Aletho News


The Forbidden Palestinians in North America

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | June 29, 2016

The survivors of the 1948 massacres in and expulsions from Palestine are everywhere.  Scattered to the four corners of the earth, we have only to look in our own communities to find them. Seven million Palestinians live outside Palestine, compared with five million inside. At least half a million live in Chile alone. Why, then, should we bring Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon to tell their stories in North America?

Many have said that we should not. They say that these Palestinians are toxic, that they are hardliners, resistance fighters, fanatics and terrorists, and that there is no benefit in trying to engage them.  We believe the opposite, that because they have a different viewpoint, the full Palestinian story cannot be told without their voices, and that, in fact, they speak for many other Palestinians who think as they do.

The western groups that invite Palestinian speakers from Palestine inevitably act as a filter. It is easy to find Palestinians that preach nonviolence and reconciliation, but how often have we heard from the rest? How many speakers from Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been on speaking tours of North America? Do they not have a viewpoint and should we not hear it?

That is, of course, impossible. Our societies will not allow it. So we decided instead to bring sympathetic voices of people who are from these societies but have no affiliation to any of the political parties or resistance groups. Unlike Palestinians in other countries, their societies have been frozen in refugee camps since 1948, because they are considered foreigners and refugees in Lebanon, without permission to work, own land, or partake in the life of the country. They are stateless, with no citizenship of any kind and few, if any, opportunities to travel. It was something of a miracle to get their US visas. In many ways, their condition has not changed since the time of their expulsion.

The North America Nakba Tour, sponsored by the Free Palestine Movement, the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement and Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, brought 86-year-old Mariam Fathalla from the Ein el-Helweh camp in southern Lebanon and 22-year-old Amena Ashkar from the Bourj el-Barajneh camp near Beirut to San Francisco at the beginning of April, 2016. In the next nine weeks they logged more than 11,000 miles by car and spoke at 26 events throughout North America. Sadly, their Canadian visa did not arrive in time, so those five events were conducted by electronic connection.

The tour was an acclaimed success. More than seventy organizations sponsored the events, including Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups, as well as university, social justice and community organizations. Astonishingly, there were few confrontational situations. The primary outcome was greater understanding.

Mariam and Amena delivered a message that they want all their rights restored: their lands, their properties and their country. Everyone in the camps has lost everything they ever had in Palestine. There is nothing left to preserve. The issues at the “peace talks” are meaningless to them. They don’t want a Palestinian state. They want Palestine. They don’t want land in Palestine. They want their land in their village in Palestine. They don’t even want equality with Israelis. They want justice.

One questioner asked, “What is the solution? Two states? A single state for all? A binational state?” Amena responded, “I don’t accept any of those, because none of them restores what we lost, and doesn’t give us our rights.  International law is on our side.” Her message was understood, with sympathy, and there was no confrontation.

• If you missed the live presentation, you can see one filmed in Denver on May 20, 2016 at The North American Nakba Tour: Exiled Palestinians living in Lebanon

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli MPs try to assault Haneen Zoabi

By Jonathon Cook | June 29, 2016

This 9-minute video, showing Israeli Jewish MPs’ reaction to a speech by Haneen Zoabi today, offers a very revealing insight into how Israel’s tribal democracy works. And it isn’t pretty.

Even in the British parliament, which is imploding at the moment, it is impossible to imagine scenes like these.

Zoabi made the speech after Israel agreed this week very belatedly to pay compensation to the families of nine humanitarian activists killed by Israeli commandos in 2010 on the Mavi Marmara, as it plied international waters on its way to deliver aid to Gaza. In fact, it would be more accurate to say Israel assassinated the activists, as a way to deter others from following in their wake.

The Marmara was a Turkish vessel and the compensation was part of Israel’s reconciliation deal with Turkey.

Zoabi was the only Israeli MP on the ship, and was accused of treason by Knesset members for participating in the aid flotilla. She became public enemy number one and received many death threats at the time, including some barely veiled ones from Jewish MPs.

All the exchanges in this video are in Hebrew, but that doesn’t really matter. You don’t need to understand the language to understand what is going on. One Jewish MP, Oren Hazan, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, heckles Zoabi non-stop for more than four minutes, with the Speaker doing nothing more than politely asking him to calm down and refrain from interrupting.

Remember that Palestinians MPs are regularly ejected from the Knesset for far less than this kind of barracking and violation of parliamentary protocol. Notice also that the Knesset TV spends as much time, if not more, focusing on the heckler than Zoabi, implicitly legitimising his anti-democratic behaviour.

But when Zoabi accuses the soldiers of “murder” at about 4.30-min into the video, all hell breaks loose. A dozen or more Jewish MPs rush to the podium and start circling Zoabi like a pack of baying hyenas. By this stage, when Zoabi is being physically threatened by a number of MPs in the parliament chamber, you might think it would be time for some of them to be forcefully ejected, if only to indicate that this subversion of the democratic process will not be tolerated. But not a bit of it. They are treated with kid gloves.

The Knesset guards simply try to block the violent Jewish MPs from reaching the single Palestinian MP in their sights, presumably fearful that were she to be physically assaulted that might make headline news and make Israel look bad.

