Saturday, 10 November 2018

What Gaza Wants

By Haidar Eid
Source
150518_ASH_00-19.jpg
Four years after the Israeli Occupation Forces perpetrated a massacre upon the population of Gaza, the third in 5 years, Apartheid Israel insists on committing more crimes by targeting civilians protesting peacefully every Friday demanding their internationally-sanctioned right of return to the towns and villages from which they were ethnically cleansed back in 1948. The latest round of Israeli war crimes has resulted in a new massacre ; since March 30th, when the first of a series of marches took place at the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip, more than 220 innocent civilians, including 34 children and 5 women, have been murdered brutally as they demonstrated non-violently.  More than 2000 have been injured, some very critically. (Statistics taken from Gaza Ministry if Health)
As we, Palestinians of Gaza, embark on our long walk to freedom, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer rely on governments; instead, we request that the citizens of the world oppose these ongoing deadly crimes. The failure of the United Nations and its numerous organizations to condemn such crimes proves their complicity. We have also come to the conclusion that only civil society is able to mobilize to demand the implementation of international law and put an end to Israel’s unprecedented impunity. Our inspiration is the anti-apartheid movement. The intervention of civil society was effective in the late 1980s against the apartheid regime of White South Africa. Nelson Mandela, before his eminent death, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, amongst other anti-apartheid activists, did not not only describe Israel’s oppressive and violent control of Palestinians as Apartheid, they also joined this call for the world’s civil society to intervene again.
In fact, we expect people of conscience and civil society organizations to put pressure on their governments until Israel is forced to abide by international law and international humanitarian law. It did work last century; without the intervention of the international community which was effective against apartheid in South Africa, Israel will continue its war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We need to be more specific about our demands. We want civil society organizations worldwide to intensify the anti-Israel sanctions campaign to compel Israel to end to its aggression.
It has become crystal clear that the international conspiracy of silence towards the incremental genocide taking place against the 2 million civilians in Gaza indicates complicity in these war crimes.
It is high-time that the international community demand that the rogue State of Israel, a state that has violated every single international law one can think of, end its medieval siege of Gaza and compensate for the destruction of life and infrastructure that it has visited upon the Palestinian people. But this should also come within a package of demands to be made by all Palestine solidarity groups and all international civil society organizations that still believe in the rule of law and basic human rights:
  • An end to the siege that has been imposed on the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip since 2006 for voting against the fictional two-state solution and the Oslo Accords;
  • The protection of civilian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law such as The Fourth Geneva Convention;
  • That Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip be provided with material support to cope with the immense hardship that they are experiencing at the hands of Israeli Occupation Forces;
  • Immediate reparations and compensation for all destruction carried out by the IOF in the Gaza Strip;
  • Holding  Israeli generals  and leaders accountable for  war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the civilians of Gaza;
And
  • An end to occupation, Apartheid, and other war crimes committed by Israel.
Why is that too much to ask? Were the anti-apartheid and Civil Rights movements too demanding for calling for an end to all forms of racism, institutional and otherwise ? And was the international community wrong to heed their calls?

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Mecca or Las Vegas? Why Saudis destroyed Islam’s holiest sites – English Subtitles

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The Drug Catastrophe in Afghanistan



The Drug Catastrophe in Afghanistan

The Drug Catastrophe in Afghanistan

On November 5 yet another US soldier was killed by a member of Afghanistan’s military forces, as the country continues to be wracked by violence in its seventeenth year of war.

Donald Rumsfeld was US Secretary for Defence from 2001 to 2006 under President George W Bush. They, along with other psychotic figures such as Vice-President Dick Cheney, were responsible for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and their legacy is apparent in many spheres, one of which is the drug production bonanza in Afghanistan. 

In August 2004 NBC News reported Secretary Rumsfeld as declaring “The danger a large drug trade poses in Afghanistan is too serious to ignore. The inevitable result is to corrupt the government and way of life, and that would be most unfortunate.” He issued the warning that “It is increasingly clear to the international community that to address the drug problem here is important for the people of Afghanistan.”

