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Israeli minister: Kidnap Palestinian “terrorists”

Ma’an – July 8, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett advocated on Thursday for Israel to kidnap Palestinians to be used as leverage to obtain the release of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held in the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported.

In an interview with Radio Darom, Bennett — who leads the far-right Jewish Home party — discussed the issue of releasing Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to obtain the return of Israeli citizens Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two soldiers killed during Israel’s 2014 offensive on Gaza.

“My policies are consistent over the years: complete opposition to disproportionate deals to free terrorists, and certainly in exchange for bodies,” The Times of Israel quoted Bennett as saying.

According to Israeli news outlet The Jerusalem Post, Bennett then advocated for the kidnapping of Palestinians to pressure for the release of the slain soldiers and missing Israelis.

“We should do what the State of Israel once did,” he said. “What we once did in such situations was we would go and kidnap from the other side, and create new leverage against the other side, rather than releasing more and more terrorists.”

The Jerusalem Post quoted Bennett’s spokesperson as specifying that the far-right political leader was suggesting kidnapping “terrorists,” not Palestinian civilians.

It remained unclear from Bennett’s statement whether he advocated the kidnapping of Palestinians to use as a bargaining chip to exchange with Israelis, in contradiction of his earlier statement, or as an intimidation tactic to coerce those holding the Israelis in Gaza into releasing them.

It was also unclear whether Bennett was pushing for Israel should detain more Palestinians in addition to the 7,000 currently held in Israeli prisons, or hold them completely extrajudicially.

Spokespeople for the Education Ministry and Bennett’s office were unavailable for comment on Friday, the weekend in Israel, to clarify the minister’s statements.

Bennett is well known for his incendiary rhetoric vis-a-vis Palestinians.

In the wake of several attacks last week which killed two Israelis, including a 13-year-old girl, and three Palestinians, Bennett advocated for a number of measures which have been denounced by rights groups as constituting collective punishment.

These proposed measures, many of which have been implemented, included increased settlement construction; stepping up Israel’s policy of demolition of Palestinian property built without permits; full Israeli military control over the entirety of the occupied West Bank; military closures of suspected attackers’ hometowns; the detention of suspected attackers’ family members; and cutting off internet and cellular access to the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

Israel is still withholding the bodies of at least seven Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since October, as the slain Palestinians’ families remain uncertain as to when, and if, they will be released for burial.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Washington’s ‘New Managers’ in Latin America: Oligarchs, Bankers and Swindlers

By James Petras :: 07.07.2016

Amid raging corruption, social pathologies and outright political thuggery, a new gang of vassal regimes has taken-over Latin America. The new rulers are strictly recruited as the protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions. Hence the financial press refers to them as the “new managers” – of Wall Street.

The US financial media has once again provided a political cover for the vilest crimes committed by the ‘new managers’ as they launch their offensive against labor and in favor of the foreign and domestic financiers.

To understand the dynamics of the empire’s new vassal managers we will proceed by identifying (1) the illicit power grab (2) the neo-liberal policies they have pursued (3) the impact of their program on the class structure (4) their economic performance and future socio-political perspectives.

Vassals as Managers of Empire

Latin America’s current vassalage elite is of longer and shorter duration.

The regimes of longer duration with a historical legacy of submission, corruption and criminality include Mexico and Colombia where oligarchs, government officials and death squads cohabit in close association with the US military, business and banking elites.

Over the past decades 100,000 citizens were murdered in Mexico and over 4 million peasants were dispossessed in Colombia. In both regimes over ten million acres of farmland and mining terrain were transferred to US and EU multinationals.

Hundreds of billions of illicit narco earnings were laundered by the Colombian and Mexican oligarchy to their US accounts via private banks.

The current political managers, Peña in Mexico and Santos in Colombia are rapidly de-nationalizing strategic oil and energy sectors, while savaging dynamic social movements – hundreds of students and teachers in Mexico and thousands of peasants and human rights activists in Colombia have been murdered.