Paradoxically, the only MP you can see on the film being pushed out of the Knesset chamber is Zoabi’s party leader, Jamal Zahalka, who from the look of things is interceding because he’s worried she is in danger. Hazan was finally removed, though after more than eight minutes of heckling, threats and belligerence.

Another paradox: Zoabi and her fellow party MPs have only recently been allowed to speak in the Knesset again, after the ethics committee (dominated by Jewish MPs) suspended them for several months because of their “unacceptable” political views.

I doubt very much that any of these Jewish MPs, even though they have threatened and tried to physically harm another MP, one from the wrong tribe, will suffer any consequences at all for their behaviour.

Zoabi said in her speech: “I stood here six years ago, some of you remember the hatred and hostility toward me, and look where we got to. Apologies to the families of those who were called terrorists. The nine that were killed, it turns out that their families need to be compensated. I demand an apology to all the political activists who were on the Marmara and an apology to MK Haneen Zoabi, who you’ve incited against for six years. I demand compensation and I will donate it to the next flotilla. As long as there’s a siege, more flotillas need to be organized.”

In addition to the violent reception from MPs visible on film, there was widespread incitement from other MPs. Michael Oren, who a while back was Israel’s ambassador to the US, sounded like Avigdor Lieberman as he said Zoabi’s speech proved she was not loyal and should be permanently stripped of her parliamentary status, under a soon-to-be-passed Suspension Law.

In true colonial style, the government’s chief whip, David Bitan, was reported to have told Palestinian voters in Israel after Zoabi’s speech: “We need to make sure she doesn’t stay in the Knesset. We’ve had enough of this and she doesn’t even represent you properly.”

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 3 Comments

Israeli settlers raid lands in Bethlehem, spray “Death to Arabs” on Palestinian property


Ma’an – June 29, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israeli settlers from the illegal Beitar Illit settlement raided Palestinian lands in the village of Wadi Fukin in the central occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Tuesday, according to local witnesses.

Ahmad Sukkar, head of the Wadi Fukin village council, told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers raided agricultural lands in the al-Fuwwar area of the village, destroying two greenhouses and tearing up plants belonging to Maher Sukkar, Jamil Assaf, and Muhammad Manasra.

Sukkar also said the Israeli settlers uprooted the plants of Muhammad Saleh Manasra and Naim Daoud Attiyeh, before spray-painting “Death to Arabs” on their property.

Israeli settlers from the illegal Beitar Illit settlement, which has been built on private Palestinian lands belonging to the villages of Husan, Nahalin, and Wadi Fukin, commonly raid the communities and destroy Palestinian property.

Beitar Illit is one of several settlements that comprise what Israel refers to as the “Gush Etzion” settlement bloc, which Israel plans to illegally annex into its territory, according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ).

According to ARIJ, Israel’s plans of incorporating the Gush Etzion settlement bloc into the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem — boundaries that Israel continuously redefines in order to annex land further into Palestinian territory — parallels with Israel’s objectives of reshaping the demographics of the city by lowering the Palestinian population to 20 percent, and filling in the rest with Jewish Israelis.

Local Palestinians often attribute settler attacks on Palestinian communities — 51 of which have been reported since the start of this year, according to UN documentation — to Israel’s larger goals of depopulating Palestinian villages near settlements by scaring Palestinians into leaving their lands in an attempt to make room for the expansion or connection of the illegal settlement blocs.

While the Israeli government does not make Israeli settler population statistics public, most rights groups agree that some 600,000 settlers reside in Israeli settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem — all of which are considered illegal under international law.

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Haiti Defeated the British Empire

Thought Merchant | June 26, 2016

In the wake of the BREXIT vote which has the world reeling after Great Britain decided to abandon the European Union, much has been said about the historical scope, power, and influence of the British Empire throughout history. At its apex the British Empire was the most powerful geopolitical force on earth. What many neglect to realize is that one of the occurrences that helped the United Kingdom rise to such a position was The Haitian Revolution, which thoroughly defeated Britain’s only serious hegemonic competitor, Napoleonic France.

Much is discussed and written about Haiti’s defeat of Napoleon and how it opened the door for the Louisiana Purchase that fostered the expansion of the United States into the nation it has since become. However, few realize how the defeat of Napoleon by the brave former African Slaves in Haiti opened the door for the dominance of the British Empire. Furthermore, as Americans always pride themselves on their Revolutionary accomplishment of defeating the great British Empire and gaining their freedom, few give full acknowledgment to the superior military feat of The Haitian Revolution in its not only vanquishing the French Napoleonic Empire, The Spanish Empire of the time, but also thoroughly defeating the mighty British Empire to the point of leading the United Kingdom to agree to cease the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and any further importation of Africans into the Western Hemisphere officially. So while Americans celebrate their independence victory in defeating the greatest of European Empires, The British, recognize that former African slaves in Haiti did the seemingly impossible and defeated all three of the major European empires of that day to obtain their freedom, including the one beaten by the Americans:

“Yet it cannot be denied that both the government and British public had
learned a lesson from [Britain’s] disastrous attempt to conquer Saint
Domingue/Haiti, restore slavery, and subdue Toussaint L’Ouverture. In 1796
nearly three years after the first British forces landed in Saint
Domingue/Haiti, the [British] administration sent off one of the greatest
expeditionary forces in British history. Before the end of the year Edmond
Burke received news that 10,000 British soldiers had died in less than two
months! It was reported in the House of Commons that almost every Briton
had a personal acquaintance that had perished in the [Haitian]
Campaigns.” – “The Impact of The Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World,”
David P. Geggus.

