LEADER OF ULTRA-RIGHT MILITIA PREDICTS END OF US AND WARNS OF CIVIL WAR

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Leader Of Ultra-Right Militia Predicts End Of US And Warns Of Civil War
The three percenters are one of the US’ oldest militias still in existence

As the US election looms, the heavily armed III% Security Force militia is ready for an anti-Democrat uprising. The group has been accused of neo-Nazism, but in a recent interview with RT one of its leaders said their purpose is to protect and defend the will of the people.

Chris Hill, commanding officer of the III% Security Force’s Georgia branch, states the militia’s take on current developments in the US unequivocally:

“There is a coup taking place right now, there’s a collective effort to overthrow our way of life as we know it – people are starting to realize it’s not a conspiracy theory.

“If we don’t come together as one, we’ll be living in a post-American world by 2021.”

The Three Percenters are a constitutional militia with chapters across the US, their name originating from the claim that only three percent of colonists took up arms against Britain during the US revolution and War of Independence.

The militia claims that over the last few months membership has rocketed by 150%, with 50 to 100 applicants per day – spurred on by developments like Minneapolis City’s pledge to dismantle their police department and Joe Biden’s promise to defend the rights of Muslim communities in the US if he enters the White House. 

Hill, also known as General Blood Agent, said: “It’s like our Founding Fathers stated, we believe we should come together, to lend our arms and council whenever a crisis arises.

We advocate and defend our goals and beliefs with regards to our way of life, our constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

The group, whose members are rarely seen in public without military fatigues and firearms, sees its role as protecting the people, allowing them to rise up and take control. They spend around a fifth of their time on political activism and the rest doing practicing survivalism, military infantry training, hunting, rescue and first aid.

RT

They believe they have been made deliberately obsolete in modern America, a feeling only exacerbated by the national Defund the Police movement and the Democratic Party’s pledge to reform the police force.

Speaking to RT, Hill, a former marine, explained: “How do you get rid of a militia in the United States? You render them useless and over time they fade away.

“Now we’re seeing the Founding Fathers had it right, this is something we should have never let the fire burn out on. We have a short amount of time to reignite it.

“We will be whenever we need to be, wherever God sees fit. Every day we can reach out to another American citizen and say, ‘Are you in favour of communism and anarchism? We have a right to repel that.’”

Claims of neo-Nazism

The group, while evidently on the far end of the political right wing, reject their depiction in the mainstream media of being racist neo-Nazis.

In one example, the GSF were accused of “terrorizing” county officials in Georgia out of a meeting to build a new mosque, and linking the place to ISIS – a charge Hill denies. 

But his group takes reports of things like Muslim community patrols forming in New York after the Christchurch shooting, as signals that attempts to introduce Sharia law are underway. 

Still, in Hill’s view, the group is pro-immigration, supports religious freedom, and would not lead with violence. The big caveats are that the immigration must be legal and the newcomers must assimilate. Like many on the American political right, he refers to undocumented migrants as an invasion.

“I am 100 percent against illegal immigration. The government is cast with a job and part of that is to prevent an invasion, it doesn’t specify armed or unarmed, but if 20 million people are in this country illegally, how can you look at me with a straight face and say we haven’t been invaded?

“Legal immigration is fine, as long as whatever caused you to flee, leave that shit where you came from. Learn the language, our practices, our traditions – do not try to advocate for other religious, ideological or political beliefs enforced in whatever country you came from.

“I’m not saying you have to be Christian, in America you are free to practice any religion you like. But if anyone doesn’t want to assimilate or come here legally, I’d put them in a catapult and fling them into the Gulf of Mexico.”

Death threats

Hill’s prominent position in the movement has made him a high profile target for the groups opponents. He says he and his family regularly receive death threats. He believes that most of them come from the anti-fascist group Antifa, which US President Donald Trump wants to officially label a domestic terrorist organization for its alleged role in the recent riots and the harassment of conservative figures and their supporters.

“I have been targeted for four or five years. When I went to Virginia in January they put up a hit list and my face was there, basically I’m a target. If they know I am going to be somewhere, they put up my picture and say they’ll kill me.”


I’ve got a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber on my hip and it’s got 15 bullets in it – if anybody threatens my life, they are going to hit a few of them.

RT

One major reason Hill feels he’s considered worthy of killing is because of his media portrayal. The influential liberal “anti-hate” group Southern Poverty Law Center has branded him and his group “anti-government,” saying he praises “neo-Nazi movements.” 

But he claims that the reporting on him is selective.

Some media reports have linked him to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and previous GSF member Michael Ramos, who carried out a racial beating in public in 2017. 

The images of Hill’s group almost exclusively have white people in them, but he claims it’s not on purpose.

“I would love to have a wide range of skin tones in our militia, multiple races, any race is welcome. People can look at us and say, they don’t see a lot of black, Asian or Latino people. It’s not for lack of trying, the invitation is there, we need more.

It’s laughable to say I am racist or KKK, as I turn around and look at my son, my daughter who are half-white, half-Asian – I’m married to a Vietnamese woman and our kids are mixed. That information doesn’t reach the light of day as it doesn’t fit with everybody who wants to say we’re all racist and KKK.

My situation doesn’t ever make publication, especially from any left-wing liberal sources.”

‘Gun-grabbing’ Democrats

The III% Security Force hope to see President Trump secure a second term in November and believe the Democrats are out to take away their guns.

“If Joe Biden wins, as depressing as that sounds, and Joe Biden goes after guns on a national level – if he’s coming for the guns, he can get it. And any other politician coming for the guns, they can get it too.

They are 24 different states that are going with red-flag laws and gun bans. That’s different from a potential President Biden pushing through some national firearms ban. That is the true definition of tyranny.”

Issues like red-flag laws which allow individuals to petition a court to remove someone else’s firearm are paramount for the III% Security Force.

If Biden does that, Chris Hill will get up off his ass and fight against that until my last breath.”

Hill was preparing for that back in 2016, against the threat of “gun-grabbing” Hillary Clinton winning the election. Back then, Trump won and his resolve to fight back was not put to the test. Now, Joe Biden is the “gun-grabbing pedophile” (an apparent reference to Biden’s barely-appropriate shows of physical affection to women and children) that there’s “no way in hell” Hill will vote for.

If Biden does win, Hill, like many Trump supporters, is convinced that the Democrat will have “stolen” the election with the FBI’s help, through methods like hacking and mail-in ballot fraud.

Civil war is coming?

Ironically, given how extremely polarizing his views are, Hill wants his militia to be a uniting force.

But at the same time, he warns that a US civil war is looming. The racial divide is there, but it’s the current-day protesters who are the racists, in Hill’s view. He sees himself and his group as defenders of freedom of speech.

“I believe Black Lives Matter is a racist slogan, I believe the organizers of that movement are Marxists, communists and they have no end-game other than taking to streets to loot or riot.

I’ve been in Georgia my whole life other than in the military, I have not seen any Klan or Nazi rallies, there are no white supremacists in large groups. I would tell them to rent a stadium, spill your guts, say what you need to say and let’s get on with it.

Nobody in the USA was born into slavery, I understand what happened prior to me being born, a lot of bad things happened, but I was born free just like the next white man, Asian woman or black man, all people.

We are on an equal footing going forward, if you don’t like the situation you are in, get a bus ticket and relocate. This is not a movie, it’s real life.”

Never without a gun himself, Hill maintains his group isn’t advocating a violent uprising.

“We’ll protect the voice of the people. It can’t come from the end of a gun, if we do that then we’ve lost the moral high ground and the war before it even starts.

Power needs to be given to the people to make changes. But there is no doubt in my mind we are stumbling towards an armed conflict inside the United States of America.”

Ultimately, in a country that’s rapidly dismantling the unseemly elements of its past, the Three Percenters want to see a return to the principles of 1776 when America formed as an independent nation.

“We are a constitutional militia recognized by the Second Amendment. In the last 244 years, would you have said we have moved towards perfection or towards damage done and anarchy?

“We are definitely heading in the wrong direction.” LINK

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«الترحيب» بماكنزي

الأخبار

 الخميس 9 تموز 2020

التزامن مع وصول قائد المنطقة الوسطى في الجيش الأميركي الجنرال كينيث ماكنزي إلى مطار بيروت، اعتصم عشرات الأشخاص أمس قرب مدخل المطار، احتجاجاً على نية ماكنزي، والسفيرة الأميركية دوروثي شيا، إقامة احتفال رمزي تكريماً للجنود الأميركيين الذين قُتلوا في تفجير مقر «المارينز» في بيروت يوم 23/10/1983.

وبعد الإعلان عن الاعتصام، اضطر الجانب الأميركي إلى تغيير خطة سير ماكنزي وشيا من المطار، واختصار برنامجهما داخل حرم الميناء الجوي، فلم يخرجا بموكب، بل بمروحية، أقلّتهما من أمام طائرة ماكنزي، إلى موقف السيارات الذي جرى فيه التفجير قبل 37 عاماً، حيث مكثا لدقائق قليلة، قبل أن تغادر بهما المروحية، مع الوفد المرافق، لبدء جولته على المسؤولين السياسيين والعسكريين في بعبدا واليرزة والسراي الحكومي وعين التينة. ورفع المعتصمون شعارات مؤيدة للمقاومة وصور الشهيد عماد مغنية، هاتفين ضد التدخل الأميركي في لبنان.

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Hamilton movie: central banker worship & proof the US has no left

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July 08, 2020

Hamilton movie: central banker worship & proof the US has no left

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

I wonder if Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will ever understand the real truth about why his play is so popular…?

Miranda probably believes that if he had written a play about Eugene V. Debs (America’s greatest socialist) his talents, approach and techniques would have produced a spectacle of similarly spectacular success, LOL….

The believers of Broadway are nothing if not wilfully naive (i.e. stupid), unsinkably optimistic and totally oblivious to the jingoistic propaganda which is self-centeredly, brayingly warbled at the top of everyone-on-the-stage’s lungs in the vast majority of Broadway musicals, Hamilton included. Non-Americans often roll their eyes at the inevitably absurd “Hollywood ending” of many US movies, but what can a viewer do when confronted by the endless fake cheer and perpetual smiling of Broadway besides beg for temporary blindness?

Indeed, one of the great results of the coronavirus is the shuttering of Broadway’s lights – may it always be dark inside that incredibly empty-headed art. I find very few things as physically disagreeable as all musical theatre (Bertolt Brecht and Monty Python are exceptions which proves the rule). Opera is just as atrocious, and may I give you a news flash: nobody cares about opera. It is a totally outdated art, and yet the vast majority of public arts funding in much of the West is directed towards opera. Why? The answer is also linked to the success of Hamilton – elitism and 1%-er domination of Western governance.

Musicals are not so very elitist as opera, but the average American man only sees a Broadway play after constant arm-twisting from the missus. And yet… we have had this broad success of Hamilton. How can we explain it? Why must we endure it? When will the American musical finally die, ending their assault on our ears and especially the ears of those poor, suffering parents of high school drama club members?

The answer is clear: the US is a bankocracy, and Hamilton is its unparalleled propaganda

I have not seen Hamilton and I never will – if I hate musicals already, why would I like one which is built around mythologising, propagandising and lying about the greatest central banker in American history?

The popularity of Hamilton is completely attributable to the total domination of corporate media in the 21st century. My last articleUS national media is useless – so tell me the good local news sources?, thus had to be published before this one: it discusses how ever since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed the rise of monopolistic media conglomerates, to watch one national US media is to watch them all – there is total uniformity. I also discussed how in music there used to be such a thing as a “local hit” within different US regions, but since 1996 a banal song can be a #1 for as long as 5 months because the conglomerates decide to support it and replay it, replay it, replay it, replay it.

The same goes for Hamilton: advertising works, and the conglomerate media saw a “pro-central banker” play, squealed with delight, and decided it should be bigger than The Bible.

So five years of corporate-ordered omnipresence of Hamilton coverage was not just in the pro-Broadway New York Times (Five Years and 100-Plus Stories: What It’s Like Covering ‘Hamilton’ – that’s 100-plus stories from just one Times journalist, mind you!), but across the nation: “It goes unspoken that ‘Hamilton’ is now available everywhere, for a $6.99 monthly Disney Plus subscription”. It “goes unspoken” precisely because in the US the corporate media has obviously ordered Hamilton to be atop the cultural agenda for years. It is now available as a movie for this Fourth of July weekend, thus the “news peg” for this article.

This omnipresence explains why I truly do not need to see Hamilton to write about it intelligently (though I did interview people who have seen it – hey, I’m not a bad journalist who doesn’t do homework) – the US has been OBSESSED with it for years.

But nobody seems to realise why because in all of the drooling, gushing reviews nobody gets at the economic aspects inherent in a play about a central banker. Nobody seems to make the link between the economic program of Western central banker collusion (Quantitative Easing), the reality of a US & Western “bankocracy” (a 10-part series I wrote on this issue can be found here) which has been crystal-clear since 2008 to anyone with half a brain, the elevation of central bank policy over democratic votes in the Eurozone, and then this absurd adoration of Hamilton?

How can it be a mere coincidence that at a time when central bankers have become more powerful than ever we also cannot – still – turn anywhere without being exhorted to love Hamilton? Just as rap music is the musical propaganda of modern Western capitalism, Hamilton is clearly its musical propaganda.

The pro-central bank propaganda is apparently overt during this 3+ hour show: a large part of the show is dedicated to showing how the US central bank was created, and of Alexander Hamilton persuading them of the worth and necessity of a central bank. Hamilton may not use the phrase “QE”, but how can anyone fail to see the link between inequality-creating, 1%er enriching, 99%er impoverishing QE and this stupid play? Like all great art Hamilton apparently does indeed capture the moment – too bad it is the “moment” of ravenous, society-destroying elite bankers.