The new wave of imperial vassals has seized power throughout most of Latin America with the direct and indirect intervention of the US. In 2009, Honduras President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup backed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Zelaya’s program of agrarian reform, regional integration (with Venezuela) and constitutional elections was abolished. Zelaya was replaced by a US vassal, Roberto Micheletti who proceeded to murder several hundred landless rural workers and indigenous activists.

Washington moved to organize a constitutional cover by promoting a highly malleable landowner, Porfirio Lobo Sosa to the presidency.

The State Department next ousted Paraguyan President Francisco Lugo who governed between 2008-2012. Lugo promoted a moderate agrarian reform and a centrist regional integration agenda.

With the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, the Paraguayan oligarchy in Congress seized power , fabricated an impeachment decree and ousted President Lugo. He was briefly replaced by Vice President Federico Franco (2012-2013).

In 2013, Washington backed , the capital, Asuncion’s, notorious crime boss for President, one Horacio Castes – convicted for currency fraud in 1989, drug running in 1990, and most recently (2010) money laundering.

The Honduras and Paraguayan coups established (in miniature) the precedent for a new wave of ‘big country’ political vassals. The State Department moved toward the acceleration of banking takeovers in Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

In rapid succession, between December 2015 and April 2016 vassal managers seized power in Argentina and Brazil. In Argentina millionaire Mauricio Macri ruled by decree, bypassing constitutional legality. Macri fired scores of thousands of public service workers, closed social agencies and appointed judges and prosecutors without Congressional vote. He arbitrarily arrested social movement leaders – violating democratic procedures.

Macri’s Economic and Finance Ministers gained millions of dollars by ‘buying into’ multinational oil companies just prior to handing over private options on public enterprises.

The all-encompassing swindles and fraud carried out by the ‘new managers’ were covered up by the US media, who praised Macri’s professional team.

Moreover, Macri’s economic performance was a disaster. Exorbitant user fees on utilities and transport for consumers and business enterprises, increased three to ten-fold, forcing bankruptcy rates to soar and households to suffer light and gas closures.

Wall Street vulture funds received a seven billion dollar payment from Macri’s managers, for defaulted loans purchased for pennies over a dollar, twenty-fold greater then the original lenders.

Data based on standard economic indicators highlights the worst economic performance in a decade and a half.

Price inflation exceeds 40%; public debt increased by twenty percent in six months. Living standards and employment sharply declined. Growth and investment data was negative. Mismanagement, official corruption and arbitrary governance, did not induce confidence among local small and medium size businesses.

The respectable media, led by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post falsified every aspect of Macri’s regime. Failed economic policies implemented by bankers turned cabinet ministers were dubbed long-term successes; crude ideologically driven policies promoting foreign investor profiteering were re-invented as business incentives.

Political thugs dismantled and replaced civil service agencies were labelled ‘a new management team’ by the vulgar propaganda scribes of the financial press.

In Brazil, a phony political power grab by Congressional opportunists ousted elected President Dilma Rousseff. She was replaced by a Washington approved serial swindler and notorious bribe taker, Michel Temer.

The new economic managers were predictably controlled by Wall Street, World Bank and IMF bankers. They rushed measures to slash wages, pensions and other social expenditures, to lower business taxes and privatize the most lucrative public enterprises in transport, infrastructure, landholdings, oil and scores of other activities.

Even as the prostitute press lauded Brazil’s new managers’, prosecutors and judges arrested three newly appointed cabinet ministers for fraud and money laundering. ‘President’ Temer is next in line for prosecution for his role in the mega Petrobras oil contracts scandal for bribes and payola.

The economic agenda by the new managers are not designed to attract new productive investments. Most inflows are short-term speculative ventures. Markets, especially, in commodities, show no upward growth, much to the chagrin of the free market technocrats. Industry and commerce are depressed as a result of the decline in consumer credit, employment and public spending induced by ‘the managers’ austerity policies.

Even as the US and Europe embrace free market austerity, it evokes a continent wide revolt. Nevertheless Latin America’s wave of vassal regimes, remain deeply embedded in decimating the welfare state and pillaging public treasuries led by a narrow elite of bankers and serial swindlers.