In the end the British lost over 50,000 soldiers in their attempt to bring slavery back to Haiti. This had a direct influence on the British decision to end the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

France wants sanctions on Russia lifted soon – foreign minister

RT | June 29, 2016

Sanctions against Russia should be lifted as soon as possible, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday following a meeting with his Russian counterpart, while insisting that implementation of the Minsk agreements still remain key to the process.

“Sanctions is not a goal in and of itself,” Jean-Marc Ayrault said in Paris, adding that his country looks forward to scrapping the restrictive measures against Moscow.

The process of lifting the Western sanctions on Russia is still related to Minsk agreements that aim to put an end to the crisis in southeastern Ukraine, Ayrault added, saying that “Russia should play a positive role” in their implementation.

Moscow and Paris have been closely working together “in the Normandy format,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the meeting. The countries’ foreign ministries have been “closely cooperating” and their aides have been involved too, Russia’s top diplomat said. The Normandy format includes Russia, France, Ukraine, and Germany.

“The most important condition for the progress, as stated in the Minsk deal and in UN Security Council resolution, is establishment of direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass,” Lavrov stressed.

Russia has repeatedly said that it’s doing everything in its power to facilitate the implementation of the Ukrainian peace deal, while Kiev has been hindering the process. The West should work with its “allies” in Kiev, President Putin has said, adding that direct dialogue between the parties to the conflict should be promoted.

Russia’s European partners should not hold Moscow solely responsible for fulfilling the Minsk agreements, Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) earlier this month, adding that there are “issues that are beyond our abilities.”

A number of the 28 countries in the European Union have expressed strong disapproval of the bloc’s restrictive measures on Russia. Italy has repeatedly called for a debate on the issue, rather than the automatic prolongation of sanctions.

In France, both the Senate and the lower house of Parliament,  the French Assembly, have previously voted in favor of a resolution designed to lift the sanctions imposed by the EU in 2014 because of the crisis in eastern Ukraine and the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

Read more:

‘France should become Europe’s leader in ending Russian sanctions’

Time to send ‘strong signal’ to Russia and gradually lift sanctions – Austrian FM

Anti-Russian sanctions should be lifted ASAP – leader of Saxony, Germany

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Extremists Execute Up to 30,000 Surrendered Soldiers and Civilians

Empire Slayer | October 31, 2014

Militant extremists executed up to thirty-thousand surrendered soldiers and civilians along a single stretch of desolate highway between Iraq and Kuwait.

The extremist group calls itself USA – United States of America.  The year was 1991, and this massacre came to be know as the “Highway of Death”…

Through the 1980s and into 1990, the US, Iraq under Hussein, and Europe were joined together as an Axis and were attacking Iran and committing genocide against Kurdistan, killing hundreds of thousands of people, many thousands with gas and chemical weapons provided by the US and Europe. (The US also stocked Hussein with conventional weapons, attack helicopters, etc., and provided him diplomatic, political, and intelligence support.)

In 1990, the brutal regime of former CIA colonel Bush Sr. ran covert slant-drilling operations from Kuwait into Iraq, stealing Iraq’s oil and further inflaming Iraqi claims on Kuwaiti territory.

The Bush Sr. regime then gave the green light for Iraq to invade Kuwait to stop the slant-drilling and settle its territorial claims. Hussein, thinking he was still partnered with the US, invaded Kuwait and met little resistance from that country. The Kuwaiti government estimates that 300 Kuwaitis were killed, or about 7.5% of the number of people killed by Bush Sr.’s illegal invasion of Panama.

Bush Sr. then brought his plan to fruition: he double-crossed his long-time comrade in arms, Saddam, and spread crude propaganda that Iraqis were executing Kuwaiti babies. The claims were, in standard procedure, spouted through Western media outlets, but were later revealed as coordinated lies: not only did the event not occur, but the “eye witness” behind them was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family coordinating with a Western public relations firm, and had been nowhere near any Kuwaiti hospital.

Nevertheless, the orchestrated pretext succeeded, once further greased by outright US bribery of leaders who then agreed to sign on as backers and help gain a UN fig leaf. “Wimpy” Bush Sr. “moved vigorously to block all diplomatic efforts” from countries including Russia and Iraq itself, violating the “obligation mandating the peaceful resolution of international disputes found in article 2, paragraph 3 of the United Nations Charter; in article 33, paragraph 1 of the United Nations Charter; and in article 2 of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.”

Instead, Bush, “like the Nazi war criminals before him … pursued recourse to war as an instrument of his national policy” and began his “techno-blitz”.

