Archive | September 7th, 2020

In a divided country, Americans can rally around reining in the Pentagon budget

by: Sara DuBois and Laicie Heeley

Historic anniversaries — like today, the 100th year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment — are often seen as opportunities for unity. Luckily, on at least one major issue, there is unity hiding in plain sight. For all the bluster and rhetoric on display at the political conventions this month, most people in this country see the Pentagon’s gargantuan $740 billion budget as a worthy target for cuts. But this shift in opinion shouldn’t come as a surprise. Experience and expert analyses point to a contradictory but potentially liberating truth, if we are willing to address it: As the Pentagon’s budget has grown, American security has suffered.

There are many ways to find consensus on this critical issue. What about left versus right? Polling shows that a majority of both Republicans and Democrats would make tens of billions of dollars of cuts to Pentagon budgets. But what about intraparty divides between activists and moderates? By a three-to-one margin, independent and moderate Democrats prefer a candidate who would cut wasteful Pentagon spending over one willing to “spend what it takes” to ensure U.S. military supremacy. Polling of military veterans also shows antipathy toward ballooning military budgets. And not only are activist-types like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on board, but establishment figures including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last month and even President Trump during his first year in the White House have endorsed reining in Pentagon budgets.

Most Americans, meanwhile, are far ahead of Washington when it comes to embracing Pentagon reductions — even when considering that it could mean fewer defense jobs in their district. Grassroots groups representing conservativeprogressive and racial justice movements have also all endorsed reducing Pentagon budgets in their 2020 platforms. Local leaders, including women state legislators from every corner of the country, have repeatedly urged Congress to cut back on Pentagon spending, which at its current levels does more to benefit defense contractors than improve security for anyone else. 

So, why the change? After all, it was only a few years ago that large swaths of the American public supported “safety,” in the form of Pentagon spending, at any cost. Fueled by a blank check of public opinion in the years after 9/11, from 2002 to 2017, the United States spent an average of almost $190 billion per year on counterterrorism. The Pentagon budget ballooned to levels not seen since World War II, and stayed there even as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have wound down.

Amid partisan jockeying and gridlock, our “security” budgets fell out of sync with what it means to be and feel “safe.” Even pre-pandemic, a growing number of Americans were finding themselves economically insecure, with shrinking wages and growing healthcare bills. Multiple “once in a generation” fires and storms were decimating local communities and economies. The United States continues to rank last among industrialized nations in maternal mortality, while faulty pipes and poor air quality threaten kids’ health in towns and cities across the country. As affordable quality education slipped out of reach for many Americans, China began to pull ahead of us, not militarily, but in technological innovation. While we spent $6.4 trillion bombing and then re-building countries abroad, guns, opioids, poverty, and racism killed tens of thousands a year at home. 

Around the same time, the National Academy of Medicine commissioned a study that suggested that an additional investment of $4.5 billion a year could help safeguard the United States against the devastation a pandemic might cause. In 2017, the Army estimated that a pandemic could cause double the total number of battlefield fatalities sustained in all U.S. wars since the American Revolution. War games warned that the United States should be prepared for a pandemic. Still, the Pentagon trudged on, investing in ever more complicated systems such as the F-35 that became too big to fail, and pivoting to focus on a potential war with Russia or China.


And so, while Congress doled out trillions of dollars for hardware and every conceivable military threat regardless of probability, Americans’ real security plummeted. Today, as Americans continue to suffer in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many don’t find it a stretch to think that perhaps we haven’t invested wisely. The coronavirus has now killed more Americans than 9/11. It has killed more than died in Vietnam and every war since, combined — and then some. In the wake of the pandemic, Americans have solidified their understanding that there are other, more probable and potentially bigger threats and challenges more worthy of our resources.

The current overlapping health, economic, and social crises have underlined in devastating detail the folly of our over-militarized approach. Instead, Americans of all stripes appear to be refocusing on improving our country’s systemic issues and recognizing that countering racism and investing in a sustainable economy are the anchors of a strong and secure nation.

Now, as we look back at 100-year milestones and look forward to uniting over the course of this year’s election and its aftermath, it’s past time to proceed with the unifying policy of a less militaristic view of the world, bringing the Pentagon back to reasonable and sustainable levels. Everyone deserves safety and the opportunity to succeed. And despite constant perceptions of division in this country, on that point, we can largely agree.

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Secret document: Saudis, ‘Israel’ working together to provoke war in Lebanon

Joyce Chediac

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Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

Only a day after major ISIS defeats in Syria and Iraq indicated that fighting may be winding down, an extraordinary series of events raised the danger of a new war, this time against Lebanon. These events began on Nov. 4 when Saudi Arabia destabilized Lebanon’s government by forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri’ to resign, and led to the Saudi government false claim on Nov. 7 that Lebanon had “declared war” on that kingdom.

Secret documents made public by Israeli TV Channel 10 indicate that this provocative war scenario was  coordinated by Saudi Arabia and Israel to instigate a new Middle East war, with Lebanon the target, vilified as a proxy of Iran. This provocation follows a huge Israeli military exercise held in September simulating an invasion of Lebanon designed specifically to target the Lebanese group Hezbollah. This was Tel Aviv’s largest military drill in 20 years, involving all branches of the Israeli military.

While Washington has branded the Lebanese group Hezbollah “terrorist,” progressives in the Middle East see the group as a defender of Lebanese sovereignty.  Twice, in 2000 and 2006, it kicked Israeli troops out of Lebanon.  Hezbollah has fought alongside the Syrian government not only to prevent the dismemberment of this neighboring Arab country, but also to prevent ISIS from invading Lebanon and terrorizing the people there. Iran, also vilified by U.S. imperialism and its clients, has provided crucial political, material and military support needed to defeat ISIS.

The events are as follows:

On Nov. 3, the last ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria fell. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel seek to dismember Syria, and have assisted ISIS.

In a measure never seen before in the international arena, on Nov. 4 under orders from the Saudi regime, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced from Saudi Arabia on Saudi TV his resignation as PM. He assailed Iran for interfering in Lebanon, and claimed that Hezbollah was trying to assassinate him.

Hours later, Ryadh said it intercepted a Yemeni-fired missile over its capital. For years the  Saudi regime, armed by the U.S., has been bombarding the people of Yemen, indiscriminately killing civilians.

While the Yemenis say the missile they fired was made in Yemen, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed claimed, “It was an Iranian missile, launched by Hezbollah,”  and constituted “act of war by Iran.”

On Nov. 7, the Saudis, furthered the escalation, and accused Lebanon of “declaring war” against it.

At the same time, in a bid to consolidate power, the Saudi regime arrested hundreds inside the kingdom on charges of corruption, including some of the country’s most high-profile princes and businessmen.

Leaked cable shows Saudi-Israeli coordination

The corporate media has long given the impression that Israel and Saudi Arabia are on opposite sides.  That is for public consumption. Both regimes are propped up and armed by Washington so that they can slam liberation struggles and independent governments in the Middle East and keep this oil rich area “safe” for Exxon Mobil  and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Now there is a smoking gun showing that Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to bring war to Lebanon.

On Nov. 7, Israeli Channel 10 news published a leaked diplomatic cable sent to all Israeli ambassadors throughout the world concerning the above events. The classified embassy cable, written in Hebrew, shows that Tel Aviv and Riyad are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the Middle East. These documents provide the first proof of direct collaboration between these two U.S. clients.

The cable was leaked by Barak Ravid, senior diplomatic correspondent for Channel 10 News.  The communiqué, he said, was sent from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on Nov. 6 to all Israeli embassies. It instructed Israeli diplomats to to do everything possible to rev up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran. The communication urged support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and for Israeli diplomats to appeal to the “highest officials” in their host countries to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics,” according to zerohedge.com.

Resignation leaves Lebanon vulnerable to attack

In Lebanon, Hariri’s resignation is seen as having been forced by the Saudis in order to destabilize the Lebanese government, foment discord and leave Lebanon vulnerable to Israeli attack.  Many have pointed out that the resignation statement was written in a style used by the Saudis. The resignation shocked even Hariri’s closest aides. The Lebanese army denied any assassination threat.

Lebanon’s unwieldy political system is easily destabilized.  Put together by the French colonizers in 1925, it mandates that government posts, and parliamentary apportionment, be based upon the country’s different religious groupings. The current government, with Hariri as MP, and Hezbollah’s Michel Aoun as president, took office last year. It ended years of government deadlock, and last month it produced Lebanon’s first budget since 2005.

Hariri, who has dual Saudi-Lebanese citizenship and financial interest in Saudi Arabia, is regarded as “the Saudi’s man” in Lebanon. The irony of a Lebanese PM railing against Iran for interfering in Lebanon’s affairs when he just resigned in Saudi Arabia on Saudi TV reading a Saudi-written statement has not been lost on anyone.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has announced that he will not decide whether to accept or reject the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri until Hariri returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has called on the people of Lebanon to remain calm.

Why is Hezbollah being targeted?

Israel, which shares a border with Lebanon, has long wanted to contain Lebanese sovereignty and even to annex its territory. The Israeli military bombed southern Lebanon for decades from land, sea and air.  In 1982 a massive Israeli invasion killed tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians, while Israeli troops occupied southern Lebanon for 18 years.  In 2006 Israel bombs targeted Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and fighter planes peppered the south with a million cluster bombs that still kill and maim.

Israel seeks to destroy Hezbollah because it is a formidable fighting force, and the only group that prevents Israel from doing as it wills in Lebanon. Hezbollah fighters and their allies kicked Israeli troops out of Lebanon in 2000, ending the 18-year occupation, and repelled an Israeli ground invasion of Lebanon in 2006, forcing it to retreat.

This week’s dangerous and provocative developments seek to counter the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq with war in Lebanon. Whether imperialism and its agents will be able to do this, however, is far from certain. The beleaguered people of the Middle East have been inspired by the victories against ISIS, and remain determined to fight for their rights.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

First-ever U.S. Space Force doctrine calls for space supremacy, further militarism

Photo of First-ever U.S. Space Force doctrine calls for space supremacy, further militarism

Christopher Banks

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U.S. Space Command was created in 1985 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to manage the “Star Wars” program: a U.S. Cold War plan to use space supremacy to menace the Soviet Union with orbiting battle platforms, powered by nuclear reactors and loaded with space-based weaponry like hypervelocity guns, particle beams and lasers. 

In the post-Cold War era, SPACECOM was dissolved. However, with U.S. business and political elites from both parties of the rich united around launching a new cold war with China and Russia as the targets, U.S. interest in weaponizing space has renewed. Thus, SPACECOM was reactivated in 2019. 

SPACECOM is temporarily located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Since May, a scramble has been underway with 31 cities now clamoring to be the new headquarters location, something that would bring with it multiple billions of dollars annually to expand space-related war industries. State and local politicians from both parties are slobbering over the prospect. 

In New Mexico, a quintessential “blue state” that is already neck deep in the space-oriented arms race, liberal politicians are thirsty to attract the lucrative “opportunities” associated with war. Both Democratic Senators, all three Democratic Representatives, along with Governor Lujan Grisham and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller — the later two associated with the “progressive” wing of the party — are all desperately lobbying the Air Force to land SPACECOM.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently toured Europe announcing that the United States is going full throttle to carry out a global confrontation with China. Pompeo does everything he can to turn the nations of the world against China, and even goes as far as calling for the overthrow of the Chinese government. A confrontation between the U.S. and China would almost certainly plunge humanity into world war.

In preparation for “major power” conflict in coming years, the Pentagon and U.S. government are prioritizing advancing technologies and capabilities to dominate and control space, with the belief that conquering the “ultimate high ground” of space will allow them to win the wars below. 

Reactivating SPACECOM to coordinate space operations between all branches of the U.S. military is a big part of that. Another part was last December’s inauguration of the sixth and newest branch of the military, called Space Force.

While the Space Force was created under the Trump administration, it was only made possible with the enthusiastic bipartisan passage of a historically high $738 billion military budget–which included an increase of $22 billion over the previous year. The war budget received backing from 80 percent of House Democrats and 82 percent of Senate Democrats. 

Space Force doctrine reveals war-crazed plans

In March, the Space Force deployed its first offensive weapons system, with more to come. In June, the Space Force published its first military doctrine titled Spacepower.

This terrifying publication begins chapter one/page one with a terrifying 1958 quote from then U.S. Senator and future President Lyndon B. Johnson: “There is something more important than any ultimate weapon. That is the ultimate position — the position of total control over the Earth that lies somewhere out in space.” 

The irrational quote may be 62-years-old, but its current use by the U.S. military shows that extreme, militaristic thinking is never out of style. Indeed, the rest of the document is an equally bizarre body of ideas on the need to obtain space supremacy (i.e. “total control of the Earth”), in open violation of international law.

On page 16, it states that “space must be defended from those who will seek to undermine our [U.S.] goals in space.” In other words, the U.S. will have total freedom of operations in space and aggregate to itself the right to deny other countries access to it.

The chapter on Employment of Space Forces lets the reader know that “the coercive value of military spacepower is not limited to great power competition. Military spacepower may still have a coercive impact on nations or actors who lack significant space dependencies by projecting power from the space domain.” In other words, the “coercive” effect of the United States’ asymmetric military advantage in space will be flexible enough to leverage against all countries and “actors” big and small, poor and less poor, high-tech and low-tech.

“The ability to legally transcend [in outer space where aviation law doesn’t apply] the most remote and protected national boundaries provides a unique opportunity to enable lethal and non-lethal effects against terrestrial targets (Pg. 32),” the document matter-of-factly states.

Quotables like those above are what led author and professor Karl Grossman recently to describe Spacepower as the space Mein Kampf of the U.S. military. 

The entire doctrine of control and domination flies in the face of all international space law. The Outer Space Treaty, written in 1967 and ratified by 132 countries including the United States, declares that space is to be used for peaceful purposes and not enduring war. 

China and Russia, along with Canada, have led efforts for decades to expand the Outer Space Treaty to ban all weapons in space, not just nuclear weapons and “other kinds of weapons of mass destruction,” as stated in the original 1967 treaty. Year after year, the United States has blocked those efforts. This shows who the true aggressor is. 

The significance of the new Space Force military doctrine cannot be overstated. In spite of the appearance of Republican/Democratic difference of opinion at election time, the doctrine will be transcendent. Whether Trump or Biden wins in 2020, the Space Force doctrine is going to be operational. And Democrats have shown that they will wield all aspects of the military industrial complex just as effectively and ruthlessly as Republicans.

The threat of war is real. While arch right-wing conservatives like Pompeo are giving overheated anti-China stump speeches across Europe, “liberal” politicians like those in New Mexico are on the backend eagerly maneuvering to intensify their role in the space technology arms race, i.e. in military preparations for WWIII. 

We need to push back against the lunatic militarism and wars of both capitalist parties!

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Gov’t silent as climate change unfolds

Tina Landis

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San Francisco skyline tainted orange from wildfire smoke, Sept. 9

As I write this article from San Francisco, Calif., the sky is dark orange and I need to have my desk lamp on to see, despite that it’s midday. There is so much smoke in the atmosphere above the summer fog layer that only the orange light gets through to the ground. 

From megafires, extreme heat waves, summer snow storms and hurricanes, millions across the United States are witnessing the effects of climate change first hand. California broke record temperatures again over Labor Day weekend while fires burned from Alaska to Mexico and around the globe. Colorado went from record high temperatures over Labor Day weekend to a snowstorm on Tuesday with a 60 to 70 F drop in temperatures within 24 hours.

Northern California is currently experiencing three of the four largest fires in the state’s history, burning over 2 million acres — an area more than twice the size of Los Angeles — since Aug. 18 with hundreds of smaller fires dotting the state. Over 100,000 have been evacuated and thousands have lost their homes, all during an unprecedented economic crisis and a pandemic with no end in sight.

The majority of fires were triggered by a rare weather anomaly. A tropical cyclone off the California coast clashed with a prolonged heatwave, causing an atmospheric disturbance and over 11,000 dry lightning strikes within 72 hours beginning on the night of Aug. 18. This came while the state is in a drought with vegetation prime to ignite. The frequency and severity of tropical cyclones and heat waves in the region is growing with climate change making a repeat of this weather anomaly likely. 

Currently, there are 89 large fires burning throughout the western United States. The 367 fires that were sparked by the lightning strikes overloaded already stretched CAL FIRE crews. Other states that generally send crews to support California were tied down with their own fires. The impossible task of containing so many massive fires at one time was even more dire due to a lack of inmate firefighters who annually supplement CAL FIRE crews. 

As part of an early-release program to reduce COVID-19 risk in prisons, formerly incarcerated fire crew members were unable to serve due to felony records, despite years of experience fighting wildfires. The state has since passed AB-2147, which will allow those formerly incarcerated firefighters to serve on CAL FIRE crews after release.

Longest streak of poor air quality

The densely populated San Francisco Bay Area is currently experiencing the longest streak of poor air quality in history — at 23 consecutive days as of this writing. The fires have forced people to stay indoors to avoid smoke exposure in the time of COVID-19 when protecting our respiratory health is even more crucial. But due to the extreme heat wave making it unsafe to keep windows closed without air conditioning, many have no choice but to suffer through the smoke. 

Immigrant farm workers throughout the state are being forced to work not only in extreme temperatures but also wildfire smoke. These super-exploited workers face eviction and starvation if they don’t go to work. 

Wildfire evacuees face the choice of risking exposure to COVID-19 in shelters or paying for hotel rooms. Although evacuation centers are limiting the number of people per center to maintain social distancing, reports state that enforcement of masks is spotty, forcing working-class people to choose between sheltering in their cars during high temperatures and smoky air or risk COVID-19. 

This is the class war on display, which will become heightened as climate change unfolds while the government does nothing significant to protect the most vulnerable. Every year, wildfires are becoming more frequent, larger, and more destructive, yet the state has done little to prepare and protect the population. 

Until the 1800s when colonizers banned the practice, the indigenous people of California annually held controlled burns to clear vegetation and reduce the spread of wildfires. In recent years, the state has increased efforts to clear vegetation in advance of fire season. But with climate change exacerbating fire risk, aging electrical infrastructure, and extreme weather events like the one that caused the current fires, those efforts fall short. 

At the same time as the fires raged, Hurricane Laura — one of the strongest hurricanes to reach landfall in Gulf Coast history — pounded southwestern Louisiana with 150 mph winds leaving 100,000 without power, cell service, or clean water for more than two weeks now. A dangerous heat wave that followed the storm caused more deaths than the hurricane itself. 

After the initial impact, the media has been largely silent on the devastation that the community of the Lake Charles region is facing. Liberation News sent a team of journalists to provide aid and give voice to those impacted. The team discovered that residents have seen no government relief workers and have no access to shelters despite widespread devastation.

Scientists have a hard time predicting exactly how fast climate change will unfold and the extent of the effects. We are currently only at 1 C warming and already experiencing extreme weather and devastation around the globe. The much-touted Paris Agreement’s voluntary commitments have us on target for 3 C warming, when scientists warn that staying below 1.5 C warming is what is needed to avert catastrophe. 

Despite being in charge of the wealthiest country in the world, the U.S. government — Democrat and Republican — is doing nothing to mitigate or prepare for the looming catastrophe. Even in to liberal bastion of California, state leadership is not taking the crisis seriously. California is the fifth largest economy in the world, yet there is no money for people’s needs while Big Tech gets tax breaks.

If humanity is to survive this crisis, we must immediately put all resources into preparing for what’s currently unfolding and what’s to come. We must immediately transition off fossil fuels and restore ecosystems that capture carbon from the atmosphere. We must protect the population from climate disasters and provide real relief for people in the aftermath. 

Capitalism has proven time and again that it is incapable and unwilling to meet the needs of the people. If we don’t uproot the system that has created the climate crisis, that continues to ignore it and go about business as usual, the majority of us face a truly dire not-too-distant future. The people have the power to change the path we are on — to share the challenges together and build a better world for all. 

Posted in USA, Environment, Health0 Comments

¡El Agua es la Vida! The battle for water in New Mexico

Karina Rodgers

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The Rio Grande, New Mexico's main water source. (Licensed for reuse)
The Rio Grande, New Mexico’s main water source. (Licensed for reuse)

Indigenous and Latino communities have a long history of agriculture, irrigation and unique water systems here in New Mexico. From sacred springs to acequias, people have depended on water for their livelihoods in the desert for centuries, and their water systems contribute to their cultural identity. Water is the center of spirituality for many Indigenous peoples and a form of self-governance and democracy for Latino communities. Since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, both Pueblo peoples and Latinos alike have been fighting against the U.S. government for the right to their water under the land grants they were promised to keep during the land secession from Mexico to the United States. As with many other signed legal documents of promises and agreements, the U.S. continuously broke the treaty and thus began a long history of illegal water seizure in the Southwest. Today, in the poor and rural communities of New Mexico, the descendants of these ancestral cultivators and resisters face threats from development, contamination and loss of water rights, all emanating from the grasp of capitalism.

Water transfers and adjudication

An acequia in Albuquerque's South Valley, NM. Liberation photo: Karina Rodgers
An acequia in Albuquerque’s South Valley, NM. Liberation photo: Karina Rodgers

When a small-town farmer hears the terms “water transfer” or “adjudication,” suspicions and negative associations usually begin to plague their thoughts. This fear results from the long history of water theft and arduous court battles over water rights of small agricultural towns. Towns like Pecos, Taos, and Picuris Pueblo are pitted against large corporations, the state and U.S. governments. Water transfers are a change of place or purpose of use of water rights.(Water Transfers in the West: Efficiency, Equity, and Environment.1992. Ch. 7: Northern New Mexico: Differing Notions of Water, Property, and Community. National Research Council. National Academy Press. Washington D.C.) Since the end of World War II, the western U.S. has experienced rapid population and economic growth. New Mexico, a center of the country’s military-industrial complex and the site of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Manhattan Project and testing of the first atomic bomb, water transfers have been made to support this growth over the past few decades. More and more water has left agricultural communities and has been privatized and commodified for economic and large-scale residential development. For example, between 1982 and 2011, 21,000-acre feet of Middle Rio Grande water were transferred to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Some of these transfers are from poor farmers selling their water rights to city governments or corporations, and some are transfers on behalf of the state, often without even consulting the affected community of the transfer first. The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer oversees transfers and adjudications and many farmers view the office with distrust.

Message of solidarity seen in Pilar, a small town in New Mexico's Embudo Valley, an area with a rich history of land and water activism. Liberation photo: Karina Rodgers
Message of solidarity seen in Pilar, a small town in New Mexico’s Embudo Valley, an area with a rich history of land and water activism. Liberation photo: Karina Rodgers

Adjudication is defined as, “a legal proceeding in which the court hears and decides all water rights claims in the stream system and confirms any valid water rights, whether claimed by a plaintiff or defendant, by court order”. Although the process is said to be only acknowledging existing water rights, it is another tool that can be used by the government to take or withhold water from Indigenous and Latino communities. For example, since 2001, Zuni Pueblo has been involved as a plaintiff in a lawsuit with the United States government to adjudicate all surface and underground water rights in the Zuni River stream system. In a recently published report of this case, the court ruled that although the Zuni has existing rights to the waterways it is currently using, they do not have the right to increase water diversion in “excess of the maximum annual quantity of water lawfully diverted and used by the tribe prior to May 13, 1846”. This means that the tribe cannot use more water for its people or for its agriculture than what it was using 171 years ago, regardless of population growth or the Pueblo’s effort to revive traditional farming. In the rest of the ruling, the court continues to hold and limit Zuni to the frequency of resource use that the pueblo was using prior to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. As it is, the Zuni River no longer reaches the Pueblo of Zuni as it is sucked dry by private ranchers further upstream and while Zuni is restricted in its growth and cannot further stimulate its economy through agriculture, the very center of Zuni culture and traditional practice, the state government continues to drain water from these marginalized, poor communities to feed its ever-growing greed for profit.

Contamination

Protest sign in Dixon, NM. Liberation photo: Karina Rodgers
Protest sign in Dixon, NM. Liberation photo: Karina Rodgers

With the military, nuclear research labs, and fossil fuel industry here in New Mexico, there are hundreds of examples of water contamination throughout the state. The majority of contamination sites surround impoverished communities and communities of color. The South Valley, a historically rural Latino center of Albuquerque, contains some of the most polluted areas of the state. Military giants Kirkland Air Force Base, Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and other military installations like South Valley Works, a former nuclear engine research facility now owned by General Electric, have been dumping toxic waste around the Latino and African-American residential neighborhoods of Mountain View and John Marshall. The groundwater south of these neighborhoods is so contaminated that it will never be potable again, which led to the largest environmental lawsuit in New Mexico history. The military isn’t the only polluter in the South Valley. Local industries are just as toxic, with thirty-one Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulated polluting industries located in the Mountain View neighborhood alone. Mountain View now has the largest underground nitrate plume in the state, which contaminated sixty-three wells and affected the health of residents (Price, V.B. 2011. The Orphaned Land: New Mexico’s Environment Since the Manhattan Project. University of New Mexico Press.)

In fact, there are three EPA identified Superfund sites in the South Valley. One, a petroleum hydrocarbon plume from Chevron, the ATA Pipeline, and Texaco tank farms. Another is a creosote-soaking site for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. The last, the Pronto PCB dump site, where a Texas company dumped waste oil containing PCBs, a carcinogenic chemical, into an unlined pit between 1980 and 1982. In 1979, two city wells were found to have traces of chlorinated industrial solvents along with twenty private wells that were found to contain benzene and trichloroethylene, among many other volatile and carcinogenic chemicals. The EPA was called in to help, but water clean-up did not begin until seven years after the initial discovery. It is now thirty years later, and the EPA is still working on cleaning up the water. During the 1980s, 70 percent of the South Valley’s residents were Latino, with almost 50% living far below the poverty level (Price, 2011).

A whole article could be written about the atrocities and environmental crimes committed in the South Valley. Thousands of people have been affected by contaminated wells, and clean groundwater is becoming scarce. South Valley is a clear and terrible example of environmental racism.

Development

Profit from development has always been a priority in New Mexico and that continues to be true today, as seen in the community of Rio Rancho. Rio Rancho, initially a suburb of Albuquerque, is now a separate city and continues to develop at an alarming and unsustainable rate, outgrowing its water rights and depleting its aquifer. With no other options for water, Rio Rancho has been buying off water rights from the farmers of Jemez and Zia Pueblos. Capitalizing on the poverty within the Pueblos, Rio Rancho has been offering significant sums to buy up water rights and with farmers not yielding enough money from their crops, they often have no other options than to sell and move away from their ancestral homes to the city to seek better opportunities.

Still, demanding more, Rio Rancho has considered a proposed pipeline that will run all the way from the San Augustin Plains in Catron County. Augustin Plains Ranch is a New Mexico corporation owned by foreign investors. The corporation’s plan is to drill thirty-seven wells near the town of Datil and pump 54,000 acre-feet of water each year through a pipeline to the highest bidder, until however long it takes to deplete the aquifer, completely forsaking ranchers and other residents of the area for profit. Rio Rancho in its hungry search for water, is one of the top contenders in this bid. Although right next to the Rio Grande, New Mexico’s main water source, Rio Rancho cannot use any of this water, as the river is already fully appropriated. Instead, with the drilling of the San Augustin aquifer, Rio Rancho will be “indirectly” sucking the Rio Grande dry by depleting one of the water sources that feeds into the river, which affects thousands of residents living south of Albuquerque that depend on the river for their livelihoods. This greed, thoughtless negligence, and complete lack of planning is just another characteristic of capitalism.

El agua es la vida – The fight back

New Mexico has a long history of water activism, and the fight continues today, now more imperative than ever. As climate change affects the landscape, more and more people struggle to hold onto their water rights as the competition for the scarce resource increases. Threats from the for-profit industry and from contamination plague the state as water associations impose stricter regulations and increase yearly water fees, forcing stakeholders to give up their rights because they either cannot afford it or because they live in the city and cannot make it back to their hometowns as often as they’d like to irrigate the fields that have been in their families for centuries. Even though Pueblo and Latino peoples have seniority within the court system when it comes to water rights, they clearly have the most to lose. This issue not only affects the descendants of these historic water users, it affects all poor people. New Mexico is the second poorest state in the country: 1 in 5 residents live in poverty (Santa Fe New Mexican). Sadly, local and state governments are not looking to make conditions better for the people. They bring in big companies like Intel and Facebook that suck the lifelines of the land dry and spew out toxic waste as a replacement – all at the cost of the people. The revenue from these corporations are not used for public education, healthcare, or affordable housing. All of it is funneled back into the pockets of the wealthy elite. We cannot rely on the Republicans or the Democrats to change these conditions, we must rely on ourselves. As long as capitalism exists, our rights will always be stolen, commodified, and privatized. The needs of the people will never be respected and will never be placed before profit.

El agua es la vida! When capitalism threatens and destroys the very foundation of life, then we must destroy the threat and establish a system that protects life. We must establish socialism, a system for the people by the people, a system that truly represents us and places our lives and our needs first. People before profit!

Posted in USA, Human Rights0 Comments

In latest US move vs. China, Pompeo stirs up division in Southeast Asia

Photo of Trump’s stunning admission: As pandemic spread, president lied to the world

Walter Smolarek

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his platform at the annual foreign ministers’ summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on September 10 to bash China and stir up trouble in a region 8,000 miles away from his office in Washington, D.C. Pompeo urged the members of ASEAN, a 10-nation regional cooperation bloc founded in 1967, to “Reconsider business dealing with the very state-owned companies that bully ASEAN coastal states in the South China Sea.”

By “bully[ing] ASEAN coastal states”, Pompeo was referring to competing territorial claims by China and its neighbors to the waters of the South China Sea. The Chinese government and publicly-owned Chinese companies have constructed facilities in these disputed areas in recent years, as have other countries involved in the disputes. 

This is not a new strategy for Washington — by inflaming this hot-button issue, the Secretary of State hopes to isolate China diplomatically and economically in order to preserve U.S. dominance in East Asia and beyond. Liberation News spoke with K.J. Noh, a peace activist and scholar on the geopolitics of Asia, about Pompeo’s actions at the summit and their significance. 

On the issue of construction in contested territory, Noh explained, “China is not unique regarding construction or claims in the South China Sea. Five out of six of the claimants to the South China Sea have built facilities on contested Islands, including airstrips and other military facilities. The contested claims to the South China Sea among the various nations themselves bisect, tri-sect, quadri-sect — they are simply not just about China.”

Hypocrisy of the empire

Pompeo offered his false friendship to the nations that compose ASEAN. “Don’t let the Chinese Communist Party walk over us and our people. You should have confidence that America will be here in friendship to help you.” Pompeo told the bloc’s top diplomats. 

Noh pointed out the utter hypocrisy of these words: “[T]he US has not been a staunch ally. To the contrary, it has perpetrated or engineered five of the worst mass genocides in the 20th century in ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and supported war atrocities and politicide in four others: East Timor, Malaysia, Myanmar and Khmer Republic … I find it deeply ironic that the country that has perpetrated the majority of gut-churning war crimes and genocides on ASEAN countries should become so solicitous and concerned about the interests and well-being of these countries.”

Noh continued, “This is comparable to militia member Kyle Rittenhouse traveling far across state lines to “defend” another person’s store by parading and waving arms — it’s a misguided, belligerent act of interference and provocation that creates risks and harms for everyone, and heightens the risk of war.”

The danger of open war breaking out in the South China Sea is no exaggeration. The U.S. military constantly conducts “freedom of navigation” exercises where it sails its most advanced warships through disputed waters, carries out provocative air exercises and spy missions, and has since the early years of the Obama administration been dramatically expanding its military presence in the region under the “Pivot to Asia” doctrine. Such a conflict has the potential to devastate the entire world, and yet this is precisely the path the Pentagon and State Department are traveling down.

Despite its noble-sounding proclamations, the true goal of the U.S. government is to prevent a resolution to the disputes among neighbors in Southeast Asia. Noh highlighted the fact that, “China and all the other ASEAN nations were in the process of negotiating and resolving their disputes amicably, until the US, weaponizing lawfare, concocted with the Philippines in 2015 a fraudulent case about the South China Sea in a paid-for farce of a private tribunal that was later marketed as a UN ruling (it wasn’t).”      

Mike Pompeo’s speech to the ASEAN summit was a textbook example of the oldest imperialist trick in the book: divide and conquer. But the reality is clear — the U.S. government is a friend to no one other than Wall Street and the ultra-rich, and causes chaos wherever it intervenes.

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Abolitionist solidarity — Black and white — in the struggle against slavery

Paul Wilcox

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 Abolitionist Kansas Jayhawkers returning from a raid on slaveowners’ camp in 1858. Photo: Kansas Historical Society.

The full story of the struggle to end chattel slavery in the U.S. has yet to be fully told. History books have always minimized the struggle of enslaved people, who from the beginning in 1619 fought slavery at every turn, rebelling, escaping, fighting for the right to fight. Some 180,000 enlisted in the Union army and suffered among the highest casualties in a war where high casualty rates were considered proof of bravery.

The role of white working-class people in the struggle against slavery has also been left out of history books, buried beneath an avalanche of lies, distortions and slander. The ruling class is terrified of multinational solidarity, particularly in the working class. Their history is meant to show that such solidarity is not today, nor ever, possible. The truth is hidden.

“Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.” — Karl Marx, Capital

Marx saw clearly that the white working class had a direct stake in the struggle against slavery, that slavery in the South was closely linked to the exploitation of the working class in the North.

History books focus on the role of bourgeois abolitionists, often based on religious moralism and sentiment. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” who portrayed Tom as a passive, Christ-like figure, and William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the abolitionist newspaper “The Liberator” organized and bravely faced death threats. But it was the active role of white, working-class abolitionists in the struggle against slavery that mattered more. The truth is that alongside the heroic efforts of enslaved Black people, a great many white abolitionists were ready, willing and able to put their lives on the line to end slavery.

Struggle against slavery started in 1619

The struggle of enslaved people in North America began from the first day African captives were forced off the slave ships in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, and never stopped. From mass rebellions, escapes, sabotage, and countless other ways, enslaved people fought for their freedom. Rebellion never stopped, whether individually or in larger groups. It is not possible to provide a complete list of rebellions because they were so many, and no one article can do full justice to the struggle. Here are just a few:

The best known is Nat Turner’s heroic revolt in 1831, when Turner and his group escaped and moved from plantation to plantation, gathering more followers until they numbered about 60. They took money, supplies and weapons as they moved and killed 55 white slave owners and their families. Contrary to most reports that said that the rebellion was against all whites, Turner spared homes of poor whites “because Turner believed that the poor white inhabitants ‘thought no better of themselves than they did of the slaves,’” according to one newspaper of the time.

NatTurner planning revolt in 1831 in Southampton County, VA. Photo: National Park Service.

When captured, the State of North Carolina executed 56 Black people; the racist militia killed about 200 more, whether they had been involved in the rebellion or not.

Andry’s Rebellion in 1811 involved more than 200 people and burned at least three plantations. In the The New York City conspiracy trial of 1741, 10 fires were set in New York City as part of a plan to end slavery. Thirty African American men, two white men, and two white women were executed after a phony “jury” trial. In the 1739 Stono Rebellion in South Carolina, enslaved people escaped and killed several slaveholders, burning their homes as they traveled.

Denmark Vesey (also called Telemaque) was a Black leader in Charleston, South Carolina, and worked as a carpenter. In 1822, Vesey was alleged to be the leader of a planned slave revolt. Vesey and his followers were said to be planning to kill slaveholders in Charleston, liberate the slaves, and sail to the Black republic of Haiti for refuge. In June of 1822, he was convicted of being the leader of “the rising.”

Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy during the Civil War, and a women’s suffrage supporter.

Harriet Tubman in 1868. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1863, Tubman became the head of an espionage and scout network for the Union Army. She provided crucial intelligence to Union commanders about Confederate Army supply routes and troops and helped liberate enslaved people to form Black Union regiments.

One of the most successful expeditions to free enslaved people was the Combahee Ferry raid, which freed over 700 people, led by Harriet Tubman, carried out by 300 Black Union soldiers and Kansas Jayhawker Colonal James Montgomery.

The true story of working-class abolitionism is yet to be told

The entire history of the working class, particularly regarding the struggle against slavery, has been re-written to fit the needs of the captains of capitalism. The following are only some examples of how history has been rewritten. This information is available but hard to find and never part of the popular media, where it belongs.

The struggle in Kansas against slavery led by abolitionist Jayhawkers

“Jayhawk”

Fiction: Today a “Jayhawk” is a fictional blue bird and mascot of the Kansas athletic teams. Jawhawkers in pre-Civil War history are most often called “robbers” “assassins” and “looters” not concerned about slavery. A Hollywood movie in 1959 called the “Jayhawkers” had no Black actors and had no reference whatever to the Civil War.

Fact: The struggle against slavery in Kansas in the 1850s, before the Civil War, was led by an unofficial, unsanctioned abolitionist force called the Jayhawkers, who fought a border war with the slave owners and their hired thugs. The Jayhawkers refused to join units officially sanctioned by the U.S. Army, since the government policy was not anti-slavery until 1863.

The Jayhawkers conducted raids into pro-slavery Missouri to stop the attempt of pro-slavery forces to invade Kansas and make it a slave state.

Abolitionist guerillas raid slave catchers’ town in Osceola, Missouri, in 1861. Graphic: Library of Congress.

One highlight of their struggle was the sacking of Osceola, Missouri, a center of pro-slavery forces. It was done by the Kansas Jayhawkers on Sept. 23, 1861, to push out pro-slavery thugs, after the Union Army left the territory. It was not authorized by Union military authorities, but the town of Osceola was virtually burned to the ground and over 200 enslaved people were freed. Twelve slave owners and slave catchers were rounded up, given a quick trial, and nine were executed. What’s not to like?

John Brown fought in Kansas and led raid on the armory at Harper’s Ferry

Fiction: John Brown was “insane,” “mentally unstable,” “psychotic” and so on.

Fact: Implying that any white man willing to fight and die to end slavery was “insane” fits the racist narrative of the slave owners, and is a terrible insult.

After the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the issue of slavery was left up to the white, male settlers. Pro-slavery gangs invaded Kansas. John Brown moved to Kansas and was an early Jayhawker. He lead abolitionists to Pottawatomie Creek in retaliation for a raid on the Free Soil town of Lawrence. Brown and his followers killed five pro-slavery thugs with their own swords (!). It has been called “murder” and a “massacre,” the usual names for revolutionary justice. Brown was involved in numerous raids to aid enslaved people before his daring raid on Harper’s Ferry with 13 white and five Black men, which became a world-famous call for a war on slavery.

Recruiting poster for abolitionist regiment at the start of the Civil War. Photo: Wikipedia.

Brown’s famous words on the gallows tell the real story: “ … had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful … or any of that class. … Every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.”

Northern trade unions went all in on the Civil War

Fiction: Most Union soldiers were racist and only fought because of the draft and to “save the Union.”

Fact: When the Civil War started in 1861, so many workers volunteered for the Union Army that whole unions in the north virtually ceased to exist. Irish workers, immigrating from famine at home, “had a battle record second to none.”  Some 200,000 German workers, many immigrants from the crushed revolutions of 1848 in Europe, who settled in St. Louis, brought their revolutionary spirit with them to battle the slaveholders. Refugees from the 1848 revolutions came from other countries as well. English Chartists (a working-class movement for reform in the 1840s), Welsh miners, 40,000 Canadians, the Garibaldi Guard of Italian workers in New York City, and so on, volunteered by the many thousands. But none surpassed the 186,000 Black soldiers, mostly freedmen, who volunteered to fight when finally allowed to enlist in 1863. (Labor’s Untold Story, United Electrical Workers of America, 1955)

This is not to say that there wasn’t any racism among Union soldiers, reflecting the prevailing attitudes in the North. The Democratic Party, for example, controlled by slave-owning interests, pulled no punches in its racist depictions in political campaigns, stating that if slavery ended the freedmen would come north, steal jobs, and lower wages, not unlike the Trump administration says today. Actually the opposite was true. Ending slavery strengthened the hand of labor.

Fiction: All Confederate soldiers loved General Lee, were happy to fight for the slave-holding planters, and had high morale, unlike the Union Army.

Fact: Certainly the Confederate Army was a cesspool of racism, from the officer corp. through the ranks. But the desertion rate in the Confederate Army was even higher (10-15 percent) than the Union Army (9-12 percent). r

Almost completely unknown was the anti-Confederate guerilla war in Mississippi led by a poor white farmer, Newton Knight, who organized several hundred Confederate deserters to declare Jones County to be a “Free State” that seceded from the Confederacy. If Knight hadn’t spent years after the Civil War in seclusion, finally calling a journalist to record what happened, his story would have been buried forever. 

Experience in the Civil War changed consciousness among Union soldiers

Consciousness changes in any struggle. When the Union soldiers saw how horribly enslaved people were treated, sentiment for abolition grew; when they saw the widespread poverty in the South, for enslaved people as well as poor whites, abolitionism grew; when Confederate officers arrogantly entered Union camps to demand the return of “their” escaped slaves, abolitionism grew; and when white Union soldiers saw the unparalleled bravery and fighting spirit of Black soldiers, sentiment for abolition grew. 

In 1864, when the election was a referendum on the war, between Lincoln and the pro-slavery Democrat, formerly popular Union General McClellan, the soldiers’ vote was at least 80 percent for Lincoln, 90 percent by some accounts.  (What They Fought For, by James M. McPherson, 1995)

Suspect history of the racist anti-draft riot of 1863 in New York City

The racist uprising in New York City against the Union draft law was mostly Irish immigrants, who blamed Black people for unemployment, burned, looted and lynched for four days, burning an orphan asylum. That wealthy men could buy their way out of the draft for $300 (while a skilled worker could earn $10 a week) was somehow blamed on the free Black community.

However, New York City at the time was a hotbed of “copperheads,” supporters of slavery in the North. The biggest banks in New York City were intimately connected with the Confederacy, and their profits largely came from slavery. The list of banks involved reads like a “who’s who” of Wall Street: JP Morgan, Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia Bank, Wells Fargo, and other banks all got rich from the slave trade.

The Irish population of New York City in 1850 was about 200,000; about 1,200 to 1,500 took part in the racist riot. https://daily.jstor.org/race-and-labor-in-the-1863-new-york-city-draft-riots/  The U.S. government today enables well-financed racist militias to roam freely; it is hard to believe that the banks had no hand in financing lumpen elements in the working class to lead the revolt.  As was mentioned, Irish soldiers had a strong war record in the Civil War.

Even the history of piracy has been completely re-written

Fiction: Pirates were bloodthirsty killers who made their captives “walk the plank.”

Fact: Real pirates, whatever their individual stories, were democratic and egalitarian, and played a role in the struggle against slavery: The most famous pirate ships in history were captured slave ships. Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and Samuel Bellamy’s Whydah were both stolen from slavers and turned into pirate vessels.

When a pirate crew captured a slave ship, they got a whole new crew. Often, they’d go into the lower decks, set the slaves free, and encourage them to join. Blackbeard, for example, had 60 Black crew members on a ship of 100 men. On pirate ships, all crew members, Black and white, had the same rights.

International Workmen’s Association (First International) tried to continue struggle

In September 1871, 20,000 people marched for the eight-hour day in New York City, with the slogan “Workingmen of All Countries Unite.” African American members of the waiters’ union and plasterers’ union joined the march to great applause. This was a real advance in the city where eight years earlier racist anti-draft riots killed and destroyed the homes of Black people. (Reconstruction: the Battle for Democracy 1865-1876 by James Allen, International Publishers)

But the forces of racism and reaction were to overwhelm the progressive movement. Union troops were withdrawn from the South in a historic betrayal of the freedmen in 1876. The Panic (depression) of 1873 brought renewed workers’ struggle in the North. Some of the troops withdrawn from the South were used against the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, killing over 100 workers in several states.

History is re-written to protect the powers that be

All movements look to the past for inspiration, and the current rebellion today against racism and police murder is no exception. Solidarity is a critical component of every movement. Workers on strike need and depend on solidarity from other workers, for example. The ruling class is not very afraid of middle-class movements because they know the middle class is not revolutionary on its own. They are terrified of working-class movements and the solidarity that comes from common class interests because they are all too aware that workers are the true grave-diggers of capitalism. We all have a stake in the struggle against racism and national oppression.

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Palestinian hunger strike leader to stop drinking water

Photo of Palestinian hunger strike leader to stop drinking water

Richard Becker

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With the announcement by its initiator and leader Marwan Barghouti that he will stop drinking water, the Palestinian mass hunger strike, now in its 32nd day, has entered a critical stage. Barghouthi’s dramatic step came as a response to the Israeli government’s refusal to engage in negotiations with the strikers.

More than 1,300 Palestinian prisoners are participating in the “Freedom and Dignity” strike. The strike is calling for an end to the denial of family visits, improved health care, access to higher education, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention.

Without water, a person, especially one already weakened by more than a month without food, is unlikely to survive more than a week.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs issued a statement in which it quoted Barghouti’s lawyer, Khader Shqeirat, as saying that Barghouti’s decision to refuse water would be “a new turning point in the ongoing open-ended hunger strike.”

The committee’s statement accused the Israeli regime of responsibility for embarking on a “tragic and disastrous road” and taking “a criminal stance regarding the just demands of prisoners.”

According to public opinion polls, Marwan Barghouti is the most popular political leader in the West Bank. He is currently serving five life sentences at the hands of the Israeli “justice system,” which convicts 99.74 percent of Palestinians charged with “security” violations. Barghouthi refused to put on a defense in his 2004 trial, maintaining that Israel had no authority over him.

Since the June 1967 war when Israel conquered the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and Syria’s Golan Heights, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested and imprisoned inside the 1948 borders of the state of Israel in clear and indisputable violation of international law. Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids the detention of residents of an occupied territory in prisons inside the occupying country.

According to the prisoner rights organization Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained over the past half-century; 40 percent of all adult male Palestinians have done time in Israeli jails. Today, there are more than 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. There are no Israelis in Palestinian jails. Palestinian prisoners are routinely subjected to torture, administrative detention without charge for up to six months (indefinitely renewable), and many other forms of abuse.

Daily solidarity protests growing

Daily protests in solidarity with the hunger strike have been met with violent and often deadly repression by the Israeli military and heavily armed settlers.

On May 18, during a solidarity protest at the Huwwarra checkpoint near Nablus in the northern West Bank, an Israeli settler shot and killed 23-year-old Muataz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa, wounded a journalist, hit three other Palestinians with his car, and rammed a Red Crescent ambulance. In typical fashion, the Israeli army announced that no investigation of the settler was being opened. No matter how vicious or even deadly their actions, fascist settlers routinely carry out their attacks with impunity.

Despite massive repression, the struggle in solidarity with the hunger strikers and against the occupation is escalating.

Just hours after Shamsa’s death, thousands took to the streets of his home village, Beita—a renowned center of the liberation struggle—in a militant funeral march.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, West Bank0 Comments

US gov’t silent as Palestinians murdered in surge of Nazi Jewish settler violence

US gov’t silent as Palestinians murdered in surge of Israeli settler violence

Saul Kanowitz

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Palestinians putting out fire set by Zionist settlers to sabotage West Bank crops. Such sabotage is a common occurrence. | Photo: twitter.com/ShababAgencyEn

The U.S. media is full of stories of the “undemocratic regime” in Venezuela and a sudden “concern” for the human rights of everyday Venezuelans. If the U.S. government and the corporate media were really concerned about a lack of democracy and violations of human rights, they would focus on the Zionist policy of actual violence and murder in the territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 war.

Over the past few years, the rightward shift in Israeli society, in which the most extreme expressions of Zionism now occupy the center of Israeli politics, has manifested itself in many ways. The passage of the “Jewish Nation-State Law,” defining only Jewish people as having the right of self-determination, is the legal expression of this open embrace of racist and colonial thinking. Increased violence by Zionist settlers in the Occupied Territories is another reflection of the extreme and racist hatred towards Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.

On the ground in the Occupied Territories, greater and greater acts of violence, including murder, by Zionist settlers against unarmed Palestinians are occurring. Even the pro-Israel New York Times published an article this month in a modest rebuke of settler actions entitled, “As West Bank Violence Surges, Israel Is Silent on Attacks by Jews.” While the title implies general violence in the West Bank is up, the only “surge” reported was that settler violence was up 50 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. In this 2,000 word article, there was never any mention that the settlements themselves are violations of international law and are illegal.

The article recounts how armed settlers recently attacked the Palestinian village of Al Mughayir with live-fire weapons. Palestinians who appealed to Israeli soldiers to stop the assault were told to call the local police. After the residents organized to defend the village, “soldiers arrived and fired tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and possibly live bullets in the air while settlers shot live ammunition.” Hamdy Nassa was killed while helping to evacuate other Palestinians who had been wounded during this terrorist assault by Zionist settlers.

Settlements violate international law

The settlements are just one of the standard illegal practices carried out by the Zionist occupation forces. Under the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949, it is illegal if the occupation force “transfers of the civilian population of the occupying power [Ed.-Zionist setters] into the occupied territory. …” Other routine violations of international law include removing Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank to prisons in Israel and the demolition of a civilian structure as collective punishment for the acts of the Palestinian resistance.

Unlike the native Palestinians, the Zionist settlers rarely face punishment for their actions. According to The Electronic Intifada, “ … data from the human rights group Yesh Din show that just three percent of a Israeli police investigations of “ideologically motivated” crimes (Ed.-hate crimes) against Palestinians by Israeli civilians result in a conviction.

In a Feb. 6 report, the Maan news agency reported that in the Jenin area of the West Bank Israeli settlers are setting up mobile settlements on Palestinian-owned land. Settlers were escorted in by heavily armed soldiers. According to a Maan article, “ … in August 2018, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that if Israeli settlers built a settlement on private Palestinian land with ‘good intentions’ then it should not be removed.”

None of the criminal and illegal terrorist actions by the settlers, the IDF, and the Israeli government could be possible if it were not for the political protection and economic and military resources provide by U.S. imperialism.

The United States routinely uses its veto power on the United Nations Security Council to block even the mildest of resolutions condemning any of the dozens of war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. From the massacre in Jenin to the construction of the internationally condemned wall around Gaza to the ever-expanding construction of settlements, the U.S. shields the Israeli government from any real consequences of its actions.

Money raised for settlements in US is tax deductible

While the United States officially does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and nominally opposes the settlements, the concrete actions and laws of the United States tell a different story. The U.S. government has pledged $38 billion in U.S. military and economic aid over the next 10 years to the state of Israel. Beyond that, U.S. tax laws provide for tax-deductible donations to organizations funding the settler movement. A Huffington Post article revealed, “Between 2009 and 2013 alone, more than $220 million of tax-exempt money was funneled into settlements and Israeli nonprofits by at least 50 American organizations acting under the guise of charitable nonprofits. …”

Over 600,000 Zionists settlers live in over 200 official and unofficial settlements in the West Bank. Living among more than 2.5 million Palestinians, these occupiers represent some of the most rabidly racist and violent elements of Israeli society. Fifteen percent or 60,000 settlers are U.S. born. Settlers regularly terrorize the indigenous Palestinian population, destroying olives orchards, vandalizing with racist graffiti, firebombing property, and conducting marches through Palestinian communities chanting racist slogans like “Death to Arabs.”

Zionism, the ideological foundation of the state of Israel, is a colonial project of occupation and displacement. From Theodore Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, to Ze’ev Jabotinsky to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all the central leaders of Israel have had a hostile view of the native Palestinian population. These racists’ vision of a Jewish-only state necessitates a policy of forced removal of all Palestinian people from Palestine. The settler movement represents the shock troops of this policy.

On the question of Israel, the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and the leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties on the issues of “freedom, democracy and human rights” could not be better contrasted with the policies and actions taken by the U.S. government against the Venezuelan government

In Venezuela, the Bolivarian government has greatly reduced poverty, made health care accessible to the poor, and built 1.5 million free or low-income housing units. In the West Bank, illegal settlements are funded by U.S. tax-deductible donations, and the occupation forces use administrative detention to arrest and imprison Palestinians for attempting to rebuild illegally demolished homes. IDF soldiers routinely stand by and watch as armed settlers brutalize, shoot, and in some cases murder Palestinians without consequence.

The United States and its junior partner Israel are the greatest violators of human rights on the planet, from the exploitation of human labor and the Earth’s resources to the brutal occupation and subjection of whole nations and peoples. The Palestinian people are heroic fighters resisting imperialism, the state of Israel, and the settler movement.

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Follies of a biased busybody, ‘Israel’s’ soft war on Armenia

Among the assortment of the anti-Armenian gang is one Adelle Nazarian of Los Angeles.

…by Art Stepanian for VT Armenia

The Armeniapedia.org online encyclopedia has a section titled “Armenian Hall of Shame” which lists characters whose actions against Armenia and Armenians have earned them a place on the shaming platform. The list—with more than 120 names—includes Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Dennis Hastert, Justin McCarthy, Paul Goble, and Hakan Yavuz.

Among the assortment of the anti-Armenian gang is one Adelle Nazarian of Los Angeles. Despite the name, she is not Armenian. Her Iranian parents left that country because of alleged anti-Semitism, New Jersey-born Adelle says.

In the past few years, “journalist” Nazarian has been lobbing rotten tomatoes at Armenia and Armenians. Like that other journalist manqué Nurit Greenger of Los Angeles (see “Shrill Jacqueline-of-all-tirades Attacks Armenia and Artsakh” in Keghart.org May 4, 2020) Nazarian applies a litmus test to determine her editorial stance: states friendly with Israel get a positive spin and those hostile become the targets of her venom.

For example, she’s pro Kurdish independence in Syria, Iraq, and in Iran because Israel supports the creation of Kurdistan in Syria/Iraq/Iran as a device to weaken the two Arab states and Iran. She’s silent regarding the Kurdish struggle in Turkey because Israel, despite Erdogan, is friendly with Turkey.

Although Armenia is not anti-Israel, Nazarian doesn’t approve of Armenia because Armenia is at war with Israel’s client Azerbaijan which has bought billion dollars worth of armaments from Israel. Like her “older sister” Nurit, Adelle abides by the dictum: “the enemy of my friend is my enemy.”

As much as attacking nations, states, and organizations busybody Adelle deems hostile, the lightweight scribbler invests a lot of time to self-promotion. On her blog, she flashes her photos with politicians and her “deep thoughts” on everything from God to ketchup. She must be under the illusion that she’s attractive.

Why else the interminable album of her photos on social media? Adelle in old-fashioned Hollywood pin-up pose; Adelle with a come-hither look in a revealing evening dress; Adelle beaming through thick kohl eye-shadow; Adelle with lots of leg, and Adelle with glossy pink lipstick fashionable with pole dancers.

It’s a stretch to call Adelle journalist. She’s more of a PR megaphone. A hired typist, her best friends are clichés. Infelicities of English abound in her copy. She covers up her ignorance of Armenians by repeating what more adept anti-Armenian propagandists have spouted over the years.

But her glaring handicaps haven’t discouraged Adelle from churning anti-Armenian articles: a case of political agenda overcoming journalistic objectivity. While her “think pieces” are confined to small, far-right outlets, they’re of some importance because they have the potential of turning some Jewish readers against Armenians.

Here are the two headlines of her articles which represent variations of her two obsessions:

“An Open Letter to Special Envoy Elan Carr: Time to Counter Armenian Anti-Semitism”—The Algemeiner (NYC), July 9, 2019. And “U.S. Should Follow in EU’s Lead on Nagorno-Karabakh’—Arab News (Saudi Arabia), July 7, 2020.

A few years ago Armenian seminarians in Jerusalem attacked two yeshiva students (she describes the fight as ‘lynching’ thus indicating she doesn’t know what lynching means). Since Israel occupied the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish fundamentalists have made a habit of attacking Armenians, including the current Armenian Patriarch when he was a bishop.

Armenian seminarians have been spat at; Israelis have written anti-Armenian graffiti on Armenian Quarter walls and have torn posters depicting the Genocide. Nazarian doesn’t mention seminarians were belatedly reacting to the frequent accosting by the yeshiva students.

In the past four years, Jerusalem Nature Museum has dedicated a week celebrating the 1,700-year Armenian presence in the city. On June 29 of this year the Times of Israel published an article headlined: “Mayor of Jerusalem Visits Armenian Ceramic Art Exhibition.”

The report said: “Moshe Lion, mayor of Jerusalem, visited the Armenian exhibition dedicated to the Armenian ceramics art at Nature Museum of Jerusalem…” Similar Israeli and Armenian cooperation go unmentioned in Nazarian’s articles because they do not advance her agenda.

There are fewer than 1,200 Jerusalem Armenians in a city of 874,186 in 2016). The tiny community has no quarrel with Israel and welcomed Armenia’s recent decision to open an embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel has no consulate or embassy in Armenia.

Although Israel is the number-one provider of weapons to Azerbaijan, Armenia has not criticized Israel. Armenia recognizes the Holocaust with a monument. Israel doesn’t recognize the Armenian Genocide. These facts are of no interest to her because they do not advance her thesis.

With the ignorance and arrogance of a cub reporter, Nazarian says Armenia is anti-Semitic because it honors Karekin Nzhdeh, one of the saviors of the nascent First Republic of Armenia who supported Nazi Germany for existential reasons: he hoped Germany would liberate Armenia from Soviet rule and alternately feared because of Hitler’s antipathy towards Armenians, the German army rolling to the Baku oilfields might commit a genocide of Armenians—especially when the government–controlled Turkish media was braying that Armenians were Semites and thus deserved the fate of the Jews.

Perhaps because she lacks a well-rounded education, Nazarian might not know the proverb “The drowning man will clutch at straw.” To prevent the extinction of his people, Njdeh was prepared to associate with anyone. Nazarian surely knows that since its birth Israel has allied with numerous undesirable regimes around the world—from apartheid South Africa to the fascist juntas of Latin America to military-ruled Turkey.

Her third “proof” of Armenian anti-Semitism is the “evidence” provided by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It’s not worth addressing the accusation of an organization which colluded with Turkey to defeat Armenian Genocide recognition resolution by Congress. The ADL is a discredited political group which illicitly spied on thousands of Americans and American organizations. It also possessed reams of illegally acquired government records and classified FBI documents.

The fourth “proof” of “Armenian anti-Semitism” is a Pew Research Centre study which said one-third of Armenians prefers not to have a Jew as a neighbor. Why the surprise at that discovery when Israel has for years been arming Azerbaijan—the country which threatens to erase Armenia from the map?

While Armenia has been circumspect about criticizing Israel, some Armenians expressed their frustration with Israeli policy in unacceptable terms. When Americans fought the Germans and the Japanese during WWII, many Americans stooped to expressing their hatred of their foes in racist terms (“Hun,” “Bosh,” “Kraut,” “Jap,” and “slanty-eyes.”) Similarly, some Armenians who were interviewed by Pew expressed their political differences with Israel by demonstrating antipathy towards Jews.

These distinctions are beyond the sensibilities of Nazarian who is a graduate of a New Jersey institution whose “notable alumni” include Soon-Yi Previn (the child-bride of Woody Allen), wrestler Edward Ferrara, and spiritualist “Master” Peter Deunov of the Universal White Church. Nazarian is not among the school’s “notable” alumni.

It’s pointless to refute Nazarian’s allegations regarding the Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict: she merely repeats the hoary Aliyev statements. If you’ve read one of her pro-Azeri articles, you’ve read them all. She hails Azerbaijan as a model secular republic and with the same breath says Armenia is “solidly identifiable Christian state” (it must be a crime).

She doesn’t mention Armenia’s constitution states everyone has freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. She doesn’t mention “secular” Azerbaijan has fined 34 people for practicing “illegal religion” and Azeri prisoners are found dead while Azeri prisoners of conscience are tortured with impunity.

Nazarian’s journalistic lapses are many. In “Big League Politics (May 27, 2020), she wrote: “The recent alleged arson on the Tomb of Ruth and Mordechai, a Jewish holy site in Iran, is indicative of the ever-rising rate of anti-Semitism and broad intolerance in the Islamic Republic.” How did the alleged arson at the beginning of the sentence become a fact by the end of the sentence?

She doesn’t realize that journalism and public relations do not mix. Thus, in her CV she redundantly and ostentatiously describes herself as international journalist, public relations and public affairs expert, news correspondent, hard news reporter, news writer and expert at strategic communications, political reporter, on-air reporter, news analyst, breaking news reporter, foreign affairs reporter, social media expert, investigative reporter, expert in broadcast and print media, public policy analyst, foreign policy analyst, speech writer, international security maven, public speaker, a person with friends at the U.S. Congress…

Nazarian was caught with her skirt down last year when it was revealed she had worked as researcher for AF International of Maryland–lobbyist for the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan. AF International reported it had paid $1,000 to Nazarian for “Research services.”

On June 18, 2019 Big League Politics published a Nazarian article whose first paragraph said: “The United States representative of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, who was imprisoned and tortured for over two years by Iran’s Islamic regime, praised the Trump administration’s decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization but said that more needs to be done to help the people of Iran break free from the current regime.” Government records showed Nazarian was paid $1,000 around the same time by AF International.

Coincidentally, the month she was paid $1,000 by AF International, Nazarian published an article which said: “Azerbaijan: A nation that bears the torch, and burden of bringing religious freedom to its less tolerant neighbors in the region.” Soon after it was revealed Najarian was a registered agent of Azerbaijan under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Although her status as Azeri agent who had written a pro-Azeri article would have spelled “finis” to her journalistic career the scandal didn’t hurt Nazarian because her usual outlets have dubious professional standards or are the mouthpieces of interest groups Nazarian supports.

In a recent Instagram to her followers, Nazarian wrote: “Someone once said something about never getting in the way of someone while they are destroying themselves.” For a change, Adelle Nazarian might have a point.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Armenia0 Comments


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