What is Butcher Netanyahu doing in Africa?

What is Butcher Netanyahu doing in Africa?

 

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Butcher Netanyahu is on a four-nation tour of sub-Saharan Africa for the first visit of Israel’s prime minister to the continent in almost 30 years.

He arrived in Uganda on Monday on the first leg of a four-day trip which will also take him to Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

By visiting Africa, the Israeli premier wants to end decades of hostility and convince African countries to stop voting against Israel at the United Nations.

Netanyahu also seeks to cast off Israel’s pariah status in the black continent as he faces growing criticism from Western allies over the dim prospects for a resolution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the United Nations, Israel is a constant subject of rebuke over its settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank and other violations, including its crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip.

One of Netanyahu’s objectives is to convince African nations not to vote against Israel.

“In the UN there are many [resolutions] which target Israel and we want to change this with the help of the Africans,” Arye Oded, a former Israeli ambassador to Kenya and Uganda, told German broadcaster DW.

Rocky relations   

Israel’s relationship with African nations has historically been fraught because of support for the Palestinian cause from many countries on the continent.

The uneasy history of relations is evident in the fact that no Israeli leader has visited sub-Saharan Africa since Yitzhak Shamir in 1987.

Scores of African countries, including all the countries that Netanyahu is visiting, cut ties with Israel following the 1973 Israeli-Arab war only to restore them in the 1990s.

Israel’s ties with black African countries were further frayed because of its historic support for the apartheid regime in South Africa.

At a recent conference on Africa-Israel ties, Israeli foreign ministry official Yoram Elron noted Tel Aviv’s need for support from African nations in international forums.

“Today relations with the African continent are high on our foreign policy agenda,” he told dozens of African dignitaries and diplomats.

Skepticism 

However, African nations that have survived colonialism and more recently Western plans are skeptical.

Questioned about Israel’s ties to apartheid South Africa, Netanyahu said: “It stopped under my predecessors and I am glad it did.”

Pressed to state whether he had any regrets about the cooperation, he added: “Yeah, and I am glad it [ended].”

Military exports 

Israeli exports to Africa totaled about $1 billion last year, about 2% of its total exports.

With insurgencies and Takfiri militancy growing across Africa, including Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab and Daesh-linked Boko Haram, Israeli leaders are looking to sell advanced military equipment to the continent, the New York Times wrote.

The move comes as Israeli exports to traditional markets in the EU and US have become volatile, Ohad Cohen, head of foreign trade at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, told the Times.

“We are trying to diversify our exports through channeling efforts to markets that are growing more rapidly than [others],” he said. “Africa is one of them.”

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Amidst Increasingly Successful Boycott, israel Canvases Africa for New Trade Partners

Amidst Increasingly Successful Boycott, Israel Canvases Africa for New Trade Partners

 

06 Jul
8:35 PM

nsnbc : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, left Israel to visit several African countries. Netanyahu aims at finding new trade partners in Africa as Israel increasingly feels the impact of the international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Israel_Uganda_Benjamin Netanyahu_Jul 2016The Africa tour of Benjamin Netanyahu is the Prime Minister’s first, and the first Africa tour by an Israeli prime minister since the late PM Yitzak Rabin visited Morocco in 1999.

Before his departure the office of the Prime Minister released a video in which Netanyahu described his Africa tour as a “historic visit” that was of great importance “from diplomatic, economic and security perspectives”.

Addressing dignitaries in Entebbe, Uganda, Netanyahu said: “I am pleased that Israel is going back to Africa in a big way. .. We are opening Africa to Israel again”.

Netanyahu’s four-day tour will take him to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. The first leg of his journey takes Netanyahu to Entebbe, Uganda, where he will meet with leaders from seven African nations including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania.

The office of the Israeli Prime Minister reported that Netanyahu is accompanied by a delegation of over 50 business people from 50 companies “to forge commercial ties with African companies and countries”. Israeli business delegates will participate in economic seminars with their African counterparts in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Israel has, over the past years, increased its focus on Africa with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman touring the continent to meet politicians and businessmen. The increased focus on Africa and Netanyahu’s “historic” visit comes against the backdrop of an increasingly successful international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Israel has also tried to reach out to South Africa, one of the strongest supporters of Palestine on the African continent. Until the end of the apartheid regime, South Africa was one of the strongest and closest Israeli partners in Africa.

In March Dore Gold, the Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, traveled to South Africa in an attempt to mend and strengthen ties between the two countries. Among African leaders who have visited Israel in recent years were Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Anglo-America: Regression and Reversion in the Modern World

Global Research, May 31, 2016
James-Petras

Professor James Petras

What does it mean when the US and British financial systems launder hundreds of billions of dollars of illicit funds stolen by world leaders while their governments turn a ‘blind eye’, and yet the very same Anglo-American officials investigate, prosecute, fine and arrest officials from rival governments, rival banks and political leaders for corruption?

What does it mean when the US government expands a world-wide network of nuclear missiles on bases stretching from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Gulf States to Japan, surrounding Russia, Iran and China, while the very same US and NATO officials investigate and condemn rival defense officials from Russia, China and Iran, as military threats to peace and stability?

What does it mean when Anglo-American economic officials devote decades to raising the age of retirement, reducing working and middle class household income, cutting workers compensation, expanding part-time work, setting the stage for mass layoffs slashing unemployment and health benefits and reducing social spending by the hundreds of billions of dollars and then turn around and investigate and threaten rival countries, like China and Argentina with loss of markets, investment and employment for not doing the same thing ?

The meaning of Anglo-America’s long-term, large-scale structural regression is clearly evident across the world.  From Europe to Latin America and from Asia to Africa, socio-economic and politico-military agendas have been reversed.

Since the end of the Second World War there had been incremental gains in labor rights, stable employment, poverty reduction and working conditions.

Recently, these have all been reversed:  Longer working days and weeks with reduced salaries and benefits; unstable temporary work replaces stable employment; employer-funded pensions are eliminated and replaced by multi-billion dollar corporate tax cuts and off-shore tax evasion.

Systematic structural swindles by the leading financial institutions have forced employees to delay retirement for years in order to ‘self-finance’ their own meager ‘pensions’, some expecting to ‘die at the job’.

Capitalist regression has been implemented by arbitrary state dictates and authoritarian decrees, erasing any pretense of democratic procedures and constitutional laws.

The regressive and retrograde leader-states from the imperial centers impose their conditions on follower regimes like Mexico and Russia forcing them to reverse their legacy of social progress while blackmailing these regimes’ oligarchs with the loss of lucrative markets, access to tax and money-laundering havens and impunity for their crimes and swindles.

Anglo-America:  Historic Reversion

For the past three decades, the US and Great Britain have led the global drive to undermine labor’s advances.  First, the economic structure sustaining labor organizations were dismantled and fragmented.  Then organized labor was decimated, co-opted and corporatized.

Capital proceeded to reverse labor and social welfare legislation and lower wages, in order to impose longer workdays and destabilize employment.

The mass media re-packaged the regression cycle as  ‘economic reform’, a euphemism, which disguised the re-concentration of power, wealth and income over the last three decades.

The growth of inequality and the concentration of wealth and assets to the 1% became ‘the standard’ for the Anglo-American era.  However, class organization and the vicissitudes of class struggles continued to constrain efforts to impose unchallenged Anglo-American capitalist rulership throughout the world.

The first decisive blow against  social reform resulted from the systematic Anglo-American breakdown of the former USSR and allied nations of the Warsaw Pact in East Europe.  This was followed by the endogenous dissolution of Communist Party rule in China, Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkan states and their conversion into capitalist satellites.  Social welfare, full employment, public pensions and health systems were shredded; labor lost all its rights except one – the right to emigrate to the West as cheap labor.

From Russia to Latvia and Poland to Bulgaria and Romania, there were massive layoffs, plant closures and the total dissolution of social security networks driven by the Anglo-America neo-liberal onslaught.  The Atlantic Alliance brought their new Eastern satellites to social submission.

Until the second decade of the 21st century, Western Europe’s centers for the defense of the progressive social agenda were in France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal.  The social agenda in Latin America and China faced the Anglo-America offensive even earlier.

France:  The Strategic Key to Anglo-American Social Regression

France has been the center where the Anglo-American regressive attack on socio-economic policy and Southern Europe’s resistance has been playing out.

By 2015 the regressive alliance had overturned all progressive social policy in the former communist bloc countries.  Their alliance with Germany’s finance sector give them tight control of the EU and they successfully decimated the progressive social programs and labor legislation in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

France became the centerpiece for Western capitalism’s drive to incorporate Italy into the regressive orbit.  The conquest of France and Italy would completely reverse 70 years of incremental labor gains after the defeat of fascist capitalism.

The assault on  France’s progressive social agenda is spearheaded by the retro-Socialist President Francois Hollande and his troika of authoritarian hyper-capitalist ministers:  Financial Minister Michel Sapin, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.

The strategy of relying on a ‘nominal socialist’ to destroy the social welfare state is a classic ‘Trojan Horse’ operation. Hollande’s virulent anti-labor policy is implemented by decree under a joint plan developed in association with France’s leading industrialists.

The imposition of the regressive policy in France began in stages.  It first established the retrograde political leadership with Valls, a notorious authoritarian police-state official willing to over-ride any democratic niceties.  The Economy Minister, Emanuel Macron, a millionaire investment banker, is a direct associate of the financial elite, with no qualms in slashing labor programs.  The Finance Minister Michel Sapin, a long-time accomplice of the French bureaucratic-capitalist elite, is prepared to slash pensions and public services while reducing job security in order to lower the cost of labor to capital.

Once the Hollande and his troika took control of the centers of political power, (and after militarizing French society in response to the terrorist attacks), the regime launched its anti-labor offensive to shred the progressive social agenda.  Its first target was its most formidable – the mass of the French working class.

Declaring ‘anti-ISIS’ martial law powers, Hollande adopted an outright authoritarian strategy, bypassing the elected French Parliament in the legislature and imposed ‘rule by decree’ with the announcement of a highly regressive labor law against the French people.

The dictatorial labor decree was a first step to weaken organized labor’s capacity to protect wages and job security in order to give a powerful impetus to employer control over the French labor force.

Once Hollande’s labor decree established capitalist supremacy, his Troika would be in a decisive position to reverse seventy of incremental social advances.

The joint Hollande-Troika-capitalist bloc emasculated the legislature, leaving a weak, bleating chorus of so-called ‘left Socialists’ to bemoan their political impotence. Then an entirely new business anti-labor code was rolled out, which included the right of bosses to hire and fire workers at will, extend the workday , lengthen the work week, undermine labor’s bargaining power and restrain strikes and job actions.  This would open the way for a wave of irregular and contingent jobs for new workers . . . Using the pretext of terrorist attacks, the French capitalist class had begun to rule by decree to further expand and deepen their long planned assault on labor.