In a moment, Hussein had gone from treasured co-tyrant and “moderate”, to punching bag / pretext.  US media turned on a dime, smoothing, for the public, the jarring 180 degree shift, and instantly vilified Hussein for crimes that, compared to the crimes he had just carried out with the US and Europe against Iran and the Kurds, were practically nonexistent.

The US, to virtually zero resistance from Iraqi forces, planted and detonated several million tons of explosives in Iraq, more than half in densely populated civilian cities.

The US spread millions of cluster munitions, the most densely saturated cluster-bombing ever perpetrated.  It used weapons made from radioactive nuclear waste, which are now banned by 155 countries and openly advocated only by the US, UK, France, and Israel.  The US later refused to treat its own soldiers poisoned and wounded by these materials.

The swift US terrorist massacre of tens of thousands easily succeeded, and Iraqi forces, in compliance with UN Resolution 660, surrendered and retreated from Kuwait, along with many civilians trying to escape the explosions.

However, leaders of the US death cult had yet to satisfy some evil, primal urge for total, ruinous domination, which they demonstrated in, for example, Japan, when, after nuking the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US continued to bomb Japan with a thousand planes at once in a gratuitous showcase of human sadism.

So, the US leaders demanded, in grave violation of the Geneva Conventions, the execution of the surrendered Iraqi soldiers, along with any civilians who happened to be nearby: “Thousands [of the dead] were civilians of all ages, including Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Jordanians and other nationalities.”

The US, with even the British refusing to participate, turned the highway into a writhing cauldron of earth scorched black, blackened, twisted shells of blasted vehicles, and charred body parts of up to 30,000 souls “literally shot in the back”. Approximately 250,000 people were killed in the overall US operation, thousands of them surrendered soldiers, and about half civilians.

In his masculine glory, who could now call the former CIA colonel a “wimp”?

But the carnage was still nowhere near enough for the US extremist group, which bombed Iraq tens of thousands of times more and implemented a terrorist blockade that UN authorities referred to as “genocidal”, killing millions of civilians, before an aggressive US invasion in 2003 that killed millions more and, as predicted by the US itself, drove the region into the utter chaos that continues today.

Bush Sr.’s blitz had succeeded as a show of absolute terror, and it also allowed the US to establish its planned massive military presence in the region for future aggression and resource-control.

For its crimes, the Bush Sr. regime was investigated by an independent Commission for Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal.  The tribunal found that the US “intentionally bombed and destroyed civilian life” and “intentionally bombed indiscriminately throughout Iraq.”

Dr. Francis Boyle, J.D. Harvard Law School, Ph.D. Political Science, Harvard University, lists the international law violations by the US during its Gulf operations:

  •  the three Nuremberg Offences:
    • the Nuremberg Crime Against Peace, that is waging an aggressive war and a war in violation of international treaties and agreements
    • Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity
    • Nuremberg War Crimes
  • these Defendants also committed grievous war crimes by wantonly violating:
    • the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907
    • the Declaration of London on Sea Warfare of 1909
    • the Hague Draft Rules of Aerial Warfare of 1923
    • the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977
    • the international crimes of Genocide against the People of Iraq as defined by the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide of 1948 as well as by the United States’ own Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987
  • Finally, and most heinously of all, these Defendants actually perpetrated a Nuremberg Crime against their own troops when they forced them to take experimental biological weapons vaccines without their informed consent in gross violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation that has been fully subscribed to by the United States government.

Dr. Boyle also notes that:

Most of the targets were civilian facilities.  The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed centres for civilian life, commercial and business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices. In aerial attacks, including strafing, over cities, towns, the countryside and highways, United States aircraft bombed and strafed indiscriminately. The purpose of these attacks was to destroy life and property, and generally to terrorise the civilian population of Iraq. The net effect was the summary execution and corporal punishment indiscriminately of men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor, of all nationalities and religions.

The intention and effort of this bombing campaign against civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq’s infrastructure leaving it in a pre-industrial condition. The U.S. assault left Iraq in near apocalyptic conditions as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war.

When it was determined that the civilian economy and the military were sufficiently destroyed, the U.S. ground forces moved into Kuwait and Iraq attacking disorientated, disorganised, fleeing Iraqi forces wherever they could be found, killing thousands more and destroying any equipment found.In one particularly shocking manoeuvre, thousands of Iraqi soldiers were needlessly and illegally buried alive. This wholesale slaughter of Iraqi soldiers continued even after and in violation of the so-called cease-fire.

Napalm was used against civilians and military personnel

Before the war started, the Pentagon had developed computer models that accurately predicted the environmental catastrophe that would occur should the United States go to war against Iraq. These Defendants went to war anyway knowing full well what the consequences of such an environmental disaster would be.

Defendant Bush Intentionally Deprived the Iraqi People of Essential Medicines, Potable Water, Food and Other Necessities

Towards those ends, the Defendants:

– imposed and enforced embargoes preventing the shipment of needed medicines, water purifiers, infant milk formula, food and other supplies; – froze funds of Iraq and forced other nations to do so, depriving Iraq of the ability to purchase needed medicines, food and other supplies; – preventing international organisations, governments and relief agencies from providing needed supplies and obtaining information concerning such needs; – failed to assist or meet urgent needs of huge refugee populations and interfered with efforts of others to do so, etc.