Conclusion

As Washington and the prostitute press hail their ‘new managers’ in Latin America, the celebration is abruptly giving way to mass rage over corruption and demands for a shift to the political left.

In Brazil, “President” Temer rushes to implement big business measures, as his time in office is limited to weeks not months. His time out of jail is nearing a deadline. His cabinet of ‘technocrats’ prepare their luggage to follow.

Maurico Macri may survive a wave of strikes and protests and finish the year in office. But the plunging economy and pillage of the treasury is leading business to bankruptcy, the middle class to empty bank accounts and the dispossessed to spontaneous mass upheavals.

Washington’s new managers in Latin America cannot cope with an unruly citizenry and a failing free market economy.

Coups have been tried and work for grabbing power but do not establish effective rulership. Political shifts to the right are gyrating out of Washington’s orbit and find no new counter-balance in the break-up of the European Union.

Vassal capitalist takeovers in Latin America generated publicist anesthesia and Wall Street euphoria; only to be rudely shocked to reality by economic pathologies.

Washington and Wall Street and their Latin America managers sought a false reality of unrestrained profits and pillaged wealth. The reality principle now forces them to recognize that their failures are inducing rage today and uprisings tomorrow.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 5 Quotes from Corbyn’s Powerful 2003 Anti-War Speech

teleSUR | July 8, 2016

top_5_quotes_from_corbynxs_powerful_2003_anti-war_speech.jpg_916636689In the wake of the Chilcot report’s release, which details the the U.K.’s role in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, current U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war speech from 2003 has been making the internet rounds.

Speaking at a rally in Hyde Park in London on February 15, 2003, on a day where over 600 similar demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq were occurring worldwide, the then-British MP delivered a bold speech to a crowd of nearly 2 million people.

While Corbyn is currently embroiled in turmoil, with “Blairites” in his party turning on him since last week’s EU referendum results, where senior members of his Cabinet have resigned and 172 Labour MPs have signed a vote of no confidence in his leadership, he still maintains his anti-war convictions.

But sources say he won’t resign until former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is “crucified” for his imperial aggression against Iraq, details of which can be found in the Chilcot report.

Here are five of the most powerful quotes from Corbyn’s Hyde Park anti-imperial speech.


1. “I find it deeply distasteful that the British prime minister can use the medieval powers of the royal prerogative to send young men and women to die, to kill civilians and for Iraqis to die.”

Corbyn expressed his disgust that Blair could make the decision to go to war on his own and declared that he wanted a vote in British Parliament.


2. “8,000 deaths in Afghanistan brought back none of those who died in the World Trade Center.”

Addressing those who justified the war as it would bring more peace and security to the world, Corbyn listed the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, a country that was being pummeled with U.S. imperial might soon after 9/11 in the so-called war on terror.


3. “This will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation, that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression and the misery of future generations.”

Predicting early the cyclical nature of such offensives, Corbyn warned that going to war in Iraq will not only cause unnecessary destruction and grief, but would produce more of it in years to come.


4. “Those … George Bush, Tony Blair … who want war, they are the ones who are isolated and alone and desperately searching for friends.”

Looking among the nearly 2 million people that had gathered in London that day to voice their opposition against war, Corbyn cited it is they, the demonstrators, that are united and that the political leadership of those looking to incite more war are the ones left scrambling for supporters.


5. “British government stop now, or pay the political price.”

Signing off with this terse statement, the crowd roared with applause as Corbyn exited the stage.

Watch his full speech below:

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

‘US and British military interventions have been catastrophic for West’s true interests’

RT | July 7, 2016

Many people have suspected there was a plan to topple countries, such as Iraq, that are also enemies of Israel, the US, and UK, security analyst and former UK army officer Charles Shoebridge told RT.

The Chilcot Report on the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war was finally released, after seven years of investigation. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said he apologized for the mistakes made in planning and executing the intervention but he stood by the decision to go to war. He also dismissed accusations that his decision undermined the UN Security Council’s authority.

RT: Blair says Russia and France would have vetoed Iraq intervention at the Security Council. So is that fair justification for his decision to invade Iraq?

Charles Shoebridge: No, if anything, it is saying publicly as indeed many of us were saying at the time that: “It has been ruled unlawful, but therefore I am going to go ahead anyway.” After all, other than self-defense, which is clear and was clear at the time – notwithstanding how it was marketed at the time – that there was no imminent danger from Saddam Hussein; notwithstanding how much of the intelligence community, much of our politicians, and indeed much of the UK and US media tried to spin it into some kind of imminent threat.

Therefore, there was no imminent treat, so self-defense couldn’t be invoked. It would have to be by a UN resolution in the Security Council to allow that action to take place. Of course Blair knew that. But in some ways possibly France, particularly at the time and Russia even maybe perhaps unwittingly played into Tony Blair and George Bush’s hands by announcing that so publicly beforehand that they would veto it if it went to a UN Security Council resolution.

The reason they were going to veto, remember, is because the UN’s own arms inspectors hadn’t completed their work. They wanted to give a chance to Hans Blix and others to find those weapons that the US and the UK were claiming existed. Hans Blix and the inspectors were saying at the time to the US and the UK intelligence services: “Give us that information, give us that intelligence. We will go and check this out!” That intelligence was never forthcoming. That in itself, along with all the other aspects that are contained in this report, many of which are still to emerge, because it is still going to have very close scrutiny. It is of course questionable as to the extent to which that intelligence was reliable, and whether people knew it was reliable at the time.

RT: Tony Blair also said he regretted that parliament had voted against intervention in Syria. What do you make of that?

CS: It is an interesting line in one of his memos from 2001 – as far back as that to Bush – saying that shortly after 9/11 seeing the opportunity to attack Saddam; saying in many ways it could be interpreted as: “Ok, we’re looking at toppling Saddam, we can move on to Syria and Iran at a later stage.” Many people have suspected over the years that there was a plan, of which Iraq was just a part, to topple countries that by coincidence, some might say, are also enemies of Israel, of the US, and the UK, notwithstanding their own geopolitical situations. But that aside, it is really clear that much of the intelligence we know from Chilcot, that it was badly assessed; it was ill-thought-out and ill-informed intelligence in the first place. It was rushed; it wasn’t correctly assessed and analyzed properly.

It will still leave many, including so many in the intelligence community, who will ask the question, which doesn’t seem to have been addressed, or at least the accusation has not been made by Chilcot, as far as I can see at this stage whether there was any deliberate  falsification of that intelligence; whether MI6 particularly and… other actors within the US and UK intelligence establishment deliberately falsified or exaggerated intelligence to support the government of the day and Tony Blair in a decision already made to go to war.

It seems that in many ways the security services have been let off lightly, because they have been condemned not for dishonesty, deceit, or perhaps even for illegal activity – which many suggest has taken place – but for gross incompetence, which at the end of the day that intelligence – some would argue and argued at the time, was intended to justify going to war. Once that war decision was taken and war happened, of course it doesn’t matter if subsequently it was found that intelligence was faulty, or even didn’t exist, because some would argue that the whole purpose of it was to justify the war, not be the real reason behind it.

Time for people to demand US ‘war criminals’ face charges

When US and UK forces invaded Iraq, the country had not one weapon with which to resist, and had been totally disarmed and starved down by the sanctions, said Sara Flounders the head of the International Action Center.

RT: What do you expect to be Washington’s reaction to the inquiry? Do you expect anyone to be held accountable for what happened?

Sara Flounders: Of course the US wants to bury this immediately and Pentagon officials refuse to study it. But the real question the people of the world should be asking is: “When do the war crimes trials start?” Clearly this war by every count, and once again confirmed in this report, was a criminal violation of international law by every measure and by every standard. Any discussion that doesn’t involve a war crimes trial against these criminals that destroyed Iraq and led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, left a whole society in ruins, and has led to the terror that we face on a global scale today. Anyone who is isn’t asking that question and is going to push this off for further study or bury it – is not in any way serious, or really part of the cover-up. This report which was to take a year, took seven years, 12 volumes. It is ridiculous and yet it must be used as a basis to demand accountability of these criminals in Britain and certainly here in the US.

