms of transparency and accountability.”  Similar questions must be asked regarding the immigration law enforcers—trained for shootouts on the Mexican border—now being deployed in Portland and Kansas City.  The Pentagon seems to object to using the military in these domestic situations, but there is no sign that the Department of Homeland Security has any qualms about the misuse of their capabilities.

The acting secretary of the department, Chad Wolf, is a former lobbyist and congressional staffer without experience in any of the functions of DHS.  He has no law degree, no experience in law enforcement, and no military background.  The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is in Portland as an unidentified force in unmarked rental vans.  It has taken on agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol who have been given sweeping powers.  Thus, Trump has sent a force reminiscent of the military’s Delta Force to patrol American cities under the guise of protecting federal property.  “The scandal isn’t what is illegal,” said the journalist Michael Kinsley.  “The scandal is what’s legal.”  The DHS, which has had five directors in Trump’s three years, is only too glad to do Trump’s dirty work.

Along with Wolf at DHS, Trump has the politicized support of Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.  Barr is operating Operation Legend, a federal interagency law-enforcement effort, active in Portland and Kansas City; there are plans to place agents in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, and Philadelphia.  The inspectors general of the DHS and the Department of Justice are investigating the deployment of federal forces to U.S. cities led by Democratic mayors.

Azar is a former pharmaceutical industry lobbyist and executive with strong conservative credentials.  He worked for several years under Ken Starr in the Whitewater investigation, and he clerked for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.  Azar is providing guidelines for the pandemic that are consistent with the political demands of Trump’s policy advisers and inconsistent with the demands of the public health and scientific community, including his own CDC.

The corruption of Donald Trump means that lives are being lost and laws are being broken.  There is no sign of congressional oversight and accountability for the excessive actions of the Trump administration.  The Senate is firmly in the hands of Trumpian loyalists, who are blocking legislation that would address the economic and social costs of the pandemic.  The House of Representatives is in the hands of Nancy Pelosi, but the legislation that comes out of the House sits on the desk of Senator Mitch McConnell.  Who knew that “one man; one vote” actually meant that McConnell is The Man?  So “one man; no vote.”

Posted in USA, EnvironmentComments Off on Trump’s War on the Environment and Its Inhabitants

‘We Will Coup Whoever We Want’: Elon Musk and the Overthrow of Democracy in Bolivia

by VIJAY PRASHAD – ALEJANDRO BEJARANO

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

On July 24, 2020, Tesla’s Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that a second U.S. “government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people.” Someone responded to Musk soon after, “You know what wasn’t in the best interest of people? The U.S. government organizing a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so you could obtain the lithium there.” Musk then wrote: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”

Musk refers here to the coup against President Evo Morales Ayma, who was removed illegally from his office in November 2019. Morales had just won an election for a term that was to have begun in January 2020. Even if there was a challenge against that election, Morales’ term should rightfully have continued through November and December of 2019. Instead, the Bolivian military, at the behest of Bolivia’s far right and the United States government, threatened Morales; Morales went into exile in Mexico and is now in Argentina.

At that time, the “evidence” of fraud was offered by the far right and by a “preliminary report” by the Organization of American States; only after Morales was removed from office was there grudging acknowledgment by the liberal media that there was in fact no evidence of fraud. It was too late for Bolivia, which has been condemned to a dangerous government that has suspended democracy in the country.

Lithium Coup

Over his 14 years in office, Morales fought to use the wealth of Bolivia for the Bolivian people, who saw—after centuries of oppression—remarkable advances in their basic needs. Literacy rates rose and hunger rates dropped. The use of Bolivia’s wealth to advance the interests of the people rather than North American multinational corporations was an abomination to the U.S. embassy in La Paz, which had egged on the worst elements of the military and the far right to overthrow the government. This is just what happened in November 2019.

Musk’s admission, however intemperate, is at least honest. His company Tesla has long wanted access at a low price to the large lithiumdeposits in Bolivia; lithium is a key ingredient for batteries. Earlier this year, Musk and his company revealed that they wanted to build a Tesla factory in Brazil, which would be supplied by lithium from Bolivia; when we wrote about that we called our report “Elon Musk Is Acting Like a Neo-Conquistador for South America’s Lithium.” Everything we wrote there is condensed in his new tweet: the arrogance toward the political life of other countries, and the greed toward resources that people like Musk think are their entitlement.

Musk went on to delete his tweet. He then said, “we get our lithium from Australia”; this will not settle the issue, since eyebrows are being raised in Australia regarding the environmental damage from lithium mining.