For these actions, the Defendants are guilty of Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide as recognised by international law and U.S. domestic law.

And, by way of background, Dr. Boyle notes:

During the course of the Carter administration, the United States government obtained authorization from Congress to set up, arm, equip, and supply the so-called Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), whose primary mission was to seize and steal the Arab oil-fields of the Persian Gulf region. So the planning and preparations for the U.S. war against Iraq go all the way back to the so-called “liberal” Carter administration – at the very least.

Additionally, Dr. Noam Chomsky points out that Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was similar to the US’s invasion and annexation of Texas, in that Hussein was attempting to control oil, and the US, cotton.  However, he notes, Hussein’s territorial claims stemmed from imperial Britain’s drawing of Iraq’s borders to block Iraqi access to the sea, while US claims on Texas were, in addition to racial superiority, based on US fears that nearby independent states posed a threat to the thriving institution of US slavery.

Chomsky also notes that while Hussein paid reparations to Kuwait, the US patently refuses (still) to pay much larger reparations that the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice, demanded, in 1986, that the US pay to Nicaragua for illegally attacking it and killing the US per-capita equivalent of approximately 2.5 million citizens.

The predators who demanded these crimes remain at large.

If US citizens are truly disgusted by the execution of surrendered soldiers and civilians, there are people much closer than the Middle East whose arrests and trials must be demanded and carried out.

We are allowing our state gang to run amok over the planet.  Are we going to take responsibility?


June 29, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 10 Comments

European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart

By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | June 29, 2016

Paris – Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.

The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.

Actually, the lines are not quite so clear-cut. Political choices never correspond completely to economic interests, and the ideological factor intervenes to blur the class lines. Globalization is not merely a process of economic integration regulated by flows of capital, which is deepening the polarization between rich and poor in the Western countries. It is also a powerful ideology, basing its moral certitudes on simplistic lessons drawn from twentieth century World Wars: the idea that the root cause of wars is a psychological attitude called “racism” which expresses itself in the nationalism of nation-states. This ideology gains semi-religious conviction by reference to the Holocaust, which is considered to have proven the point. Ergo, for the benefit of humanity, national borders must be torn down, national identities must be diluted by unlimited immigration, in order to achieve a worldwide multicultural society in which differences both coexist and cease to matter.

This is a Utopian notion as unsupported by evidence as the Soviet dream of creating a “new man” who voluntarily works unselfishly for the benefit of all. Similarly, it considers human psychology to be perfectible by economic and institutional arrangements. Especially by promoting immigration, the multicultural mix is supposed to result in people all loving each other; there are even national laws to punish alleged expressions of “hatred”. The European Union is seen as the most advanced experiment in this worldwide Utopia of universal love. It is regarded by its intellectual sponsors such as French political guru Jacques Attali as an irreversible advance of civilization. For its fanatic champions, the very thought of dismantling the European Union is equivalent to returning to the stone age.

A chorus of Europists are screaming to high heaven that the world is about to come to an end thanks to lower class Brits too stupid and too racist to appreciate the glorious globalized world that the European elite is preparing for them. One of the fastest on the draw of his pen was the hysterical propagandist Bernard-Henri Levy, whose venom quickly spilled onto the pages of Le Monde and other obsequious journals. BHL trotted out his entire range of insults to decry the LEAVE vote as the victory of demagogy, xenophobia, the extreme right and the extreme left, hatred of immigrants, stupid nationalism, vicious hatred, the unleashed mob, idiot leftists, drunken hooligans, the forces of darkness against civilization, and even the victory of garden dwarfs over Michelangelo. Many others worked the same theme, with less verbiage.

The main theme of this wailing and gnashing of teeth is the allegation that the LEAVE vote was motivated solely by racism, racism being the only possible reason that people could object to mass unregulated immigration. But there are indeed other reasons.

In reality, for the majority of working class voters, opposition to unlimited immigration can be plainly a matter of economic self-interest. Since the EU’s eastward expansion ended immigration controls with the former communist countries, hundreds of thousands of workers from Poland, Lithuania, and other Eastern European nations have flooded into Britain, adding to the large established immigrant population from the British Commonwealth countries. It is simply a fact that mass immigration brings down wage levels in a country. A Glasgow University study shows statistically that as immigration rises, the level of wages in proportion to profits drops – not to mention the increase in unemployment.

Those who enjoy the pleasure of traveling through Europe without having to stop at borders or change currencies and who relish the luxury level of cultural diversity find it hard to understand the anguish of those who lack advanced degrees, family connections or language skills, and who feel marginalized in their own countries. Yes, some of them probably like garden dwarfs. But you cannot convince millions of people that their only prospect in life must be to sacrifice themselves for the glory of the World Market.

Moreover, whatever their social status, many people in Britain find it unbearable to renounce their traditional parliamentary democracy in order to carry out Directives and Regulations drafted in Brussels without even any public discussion.

The British

The astonishment and indignation of the Europists to see Britons vote to go out is odd considering that most Britons never really felt entirely in. When I worked as press officer at the European Parliament, I observed that the only national press corps really present and interested was the British press corps, all eagerly on the lookout for the latest absurd rule or regulation which the Brussels bureaucracy was foisting on the Member States. British media paid attention to the EU because they hated it. Ridiculing it was fun. The rest of European media were largely ignoring it because it was boring and nobody cared. Main exception: a few earnest Germans doing their job.

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher forced the EU to twist its rules by demanding “my money back”. The United Kingdom stayed out of the Schengen Treaty on free movement of persons. It refused the euro in favor of keeping the pound sterling. More profoundly, the insular English have always had a strong sense of not belonging to “the continent” as well as a particular sensitivity to the notorious “democratic deficit” of the European Union, which leaves law-making to the Brussels bureaucracy.

Considering the insular nature of Britain and its psychological distance from the continent, it is too soon to expect that other EU Member States will soon follow the British example. Indeed, some of the most Euroskeptical populations today were the most Euroenthusiastic in the past, notably France and Italy, and it is awkward to turn around 180 degrees. For charter Members France, Italy, Benelux and Germany, the break would be much more dramatic. Nevertheless, even in those key Eurozone countries disenchantment with the EU is growing rapidly. Brexit is seen as a warning signal. Thus the Western ruling class will hasten to try to shore up the EU-NATO fortress. The Washington Post quickly called for “strengthening NATO”. This probably means even more strident denunciations of Putin and the “Russian threat”, if such as possible. There is supposedly nothing like an external threat to bring people together.

What Next?

Unfortunately, this referendum did not mark a clean break. Two great difficulties loom. EU rules require a lengthy and complicated process to actually withdraw, a matter of years. And second, there is no viable political force ready to steer Britain through this process. The result is to split the political class still further from the people it should be representing.

The British political landscape is littered with wreckage. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron called the referendum for internal political reasons, failing to realize that if given the chance, the British would vote to jump ship. His name is now mud all over Europe, condemned for the foolish move of letting people vote on the EU. Cameron has announced his resignation, but his government is dragging its feet in initiating the withdrawal process. Some are even demanding that the referendum be either ignored or held over again until people vote as they should – the procedure that followed previous national referendums that turned out badly for the EU. Meanwhile EU leaders are demanding that London hurry up and get out, so they can get to work strengthening the edifice.

Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party that campaigned for leaving the EU is a single issue party with no general program and no aspiration to run the government. Former London mayor Boris Johnson has positioned himself to take over Party leadership by advocating Brexit, but he is not taken seriously by most of his own Conservative party and is also stalling on the exit procedure.

The situation of the Labour Party is critical. Jeremy Corbyn, who was elected party leader by a grass roots uprising expressing a strong popular desire to move the party to the left, comparable to the Bernie movement in Democratic Party primaries, has always been opposed by the Blairites who still dominate the party apparatus and parliamentary representation. In this uncomfortable situation the gentle Corbyn has tried to exercise what is meant to be an inclusive sort of leadership, listening to all sides. This softness already led to the mistake of failing to strongly defend party members falsely accused of “anti-Semitism” by pro-Israel zealots. Now the Blairites are blaming Corbyn for what they consider the Brexit catastrophe. It is all supposed to be the fault of Corbyn for having failed to support REMAIN vigorously enough.

Indeed Corbyn’s support of REMAIN was mild, some say because he actually favored LEAVE, but was bowing to the majority in the upper ranks of his party. This concession, if it was one, has not prevented the Blairites from demanding that Corbyn resign as party leader. Petitions are circulating both for and against him.

The trouble is that the mainstream caricature of the Brexit voters as narrow-minded racists, if not protofascists, has not been balanced by any articulation of the strong underlying rejection of the EU as a denial of democracy, as the authoritarian rule by a self-satisfied globalizing elite with total contempt for what the people might really want.

There is no political party in Britain that is at all prepared to turn away from the increasingly discredited and disavowed globalization trend in order to lead the way to a truly democratic alternative.

Johnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Feminists weigh in on draft registration for women

By Claire Schaeffer-Duffy | National catholic Reporter | June 28, 2016

Recent legislative efforts to extend draft registration to young women have raised an old conundrum for some feminists. Does pursuit of gender equality include support for universal conscription?

While not all feminists are anti-militarists, opposition to war and militarism has been a strong current within the women’s movement. Prominent suffragists like Quaker Alice Paul, and Barbara Deming, a feminist activist and thinker of the 1960s and ’70s, were ardent pacifists. Moreover, feminist critique has often regarded the military as a hierarchical, male-dominated institution promoting destructive forms of power.

In late April, the House Armed Services Committee voted for an amendment to the national defense bill that would extend draft registration — already a requirement for men — to women ages 18-26. The amendment was later dropped, but in mid-June, the Senate approved a similar provision in its version of the national defense bill.

Among the amendment’s staunchest defenders was Armed Services Committee member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

“If we want equality in this country, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, then we should support a universal conscription,” Speier told the political website The Hill in April.

Not all feminists agree with Speier’s path to equality. Days after the House Armed Services Committee approved the amendment, 24-year-old Julie Mastrine, an activist and media professional, authored an online petition calling on Congress not to force women to register and instead dump the draft entirely.

Mastrine, a self-described feminist libertarian, argues that draft registration violates individual choice.