RT: How likely is it that the US will hold a similar investigation?

SF: The US won’t discuss their criminal conduct in any way whatsoever and they have refused to account for this war. I don’t expect them to respond to this, or to their use of torture; their use of tens of thousands of people detained in the war on terror; their massive destruction of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of Libya – on all of these they are silent. Yet, I think this is a time for the people of the world to demand that they be charged as criminals.

RT: David Cameron has given his take on the report, saying lessons should be learned. So have lessons been learned?

SF: The lesson they want to learn is that they didn’t do proper planning on what to do with the occupation. And that meant that there was enormous resistance by the people of Iraq in a heroic stand, yet completely unable stop the occupation, the destruction of Iraq and the conscious plan – which was a British and US plan on using sectarian violence to divide and as a way of overcoming the resistance they faced to the occupation.

RT: Given the findings of the report, which said Blair had presented the existence of weapons of mass destruction as a certainty which wasn’t the case, and the fact the conflict left Iraq in ruins, how do you assess Blair’s decision to invade the country?

SF: The report says it wasn’t right, it wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t justified, it was ill-prepared, and that Iraq presented absolutely no threat. Whether one more imperialist power piled on, which would be France to that invasion, or not, wouldn’t have made it anymore right, or wouldn’t have made Iraq anymore of a threat. Iraq had not one weapon with which to resist, and had been totally disarmed and starved down by the sanctions that had gone on for 12 years before the actual invasion and occupation. And this was well understood. There were UN inspectors across Iraq…

Read more:

‘Chilcot reveals: Case for Iraq war made before weapon inspections’

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

India, the US, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 08.07.2016

India has failed to achieve membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is a group of countries seeking «to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear and nuclear-related exports». Given that members of the NSG already supply India with uranium, New Delhi’s campaign is intriguing, especially as one of the Group’s main requirements is that suppliers of nuclear-associated material may authorise such trade «only when satisfied that the transfer would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons».

It could not be clearer that this international agreement forbids provision of nuclear expertise or material to a country that has not ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which the US State Department describes as «the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime».

But even cornerstones can be undermined, and that process began when President George W Bush started negotiations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 to produce a US-India nuclear cooperation agreement. It took considerable effort by both sides to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement whereby India would have access to nuclear material and technology consistent with the primary US aim of entry to the potentially large Indian market for construction of nuclear power stations.

The commercially-based Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy of 2007 is known as the 123 Agreement because it was necessary to amend Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act 1954 which governs ‘Cooperation with Other Nations’.

India declined to abide by the Act’s specification that it «must have full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, essentially covering all major nuclear facilities», because this would involve inspection of defence-related establishments, and Washington promptly removed this inconvenient requirement.

The modified Act seemed to clear the way for nuclear collaboration on a major scale, but there has as yet been no commitment by US nuclear plant manufacturers, mainly because they do not want to be held financially responsible for a nuclear accident at a power station which they designed or built.

It is accepted worldwide that national nuclear plant operators are accountable in the event of accidents, but India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, and Rule 24 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules, 2011, provide for the right of recourse, pursuit of which could involve foreign enterprises, be they suppliers or operators, being held liable for damages. In spite of lobbying by US President Obama during his 2015 visit to India, which was much praised as having achieved a «breakthrough» in removing the liability barriers which India’s parliament strongly supported, there has been no radical change that would encourage US firms to seek major contracts. (The Westinghouse Electric Company, generally thought to be American, which is negotiating to build six nuclear plants in India, has been owned by Japan’s Toshiba since 2006.)

In February 2015 India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated that the Civil Liability Act «channels all legal liability for nuclear damage exclusively to the operator» – but Clause 17 of the Act specifies that operators are permitted to seek financial recourse from suppliers after paying compensation for «patent or latent defects or sub-standard services», which are, naturally, open to legal interpretation in the event of a disaster, which is no doubt being borne in mind by India’s legislators who have not forgotten the 1984 disaster at the Union Carbide chemical plant at Bhopal that killed and maimed many thousands of people.