Since 2015 I have said that the proof that there is no true left in the US is that I have not read of even one stink-bombing of a Hamilton performance. That the US left has not been able to mount any counter-attack on this neoliberal propaganda shows how appallingly clueless they are. Ishmael Reed Tries to Undo the Damage ‘Hamilton’ Has Wrought from The Nation was so notable because it stuck out so very much – it’s the exception which proves the rule.

The US left has been steamrolled by Hamilton and provided (as usual) so very, very little resistance, but Hamilton is a perfect example of just how easy it is to propagandise the US public – such is the extent of the dominance of their corporate media. Media concentration in the US is so absolute that if they decide something or someone or some concept should be promoted – one simply cannot escape it. And, I am sure, talking about Hamilton in this way at a US dinner party is to ensure that you are not invited back, LOL.

How was this central banker propaganda so effectively repackaged into suitable American jingoism?

In July 2020 even the World Socialist Web Site is decrying the attacks on statues of Lincoln and Jefferson; after decades of trying, corporate sponsors are going to force the rabidly anti-American Indian Washington D.C. to finally give up their “Redskins” football mascot/slur – so why on earth aren’t they coming for Hamilton?!

Alexander Hamilton bought and sold slaves, he married into a wealthy slave-owning family – it’s a no-brainer. If you support Hamilton and have some stupid liberal sign up in your front yard YOU are part of the problem (as much for liking awful Broadway as for being an obvious fake-leftist).

However, when we actually consider the economic ideology all over Hamilton we should easily grasp that the corporate-dominated US media is not about to permit sustained attacks on this spectacularly successful pro-central banker propaganda piece. What they are going to do is what places like The Washington Post just did, print lies about how Hamilton “despised slavery”.

Why would Miranda care – he did the same whitewashing. Of course he wasn’t going to talk about how the central banker Hamilton was all about debt slavery (no corporate media gushing in that case), but it’s pretty artistically opportunistic and cynical to make Hamilton some sort of abolitionist just to sell out his stupid musical. Tellingly, Miranda was forced to publicly admit he was wrong to be silent for so long regarding the George Floyd protests, but the guy adores Alexander Hamilton in the QE era – did you really think he was anti-establishment, LOL?

Reading drama reviews always produces plenty of eye-rolls – they are full of hyperbole and purple prose worthy of the biggest off-off-off-Broadway ham; everybody is just so very, very, VERY SPECTACULAR and AMAZING and TALENTED – but The New York Times lead movie critic writing that he “can’t escape tears” when watching Hamilton… how can we explain that?

Like I said, I’m not going to watch Hamilton to find out. I’m not even going to read its plot summary on Wikipedia. I have been unwillingly forced to acquire adequate Hamilton knowledge via cultural osmosis, but I also did ask around.

Part of its appeal, per reports, is undoubtedly based on jingoism and revisionist history – we’re all just so proud to be American (and to be led by heroic bankers in our wonderful bankocracy).

However, what is more shocking is how the play apparently significantly plays up the anti-monarchical, republican roots of the American Revolution for Independence by… upholding the pro-monarchy Alexander Hamilton? Jefferson said of Hamilton: “Hamilton was not only a monarchist, but for a monarchy bottomed on corruption.” I hear Miranda’s next play is about the great abolitionist Robert E. Lee.

So the apparently underlying theme of Hamilton is how revolutionary and cool the anti-monarchy stance was (way back in the late 18th century), and it is these ancestor worship-heartstrings which produce tears in fake-leftist pseudo-intelligensia like A.O. Scott. How could they possibly pick Alexander Hamilton as a leader of the fight against aristocratic privilege? Answer: in a bankocracy bankers are the vanguard party, so they simply must be whitewashed as spotless leaders.

Thus we can refer to Scott’s headline – ‘Hamilton’ Review: You Say You Want a Revolution – to get at the heart of what helped draw in so many American males to willingly watch Hamilton: make being conservative “revolutionary”. The play does what Westerners always do – try to end history long before 1917 by perpetuating the false belief that Western liberal democracy is somehow still “progressive” and not fundamentally aristocratic (bourgeois); the play obviously perpetuates the false Western belief that the summit of democracy’s reach is Western liberal democracy and not 20th century socialist democracy. However, with every passing corona hysteria day it’s more and more obvious that in the 21st century the latter is vastly outperforming the former, which did nothing but replace monarchy with bankocracy (thus it was merely a bourgeois/aristocratic revolution).

There are secondary propaganda bases for the success of Hamilton, mainly how it successfully espouses 21st century US liberal (fake-leftist) identity politics. But a huge part of this is merely technical and based entirely on what I can easily prove is the fundamentally reactionary nature of Broadway itself, because absolutely nothing is “Whiter” than Broadway in US culture.

Musicals like Our Town, Oklahoma, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Sound of Music, Music Man, Carousel – these are all whiter than Wonder Bread on a styrofoam plate in a snowstorm in themes, composition and musical styles. How can The Unsinkable Molly Brown be played by a Latina, after all? There are no Hindus in Our Town. Finding a young Black girl who can sing, act, AND has red hair is going to make staging a production of Annie difficult, but making Depression-era Daddy Warbucks Black is historically impossible. This is why playgoers have remarked how they have been thrilled by the mere presence of non-White actors in this type of a musical, but also in any musical. All of this supports my assertion of what a fundamentally reactionary institution Broadway is.

The use of rap was also another mere technical – and not intellectual or artistic – pseudo-achievement of Hamilton; that fundamentally reactionary Broadway required 40 years to finally use rap music and Hamilton was the first – big deal? The good news is: nobody over 50 can keep up with such rapid-fire spoken word poetry, and thus many of the elder showgoers surely missed out on the undoubtedly fascinating rap lyrics about the meetings to build the US Treasury.

(Of course, does every rapper think his or her every word is totally fascinating and worthy of your complete concentration and attention? Rappers dominate whatever music they sit in on – in jazz this is the sin of “overplaying” and overplayers are not invited to the next jam session. Sadly, US corporate media rams rap down our throats and refuses to broadcast jazz music literally anywhere, probably because jazz cannot proselytise for individualism and capitalism like rap does with seemingly every breath.)

Western democracy does indeed have two classes: Bankers and everyone else

Making central bankers “cool” – which seems impossible – is the greatest achievement of Hamilton in its effort to propagandise the American public into accepting QE, ZIRP and the post-2008 policies which have gutted the US and left it poised to plummet into prolonged socio-economic chaos following the hysterical corona overreaction.

By portraying Alexander Hamilton as an outsider who worked his way to the top the play undoubtedly allows viewers to maintain a certainly outdated belief in the fiction that the US is a “classless” society; this is just as the election of Barack Obama allowed the creation of the myth that the US had progressed to a “post-racial society”. If that was true – why the George Floyd protests? Miranda thinks Hamilton is a hero mainly because he knows nothing about QE, economics, the class struggle, and because he obviously admires the gangster/bankster values of rap.

If Miranda knew any of those crucial leftist analyses he would have known that in order to maintain this fiction of a “classless” American society absolutely everything must be burned before it: What is identity politics but an endless assertion that absolutely anything – from race to religion to gender to sexual to preference to party affiliation to ___ – is more important than class? Anything to not focus on class!

This explains the reactionary, divisive words of Hamilton as found in the play’s popular song, “Immigrants— we get the job done”. I’m not going to listen to it because when is Broadway very truly funky or cool? However, it surely seems to be an insult to the hard-working capabilities of White Americans – are how is that leftist or progressive? Due to Miranda’s political ignorance and obviously reactionary beliefs he was only too happy to write a song which seeks to divide the worker class based on their country of birth. What’s his next divisive attack, one wonders? May I suggest: “Left-handers do the job a bit differently but still get’er dun”. A pro-immigrant song can be a fine thing, but not coming in the context of banker worship, LOL – it’s an obvious contradiction, and obviously an attempt to distract from Hamilton’s overall capitalist-imperialist ideology with divisive identity politics.

So… not a single stink bomb at a Hamilton performance? Not a single call to take slave-dealer Hamilton off the $10 bill amid these rebellious times? Idiots will deface a statue of Cervantes (the Arab-loving “Multicultural Dreamer”), and steal a Frederick Douglass statue, but the Alexander Hamilton statues outside the US Treasury, in NYC, in Chicago and elsewhere remain standing because he’s apparently “that cool leftist guy from the cool leftist play”?

Alexander Hamilton – cool? Broadway – cool?!?! Hamilton – a leftist play?!

Clearly, the US left has no idea what they are doing, and that’s why we still don’t hear any leftist demands for media discussion about the links between QE, central banker dominance over Western liberal democracies, and the endless corporate promotion of Hamilton.

For all the wrong reasons Hamilton is popular – but they’re dead wrong, I know they are, as the song goes.

*********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

– March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? –

March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30,

2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 2020

Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship – June 14, 2020

Trump’s only hope: buying re-election with populist jobless benefits – June

16, 2020

US national media is useless – so tell me the good local news sources? – July 4, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

The U.S. Has Surrendered To The Pandemic. Protect Yourself.

Source

July 08, 2020

Yesterday the United States registered more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases. As the number of new cases continues to increase unabated about two weeks from now it is likely to reach hundred thousand new cases per day.


Source: 91-divoc – bigger

The increase of testing is not the cause of higher new case numbers. The rate of people among those who were tested and were found positive has also increased. In Florida, which yesterday had nearly 10,000 new cases, the positive test rate has reached nearly 20%. That means that the epidemic is still accelerating.

This did not need to happen. Yesterday Germany, at a quarter the size of the U.S., had 279 new cases. It does 1 million tests per week and the positive rate is decreasing. China has defeated a new local outbreak in Beijing by testing more than 10 million people. The last two days it reported zero new cases.

Many of those who test positive, especially the younger ones, will not fall ill with severe symptoms. But some 10-15% are estimated to need medical support. How many of them will die depends on the quality of care that can be given to them. Some thirty hospitals in Florida have already run out of space in their intensive care units. That is the point where the real emergency begins.

Six months after the disease was discovered more is known of how to care for Covid-19 cases. The death rate per cases has therefore decreased. But this only holds when there are sufficient beds, doctors and staff available. At the current U.S. rate that will soon no longer be the case.

We do know that the hospitalization curve follows the testing/symptoms curve by some 10-14 days while ICU admittance follows the above curve with some 15 to 20 days delay. The eventual recovery in an ICU bed takes up to four weeks. A bed once occupied will not be available for quite some time.

Trump’s new policy is to ignore the epidemic. He hopes that the people will get used to the carnage it causes:

Trump’s advisers [..] are seeking ways to reframe his response to the coronavirus — even as the president himself largely seeks to avoid the topic because he views it as a political loser. They are sending health officials to swing states, putting doctors on TV in regional markets where the virus is surging, crafting messages on an economic recovery and writing talking points for allies to deliver to potential voters.

The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve.

White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations. Americans will “live with the virus being a threat,” in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official.

“They’re of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,” said a former administration official in touch with the campaign.

That may, to some extend, be possible. But 100,000 new cases per day also means that there will soon be 1,000 or so new death per day. The hospitals will fill up and the death rate will increase. More and more people will know someone who died of Covid-19. The economy will continue to only limp along as long as people fear to get infected.

My take is that Trump’s calculation is simply wrong. The epidemic will continue to get wide media coverage. The hot spots will change but without local lockdown measures each of them will lead to the overflow of local hospitals. This will increase the death rate.

It is now too late to stop the epidemic in the United States. That makes it even more important for its citizens to take personal safety measures.

All spreading events that affected multiple people took place in enclosed spaces. The virus prefers it cool and dry. Places with unfiltered air condition should therefore be avoided. Open a window to create airflow if possible. Stay at a distance from other persons. Wear a mask.

Masks significantly reduce the chance of catching Covid-19. Your mask also protects the people around you should you unknowingly have caught the disease. This week high quality N95 masks (FFP-2 in Europe) were again available in my local pharmacy. The price (€6.80) was ridiculous but I bought two to use them in turn. I put one on whenever I leave the house. (It is not required to wear one outside but I am simply too lazy to put it on and off whenever I enter or leave some place.)

These masks (see pic below) are quite comfortable, tight enough to not fog my glasses and there is no problem breathing through them. The masks are officially one time use only but there are safe and simple ways to steam sterilize them for reuse.My FFP-2 masks are similar to the one below but white and without a brand name printed on them.

bigger

Get used to wearing a mask. It is the new normal that is likely to stay with us for at least another year.

Posted by b on July 8, 2020 at 17:55 UTC | Permalink

An open letter from an Arab Priest to his holiness Pope Francis

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Wednesday, 08 July 2020

Your Holiness,

In the Open Letter I addressed to you from Damascus on March 13, 2020, I asked you this question:

“Do you still believe, until today, in the survival of Jesus Christ in the Arab World?”

Today, at the dawn of July 8, 2020, I see it my duty, as an Arab Catholic Priest, to ask you another, far more dangerous, question:

“Can you deny, as the supreme spiritual leader of the Church, that this specific Church has been,effectively, the single main cause of the gradual, profound, and general,excising of Christianity on the scope of the world, starting from the West—at whose headis, as usual, the United States of America—because of its unacceptable sliding into and collusion with the slime of politics and finance since the time of Emperor Constantine until today?”

Nonetheless, Jesus Christ has always been, and will forever be, unique in His beauty, truthfulness, love, and magnetism.

Your Holiness,

At the end of a text that I wrote on April 5, 2020, entitled: “An answer to a friend in the West,” I asked this question:”

In a week, we shall celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!

I wonder: When shall we celebrate the ‘resurrection’ of His Church?” 

As we shall, in three days, celebrate the Feast of the great Syrian Saints, Peter and Paul, I allow myself to call upon you, anew, to visit Syria.

Rest assured, though, that you will not have to kiss the hands of some rich people, nor the feet of some African Chiefs, but, very simply, a handful of Syria’s holy earth… I offer to you on a wonderful piece of Damascene Broquart cloth, while I am standing proudly near our noble President.

Your Holiness,

Damascus awaits you.

Perchance this would be the dawn of the hoped-for ‘resurrection’ of the Church.

Fr Elias Zahlaoui,

Damascus, July 8 2020

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Syrian Army eliminates group of militants infiltrating from US-controlled zone: video

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By News Desk -2020-07-08

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:20 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) eliminated a group of militants that attempted to infiltrate into the Palmyra region of Homs from the U.S.-controlled Tanf Zone on Tuesday.

According to reports, the group of militants was reportedly ambushed by the Syrian Arab Army, who managed to eliminate a number of them, while also arresting three others north of the Tanf Zone.

The Syrian Arab News Agency released a video on Wednesday that showed the aftermath of the ambush, including the captured weapons and militants.

The Syrian Arab Army has been deploying reinforcements to the Badiya Al-Sham region amid the need to increase security measures in central and eastern Syria.

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PHILIP M. GIRALDI: “RUSSIA-BAITING IS THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN”

Washington again becomes hysterical

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PHILIP GIRALDI • JULY 7, 2020

There is particular danger at the moment that powerful political alignments in the United States are pushing strongly to exacerbate the developing crisis with Russia. The New York Times, which broke the story that the Kremlin had been paying the Afghan Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers, has been particularly assiduous in promoting the tale of perfidious Moscow. Initial Times coverage, which claimed that the activity had been confirmed by both intelligence sources and money tracking, was supplemented by delusional nonsense from former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who asks “Why does Trump put Russia first?” before calling for a “swift and significant U.S. response.” Rice, who is being mentioned as a possible Biden choice for Vice President, certainly knows about swift and significant as she was one of the architects of the destruction of Libya and the escalation of U.S. military and intelligence operations directed against a non-threatening Syria.

The Times is also titillating with the tale of a low level drug smuggling Pashto businessman who seemed to have a lot of cash in dollars lying around, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan is awash with dollars and has been for years. Many of the dollars come from drug deals, as Afghanistan is now the world’s number one producer of opium and its byproducts.

The cash must be Russian sourced, per the NYT, because a couple of low level Taliban types, who were likely tortured by the Afghan police, have said that it is so. The Times also cites anonymous sources which allege that there were money transfers from an account managed by the Kremlin’s GRU military intelligence to an account opened by the Taliban. Note the “alleged” and consider for a minute that it would be stupid for any intelligence agency to make bank-to-bank transfers, which could be identified and tracked by the clever lads at the U.S. Treasury and NSA. Also try to recall how not so long ago we heard fabricated tales about threatening WMDs to justify war. Perhaps the story would be more convincing if a chain of custody could be established that included checks drawn on the Moscow-Narodny Bank and there just might be a crafty neocon hidden somewhere in the U.S. intelligence community who is right now faking up that sort of evidence.

Other reliably Democratic Party leaning news outlets, to include CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post all jumped on the bounty story, adding details from their presumably inexhaustible supply of anonymous sources. As Scott Horton observedthe media was reporting a “fact” that there was a rumor.

Inevitably the Democratic Party leadership abandoned its Ghanaian kente cloth scarves, got up off their knees, and hopped immediately on to their favorite horse, which is to claim loudly and in unison that when in doubt Russia did it. Joe Biden in particular is “disgusted” by a “betrayal” of American troops due to Trump’s insistence on maintaining “an embarrassing campaign of deferring and debasing himself before Putin.”

The Dems were joined in their outrage by some Republican lawmakers who were equally incensed but are advocating delaying punishing Russia until all the facts are known. Meanwhile, the “circumstantial details” are being invented to make the original tale more credible, including crediting the Afghan operation to a secret Russian GRU Army intelligence unit that allegedly was also behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury England in 2018.

Reportedly the Pentagon is looking into the circumstances around the deaths of three American soldiers by roadside bomb on April 8, 2019 to determine a possible connection to the NYT report. There are also concerns relating to several deaths in training where Afghan Army recruits turned on their instructors. As the Taliban would hardly need an incentive to kill Americans and as only seventeen U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan in 2019 as a result of hostile action, the year that the intelligence allegedly relates to, one might well describe any joint Taliban-Russian initiative as a bit of a failure since nearly all of those deaths have been attributed to kinetic activity initiated by U.S. forces.

The actual game that is in play is, of course, all about Donald Trump and the November election. It is being claimed that the president was briefed on the intelligence but did nothing. Trump denied being verbally briefed due to the fact that the information had not been verified. For once America’s Chief Executive spoke the truth, confirmed by the “intelligence community,” but that did not stop the media from implying that the disconnect had been caused by Trump himself. He reportedly does not read the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), where such a speculative piece might indeed appear on a back page, and is uninterested in intelligence assessments that contradict what he chooses to believe. The Democrats are suggesting that Trump is too stupid and even too disinterested to be president of the United States so they are seeking to replace him with a corrupt 78-year-old man who may be suffering from dementia.

The Democratic Party cannot let Russia go because they see it as their key to future success and also as an explanation for their dramatic failure in 2016 which in no way holds them responsible for their ineptness. One does not expect the House Intelligence Committee, currently headed by the wily Adam Schiff, to actually know anything about intelligence and how it is collected and analyzed, but the politicization of the product is certainly something that Schiff and his colleagues know full well how to manipulate. One only has to recall the Russiagate Mueller Commission investigation and Schiff’s later role in cooking the witnesses that were produced in the subsequent Trump impeachment hearings.

Schiff predictably opened up on Trump in the wake of the NYT report, saying “I find it inexplicable in light of these very public allegations that the president hasn’t come before the country and assured the American people that he will get to the bottom of whether Russia is putting bounties on American troops and that he will do everything in his power to make sure that we protect American troops.”

Schiff and company should know, but clearly do not, that at the ground floor level there is a lot of lying, cheating and stealing around intelligence collection. Most foreign agents do it for the money and quickly learn that embroidering the information that is being provided to their case officer might ultimately produce more cash. Every day the U.S. intelligence community produces thousands of intelligence reports from those presumed “sources with access,” which then have to be assessed by analysts. Much of the information reported is either completely false or cleverly fabricated to mix actual verified intelligence with speculation and out and out lies to make the package more attractive. The tale of the Russian payment of bribes to the Taliban for killing Americans is precisely the kind of information that stinks to high heaven because it doesn’t even make any political or tactical sense, except to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and the New York Times. For what it’s worth, a number of former genuine intelligence officers including Paul Pillar, John KiriakouScott Ritter, and Ray McGovern have looked at the evidence so far presented and have walked away unimpressed. The National Security Agency (NSA) has also declined to confirm the story, meaning that there is no electronic trail to validate it.

Finally, there is more than a bit of the old hypocrisy at work in the damnation of the Russians even if they have actually been involved in an improbable operation with the Taliban. One recalls that in the 1970s and 1980s the United States supported the mujahideen rebels fighting against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The assistance consisted of weapons, training, political support and intelligence used to locate, target and kill Soviet soldiers. Stinger missiles were provided to bring down helicopters carrying the Russian troops. The support was pretty much provided openly and was even boasted about, unlike what is currently being alleged about the Russian assistance. The Soviets were fighting to maintain a secular regime that was closely allied to Moscow while the mujahideen later morphed into al-Qaeda and the Islamist militant Taliban subsequently took over the country, meaning that the U.S. effort was delusional from the start.

So, what is a leaked almost certainly faux story about the Russian bounties on American soldiers intended to accomplish? It is probably intended to keep a “defensive” U.S. presence in Afghanistan, much desired by the neocons, a majority in Congress and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), and it will further be played and replayed to emphasize the demonstrated incompetence of Donald Trump. The end result could be to secure the election of a pliable Establishment flunky Joe Biden as president of the United States. How that will turn out is unpredictable, but America’s experience of its presidents since 9/11 has not been very encouraging.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Iran, Syria Comprehensive Military Agreement Amid Growing U.S. Pressure

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Iran, Syria Comprehensive Military Agreement Amid Growing U.S. Pressure

Iran and Syria has reached a new comprehensive military agreement, a move aimed at countering growing US pressure.

The agreement, which would enhance military and security cooperation between the two sides, was signed by Syria’s Defense Minister, Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, and Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of Iran, Mohammad Bagheri, on July 8 in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

After signing the agreement, Gen. Ayyoub praised cooperation with Iran as a means to confront U.S. pressure. The minister also slammed Israel, accusing it of being a “partner” in the war in Syria.

“If the American administrations could subjugate Syria, Iran, and the axis of the resistance, it would not wait for a moment [to do so],” al-Mayadeen quoted the Syrian commander as saying.

From his side, Maj. Gen. Bagheri revealed that Iran will work to improve Syria’s air-defense capabilities as a part of new agreement. No further details were provided.

“The signed agreement reinforces our will and determination to cooperate in the face of American pressure,” Bagheri said.

The Iranian officer also mentioned the situation in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, calling on Turkey to fulfill its commitments under the agreements reached in Astana. Bagheri said that Ankara should talk and cooperate with Damascus to address its security concerns.

Iran supported the Syrian military’s recent operation in Greater Idlib. Forces backed by Tehran are still reinforcing Syrian troops in the region.

The new Iranian-Syrian agreement is yet another major blow to the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign. The campaign, which was supposed to subdue Iran and drive it away from its allies, is apparently back-fired. Tehran and its regional allies are now cooperating closer than ever to overcome U.S. pressure.

Military Situation In Syria On July 8, 2020 (Map Update)

Military Situation In Syria On July 8, 2020 (Map Update)

A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:

  • An explosive device went off on the road between the city of Al-Bab and the town of Qabasin;
  • 6 civilians were killed and 7 others were wounded by a car bomb in Tal Abyad in the northern Raqqah governorate ;
  • SAA artillery shelled with mortars the villages of Benin, Kanasfsra, Baylun and Deir Sunbul in the southern Idlib;
  • Militants’ artillery targeted SAA position in the Talhiya area destroying an SAA battle tank.

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Mary Trump’s Book to Be Published Early Amid “Extraordinary Interest”

Mary Trump’s Book to Be Published Early Amid “Extraordinary Interest”

By Staff, Agencies

A tell-all book by Donald Trump’s niece will be published two weeks ahead of schedule and will argue that the president suffered “child abuse” in the early years of his life.

Publisher Simon & Schuster, which last week was released from a temporary restraining order won by the president’s brother, cited “high demand and extraordinary interest” as it brought publication forward on Monday.

The company also released an image of the back cover of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump.

“Today,” the text began, “Donald is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses or take in and synthesize information.”

Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist, also writes about the president’s upbringing by a mother who was ill and a father, the property developer Fred Trump, who remained committed to his job, to whom “love meant nothing” and who “expected obedience, that was all”.

“Child abuse is, in some sense, a matter of ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’,” Mary Trump writes, adding: “Donald suffered deprivations that would scar him for life.”

In a statement released by the publisher, Mary Trump said: “In addition to the first-hand accounts I can give as my father’s daughter and my uncle’s only niece, I have the perspective of a trained clinical psychologist. Too Much and Never Enough is the story of the most visible and powerful family in the world. And I am the only Trump who is willing to tell it.”

Mary Trump is still subject to a temporary restraining order imposed by a judge in New York state supreme court. In her appeal, she claims a 2001 non-disclosure agreement arising from litigation over a family will was based on fraudulent financial information. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The president’s niece has expressed opposition to his political career via social media and was a key source for New York Times reporting on Trump family tax affairs which won a Pulitzer prize.

A Supreme Court ruling on whether Trump must release tax and financial records is eagerly awaited and expected as soon as this week.

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Ted Boutrous, Mary Trump’s lawyer, accused Trump of mounting “an orchestrated campaign against freedom of speech and freedom of the press”. Lawsuits against books are intended to have a “chilling effect”, he said.

The White House sought to block a book by John Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, but were denied by a federal judge. The Room Where It Happened sold nearly 800,000 copies in its first week in stores.

Trump’s brother Robert Trump, a businessman, filed the suit against Mary Trump. He is represented by Charles Harder, an attorney who has worked for the president.

Harder has said he will seek the “maximum remedies available” for Mary Trump’s “truly reprehensible” actions. He has also called the New York Times’ reporting on Trump family tax affairs “100% false, and highly defamatory”.

In a statement to the New York Times last month, Robert Trump slammed his niece for what he called an “attempt to sensationalize and mischaracterize our family relationship … for her own financial gain”.

“I and the rest of my entire family,” he said, “are so proud of my wonderful brother, the president.”

Trump’s other surviving siblings are Maryanne Trump Barry, a retired judge, and Elizabeth Trump Grau, a retired banker. Mary Trump’s father was Fred Trump Jr, who died in 1981.

عندما يشتم بومبيو إيران على منبر مجلس الأمن!‏

 عمر عبد القادر غندور

شنّ وزير الخارجية الأميركي بومبيو حملة شتائم عنيفة ضدّ إيران في اجتماع مجلس الأمن الدولي لمناقشة الاستمرار في حظر الأسلحة عن إيران، مدفوعاً بالمخاوف «الإسرائيلية» من ترسانة الأسلحة الإيرانية، ولم يترك سلبية كبيرة أو صغيرة إلا لصقها بالجمهورية الإسلامية، وكلها اتهامات لا تليق إلا بالولايات المتحدة وربيبتها الصهيونية.

ودعا المنظمة الدولية للوقوف الى جانب السلام والأمن الدوليين حفاظاً على سلام العالم. بينما الولايات المتحدة في حالة اشتباك دائم مع العديد من دول العالم في القارات الخمس تعاقب وتضرب وتحاسب وتهدّد وتحاصر. وبلغت الوقاحة بوزير الخارجية بومبيو أن حذر الدول من خطورة التعاون مع النظام الإيراني الذي يقوم بـ «تجميع المعارف الخطيرة» وقد تزوّده روسيا بطائرات حديثة تمكنه من قطع ثلاثة آلاف كلم ما يتيح له ضرب نيودلهي والرياض وروما وأوسلو، بالإضافة الى تكديس وشراء التقنيات الجديدة والمتقدّمة والتي يمكن توريدها الى حزب الله وحماس والحوثيين.

وقال أيضاً انّ إيران ربما حصلت على غواصات تتيح لها القرصنة في خليج هرمز وباب المندب والخليج وبحر العرب وتهديد الملاحة الدولية.

وبعد ان انتهى بومبيو من أداء وصلة الشتم والتحريض توجه الى ممثلي الدول بالقول:

«أنا لا أقول هذا الكلام من عندي، بل أرددّ ما تقوله إسرائيل والدول الخليجية».

أما الجمهورية الاسلامية الإيرانية الصامدة في وجه الشيطان الأكبر فهي ماضية لا تساوم ولا تفاوض على سيادتها وحريتها، ولا تشتكي ولا تتذمّر محتسبة صمودها لوجه الله تعالى.

ومشكلة أميركا أنها لم تتعوّد مثل هذا الشموخ والثبات على الموقف الذي لا تنفع معه التهديدات ولا العصا ولا الجزرة ولا الأساطيل ولا الطائرات ولا الأقمار الاصطناعية، وقد تدرك الولايات المتحدة وتتعرّف في يوم من الأيام على هذا النموذج من العرب والمسلمين الذين لا يخافون إلا الله ولا يخشون إلا حسابه وفيهم قال سبحانه «يُثَبِّتُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ وَيُضِلُّ اللَّـهُ الظَّالِمِينَ وَيَفْعَلُ اللَّـهُ مَا يَشَاء ُ(٢٧) ابراهيم»

*رئيس اللقاء الإسلامي الوحدوي

Kazakhstan may hold the secret for Greater Eurasia

Source

July 06, 2020

Kazakhstan may hold the secret for Greater Eurasia

Submitted by Pepe Escobar – source Asia Times

The no holds barred US-China strategic competition may be leading us to the complete fragmentation of the current “world-system” – as Wallerstein defined it.

Yet compared to the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula, the Taiwan Straits, India-China’s Himalayan border, and selected latitudes of the Greater Middle East, Central Asia shines as a portrait of stability.

That’s quite intriguing, when we consider that the chessboard reveals the interests of top global players intersecting right in the heart of Eurasia.

And that brings us to a key question: How could Kazakhstan, the 9th largest country in the world, manage to remain neutral in the current, incandescent geopolitical juncture? What are the lineaments of what could be described as the Kazakh paradox?

These questions were somewhat answered by the office of First President Nursultan Nazarbayev. I had discussed some of them with analysts when I was in Kazakhstan late last year. Nazarbayev could not answer them directly because he has just recently recovered from Covid-19 and is currently in self-isolation.

It all harks back to what was Kazakhstan really like when the USSR dissolved in 1991. The Kazakhs inherited a quite complex ethno-demographic structure, with the Russian-speaking population concentrated in the north; unresolved territorial issues with China; and geographical proximity to extremely unstable Afghanistan, then in a lull before the all-out warlord conflagration of the early 1990s which created the conditions for the emergence of the Taliban.

To make it even harder, Kazakhstan was landlocked.

All of the above might have led to Kazakhstan either dispatched to political limbo or mired in a perpetual Balkan scenario.

Have soft power, will travel

Enter Nazarbayev as a fine political strategist. From the beginning, he saw Kazakhstan as a key player, not a pawn, in the Grand Chessboard in Eurasia.

A good example was setting up the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building measures in Asia (CICA) in 1992, based on the principle of “indivisibility of Asian security”, later proposed to the whole of Eurasia.

Nazarbayev also made the crucial decision to abandon what was at the time the fourth nuclear missile potential on the planet – and a major trump card in international relations. Every major player in the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia knew that selected Islamic nations were extremely interested in Kazakhstan’s nuclear arsenal.

Nazarbayev bet on soft power instead of nuclear power. Unlike the DPRK, for instance, he privileged Kazakhstan’s integration in the global economy in favorable terms instead of relying on nuclear power to establish national security. He was certainly paving the way for Kazakhstan to be regarded as a trustworthy, get down to business neutral player and a mediator in international relations.

The trust and goodwill towards Kazakhstan is something I have seen for myself in my pan-Eurasia travels and in conversations with analysts from Turkey and Lebanon to Russia and India.

The best current example is Astana, currently Nur-sultan, becoming the HQ of that complex work in progress: the Syrian peace process, coordinated by Iran, Turkey and Russia – following the crucial, successful Kazakh mediation to solve the Moscow-Ankara standoff after the downing of a Sukhoi Su-24M near the Syria-Turkish border in November 2015.

And on the turbulent matter of Ukraine post-Maidan in 2014, Kazakhstan simultaneously kept good relations with Kiev and the West and its strategic partnership with Russia.

As I discussed late last year, Nur-sultan is now actively taking the role of the new Geneva: the capital of diplomacy for the 21st century.

The secret of this Kazakh paradox is the capacity of delicately balancing relations with the three main players – Russia, China and the US – as well as leading regional powers. Nazarbayev’s office boldly argues that can be even translated to Nur-sultan placed as the ideal venue for US-China negotiations: “We are tightly embedded in the US-China-Russia triangle and have built trusting relationships with each of them.”

In the heart of Eurasia

And that brings us to why Kazakhstan – and Nazarbayev personally – are so much involved in promoting their special concept of Greater Eurasia – which overlaps with the Russian vision, discussed in extensive detail at the Valdai Club.

Nazarbayev managed to set a paradigm in which none of the big players feel compelled to exercize a monopoly on Kazak maneuvering. That inevitably led Kazakhstan to expand its foreign policy reach.

Strategically, Kazakhstan is smack in the geographical heart of Eurasia, with huge borders with Russia and China, as well as Iran in the Caspian Sea. Its territory is no less than a top strategic bridge uniting the whole of Eurasia.

The Kazakh approach goes way beyond connectivity (trade and transport), two key planks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to get closer to the converging vision of BRI and the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU): a single, integrated Eurasian space.

Nazarbayev sees the integration of the Central Asian “stans” with Russia and with Turkic-speaking countries, including of course Turkey, as the foundation for his concept of Greater Eurasia.

The inevitable corollary is that the Atlanticist order – as well as the Anglo-American predominance in international relations – is waning, and certainly does not suit Asia and Eurasia. A consensus is forming across many key latitudes that the driving force for the reboot of the global economy post-Covid-19 – and even a new paradigm – will come from Asia.

In parallel, Nazarbayev’s office make a crucial point: “A purely Asian or Eastern answer is unlikely to suit the collective West, which is also in search of optimal models of the world’s structure. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative clearly showed that Western countries are not psychologically ready to see China as a leader.”

Nur-sultan nonetheless remains convinced that the only possible solution would be exactly a new paradigm in international relations. Nazarbayev argues that the keys to solve the current turmoil are not located in Moscow, Beijing or Washington, but in a strategic transit node, like Kazakhstan, where the interests of all global players intersect.

Thus the push for Kazakhstan – one of the key crossroads between Europe and Asia, alongside Turkey and Iran – to become the optimal mediator allowing Greater Eurasia to flourish in practice. That is the uplifting option: otherwise, we seem condemned to live through another Cold War.

Central Downtown Nur-Sultan: in center Bayterek tower

US ambassador sends stern message to Lebanese PM: report السفيرة الأميركية تهدّد دياب

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By News Desk -2020-07-06

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 P.M.) – A Lebanese newspaper revealed on Monday that the U.S.ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, sent a stern message to Lebanese Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, with the aim of implementing what the U.S. government wants from him personally.

According to Al-Akhbar, quoting private sources, the American ambassador sent to the Prime Minister of Lebanon, through mutual acquaintances, strong-worded messages accusing him of implementing the Hezbollah agenda in the government.

The newspaper pointed out through its sources that these messages have increased in frequency, especially after information about the possibility of Lebanon opening up economically to cooperation with Iraq, and to accepting Chinese investments.

Al-Akhbar confirmed that the Lebanese Prime Minister ignored Shea’s messages and refuses to answer them.

According to their sources, these messages came after the ambassador pointed out the seriousness in opening doors to help relieve pressure on Lebanon in light of the American blockade.

She concluded that Diab had expressed in front of those who meet them, his anger over her actions and her blatant interference in the affairs of the country.

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السفيرة الأميركية تهدّد دياب

السفيرة الأميركية تهدّد دياب
(مروان بوحيدر)

  الأخبار 

 الإثنين 6 تموز 2020

لا تكفّ سفيرة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية دوروثي شيا عن ممارسة الوقاحة. تصرّ على التصرف كما لو أنها حاكمة البلاد العليا. وبعد تصريحاتها العلنية التي حددت فيها مواصفات الحكومة اللبنانية التي ترضى عنها وخياراتها السياسية (حكومة اختصاصيين بلا حزب الله)، قررت شيا توجيه تهديدات إلى رئيس الحكومة حسان دياب، للضغط عليه بهدف تنفيذ ما تريده السفارة وحكومتها. وعلمت «الأخبار» أن شيا أرسلت إلى دياب، عبرَ أصدقاء مشتركين، رسائل قاسية اللهجة تتهمه بها بأنه ينفّذ أجندة حزب الله في الحكومة. وتقول مصادر مطّلعة إن «هذه الرسائل ازدادت وتيرتها، وخاصة بعد المعلومات عن إمكان انفتاح لبنان اقتصادياً على التعاون مع العراق، وعلى القبول باستثمارات صينية». وبحسب المصادر، أن السفيرة لمست جدية رئيس الحكومة في فتح أبواب تساعد على تخفيف الضغط عن لبنان في ظل الحصار الأميركي، مؤكدة أن «دياب يتجاهل رسائل شيا ولا يجيب عليها». وقد عبّر أمام من يلتقيهم عن غضبه من تصرفاتها وتدخّلها السافر في شؤون البلاد، مشيراً إلى أنها، كما بلادها، لا يريدون مساعدة لبنان ولا يريدون من لبنان أن يعمل وفق مصلحته.

إلى ذلك، أكد وزير الطاقة ريمون غجر أن زيارة الوفد العراقي كانت إيجابية، وقد بدأت الوزارة بمتابعة ما اتفق عليه. حيث تعكف حالياً على تحضير رسالة تتضمن ما تحتاج إليه من فيول، كماً ونوعاً. على أن ترسل إلى الجانب العراقي، ليصار بعدها إلى الاتفاق على التفاصيل اللاحقة، لوجستية ومالية. ونفى غجر أن يكون هنالك أي نقاش في عودة العمل بأنابيب النفط القديمة، مشيراً إلى أنها غير صالحة، وخاصة أن محطات الضغط في سوريا والعراق تعرضت للتدمير. وقال إنه جرى الاتفاق على استيراد الفيول، وسيتم ذلك عبر البصرة، مؤكداً في الوقت نفسه جودة الفيول العراقي.

وزارة الطاقة تحضّر رسالة تتضمن ما تحتاج إليه من فيول لإرسالها إلى العراق


في المقابل، أكدت مصادر عراقية أن الوفد العراقي متحمّسٌ لتوقيع مذكرة التفاهم الاقتصادي بين بغداد وبيروت. وأكد أن إمكانيّة نضوجها وتطويرها كبيرةٌ جدّاً، والعمل على ذلك جديٌّ وبدرجةٍ كبيرة. أضافت المصادر: هناك خياران، الأوّل النفط مقابل المنتجات الزراعية وبعض الخدمات. أما الثاني فالنفط مقابل الدفع بصيغةٍ لا تُرهق الدولة اللبنانية وبعد عامين من الآن. وأشارت إلى أن العراق قادرٌ على تلبية حاجات السوق اللبنانيّة من النفط، وخصوصاً أن إنتاجه ضخم وحجم التصريف لا يتناسب مع ضخامة الإنتاج.
من جهة أخرى، يعود ملف التدقيق في حسابات مصرف لبنان، بعدما نزع فتيل الخلاف على اسم الشركة، في اللقاء الذي جمع الرئيس نبيه بري والوزير جبران باسيل الأسبوع الماضي. اسم شركة «كرول» لم يعد له أثر في الاقتراح. وحلّ محلها طلب وزير المالية من مجلس الوزراء الموافقة على الصيغة النهائية للعقود المنوي توقيعها مع كل من شركة KPMG وشركةOliver Wyman، للقيام بالتدقيق المحاسبي. ولفتت مصادر وزارية إلى إمكان أن يقترح رئيس الحكومة، من خارج جدول الأعمال، اسم شركة للتدقيق الجنائي، بهدف تكليفها التحقيق في حسابات مصرف لبنان.

Foreign Election Interference: Who is to Blame?

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by MELVIN GOODMAN

Photograph Source: Bill Smith – CC BY 2.0

Ever since the Russian election interference in 2016, the New York Times  has been blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the new Cold War with the United States.  On July 2, it ran a front-page article that headlined the United States “stands on the sidelines” while the Kremlin conducts a “wave of aggression.” On July 1, the Times ran an oped article by former national security adviser Susan Rice, reportedly on the short list as a possible Biden vice presidential candidate, describing a White House run by “liars and wimps catering to a tyrannical president who is actively advancing our arch adversary’s nefarious interests.”  In view of the blame being assigned to Putin, perhaps it’s time to remind readers of the Times of the U.S. record of intervention in foreign elections.

The New York Times has always taken the view that U.S. election interventions have “generally been aimed at helping non-authoritarian candidates” whereas Russia has “more often intervened to disrupt democracy or promote authoritarian rule.”  Too bad the Times could not interview Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, Chile’s Salvador Allende, or the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, who were targeted by the Central Intelligence Agency and replaced by brutal regimes that ruled for decades.  Allende and Lumumba, moreover, didn’t survive the violence that the CIA orchestrated.  The revelations of assassination plots in Cuba, the Congo, the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam finally led to a ban on CIA political assassinations in the mid-1970s.

The grand master of election interference and regime change is, of course, the CIA, which was created in 1947 and immediately began to interfere in elections in Europe.  France and Italy were the primary targets as “bags of money” were “delivered to selected politicians, to defray their expenses,” according to F. Mark Wyatt, a former CIA operative.  The road got much darker in the 1950s, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Iran in 1953 and the installation of a brutal military regime in Guatemala in 1954.

The CIA released a small batch of records on the 1954 military coup in Guatemala, but it has not declassified materials on the CIA-assisted Guatemalan security forces responsible for the deaths of an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans since the coup.  The CIA trained and supported notorious security forces throughout Central America, particularly in Honduras, where the Battalion 316 operated brutal detention centers throughout the country.  The United States and the CIA were responsible for installing abusive authoritarians in Nicaragua and El Salvador as well.

American national interests were rarely at stake in any of these interventions.  Henry A. Kissinger, President Richard M. Nixon’s national security adviser, put it best when he facetiously described Chile as a “dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica.”  Kissinger simply could not see “why the United States should stand by and let Chile go communist merely due to the stupidity of its own people.”  The CIA’s installation of the Shah of Iran in 1953 was the original sin that continues to plague U.S.-Iranian relations.

A Carnegie Mellon scholar, Dov H. Levin, examined the historical record and determined that there were more than 80 overt and covert election influence operations by the United States from 1947 to 2000 as opposed to 36 Soviet and Russian operations in the same period.  The United States relied on various clandestine means, including breaking into political offices to steal codes.  In 1996, the Clinton administration intervened overtly and covertly in the Russian election to make sure that Boris Yeltsin was not defeated by an old-fashioned communist bureaucrat.  The United States engineered a $10 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to Russia and assigned American political consultants to Yeltsin’s campaign.

The Russian intervention in the U.S. election in 2016 was merely a technological version of the kind of political influence operations that the KGB and the CIA conducted throughout the Cold War.  The digital interventions were far less costly and risky than the clandestine operations of the CIA and the National Security Agency over many decades.  We may lack a full understanding of the extent of U.S. intervention over the yearsm but we know a great deal about the Russian effort to use social media to attack Hillary Clinton, to boost Donald Trump, and to sow discord in the United States. We still lack information on the nature of the cooperation that existed between the Trump campaign and the Russian influence operation.  I’m sure that my former CIA colleagues would find nothing unusual in these Russian actions.

Too many opinion leaders in the United States still believe that several presidential administrations have failed to take advantage of the so-called U.S. victory in the Cold War.  Self-proclaimed liberals such as Susan Rice even share a point of view with neoconservatives such as John Bolton.  They appear to believe that the “shame of the West” is the failure to capitalize on the winning of the Cold War by not making sure that former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Ukraine be admitted to NATO and that recent events in Crimea and Hong Kong justify a new Cold War.  They have exaggerated the extent of Putin’s risk-taking and ignored Washington’s contribution to the sorry state of Russian-American relations.

Unfortunately, a presidential campaign in the United States doesn’t allow for the time or space to conduct a rational dialogue on the importance of restoring stable and predictable relations between the United States and Russia.

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More articles by:MELVIN GOODMAN

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. and A Whistleblower at the CIA. His most recent book is “American Carnage: The Wars of Donald Trump” (Opus Publishing), and he is the author of the forthcoming “The Dangerous National Security State” (2020).” Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

‘Set Them All Free’: Child Detention in American and Israeli Prisons

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June 30, 2020

By Benay Blend

Referring to the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Los Angeles on June 26, 2020, ordered the release of migrant children detained in the country’s three family detention centers. Some have been held since last year.

The mandate refers to children who have been held for more than 20 days in centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. According to the ruling, 124 children were living in those places since June 8, and some of them have tested positive for the virus. This number is separate from the US Department of Health and Human Services centers for unaccompanied children that contained around 1,000 children in early June.

In her order, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denounced the Trump administration for ignoring recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To stall the spread of the virus in detention facilities, the agency had endorsed social distancing, the wearing of masks, and treatment for those who tested positive.

“The family residential centers are on fire,” she wrote, adding that this is no time for “half measures.”

Because of the pandemic, Judge Gee wrote, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should work with “all deliberate speed” to release the children either together with their parents or sent to family sponsors.

“Some detained parents facing deportation brought their children to this country to save them from rampant violence in their home countries,” said Peter Schey, counsel for the class of detained children, “and would prefer to see their child released to relatives here rather than being deported with the parent to countries where children are routinely kidnapped, beaten and killed.”

Amy Maldonado, an attorney who works with detained families, said Gee “clearly recognized that the government is not willing to protect the health and safety of the children, which is their obligation.”

“They need to make the sensible choice and release the parents to care for their children,” she said of the government. Under terms of the Flores Settlement, the government can be forced into releasing children but not their parents, so that family separation occurs again unless the immigration rights group demands the release of entire families from detention.

More than 2,500 people in ICE holdings have tested positive for COVID-19. Although approximately 900 people considered at medical risk have been released, ICE refused to discharge more because it deems most of the family detainees to be “flight risks” because they are set to either be deported or appear in court.

Family separation has a long history in the United States beginning with children taken from their parents during slavery in the American South. As Shaun King observes, while children locked in cages is surely an “abomination,” it is also as deeply entrenched in American culture as “Facebook and Disneyland” seem to be.

During the 250 years of slavery in the American South millions of African family members were separated from each other. Ripped from their homelands, sold at auction blocks across the South, African parents, children, brothers and sisters would do their best to reunite after the Civil War.

Not only were enslaved African children sold away from their families, claims King, but Native American children, too, were forcibly sent to boarding schools where they suffered under harsh discipline and corporal punishment. In Our History is the Future (2019), historian Nick Estes (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) writes that “the system…was as much about taking the children hostage as it was using them as leverage to coerce the behavior of reservation leadership,” (p. 118) and this continued until the 1970s.

Finally, in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness (2010), Michelle Alexander traces the “rebirth of a caste-like system” that relegates millions of African American prisoners to a “permanent second-class status” by robbing them of their rights won in the 1960s. By focusing on the War on Drugs, Alexander shows that the U.S. criminal justice system is little more than a “contemporary system of racial control” that targets black men for petty crimes and consequently decimates communities.

Given these examples, it’s clear that “this nation has mastered separating parents and children,” as King asserts, but in fact, it is guilty of so much more. As he explains: “What’s happening right now in our country is, without question, a human rights catastrophe.” Yet, when others respond with statements like: “This is not the American I know and love,” his immediate reply is: It is.

It is also the same America that funds and supports the detention of Palestinian children in Israeli military jails. As reported by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts per year.

Not only do such courts lack due process guarantees, they have a conviction rate of 99.74 percent. During their time in the penal system, these children are subjected to various kinds of physical and emotional abuse when neither their parents nor their lawyers are there to protect them.

According to Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, conditions inside Israeli jails are particularly deadly now due to systemic medical neglect in the face of the coronavirus. If this motivated the release of children from detention in America, surely Palestinian prisoners, especially the youth, deserve the same consideration.

On May 1, 2019, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) reintroduced legislation in Congress that would prohibit US tax dollars from funding the Israeli military detention of Palestinian children. H.R. 2407, Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Military Occupation Act, is the follow-up to H.R. 4391, in the last Congress, which totaled 31 sponsors.

“By introducing H.R. 2407,” writes Ramzy Baroud,

“McCollum has broken several major taboos in the US government. She unapologetically characterizes Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights with all the correct terms – ‘torture’, ‘abuse’, and so on… Moreover, she calls for conditioning US military support for Israel on the latter’s respect for human rights.”

The time is ripe. The Palestinian rights movement, writes Alex Kane, has helped push Democratic public opinion away from unqualified support for Israel. Jamaal Bowman’s declared victory over Rep. Engel this past week shows this to be the case.

Rep. McCollum agrees:

“I strongly believe there is a growing consensus among the American people that the Palestinian people deserve justice, equality, human rights, and the right to self-determination. It is time to stand with Palestinians, Americans, Israelis, and people around the world to reject the destructive, dehumanizing, and anti-peace policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump.”

Neither Bowman’s campaign nor McCollum’s stance represent a forum for challenging the foundation of the US-Israel relationship, but these steps do question Israel’s regard for human rights. As Justine Teba (Tesuque and Santa Clara Pueblo) notes, it took a movement to free the children. It happened because of ongoing protests at ICE detentions centers, these movements aren’t being talked about in mainstream media because they’re are undeniable PROOF of movement power and PROOF that this is how we get things done in an unjust system. I see the see first-hand accounts of these actions online. Do you think the state just decided on a whim to let their child prisoners free?”

In These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggles and Defiance in Israeli Prisons (2020), Ramzy Baroud records a total of 5,250 political prisoners in Israel, a number he predicts will be growing because Palestinians will continue to resist.

Expect an increase, too, because on July 1, various Palestinian factions and support groups have called for a Day of Rage to protest the annexation of all illegal settlements in the West Bank and large swaths of the Jordan Valley, consuming the remaining areas under Palestinian control. Here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Red Nation has called for a car parade ending with a rally at Tiquex Park.

If justice is truly indivisible, in the words of Martin Luther King, then all prisoners—in America and Occupied Palestine–deserve the same demands to ensure their release from COVID-infested prisons.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

U.S. interfering in Arab countries to guarantee Israel’s security: Lebanese journalist

By Mohammad Mazhari

July 4, 2020 – 10:56

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TEHRAN – A Lebanese journalist believes that U.S. interference in the Arab countries is first and foremost intended to provide security for Israel.
After U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea’s comments against Hezbollah in an interview with Saudi state-owned broadcaster al-Hadath, her words were rebuffed as open interference in the domestic affairs of Lebanon and a violation of diplomatic norms.
Shea had accused Hezbollah of obstructing economic reforms in Lebanon.
“Frankly, this resembles an act of war against a certain group of Lebanese society,” Abir Bassam tells the Tehran Times 
Bassam says, “It is not the ambassadors’ job in general to discuss the country’s internal affairs.” 
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What is your comment on the statements of the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon?
A: In the best-case scenario, we can say that the ambassador was critical of Hezbollah in Lebanon. However, it did not stop at this stage. The ambassador accused Hezbollah of taking the Lebanese government hostage and holding back its economic growth.
Firstly, this kind of speech addresses the Lebanese people and their officials and is considered interference in domestic affairs.
“This kind of remarks (by the U.S. ambassador) is provocative to those who have always been aligned with the resistance movement, and even causes frustration to those who are against Hezbollah.”Secondly, this kind of remarks are provocative to those who have always been aligned with the resistance movement, and even causes frustration to those who are against Hezbollah.
Thirdly, it is not the ambassadors’ job in general to discuss the countries’ internal affairs. Besides, this shows Americans’ intentions towards Hezbollah and Lebanon’s stability, which is becoming more and more fragile since the 17th of November 2019.
The ambassador’s accusations present an aggressive political attitude towards a certain group of people who are part of the Lebanese population and are officially represented with Hezbollah parliamentarians in the Lebanese parliament. Frankly, this resembles an act of war against a certain group of Lebanese society.
Q: Do you think these statements signal new developments in Lebanon? 
A: It might be. Or perhaps the Americans are preparing for such a thing. In the end, the Americans’ interferences in the Arab countries have been aimed at one end goal, which is the security of Israel.
However, the Resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, is their biggest challenge to protect Israel. And it is still true. Hence, one element of protection for Israel can be provided by recalling for civil war in Lebanon again.
Q: Why Lebanon’s economy is in crisis? Is Hezbollah really jeopardizing the economy in Lebanon?
A: The Lebanese fundamental economic crisis has started with the economic procedures adopted by the governments of Lebanon since 1991. The economic policy was based on services, turning Lebanon into a service provider state in the region. These services depend mainly on monetary services and different kinds of tourism: from sightseeing to medical tourism. To a large extent, this marginalized agriculture and industry and made Lebanon dependent solely on imports and very little export. However, Lebanon had to compete with other main countries that have been remotely providing these services and doing an excellent job, such as India, Australia, and Belgium. Lebanon, especially after the 15-year civil war (1975-1990), cannot be such a competitor to these states.
This policy was deeply related to the atmosphere that prevailed in 1990, with many Arab countries signing peace treaties with Israel. Syria was leading such peace talks as well, after the first war in the (Persian) Gulf in 1990. However, the foundation of such economic policy proved to be based on cartoon boards. Syria withdrew from the peace talks, Rabin was killed, and Lebanon backed by Syria continued its resistance against the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. In this period of history, Hezbollah demonstrated formidable Resistance and Islamic Resistance that led to significant accomplishments against Israel until the liberation of the South in May 2000.
Regarding the second part of the question, it can be simply stated in the following manure: the U.S. will not give any financial aid to Lebanon as long as Hezbollah is in the government. The U.S. doesn’t have any problem with Hezbollah as a political party; it has a problem with its Axis of Resistance; in other words, it has a problem with Hezbollah’s advanced missiles arsenal, which brings us back to the basics that are the Israeli’s security! 
Therefore, the World Bank will not be giving any more loans based on its conditions. Hezbollah insists that the conditions should not contradict Lebanon’s sovereignty and its autonomous decisions. It argues that the World Bank is not allowed to interfere in the Lebanese internal and external decisions.
Q: Do you expect the Lebanese government to contain the economic crisis?
A: Diab’s government has been doing fine with all the crises accumulated during the past 20 years. However, this government is not getting the support it needs even from the parties that have brought it into existence. Too many conflicting interests are governing these parties and, in particular, the coming (U.S.) presidential elections.
A sharp fall in the value of the Lebanese currency is the worst thing that was tasked with this government to deal with. Working with a central bank governor who has allowed the smuggling of the dollars outside the country and guarding the U.S. interests are among the major obstacles, as politicians and fiscal specialists have repeatedly accused him of. The dollar price defines the prices in Lebanon, including gasoline, bread, rice, vegetable, meat, medicine, etc. 
The government’s main problem is that it has not been able to present an emergency policy for passing the current stage or a long-term plan to face the following phases. 
The government’s measures are trying to take into account the development of the agricultural and industrial sectors. Still, Lebanon’s borders to the East are closed, even with its sister country, Syria. It is under American restrictions; it seems that Lebanon is unable to face these challenges.
In the end, all should take responsibility for this condition, including the current government and the majority in the parliament. They need to take bold steps towards Syria, Iran, China, and Russia…etc. It should get close to the whole countries mentioned above, or at least Syria. This is a must.
Q: Concurrent with increasing pressure on Hezbollah, the world is witnessing the Israeli move to excavate gas on Lebanon’s marine border. What’s your evaluation of this?
A: In my opinion, it is irrelevant. Israel must have received the U.S.’s approval to take such a step, which meets Trump’s need to establish something he can please his AIPAC voters with.
It will have an added value for both the Israeli and the Americans if the Lebanese government and Hezbollah do not take bold steps in the face of the Israeli move. It will be a retreat for Lebanon and the Resistance.
Still, if they (Lebanon) make a move, the consequences must be measured carefully. At the end of the day, Israel does not want to open war on its “northern borders”. However, if the Americans decided to do so, the Israelis could not refuse, as it happened in 2006. The war was an American decision.
I believe that both the Israelis and the Americans want Iran’s head on a spike first. Thus, Hezbollah will be out of Syria; this is their aim. I came across that in many of my readings. They pushed for war against Iran; it turned out to be very costly for the Americans, especially after what the U.S. had experienced in Ein al-Assad in Iraq. Indeed, this is the scale by which I would measure the Israeli step. Nevertheless, until today, Israel has not come even a meter close to the Lebanese territorial waters. So, let us wait and see!

لبنان في مرمى «العثمانية»‏‎ ‎بتوافق أميركي ـ «إسرائيلي»‏

د. حسن مرهج

كثيرة هي التدخلات التركية في الدول العربية، إذ تنوّعت وسائل التدخل التركي ضمن مفاهيم القوة الصلبة بالأطر العسكرية والاقتصادية، وكذا ضمن مفاهيم القوة الناعمة من خلال المؤسسات الجمعيات الخيرية، كل ذلك لتحقيق مصالحها وتعزيز نفوذها في المحيط الإقليمي.

ضمن ما سبق، يُعد لبنان إحدى الدول العربية ذات الأهمية الاستراتيجية في توجهات تركيا الإقليمية، لما له من أهمية في التأثير على كثير من الدول المجاورة، أو لتنفيذ الأهداف الإقليمية التركية بما يتوافق مع مصالح أردوغان، فالأهداف التركية في لبنان وجدت في ضعف القيادة السياسية، بيئة خصبة لتعزيز الدور التركي، كما أنّ تركيا تعمل وفق سياساتها على إيجاد نوع من التوازن الطائفي، وضمن نفس السياق فإنّ الأقلية التركمانية اللبنانية ترتبط بتركيا؛ هذا الارتباط ازداد بعد وصول حزب «العدالة والتنمية» إلى السلطة في تركيا، فضلاً عن محاولات تركيا بتعزيز نفوذها في مدينة طرابلس اللبنانية، الأمر الذي تُرجم برفع الأعلام التركية في أكثر من مناسبة، في تلك المدينة الشمالية.

تركيا لا تترك أي بلد عربي مأزوم ويعاني مشكلات داخلية، للدخول واللعب على وتر المظلومية «السنية» وتقديم نفسها كحامي «السنة» ومنقذها من الاضطهاد، وهي ذاتها خطة داعش ونفس أسلوبه، فالداخل اللبناني لم يعد يتحمّل المزيد من التعقيدات في الملف الطائفي، وحل مشاكله في الأساس يكمن في إمكانية الخروج من هذا النفق، لا تعميقه بتدخلات تركية واضحة المضمون والأهداف للجميع.

بعودة سريعة إلى الوراء، نقول بأنّ التوتر الأخير الحاصل بين بيروت وأنقرة على خلفية تغريدة للرئيس اللبناني ميشال عون ضدّ جرائم العثمانيين بحق اللبنانيين، ثم ردّ الخارجية التركية على تلك التغريدة وبعدها قيام عدد من اللبنانيين بتعليق لافتة على باب السفارة التركية اعتبرتها أنقرة مسيئة ومستفزة، كلّ ذلك أعاد لأذهان اللبنانيين خصوصاً والعرب عموماً إمكانية وجود أطماع تركية في لبنان، التي تعيش انقسامات سياسية مستمرة منذ سنوات طويلة.

ويرى البعض أنّ بدايات التدخل التركي في لبنان كان هدفه حماية «إسرائيل»، حيث كانت تل أبيب قد طالبت بوجود قوات اليونيفيل على أنه يكون قسم منها قوات تركية على حدود الأراضي المحتلة ولبنان، وبرّرت «إسرائيل» ذلك الطلب هو أن تركيا دولة مسلمة وعضو في حلف الناتو وجيشها مدرب جيداً، فما كان من أردوغان إلا أن استجاب للطلب الإسرائيلي وأرسل قوات من جيشه ضمن اليونيفيل إلى الحدود مع الأراضي المحتلة. في ذات السياق تحدثت تقارير صحفية عن قيام تركيا باستغلال قوات اليونيفيل لزيادة تواجد قواتها على الأرض اللبنانية كان آخرها في العام 2018.

أيضاً في وقت سابق، أثارت زيارة السفير التركي لدى بيروت هكان تشاكل إلى مناطق تواجد التركمان في منطقة البقاع شرقي لبنان، ومن ثم لقائه بمفتي منطقة بعلبك الهرمل الشيخ خالد الصلح، ووفداً من مشايخ وأعيان بعلبك حفيظة الكثير من اللبنانيين الذين اعتبروا أنّ زيارة السفير التركي تمهيد من أنقرة للولوج إلى الداخل اللبناني من بوابة تركمان لبنان.

في جانب موازٍ، تحاول تركيا أن يكون لها موطئ قدم في مياه شرق المتوسط، عبر نسج علاقات مع لبنان، خاصة بعد التوترات التركية اليونانية، ومثلها المصرية.

التوغل التركي في لبنان تمّ وفق آليات عدة، من ضمن ذلك سعت تركيا إنشاء مراكز ثقافية لتعليم اللغة التركية، والترويج للثقافة التركية وتقديم منح دراسية مع إعطاء الطلاب تسهيلات للدراسة في المراكز الواقعة بالشمال اللبناني، فهناك المركز الثقافي التركي في بيروت؛ الذي يعمل لتحقيق المخطط التركي؛ إذ أنه يعلن دائما على صفحته بموقع التواصل الاجتماعي عن بدء قبول طلبات للراغبين في الانتساب إليه لتعلم اللغة التركية مع تقديم العديد من التسهيلات لتشجيع اللبنانيين للانضمام إليه.

أيضاً الجمعيات الخيرية، فقد وضعت أنقرة نُصب أعينها اللاجئين الفلسطينيين والسوريين الموجودين في مخيمات بمختلف الأراضي اللبنانية؛ حيث وظفت جمعياتها الخيرية من أجل السيطرة على هؤلاء تحت شعار المساعدات الإنسانية والمشاريع الإنمائية والتعليمية والثقافية.

كلً ما سبق جعل جزءاً كبيراً من اللبنانيين يستشعرون محاولات تركية للتوغل في بلدهم ومجتمعهم، وهو أيضاً ما يثير مخاوف عدد من الدول العربية على رأسها السعودية والإمارات وسورية، وعليه فإنّ تركيا تسعى للدخول إلى لبنان بالاعتماد على تناقضات الحالة السنية والشيعية لتثبيت النفوذ والتدخل في الشأن العربي، ولا شكّ أنّ هذا له مردوده السلبي على الداخل التركي لأنّ هناك تنوعات عرقية وطائفية في أنقرة.

وبالتالي، من الواضح أن تركيا تحاول نشر نفوذها الاستعماري خارجياً، من خلال إنشاء المؤسسات الثقافية والخيرية والتعليمية؛ وذلك لتحقيق حلم إحياء الإمبراطورية العثمانية؛ ووجدت أنقرة في لبنان ضالتها وتحديداً في الشمال؛ حيث أكبر نسبة للتيارات السنية وتحديداً في مدينة طرابلس وفي الجنوب مدينة صيدا.

هناك جزئية تؤكد النوايا التركية تُجاه لبنان، فقد أعلنت القوى الأمنية في لبنان، عن إلقاء القبض على مجموعات مرتبطة بالأمن التركي، وتعمل تلك المجموعات على إشعال الفتنة في بيروت وفي الشمال اللبناني، خاصة أنها تتلقى تمويلاً مباشراً من الأمن التركي وبإشراف مباشر من رجب طيب أردوغان.

في المحصلة، من الواضح أنّ هناك تناغماً بين الممارسات التركية والتصريحات الأميركية والنوايا الاسرائيلية في لبنان، الأمر الذي يشي بأنّ قادم الأيام سيحمل الكثير من التطورات بجانبيها السياسي والاقتصادي، لكن في المقابل، يبدو أنّ أردوغان ترامب نتنياهو، قد غاب عن أذهانهم أنّ الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، يقرأ المشهد اللبناني بطريقة استراتيجية بعيدة المدى، وهو بذلك يتقدّم بخطوة على كلّ ما يُحاك للبنان، وكما تمّ إسقاط كلّ الأهداف الأميركية والتركية و»الإسرائيلية» في سورية، ففي لبنان مقاومة لا يُمكن اختراقها، وستُسقط كلّ ما يُحاك للبنان. فاطمئنّوا.

Covid Madness

by Lawrence Davidson 

Author - American Herald Tribune

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

1 July 2020

Part I—Episodes of Madness

If I told you that Covid-19 was sparking recently reported episodes of madness here in the U.S., what do you imagine would be the reason? Maybe it would be the consequences of isolation. If you are alone and have few resources, lockdown might send you over the edge. Maybe it would be the pandemic’s impact on those with chronic hypochondria. This is obviously not an easy time to be stuck with an irrational fear of disease. Or maybe it is coming from the fundamentalist crowd (both Christian and Jewish) who believe that Covid-19 is the wrath of God yet can’t figure out why it is being visited upon their congregations. If you guessed any of these possible etiologies, you would missing the main cause.

So what is mainly causing the present outbursts of madness? It turns out to be a perverted concept of freedom. It is an insistence that, in the midst of a pandemic, temporarily closing down businesses, mandating the wearing of masks, and maintaining social distancing is an intolerable infringement on individual rights. If you would like a visual snapshot of the emotion behind this belief, just take a look at the gun-toting, maskless protesters at the Michigan state legislative building in early May. They are shouting irately about state tyranny, into the faces of masked guards. Other anti-mask protesters around the country revealed a similar off-the-wall attitude, with signs and banners ranging from the nonsensical to the scary: “Give me Liberty or Give me Covid-19,” and in contradiction, “Covid-19 is a Lie,” “Sacrifice the Weak—Reopen,” and “Jesus is My Vaccine.” There is one other rightwing anti-Covid protest sign that must be noted. This one showed up both at the Michigan rally and one in Chicago: ‘Arbeit Macht Frei,” or “Work will make you free.” It is the slogan that stood at the entrance to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. 

Part II—A Perverse Notion of Freedom

This perverse notion of freedom is wholly individualistic. That is, it makes no reference to community rights or needs. This point of view is not restricted to armed anarchists or disgruntled religious fundamentalists. Some quite prominent and successful proponents of this view go so far as to deny the reality of society, per se. Such a denial makes government, particularly in the form of the welfare state, a freedom-denying effort at social control. Also, if society is an illusion, then an institution that taxes the individual for its upkeep is little more than a con artist. 

The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was an advocate of this outlook. Here is how she put it: “I think we have gone through a period when too many people … understand that if they have a problem, it is the government’s job to cope with it!… ‘If I am homeless, the government must house me!’ and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. …There is no such thing as society.” This is faulty logic. Some problems, like poverty and homelessness, can only be understood and dealt with within a societal context. Thatcher would have none of that. Since society does not really exist, problems with societal roots can’t be real either. If Thatcher were alive today, she would probably admit that the Covid-19 pandemic was very real, but otherwise would be reluctant to deal with it in any collective manner—just as are our perverse defenders of “freedom.” 

Part III—Beyond Sloganeering

The madness of these rightwing provocateurs is largely ideological in the Thatcher sense. It is also underlaid with a strong selfishness that really has nothing to do with economic hardships of lockdown. What they are saying is that “I don’t care about other people. I don’t want to wear a mask and social distance, and you can’t make me.” It is the ideology of selfish children and this attitude can drive people to act out in the same way it drives five-year-olds to have temper tantrums. Unfortunately, these protesters are not just children and their acting out goes beyond sloganeering. 

Since April 2020, numerous public health workers, particularly those with policy-making input, have faced threats and intimidation. Sometimes this is through e-mail or Facebook or over the phone. Sometimes it is having to face an armed mob at your front door. Here are a few recent examples:

—Lauri Jones, director of public health in a county in western Washington state, followed up on someone breaking a Covid-19 quarantine. Immediately she faced a barrage of threatening calls and e-mails from not just her home area but from around the country. Her address was posted on Facebook. She called the police and had to set up surveillance cameras at her home. 

—Amy Acton, Ohio’s public health director “endured months of anger against the state’s preventive measures, including armed protests at her home.” One Republican legislator called her a Nazi (Acton is Jewish) and another labeled her a dictator. She has since quit her job and now consults for the state’s health department. 

—Georgia’s public health director has been assigned an armed guard.

—Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, who is transgender, has been publicly harassed for her role in fighting the pandemic. One Republican county official said that he was “tired of listening to a guy dressed up as a woman.”

—Then there is the emotion expressed following a recent Palm Beach county commissioners meeting. The commissioners had voted unanimously to make masks mandatory in the county. Those in the audience denounced the commissioners and threatened them with “citizen’s arrest.” They made the following accusations: “masks are killing people,” masks “toss God’s wonderful breathing system out the window,” and to mandate masks is to follow the “devil’s laws.”

Perhaps the best summing up of this “demoralizing” nationwide situation comes from Theresa Anselmo, executive director of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials—eighty percent of whose members have been threatened with dismissal or were outright fired from their jobs. “We’ve seen from the top down that the federal government is pitting public health against freedom, and to set up that false dichotomy is really a disservice to the men and women who have dedicated their lives . . . to helping people.” 

Part IV—Lethal Consequences

Ideally, we are supposed to teach our kids that freedom comes with responsibility. Take away a sense of responsibility to others and what you are left with the perverted freedom to be selfish. And, often that selfishness is blind to its own lethal consequences. 

There is a precedent for this sort of selfishness tied to a perverse claim of freedom—it is the American insistence that gun ownership is a right and a primary symbol of freedom. Here in the U.S., an average of 109 people a day are killed with guns, sometimes in quite spectacular fashion, as in the case of mass shootings. We endure it, or perhaps more accurately we choose to ignore it, because an influential, militant and bullying minority has stymied the political will to reign it in. This is a situation that is suggestive of willful madness. The same appears to be happening in the case of Covid-19.

In the last six months over 2 million Americans have fallen ill with Covid-19 and the death toll stands at around 130,000. The present infection and fatality rates are climbing. It seems that after several months of lockdown, which had hurt the economy and increased unemployment while simultaneously bringing the pandemic under control, the will to continue restrictions has largely broken down. Both politicians and the populace appeared to have given up and, as one of those sloganeering signs put it, silently agreed to “sacrifice the weak and reopen.” And almost everywhere they did reopen, the Covid-19 virus returned with a vengeance. It was when a moderate state counter-response, mandating masks and social distancing in public and business environments, was attempted that the militant bullying by Republican politicians, armed “patriots,” and disgruntled religious fundamentalists picked up steam. What now is likely to follow?

Future prospects are described by Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and Brown University professor who promotes gun violence prevention. She explains that the  “dynamics of the lockdown protesters” are similar to those of the gun rights advocates. Both groups of militants “moved the … debate” from a conversation about, first an epidemic of gun injuries, and now the wisdom of health and science in the face of a pandemic, to “a conversation about liberty.” Thus we are no longer talking about “weighing risks and benefits” and are instead involved in “a politicized narrative” about alleged individual rights. This is also a zero-sum narrative because this claim of prioritized rights is, for its advocates, not negotiable.

So there we have it. It is a fight between a perverse notion of freedom and a collective sense of social responsibility. The interests of society—which are real despite the rhetoric of the late Margret Thatcher—already lost out once in the struggle with “gun rights” advocates. Will it lose out again to mad opponents of masking and social distancing? The chances are good that it will. Sickness and death may well be our fate until science, in the form of an adequate vaccine, saves us from ourselves.

The U.S. Military Is the World’s Biggest Climate Destroyer. No to War and Occupation! No to Environmental Degradation

Emerging Dynamics of Antiwar and Climate Justice Movements

By Alison Bodine

Global Research, July 03, 2020

Talk by Alison Bodine at the United National Antiwar Coalition National Conference held from February 21–23, 2020, at the People’s Forum in New York City.

*** 

To begin, I hope everyone has been able to see actions across Canada in solidarity with the people of Wet’suwet’en media and social media lately, footage and their hereditary chiefs who are standing against a fracked gas, or what they call a “natural” gas pipeline, up in northern British Columbia. This struggle is part of my talk today, however, the focus of what I wanted to say is about the importance of bringing the anti-war movement and the climate justice movement together or anti-war organizers and the climate justice movement together.

The Devastating Human and Environmental Impact of War & Occupation 

I want to start with just three short examples of the impact of war on the environment that I think are very important to remember. 

On January 24th, over a million people protested in Iraq. The streets were full in Baghdad of people demanding the U.S. Out of Iraq Now! It was incredibly inspiring.

Iraq is a country that has been devastated for 17 years by U.S. led war and occupation. Over a million people have been killed, not to mention the millions who were killed before the war began in 2003 when the U.S. and the United Nations Security Council imposed severe sanctions between 1991 and 2003. Iraq is a devastated country where the U.S. has set up 500 big and small military bases throughout 17 years of occupation, and deployed countless bullets, bombs, chemical weapons, depleted uranium and burn pits filled with toxic plastics, heavy military machinery and shells of weaponry.

No wonder people in Iraq were demanding U.S. Out of Iraq Now! Because of the devastation that has been brought upon them. But I wanted to further centre our discussion on climate justice by talking about one example of what climate devastation and climate justice means to people in Iraq.

In 2010, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health wrote an article where they reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a tenfold increase in breast cancer, and an infant mortality rate eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait, following what had then been seven years of U.S. war and occupation in Iraq. A big cause of this could be linked to the chemical weapons used, and especially to depleted uranium, which has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. According to a 2007 report by the U.N. Environment Program, between 1000 and 2000 metric tons of depleted uranium were fired into Iraq.

The city of Nagasaki is shown as a teeming urban area, above, then as a flattened, desolate wasteland following the detonation of an atomic bomb, below. Circles indicate the thousands of feet from ground zero.

Now I will bring it back home to the U.S. and Canada. In Canada, an Indigenous Dené nation community in the Northwest Territories became known as the “Village of Widows” because men of the population died of cancers that they developed when mining for uranium. This was the same uranium that was used in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As well, the radium and the uranium mines in the community released tailings into the lake and landfills. The devastating effects of this are still experienced in the community today.

That brings us to what has been said many times, importantly, in this conference already, which is that the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest polluter. We are talking about 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases emitted annually. That is the equivalent of 257 million cars on the road for a year.

In Canada, the Department of National Defence also makes an enormous contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. A portion of this is through the fueling of the warplanes of Canada and other imperialist countries. The government of Canada is often claiming that they are not participating in U.S.-led wars, but then refueling all the jets that are dropping the bombs. The Canadian military provided 65 million pounds of fuel to refuel aircraft used in the bombing of Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2019. This is incomparable, of course, to the fuel consumption of the vehicles that any of us here in this room drive.

The Department of Defense in the United States is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels. In Canada, the Department of National Defence is the largest consumer of petroleum and Canada’s largest landholder.

This is added to the continued environmental and human impact of chemical and radioactive weapons such as Agent Orange and depleted uranium. Also, the military bases of the United States and its allies around the world persist in poisoning and in polluting.

Another topic to talk about that is important to the discussion about environment and war is military emissions, because specific sources of greenhouse gases are excluded from federal reduction targets due to their important role in “ensuring the national safety and security of all Canadians” — as Canada’s previous environment minister, Catherine McKenna, justified why the declared emissions of the Department of National Defence in Canada has never been counted in Canada’s emission reduction targets.

Military emissions are explicitly stated as excluded in the targets set by the 2015 United National Paris agreements. Under these agreements, countries are “required,” as much as the Paris agreements can “require” anything, to report on their military emissions. Still, countries are not obligated or encouraged to do anything to reduce them. In the international climate agreements that proceeded with the Paris agreement, the Kyoto Accords, military emissions were not even part of the discussion. Military emissions continue to be considered a so-called necessary expense for our planet.

Then, there is the issue of military budgets. For example, the world’s biggest military budget ever has been passed yet again in the United States recently. Instead of being spent on human and environmental destruction, this money could go towards climate justice, meaning health care, education, jobs, public transit, and more.

As Martin Luther King Junior said, and I think this is a good quote for us to use when talking about the environment and war,

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

So, where is the technology that we need to save our planet earth now? 

The War at Home: Wet’suwet’en & the Struggle for Indigenous Rights 

The wars abroad by imperialist countries such as the U.S. and Canada are also carried out against people at home. And I think every once in a while, there are these escalated times when that reality can shake oppressed people and their very foundations. And that has happened with Indigenous people in Canada over the past few weeks.

There is a war against Indigenous people in Canada. There has been since the colonisation of Indigenous land. The Canadian state has the same roots as the United States of genocide, residential schools, and reservation systems. This history and the current reality of colonization are reflected in the mobilization of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en today. 

It is important to understand that one year ago, the RCMP -the Canadian national police- first invaded the territory of the Wet’suwet’en people, and they kept a detachment there for an entire year. Then this January is when things escalated again because the RCMP moved further into the territory and cleared people off of a road to make way for the development of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is in violation of the demands of the Wet’suwet’en people. British Columbia is an unceded territory. No treaties, in 92 percent of the land, were ever signed. So hereditary chiefs and their system of governance are law in those unceded territories. 

The Coastal GasLink pipeline is fracked gas. There has been a lot of talk, specifically in the Province of British Columbia about how the Coastal GasLink pipeline is going to “replace coal for the world,” and at the same time, not have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions. However, the impact of “natural gas” emissions can only be considered minor when you ignore the methane and poisons that are released when it is extracted and considering that when it is burned, Canada does not have to count those emissions targets. 

It is Time to Unite the Antiwar and Climate Justice Movement

That brings me to my final point, which is about bringing together the anti-war movement with the climate justice movement. One way to do this is by making sure “self-determination for oppressed nations, including Indigenous nations!” is always part of our demands. This has always been part of our demands within Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) and MAWO has consistently brought this demand to the cross-border movement that we would like to strengthen and build together, including with this conference. 

I think there are four strategies and demands that we need to bring into our antiwar, anti-pollution, and anti-imperialist movement. The first is that we must build a movement that is against imperialist war and occupation. Today, we live in what we in MAWO call “the new era of war and occupation,” which is the never-ending wars that started in 2001, that we are all coming together to organize against. This era is characterized by a campaign to regain hegemony in the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America by capitalist countries that are facing a grave economic crisis and a rapid falling rate of profit. These countries are on the war path to gain new markets and resources, which means more killing of our planet. 

Secondly, self-determination for oppressed nations, as I said, must be part of our work, from Indigenous and Black people, to oppressed countries under attack and occupation. This important demand calls on us to have strategical unity against any occupation, domestic or international. We cannot just be talking about the U.S. occupying other countries but also what it means when there are oppressed nations within the U.S. and Canada borders.

Thirdly, we need to fight for a world without NATO and U.S. military bases, because of the environmental pollution and also because of the way that the United States uses these bases to increase their wars and occupations and consequently further ecological degradation.

Lastly, I think the environmental struggle ties into the movement against sanctions and blockades, which are war. These attacks do not allow countries to develop their economies or to use their resources for the good of their people. Sanctions and blockades enforce the hegemony of the world’s biggest corporations, which are also the world’s biggest polluters.

If we combine these four pillars, which bring together the war at home and abroad, this is how we can build an anti-imperialist movement, how we can move from just being against war to also being against imperialism. I think we cannot build an effective anti-war movement without centralizing and emphasizing the slogan of self-determination for all oppressed nations.

I will say that I think this slogan of self-determination for all oppressed nations is as important as “Workers of the world unite,” from Marx and Engels.

People of oppressed nations face war and occupation and the denial of self-determination, which unites them in the fight against imperialism. The common struggle that unites workers is their exploitation by the capitalist class and the denial of their rights.

Within the antiwar and the climate justice movement, we must also emphasize that we are building an international movement, one that is also internationalist in character. The struggles of people against massive resource extraction projects are similar in Standing Rock in North Dakota or the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The struggle for a sustainable world requires international cooperation between oppressed people. It requires solidarity and, more importantly, unity across borders to become powerful and effective. 

There are many opportunities for antiwar activists to bring the antiwar movement to the climate justice movement. There were massive protests around the world in September 2019; over 9 million people participated in global climate strike actions. And I think we need to continue to take advantage of that mobilization on the streets. We need to strategically bring the antiwar movement and the environmental movement together. Fighting against war is fighting against the degradation of the environment and fighting for climate justice is fighting against war and occupation. We are in an era of history that these two causes have become two struggles for one purpose, to save our lives and the planet.

I think we are now facing the opportunity to build a better and sustainable world. We must not feel inactive or depressed about the climate crisis or endless wars and occupations around us. In the face of this devastation, we have no choice but to take up the call and fight back.

People marching on the streets today against climate change can also be very capable of understanding that it is not just a clean planet we are fighting for. It will not matter if we have a clean planet if the earth is still full of poverty and human suffering and wars and occupations. The antiwar and climate justice movement now more than ever has one cause: Save the planet.

United we will win!

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First printed in Fire This Time Newspaper Volume 14, Issue 3–5: www.firethistime.net

Alison Bodine is a social justice activist, author and researcher in Vancouver, Canada. She is  the Chair of Vancouver’s peace coalition Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) and a central organizer with the grassroots climate justice coalition Climate Convergence in Vancouver, Canada. Alison is also on the Editorial Board of the Fire This Time newspaper. 

Featured image is from The GrayzoneThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Alison Bodine, Global Research, 2020

NO ISRAELI WAR ON LEBANON BEFORE THE NEXT US ELECTIONS

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Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

There is no doubt that, since Ben Gurion, the Zionist ideology adheres to the principle of superior strength, harassing and seizing opportunities to surprise the enemy, exploiting the opponent’s weaknesses and assessing the enemy’s position before striking. But there are many indications that Israel cannot conduct a war on Lebanon, at least not this summer, and likely not until after the white smoke reveals the identity of the resident at the White House for the next four years.

A tempest in a teapot ensued in Lebanon when Israel announced its third offshore bidding round for oil and natural gas exploration of “Block 72”, previously known as “Alon D”, located along the border with Lebanon in “Block 9” disputed water. President Michel Aoun said the Israeli decision is “a very dangerous matter” and that Lebanon “will not allow the violation of internationally-recognised territorial waters”. Lebanese MP Qassem Hashem said the decision resembles “a declaration of war”.

However, the Israeli announcement does not constitute a breach of the regional water borders that Lebanon claims. The Lebanese condemnation is a reminder to Israel that Lebanon is on alert and shall not allow any encroachment of its maritime borders. Throughout the last decade, the US sent several official envoys to Beirut to push Lebanon towards an indirect dialogue with Israel to draw mutually recognised borders, to no avail.

The geopolitical animosity between Lebanon and Israel had frozen the exploration of “Block 72” for 6 years. The two offshore companies, “Noble Energy” of the US and Israel’s Delek Energy, who had won concessions for oil and gas exploration signed in 2009, found their licence ended in 2016 without having been able to conduct any exploration. The news of the Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz reopening the tender caused a superficial media sensation for several reasons:

Does the next Presidential election even matter?

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President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden head toward the Capitol Platform during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. More than 5,000 military members from across all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support and Defense Support of Civil Authorities during the inaugural period. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

THE SAKER • JULY 2, 2020

Just by asking the question of whether the next Presidential election matters, I am obviously suggesting that it might not. To explain my reasons for this opinion, I need to reset the upcoming election in the context of the previous one. So let’s begin here.

The 2016 election of Donald Trump

The first thing which, I believe, ought to be self-evident to all by now is that there was no secret operation by any deep state, not even a Zionist controlled one, to put Donald Trump in power. I would even argue that the election of Donald Trump was the biggest slap in the face of US deep state and of the covert transnational ruling elites this deep state serves. Ever. My evidence? Simple, look what these ruling “elites” did both before and after Trump’s election: before, they ridiculed the very idea of “President Trump” as both utterly impossible and utterly evil.

As somebody who has had years of experience reading the Soviet press or, in another style, the French press, I can honestly say that I have never seen a more ridiculously outlandish hate campaign against anybody that would come even close to the kind of total hate campaign which Trump was subjected to. Then, as soon as he was elected, the US neo-liberals (who are not liberals at all!) declared that Trump was “not their President”, that Trump was put into power by Putin and that he was a “Russian asset” (using pseudo-professional jargon is what journos typically do to conceal their abject ignorance of a complex topic) and, finally, that he was a White racist and misogynist who will deeply divide the country (thereby dividing the country themselves by making such claims).

The fact is that for the past four years the US liberals have waged a total informational war against Trump and it would be absolutely unthinkable for them to ever accept a Trump re-election, even if he wins by a landslide. For the US Dems and neo-liberals, Trump is the personification of evil, literally, and that means that “resistance” to him and everything he represents must be total. And if he is re-elected, then there is only one possible explanation: the Russians stole the election, or the Chinese did. But the notion that Trump has the support of a majority of people is literally unthinkable for these folks.

Truth be told, Trump has proven to be a fantastically incompetent President, no doubt about that. Was he even worse than Obama? Maybe, it really all depends on your scoring system. In my personal opinion, and for all his very real sins and failings, Trump, at least, did not start a major war, which Obama did, and which Hillary would have done (can’t prove this, but that is my personal belief). That by itself, and totally irrespective of anything else, makes me believe that Trump has been a “lesser evil” (even if far more ridiculous) President than Obama has been or Hillary would have been. This is what I believed four years ago and this is what I still believe: considering how dangerous for the entire planet “President Hillary” would have been, voting for Trump was not only the only logical thing to do, it was the only moral one too because giving your voice to a warmongering narcissistic hyena like Hillary is a profoundly immoral act (yes, I know, Trump is also a narcissist – most politicians are! – but at least his warmongering has been all hot air and empty threats, at least so far). However, I don’t think that this (not having started a major war) will be enough to get Trump re-elected.

Why?

Because most Americans still like wars. In fact, they absolutely love them. Unless, of course, they lose. What Americans really want is a President who can win wars, not a President who does not initiate them in the first place. This is also the most likely reason why Trump did not start any major wars: the US has not won a real war in decades and, instead, it got whipped in every conflict it started. Americans hate losing wars, and that is why Trump did not launch any wars: it would have been political suicide to start a real war against, say, the DPRK or Iran. So while I am grateful that Trump did not start any wars, I am not naive to the point of believing that he did so for pure and noble motives. Give Trump an easy victory and he will do exactly what all US Presidents have done in the past: attack, beat up the little guy, and then be considered like a “wartime President hero” by most Americans. The problem is that there are no more “little guys” left out there: only countries who can, and will, defend themselves if attacked.

The ideology of messianic imperialism which permeates the US political culture is still extremely powerful and deep seated and it will take years, probably decades, to truly flush it down to where it belongs: to the proverbial trash-heaps of history. Besides, in 2020 Americans have much bigger concerns than war vs. peace – at least that is what most of them believe. Between the Covid19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of the economy (of course, while the former certainly has contributed to the latter, it did not single-handedly cause it) and now the BLM insurgency, most Americans now feel personally threatened – something which no wars of the past ever did (a war against Russia very much would, but most Americans don’t realize that, since nobody explains this to them; they also tend to believe that nonsense about the US military being the best and most capable in history).

Following four years of uninterrupted flagwaving and MAGA-chanting there is, of course, a hardcore of true believers who believe that Trump is nothing short of brilliant and that he will “kick ass” everything and everybody: from the spying Russians, to the rioting Blacks, from the pandemic, to the lying media, etc. The fact that in reality Trump pitifully failed to get anything truly important done is completely lost on these folks who live in a reality they created for themselves and in which any and all facts contradicting their certitudes are simply explained away by silly stuff like “Q-anon” or “5d chess”. Others, of course, will realize that Trump “deflated” before those whom he called “the swamp” almost as soon as he got into the White House.

As for the almighty Israel Lobby, it seems to me that it squeezed all it could from Trump who, from the point of view of the Zionists, was always a “disposable President” anyway. And now that Trump has done everything Israel wanted him to do, he becomes almost useless. If anything, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of them will try to outdo Trump’s love for everything Israeli anyway.

So how much support is there behind Trump today? I really don’t know (don’t trust the polls, which have always been deeply wrong about Trump anyway), but I think that there is definitely a constituency of truly frightened Americans who are freaking out (as they should, considering the rapid collapse of the country) and who might vote Trump just because they will feel that for all his faults, he is the only one who can save the country. Conversely, they will see Biden as a pro-BLM geriatric puppet who will hand the keys of the White House to a toxic coalition of minorities.

So what if Trump does get re-elected?

In truth, the situation is so complex and there are so many variables (including many “unknown unknowns”!) that make predictions impossible. Still, we can try to make some educated guesses, especially if based on some kind of logic such as the one which says that “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior”. In other words, if Trump gets elected, we will get more of the same. Personally, I would characterize this “same” as a further destruction of the US from within by the Democrats and their “coalition of minorities” combined with a further destruction of the US Empire abroad by delusional Republicans.

I very much doubt that it makes any sense at all to vote for that, really. Better stay at home and do something worthwhile with your time, no?

Now what about a Biden election?

Remember that Biden is now the de-facto leader of what I would loosely call the “anti-US coalition”, that is the “coalition of minorities” which really have nothing in common except their hatred of the established order (well, and, of course, their hatred of Trump and of those who voted for him).

These minorities are very good at hating and destroying, but don’t count on them to ever come up with constructive solutions – it ain’t gonna happen. For one thing, they are probably too stupid to come up with any constructive ideas, but even more important is the fact that these folks all have a hyper-narrow agenda and, simply put, they don’t care about “constructing” anything. These folks are all about hatred and the instant gratification of their narrow, one-topic, agenda.

This also begs the question of why the Dems decided to go with Biden in spite of the fact that he is clearly an extremely weak candidate. In spite? I am not so sure at all. I think that they chose him because he is so weak: the real power behind him will be in the hands of the Schumer-Pelosi-Obama gang and of the interests these folks represent.

Unlike Trump who prostituted himself only after making it to the White House, the neo-liberal Dems have *already* prostituted themselves to everybody who wanted to give them something in return, from the Ukie Nazis to the thugs of BLM, to the powerful US homo-lobby. Don’t expect them to show any spine, or even less so, love for the USA, if they get the White House. They hate this country and most of its people and they are not shy about it.

What would happen to the US if the likes of Bloomberg or Harris took control? First, there would be the comprehensive surrender to the various minorities which put these folks in power followed by a very strong blowback from all the “deplorables” ranging from protests and civil disobedience, to local authorities refusing to take orders from the feds. Like it or not, but most Americans still love their country and loathe the kind of pseudo-liberal ideology which has been imposed upon them by the joint actions of the US deep state and the corporate world. There is even a strong probability that if Biden gets elected the USA’s disintegration would only accelerate.

On the international front, a Biden Presidency would not solve any of the problems created by Obama and Trump: by now it is way too late and the damage done to the international reputation of the United States is irreparable. If anything, the Dems will only make it worse by engaging in even more threats, sanctions and wars. Specifically, the Demolicans hate Russia, China and Iran probably even more than the Republicrats. Besides, these countries have already concluded a long time ago that the US was “not agreement capable” anyway (just look at the long list of international treaties and organization from which the US under Trump has withdrawn: what is the point of negotiating anything with a power which systematically reneges on its promises and obligations?)

The truth is that if Biden gets elected, the US will continue to fall apart internally and externally, if anything, probably even faster than under a re-elected Trump.

Which brings me to my main conclusion:

Why do we even bother having elections?

First, I don’t think that the main role of a democracy is to protect minorities from majorities. A true democracy protects the majority against the many minorities which typically have a one-issue agenda and which are typically hostile to the values of the majority. Oh sure, minority rights should be protected, the question is how exactly?

For one thing, most states have some kind of constitution/basic law which sets a number of standards which cannot be violated as long as this constitution/basic law is in force. Furthermore, in most states which call themselves democratic all citizens have the same rights and obligations, and a minority status does not give anybody any special rights or privileges. Typically, there are also fundamental international standards for human rights and fundamental national standards for civil rights. Minority rights (individual or collective), however, are not typically considered a separate category which somehow trumps or supplements adopted norms for human and civil rights (if only because it creates a special “minority” category, whereas in true “people power” all citizens are considered as one entity).

It is quite obvious that neither the Republicrats nor the Demolicans represent the interests of “we the people” and that both factions of the US plutocracy are under the total control of behind-the-scenes real powers. What happened four years ago was a colossal miscalculation of these behind-the-scenes real powers who failed to realize how hated they were and how even a guy like Trump would seem preferable to a nightmare like Hillary (as we know, had the Dems chosen Sanders or even some other halfway lame candidate, Trump would probably not have prevailed).

This is why I submit that the next election will make absolutely no difference:

  1. The US system is rigged to give all the power to minorities and to completely ignore the will of the people
  2. The choice between the Demolicans and the Republicrats is not a choice at all
  3. The systemic crisis of the US is too deep to be affected by who is in power in the White House

Simply put, and unlike the case of 2016, the outcome of the 2020 election will make no difference at all. Caring about who the next puppet in the White House will be is tantamount to voting for a new captain while the Titanic is sinking. The major difference is that the Titanic sank in very deep water whereas the “ship USA” will sink in the shallows, meaning that the US will not completely disappear: in some form or another, it will survive either as a unitary state or as a number of successor states. The Empire, however, has no chance of survival at all. Thus, anything which contributes to make the US a “normal” country and which weakens the Empire is in the interests of the people of the USA. Voting for either one of the candidates this fall will only prolong the agony of the current political regime in the USA.

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