Rumsfeld, for once during his catastrophic years as chief war-maker, was absolutely right, and his pronouncement about likely danger and impending corruption was spot on. The US invasion and subsequent operations led to Afghanistan becoming the fourth most dangerous and fourth most corrupt country in the world.

The “drug problem” to which he referred has expanded rapidly over the years. It is destroying Afghanistan. It is a main reason for the place being ungovernable.

It’s all very well to blame Afghans for growing poppies and producing opium and heroin, but what they are doing is meeting international demand. After all, there would be no drug industry in Afghanistan if there wasn’t a welcoming market in the drug-loving prosperous West — although it has to be noted that only about four per cent of its massive narcotics production ends up in the US, which gets most of its heroin from South America.

Mr John Sopko, the US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), has just produced his latest quarterly report for the US Congress in which he observes that “From 2002 through September 2018, the United States has committed an average of more than $1.5 million a day to help the Afghan government combat narcotics. Despite this, 2017 poppy cultivation is more than four times that reported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for 2002, the first full year of US intervention in Afghanistan,” so there is small wonder that the country is “the largest source of street heroin in Europe and Canada.”

Mr Sopko observed that efforts to combat drugs “have cost US taxpayers more than $8 billion since 2002, yet Afghanistan’s opium crisis is worse than ever,” and the increase in the area and quantity of poppy cultivation has been impressive and depressing.

Washington is well aware of the shattering effects of Afghan drug production, but the SIGAR writes that “counternarcotics seems to have fallen completely off the US agenda. The State Department’s new ‘Integrated Country Strategy’ for Afghanistan no longer includes counternarcotics as a priority, but instead subsumes the issue into general operations. Meanwhile, the US military says it has no counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan, and USAID says it will not plan, design, or implement new programs to address opium-poppy cultivation.”

It is amazing that “The US military says it has no counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan.”
What happened to the campaign against drug processing that began in November 2017 when “US and Afghan forces launched a series of attacks on narcotics laboratories in southern Afghanistan”?
The massive aerial bombardment of ten drug-processing laboratories included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates. B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar attacked targets, and F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul. The operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuellers, every surveillance means that could be deployed, and command and control aircraft. This was a major — and very expensive — operation.

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, told a news conference “We hit the labs where they turned poppy into heroin. We hit their storage facilities where they kept their final products, where they stockpiled their money and their command and control.” Not only that, but “The strikes that were prosecuted last night will continue… This is going to be steady pressure that’s going to stay up and we are not going to let up.” He said “the Drug Enforcement Administration estimates there are 400 to 500 opium laboratories across Afghanistan”. So after that first attack in November 2017 there were ten down and about 400 to go.
But SIGAR tells us in October 2018 that “the US military says it has no counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan.” Why?

There is nobody better placed to explain this than Mr Sopko, who had already observed that the Pentagon’s airstrike campaign against drug laboratories might not have the intended effect, as its “longer-term impact on narcotics remains uncertain.” Not only this, but “there is also the risk that air strikes could result in civilian deaths, alienate rural populations, and strengthen the insurgency.”
He was right on the button, because, as reported by The Washington Post, in January to June 2018 the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan “documented 353 civilian casualties, including 149 deaths, from airstrikes, a 52 percent increase from the same period in 2017.”

There is no doubt that these casualties alienate the rural population, given the example of one strike in July 2018 when the New York Times wrote that “Fourteen members of a family, including three small children, were killed when an American airstrike destroyed their home, several Afghan officials confirmed on [July 20]. In what has become a familiar litany, particularly in Taliban-dominated Kunduz Province, Afghan and American officials had initially denied that any civilians had been killed in the strike . . . claiming the victims were Taliban fighters. Then 11 bodies belonging to women and children appeared at the hospital in Kunduz City, about four miles from the site of the attack in Chardara District. The Taliban do not have women fighters and the children were very young.”

Time after time the US-NATO and Afghan authorities “initially deny” that there have been civilian deaths or casualties caused by airstrikes and are then found to be disguising the truth because there can be no denial of facts when shrapnel-ridden bodies of little children are laid out on the ground. Such absurd statements play right into the hands of the militants and, in the predictive words of the SIGAR, “strengthen the insurgency.”

This might explain why the massive and much-publicised air campaign against opium-processing facilities has been abandoned. But what happens now?

The US State Department and the Pentagon were told by experts that the narcotics problem was immense. For example, in a speech at Georgetown University in 2014 the SIGAR said: “By every conceivable metric, we’ve failed. Production and cultivation are up, interdiction and eradication are down, financial support to the insurgency is up, and addiction and abuse are at unprecedented levels in Afghanistan.”

Nothing has changed since then. The 2017 aerial blitz failed utterly, as have so many plans and operations to attempt to reduce narcotics production, and the US-NATO military alliance in Afghanistan continues to flounder in a quagmire of insurgency. The drug catastrophe is plain for all to see, and after seventeen years of war and expenditure of eight billion dollars the illegal narcotics industry is thriving.

Can this be indicative of the general level of competence of the US Department of State and the Pentagon? Can they get anything right?

By Brian Cloughley
Source: Strategic Culture

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Hollywood Fundraiser for Israel’s Killing Machine

By Stephen Lendman
Source
So-called Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) hold annual gala fundraisers for its killing machine in US cities nationwide – a way to extort money from naive and supportive donors.
Guests include high-ranking Israeli military and government officials. Well-known Americans attend.
Event raise millions of dollars annually for Israeli militarism, belligerence, and cold-blooded murder. 
It’s shocking that anyone would contribute to what demands condemnation – donors complicit with Israeli crimes of war, against humanity, and other forms of apartheid ruthlessness.
The FIDF Los Angeles chapter says it aims “to raise money for the young men and women soldiers of the IDF and to create a community that cares for and supports Israel and its soldiers” – mindless of the pain and suffering they inflict on defenseless Palestinians and other victims of their high crimes.
On November 4 at the Beverly Hilton, the FIDF said it raised a record $60 million at its annual star-studded gala, attracting 1,200 attendees, including actor Andy Garcia and other celebrities.
Billionaires Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson were the largest donors – each giving $10 million to Israel’s killing machine.
Saban said “(w)e are thrilled that so many members of our community, including major Hollywood figures, are coming together to help us support the brave (IDF) men and women…Standing behind these heroes is one of the greatest honors in my life.”
There’s nothing heroic about occupation harshness, Gaza’s suffocating blockade, IDF snipers murdering peaceful Palestinians in cold blood, naked aggression at Israel’s discretion, terror-bombing Syria, aiding ISIS and likeminded jihadists, along with other forms of apartheid ruthlessness.
Israeli General (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir serves as FIDF national director and CEO, a position he assumed in September 2014. 
In 33 years of active duty, he was directly involved in enforcing occupation harshness, including as military secretary to prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Netanyahu – also as their special security advisor and partner in national security decisions. 
He was involved in Israel’s 2006 premeditated Lebanon war, along with naked aggression on Gaza.
He and other IDF commanders have much to answer for. So do FIDF supporters for contributing funds for Israeli mass slaughter and destruction.
During 2012 Israeli Pillar of Cloud naked aggression in Gaza, FIDF said the following:
Its members “worked around the clock to ensure the IDF’s hardworking soldiers were taken care of.”
“Whether it was by sending packages of snacks and much-needed clothing or by sending a ‘Break from the Battlefield’ package including an LCD TV screen and board games, soldiers were able to uphold hygiene and were kept entertained in their few moments off from the battlefield and during the difficult task of keeping Israel safe under fire.”
Callous support for IDF premeditated mass slaughter and destruction demands the harshest condemnation – not funding to aid its naked aggression.

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Building Bridges vs. Buying Bombs

By Eric Zuesse
Source
Russian_bridge-_in_Vladivostok.jpgThe Russky Bridge, Vladivostock. Built in 2012. Longest cable-suspension bridge in the world, just one of the infrastructure projects initiated by the Russian government in recent years.
China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments.
According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.)
The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops).
While the U.S. Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer Russia, China, and all countries (such as Iran and Syria) that cooperate with those ‘enemies’ (and please click onto a link wherever you question the truthfulness of an allegation made here), Russia and China plan to improve their infrastructures, in order to boost their national economies and to minimize the impacts that (the mainly US-caused) global warming will have. These infrastructure projects are optimistic and long-term expenditures, which are being planned and built only because the countries that the U.S. aristocracy are targeting to conquer, expect the U.S. aristocracy to fail to achieve its clear #1 goal, of controlling the entire world and conquering them — of America’s rulers finally achieving the global fascist empire that, in World War II, Hitler and the other Axis powers had been hoping to become.
By contrast, US infrastructure is rotting; and, while every recent US President has promised to reverse that decline, none has done anything significant to repair this nation’s rotting infrastructure — it has always been just talk and empty promises. A nation that spends over a trillion dollars a year on ‘national defense’ can’t have much left over to spend on things that ‘can wait’ — such as repairing its bridges, roads, etc. — and so those repairs do wait, while even more money, than before, becomes devoted to purchases of new weaponry, such as the F-35 program.
Meanwhile, Russia and China prepare for their future, and hope it won’t be war.
On November 1st, RT bannered “Russia, India & Iran want to create alternative trade route to Suez Canal – report” and described “The 7,200-kilometers long corridor [that] will combine sea and rail routes”:
The route will make it possible to deliver cargoes from India to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Then, the goods will be transported by land to Bandar Anzali, Iran’s port on the Caspian Sea. After that, goods will be shipped to the Russian southern port of Astrakhan, from where they will move to Europe by rail. The new transport artery will potentially reduce the time and costs of shipping by up to 40 percent.
If the US Government’s plans to destroy Russia succeed, then any of these new or extended infrastructures will either be destroyed or else be taken over by the U.S. and its allies. (If taken over, then presumably Japan’s aristocracy will be part of the new regime there that does so.)
Consequently, building and extending these new infrastructures is Russia’s bet — and a concrete testimonial to the bet — that outright war by the destroyers can be avoided. The nations that America and its allies want to conquer are looking to the future, not to conquest or any type of war (though they must also be prepared for war, if the U.S. does invade).
Last week, the US and its NATO allies held the largest war-games in history, and these preparations to invade Russia are occurring all along and near Russia’s borders, in the countries that formerly were the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact military alliance. Though the U.S. and its allies say that Russia and China are threatening to them, these massings of soldiers and of tanks and planes on Russia’s borders are aggressions, not defensive at all as claimed.
How would we Americans feel if Russia were doing this along America’s borders? Would we feel that Russia is defending itself, then? Russians have sound reason to be terrified by the U.S. and its allies. Americans were terrified by the Soviets when the issue was Soviet missiles located in Cuba only a hundred miles from the U.S.
This country then threatened: if you do that, then we’ll launch war against you. Russia isn’t responding similarly, even though America’s threat to them is much bigger than that threat to the U.S. was in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
All that today’s US Government wants is to conquer the world, which now especially means Russia, China, and countries that do business with those ‘enemies’. Iran is also a major target of the U.S., because the U.S. aristocracy’s main allies are the Sauds and Israel, both of which hate and crave to destroy Iran.
Though those three targeted countries want to avoid being conquered by the U.S. Government, most of their expenditures are for their own domestic economies, instead of for defending against the U.S. and its allies.
However, the U.S. and its allies are clearly and consistently the aggressor since 1991, and expanded their NATO alliance up to Russia’s borders; Russia didn’t expand its Warsaw Pact alliance up to America’s borders, but ended the Warsaw Pact in 1991. None of Russia’s expenditures are for conquering foreign countries, such as the U.S. alliance now is trying to do in countries such as Syria and Yemen, and perhaps soon in Iran, too; so, the U.S. Government has no excuse whatsoever in this matter, but pure guilt in it, pure aggression.
There really is a difference between “The West” and “The East” in our era, but it’s more like the difference between The Axis powers in WW II versus The Allies, than it is between democracy versus dictatorship; and, in fact, the U.S. Government is the world’s only Government that has been scientifically analyzed to determine whether it is a democracy or instead a dictatorship, and it has consistently been found, in these rigorous studies, to be a dictatorship, against the public, by its billionaires, the aristocrats, and not a democracy, at all.
Furthermore, the preponderance of the major outcome-indicators of the extent to which a given nation is a dictatorship or even a police-state, or is instead a democracy that’s ruled by its public, are showing that the U.S. is a dictatorship or even a police-state, and that the nations it calls its ‘enemies’ are more toward the democratic side — serving their respective public, instead of any such narrow and exclusive elite as the owners of “the military-industrial complex.”
US-allied propaganda to the contrary alleging that the US and its allies are the ones which are ‘democracies’, like this piece from the US stooge-nations that constitute the EU, are always based on ranking — without clearly explaining how — the mere formalities of ‘democracy’, no authentic measures of democracy itself, but only the associated formalities, which often are mere fronts, behind which the given nation’s aristocracy control that given country.
The US has emerged into the very model of the modern dictatorship, relying maximally upon a coordination between deceit and military power. This is the reason why it now spends half of the world’s military costs — to serve its aristocracy, who have perfected Joseph Goebbels’s system of calling good bad, and bad good, and of otherwise imposing what the novelist George Orwell subsequently called “Newspeak” in its ‘news’-reporting and commentaries, to serve the controlling aristocracy, “Big Brother.” It’s here, and now. On November 1st, Jonathan Cook at Global Research headlined “Bolsonaro: A Monster Engineered by Our Media” and he explained how even the “liberal” aristocrats in the U.S. and its allied countries have brought back racist fascism, the ideology known as nazism, as a globally spreading plague now.
Here is how America’s master of Newspeak, Barack Obama, represented, to West Point Military Academy’s graduating cadets on 28 May 2014, the new, American, version, of Adolf Hitler’s beloved “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt”:
The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.
[Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.]
That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come…America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will…Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us.
[He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.]
…In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.
Actually, his — Obama’s — regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup, and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there.
It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks.
Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush’s term about Saddam Hussein) “regime-change” in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the UN asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it.
Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliateagainst bombing by Syria’s Government and by Syria’s ally Russia, while the US bombed Syria’s army, which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to “regime-change” Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to “regime-change” Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the “U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane.”
Obama’s successor Trump continues Obama’s policies, regarding not only Ukraine, but regarding also Yemen and Syria, and much else, except that Trump goes even more nazi than Obama did. The change from Obama to Trump was from soft nazi to hard nazi. That’s all. Trump is the U.S. regime’s going wild.
Every day, the US regime murders lots of people in foreign lands. Today, as this is being written, on November 3rd, Syria News, which I’ve found to be far more reliably truthful about the situation in Syria than is for example the New York Times, headlined “US-Led Coalition Murders 15 Civilians in a New Bombing in Hajin”, and reported that, “Under the guise of fighting ISIS, the US and its cronies, are trying to establish a de facto barrier on the Syrian-Iraqi border which is run by ISIS and SDF, who both receive support from the US and both have occasional clashes [against each other] in between.” Aggression (and lying about it) is normal for the U.S. Government.
On January 19th, US ‘Defense’ Secretary James Mattis said that “great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” and this means war by the U.S. against both Russia and China, and perhaps also Iran; but if the people of Europe don’t rise up against that plan, then not only will they have even more refugees from America’s “regime-change” bombs, but they will soon have Russia’s bombs retaliating against Europe itself for being a part of America’s aggression, via the NATO military alliance, an alliance that should have ended when the Warsaw Pact military alliance did, back in 1991. Either End NATO Now, or else join the carnage that America’s aristocracy are clearly determined to impose upon the world in order to conquer it. The choice is that simple.
The only ways that the global public can effectively fight back against the U.S.-and-allied aristocracies’ plan to enslave the entire world to their coercive and sanctions-laden ‘free market’ are:
  1. to boycott America’s brands and, as much as possible, conduct all international transactions in any other type of currency than the U.S. dollar; and,
  2. to vote against any politician who has endorsed America’s invasions, such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2015-, and U.S. coups, including its coup that conquered Ukraine in 2014 and installed a nazi Government there. And,
  3. to organize marches, if possible, against any U.S. military base occupying their nation. The occupying power needs to be expelled in order for the given nation’s public to control their own country.
Otherwise, the U.S. aristocracy can simply continue with its pillage of our planet. The global public needs to do its part, not to leave it to the targeted countries alone to try to put down this global resurgence of fascism, by America’s oligarchs. This also means abandoning the two aristocracies that work the most closely with America’s: Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s (both of which target Iran and its allies, even more than they target Russia and its allies). The listed three steps are the only path toward a survivable planet: isolating and publicly shaming the nazis.
Also the Newspeak needs to end, right now, because without honesty, no type of progress is even possible.
All of these measures are not only morally right; they are necessary, because the present path leads to not only profound injustices, but a hellish global future.
Unfortunately, the U.N. cannot do any of these essential things. But only the global public can — and will, if there is to be continued life of this planet, and lives here that are worth living.
PS: For anyone who might consider odd that an American (the present writer) views Russia as a core ally of the American people, and views recent American Presidents (starting with George Herbert Walker Bush on 24 February 1990) as traitors to America — as being enemies of the American people and of the entire world — please consider the following historical facts:
According to Jan Ludvík’s “The Poverty of Statistics: Military Power, Defence Expenditure and Strategic Balance”, in the January 2014 Central European Journal of International and Security Studies (p. 157), the relative expenditures in order to win World War I were Russia 24%, UK 22%, U.S. 21%, France 20%, and Italy 13%. Russia spent the most of all the allies. In WW II, the relative expenditures in order to win were Russia 58%, UK 20%, U.S. 12%, France 10%. Yet again — and this time overwhelmingly — Russia spent the most of all the allies, 58% of the total allied cost. The only country that spent more on that war was Germany, which of course was on the losing (“Axis”) side, and which spent 37% more to lose that war than Russia spent to win it. During WW II, Germany spent 75% of its side’s entire costs; Japan spent 17%, and Italy spent 8%. So: WW I was mainly between Russia and Germany, and so was WW II. And that’s clear also from another calculation:
The same source (p. 159) indicates that Russia’s troops were 46% of those fighting on the winning side of WW I (and #2 on that was France with 20%), and were 55% of the troops fighting on the winning side of WW II. (France was #2 again in WW II, also 20%.)
Furthermore, in WWI, Russia’s troops were 38% more (in numbers) than both Germany’s and Austria’s put together; and, in WWII, Russia’s troops were 4% less than Germany’s, Japan’s and Italy’s combined, but were twice as many as Germany’s number.
So: by far the biggest contributions to the winning not only of WWII, but also of WWI, were made by one and the same country, both times: Russia. America’s contribution was much smaller, on both occasions. And, now, America’s leaders and their foreign allies have become nazis, heirs of Hitler’s tradition, who call Russia an “enemy,” for refusing to do what these nazis demand.
Of course, there were also other nations on each side of each of those wars (for example, Wikipedia lists over a dozen “Allies of World War I”), but Ludvik calculated the numbers only for these, the main ones, on both sides.
So: everyone who can should now become active on this!

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Pompeo Threatens to Starve Iranians

By Stephen Lendman
Source
Illegal unilaterally imposed sanctions by the US against Iran and other countries amounts to waging war by other means.
So far, high oil prices offset the effects of US sanctions, head of Iran’s Planning and Budget Organization Mohammad Baqer Nobakht explained.
Granting waivers to nearly all key purchasers of Iranian crude, along with EU opposition to US sanctions, assures stable, perhaps rising, oil exports at least through May 2019.
They’ll likely continued with most countries against Trump regime hostility toward the Islamic Republic – world oil exports also highly dependent on international economic conditions.
So far, at least 10 nations have waivers to continue buying Iranian oil and/or gas: Afghanistan, China, Greece, Iraq, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey, perhaps others to be added.
The Trump regime’s “toughest” ever sanctions on Iran haven’t and likely won’t turn out as touted. The country has nearly 40 years of experience in dealing with ways to avoid much of their harshness.
Support from Russia, China, India, and the EU alone will likely mitigate their effects.
According to an unnamed EU diplomat, unilaterally imposed sanctions by the Trump regime leaves the US isolated in relations with Iran internationally.
With few exceptions, the world community supports normal political, economic, and financial relations with the country.
A second unnamed EU diplomat said “(i)t will be a difficult period but Iran’s economy will withstand (US sanctions) for various reasons, including” because of  unilateral “US sanctions on other countries, Saudi Arabia having its own financial and political issues, and (trade war) between China and the United States.”
Fitch analyst Andrine Skjelland said “Tehran is still likely to see a substantial share of its foreign exchange earnings maintained. This will (let its government) continue subsidizing imports of selected basic goods, keeping the costs of these down, and thus limiting inflation to some extent.”
On Wednesday, Pompeo threatened Iran, saying its “leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.”
Does he have trying to forcibly block Iranian exports and imports, or perhaps intending US hot war on the country?
Attorney Tyler Cullis, specializing in US economic sanctions, said Pompeo “decided to wash his hands of (the potentially harsh) consequences (of Trump regime sanctions) by prematurely and conveniently pinning the blame on Iran’s government.”
Responding to Pompeo’s disgraceful remark and the Trump regime’s unlawful sanctions war, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted him, accusing the US of crimes against humanity in Yemen and regarding Iran, tweeting:
“You know what @SecPompeo? It’s the Yemenis themselves who’re responsible for famine they’re facing.”
“They should’ve simply allowed your butcher clients — who spend billions on bombing school buses & ‘millions to mitigate this risk’ — to annihilate them w/o resisting. #HaveYouNoShame.”
“Just as with Yemen, @SecPompeo blames Iran for unlawful US sanctions preventing Iranians’ access to financial services for food and medicine.” 
“Naturally, we will provide them for our people in spite of US efforts. But US is accountable for crimes against humanity re Iran & Yemen.”
The same is true about all US wars of aggression, along with partnering with longstanding Israeli state terror against long-suffering Palestinians, as well as harming most Americans by serving domestic monied interests at their expense.
US sanctions on Iran exclude food, medicines, and other humanitarian goods. Without an alternative to the international SWIFT financial transactions system, banks will be reluctant to deal with Iran normally.
On Thursday, Iranian Parliamentary Security Committee head Valiollah Nanvakenari expressed mixed feelings about EU promises to circumvent US sanctions, saying:
“We hope that EU is committed to bringing their words into action and comply with their agreements with Iran regarding the implementation of a financial mechanism,” circumventing SWIFT, so far not in place because of heavy US/Israeli pressure against it and normal relations with Iran overall.
Nanvakenari and other Iranian officials are concerned about the failure of Brussels to fulfill key promises made so far, hopeful for their full implementation ahead.
On September 24, Iran together with Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (the P5+1 countries minus America) issued a joint statement, announcing a “Special Purpose Vehicle” to facilitate normal trade economic, financial, and trade with the Islamic Republic – circumventing SWIFT and unilateral US sanctions.
Six months after the Trump regime’s unlawful JCPOA pullout on May 8, promises made by Brussels remain to be fully implemented.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Israel is Afraid of Khalida Jarrar because She Shatters Its False Democratic Image