While there have as yet been no commercial benefits to the US from its nuclear accord with India, there have been other effects, including some that are less than desirable in the context of «proliferation of nuclear weapons» which is condemned by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The Arms Control Association records that «In September 2008, in a move led by the United States, the Nuclear Suppliers Group eased long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India by the group’s members. NSG rules generally forbid the sale of nuclear goods, such as reactors and fuel, to non-NPT countries». Before this ‘easing’ of international constraints, India had been unable to import uranium and was therefore entirely reliant on its own mines, which produce only low-grade ore but are in the long term capable of providing fuel to any number of nuclear facilities, civilian and military. The only drawback is that domestic processing would be enormously expensive. Importing uranium is very much cheaper.

As a result of being excused from the international stipulation requiring its adherence to the NPT before being permitted to import nuclear fuel and technology, India negotiated nuclear cooperation arrangements with eleven nations, including the holder of the world’s largest uranium deposits, Australia, whose government’s 1977 Uranium Export Policy had specified that «customer countries must at a minimum be a party to the NPT and have concluded a full-scope safeguards Agreement with the IAEA». But profit beats morality, and, as noted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, «Australia was the last domino to fall when it created an exception for India to its export policies in December 2011».

Countries involved in nuclear cooperation with India observe similar rules to those of Australia which specifies that its uranium «may only be exported for peaceful non-explosive purposes». And of course it cannot be claimed that foreign-supplied uranium could be used to produce nuclear weapons. These are manufactured at installations using India’s abundant (although process-expensive) indigenous ore which, thanks to the flexibility of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, is no longer needed to fuel civilian nuclear power stations. Quantities, quality and details of application need not be revealed.

Following the US-India nuclear agreement the president of the Federation of American Scientists, Charles D Ferguson, wrote in Arms Control Today that «by granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program» – and that is the crux of the entire affair.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group, at the urging of the United States, approved a measure that assists India to produce more nuclear weapons more economically. The «cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime» was dealt a massive blow. Although the US Hyde Act of 2006 requires the President to inform Congress of non-compliance with «the provision of nuclear fuel in such a manner as to facilitate the increased production by India of highly enriched uranium or plutonium in unsafeguarded nuclear facilities» it is impossible for the US to certify that this is not taking place because there is no provision for verification. Clever India.

Membership of the NSG remains a major foreign policy goal for India, and US support for its ambition was formally indicated in 2015 joint statement by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi which «committed [them] to continue to work towards India’s phased entry» to the Group. The US has made it clear that it will continue to support India’s efforts to achieve its objective, and that the requirement for «full compliance» with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or other «equivalent international nuclear nonproliferation agreement» is irrelevant so far as India is concerned.

It’s intriguing how international agreements can be reinterpreted, distorted, massaged or just plain ignored when it suits Washington’s policies – and, it seems, the pockets, prosperity and re-election prospects of America’s Legislators.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

The Risky Business of Being a US Ally

By Martin Berger – New Eastern Outlook – 08.07.2016

It’s hardly a secret that the hardships of common people are getting worse by the year. Due to continuous attempts by Washington to redraw the map of the world, in many countries, American intelligence agencies have been particularly active in launching so-called “color revolutions” and staging military conflicts, bringing bitter hunger and poverty upon the heads of millions of people in the Middle East and other regions of the world. Consequently those events have triggered a massive and uncontrolled wave of migration to Europe.

The “War on Terror” that the White House declared has in fact resulted in the US military establishment, American intelligence agencies and a number of other states obtaining huge financial support in return for a brutal assault on the fundamental human rights as embodied in the adoption of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act and similar laws in a number of states.

In the constant pursuit of huge profits, political and military circles in the US are coming up with new “military threats” in a bid to push their allies into greater spending on NATO, the purchases of additional weapons, which in turn undermines the living conditions of the common people in the United States and its satellite states.

However, despite the so-called strengthening of these global security measures the  actual security situation has not improved. There’s an ever increasing number of terrorist attacks carried out every year, while terrorist threats persist. Moreover, various terrorist organizations across the globe are receiving direct support from the White House itself, which drives a wedge between the US and its allies, especially in Europe.

It must be emphasized that the fate of US allies, who are constantly demanded to pay for Washington’s ambitions, is becoming grimmer by the day. If we take a look at the governments who agreed to host US military bases, those governments are usually the first to suffer for for their hospitality.

The constant desire of the White House to dictate its rules to each and every nation resulted in the so-called Brexit, while a number of other European countries have been examining the benefits of leaving the EU as well. Moreover, certain American states are facing a sharp increase in separatist sentiments.

Moreover, Washington’s allies are paying a high price in the blood of their soldiers for countless military adventures as they are recruited to fight alongside the US in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other regions of the world.

For instance, the newly assembled new Syrian army was defeated on the battlefield by ISIS militants, when US Air Force aircraft abandoned them at the most crucial moment, reports the Washington Post. Certain sources in the US government argue that this was not a complete defeat, since small detachments of the new Syrian army allegedly continued the fighting, although they don’t deny the withdrawal of air support at the most difficult moment of the whole operation, which sealed the fate of the rebels.

Last May, as the US intensified its so-called fight against ISIS in the northern part of Syria, the US Air Force started bombarding the outskirts of the Syrian city of Mara, bringing a group of Syrian rebels that Americans trained and armed under heavy fire. The Wall Street Journal would note:

A statement issued by the U.S. military at the time said three strikes were carried out near Ma’ra that “struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL tactical vehicles and an ISIL vehicle,” using the Pentagon’s preferred acronym for Islamic State.

But leaders with the brigade in interviews said a U.S. airstrike hit brigade members while they were fighting Islamic State militants. Mustafa Sejry, the head of Mutasim’s political office, said 10 of the brigade’s fighters were killed in the U.S. strike.

On June 26, Afghan authorities reported that US Air Force strikes resulted in seven Afghans killed. Those Afghans were held hostage by the Taliban in the Kunduz governorate in the north of the country.

In December 2015, the Washington Post reported the deaths of US-friendly Iraqi soldiers during the military operation against ISIS near the city of Fallujah, when the US Air Force aircraft were “providing close air support to the Iraqi army.”

In July 2015, the so called “worst friendly fire incident” of the US war in Afghanistan occurred when ten Afghan soldiers were killed and others wounded after their compound was fired on by US military helicopters.

It should be noted that the “friendly fire” – is a common occurrence in the US Army. This notion is confirmed by historical facts, since during the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, friendly fire events taken together were thought to have accounted for 1,150 killed and wounded, or approximately 5% of the total casualties.

In August 1944, 8th USAAF heavy bombers bombed the headquarters of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and 1st Polish Armoured Division during Operation Totalize, killing 65 and wounding 250 Allied soldiers.

Friendly fire casualty rates have gotten worse, with such incidents during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq reaching approximately 23% of the total number of casualties the US military suffered during the conflict.

Therefore, it’s a highly risky endeavor to take part in one of the many military adventures of the White House.The only way to save a nation’s blood is to abstain from such adventuresAnd there’s little doubt that once Hillary Clinton takes office, direct military aggression will remain the main occupation of the White House for years to come.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Anniversary of World Court Advisory Opinion

By David Krieger | Nuclear Age Peace Foundation | July 8, 2016

The International Court of Justice (“Court,” or “ICJ”), the world’s highest court, issued its Advisory Opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons on July 8, 1996. Thus, this week marks the 20th anniversary of that momentous opinion.

The Court found in a split vote (7 to 7), with the casting vote of the Court’s president Mohammed Bedjaoui deciding the matter, that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be illegal under international law. The Court could not determine whether it would be legal or illegal to threaten or use nuclear weapons “in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.”

Three of the judges voting to oppose general illegality, however, were concerned with the word “generally” and wanted the Court to go further and remove any ambiguity about the illegality of threat or use of nuclear weapons. Judge C.G. Weeramantry, for example, argued in a brilliant dissenting opinion “that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is illegal in any circumstances whatsoever.” Thus, in actuality, ten of the fourteen judges supported either general illegality or total illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

The Court also found unanimously that any threat or use of nuclear weapons must be compatible with the United Nations Charter and must also be compatible with the international law of armed conflict and particularly with “the principles and rules of international humanitarian law.” This means that the threat or use of nuclear weapons must be capable of distinguishing between combatants and civilians and must not cause unnecessary suffering. It is virtually impossible to imagine any use of nuclear weapons that could meet such limiting criteria.