Suspension of Democracy

After Morales was removed, an insignificant far-right politician named Jeanine Áñez set aside the constitutional process and seized power. She showed the character of her politics when she signed a presidential decree on November 15, 2019, that gave the military the right to do whatever it wanted; even her allies found this to be too far and repealed it on November 28.

Arrests and intimidation of activists from the Movement for Socialism (MAS)—the party of Morales—began in November 2019 and still continue. On July 7, 2020, seven U.S. senators published a statement that said, “We are increasingly concerned by the growing number of human rights violations and curtailments of civil liberties by the interim government of Bolivia.” “Without a change in course by the interim government,” the senators wrote, “we fear that basic civil rights in Bolivia will be further eroded and the legitimacy of the crucial upcoming elections will be put at risk.”

There’s no need to worry about that, since the government of Áñez seems unwilling to hold an election. By all polls, Áñez looks likely to be defeated in the general elections. A recent poll by El Centro Estratégico Latinoamericano de Geopolítica (CELAG) says that Áñez will get a mere 13.3 percent, far behind the Movement for Socialism’s Luis Arce (41.9 percent) and the center right’s Carlos Mesa (26.8 percent). The election was supposed to have taken place in May, but it was rescheduled for September 6; it has now been postponed once more, this time to October 18. Bolivia would not have had an elected government for an entire year.

Luis Arce of MAS recently told Oliver Vargas, “We face persecution, we face surveillance… we are facing a very difficult campaign.” But, he said, “we are sure that we will win these elections.” If elections are permitted.

The CELAG study shows that 9 out of 10 Bolivians have seen their incomes decline due to the coronavirus recession. Because of this—and of the attack by this government on the MAS—65.2 percent of Bolivians have a negative appraisal of Áñez. It is important to note that due to the positive policies of Morales’ MAS, there is widespread support for a socialist orientation; 64.1 percent of Bolivians support taxes against the rich, and Bolivians in general support the resource socialism of the MAS and Morales.

CoronaShock and Bolivia

The government of Áñez has been utterly incompetent regarding the coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this country of 11 million people is 66,456; since testing is low, the number is likely much higher.

Musk returns to our story. Earlier this year, on March 31, Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Karen Longaric wrote an obsequious letter to Musk asking him about the “offer of cooperation posted by you regarding ventilators ready to be dispatched to countries where they are needed the most.” Longaric said, “If it is not possible to send it to Bolivia, we can arrange its receipt in Miami, FL. and transport them from there as quickly as possible.” No such ventilators came.

Instead, the government bought ventilators from a Spanish supplier for $27,000 for each of the 170 devices; Bolivian producers had said they could supply ventilators for $1,000 per unit. The health minister in the Áñez government—Marcelo Navajas—was arrested for this scandal.

Morales

Evo Morales read Musk’s tweet about the coup in Bolivia and responded: “Elon Musk, the owner of the largest electric car company, says about the coup in Bolivia: ‘We will coup whoever we want.’ Another proof that the coup was about Bolivian lithium; at the cost of two massacres. We will always defend our resources!”

The reference to the massacres is important. In November, from Mexico City, Morales watched as the government of Áñez let loose the dogs of war against the people of Bolivia from Cochabamba to El Alto. “They are killing my brothers and sisters,” Morales said at a press conference. “This is the kind of thing the old military dictatorships used to do.” It is the toxic character of the government of Áñez, backed fully by the U.S. government and Elon Musk.

Protests across Bolivia began on July 27 for the restoration of democracy.

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Nazi regime hits Beirut with nuclear missile

Israel hits Beirut with nuclear missile, Trump and Lebanese Govt. confirm (New infrared images from 2 cameras)

Trump confirms this was a bombing, not an accident and is immediately scourged by pro-Israel press…starting with the Daily Beast

By Gordon Duff,

#Breaking #Syria President Assad orders all borders and ports in the country open to #Lebanon, orders caravans of ambulances to head to #Beirut and ferry injured to hospitals in #Damascus, and launches an air bridge of medical and food supplies between the two cities

Absurdity squared: YouTube and Facebook “Fact Checkers,” employed by the people VT claims staged the attack are wiping the evidence from the internet…who would have guessed it.

By Gordon Duff, with

  • Nahed al Husaini, VT Bureau Chief Damascus
  • Jeff Smith, VT Editor, IAEA Nuclear Inspector/Particle Physicist

This is the original video frame, never posted anywhere, that proves everything on Facebook and YouTube which was taken down is real.

This is the grandfather of them all, one carefully validated as untouched and genuine.

Infrared images of the missile itself prior to impact:

Set I

Set II Different camera, different angle

Frame 1 Beirut
Frame 2 Beirut
Frame 3 Beirut

This is the same missile seen from a slightly different angle on impact.

Israeli Delilah missile carrying 6 kiloton (6000 tons of TNT equivalent) nuclear missile (unretouched photo via VT Damascus) Tineye says this is a unique image and doesn’t appear anywhere on the web.  We, however, are always suspicious when something seems ‘too good to be true.’

This is an infrared video which shows, at 6 seconds, the missile coming in and hitting…

This infrared video makes much more sense than ammonium nitrate on its own. Yes NH4NO3 is an oxidising agent and explosive under the right conditions, it is also very stable.

Judge for yourself. Doctored video? Different location? Or #Beirut attacked?pic.twitter.com/T0LnUqDvoy— Darren of Plymouth 🇬🇧 (@DarrenPlymouth) August 6, 2020

This is the video that was removed from Youtube for “violating content”.

Pixel analysis says this is a good photo. Thus, debunking it will become a huge issue. An army of trolls is already on Twitter and Facebook.

” First explosion was caused by Gabriel anti ship missile of Israel. The second explosion was caused by Israeli Delilah missile from F16. Our country is in complete jeopardy with this lazy and corrupt regime.” 

This is the radiation signature of the explosion received from a source in Italy, submitted to VT by the International Atomic Energy Agency (UN)

Evidence of a nuclear fission event in the Eastern Mediterranean
Trump confirms attack (nuclear not mentioned) and has suddenly become an “Enemy of Israel” (In 2015, Trump was referred to VT as a source of intelligence briefings. Eventually his staff turned to InfoWars and Steve Bannon.  You can see how that has worked out.)

VT: A general in the Lebanese Army reports that Israel dropped a tactical nuclear weapon on the port of Beirut today.  He reports that this was done to collapse the current political regime there and revolt against Hezbollah.

Their denial, almost identical to Israel’s supports this hypothesis.

As the lies begin, nothing about this explosion, the mushroom cloud or the strength of the explosion is fireworks, which was the first lie, then ammonium nitrate fertilizer, they say under 3k tons, which was stored for years to use on Lebanon’s golf courses, when they decide to build them.  No, nothing about today is funny.

We also add that earlier today, Netanyahu’s statement which we believe is Israel taking credit for the attack.  Beirut is still bomb damaged by Israel from 2006.  How you take Netanyahu’s statements as outlined in Times of Israel today, is a matter of faith, trust or conjecture.

Reem Al-Harmi ريم الحرمي chez moi @Reem_AlHarmiنتنياهو قال اليوم بأن اسرائيل ستفعل”ما هو ضروري”لحماية نفسها،تهديد لحزب الله- ما يفسر التفجيرات في #بيروت Netanyahu said “will do what is necessary in order to defend ourselves”. An obvious warning to Hezbollah, and this explains the explosions in #Beirut

The weapon was 6 kilotons.  That report now:

“Getting reports from Beirut, a tactical miniature nuclear bomb has been used to attack the port, nuclear experts and researchers have randomly pointed out to the reacted particles in the fire ball.

The weapon was 6 kilotons.  That report now:

“Getting reports from Beirut, a tactical miniature nuclear bomb has been used to attack the port, nuclear experts and researchers have randomly pointed out to the reacted particles in the fire ball.

Even if there is going to be a government cover up for peace and political implications in the coming hours, one thing is clear, it is a clandestine operation by some anti-Lebanon foreign agency not by some random terrorist (non-state actor).

Terrorists involved in Urban Warfare in ME do not have access to these highly advance tactical weapons. If they have it now, then someone is equipping them for political gains. Let us wait for the official statements from Lebanon. I hope our friends from Beirut are safe.

As per my latest source of information from Beirut. There is going to be a government cover up. The story about “Nitrate in the containers” is going to be declared as the original cause of the second massive explosion that caused the major damage. This will become the official narrative in the msm.


Barbara Davis@Natusb2
I Was Bloodied and Dazed. Beirut Strangers Treated Me Like a Friend.

The injured being evacuated after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday.

However, what influential and credible sources from Beirut are telling me is this:
“The Beirut explosion is about 100 times the energy than the 2015 Tianjin explosion, or 5.4 kilotons of TNT equivalent (using linear extrapolation from Tianjin, which involved 800 tonnes of ammonium nitrate).

Conventional nukes against Japan had 15 to 21 kilotons. But this explosion is different, it is because of modern tactical nuke that contains up to 10 kilotons of the hybrid material including uranium. It is this reason why we still have acid and radiation in the air. The storage facilities near the grain elevator are NOT marked for hazardous material storage, but are instead marked for general cargo. Therefore, you can guess it, what we will be fed in the coming hours.” – Ghayet Ali

” First explosion was caused by Gabriel anti ship missile of Israel. The second explosion was caused by Israeli Delilah missile from F16. Our country is in complete jeopardy with this lazy and corrupt regime.”

No photo description available.

Hezbollah, we are told, is expected to retaliate against Israel and they say there is no way for Syria not to be brought in.

Jeff Smith of the IAEA confirms this is a nuclear explosion. The lies about fireworks in ships and fertilizer are what we always get. You don’t store either one downtown in a major city like Beirut under any circumstances. Not much farming in Beirut and they don’t celebrate the 4th of July there.

The smoke could well be missile fuel which may mean a missile storage facility was hit by Israel. We have confirmation from Israel that they were planning to attack Beirut 5 days ago in retaliation for Hezbollah’s military attacks on Golan, which were not reported anywhere.

We are told Lebanon asked for nuclear investigators from Russia but there is no attempt to protect the site which, even if this were a modern clean weapon, still be radioactive.

New video shows nature of the blast a bit better. We will keep updating.

Beirut Governor Calls Explosion a ‘National Disaster Akin to Hiroshima’

“A fire brigade of 10 people arrived at the scene. What happened is very similar to what happened in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They drove to the scene and disappeared. This is a national disaster for Lebanon. We do not know how we are going to deal with this”, Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said. (Sputnik/Moscow)

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“Israel has nothing to do with the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on 4 August, the country’s parliamentary TV channel has announced. A similar statement was made by an anonymous Israeli official in an interview with Reuters, while the country’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi alleged that the blast was likely an accident caused by a fire.” (Sputnik/Moscow)

Earlier/VT: Two explosions in Beirut, one a conventional guided bomb followed by a small nuclear weapon. The target is now confirmed to be a Hezbollah missile storage facility.

This is the second explosion, that looks like the plasma ball of a nuclear explosion to me, note the white colour indicating extremely high temperatures – no conventional explosion burns so hot. Also note the great height of the plasma ball – it is taller than the grain silo. I am very strongly reminded of the nuking of Tianjin a few years ago.The warehouse to the east he speaks of is the black building shown in the video stills above.

This smells like a cover story, I very much doubt there were any fireworks involved, the small explosions seen in the videos were more likely to have been munitions cooking off due to fires started by the first explosion.

RT has just covered the explosions and quotes a Lebanese govt. minister:

https://www.rt.com/news/497080-beirut-explosion-lebanon-videos/

Health Minister Hamad Hassan told local media that a ship carrying fireworks exploded in the port. Video footage lends weight to his explanation, as it shows a small explosion followed by the crackling of fireworks, before a second and massively destructive blast.

Local residents have shared images showing extensive damage to property. The office of the Daily Star newspaper was smashed by the blast, with windows blown out and furniture flung to the ground. France24 correspondent Leila Molana-Allen said that her apartment was “blown apart,” adding that she thinks the blast was caused by a “missile from a jet.”

It looks very much like the Lebanese have invented the ship full of fireworks story to cover the truth. Molana-Allen is almost certainly correct – that it was some kind of missile or guided bomb dropped by a jet fighter-bomber.

Or are they going with the one we have heard so many times before when tactical nukes have been used – that it was a store of explosives that went up:Of course they would deny it was an attack, no-one ever admits a nuke went off, it’s terribly bad for public opinion.

Sodium nitrate, basically a big fertiliser bomb, nope, not buying that at all, this is the cover story they appear to be going with.

Image

This local lady describes a feeling of melting, that sounds like radiation hitting her – being hit by radiation feels like heat, it burns you.

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I don’t agree with the assessment that it was a fine particulate explosion, that wouldn’t explain the white hot plasma ball, only a nuke can explain that.

Windows blown out 7km away indicates a huge blast, again, suggesting this was indeed a nuke.

The phones going down is probably due to the EM pulse that nukes produce.

Embedded video

BREAKING: Massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. pic.twitter.com/RxWOpDAW0f— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) August 4, 2020

There are a lot of casualties, probably mostly due to flying glass and debris.

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Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, LebanonComments Off on Nazi regime hits Beirut with nuclear missile


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