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Israel renewed administrative detention of Khalida Jarrar. (Photo: via MEMO)
When Israeli troops stormed the house of Palestinian parliamentarian and lawyer Khalida Jarrar on April 2, 2015, she was engrossed in her research. For months, she had been leading a Palestinian effort to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Her research on that very evening was related directly to the kind of behavior that allows a group of soldiers to handcuff a respected Palestinian intellectual, throw her in jail with no trial and have no accountability for their action.
Jarrar was released in June 2016 after spending more than a year in jail, only to be arrested once more, on 2 July last year. She remains in an Israeli prison to this day. On 28 October, her “administrative detention” was renewed for the fourth time.
There are thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, most of them held outside the militarily-occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Nearly500 of these Palestinians are held with neither charge nor trial and detained for six-month periods that are renewed, sometimes indefinitely, by Israeli military courts with no legal justification whatsoever. Jarrar is one of those “administrative detainees”.
The parliamentarian is not pleading with her jailers for her freedom. Instead, she is keeping herself busy, educating her fellow prisoners about international law, offering classes and issuing statements to the outside world that reflect not only her refined intellect but also her resolve and strength of character.
Jarrar is relentless. Despite her failing health — she suffers from multiple ischemic infarctions and hypercholesterolemia, and was hospitalized due to severe bleeding resulting from epistaxis — her commitment to the cause of her people has not, in any way, weakened or faltered.
The 55-year-old lawyer has championed a political discourse that is largely missing amid the ongoing feud between the Palestinian Authority’s largest faction, Fatah, in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas in besieged Gaza. As a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and an active member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Jarrar has advocated the kind of politics that is not disconnected from the people and, especially, from the women who she strongly and uncompromisingly represents.
According to Jarrar, no Palestinian official should engage in any form of dialogue with Israel, because such engagement helps to legitimize a state that is founded on genocide and ethnic cleansing; a state that is currently carrying out various types of war crimes, the very crimes that Jarrar tried to expose before the ICC. As such, she rejects the so-called “peace process”, a futile exercise that has no intention or mechanism aimed at “implementing international resolutions related to the Palestinian cause and recognizing the fundamental rights of the Palestinians.”


It goes without saying that a woman with such an astute, strong position vehemently rejects the “security coordination” between the PA and Israel. She sees such action as a betrayal of the struggle and sacrifices of the Palestinian people.
While PA officials continue to enjoy the perks of “leadership”, desperately breathing life into a dead political discourse called the “peace process” and the “two-state solution”, Jarrar, a female Palestinian leader with genuine vision, subsists in HaSharon Prison. There, along with dozens of other Palestinian women, she experiences daily humiliation, denial of rights and various other Israeli tactics intended to break her spirit.
Jarrar, though, is as experienced in resisting Israel as she is in her knowledge of law and human rights. In August 2014, as Israel was carrying out one of its most heinous acts of genocide in Gaza — killing and wounding thousands in its so-called “Operation Protective Edge” military offensive — Jarrar received an unwelcome visit by Israeli soldiers.
Fully aware of her work and credibility as a Palestinian lawyer with an international outreach — she is the Palestine representative in the Council of Europe — the Israeli government unleashed their campaign of harassment, which ended in her imprisonment. The soldiers delivered a military edict ordering her to leave her home in Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, and go to Jericho.
The Israelis failed to silence her, so she was arrested in April the following year. Thus began an episode of suffering, as well as resistance, which is yet to end.
When the Israeli army came for Jarrar, its soldiers surrounded her home in great numbers, as if the well-spoken Palestinian activist was Israel’s greatest security threat. The scene was surreal and revealed what Israel’s real fear is: Palestinians, like Khalida Jarrar, who are able to communicate an articulate message that exposes Israel and its crimes to the rest of the world.
Indeed, the whole set-up was reminiscent of the opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial: “Somebody must have made a false accusation against Joseph K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.”
Administrative detention in Israel is the recreation of that Kafkaesque scene over and over again. Joseph K. is Khalida Jarrar and thousands of other Palestinians who are paying a high price merely for calling for the legitimate rights and freedom of their people.
Under international pressure, Israel was forced to put Jarrar on trial, levying against her twelve charges that included visiting a released prisoner and participating in a book fair. Her other arrest and the four renewals of her detention is a testament not just to Israel’s lack of any real evidence against her, but also to its moral bankruptcy.
Why is Israel afraid of Khalida Jarrar? The truth is that Jarrar, like many other Palestinian women, represents the antidote to the fabricated narrative which promotes Israel relentlessly as an oasis of freedom, democracy, and human rights, juxtaposed with a Palestinian society that purportedly represents the opposite of what Israel stands for.
As a lawyer, human rights activist, prominent politician, and advocate for women, Jarrar and her eloquence, courage and deep understanding of her rights and the rights of her people, demolish this Israeli house of lies. She is the quintessential feminist; her feminism, however, is not mere identity politics, a surface ideology, evoking empty rights meant to strike a chord with western audiences. Instead, Khalida Jarrar fights for Palestinian women, their freedom and their right to receive a proper education, to seek work opportunities and to better their lives, while facing tremendous obstacles like Israel’s military occupation, prison, and social pressures.
In Arabic, Khalida means “immortal”. It is a most fitting designation for a true fighter who represents the legacy of generations of strong Palestinian women whose “sumoud” — steadfastness — shall always inspire an entire nation.
– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His forthcoming book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!