Finally, the Court concluded, “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” Unfortunately, despite this obligation, such negotiations have not taken place in the past twenty years.

The tiny Pacific Island country, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has cited the Court’s conclusion regarding this legal obligation in bringing contentious lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed countries at the International Court of Justice and separately against the United States in U.S. federal court. In the ICJ, only the cases against the UK, India and Pakistan are currently going forward, since the other six nuclear-armed countries do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court and have not opted to accept the Court’s jurisdiction in this matter.

The cases brought by the Marshall Islands in the ICJ are currently awaiting the Court’s ruling on preliminary objections filed by the three respondent countries. The case against the U.S. was dismissed in U.S. federal district court on jurisdictional grounds, and is currently on appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nuclear weapons are devices of mass annihilation. The ICJ found these weapons to be generally illegal and to require good faith negotiations leading to total nuclear disarmament. All nine nuclear-armed countries are in breach of this obligation to the detriment of the people of the world, including the citizens of their own countries. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has had the courage to bring this matter back to the ICJ as contentious cases.

On the illegality of nuclear weapons, the then Court President, Mohammed Bedjaoui, stated: “Nuclear weapons, the ultimate evil, destabilize humanitarian law, which is the law of the lesser evil.  The existence of nuclear weapons is therefore a challenge to the very existence of humanitarian law, not to mention their long-term effects of damage to the human environment, in respect to which the right to life can be exercised.”

On the 20th anniversary of the ICJ Advisory Opinion on threat or use of nuclear weapons, the people must wake up, stand up and speak out. Nuclear weapons are illegal as well as immoral and costly.  They are not even weapons, but instruments of mass annihilation. They serve no useful purpose and endanger all countries, all people, and all future generations. It is past time to end the nuclear era.


David Krieger is the author of Zero: The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Moscow warns of ‘dangerous consequences’ as US moves to place missile defense system in South Korea

RT | July 8, 2016

The boosting of US missile defense potential in Asia and the Pacific undermines the existing global security balance, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after it was announced that Washington intends to place missile defense systems in South Korea.

“From the very beginning of the discussion of this issue we have consistently and invariably pointed at the most dangerous consequences of such a decision and called for our partners not to make this wrong choice. Unfortunately, our calls have remained unheard,” reads a Foreign Ministry statement released Friday.

Russian diplomats noted that the increase in the Asia-Pacific segment of the global missile defense system by the United States and its allies would undermine the existing strategic balance both in the region and beyond.

“Such actions, regardless of the arguments they are backed with, have the most negative effect on global strategic stability, the adherence to which is such a favored topic of discussions in Washington,” the statement reads.

The ministry also warned that the US steps threaten to increase regional tensions and create additional barriers to the peaceful settlement of the conflict between North and South Korea and nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula.

The Russian diplomats concluded by expressing hope that the United States and South Korea would once again consider all factors behind the decision and abstain from potentially dangerous actions.

Earlier on Friday, the South Korean Ministry of Defense announced that Seoul and Washington had reached an agreement to put a high-tech THAAD missile defense system in South Korea amid growing nuclear and missile threats from the North. According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the system is expected to be in operation by the end of 2017.

THAAD – Terminal High Altitude Area Defense – is an advanced system designed to intercept short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal phase of flight. Equipped with a long-range radar, THAAD is believed to be capable of intercepting Pyongyang’s intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The announcement has also drawn criticism from Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday the system would destabilize the security balance in the region without doing anything to end the North’s nuclear program. “China strongly urges the United States and South Korea to stop the deployment process of the THAAD anti-missile system, not take any steps to complicate the regional situation and do nothing to harm China’s strategic security interests,” it said in a statement on its website.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

What do famous people think about Zionist Jews?

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment