Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sourcing News from the Ground in Gaza

bloggers and activists from/in Gaza

by Eva Bartlett - In Gaza

Most who are following this latest, absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH SECURITY, massacre are looking for good sources from within Gaza. Here are some I am following and sharing:

Haidar Eid (independent political commentator, One Democratic State Group, Professor at al Aqsa University). His latest: Gaza: Signposts on the road to liberation see also: URGENT CALL FROM GAZA CIVIL SOCIETY: ACT NOW!

Omar Ghraieb, blogger at Gaza: In The Eyes of The Beholder. His latest: Day 4 of Israeli aggression on Gaza: 124 killed, 925 injured

Awni Farhat, blogger at Awni Farhat. His latest: ‘Last night in Gaza – mourning my grandmother while the bombs fell’

Joe Catron, American activist and political commentator. FB and Twitter.

Julie Webb-Pullman, New Zealand activist and blogger at Gaza Scoop. Her latest: Attacks on Al Wafa hospital: When moral capacity is absent, what then?

Rami Almeghari, Palestinian journalist, from Meghazi. His latest, on Electronic Intifada, Rami Almeghari reports from Gaza.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, physician in Gaza. Her latest, on Electronic Intifada, Israel pummels Gaza

See also:  Live From Gaza Where Israel Rains Death

Crazy World: The Psychopathy of Power

What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?

by William Blum - The Anti-Empire Report

US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”

Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010:
“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”

Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007:
“In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”

Gallup poll, 2013:

Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”

United States 24%
Pakistan 8%
China 6%
Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
Syria 3%
Russia 2%
Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%

The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?

Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”

The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.

But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp.

For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.”1

… various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.”2

 … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.”3

The George W. Bush administration continued the pressure on Tokyo. In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force.4 And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals.5

If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.

The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present.6

Yankee Blowback

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 - September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.

As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 [2009] in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.

The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.

But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.

Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.

These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.

It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.

M’lady Hillary

Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”

On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.

On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.

So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?

The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.

And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.”8

And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.

“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001:

“We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”

1 Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1994
2 Washington Post, July 18, 2001
3 BBC, August 14, 2004
4 Honolulu Star-Advertiser, June 23 and July 2, 2012                                                              5 Tim Weiner, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (2007), p.116-21
6 Washington Post, August 30, 2005
7 Washington Post, June 6, 2014
8 Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on the June 21, 2007 edition of Democracy Now!

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

← Issue #129

Crimes Against Truth: Israel, Ukraine and Our Submissive Void

On Israel, Ukraine and Truth

by John Pilger - CounterPunch

The other night, I saw George Orwells’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device. Peace is “perpetual war”. “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

In the arts, hostility to political truth-telling is an article of bourgeois faith. “Picasso’s red period,” says an Observer headline, “and why politics don’t make good art.” Consider this in a newspaper that promoted the bloodbath in Iraq as a liberal crusade. Picasso’s lifelong opposition to fascism is a footnote, just as Orwell’s radicalism has faded from the prize that appropriated his name.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life”. No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among the insistent voices of consumer- feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital”.

At the National Theatre, a new play, Great Britain, satirises the phone hacking scandal that has seen journalists tried and convicted, including a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Described as a “farce with fangs [that] puts the whole incestuous [media] culture in the dock and subjects it to merciless ridicule”, the play’s targets are the “blessedly funny” characters in Britain’s tabloid press. That is well and good, and so familiar. What of the non-tabloid media that regards itself as reputable and credible, yet serves a parallel role as an arm of state and corporate power, as in the promotion of illegal war?

The Leveson inquiry into phone hacking glimpsed this unmentionable. Tony Blair was giving evidence, complaining to His Lordship about the tabloids’ harassment of his wife, when he was interrupted by a voice from the public gallery. David Lawley-Wakelin, a film-maker, demanded Blair’s arrest and prosecution for war crimes. There was a long pause: the shock of truth. Lord Leveson leapt to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown out and apologised to the war criminal. Lawley-Wakelin was prosecuted; Blair went free.

Blair’s enduring accomplices are more respectable than the phone hackers. When the BBC arts presenter, Kirsty Wark, interviewed him on the tenth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, she gifted him a moment he could only dream of; she allowed him to agonise over his “difficult” decision on Iraq rather than call him to account for his epic crime. This evoked the procession of BBC journalists who in 2003 declared that Blair could feel “vindicated”, and the subsequent, “seminal” BBC series, The Blair Years, for which David Aaronovitch was chosen as the writer, presenter and interviewer. A Murdoch retainer who campaigned for military attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria, Aaronovitch fawned expertly.

Since the invasion of Iraq – the exemplar of an act of unprovoked aggression the Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson called “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” — Blair and his mouthpiece and principal accomplice, Alastair Campbell, have been afforded generous space in the Guardian to rehabilitate their reputations. Described as a Labour Party “star”, Campbell has sought the sympathy of readers for his depression and displayed his interests, though not his current assignment as advisor, with Blair, to the Egyptian military tyranny.

As Iraq is dismembered as a consequence of the Blair/Bush invasion, a Guardian headline declares: “Toppling Saddam was right, but we pulled out too soon”. This ran across a prominent article on 13 June by a former Blair functionary, John McTernan, who also served Iraq’s CIA installed dictator Iyad Allawi. In calling for a repeat invasion of a country his former master helped destroy , he made no reference to the deaths of at least 700,000 people, the flight of four million refugees and sectarian turmoil in a nation once proud of its communal tolerance.

“Blair embodies corruption and war,” wrote the radical Guardian columnist Seumas Milne in a spirited piece on 3 July. This is known in the trade as “balance”. The following day, the paper published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the bomber were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This other embodiment of “corruption and war” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered people across the developing world.

In a village in Afghanistan, inhabited by the poorest of the poor, I filmed Orifa, kneeling at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, seven other members of her family, including six children, and two children who were killed in the adjacent house. A “precision” 500-pound bomb fell directly on their small mud, stone and straw house, leaving a crater 50 feet wide. Lockheed Martin, the plane’s manufacturer’s, had pride of place in the Guardian’s advertisement.

The former US secretary of state and aspiring president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, was recently on the BBC’s Women’s Hour, the quintessence of media respectability. The presenter, Jenni Murray, presented Clinton as a beacon of female achievement. She did not remind her listeners about Clinton’s profanity that Afghanistan was invaded to “liberate” women like Orifa. She asked Clinton nothing about her administration’s terror campaign using drones to kill women, men and children. There was no mention of Clinton’s idle threat, while campaigning to be the first female president, to “eliminate” Iran, and nothing about her support for illegal mass surveillance and the pursuit of whistle-blowers.

Murray did ask one finger-to-the-lips question. Had Clinton forgiven Monica Lewinsky for having an affair with husband? “Forgiveness is a choice,” said Clinton, “for me, it was absolutely the right choice.” This recalled the 1990s and the years consumed by the Lewinsky “scandal”. President Bill Clinton was then invading Haiti, and bombing the Balkans, Africa and Iraq. He was also destroying the lives of Iraqi children; Unicef reported the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five as a result of an embargo led by the US and Britain.

The children were media unpeople, just as Hillary Clinton’s victims in the invasions she supported and promoted – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia — are media unpeople. Murray made no reference to them. A photograph of her and her distinguished guest, beaming, appears on the BBC website.

In politics as in journalism and the arts, it seems that dissent once tolerated in the “mainstream” has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. When I began a career in Britain’s Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was acceptable to critique western power as a rapacious force. Read James Cameron’s celebrated reports of the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the American bombing of North Vietnam. Today’s grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal.

In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill wrote: “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required. “It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature: its conviction that it represents a superior form of life.” He had in mind a speech by Blair in which the then prime minister promised to “reorder the world around us” according to his “moral values”.

Richard Falk, the respected authority on international law and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, once described a “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence”. It is “so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable”.

Tenure and patronage reward the guardians. On BBC Radio 4, Razia Iqbal interviewed Toni Morrison, the African-American Nobel Laureate. Morrison wondered why people were “so angry” with Barack Obama, who was “cool” and wished to build a “strong economy and health care”. Morrison was proud to have talked on the phone with her hero, who had read one of her books and invited her to his inauguration.

Neither she nor her interviewer mentioned Obama’s seven wars, including his terror campaign by drone, in which whole families, their rescuers and mourners have been murdered. What seemed to matter was that a “finely spoken” man of colour had risen to the commanding heights of power. In The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon wrote that the “historic mission” of the colonised was to serve as a “transmission line” to those who ruled and oppressed. In the modern era, the employment of ethnic difference in western power and propaganda systems is now seen as essential. Obama epitomises this, though the cabinet of George W. Bush – his warmongering clique – was the most multiracial in presidential history.

As the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the jihadists of ISIS, Obama said, “The American people made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better destiny.” How “cool” is that lie? How “finely spoken” was Obama’s speech at the West Point military academy on 28 May. Delivering his “state of the world” address at the graduation ceremony of those who “will take American leadership” across the world, Obama said, “The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it. International opinion matters, but America will never ask permission …”

In repudiating international law and the rights of independent nations, the American president claims a divinity based on the might of his “indispensable nation”. It is a familiar message of imperial impunity, though always bracing to hear. Evoking the rise of fascism in the 1930s, Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.” Historian Norman Pollack wrote: “For goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

In February, the US mounted one of its “colour” coups against the elected government in Ukraine, exploiting genuine protests against corruption in Kiev. Obama’s national security adviser Victoria Nuland personally selected the leader of an “interim government”. She nicknamed him “Yats”. Vice President Joe Biden came to Kiev, as did CIA Director John Brennan. The shock troops of their putsch were Ukrainian fascists.

For the first time since 1945, a neo-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No Western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism in the borderland through which Hitler’s invading Nazis took millions of Russian lives. They were supported by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), responsible for the massacre of Jews and Russians they called “vermin”. The UPA is the historical inspiration of the present-day Svoboda Party and its fellow-travelling Right Sector. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato Enlargement Project. Reneging on a promise made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has, in effect, militarily occupied eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato’s expansion is the biggest military build-up since the Second World War.

A Nato Membership Action Plan is Washington’s gift to the coup-regime in Kiev. In August, “Operation Rapid Trident” will put American and British troops on Ukraine’s Russian border and “Sea Breeze” will send US warships within sight of Russian ports. Imagine the response if these acts of provocation, or intimidation, were carried out on America’s borders.

In reclaiming Crimea — which Nikita Kruschev illegally detached from Russia in 1954 – the Russians defended themselves as they have done for almost a century. More than 90 per cent of the population of Crimea voted to return the territory to Russia. Crimea is the home of the Black Sea Fleet and its loss would mean life or death for the Russian Navy and a prize for Nato. Confounding the war parties in Washington and Kiev, Vladimir Putin withdrew troops from the Ukrainian border and urged ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon separatism.

In Orwellian fashion, this has been inverted in the west to the “Russian threat”. Hillary Clinton likened Putin to Hitler. Without irony, right-wing German commentators said as much. In the media, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are sanitised as “nationalists” or “ultra nationalists”. What they fear is that Putin is skilfully seeking a diplomatic solution, and may succeed. On 27 June, responding to Putin’s latest accommodation – his request to the Russian Parliament to rescind legislation that gave him the power to intervene on behalf of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians – Secretary of State John Kerry issued another of his ultimatums. Russia must “act within the next few hours, literally” to end the revolt in eastern Ukraine. Notwithstanding that Kerry is widely recognised as a buffoon, the serious purpose of these “warnings” is to confer pariah status on Russia and suppress news of the Kiev regime’s war on its own people.

A third of the population of Ukraine are Russian-speaking and bilingual. They have long sought a democratic federation that reflects Ukraine’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are neither “separatists” nor “rebels” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland. Separatism is a reaction to the Kiev junta’s attacks on them, causing as many as 110,000 (UN estimate) to flee across the border into Russia. Typically, they are traumatised women and children.

Like Iraq’s embargoed infants, and Afghanistan’s “liberated” women and girls, terrorised by the CIA’s warlords, these ethnic people of Ukraine are media unpeople in the west, their suffering and the atrocities committed against them minimised, or suppressed. No sense of the scale of the regime’s assault is reported in the mainstream western media. This is not unprecedented. Reading again Phillip Knightley’s masterly The First Casualty: the war correspondent as hero, propagandist and mythmaker, I renewed my admiration for the Manchester Guardian’s Morgan Philips Price, the only western reporter to remain in Russia during the 1917 revolution and report the truth of a disastrous invasion by the western allies. Fair-minded and courageous, Philips Price alone disturbed what Knightley calls an anti-Russian “dark silence” in the west.

On 2 May, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. There is horrifying video evidence. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). The New York Times buried it, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.

On 28 June, the Guardian devoted most of a page to declarations by the Kiev regime’s “president”, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko. Again, Orwell’s rule of inversion applied. There was no putsch; no war against Ukraine’s minority; the Russians were to blame for everything. “We want to modernise my country,” said Poroshenko. “We want to introduce freedom, democracy and European values. Somebody doesn’t like that. Somebody doesn’t like us for that.”

According to his report, the Guardian’s reporter, Luke Harding, did not challenge these assertions, or mention the Odessa atrocity, the regime’s air and artillery attacks on residential areas, the killing and kidnapping of journalists, the firebombing of an opposition newspaper and his threat to “free Ukraine from dirt and parasites”. The enemy are “rebels”, “militants”, “insurgents”, “terrorists” and stooges of the Kremlin. Summon from history the ghosts of Vietnam, Chile, East Timor, southern Africa, Iraq; note the same tags. Palestine is the lodestone of this unchanging deceit. On 11 July, following the latest Israeli, American equipped slaughter in Gaza – 80 people including six children in one family — an Israeli general writes in the Guardian under the headline, “A necessary show of force”.

In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; it was her Triumph of the Will that reputedly cast Hitler’s spell. I asked her about propaganda in societies that imagined themselves superior. She replied that the “messages” in her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on a “submissive void” in the German population. “Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked. “Everyone,” she replied, “and of course the intelligentsia.”

John Pilger is the author of Freedom Next Time. All his documentary films can be viewed free on his website

Israel's Unrepentant War Criminals: Mindless Manifestoes and Conscienceless Actions of the New World Warriors

The Mindlessness of a Manifesto - “A world order is imposed by superior power.”

by William A Cook  - ICH

“A liberal world order, like any world order, is something that is imposed, and as much as we in the West might wish it to be imposed by superior virtue, it is generally imposed by superior power” (“Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire: What Our Tired Country Still Owes the World,” Robert Kagan, Brookings Institute. May 26, 2014).

July 12, 2014 - This sentence from Kagan’s Neo-Conservative Manifesto reads like so much flotsam in a cesspool of scattered feces. It emanates from a mindless, bloated root chakra that has abandoned all except instinctive self-survival. It is deficient in understanding and wisdom, a mind surviving in an isolated tribe, a being guided only by fear of everlasting victimhood. How does one read this flotsam?

We don’t need to read it, we are witnessing its last throes today in Gaza as the consequences of neo-conservative “superior power” unfurls before the world once again and the desperation of neo-conservative idiocy splashes over the screen for the world to witness.

What is it that we witness? Israel garbed in the armor of the American flag, fielding America’s weapons of mass destruction, protected by the investment of the American taxpayer in the “iron dome,” and marching with the impunity that comes from America’s veto of censure, reveals to the world two nations that willingly impose their “superior power” on a defenseless people displaying in the enormity of their invasion unleashed evil without compassion, without mercy, without sense, a mindless act of uncivil barbarity no different than that displayed by the Mongols or Visigoths of ancient days.

Kagan’s is a simple sentence, “A world order is imposed by superior power.” It does not advance by justice, it mocks justice; it does not consider morality, it laughs at morality; it does not reflect rights of people anywhere, just its rights; it is the rule of those who can and who do not care to care for any but self; it is ruled by a pathological fear engendered by victimhood because they know their own power rests on the destruction of others and hence on the fear that they will infect their victims with the same loathsome mentality that guides them.

What is a “liberal” world order if its actions abandon all human capacity to seek justice in favor of “power,” to rule without inclusiveness of those ruled, to slaughter without civilized due process? What is it but barbarianism.

Why consider “superior virtue” when it only obstructs conquest? Besides, whose “superior virtue” are we to follow? Why get embroiled in arguments; power alone is the determiner of virtue. It’s all so easy, so sensible at least to the few who impose their will.

Today’s invasion of Gaza is but a repetition of Israel’s savagery under Sharon and Olmert; I’ve written about this before. How horrible that we must revisit such horror! All I can do is to reassert what was true in Rafah, Jenin, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine again and again and again since 1947 and ’48.

“Evil knows no morality; it savors no regard for the weak or oppressed; it admits no rights but those it imposes; it condemns those who dissent without regard for evidence or truth; it denies all wrongdoing since its actions alone determine right; it feels no shame; it accepts no blame; it pleads innocence, seeks to cloak itself in the victim’s stripes, and curses those who condemn its crimes.

Franz Kafka presented a vicious portrayal of such a country in “The Penal Colony.” Considered as a metaphor for Israel today, ironically since Kafka wrote from the vantage point of being a Jew, the “Officer” and executioner delighted in describing the virtues of his state’s torture machine as it inscribed on the victim’s skin his crime, and in the duration of its agonizing process the victim learned what he was guilty of, though, until that moment of recognition as the steel spikes carved his sentence on his back, he had never been charged with a crime. Kafka knew the consequences of being a Jew in a world without compassion (even before the state of Israel declared its “independence.” )

Thus it is in today’s Israel; the state, in the figure of its Prime Ministers, determines what is right, what is a crime, and who is guilty; there is no need for due rights whether of an individual or a state like (Lebanon) or the people of Palestine. Israel alone determines what terrorism is, it alone defies international law and the UN resolutions with impunity, it alone chooses the words that will describe its actions determining for the world community how it is to understand Israel’s actions.

And so it is in the Penal Colony. All live in fear of the executioner, both the colonists and the occupied. So long as that fear can be maintained, so long can the Colony survive under its brutal regime. But time catches up with the Penal Colony. An outsider is brought in to witness how it operates and how it executes its “civilized” approach to management of the colony. The witness listens to the detailed explanation of the Officer as he justifies the policies and procedures of the Penal Colony, but he marks the Medieval and barbaric reality of the colony and its treatment of its citizens and those it condemns to execution. (Today we are the outsider who witnesses the executioner at work).

Kafka notes with remarkable insight and wisdom that the state will not change until it accepts its own guilt, until it comprehends that its behavior rests on principles that are corrosive to human kind, blind to the reality of human equality, and self-destructive because built on superstition and fear. Once that recognition comes, the Officer and executioner mounts the torture machine and straps himself in its bed. And as the machine begins to run, the witness watches the spikes inscribe the sentence on his back, “Be Just.”

Evil exists in the delusion that grows from ignorance and alienation, necessary ingredients in a state of “demonocracy.” Peace is possible when openness proliferates and people remove the barriers that isolate and separate them from each other” (Cook, “Desire, Fulfillment and Regret, 2006.” Decade of Deceit).

Will we ever learn from the past? Will Kagan ever grasp that he speaks only to his own, the exclusive fraternity that can for a time impose what it will as it destroys families across the mid-east in the Neo-Conservative design to redraw the ground on which they walk and live? Will they ever understand the intensity of grief that comes from such a mindset devoid of human sympathy for those who huddle behind walls as the missiles fall? Perhaps Conrad’s unembellished prose tells it simply without gloss, just straight forward truth:

“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind as it is very proper for those who tackle the darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves (or hide in a self declared grouping ‘we in the West’), is not a pretty thing when you look at it too much…”

Today it is the Neo-Cons as conquerors, mostly Ashkenazi Jews from the ancient Khazar empire whose nobility converted to Judaism in the 800s, who find solace in survival at the expense of others, a motivation nourished in the root chakra that thrives on instinct embedded in possessiveness, devoid of the chakras that seek communion with the whole being and accommodation of all in a shared universe. It is but a matter of time before their strength diminishes and the strength of others conquerors them.

Where is the proffered peace promised 65 years ago when the state of Israel declared its independence? Where is the touted democracy, the only true democracy in the mid-east that resorts to “superior power” to control the people of Palestine whose land they have stolen? Where is the obligation to abide by international law signed before the world in its acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the conventions of the Unite Nations?

What then does the word “liberal” mean?

William A. Cook, Ph.D., is a professor of English at the University of La Verne.

Israel Targets Geriatric Hospital in Gaza - International Solidarity Movement Members Act As Shields

International activists remain in Gaza hospital threatened by Israeli missiles

by International Solidarity Movement

Israel’s army fired five ‘warning’ missiles at El-Wafa geriatric hospital in Gaza City, Gaza. International volunteers now staying in the hospital in solidarity, have said they, "can hear missiles falling close by".

"The civilian population of Gaza is being bombed. We will stay with them in solidarity until the international community and our governments take action to stop Israel's crimes against humanity." States Swedish International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist, Fred Ekblad.

The volunteers are citizens of USA, Spain, Sweden, Venezuela, France, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The first barrage of missiles hit the fourth floor of the hospital at 2:00AM.

At approximately 19:00 a fifth missile hit the hospital. “Windows and doors were blown out, broken glass everywhere, damage to the stairs, there’s a big hole at the impact area and the wall is burnt,“ reports Joe Catron, ISM activist, from the U.S.

At around 20:00 Basman Alashi, executive director of the hospital, received an unidentified call from a person with a, “heavy Israeli accent”, asking if there were any injuries, whether there was any one in the top floor, and whether they were planning to evacuate the hospital.

Alashi says the hospital will not be evacuated because there is nowhere to evacuate the patients too.

“El-Wafa hospital serves the patients that need medical attention 24 hours a day. Including patients that can’t move, or people who need to be fed by tube. This hospital is the only one in Gaza specializing in the rehabilitation of people who need physical and occupational therapy. All our patients are over 60 years old, men and women. We don’t understand why the Israeli forces have fired five rockets at the hospital in the last 24 hours so far. We serve humanity.”

11 July 2014

For more information contact:

• Ally Cohen, ISM Media Office (English) - +972597406401

• Basman Alashi- executive director of El-Wafa hospital (English, Arabic) - +972592224699

Internationals in the hospital:

• Joseph Catron, ISM, USA (English) - +972592224699

• Manu Pineda, Spain (Spanish) - +972595594326

• Huda Julie Webb-Pullman, Australia and New Zealand (English) - +972595251720

• Fred Ekblad, ISM, Sweden (Swedish/English) - +972595209679

• Charlie, ISM, Sweden (Swedish/English) - +972598345327

• Valeria Cortes, Venezuela (Spanish) - +972595827070

• Rina Andolini, UK (English) - +972595176849

• Collete Lechrien, France (French) - +972599759394

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turning Back the Clock in Lebanon: "Jihadists" Vow to Tumble Beirut Next

Jihadists in Lebanon

by Franklin Lamb - CounterPunch

Bedawi Palestinian camp, North Lebanon - Perhaps, but for a number of reasons, some suggested below, it’s not a happy picture and won’t be a walk in the park.

The long tentacles of the DAASH (IS) recent “victories” in Syria and Iraq have not taken long to start to move around Lebanon. The gauntlets for Lebanon to avoid all-out war and the possibilities for its partial dismemberment or its substantial subjection to elements of extreme Islamism are many.

Some evidence.

One ISIS leader, Abu Sayyaf al-Ansari recently declared the expansion of the IS to include Lebanon. He declared, “Our war will no longer be confined to Syria and Iraq. Soon, Lebanon will ignite” Meanwhile, Lebanon’s branch of al-Nusra Front posted on its Twitter feed its fourth official statement to date, titled “Urgent appeal to Sunnis in Lebanon.” The statement declared, “Our war will no longer be confined to Syria. Soon, Lebanon will ignite. Iran’s party [i.e. Hezbollah] and all its bases and strongholds are a legitimate target for us wherever they may be found.”

Al-Nusra, proclaims to Lebanon’s Sunni community that its sole concern is for the blood of the Sunnis and to clear the Umma’s conscience before God.” It called on “Sunnis in Lebanon to refrain from approaching or residing in [Hezbollah] areas or near its bases, and to avoid its gathering places and posts.” Security sources have reported that the terrorist cells intercepted at the Napoleon and Duroy hotels in Beirut had been dispatched by ISIS as part of its strategy to overwhelm Lebanon with a formidable wave of suicide bombings.

The security services apparently base this reading on the previous modus operandi and strategy of the terrorist cells, and also on information relayed by U.S. and European sources, indicating that the many suicide bombers had been dispatched by ISIS/Nusra Front to Lebanon.

It is fairly clear as of 7/11/14 that jihadi factions are racing to declare war on Lebanon in parallel with rapid security developments, and in tandem with the Lebanese army crackdown on individuals suspected of involvement with these groups. Analysts in Washington and Europe suggest that the jihadi expansion into Lebanon will be a developing new phase ushering in a paradigm shift in terror attacks in the country. Some even suggest that to stop them, Hezbollah is needed to take a lead role because the Lebanese army and security agencies cannot do the job.

Hezbollah may agree with Washington, at least on the latter point. Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Walid Sukkarieh from the Bekaa Valley called this week for cooperation between the Lebanese army and Syrian military to control the flow of gunmen through the border. He pointed out that the presence of Lebanese security forces along the border in the eastern town of Arsal aren’t enough to do the job. “The fanatic groups will try to take control over a big geographical area in Akkar and the Palestinian camps,” he said. “I have information from Akkar about ISIS and Jabhat al-]Nusra training camps. They’re trying to move toward Tripoli and their plan is to get closer to Beirut.” There are a growing number of reports of sleeper cells in different Lebanese regions, such as Beirut, the Beqaa Valley, and North Lebanon. According to Sukkarieh, “Thousands are flocking from around the world to join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.”

Two quick cases in point. The British 16 year old lovely twin sisters Salma and Zahra Halane, bubbly and exceptionally bright, with an amazing 28 GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification awarded in a specified subject in the British education system) were planning to train as doctors. Now they’re in Syria and reportedly have joined DAASH and may soon be heading to Lebanon. Reports suggest that the sisters were normal teenagers doing what teens do everywhere these days it seems- pouting for selfies and shopping and participating in school activities. They apparently did not discuss politics much with friends but were known to support the Palestinian cause. Their parents believe they followed their older jihadi brother who left for Syria last year suspending his higher education at which he also excelled. The teenagers parents speculate that Salma and Zahra maybe became radicalized themselves while viewing extremist Islamist material online. But no one knows for certain.

The British DAASH recruit Muthanna, is another example. Known as a sweet, polite, and very considerate young man, he is now an IS spokesman urging all people of good well to join him the new Caliphate in making jihad for the betterment of mankind. The kid is barely out of high school. Before he decided to join jihad, Muthanna, whose family emigrated from Yemen to Britain, had been accepted by four medical schools in Britain, according to the UK Daily Mail. “Send us; we are your sharp arrows. Throw us at your enemies, wherever they may be,” pledges the young man to IS “Amir” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who shares the same forename -by deed pole- as the first Caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (the Truthful). On another video Muthanna says, “we’ll go to Jordan and Lebanon with no problem.”

Why are some our best and brightest young Muslims joining extremist jihadists? Can they be reasoned with and stopped? How many more youngsters are at this hour preparing something similar?

Recent developments in Iraq and Syria should be worrisome. DAASH’ goals of creating an Islamic state across the Sunni Arab world and erasing the borders drawn by colonial powers have energized jihadist factions across the region and even the world. In a video released last week, a group of jihadist fighters from several countries showed their support for ISIS. “We have participated in battles in Al-Sham (Syria) and we will go to Iraq in a few days, and then we’ll come back and move to Lebanon.”

In point of fact, DAASH has come to Lebanon and more jihadists arrive every day. The extremely politicized and sectarian local media has sometimes been accused of frightening the public to engender fear and hatred of their local rivals as well as of regional IS. These days the public can read many “news” accounts of DAASH agents flooding across the Syrian border but security agencies have been a bit weak on giving substantive details, and every ‘confession’ from a “takfiri” is widely suspected to be the result of torture.

According to a 7/9/14 report in Beirut’s Daily Star, citing security sources: “Nusra Front and IS (DAASH) affiliated cells are regularly making their way into Beirut, readying themselves to conduct more suicide bombings in Lebanon…some of these cells have received intensive trainings in secret locations in Arsal’s Wadi Hmayed”. It is also widely suspected that there are several members of fundamentalist groups laying low in different apartments and hotels across the Lebanese capital, as well as in Palestinian refugee camps.

It appears fairly clear that Lebanon is being nominated to join the Islamic State (IS) and that DAASH is here and may be involved with the 28 rigged cars that it is claimed are being kept in secret locations in Arsal, Western Bekaa, Tripoli, and the Beirut neighborhood of Tariq al-Jadideh, some in camouflaged garages so as not to attract attention, while security forces are working on the identity of their owners.

DAASH’s ability to inspire such intense support, such as from the young people noted above, worries Lebanese and U.S. officials. Their fighters seemingly will go anywhere and do anything for the cause while combining an intense passion for “justice” with an unusual degree of organization, technical skill and tactical planning. Some in Lebanon are beginning to refer to “Amir” Bakr Baghdadi as “the Nasrallah of DAASH.’ Given their personal charisma, intelligence and ability to gather and inspire followers. Some have even suggested organizational acumen and self-sacrifice similarities between the two men and their organizations despite profound ideological/religious/sectarian differences.

A DAASH (IS) invasion of Lebanon, along the lines of what it achieved in northwest Iraq, is increasingly likely and using similar tactics and forces. Most of the tactics are well known in Lebanon and include bringing suicide bombers to target politicians, the use of ISIS sleeper cells, and exploiting some specific areas in some Palestinian or Syrian refugee camps.

According to Lebanese journalist Jean Aziz there is a great threat that DAASH’s Islamic States will arrived to Lebanon. Aziz discusses a recent intelligence report making the rounds in Beirut that concludes that that DAASH is a serious threat and its growing forces will invade Lebanon from Al-Qalamoun Mountains. More specifically from the western slope of the eastern mountain range between Lebanon and Syria. The expected massive DAASH ground incursion will include a large force composed of various nationalities that is well known to be gathering in the mountainous regions, being comprised of veterans from nearby battles including al-Qusayr, a number of villages around Homs, Yabrud, Nabak Nasab, west to Qalamoun, as well as hardened fighters from secret camps hear the Lebanon border.

The report cited by journalist Jean Aziz estimates that as many as 5,000 DAASH fighters will be mobilized offering cash, spoils, “victory” and enlargement of the Islamic State. . Many are currently in caves and tunnels dug in the mountains over the past three years, reportedly with a huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition. Once the battle begins, thousands of fighters from across Lebanon may pledge allegiance to DAASH. What is disturbing security services in Beirut, Washington and elsewhere, is Lebanon’s seemingly vast geography of fertile sectarian soil for IS to plant its creed, grow recruits and harvest territory for the expanding Caliphate.

The DAASH army is thought by some in Washington to also have the ability to launch a full scale attack on Lebanese territories from across from Lebanese border from Ersal. It will likely be launched under the cover of several attacks around the country from sleeper cells including suicide bombings against key Lebanese military and security targets. It is thought likely that there would be significant coordination with many in Lebanon who are sympathetic to DAASH including some in Palestinian camps or gatherings as well as from some Syrian refugees in sensitive areas.

Another development, being publicly played down in the Pentagon but privately is said to worry Washington is this week’s Iraqi warning to the UN that Sunni militants have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the city of Mosul. In a letter reported by Reuters, Iraq’s envoy to the UN is claiming that DAASH has taken possession nearly 40kg (88lb) of uranium compounds were seized in Mosul.

Washington and Tehran, along with their allies, view threats from DAASH similarly in some respects. According to US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Islamist militants that have swept across Iraq and parts of Syria pose a clear and “imminent”. Hegel warned the media on 7/10/14.”Make no mistake—and this country should not make any mistake on this, nor anyone in Congress—this is a threat to our country. This is a force that is sophisticated, it’s dynamic, it’s strong, it’s organized, it’s well-financed, it’s competent,” Hagel told troops in remarks broadcast by the Pentagon.

Holding a similar view, Tehran has made it clear Iran will not tolerate a Caliphate (IS) on its borders nor will it allow the formation of a Sunni mini-state in Iraq’s Anbar province backed by Turkey or one of the Gulf States. Meanwhile Hezbollah is closely following the political, security and field developments in Iraq, and is reportedly conducting intensive meetings with military officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut with summaries of the discussions forward to Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC. Iran is aware that despite its support for the Iraqi regime’s weak forces and the claimed” revitalization” of Iraqi Shia militias, it cannot contain DAASH on its own and this fact is leading to speculation of a limited US-Iran détente.

One question frequently asked by this observer in the Palestinian camps and in Hamra is why are Sunni Muslims, who in the main, like their Shia brothers and sisters, are distinctively moderate, seemingly in great numbers suddenly taking an interest in DAASH’s military achievements? And why are many insisting that the Umma will modify and tame the DAASH jihadist tiger, once the Caliphate returns, as happened to a great extent under the Ottomans.

This observer, like many in this region, has been struck by the Sunni-Shia mutual mistrust and growing antagonism that will deeply affect Lebanon’s coming war with DAASH. During the spate of bombings the past year in my largely Shia Hezbollah neighborhood of South Beirut, which left many dead and wounded, including two lovely youngsters Ali and Marie from my building on Abbas Mousawi Street, I took strong personal umbrage when a few Sunni friends made outrageous comments like, “They (their countrymen and fellow Muslims in Dahiyeh) deserved it and let’s hope there are many more bombings of the party of Satan by the rebels!”

Despite this appalling hate speech, which appears to be growing these days here in Lebanon, does Hezbollah hold the keys to ending the Sunni-Shia conflict in Lebanon and defeating DAASH?

This observer believes that it does. And that Hezbollah, in partnership with Lebanese security forces can and will stop DAASH by employing some of the elements of a Sunni-Shia strategy outlined in a written report by the author this week for Hezbollah leadership.

Parts of the rationale are presented in Part II of this article entitled: How Hezbollah can rescue Lebanon from DAASH (IS), substantially reduce the regional Shia-Sunni internecine catastrophe and build Lebanon’s economy and it’s Resistance.

Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (

World of Resistance: What Big Finance Fears Most

World of Resistance Report: Part 4: Financial Institutions Fear Global Revolution

by Andrew Gavin Marshall - Dissident Voice

In Part 1 of the WoR Report, I examined Zbigniew Brzezinski’s warnings to elites around the world of the “global political awakening” of humanity.

In Part 2, I looked at the relationship between inequality and social instability, and in Part 3 I examined the World Economic Forum’s warnings of growing inequality and the “lost generation” of youth who pose the greatest threat to oligarchic interests around the world.

In this fourth installment in the series, we turn to reports from top banks and financial institutions warning about the growing threats to their interests posed by an increasingly disenfranchised and impoverished population – manifested in protests, strikes and social unrest.

In November of 2011, Bob Diamond, the CEO of one of the world’s largest banks, Barclays, stated in a speech: “We’ve seen violent protests in Greece, public sector strikes across Europe, [and] anti-capitalist demonstrations that started on Wall Street have spread to other places around the world.” Diamond added: “Young people have been especially hit hard by high levels of unemployment. The threat of further social unrest remains if we don’t work together to generate stronger economic growth and more jobs.”

A March 2013 report by senior economic adviser George Magnus of UBS Investment Research, entitled “Social Unrest and Economic Stress: Europe’s Angst, and China’s Fear,” noted that “the wave of social unrest that rumbled across Europe between 2008 and 2011 has become less intense… [and] has come as a cause for relief in financial markets.” Yet, he wrote, the occasional upsurge in large-scale national and European-wide anti-austerity protests and strikes “signifies the deep malaise in the complex and fragile trust relationship between European citizens and their governments and institutions.” Since 2010, approximately 13 out of 19 E.U. governments had been voted out of office or had collapsed, indicating that “public anger… is far from dormant, and its expression is mostly unpredictable.”

Social unrest, added the UBS report, “is a systemic phenomenon” that is “highly uncertain, complex and ambiguous,” and which can lead “to the toppling of governments, or even political systems.” Social unrest across the E.U. “has been notable more for the public expression of lack of trust in the institutions of government, including in Brussels,” the headquarters of the European Union.

This “lull” in social unrest, warned Magnus, “is most likely deceptive.” The present problem in Europe “is the same” as the main problems in Europe of the 1930s – when mass poverty, unemployment and social unrest led to the rise of fascism. The underlying problem in both eras was “the inadequacy of mainstream, political channels to address rising public concern about the loss of economic security, social stability and, yes, cultural identity.”

Citing an OECD study, the bank report noted that “austerity has gone hand-in-hand with a variety of forms of social and political instability, and politically-motivated violence.” There have been “heightened levels of social unrest and shocks to the political system in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy… sometimes requiring the force of the state to suppress it.” These are especially important matters for banks to pay attention to, since the European debt crisis was caused primarily by the big banks – and the austerity and “structural reform” policies (along with the bailouts that accompanied them) were designed for the benefit of those banks as well. Thus, resistance to austerity and “reform” is, in effect, resistance to the bailouts for the big banks.

In May of 2013, JPMorgan Chase released a report, “The Euro Area Adjustment: About Halfway There,” which assessed “progress” in the European Union on the issue of austerity and structural reform. The “adjustment” of European society, claimed the report, was “about halfway done on average,” noting that the process would continue for much of the rest of the decade although it faced major challenges, including the development of “new institutions” in the E.U. and what the bank called “national legacy problems.” This vague term referred to “the constitutions and political settlements in the southern periphery [of the E.U.], put in place in the aftermath of the fall of fascism, [which] have a number of features which appear to be unsuited to further integration in the region.”

Just what does this mean? The bank explained that “fiscal austerity” was likely to be a major feature in the E.U. “for a very extended period.” However, if the European Monetary Union is to survive the coming decade, “deep seated political problems in the periphery… need to change.” But what precisely are these “deep seated problems”? The bank elaborated that many of the southern periphery states’ constitutions “tend to show a strong socialist influence,” referring to the fact that many constitutions guaranteed various social rights for populations, including labor, health care and educational and civil rights.

Further, the bank reported that many of these nations suffer from the following features: “Weak executives; weak central states relative to regions; constitutional protection of labor rights; consensus building systems… and the right to protest if unwelcome changes are made to the political status quo.” The translation: democracy itself is the problem. As such, JPMorgan noted, “the process of political reform has barely begun.” In other words, out with democracy and in with financial and corporate oligarchy.

The bank’s report also noted that there were a number of potential threats as the process of “political reform” advanced, including “the collapse of several reform minded governments in the European south,” a “collapse in support for the Euro or the E.U.,” the possibility of “an outright electoral victory for radical anti-European parties,” or perhaps even “the effective ungovernability of some Member States once social costs (particularly unemployment) pass a particular level.” JPMorgan Chase warned that while there wasn’t a current situation of “ungovernability” in E.U. states, the longer-term prospects were “hard to predict, and a more pronounced backlash to the current approach to crisis management cannot be excluded.”

AXA, one of the world’s largest financial institutions and insurance companies, published a report in July of 2013 written by Manolis Davradakis, entitled “Emerging Unrest: Looking for a Pattern,” which expressed particular concerns and perspectives on the issue of social unrest. The report noted that emerging market economies “are currently experiencing a surge in political risk due to social unrest that is being fueled by reasons that differ from those that resulted in the Arab Spring.”

The “main cause” of unrest in emerging market nations was “the rise of the middle class,” as this portion of the population “realize that they continue to experience the same everyday problems as poorer population strata, namely a high crime rate, poor public services, and corruption.” The report cited examples of social unrest in Turkey and Brazil, warning that these countries could see their credit ratings cut if the social upheaval is “lasting.”

The AXA report referred to the multiple episodes of unrest across emerging market nations in the summer of 2013 as “riots,” stating that they had several points in common, namely that “they were sparked by a government decision affecting daily life” and that the protesters were “not affiliated with political parties or movements” but instead were “well educated members of the middle class.” These factors were reminiscent of the massive unrest that took place in the advanced economies during the 19th century when emerging middle classes were struggling “for better living standards and more representation in political governance.”

Beyond a certain point, warned AXA, “repressing mass demands for a more open society becomes costly and economically ineffective.” A government’s inability or lack of will “to acknowledge the people’s right to freedom of expression and a voice in decision-making is a source of social unrest.”

AXA devised a Poor Governance Index (PGI), analyzing seven key indicators that could lead to social unrest, and concluded that the potential for instability in the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – was quite high. It also cited increased potential for unrest in Egypt, Ukraine, Indonesia, South Africa, Tunisia and Turkey, warning that such unrest “may have implications for emerging market [credit] ratings.” It noted that several credit ratings agencies had already warned about the effects that “prolonged social unrest” could have on the ratings for Turkey and Brazil.

Going further, in July of 2013, Stephen D. King, chief economist of HSBC bank, warned that growing wealth gaps and increasing divisions between generations could result in youth uprisings similar to the Peasants Revolt of the Middle Ages. King commented: “I am intrigued at the moment that the youth are quite peaceful, and I wonder whether that might change. It is very difficult to predict but youth movements might become more focused on their own rights rather than the economy.”

In October of 2013, King wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he warned that as bad as things already were, “they are going to get much worse, for the United States and other advanced economies, in the years ahead,” writing that both sides of the North Atlantic region had “already succumbed to a Japan-style ‘lost decade’” in which “promises can no longer be met, mistrust spreads and markets malfunction.” King wrote that “facing the pain will not be easy,” especially as policy makers continue to “opt for the illusion” and “pray for a strong recovery… because the reality is too bleak to bear.”

The “bleak” reality is that these and other big banks and financial institutions have repeatedly collapsed the global economy and profited along the way, punishing entire societies and populations into poverty through a process of plundering and exploitation as governments feared the wrath of “financial markets.” The banks that are now bigger, more dangerous and more powerful than ever fear the growing discontent, unrest and resistance of populations – especially the youth. The world’s major financial institutions fear that the global economic system which they helped to create, and over which they rule, will ultimately come back to haunt them in the form of mass social unrest, potentially undermining their power and the system as a whole.

Read Part 1 here: Part 2 here

• This article was originally posted at

Indonesia's Nazi Tradition Lives On In Elections

Indonesia, A Proudly Nazi Nation?

by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

Indonesians has voted and what votes they have cast! Either they have chosen an outright Nazi, or a populist supported by a bunch of Nazis!

The results are actually too close; it appears that almost half of the active Indonesian voters have endorsed either the Mayor of Jakarta – a former furniture salesman and populist known as ‘Jokowi’ – or a former general of the National Special Forces – Prabowo Subianto.

Incompetent according to some, populist, if you listen to others, or fierce ‘reformer’ for quite a substantial group of his supporters, not long ago Mr. Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo appeared to be running almost unopposed. But then the state, intelligence and corporate apparatuses went into gear and the gap ‘miraculously’ closed.

The ‘military camp’ deployed nationalist speeches, insults, and flag waving…

And now it is almost even…

Both candidates have declared victory.

Propaganda and ‘manipulations’ cannot be blamed for everything. There could hardly be any excuse for the great part of the nation being poisoned by racism, a nation submissive to anybody who wears a uniform, who has some power; a nation submissive to market fundamentalism.

Without any doubt, Prabowo Subianto is all that the Indonesian public that desires the continuation of fascist rule can dream of. He is a perfect 21st century Nazi.

Great Marxist Indonesian painter Djokopekik and his
crocodile representing elites plundering their country.

He served in the Indonesian National Army Special Force Kopassus (as commander of Group 1 Komando Pasukan Sandhi Yudha (Kopassandha)) during the brutal 1976 occupation, and the genocide that Indonesia committed in East Timor. In that ruthless sadistic orgy of killing and rape, a third of the local population of the tiny nation vanished.

As a reward from his handlers, Mr. Prabowo was later trained (in the 80’s) at Fort Benning, in the United States, the country that he is really serving.

And to show his zeal, he was then involved in yet another (and ongoing) genocide, that in Papua.

But even that did not wear him out. In 1998, according to Adam Schwartz, (A Nation in Waiting) in a private conversation with Sofyan Wanandi, Prabowo said he was willing “to drive all the Chinese out of the country even if that sets the economy back twenty or thirty years.” That’s the spirit of a good Indonesian racist!

In the same year – 1998 – troops under his command were busy kidnapping and torturing opposition figures. Countless Chinese women were publicly gang raped.

Prabowo never went to jail.

Those that yearn for fascist continuity in this confused nation can now truly rejoice, by studying their candidate’s biography. Prabowo’s clan is all about that ‘continuity’.

His grandfather was a founder of Bank Negara Indonesia, his father was a cabinet minister in Suharto’s government, and as an exemplary son of a… dictatorship, Prabowo himself managed to wed one of Suharto’s daughters.

Not that his history is all that different from the biography of the present President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), who was also a general under the Suharto regime, got his ‘education’ in Fort Benning, USA, in 1976 became a platoon commander in ravaged East Timor, and married the eldest daughter of retired General Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, the very same Indonesian ‘hero’ who was unable to stop bragging that his military managed to butcher 3 million people during the massacres (or call it again, a genocide) of 1965/66.

Mr. Prabowo and the present Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, also studied at the same military academy, in the city of Magelang, as have many other Indonesian leaders. They, most likely, studied the same things, at home and abroad.


Many Indonesians are fond of acts of murder and mass murder in general (the homicide rate in Indonesia is twice that of the United States, per capita) and those committed in the 1965/66 in particular, as was clearly shown in the recent documentary film “Act of killing”, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.

After these 2014 elections, Anwar Congo, jagal (“Butcher”), one of the main protagonists of the Act of Killing, is most likely rejoicing.

In the film, he admitted, looking straight at the television cameras in one of the major Indonesian television studios, that he murdered 1,000 people with his own hands.

As a reward, he received loud applause from the audience, and an admiring grin from the lady moderator.

For sure, Kopassus murdered many more people and managed to gain even greater respect…

War criminals and mass murderers are, of course, all over the place, in all national and local Indonesian elections.

To make it ‘diverse’ (‘Unity in Diversity’, is a national motto, after all), for instance, General Wiranto is one of the strongest backers of ‘Jokowi’; and Wiranto is the same general who on February 24, 2003 was indicted for Crimes against Humanity by a joint UN-East Timorese court.

According to John M. Miller from the “East Timor and Indonesia Action Network”:

“Others in the ‘Jokowi’ campaign team are also accused of serious violations of human rights. General AM Hendropriyono has been implicated in the 1989 massacre of civilians of Central Lampung, in the assassination of human rights lawyer Munir while head of Indonesia’s intelligence agency (BIN), and in the forced deportation of over 250,000 people from East to West Timor in 1999. Former BIN deputy chief retired Major General Muchdi Purwoprandjono also stands accused of the murder of Munir. A U.S. Department of State cable described Muchdi, a career Kopassus officer, as “one of Indonesia’s most vindictive public figures to justice” and placed him “at the heart of one of the nation’s human rights tragedies–the 1998-99 abductions of student and pro-democracy activists.

Former Jakarta Military Commander Lieutenant General Sutiyoso is accused of torture in Timor-Leste. In 2007, an attempt by Australian investigators to question him about the October 1975 murder of five Australia-based journalists in Balibo, Timor-Leste, caused a diplomatic incident. Sutiyoso was Jakarta’s military commander when thugs backed by troops and police attacked the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party in 1996. Retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu is a hardliner known for his xenophobic remarks and criticism of rights activists. As Army Chief of Staff, he oversaw the implementation of Martial Law in Aceh beginning in May 2003.”


And at this point, I have to ask one simple if maybe a rhetorical question:

Would many of my readers consider going on vacation, or for work, to Germany, in 1961, just 16 years after ‘Adolf Hitler was made to step down’? Would they go there if half of the German folks would have cheerfully cast their ballots in favor of a Nazi candidate, who had been, on top of it, married to a daughter of Hitler (if Hitler had one)? And if that candidate had been a general, or a Sturmbannführer of the SS or SA forces, responsible for murdering, torturing and raping civilians somewhere in Ukraine or the former Yugoslavia, or “disappearing” the opposition in his own city, Berlin?

Would that be even thinkable?

Would they close their eyes and ears to the fact that anyone who did not look German and dared to just walk down the street, would be called names (at least in the capital city’s suburbs and in all major cities even in the center), had fingers pointed at them… blacks, Chinese, Papuans, even whites?

In Indonesia, everything is being tolerated, because Indonesia is just a myth – a grotesque product of the Western media, while the local media is trained to repeat exactly the same lies, only on a much more primitive level.

‘A democracy, a tolerant nation.’

In mythological Indonesian ‘democracy’, the mainly uneducated population (the Indonesian education system is a disaster) votes for parties that do not represent the majority and belong to the same corporate, feudal and military clique.

Its economic growth is a myth, too. What has grown is the plunder of raw materials, while the country produces close to nothing. Now it even imports rice from abroad. And its official poverty rate is one grand myth – if international norms were to apply, well over 80% of population would be defined as poor.

In this fictional country, in 1965/66, the top Indonesian military brass is true hero! In reality, it committed treason and triggered the killing of 2-3 million of its own people, mainly Left-wing intellectuals, the Chinese minority and atheists, on the explicit orders of the West. Suharto and the others around him were always just the lackeys.

Of course, the religious cadres, Muslim, Hindu and even Christian, had settled their scores with the moderate and constitutional Communists (PKI), simply because they were advocating for social justice and land reforms (religious cadres in Indonesia double as latifundistas, historically).

How do I know? I was told by my friend; the former Indonesian President, Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), who also happened to be a progressive Muslim cleric, and the head of the biggest Muslim organization in the country (NU). Gus Dur was not a ‘fictional figure’ for a change; he was real! He was also a closet socialist and the only person with great vision, although he was almost blind. Therefore, the elites and the military got rid of him, in a well orchestrated coup.


I have covered Indonesia for 15 years. I have written books about this country including “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”). A book about this nation, with sub-Sahara African social indicators, but with the inflated pride of a well fed and protected lion. I have made films. I have written countless reports, essays and studies. I also co-authored the last book written by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the greatest Southeast Asian novelist of all times, “The Exile”; the book in which Ananta Toer openly calls Indonesia a fascist state, a collapsed and immoral nation, and a shame.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer was the only Indonesian who ever came close to receiving the Nobel Prize… for anything. Year after year, this former “prisoner of conscience” in the Buru concentration camp was nominated, but the academy would never give the prize to this ‘Indonesian Solzhenitsyn’, who rotted for years in a horrid pro-Western gulag. When he died, his family gave him a Muslim funeral, although he was an atheist. His comrades sang, like beggars, the International, at the curb. Make-believe place!


For 15 years I have listened to farmers in dozens of god-forsaken villages, and even to a bunch of Indonesian businessmen.

One tycoon told me, in Sumatra:

“We need Adolf Hitler! In order to fully restore law and order.” He loved Adolf… Many in Indonesia do.

For all those years I could not stop writing and researching! Despite all those trolls deployed by the Indonesian regime and the West, to discredit me and anybody who dares to shout that the ‘emperor has no clothes.’

To write about Indonesia is a totally thankless job. They spit at you there and abroad, if you dare to write the truth. That is why almost nobody does.

But I kept writing, as a warning to the world (an example of what happens to a country fully abandoned to a perverse bunch of looters, and to Western neo-colonialism; a concept of extreme brutality) because what I have seen, witnessed and heard, was bordering on the ‘impossible’. I kept thinking: “a country like this cannot really exist on this planet. And if it does, it cannot really get away with it, can it?”

But it really exists and it gets away with everything. Especially the elites do! Local elites – that perfect Nazi, racist (now all ethnicities belonging to that gang have become hopelessly racist), brainwashed gang, consisting of angry serfs, full of arrogance but also of inferiority complexes. More insecure, more brutal and murderous…

This gang kills people, poisons rivers, conducts full deforestation, poisons the air, robs cities of parks and sidewalks, as well as of any cultural institutions… It privatizes all public assets and throws the nation to an absolute dark nihilism, insecurity, ignorance and indefinable fear.

And it rules the country. And it gets elected!

And for the poor, the great majority of Indonesians, what is left? It is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) slammed onto the extreme of Southeast Asia. Similar, but with luxury hotels and malls, and with corrupt leaders, with the local and foreign media (and the Australian National University next door, with its ‘Indonesian lobby’ and shameful lies that Indonesia is a ‘normal country’, like Brazil…) covering the entire insanity of it all, presenting it as a ‘normal country’ to its own people and to the world.

My Ugandan colleague who proofreads my essays, always comments: “It is like Uganda; damn, exactly, exactly like home!”

Uganda is, of course, yet another horrid and Fascist client state of the West, which is devouring its own people, and alongside Rwanda, murdering millions in the neighboring DRC.

It is all so similar. It is exactly the same. Indonesia devoured between 1 and 3 million of its own citizens in the 1965/66 cleansing period, and then committed two monstrous genocides in the neighboring countries that it shamelessly occupied – East Timor and Papua. Papua is an on-going genocide, committed in full view of the world, and totally under-reported, for obvious reasons…

Any sanctions against Indonesia, for the genocide? …For the third genocide in just half of century? No?

As I was writing this, my friend, a leading Australian historian and Professor Emeritus at Nagasaki University, told me over a coffee:

“The question is; what is the United States doing right now, in Jakarta? What is it doing, inside those 300 rooms they have inside the embassy – the CIA, the Pentagon, the economists? There are huge interests at stake there, right now! What protagonist would fit the best to their interests? Is Washington favoring old military elites dating to Suharto, or an unknown populist? All we know is that Washington and Canberra revoked visa restrictions on Prabowo. They prepared for his Presidency, in case it happens… We all know how closely he is linked to the US, through Kopassus…”

Identically, like the Rwandan leadership and the ongoing genocide in DRC it is committing, the Indonesian military is covered, immunized by the West, because it is killing and plundering (Papuans and others, now and in the past) on behalf of Washington, London and Canberra.

You cannot touch the Indonesian elites, and you cannot touch the Rwandan ones. You cannot touch them; and you cannot cover them or expose them, fully, in the mainstream.

Therefore, mass murderers are ruling with no fear in Jakarta, Kigali and Kampala.

So back to the original question: would my readers consider going on vacation to a country where half of the people had just expressed their support for the Nazis?

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. ‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.