Hollande’s troika and France’s capitalists are lowering corporate taxes and employer contribution to social payments.   Regulations that restrained the concentration of elite power were eliminated.

With curfews and ‘anti-terrorist’ militarized police in the streets, French business elite could now freely begin to to imitate the Anglo-American capitalist elite and impose an iron-fisted New Order.

Without labor constraints on French capital, the bosses are is free to relocate factories and investments any and everywhere, under the most favorable wage, tax, employment and environmental conditions.

No longer required to invest in French industry, the business elite can transfer capital from industry to financial sectors, allowing hundreds of billions of euros to be laundered in off shore tax havens.

The Hollande troika will now also establish its own version of ‘Security and Exchange investigators’ to prosecute and fine its rival Anglo-American financial swindlers, just as the Anglo-Americans pursue their French competitors today.

The Hollande regime’s regressive social agenda has opened the door for an even more extreme Presidential prototype to follow and Alain Juppe is waiting.

The rabid Republican Party presidential candidate, Alain Juppe, promises to go ‘whole hog’ in utterly destroying the French welfare state, as it has existed since the fall of fascism.  If elected president, Juppe promised to slash 100 billion euros from the budget – double the amount that the Hollande regime currently seeks to cut.  Juppe has pledged to eliminate 250,000 civil service jobs in all vital social sectors; to delay the retirement age from 62 to 65; eliminate the 35-hour workweek; facilitate worker layoffs and decimate unemployment benefits.  Finally, Juppe has promised French capital that he would implement their entire business agenda, cut taxes for business and bankers and eliminate the tax on inheritance implemented nearly four decades ago.

In other words, the Hollande regime’s assault on labor and embrace of business has opened the door for the rise of the extreme right.  Moreover, Hollande has manipulated the incidents of Islamist terrorism to assume arbitrary decree powers wiping out any pretense of a democratic government.  The terrorist incidents are arguably related to Hollande’s colonialist embrace of the ‘regime change’ assaults against the secular nationalist governments of Libya and Syria and his policy of sending (or tolerating the recruitment of) marginalized French youth of North African ancestry to fight in the ensuing civil wars.  This has further strengthened the rise of the extreme right in France.

As the Socialist and Republicans compete for dictatorial powers to serve business’ regressive agenda, the nationalist, protectionist and social reformist policies of the National Front are emerging as the populist alternative in the coming presidential race.  Anti-fascist rhetoric has worn thin and important sectors of the working class will turn to the National Front in defense of their jobs and social legislation.  The anti-immigration rhetoric of the National Front is now part of the political vocabulary of the Republicans as well as Prime Minister Valls.

The only alternative to a power grab by the French hard right is a mass general strike and sustained street battles in order to resist the reaction by decree.

As throughout history, popular struggles in France begin in the streets – among the trade unions and young workers angrily facing low wages, austerity and the grim prospect of ‘permanently’ temporary jobs.

The outcome of the intensifying French labor-capital conflict will have a decisive impact on the future of labor throughout Europe, especially among all Left unionists.

Latin America:   The Labor-Capital Showdown

Beyond Europe, the Anglo-American onslaught against labor and the working class resonates most directly in Latin America and to a lesser extent in Asia and Africa.

The first country to fall victim to capital’s attack was Mexico with the implementation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  By the early 1990’s NAFTA had demolished the independent Mexican trade unions, crippled social legislation, eliminated subsidies to small corn farmers, forced peasants into debt, reduced minimum wage, doubled poverty levels and turned the majority of the labor force into landless, indebted, casual workers.  On the other hand, NAFTA has been a bottomless source of wealth as capitalists accumulate double and triple digit profits and absolute power to hire and fire employees.  Mexico’s government, under Anglo-American capital, has allowed the illicit transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars of Mexican assets to US, English and other overseas banks, which have become immense money-laundering operations.  The proximity of Mexican drug cartels to the US banks has facilitated the extension of their networks into the US market.   The horrific expansion of drug cartel death squads, linked to Mexico’s political leaders, dates from the 1990’s and the signing of NAFTA.  This bloody nexus has consolidated neoliberal political power in Mexico and weakened the possibility of a viable mass electoral alternative.

Anglo-American dominance in Latin America in the 1990’s led to an entire panoply of regressive policies: privatizing and denationalizing the most lucrative natural and state resources, banks and industries; reducing wages and social spending for labor while increasing the concentration of capital.  By 2001 however the Anglo-American edifice collapsed throughout South America with the demise of its neo-liberal political leadership.

From Venezuela in 1999, to Argentina in 2002, Brazil 2003, Bolivia 2006 and Ecuador 2007, left and center-left parties capitalized on their mass support and were elected into power.  They took advantage of global economic conditions with the rising commodity prices, booming Chinese markets and new regional alliances to fund a variety of progressive social agendas, including increased social expenditures, guaranteed pensions, family allowances, minimum wages, wage increases for public sector and expanded labor rights.

The Anglo-American power elite was in retreat and isolated, but it was far from defeated.  They retrenched and prepared to re-mobilize their strategic business, banking and political allies when the opportunity arose.   They counter-attacked when global and regional conditions turned unfavorable to the social regimes.

The assault on Latin America was preceded by the Anglo-American neo-liberal take-over of Northern Europe from the 1990’s to the first decade of the 21st century.  This was followed by the sweep and grab of the Balkans and Southern Europe.  The combined Anglo-American-EU-NATO offensive now seeks to reverse the last social-welfare regimes in Europe: France and Italy with the help of President Hollande and Prime Minister Renzi.

Simultaneously the Anglo-American offensive has been launched throughout Latin America.  Their goal is to recover the imperial prerogatives, political power and economic privileges lost during the previous decade.  The primary Euro-American target is the ‘golden triangle’, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.  These countries constitute a global center of immense oil and agro-mineral wealth.

The Argentine neo-liberal restoration took off in December 2015 with the election of  far-right President Mauricio Macri (image left).   His junta wasted no time in stripping the state of its social legislation, dismantling job security through large-scale layoffs and assuming authoritarian rule by decree to devalue Argentina’s currency by 40% and to eliminate state subsidies and raising the price for gas, electricity, transport, and water between 300 and 800 %.

The regressive offensive was in full force.  Next, Brazil’s twice elected President Dilma Rousseff was ‘impeached’ and essentially overthrown by a bizarre legislative right-wing coup-d’état, designed to reverse a generation of progressive regulatory, labor and employment legislation.  It was also secretly designed to halt corruption investigations against many right-wing politicians.

Venezuela is next.  It will be the scene of a full-scale-elite coup-d’état with imperial backing, to overthrow the government of President Maduro and end decades of progressive social advances under the Chavista governments.

While in France and Italy, the great social reversal is being implemented by internal enemies from the ‘progressive’ political parties (“Trojan Horses”), in Latin America the reversal is led by openly hostile class enemies who depend on the arbitrary exercise of executive power.  The drive to put a definitive end to the ‘welfare state’ in Europe and Latin America is marked by the use of dictatorial decrees, (in the style of Mussolini in the 1920’s) as exercised by Argentina’s elected President Marci in January 2016 and Brazil’s ‘Interim (Coup) President’ Temer in April 2016.  Meanwhile capitalist lockouts, hoarding and sabotage are being used to crush Venezuela’s elected government.

This epochal confrontation has spread across Africa and Asia. China’s capitalist offensive has seen a four-fold increase in the number of new billionaires in less than a decade, at the expense of hundreds of millions of workers stripped of their rights and social programs.

South Africa, under the ANC government, turned its back on social gains promised by the liberation struggle and has imposed regressive social legislation and repressive anti-labor decrees.  A corrupt class of black and white billionaires now rule by guns and clubs over the black working class.

In Africa and the Middle East, the social welfare states of the nationalist regimes in Iraq and Libya have been completely shredded through imperialist military intervention and civil war.  Their once advanced societies have been thrown back into ethno-tribal warfare with no remaining modern social institutions in those two blighted, resource-rich nations.

Wither the Class Struggle:  Historical Reversal and Class Revolt?

The Anglo-American offensive to reverse decades of social advance has captured most of Europe.  They have incorporated or coopted the Social Democratic parties and are moving swiftly toward dismantling the decade-long center-left welfare states in Latin America.

In Africa, the centerpiece of Anglo-Americanization is South Africa, the continent’s most advanced bastion of international capitalism.

In Asia, China, the second most important capitalist economy in the world, has been leading the struggle to overturn the social agenda of the revolutionary past.

Large-scale, prolonged class resistance in several decisive centers is emerging to confront this Anglo-American process of reversion. The class confrontation however takes specific characteristics in each country.

In France, the major protagonists of street fighting and marches are young unemployed or casual workers, members of the strategic transport and oil unions and student-workers facing a bleak future of marginal employment and a shredded social safety net.

Trade unions and farmers’ association have joined the street struggles on numerous occasions, possibly in preparation for a general strike.

In Latin America, the center of the class struggle is Argentina.  Power-mad President Macri immediately imposed regressive policies against all sectors of the working class.  His actions managed to unite the four major trade union confederations, multiple retirees associations and small businesspeople bankrupted by exorbitant charges on gas and electrical use and regional neighborhood federations.  The widespread growth of job actions among public sector employees points to a general strike.

The regressive assault on long-term social legislation in Brazil immediately followed the thinly disguised capitalist coup.  The ousting of President Rousseff has provoked street demonstrations, led by the huge rural landless workers movement (MST), the confederation of industrial and service workers (CUT), social movements of the homeless workers and the recipients of Lula’s poverty programs.  New revelations, based on taped conversations among the coup plotters reveal their plans to oust the incumbent President Rousseff in order to derail official investigations into their own corruption scandals.  This has enraged the general public.

With the initial take-over, the Brazilian political-financial elite has prepared to launch its full-scale reversal of pensions and employment laws and wage guarantees.  The pro-business leadership plans to slash corporate and wealth taxes and to appoint business executives to all leading ministries.  The deep corruption scandal and the mass demonstrations suggest the rightwing power grab may not survive.

The regressive offensive in Venezuela has severely crippled the national economy and deeply eroded living standards of the vast majority of the working class.  The rightist Congress, backed by the US and allied with international mass media, industry and multinational banks, are trying to force the resignation of Socialist President Maduro.

Maduro has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the armed forces.  He  called on the military and popular militia to defend the constitutional order and has threatened to mobilize the workers to “take control of the means of production”.  Still, the leftist government vacillates over arming the militias and workers.   A wide gap remains before the word and the deed.

In the meantime Venezuela’s right wing and left-wing mass mobilizations face each other in the streets seething with class hatred and waiting to engage in a decisive confrontation.  The military thus far remains constitutionalist and on the side of the elected president.

In South Africa, the corrupt pro-business ANC led by President Zuma (image right) murdered dozens of striking mine workers.  It has impoverished millions of shantytown residents, while increasing the wealth and power of the black-white elite.  On April 30, 2016, 1.1.million South African activists, including civil society and community organizations and trade unions covering the mining, manufacturing and service sectors have organized to form a new confederation linked with informal, unemployed and poor workers.  The South African Workers Summit replaces the moribund and corrupt labor confederation, COSATU, the ‘labor desk’ for the neo-liberal ANC regime.  The new confederation will co-ordinate mass struggles and reclaim social programs as a central part of the anti-capitalist revolution.

In China, the growth and consolidation of the world’s second largest concentration of billionaires has led to the proliferation of large-scale industrial workers’ strikes, walkouts and confrontations with factory bosses, company unions and government officials.  China is becoming the epicenter of Asia’s working class struggles.  Chinese workers have forced the government to investigate and jail over 200,000 corrupt officials, high and low, and to concede substantial wage increases and social compensation to factory workers.  Fearing more social upheaval, China’s billionaires and multi-millionaires have transferred hundreds of billions of dollars of stolen assets abroad in a buying spree of high-end property in the ‘safe’ Anglo-American “heartland” of world reaction.

The continued advance of working class struggles against the public and private oligarchs has forced the Chinese Prime Minister to reform elite privileges and prosecute large-scale banking swindles and illegal seizure of farmland.  Especially important, millions of workers have successfully secured double-digit wage increases and the right to legally live in urban/industrial and construction centers.

As it gains momentum, class struggle in China can become the centerpiece for a wider Asian social transformation and a great leap forward to socialist values.

Conclusion

The Anglo-American drive to establish a global regressive social order has pushed billions of workers on five continents into destitution, insecurity and lifelong exploitation.  The capitalist world rules by fiat and violence, declaring that social regression and worker repression are the ‘wave of the future’. For the elite, the proper order of the universe is being ‘restored’!

In response, new working class organizations have emerged and engage directly to defend their historic social advances and economic rights.

In the course of defending their past progressive social legacy, the new working class militants can clearly see the imperative to challenge and overthrow the entire political and economic order.  From France to Latin America, from China to South Africa, class struggle is defining the present and future of class relations.

The Evil Empire Strikes Back: BRICS Under Attack, Coup in Brazil ~ [Reports Collection]

Syrian Free Press

BRICS_heads_of_state_2014_G-20_Brisbane_Australia_Agencia_Brasil

BRICS leaders, G-20, 2014 Brisbane-Australia (Photo Agencia Brasil)


(SOTT with Audio) ~ Democratically-elected Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has been suspended pending impeachment, replaced with a corrupt, right-wing, unpopular U.S. spy.

Modi’s India seems to be aligning more with the U.S. in confrontation with China.

South Africa is suffering at the hands of U.S. intrigue.

In short, it appears as if the U.S. Empire is launching a multi-front war on Russia and China by ‘converting’ its BRICS allies to the dark side.

This comes as the U.S. ‘policy’ in Syria is coming apart at the seams.

Their ‘friend and ally’ Turkey has been exposed as arguably the biggest supporter of ISIS/Daesh in Syria.

The U.S. is feebly trying to maintain that the terrorist groups it supports are ‘moderates’.

But unwilling to admit defeat, the U.S. seems keen on taking the world down with it in perhaps the biggest case of suicidal hubris the world has ever known.


brics countries

“Soft” Coups Threaten Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa

The Empire of Chaos(The US) has won a major victory in Brazil destroying a democracy in order to bring Brazil back under control. Dilma Rousseff has been impeached on trumped up charges ignoring the wishes of the 54 Million Brazilians who voted for her and replacing her with the traitor Michel Temer.

Temer gives a whole new meaning to the idea of rule by the 1% because Temer has a 1% approval rating. Rousseff has been suspended from office for 180 days while the impeachment process continues. Brazil has joined the list of successful recent coups in Honduras, and Paraguay. Like the people of Argentina the people of Brazil are about to be reminded of what it means to be ruled by neo-liberal Hyenas.

dilma_rousseff_second_term

For the people of Brazil the battle has only begun. The 1964 coup in Brazil installed a brutal military dictatorship and was only the first of many coups that would leave the entire region under the fascist rule of Operation Condors network of military juntas. The people of Brazil and of all of Latin America are in deadly danger. By this act the US has signaled that even minor reforms like those carried out by Brazil’s workers party are unacceptable. Nothing must be allowed to impede the looting and impoverishment of the planet at the hands of the multi-national corporations.

By Hugo Turner, GlobalResearch

Yet the loss of Brazil has even worse consequences for the globe. It is a major strategic victory in the empire of Chaos attempt to reconquer Latin America. It is also a major victory in the effort to destroy the BRICS countries. It marks a major defeat in the effort to build a multi-polar world. Worse still Soft coups are also making gains in Venezuela and in South Africa. In Venezuela a recall referendum obtained the necessary signatures to remove Nicolas Maduro from office. In South Africa a court ruled that Jacob Zuma must again face hundreds of charges that were dismissed years ago. Both Venezuela and South Africa have been the victims of a covert war campaign. In Venezuela a wave of assassinations continues to murder those loyal to the Bolivarian Revolution. In South Africa a wave of arson attacks have been carried out that the government has blamed on the US embassy (ie the CIA). As if plunging large parts of the globe into unending warfare is not enough the empire of chaos is determined to destroy every independent country on the planet.

Flashback: The 1964 Coup

Before I discuss the latest coup in Brazil I will give a brief description of the 1964 coup in Brazil that would go on to have such disastrous consequences for all of Latin America. My account is based on William Blum’s Invaluable book “Killing Hope” Brazil is Chapter 27 out of 56 each recording coups or covert wars the US has carried out since 1945. Jose Goulart had become president after Janio da Silva Quadros had been forced to resign or face a military coup. Goulart the Vice President barely made it into office Right-Wing military officers tried to bar him but Loyalist military officers had interceded forcing the fascists to back down. Quadros had been quite conservative but had sought to ally Brazil with the nonaligned movement and to trade with the USSR. Goulart was also only a mild reformer but even before the moment he came into office the CIA, the Pentagon, the State department began plotting his downfall. CIA officer Vernon Walters (operating under cover as a military attache ) who would go on to play a vital role in setting up operation Condor was a major player in the coup. He helped organize the coup plotters in the Military. Goulart was first targeted with economic warfare, political destabilization and media war. Globo Media which played a major role in the current anti-Rousseff coup played the same role in the 1964 coup.

The CIA financed mass demonstrations, bribed political opposition and helped fund their campaigns. It created it’s own labor movement the AIFLD to destroy the left wing labor movement and to stage strikes and even armed attacks. The tactics of color revolution/Hybrid War are far older then the terms themselves obviously. As mentioned the US had begun plotting against him even before he ever assumed office and in fact had engineered him being fired as minister of Labor back in the 50′s. Once he became president his offenses in the eyes of the empire were refusing to fire ministers the US labeled “Communist. He sought to trade with the eastern block. He instituted mild economic reforms including a very limited land redistribution program. He passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinational corporations could take out of the country and he nationalized a subsidiary of ITT.

For this he was accused of seeking to install a “Totalitarian” Dictatorship by the State department. When they had stirred up enough chaos with their economic war and destabilization campaign when they had succeeded in vilifying Goulart in the media they launched the coup. The military who had been indoctrinated by the US in fanatical anti-communism and trained to see their own people as the enemy were given the go ahead for the coup. On March 31st the CIA backed fascist divisions moved to occupy the capital city Rio.

However the CIA had only gained control of a faction of the military other loyal divisions were willing to resist. The US sent in a huge Naval detachment including Aircraft carriers and destroyers to signal their backing for the coup. Goulart decided to flee rather then risk a civil war. By April 1st he had fled and the Fascist General Castelo Branco seized power arresting thousands of opponents and shooting protestors. And of course the dirty war came anyways tens of thousands would be tortured and killed over the next decades.

Although Latin America’s endless dirty war began long before the Brazil coup (Unending war and oppression began in1492) the 1964 coup would play a decisive role in helping to spread it throughout the continent. Brazil would play a vital role in the coups in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and in training the death squads and torturers of the continent. Dilma Rousseff herself was among the hundreds of thousands tortured. Meanwhile members of the Condor Network are still powerful in many Latin American militaries and the CIA and Pentagon influence continues. For more on Operation Condor check out my October 2015 article “Operation Condor”. For the continuing dirty war in Latin America see my March 2016 “War on Latin America.” In light of this history it is clear why we must resist this latest coup which threatens to reignite Brazil’s dirty war.

The 2016 Soft Coup

Pepe Escobar has written the definitive account of the coup in Brazil. Thus for a detailed account track down the numerous articles he has written on the subject. Frankly I feel more like screaming or crying than writing about this tragic moment in Brazil’s history. The only real difference between the April 64 coup and the May 2016 coup is that the military were not called in to overthrow the government. Hence people are referring to it as a soft coup. However the manufactured opposition, the media war, the economic war and doubtless the CIA bribes flying left and right are all the same. In fact just like Castelo Branco Brazil’s new president Temer is a CIA asset.

Brazil’s coup has a lot in common with the recent coups in Honduras and Paraguay. Thus even though Brazil’s coup was accomplished with legalistic means does not mean that the tortures and disappearances may not soon re-appear in Brazil not that they ever really ended given Brazil’s unending “low intensity” drug war and privatized death squads that masquerade as security agencies.

These agencies of course were a major factor in the coup part of what Pepe Escobar calls Brazil’s “BBC.” “BBC” stands for in this case not the notorious British propaganda outfit but for the three main economic interests manipulating Brazil’s senate to vote for impeachment. BBC stands for the Bullet, The Bible, and the Cattle. The bullet is weapons and private security. The Bible is pastors and “Evangelical Fanatics.” While Cattle is the powerful Agribusiness lobby. Pepe also lists some illuminating statistics on the senate they are 80% White although Brazil is largely a brown and Black country. 60 percent of the Senate are from political dynasties 58% of them are under criminal investigation and 13% of them were not elected at all worming their way in as “alternates.” These are the oligarchs who had the final say in destroying Brazil’s democracy. They have ignored the wishes of the 54 Million Brazilians who voted for Dilma Rousseff and have replaced her with the traitor Michel Temer with his 1% approval rating.

The main front men for this CIA coup were first Judge Sergio Moro who with his completely one sided car wash investigation set the coup in motion. By ignoring the crimes of the right and focusing only on crimes by the left he turned a corruption investigation into a coup. Next there was then house speaker Eduardo Cunha notorious as one of the most corrupt politicians in Brazil with millions in swiss bank accounts. He lead the impeachment drive in Brazil’s lower house fast tracking the impeachment process. However he lost his job as speaker so that the coup would not be a complete laughing stock. After all Dilma Rousseff is not even charged with having been corrupt and is innocent yet her impeachment campaign was lead by the Cunha “the Shark” one of the most corrupt. Lastly there is Michel Temer or Brutus as Escobar calls him. He openly admitted that the impeachment lacked all legitimacy before switching sides in a twisted power grab. These criminals have earned by their actions the hatred not just of Brazil but of Latin America and indeed of everyone who opposes the empire. Of course they were merely the tools of the Brazil’s Oligarchs, the CIA, and Wall Street but by their treachery they have set Brazil back decades.

The loss of Brazil will help sabotage BRICS. It will be a major blow to attempts to resist the empire of Chaos throughout the continent in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the other countries that have so far avoided soft coups. For the people of Brazil who had only slowly begun to climb out of poverty thanks to the reforms of Brazil’s workers party which despite it’s flaws did create a major rise in the standard of living the Coup means they will be Ruthlessly thrust back into poverty. Brazil’s massive oil wealth will go not to improving the lives of it’s citizens but to enriching the billionaires on Wall Street.

Far worse may await them as the new coup government will eventually begin to wage war on the angry majority of Brazil to insure that they remain in power. The people must begin to prepare themselves for resistance and in my opinion for revolution. Democracy has failed in Brazil mild reforms have failed in Brazil. The people of Brazil must begin to organize to seize back the power. And should they ever prove successful they must make radical changes to their society that will make impossible this sort of “Soft coup”.

How long will Latin America’s Oligarchs be allowed to wage their campaigns of mass murder before the people wise up and give them a taste of revolutionary justice? Goulart thought he could spare his country a war if he resigned and was proven tragically wrong.

Rousseff appears to have made the same mistake and we can only hope that her failure to destroy these dangerous traitors does not lead to a repeat of Brazil’s horrifying Dirty War.

Recent experience in Honduras or Ukraine do not give us much reason to believe that things will go differently for Brazil. However there are two factors that give reason for hope that this coup may be reversed. First Brazil has powerful social movements, the landless workers movement, the landless peasants, and many thousands of smaller groups. Second if Lula can survive the attempts to destroy him as part of the Car Wash Scandal he may run again in 2018 seizing Brazil back for the people. I hope his security is on full alert sadly his potential to run again and restore democracy in Brazil means his life is in great danger.

If only the idea of Lula being assassinated either violently or via cancer or heart attack were paranoid as some of you are doubtless thinking. But ask Fidel Castro who has survived dozens of assassination attempts. One can no longer ask the great Hugo Chavez but the details of his murder continue to emerge thanks to the work of journalist Eva Golinger. She has uncovered even more evidence of his assassination in particular in a recent interview she discussed some of the many attempts to kill him which failed. One included a Colombian death Squad camped out at a Venezuelan Oligarchs place thankfully they were arrested in time. Another involved a sniper caught staking out someplace Chavez was about to speak at.

Undoubtedly the most memorable involved the attempt to assassinate him with a radioactive chair at an “Prestigious” University in New York where Chavez was giving a speech. She also revealed the names of several traitors who defected to the united states shortly after his death. One of these traitors former Major General Herbert Garcia Plaza is now coordinating the destabilization of Venezuela from the safety of the US. I highly recommend you read the interview with her yourselves to learn even more shocking information.

Venezuela

Unfortunately I must turn my attention to the ongoing “soft coup” in Venezuela. There was some good news the opposition plot to privatize Venezuela’s public housing was struck down by Venezuela’s supreme court as unconstitutional since it interfered with Venezuela’s constitutional commitment to provide housing education healthcare and other social programs. Chavez’s radical reforms have born fruit and Venezuela’s Supreme Court is firmly committed to defending Bolivarian Socialism. However the opposition appropriately named MUD continues it’s campaign to destroy Venezuela on the orders of their CIA/NED controllers. They launched a recall petition and easily achieved the 1% of signatures needed.

Next they only need 20% of voters to agree to a recall referendum and then a Referendum forcing Maduro to resign can eventually be voted on. Maduro is determined to resist this scheme and hopes to fulfill his term which doesn’t end until 2018. Obviously this is a dangerous new development. In addition a wave of assassinations continue to murder loyal government officials and Bolivarian politicians. The CIA is waging a dirty war on Venezuela using drug dealing Colombian death squads and right wing Venezuelan terrorists to wage an operation condor style Phase III assassination campaign aimed at weakening the government by killing it’s most promising leaders. However even more destabilizing has been the economic war and Venezuela’s Oligarchs continue to sabotage the economy eroding public support for the Bolivarian Revolution. The Venezuelan Revolution a source of hope and an inspiration for the entire world remains under deadly threat.

South Africa

In South Africa a soft coup threatens another BRICS member. South Africa is another victim of the economic war which has sent commodities prices plummeting. This has served to destabilize South Africa just as it has Venezuela, and Brazil. But of course the US isn’t content with destabilizing South Africa it wants to overthrow the ANC who have ruled South Africa since the fall or Apartheid. The ANC is far from perfect in a secret deal before coming to power they had to renounce their longstanding platform of nationalizing South Africa’s resources and building a socialist society. However given it was 1994 and the Soviet Union had just collapsed the constant criticism they have suffered since from the left while valid is slightly unfair. Andre Vltchek points out that the ANC has made far more progress then people have given them credit for.

They have also been plagued by corruption scandals but only a fool would believe that if the ANC are overthrown in a soft coup that corruption will suddenly disappear. Instead whoever replaces them would open the country to be looted by western corporations reversing whatever gains people have made since the fall of apartheid. You don’t fight corruption with coups because coups are by their nature corrupting they involve people accepting bribes from the CIA and other intelligence agencies to betray their country. Obviously those willing to sell out their country are unlikely to resist bribes for lesser crimes. Just ask the Ukrainians.

The destabilization campaign against Zuma began innocently enough with students demanding lower fees. However soon instead of chanting the “Fees must Fall” they were shouting “Zuma must Fall.” Now EFF head Julius Melema is calling for Zuma’s downfall even threatening to use force. And if that wasn’t bad enough the US embassy (CIA) have been caught organizing opposition movements and even hiring organized crime to burn down 19 schools in the Limpopo province. Worse now the supreme court has ruled that Zuma must face 783 charges against him that were dismissed back in 2007. They date from when Zuma was deputy president under Thabo Mbeki. Zuma was dismissed as deputy president but this lead to a power struggle within the ANC in which he emerged victorious. He was later elected president despite this scandal so it is ridiculous to try to overthrow him based on a 10 year old scandal. Zuma like Maduro, and Rousseff is facing a soft coup attempt. Whatever petty crimes Zuma may have committed whatever the flaws of the ANC we must oppose this soft coup attempt. The goal has nothing to do with reducing corruption in South Africa or reducing inequality as the EFF deceptively claim. Anyone who thinks a CIA coup will reduce inequality in South Africa needs to read Blum’s “Killing Hope” since every CIA coup has been undertaken to preserve or worsen inequality. Instead the goal is clearly to destroy the BRICS the main hope for a multipolar world. The goal is to break up the economic partnership between China and South Africa damaging China the economic engine of the multipolar world and further isolating Russia the military backbone of BRICS.

We must oppose the coups in Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa. We must support the people as they resist the return of fascism in South America. We must support South Africa as it struggles to maintain it’s independence. The Empire of Chaos thinks it can preserve itself by destroying all the alternatives. It is far to late for that Capitalism itself is in crisis and people are already dreaming of a better world. Remember the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 inspired the revolutionary career of Che Guevara. In fact to carry out their economic war on the BRICS the Oligarchs are putting the whole stability of their global capitalist system at risk a dangerous gamble. Although 2016 has been a year of victory for the forces of counter-revolution beneath the surface all over the world people can sense revolution in the air. Thus even in the face of defeat and danger instead of despairing we must only redouble our efforts. The time of revolutions is approaching.


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R E L A T E D      R E P O R T S

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Dilma out: Brazilian plutocracy sets 54mn votes on fire

(Pepe Escobar, RT) ~ Never in modern political history has it been so easy to “abolish the people” and simply erase 54 million votes cast in a free and fair presidential election.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff-1

Forget about hanging chads, as in Florida 2000. This is a day that will live in infamy all across the Global South – when what was one of its most dynamic democracies veered into a plutocratic regime, under a flimsy parliamentary/judicial veneer, with legal and constitutional guarantees now at the mercy of lowly comprador elites.

After the proverbial marathon, the Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for “crimes of responsibility” – related to alleged window dressing of the government’s budget.

This is the culmination of a drawn-out process that started even before Rousseff won re-election in late 2014 with over 54 million votes. I have described the bunch of perpetrators of what Brazilian creativity has termed‘golpeachment’ (a mix of coup – “golpe” in Portuguese – and impeachment) as Hybrid War hyenas.

Sophisticated golpeachment – supported by what amounts to an Electoral Inquisition College – has propelled Hybrid War to whole new levels.

Hybrid War as applied to Brazil exhibited classic elements of a color revolution. Of course there was no need for no-fly zones or humanitarian imperialism to “protect human rights” – not to mention provoking a civil war. But considering the high resistance level of the victim state, where civil society is very dynamic, Hybrid War designers in this case bet on a mix of capitulation – and betrayal – of local elites, mixed with“peaceful protests” and a relentless mainstream media campaign. Call it ‘Civil War Light.’

That carried with it a fabulous cost-benefit ratio. Now the (immensely corrupt) Brazilian political system and the current executive/legislative/judiciary/mainstream media alignment can be used by the usual suspects for their geopolitical agenda.

Welcome to regime change light – politics, in a nutshell – as war by other means on the BRICS. A new software, a new operating system. Carrying a pathetic corollary; if the US is the Empire of Chaos, Brazil has now gloriously reached the status of Sub-Empire of Scoundrels.

Scoundrels galore

Rousseff may be accused of serious economic mismanagement, and of being incapable of political articulation among the shark pool that is (immensely corrupt) Brazilian politics. But she is not corrupt. She made a serious mistake in fighting inflation, allowing interest rates to rise to an unsustainable level; so demand in Brazil dramatically dropped, and recession became the norm. She is the (convenient) scapegoat for Brazil’s recession.

She certainly may be blamed for not having a Plan B to fight the global recession. Brazil essentially works on two pillars; commodity exports and local companies relying on the teats of the state. Infrastructure in general is dismal – adding to what is described as the “Brazilian cost” of doing business. With the commodity slump, state funds dwindled and everything was paralyzed – credit, investment, consumption.

The pretext for Rousseff’s impeachment – allegedly transferring loans from public banks to the Treasury in order to disguise the size of Brazil’s fiscal deficit – is flimsy at best. Every administration in the West does it – and that includes Clinton’s, Bush’s and Obama’s.

The Operation Car Wash investigation, dragging on for two years now, was supposed to uncover corruption in the Brazilian political system – as in the collusion of oil giant Petrobras executives, Brazilian construction companies, and political campaign financing. Car Wash has nothing to do with the golpeachment drive. Yet these have been two parallel highways converging to one destination: the criminalization of the Workers’ Party, and the definitive – if possible – political assassination of Rousseff and her mentor, former President Lula.

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When golpeachment reached the lower house of Congress – an appalling spectacle – Rousseff was eviscerated by Hybrid War hyenas of the BBC variety; “BBC,” in English, stands for“bullet,”“bible” and “cattle,” where“bullet” refers to the weapons and private security industry,“bible” to pastors and evangelical fanatics, and “cattle” to the powerful agribusiness lobby.

The “BBC” hyenas are members of almost all Brazilian political parties, paperboys for major corporations, and – last but not least – corruption stalwarts. They all benefited from millionaire political campaigning. The whole Car Wash investigation ultimately revolves around campaign financing, which in Brazil, unlike the US with its legalized lobbies, is a Tarantino-worthy Wild West.

The Brazilian Senate is not exactly an “upper” – as in more polished – house. Eighty percent of members are white men – in a country where miscegenation rules. A staggering 58 percent is under criminal investigation – linked to Car Wash. Sixty percent hail from political dynasties. And 13 percent – as alternates – were not elected at all. Among those favoring impeachment, 30 out of 49 are in trouble with the law. Charges include mostly money laundering, financial crimes and outright corruption. Renan Calheiros, the president of the Senate – who oversaw today’s impeachment vote – is the target of no fewer than nine separate money laundering/corruption Car Wash lines of investigation, plus another two criminal probes.

Meet the three Banana Republic amigos

Rousseff is now suspended for a maximum 180 days while a Senate committee decides whether to impeach her for good. Enter President-in-Waiting Michel Temer – a dodgy, shady operator – who has been branded a“usurper” by Rousseff. And usurper this provincial Brutus certainly is – according to his own words. On March 30 last year, he was tweeting that,“Impeachment is unthinkable, it would create an institutional crisis. There is no judicial or political basis for it.”

His administration is born with the original sin of being illegal and massively unpopular; his approval rating floats between an epic 1 percent and 2 percent. He was already fined last week for violating campaign finance limits. And, predictably, he’s drowning in a corruption swamp – named in two Car Wash plea bargains and accused of being part of an illegal scheme of ethanol buying; he may become ineligible for the next eight years. Almost 60 percent of Brazilians also want him impeached – on the same charges leveled against Rousseff.

Members of Brazil's Senate react after a vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff for breaking budget laws in Brasilia, Brazil, May 12, 2016. © Ueslei Marcelino

Brutus 1 (Temer) would not bask in the glow of his 15 minutes of fame without the shenanigans of Brutus 2 (Brazil’s number one crook, former speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha, facing charges of bribery and perjury, holder of illegal Swiss accounts, and now finally sidelined by the Supreme Court). It was Brutus 2 who fast-tracked impeachment as pure vengeance; the Workers’ Party did not cover his back as he was facing a tsunami of corruption charges. Brutus 2 used all his vast powers – he runs a campaign financing scam inside Congress – to obstruct the Car Wash investigation. His replacement, the interim speaker, is also under investigation for bribery.

So meet Temer, Cunha, Calheiros; these three amigos are the true stars of the Banana Republic of Scoundrels/Crooks.

As if the Supreme Court would be rascal-free. Judge Gilmar Mendes, for instance, is a lowly plutocrat vassal. When an attorney for the government entered a motion to suspend impeachment, he quipped, “Ah, they can go to heaven, to the Pope, or to hell.” Another pompous judge received a request to sideline Cunha as early as December 2015. He only examined the request over four months later, when the whole golpeachment scam was in its decisive phase. And still he argued, “there’s no proof Cunha contaminated the impeachment process.”

Finally, complementing the whole scam, we find Brazilian mainstream media, with the toxic Globo media empire – which lavishly profited from the 1964 military coup – at the forefront.

All hail the neoliberal restoration

Wall Street – as well as the City of London – could not hide its excitement with golpeachment, believing Brutus 1 Temer will be an economic upgrade. Arguably, he might dare to tweak Brazil’s Kafkaesque tax code and do something about the enormous hole in the pension system. But what that mythical entity – the “markets” – and myriad “investors” are salivating about is the prospect of fabulous rates of return in a reopened-for-speculation Brazil. The Brutus 1 game will be a neoliberal feast, actually a restoration, with no popular representation whatsoever.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. © Adriano Machado

The golpeachment gang gets really incensed when they are identified as coup plotters. Still, they could not give a damn about the OAS, Mercosur, Unasur – all of them condemned the coup – not to mention the Holy Grail: the BRICS. Under Brutus 1, the Foreign Ministry, to be led by a sore loser senator, is bound to sink Brazil’s key role in BRICS cooperation, to the benefit of Exceptionalistan.All one needs to know is that neither Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack “kill list” Obama nor Queen of Chaos Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton condemned the ongoing regime change light/golpeachment. That’s predictable, considering Exceptionalistan’sNSA spied on Petrobras and Dilma Rousseff personally – the genesis of what would develop as the Car Wash investigation.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest limited himself to the proverbial platitudes: “challenging moment”; “trust in Brazilian democratic institutions”; or even “mature democracy.” Yet he added, significantly, that Brazil is “under scrutiny.”

Of course, the current stage of a very sophisticated Hybrid War strategy has been accomplished. But there are countless cliffhangers ahead. The Car Wash investigation – currently in slow motion – will pick up speed as a rash of dodgy plea bargains is already in store to create the conditions to criminalize for good not only Dilma Rousseff but the key piece in the chessboard: Lula.

Game over? Not so fast. The anti-golpeachment front does have a strategy: to imprint especially in “deep Brazil,” the vast masses of the working poor, the notion of illegality; to rebuild Rousseff’s image as the victim of a profound injustice; to re-energize the progressive political front; to make sure the Brutus 1 government will fail; and to create the conditions for the man who will come in from the cold to win the 2018 presidential elections.

Brazilian House of Cards? Bets could be made this may even end up as Anaconda, with Lula immobilizing the Hybrid War hyenas in a cobra clutch.


Brazil President Dilma Rousseff-2

Hybrid war hyenas tearing Brazil apart

(Pepe Escobar, RT) ~ The gloomy and repulsive night when the female president of the 7th largest economy in the world was the prey of choice fed to a lynch mob of hyenas in a drab, provincial Circus Maximus will forever live in infamy.

By 367 votes for and 137 against, the impeachment/coup/regime change-light drive against Dilma Rousseff cleared the Brazilian Congressional circus and will now go to the Senate, where a“special commission” will be set up. If approved, Rousseff will then be sidelined for 180 days and a low-rent tropical Brutus, Vice-President Michel Temer, will ascend to power until the Senate’s final verdict.

This lowly farce should serve as a wake-up call not only to the BRICS but to the whole Global South. Who needs NATO, R2P (“responsibility to protect”) or“moderate rebels” when you can get your regime change just by tweaking a nation’s political/judicial system?

The Brazilian Supreme Court has not analyzed the merit of the matter – at least not yet. There’s no solid evidence anywhere Rousseff committed a“crime of responsibility”; she did what every American President since Reagan has done – not to mention leaders all across the world: along with her vice-president, the lowly Brutus, Rousseff got slightly creative with the federal budget’s numbers.

The coup has been sponsored by a certified crook, president of the lower house Eduardo Cunha; reportedly the holder of several illegal accounts in Switzerland, listed in the Panama Papers and under investigation by the Supreme Court. Instead of lording over near-illiterate hyenas in a racist, largely crypto-fascist circus, he should be behind bars. It beggars belief that the Supreme Court has not launched legal action against Cunha. The secret of his power over the circus is a gigantic corruption scheme lasting many years, featuring corporations contributing to his and others’ campaign financing.

And that’s the beauty of a regime change-light/color revolution of Hybrid War when staged in such a dynamically creative nation such as Brazil. The hall of mirrors yields a political simulacrum that would have driven deconstructionists Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco, if alive, green with envy; a Congress crammed with fools/patsies/traitors/crooks, some of whom are already being investigated for corruption, has conspired to depose a president who is not under any formal corruption investigation – and has not committed any “crime of responsibility”.

The neoliberal restoration

Still, without a popular vote, the massively rejected tropical Brutus twins, Temer and Cunha, will find it impossible to govern, even though they would perfectly incarnate the project of the immensely arrogant and ignorant Brazilian elites; a neoliberal triumph, with Brazilian “democracy”trampled down six feet under.

It’s impossible to understand what happened at the Circus Maximus this Sunday without knowing there’s a gaggle of Brazilian political parties that are seriously threatened by the non-stop overspill of the Car Wash corruption investigation. To ensure their survival, Car Wash must be“suspended”; and it will, under the bogus “national unity” proposed by lowly Brutus Temer.

But first, Car Wash must produce a high-profile scalp. And that has to be Lula in jail – compared to which the crucifixion of Rousseff is an Aesop fable. Corporate media, led by the noxious Globo empire, would hail it as the ultimate victory, and nobody would care about Car Wash’s enforced retirement.

The 54 million-plus who voted for Rousseff’s reelection in 2014 voted wrong. The overall “project” is a government without vote and without people; a Brazilian-style parliamentary system, without bothering with pesky “elections”and crucially, including very “generous” campaign financing flexibility not bound to incriminate powerful companies/corporations.

In a nutshell, the ultimate aim is to perfectly “align” the Brazilian Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and corporate media interests. Democracy is for suckers. Brazilian elites remote controlling the hyenas know very well that if Lula runs again in 2018, he will win. And Lula has already warned; he won’t buy any“national unity” crap; he’ll be back in the streets fighting whatever illegitimate government pops up.

We’re now open for plundering

As it stands, Rousseff runs the risk of becoming the first major casualty of theNSA-originated, two-year-long Car Wash investigation. The President, admittedly an incompetent economic manager and lacking the right stuff of a master politician, believed that Car Wash – which practically prevented her from governing – would not reach her because she is personally honest. Yet Car Wash’s not so hidden agenda was always regime change. Who cares if in the process the nation is left on the verge of being controlled exactly by many of those indicted by the anti-corruption drive?

Lowly Brutus Temer – a vanity case version of Argentina’s Macri – is the perfect conduit for the implementation of regime change. He represents the powerful banking lobby, the powerful agribusiness lobby and the powerful federation of industries in Brazil’s economic leader, the state of Sao Paulo.

The neo-developmentalist project for Latin America – uniting at least some of the local elites, invested in developing internal markets, in association with the working classes – is now dead, because what may be defined as sub-hegemonic, or peripheral, capitalism is mired in crisis after the 2008 Wall Street-provoked debacle. What’s left is just neoliberal restoration. TINA (“there is no alternative”). This implies, in the Brazilian case, the savage reversion of Lula’s legacy; social policies, technological policies, the drive to globally expand large, competitive Brazilian companies, more public universities, better salaries.

In a message to the nation, Brutus Temer admitted as much; “hope” after impeachment will be absolutely swell for “foreign investment”, as in let them plunder the colony at will; back to the trademark history of Brazil since 1500.

So Wall Street, US Big Oil and the proverbial “American interests” win this round at the circus – thanks to the, once again proverbial, vassal/comprador elites. Chevron execs are already salivating with the prospect of laying their hands on the pre-salt oil deposits; that was already promised by a trusted vassal in the Brazilian opposition.

The coup goes on. The real hyenas haven’t yet pounced. So it’s far from over.

NOTES REGARDING THE LATEST 2 ESCOBAR’S ARTICLES:

  • Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of “Globalistan” (2007), “Red Zone Blues” (2007), “Obama does Globalistan” (2009) and “Empire of Chaos” (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is “2030”, also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.

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“Ten Facts that Brazil and the World Should Know”

(By Igor Fuser , MST) ~ It is important that we  inform all Brazilian men and women, we must report in such a  clear and objective manner,  that even the wooden figureheads on the bows of the boats on the San Francisco River, will understand  that:

  • 1. The request for the impeachment  of President Dilma Rousseff has nothing to do with what is known as the “Car Wash” or “Lava Jato” operation, nor with any other initiative undertaken  to fight against corruption. Dilma is not accused of stealing a single penny. The pretext used by the opposition politicians to try to overthrow her government is the so-called “fiscal backpedaling” procedure, which is a procedure of routine public budget management  at all levels of government – federal, state and municipal – and was adopted by the administrations of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula Da Silva without any problems. She simply put money from the “Caixa Economica” Federal Savings Bank into social programs, in order to close the accounts and then, within the next year, she returned the money to the Caixa Economica. She did not get any personal benefit and not even her worst enemies can accuse her of a corrupt act.
  • 2. This is precisely why the request for impeachment  constitutes a coup d’etat , because  a president can only be removed if he or she  is found to have  committed a crime -and as a crime did not occur, so far, Dilma’s name has not been presented  in any corruption investigations: not even the slightest suspicion against her exists.
  • 3. Unlike  President Dilma, the politicians calling for her dismissal are corrupt and are as dirty as they come.   Eduardo Cunha (PMDB- RJ) who, as chairman of the House is responsible for the impeachment process, has received more than 52 million Brazilian Rs. (BR$)  from  corrupt schemes undertaken in Petrobras, plus he has  millions   deposited in secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens. Of the 65 members of the Parliamentary Commission that  will investigate  the request for impeachment  37 (more than half!) are under the watchful eye of the Justice Department and are being investigated for corruption.  If they manage to depose the president, in exchange they expect to see the charges against them for the fraud they have committed dropped.
  • 4. The PSDB, the party that leads the campaign for impeachment, is  the opposition party that was defeated in the presidential elections of 2014. Their presidential  candidate, Aecio  Neves, through his political manipulations and connections, is trying to achieve  an outcome that he was not able to achieve through the electoral process  thus  disrespecting the vote of those 54,499,901 Brazilian men and women who voted for Dilma (3.4% more voters than those obtained by Aecio  in the second round vote in 2014).
  • 5. If the coup is allowed to succeed, the opposition will put into play  all the elitist and authoritarian proposals that Aecio  planned to implement if he had won the election. The post –coup  president will surely change labor laws to the detriment of wage workers ; he will annul the  policy that supports the adjustment of minimum wage to cost of living; he will implement an unbridled privatization of the  work force; he will hand over  all Brazilian oil reserves in the off-shore fields to transnational corporations(link is external) (as advocated by Senator José Serra); he will privatize Bank of Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal; he will eliminate free public higher education and introduce tuition-based  education in federal universities, as a first step towards privatization; he will repress social movements and freedom of expression on the Internet; he will expel the Cuban doctors  who work in the program “More Doctors;” he will give the green light for agribusiness corporations  to acquire indigenous land; he will eliminate the independent foreign policy, thus reducing Brazil to being  a servant of the United States.    It is all of this that is at stake, much more than President Dilma’s current administration  or Lula’s political future, at stake in the battle against impeachment.
  • 6. It is a mistake  to imagine  that the economy will improve after an eventual change in the presidency of the Republic. All the factors that have led the country to the current crisis will continue to exist, with the addition of many aggravating factors. Political instability will be the rule. The leaders of the current  push toward a coup d’état will fight each other for power as piranhas around a piece of meat. And Dilma will be replaced by a weak political figure, Michel Temer, who is more interested in securing his future (most certainly a chair on the Federal Supreme Court) and protecting himself from accusations of  corruption than in governing effectively. Inflation will continue increasing as well as unemployment.
  • 7. Politically, Brazil will free fall  into a chaotic period of   instability. The overthrow of an elected president, legitimized by the electoral and popular vote will  lead the country,  for the first time since the end of the military regime, to have an illegitimate president as head of the Executive and  one whose  legitimacy is challenged  by a great portion of the society.
  • 8. Conflict will set  the tone of social life. Fascist tendencies, emboldened by the coup, will feel free   act on their violent impulses, those that have been expressed symbolically through the images of dolls  wearing  the MST  cap or the PT star that are hung in effigy,  .    but, more specifically  they will carry out  invasions and attacks on unions and political parties;  savage attacks on people whose only crime is wearing a red shirt. The current leader of the extreme right-wing sector, Deputy Jair Bolsonaro, has openly proposed, in a public event in favor of the impeachment, that every  rancher should carry  a rifle to kill MST militants.
  • 9. Unions and social movements will not stand idly in the face of such  cruelty of the  right –wing sectors and their corporate leaders, nor in the face of attacks to dismantle the  social rights won during the last two decades. They will resist by all means – strikes, land occupations, roadblocks, building take-overs, and more. Brazil will once again become a torn country because of the irresponsibility and uncontrolled ambition of half a dozen greedy politicians incapable of reaching power through the  popular vote. That’s what awaits us if the coup against President Dilma is consummated.
  • 10. But this won’t happen. The mobilization of citizens in defense of legality and democracy is growing, with the participation of more and more people and movements; regardless of political affiliations, religious beliefs and whether or not they support official policies. Our views on the PT or on Dilma’s government are no  longer what matters. What is at stake  is democracy, respect for elections and the right  to vote,  and the constitutional provision that prohibits the application of impeachment without the existence of a crime to justify this extreme measure. More and more Brazilians are realizing this and taking to the streets against coup mongers.

GOLPE-620

MST Statement on the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff

(MST) ~ The Landless Workers Movement (MST) publicly expresses its disgust and dissatisfaction regarding the decision of the Senate, this Thursday (May 12), in admitting the process of impeachment against President Dilma Roussef and temporarily removing her from the post. We are sure, as stated in the text of the case, that the President did not commit any crime with fiscal peddling. If this is to be considered a crime, the vice president, Michel Temer, who now assumes the Presidency, and Senator Anastasia, the rapporteur of the process and former governor of Minas Gerais, should also be accused.

This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters and was orchestrated by the most conservative sectors of society, particularly the neoliberal business sector, subservient to the interests of U.S. companies, a coup supported by a permanent campaign of mass media – especially Globo – and by a selective action of the sectors of the judiciary.

The coup endorsed by the Senate does not only disrespect the views of the public about who should be the head of state, but, as announced by Temer, intends to apply a recessive and neoliberal program, one that left sad memories for the Brazilian people from the times of the Collor-Cardoso governments. It is anti-popular and represents a social backlash that was repeatedly rejected by the majority at the polls. Unable to live with democracy and submit to the popular will, the elites have removed the President without any evidence of crime, just so their project of social cuts, unemployment and privatization is able to take place.

Michel Temer’s “Bridge to the recession” will only lead to the accentuation of social and economic crisis and widen the political instability of the country. The newly announced government, for its history, does not represent a rupture with the corrupt methods, which we all have denounced in the streets. We hope that the Senate will redeem itself when it judges the merit. And if it does not, the democratic party forces opposed to the coup should appeal to the Supreme Court. Brazilian society knows we are facing an economic, political, social and environmental crisis. This crisis will not be overcome with coups. What is needed is a broad debate in society that agglutinates most popular and social forces, to seek to build a new national project to confront the crisis.

Regarding the established political crisis, we defend the idea, alongside other popular movements, that only a deep political reform that returns to the people its right to choose their legitimate representatives, can be a real way out. The current Congress has no condition or political will to do so. Hence the need for the Senate to approve the holding of a plebiscite that gives the people the right to convene a constituent assembly, to move forward a political reform to conduct general elections under democratic conditions.

The MST will remain mobilized in defense of democracy and social rights, together with the Brazil Popular Front and the thousands of workers who will not accept the coup. We will keep our struggle against landlordism and agribusiness, for a popular agrarian reform and for the constitutional right of all rural workers to have land and a dignified life in the rural areas.

No to the coup! Temer out!

MST National Coordination (Brasilia)


brazil-pres-intelligence-informant-puppet

Brazil’s acting president used to be US intel informant

(RT) ~ Brazil’s new interim president, Michel Temer, was an embassy informant for US intelligence, WikiLeaks has revealed.

According to the whistleblowing website, Temer communicated with the US embassy in Brazil via telegram, and such content would be classified as “sensitive” and “for official use only.” 


Two cables were released, dated January 11, 2006 and June 21, 2006.

One shows a document sent from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to – among other recipients – the US Southern Command in Miami. In it, Temer discusses the political situation in Brazil during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

wiki-brasil

Regarding the 2006 elections, when Lula was re-elected, Temer shared scenarios in which his party (PMDB) would win the elections.

He declined to predict the race, however, but said there would be a run-off and that “anything could happen.” 

Temer said the PMDB would elect between 10 and 15 governors that year, and that the party would have the most representatives in the Senate and thus the House of Representatives. This would mean that the elected president would have to report to PMDB rule.

“Whoever wins the presidential election will have to come to us to do anything,” Temer reportedly said.

Temer has replaced Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended from office earlier this week, after the Senate approved impeachment against her.

Rousseff was suspended from her post for at least 180 days after senators voted 55 to 22 to punish her for manipulating budget data, ahead of her re-election in 2014.

The left-wing politician claimed that Brazil was in a strong economic position, but since she convincingly won the vote, the economy has unraveled, putting Brazil in the worst recession for decades.


A man looks at tank ammunition at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in east London, on September 10, 2013. The arms fair describes it self as the world's largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at tank ammunition at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in east London, on September 10, 2013. The arms fair describes it self as the world’s largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Arms dealer fears Brexit will hit business

(RT) ~ A British military weapons and hardware dealer trading plane parts and troop carriers says his business would take a hit if the United Kingdom votes to leave the EU.

Richard Moore operates a specialist firm in Cambridgeshire trading with Eastern and Central Europe and exporting to other Western European states.

War Criminals

He told the Mirror that losing access to EU agreements would be a “disaster” for his trade.

EU rules allow him to transport arms and military vehicles across borders in member states without having to notify them, he says.

If the UK leaves the bloc, he will have to close down his business or move it to another country in Europe.

Before the rules were introduced in 2011, Moore would have to contact each state he planned to transport hardware through, and obtain permission, he says.

It took months. Now, providing what you’re buying is in the EU no permits are required. I’ll have to go back to the old ways of having to apply to each country.”

Moore says the firm purchases military hardware such as Magnetrons used to guide fighters on Russian airbases, radar locating equipment, BUK radar systems and scud launchers.

“It can be a dangerous trade dealing with not-so-pleasant people, and when things go wrong you can get locked up in prison,” he told the Wisbech Standard.

Moore suggests the extra paperwork of operating outside the EU would cause headaches for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

“This could affect our MoD, if they wanted, as they have, special items that are being used against our military.

“This is a very special and secretive trade, but with the chance [of] the UK leaving the EU I have felt obliged to publicize the fact.”

Moore says the EU helps maintain stability and stops wars.

“It’s not perfect. But it is working. Not a single EU member has gone to war with another since its foundation. Frankly, we should be celebrating this peace, with whistles and bells.”


A man looks at tank ammunition at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at the ExCeL centre in east London, on September 10, 2013. The arms fair describes it self as the world's largest fully integrated defence and security exhibition. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ex-MI5 chief becomes latest doom-monger
to warn of Brexit risk


SOURCES:
Sign Of The Times, 15/5/2016
Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil (National Coordination)
Pepe Escobar, RT 12/4/2016
Pepe Escobar, RT 19/5/2016
Hugo Turner, GlobalResearch, 14/5/2016
RT, QuestionMore, 13/5/2016
RT, QuestionMore, 16/5/2016
Igor Fuser , MST
Submitted by SyrianPatriots 
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/temer-brazil-coup/

In Observance of Israeli Apartheid Week

aparsystpalestine

Israeli Apartheid Week is being observed in a number of different countries this week, including South Africa…

From the Israeli Apartheid Week South Africa website

Press Statement: Palestinian Christians Call on South African Churches to Support #IsraeliApartheidWeek

Writing from the Holy Town of Bethlehem, the Palestinian Christian organization Kairos Palestine, has called on South African Churches to participate and support this year’s #IsraeliApartheidWeek. Their letter reads to the SA Churches and members of the Christian community reads:

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
“[W]e write from Palestine to express our thanks and appreciation for your solidarity; the solidarity of all South Africans with our people, our struggle, and our quest for liberation and freedom. With great appreciation we turn to South Africa and its preparation for the Israeli Apartheid Week from 7th – 13th of March 2016. Today, such events are more important than ever, because of the increase in discrimination, violence and apartheid imposed on us Palestinians who have suffered Israeli occupation for almost 50 years now.”
 
“We, Palestinian Christians, call upon you, head of churches, church communities and brothers and sisters in faith in South Africa to campaign and advocate for greater awareness of the Palestinian struggle in general and the plight of Palestinian Christians in particular. We ask you to dedicate Sunday services during that week to pray for and reflect on the plight of your Palestinian fellows who have suffered under apartheid for decades…”
 
“The voices of Palestinian Christians have been drowned out in the turmoil of events; the Western narrative about the ‘Promised Land’ dominates theological discourses in Palestine/Israel and justifies injustices towards Palestinians. As active, responsible, and believing Christians, it is time to review Christian theology and promote a true, Christian way of resisting injustice and work for a just peace – in the Middle East and in the world.We wish you a successful week, full of hope and faith and led by the most essential Christian value of Love. Our prayers are with you during this important event.” (Click here to read the full letter).

 

In an attempt to highlight the plight of Palestinian Christians living under Israeli Apartheid, this year, the official movie which will screened in various South African cities and towns as part of #IsraeliApartheidWeek is “The Stones Cry Out”. The movie documents the plight of the Palestinian Christian community (click here for a trailer, or email southafrica.iaw@gmail.com for a free copy).
In the past various South African Church leaders have lent their support to the #IsraeliApartheidWeek (click here).
—————————————-
#IsraeliApartheidWeek (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, music shows, films and workshops) that raises awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies, violations of international law and human rights abuses toward the indigenous Palestinian people. It is endorsed in South Africa by over 85 organizations including our ruling party, the ANC, and takes place in over 250 cities across the world.
Members of the media are invited to an interfaith press conference today (Sunday, 6 March 2016) at Freedom Park Museum (Corner Koch & 7th Avenue, Pretoria starting at 11am). The press conference will launch the South African leg of the annual international #IsraeliApartheidWeek awareness-raising campaign taking place in SA between 7 and 13 March. Speakers at the press conference will include representatives and leaders from the Hindu, Jewish, Tamil, Christian, Muslim and other communities.

israel in danger of losing the plot over #BDS

Israel in danger of losing the plot

Articles from the Financial Times and The National


A BDS March from Greenwich Village to Union Square In New York. Photo courtesy of The All-Nite Images/cc/flickr

Cabinet embroiled in battle over Israeli goods boycott

By Henry Mance in London and John Reed in Jerusalem, Financial Times
February 15, 2016

The British government has found itself at the centre of a battle between Israel and Palestinian campaigners, after saying it would punish local councils who boycott Israeli goods.

The Cabinet Office will release guidance on Wednesday saying that locally imposed boycotts, including those targeting Israel, breach WTO rules on procurement.

The move, which could benefit Israeli suppliers and other companies with operations in Israel, comes as the Israeli government seeks to fight back against the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Israel’s political elite has been alarmed by the BDS movement’s recent gains among church groups, students and investors. Companies including security contractor G4S, machinery manufacturer JCB and SodaStream, maker of devices to create homemade carbonated drinks, have all been targeted by campaigners.

Palestinian groups reacted angrily to the Cabinet Office proposals. “This is a bullet at the very heart of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East and the very heart of democracy in Britain,” Husam Zomlot, a senior Palestinian official, told the Financial Times.

The BDS campaign, which models itself on the fight against apartheid in South Africa, has urged companies and public institutions to boycott Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands.

A spokesperson for the campaign’s Palestine National Committee said the UK government was “making a grave mistake similar to Margaret Thatcher’s unwavering support of apartheid South Africa”. The Cabinet Office plan “comes at a time when the BDS movement is having unprecedented success”, he added.

Since 2014 Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has fought against the boycott movement, which is accused of antisemitism and the broader goals of undermining and delegitimising the Jewish state.

The new BDS guidance coincides with a trip by Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock to Israel and the Palestinian territories. It will affect all contracting authorities, including local councils and NHS bodies, on the basis that local boycotts breach the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which demands that all suppliers are treated equally.

The Cabinet Office did not provide figures on the number of councils that have adopted boycotts, or the sum of contracts affected. A spokesperson said it had no evidence of proceedings having been launched with the WTO on account of existing boycotts.

In October, the government proposed rules aimed at stopping pension funds from “politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns against UK defence companies and against Israel”.

The Local Government Association has hinted at its unease at the October proposals and the latest guidance, saying that councils “will always seek to promote democratic values”, and this would sometimes include “taking ethical considerations . . . into account where due process allows”.

The guidance would leave private institutions and national and international governments as the focus for the BDS movement. In November the European Commission mandated that goods from illegal Israeli settlements should be labelled, in what the BDS campaign said was “a welcome sign”.

The Israeli response to BDS has included legal warfare or “lawfare” against the movement in foreign countries. “We have stepped up our efforts directly and indirectly, dealing with friends of Israel in a variety of countries in which we have the BDS movement, fighting it with legal instruments,” Emmanuel Nahshon, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, told the Financial Times.

In the US, legislatures in about 30 states, led by South Carolina and Illinois, have adopted or discussed laws or statements meant to counter BDS, according to Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian BDS activist based in Ramallah.
Barack Obama, US president, is expected to sign into a law soon a trade bill that includes anti-BDS measures, although the White House has voiced objections to language in it that equates Israel’s internationally recognised territory with its illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.

Palestinians say Britain holds special responsibility for finding a peaceful resolution to their decades-old conflict with Israel because it was the colonial ruler of Palestine in the run-up to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

The new guidance “puts the UK in the position of defending Israel’s expansion and colonialism rather than defending its own rules and laws”, Mr Zomlot said.


The boycott row isn’t just about trade

National Editorial
February 16, 2016

The UK is cracking down on local authorities who take part in the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS), saying that it violates global trade laws. This follows an international lobbying effort by the Israeli government to encourage foreign powers to rein in anti-Israel campaigners. It is the second success for the Israel lobby against BDS campaigners this week, after US president Barack Obama signed a law that included language recognising trade between illegal Israeli settlements and the United States.

The BDS movement has been dubbed by Israel an existential threat to the state, and is even considered by some politicians as a “new intifada”. The economic impact, however, is disputed. One Israeli government report warned that BDS would cost the state $1.4 billion (Dh5.1bn) each year, roughly 0.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. Other analysts believe that the economic effect is smaller. Few Israeli firms will, for example, mourn the decision by Leicester City Council to stop buying products from Israel, they point out.

Instead, the argument has more symbolic motives on both sides. Israel wishes to delegitimise the BDS movement, and therefore protect its control over the narrative of the conflict with the Palestinians. For Israel, the conflict is about what it says is an issue over security and not about rights. For BDS campaigners, the issue is a moral one, with the focus on the deprivation of Palestinians rights and the nature of the occupation.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on narratives. It is nearly impossible for BDS campaigners to significantly derail Israel’s economy, but the conversation that they raise by targetting the likes of Leicester City Council alters the complexion of the mainstream debate about Israel’s behaviour. Therefore, the conflict is fought in small increments that, taken as a whole, may ultimately turn the tide. The 40-year battle to boycott apartheid South Africa is a good example of how long these campaigns can take.

The British government argues that local government support for BDS undermines international trade agreements. This is not an unreasonable interpretation because governments are often bound to protect their economic interests above political concerns. However, the battle is not about trade: it’s about how criticism of Israel can be expressed. Israel wants to persuade foreign governments to make it harder for its critics to have a voice. But the argument will not be settled that easily

Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West: Criminalizing Activism (BDS) Against israeli Occupation

“There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment, or BDS — modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa — is succeeding.”But only advocates of tyranny could support the literal outlawing of the same type of activism that ended apartheid in South Africa merely on the grounds that this time it is aimed at Israeli occupation (some of Israel’s own leaders have compared its occupation to apartheid).”

THE U.K. GOVERNMENT today announced that it is now illegal for “local [city] councils, public bodies, and even some university student unions … to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products, or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Thus, any entities that support or participate in the global boycott of Israeli settlements will face “severe penalties” under the criminal law.

This may sound like an extreme infringement of free speech and political activism — and, of course, it is — but it is far from unusual in the West. The opposite is now true. There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment, or BDS — modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa — is succeeding.

The Israeli website +972 reported last year about a pending bill that “would ban entry to foreigners who promote the [BDS] movement that aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights.” In 2011, a law passed in Israel that “effectively ban[ned] any public call for a boycott — economic, cultural, or academic — against Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.”

But the current censorship goal is to make such activism a crime not only in Israel, but in Western countries generally. And it is succeeding.

THIS TREND TO outlaw activism against the decades long Israeli occupation — particularly though not only through boycotts against Israel — has permeated multiple Western nations and countless institutions within them. In October, we reported on the criminal convictions in France of 12 activists “for the ‘crime’ of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel as a means of ending the decadeslong military occupation of Palestine,” convictions upheld by France’s highest court. They were literally arrested and prosecuted for “wearing shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Long live Palestine, boycott Israel’” and because “they also handed out fliers that said that ‘buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.’”

As we noted, Pascal Markowicz, chief lawyer of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, published this celebratory decree (emphasis in original): “BDS is ILLEGAL in France.” Statements advocating a boycott or sanctions, he added, “are completely illegal. If [BDS activists] say their freedom of expression has been violated, now France’s highest legal instance ruled otherwise.” In Canada last year, officials threatened criminal prosecution against anyone supporting boycotts against Israel.

In the U.S., unbeknownst to many, there are similar legislative proscriptions on such activism, and a pending bill would strengthen the outlawing of BDS. As the Washington Post reported last June, “A wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S.” Numerous bills in Congress encourage or require state action to combat BDS.

Eyal Press warned in a must-read New York Times op-ed last month that under a Customs Bill passed by both houses of Congress and headed to the White House, “American officials will be obligated to treat the settlements as part of Israel in future trade negotiations,” a provision specifically designed “to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a grass-roots campaign.” But as Press notes, under existing law — which is almost never discussed — “Washington already forbids American companies to cooperate with state-led boycotts of Israel.”

The real purpose of this new law, as Press explains it, is to force American companies to treat settlements in the West Bank — which virtually the entire world views as illegal — as a valid part of Israel, by outlawing any behavior that would be deemed cooperative with a boycott of companies occupying the West Bank. U.S. companies would be forced to pretend that products produced in the occupied territories are actually produced in “Israel.” The White House announced that it will sign the bill despite its opposition to the AIPAC-backed pro-settlement provision.

Rahul Saksena of Palestine Legal said that “the BDS provision in the federal customs bill, and the dozens of anti-BDS bills being introduced in Congress and state legislatures across the U.S., are examples of the lengths that Israel’s fiercest advocates and the lawmakers who bend over backward to accommodate them will go to shut down any conversation critical of Israeli policies and supportive of Palestinian freedom.” Dylan Williams, vice president of government affairs for J Street (which opposes BDS), told The Intercept: “The references in the Customs Act to ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ are just one instance of a larger effort to sneak Green Line-blurring language into legislation at both the state and national level.”

Under the existing laws, American companies have been fined for actions deemed supportive of boycotts aimed at Israel. For decades, U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries, for instance, have been required by law to refuse to comply with the Arab League boycott of Israel. Penalties for violators include up to 10 years of imprisonment.

In 2010, G M Daewoo Auto & Technology Company, a Korean firm owned by General Motors, was fined $88,500 by the Office of Antiboycott Compliance for 59 anti-boycott violations, including the “crime” of declaring on a customs form: “We hereby state that the carrying vessel … is allowed to enter the Libya ports [sic].” At the time, Libyan law did not allow Israeli goods or ships that had previously stopped in Israel to enter Libyan ports, and the company’s seemingly banal declaration that it was complying with Libyan law was deemed by the U.S. government to constitute support for a boycott of Israel, and it was thus fined.

THE SUPPRESSION OF anti-occupation activism is particularly acute on American college campuses. Among other things, that is deeply ironic. In the U.S. over the past year, there has been a widespread media debate over censorship on college campuses. Notably, the pundits who have most vocally condemned this censorship and held themselves out as free speech crusaders — such as New York’s Jonathan Chait — have completely ignored what is far and away the most widespread form of campus censorship: namely, punishment of those who engage in activism against Israeli actions.

This campus censorship on behalf of Israel was comprehensively documented in a report last year by Palestine Legal titled “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech.” The nationwide censorship effort has seen pro-Palestinian professors fired, anti-occupation student activists suspended and threatened with expulsion, pro-Palestinian groups de-funded, and even discipline for students for the “crime” of flying a Palestinian flag. The report documents how pro-Israel campus groups and alumni “have intensified their efforts to stifle criticism of Israeli government policies.” The report explains: “Rather than engage such criticism on its merits, these groups leverage their significant resources and lobbying power to pressure universities, government actors, and other institutions to censor or punish advocacy in support of Palestinian rights.”

Notably, the students and administrators justifying the campus censorship of anti-Israel views invoke the very same “PC” rhetoric of “safe spaces” and “hate speech” denounced by ostensibly free-speech pundits. The University of Illinois student who led the campaign to fire Steven Salaita for his pro-Gaza tweets, himself a former AIPAC intern, told the New York Times: “Hate speech is never acceptable for those applying for a tenured position; incitement to violence is never acceptable. … There must be a relationship between free speech and civility.” Another “pro-Israel” student demanding Salaita’s firing said, “It’s about feeling safe on campus.”

This was a classic and extreme case of oppressive censorship on campus — the University of Illinois ended up paying Salaita close to $1 million to settle the resulting lawsuit — yet very few of the pundits who turned “college censorship” into a nationwide cause uttered a peep about this case or the countless other instances of suppression of anti-Israel criticism.

It is now routine for students advocating BDS or otherwise working against Israeli occupation to be disciplined or endure other forms of sanctions. As the Palestine Legal report documents:

These heavy-handed tactics often have their desired effect, driving institutions to enact a variety of punitive measures against human rights activists, such as administrative sanctions, censorship, intrusive investigations, viewpoint-based restriction of advocacy, and even criminal prosecutions. Such efforts intimidate activists for Palestinian human rights, chill criticism of Israeli government practices, and impede a fair-minded dialogue on the pressing question of Palestinian rights.

This report, the first of its kind, documents the suppression of Palestine advocacy in the United States. In 2014, Palestine Legal — a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization supporting Palestine activism — responded to 152 incidents of censorship, punishment, or other burdening of advocacy for Palestinian rights and received 68 additional requests for legal assistance in anticipation of such actions. In the first six months of 2015 alone, Palestine Legal responded to 140 incidents and 33 requests for assistance in anticipation of potential suppression. These numbers understate the phenomenon, as many advocates who are unaware of their rights or afraid of attracting further scrutiny stay silent and do not report incidents of suppression. The overwhelming majority of these incidents — 89 percent in 2014 and 80 percent in the first half of 2015 — targeted students and scholars, a reaction to the increasingly central role universities play in the movement for Palestinian rights.

As we reported in September, the University of California — the largest academic system in the country — has been debating proposals to literally outlaw BDS activism by formally equating it with “anti-semitism”: as though opposition to Israeli government oppression (opposition shared by many Jews) is somehow the equivalent of, or is inherently driven by, animosity toward Jews. If anything, what is actually “anti-Semitic” is to conflate the Israeli government with Jews generally (an ugly anti-semitic trope with a long history). Yet that is the Orwellian tactic being used to justify the criminalization of anti-occupation activism, as it converts that activism into “anti-semitism” or “hate speech” and then bans it on that basis.

This attempt to formalize suppression of anti-occupation advocacy on college campuses is long-standing and widespread. The New York state legislature actually passed “a bill that would suspend funding to educational institutions which fund groups that boycott Israel.” Such legislation is becoming commonplace, as the group United With Israel boasted just last month:

Florida became the fifth state in the U.S. to introduce a resolution to confront the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement when it passed a law on December 21, similar to the first anti-BDS legislation introduced in Tennessee last April.

By doing so, Florida has joined Tennessee, New York, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Another 35 states are reportedly considering similar legislation.

The commendably consistent pro-campus-speech group FIRE, while expressing some criticisms of the BDS movement, has repeatedly documented and denounced attempts to outlaw BDS advocacy on campus:

FIRE’s position on the Israel-focused BDS movement is driven by our concern for academic freedom — for students and professors, and for its continuing importance as a meaningful concept in and of itself. Students and professors must be perfectly free to support boycott, divestment, and/or sanctions against Israel or any other country they wish, and they must not face punishment for this support. As you might expect, FIRE has opposed attempts to punish organizations for supporting BDS, and we have certainly defended professors’ rights to be highly critical of Israel — or, frankly, any other country, person, or idea.

YET THIS CENSORSHIP effort to ban BDS and other forms of Israel criticism continues to grow, in multiple countries around the world. It’s not hard to understand why. The Israeli government and its most powerful supporters have invested vast sums of money and considerable political capital into the campaign to institutionalize this censorship.

Last year, GOP billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Democratic billionaire Haim Saban donated tens of millions of dollars to a new fund to combat BDS on college campuses. Also last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “decided to implement a 2014 resolution to establish a special task force to fight the anti-Israeli sanctions”; that task force has funding of “some 100 million Israeli shekels (roughly $25.5 million).” BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray reported in 2014 that anti-BDS legislation has become a major goal of AIPAC. As part of the controversy at the University of California, Richard Blum, the mega-rich investment banker and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, threatened the university that his wife would take adverse action against the university if it did not adopt the harsh anti-BDS measures he was demanding.

None of this is to say, obviously, that suppression of anti-occupation activism is the only strain of free speech threats in the West. The prosecution of Western Muslims for core free speech expression under “terrorism” laws, the distortion of “hate speech” legislation as a means of punishing unpopular ideas, threats and violence against those who publish cartoons deemed “blasphemous,” and pressure on social media companies to ban ideas disliked by governments are all serious menaces to this core liberty.

But in terms of systematic, state-sponsored, formalized punishments for speech and activism, nothing compares to the growing multi-nation effort to criminalize activism against Israeli occupation. Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian a member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, told The Intercept: “Israel is increasingly unable to defend its regime of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people and its regular massacres of Palestinians in Gaza so is resorting to asking supportive governments in the U.S. and Europe to undermine free speech as a way of shielding it from criticism and measures aimed at holding it to account.”

It is, needless to say, perfectly legitimate to argue against BDS and to engage in activism to defeat it. But only advocates of tyranny could support the literal outlawing of the same type of activism that ended apartheid in South Africa merely on the grounds that this time it is aimed at Israeli occupation (some of Israel’s own leaders have compared its occupation to apartheid). And whatever else is true, commentators and activists who prance around as defenders of campus free speech and free expression generally — yet who completely ignore this most pernicious trend of free speech erosion — are likely many things, but an authentic believer in free speech is not among them.

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