“I can’t imagine a more tragic loss of liberty than forcing a citizen, whether male or female, to fight in a war with which they may disagree. Equality is a moot point if personal choice and bodily autonomy must first be eliminated to achieve it,” Mastrine said in a statement.

In an online editorial for Playboy, Lucy Steigerwald, a contributing editor to, acknowledged that excluding women from draft registration was “unfair” and “sexist.”

“But the solution to the decrepit notion that the young of the country are communal property is not to remove the sexism, it’s to remove the draft,” she wrote.

Like Mastrine, Steigerwald supports equal access to the military for women, but opposes conscription. She does not believe, as some have argued, that the return of the draft would make the U.S. more cautious about engaging in conflicts.

“You don’t stop the runaway truck of U.S. foreign policy by throwing a man in front of it, and you definitely don’t stop it by throwing a man and a woman, just to make things equal,” Steigerwald wrote.

The linking of women’s equality to universal conscription dates back to the early 1980s. Draft registration had ended in 1975 with the conclusion of the Vietnam War. In 1980, a nervous President Jimmy Carter, alarmed over the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, reinstated registration to demonstrate U.S. war readiness. Carter actually wanted universal draft registration, but Congress limited the mandate to men.

The male-only system was quickly challenged as sex discrimination. In 1981, a group of men brought a case before the Supreme Court that argued being singled out for compulsory registration violated their right to equal protection. A number of women’s groups, including the National Organization for Women (NOW), filed briefs contending that exclusion from the draft violated the constitutional rights of women.

“Compulsory universal military service is central to the concept of citizenship in a democracy,” the NOW brief asserted. It predicted “devastating long-term psychological and political repercussions” would result if women were excluded from “the compulsory involvement in the community’s survival that is perceived as entitling people to lead it and to derive from it the full rights and privileges of citizenship.”

A similar brief filed by 12 other women’s organizations, including the League of Women Voters, argued that exempting women from draft registration echoed “the stereotypic notions about women’s proper place in society that in the past promoted ‘protective’ labor laws and the exclusion of women from juries.”

NOW had previously opposed the draft, and its apparent about-face infuriated its members at the grassroots level, according to Cynthia Enloe, a research professor of political science and women’s studies at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

Enloe, who has written extensively on women and the military, said she was just starting her research at the time, but as she recalls, “The local chapters were really angry. They were full of women activists who disagreed, who saw the draft as something to oppose.”

So why the switch? Enloe thinks it had more to do with NOW’s then-recent defeat in getting the Equal Rights Amendment passed than it did zeal for military service. The amendment, which pacifist Alice Paul originally penned in 1923, simply states, “Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” After Congress passed it in 1972, NOW led the unsuccessful fight for its ratification at the state level during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Eleanor Smeal, at the time president of NOW, “had just gone through a terrible defeat,” Enloe noted. “When the next thing comes up, you tend to see it through the lens of what you were defeated by. The people in the Washington office were terribly affected by the anti-ERA battle.”

Speaking in defense of the NOW brief back in 1981, Smeal told The New York Times that wherever she lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment, male legislators frequently said to her, “When you women fight in a war, then we’ll talk about equal rights.”

That “argument of entitlement,” Smeal said, helped persuade her that exclusion from the draft hurt the interests of women. Ever since ancient Egypt, “the secondary class has not been given the right to serve in the military,” she told the newspaper.

Lory Manning, a retired U.S. Navy captain, echoes that thought today, noting, “Except for taxes, women have had to fight for the right to the assumption of the duties of citizenship, including jury duty.”

A senior researcher at Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Manning said she remembers well the anti-war feminism of the Vietnam War era, and agrees with its critique of the military.

“It is hierarchical,” she said. “It is also very powerful. People think that an organization with that kind of power should not be left to men. Having women on the ground as peacekeepers has shown to improve the fate of women on the other side.”

Like many feminists, Enloe thinks it is risky to frame any military issue around just equality. “A lot of feminists were not sure how to articulate their support for gays in the military,” she said. “Those against the ban found themselves having to promote gay men and lesbians as the perfect soldier.”

It’s a dilemma Enloe said her European counterparts do not face.

“While there are many societies which are more militarized than the U.S., militarism has sunk its roots down so deep in U.S. popular culture, it’s made a conundrum of how you carve out a space of equality without embracing military ideals of citizenship,” she said.

“The acuteness of this political, cultural dilemma is much sharper in the U.S. than in Europe,” she said. “European feminists have been surprised at the prevalence of the military’s footprint in our civilian settings. Most soccer games in Europe don’t start with fighter jet flyovers.”

In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a male-only system for draft registration, arguing that since women were “excluded from combat service” they were not “similarly situated” as men for the draft or draft registration. In this instance, the court said, Congress had the authority to consider “military need” over “equity.”

With the removal of combat restrictions for women last December, that argument no longer applies. Maria Santelli, at the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Conscience and War, said it is quite likely the courts could soon strike down the current male-only system of draft registration on grounds of discrimination. “Before Congress lets that happen, they might vote for universal conscription,” she said.

Santelli thinks improvement in equity and justice within the military is a good thing, but these improvements are overridden by the “other justice issue, which is our reliance on war as a means for conflict resolution,” she said.

She pointed out that men who oppose draft registration for reasons of conscience face numerous penalties. Under what is commonly known as “the Solomon Amendment,” these penalties include denial of federal student loans, federal job training, and employment with federal executive agencies, and denial of citizenship to immigrants. According to the Center on Conscience and War, there are Solomon-like penalties in 44 states, with some denying state employment, state student loans, a driver’s license, or photo ID to non-registrants.

“These laws penalize men for the rest of their lives,” Santelli said. “Do we want to put women in that same position?”

How soon women who oppose the draft will face the registration dilemma remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the ERA has yet to be ratified.

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Russian diplomats harassed by US, not other way around – Moscow on Wash Post article

RT | June 29, 2016

It’s the Russian diplomats who are being pressured, not the other way around, the Foreign Ministry said, blasting a Washington Post article that claimed Russia harasses US diplomatic staff at home and all across Europe.

“The Washington Post has published an article on alleged harassment of US diplomats in Russia and in other countries. But, on the contrary, the pressure is increasing on Russian diplomats,” Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Tuesday.

According to the spokeswoman, Washington is “constantly coming up with new restrictions against our diplomats, who constantly face provocations from the FBI and the CIA.”

She stressed that “unacceptable measures” are being applied against them, including “psychological pressure in the presence of their families.”

“There even had been cases when such actions were carried out in the presence of pregnant wives of our diplomats,” she added.

“Instead of receiving our signal, identifying the problem and creating conditions to improve our relations, they (the US) flip everything upside down” by releasing the publication, she added.

On Monday, the Washington Post published an article, entitled, “Russia is harassing US diplomats all over Europe.”

The author of the piece claimed that instances of Russian pressure included breaking into the homes of American embassy staff, rearranging furniture there and even killing a family dog.

Zakharova slammed the article by the US paper as a perfect example of “propaganda,” adding that it was “obviously played up.”

“This publication is shallow, this publication does not reflect the real picture, it was prepared hastily, it was prepared by hearsay,” she stressed.

The main expert in the article is the former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul, who Zakharova called “unfit for [his] profession” who now talks about the hardships of working in Moscow after failing on the job.

“McFaul failed [in] his diplomatic mission in Moscow, and possibly it was his efforts that contributed to the worsening of bilateral relations,” she said.

Zakharova said that despite the pressure Moscow is ready to work with Washington to improve relations.

“Our counterparts should make up their mind as to what is it they want in reality: to develop relations, or at least, not to make them worse, or cook [up] more such publications,” she said.

In May, the US Senate Intelligence Committee passed The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill, which among other measures, proposes restrictions on travel by Russian diplomats in the US.

The legislation would require the FBI to investigate all requests by US-based Russian diplomats to travel outside his or her official post, in order to ensure the diplomats have properly notified the US government of their travel plans.

The Senate is to vote on the proposal later in summer, with Moscow saying that it will respond with mirror-like measures to restrictions on its diplomatic staff.

“As it worsens relations with Russia, Washington makes the working conditions for its diplomats worse, too,” Zakharova said.

“We do hope that we will achieve constructive relations with the United States. We are prepared for that,” she added.


Reviving the Cold War? Senate intelligence bill ‘targets Russian spies, diplomats’

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Trumping Hillary: The Same Old Pol-Mil Game

Will the 2016 Election Change America’s Militarized Foreign Policy?

By Chuck Spinney | The Blaster | June 27, 2016

Pro-Israel Neocons have said they will jump off the Republican ship and vote for Hillary Clinton, because she will continue business as usual with regard to our militarized foreign policy.  Apologists for Donald Trump argue that he will pursue a more restrained and less warlike foreign policy, including a more balanced policy toward Israel.

But recent  report by Stuart Winer in the Times of Israel suggests Trump’s bombastic ‘art of the deal,’ at least when applied to pol-mil policy, will turn out to be yet another politician’s distinction without a difference — to wit:

A senior adviser to Donald Trump said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should wait for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to win the White House before signing a military aid deal with Washington, because Trump would offer a better deal than the Obama administration.

In an interview with Channel 2 television David Friedman said that a Trump administration would maintain Israel’s military advantage over its neighbors. He said Trump would not reduce defense aid to Israel but “in all likelihood will increase it significantly.”

“The aid package will certainly not go down in all likelihood it will go up in a material amount because Israel must maintain a technological and military superiority within the region,” Freidman said. “I can’t give advice how Israel should bargain and develop its own strategy.”

Friedman’s suggestion that Trump would increase aid to Israel apparently ran contrary to the GOP candidate’s call to make Israel pay back foreign aid. In March, Trump said he believed Israel should pay for defense aid it receives from the US.

Could it be that the choice for President in 2016 will have no effect on America’s militarized foreign policy, and if so, would this be something new and different?

As with most political questions in Versailles on the Potomac, the pathway to answering this question is less one of Ivory-tower policy analysis than a gritty one of following the money  — in this case the money flowing through the triangular relations of the Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex. It is a question that goes to the heart of President Eisenhower’s prophetic warning, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

More on this question later.

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments