Aletho News


The Holocaust and its Deniers

By Gilad Atzmon | August 2, 2018

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, some Jewish intellectuals and humanists expressed the thought that ‘after Auschwitz Jews have to locate themselves at the forefront of the battle for humanity and against all forms of oppression.’

This is a principled and heroic ideal, but the reality on the ground has been somewhat different. Just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the Jewish state ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. Two years later, in 1950, Israel’s Knesset passed the Law of Return, a racist law that distinguishes between Jews who have the right to ‘return’ to someone else’s land and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees that were expelled by force from their villages and cities.

In the seven decades since, the Jewish State has committed every possible human rights abuse. It made Gaza into the biggest open-air prison in human history and has repeatedly dropped bombs on the most overpopulated place on earth. Recently the Jewish State deployed hundreds of snipers against unarmed Gazans who were protesting at the border. Israel killed dozens and wounded more than 13,000 Palestinians, the majority severely, with over 1,400 struck by three to five bullets.

If the Holocaust left Jews with a mission to fix the world, the Jewish State has done the opposite. Its crimes against humanity can be seen as a complete denial of the Holocaust’s message.

Some Jews who survived the Holocaust did dedicate their lives to a universal battle for a better world. Among these heroes was Hajo Meyer, a Dutch Auschwitz survivor who, for the obvious reasons, saw the similarities between his own suffering and the Palestinian plight.

In 2003 Meyer wrote The End of Judaism, accusing Israel of usurping the Holocaust to justify crimes against the Arabs. He participated in the 2011 “Never Again – For Anyone” tour. He correctly argued that Zionism predated fascism, and he also reiterated that Zionists and Fascists had a history of collaboration.

Meyer exemplified the Jewish post-Shoah humanist promise. After Auschwitz he located himself at the forefront of the fight against oppression. He fought Israel.

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2010, Meyer was invited to an event at the British Parliament which included MP Jeremy Corbyn. At the event Meyer compared Israeli racial policy to the Nuremberg laws. At the same event, Haidar Eid, a Palestinian academic from Gaza, pointed out that “the world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims.”

Eid didn’t ‘compare’ Zionism with Nazism, he described an ideological continuum between Nazi ideology and Israeli policy. He maintained that the racial discriminatory ideology of the Nazis was picked up by the Jewish state and has been rife in the Jewish State since then.

Yesterday MP Jeremy Corbyn was attacked by the Jewish lobby for being present at that meeting that explored these universal ethical positions. Our Labour candidate for prime minister anemically recalled that at the event in question views were expressed which he did not “accept or condone.” Corbyn even apologized “for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.” I wonder why my preferred candidate has to express regret for being in the presence of a humanist exchange. I wonder why our next PM feels the need to disassociate himself from people who advocate ‘for the many, not the few.’

The message for the rest of us is devastating. The battle for a better world can’t be left to Corbyn alone. Needless to say, the Jewish State and its Lobby haven’t located themselves at the forefront of humanity. It is actually the Palestinians who have been pushed to the front of that frustrating struggle. Not to see that is to deny their holocaust.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Senate passes $38 billion to Israel – next step House of Representatives

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | August 2, 2018

The Senate yesterday passed a bill to give Israel $38 billion over the next 10 years. The legislation, heavily promoted by AIPAC, was adopted in a voice vote. The bill is “S.2497 – United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018.

This amounts to approximately $23,000 for each Jewish Israeli family of four.

The bill also mandates that NASA work with the Israeli Space Agency, despite accusations of Israeli espionage – In 2015 a Caltech scientist revealed that the Chair of Israel’s National Committee for Space Research had illegally acquired classified information.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted a Defense bill that provides $550 million to Israel.

While Israeli media have reported on the legislation, mainstream U.S. news media have failed to inform Americans about the money to Israel.

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, issued a statement saying: “AIPAC appreciates the leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with the authors of the bill, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE).”

The bill is currently also making its way through the House of Representatives. If the House passes it, as expected, it will be sent to President Trump to sign into law.

[To take action regarding the bill go here]

From previous IAK reports:

It appears that giving Israel this money would violate several U.S. laws:

• It would violate two amendments to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, known as the the Symington and Glenn Amendments, that ban support for countries engaged in clandestine nuclear programs. (More information here.)

• It would violate the Leahy Law, which prohibits aid to countries guilty of human rights violations.

In the past Israel has used U.S. aid in ways that violated the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), which prohibits re-export of U.S.-origin defense and dual-use technology, which Israel has repeatedly done. Israel has also been charged with using U.S. weaponry illegally.

Despite this – and despite the fact that Israel has killed 150 and injured 16,000 Palestinian men, women, and children in the past four months – the aid bill has 71 co-sponsors: 36 Democrats and 35 Republicans.

The bill is being heavily promoted by AIPAC, which pioneered it, and other pro-Israel organizations.

Among the co-sponsors are some progressive Senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, even though polls show that only 19 percent of liberal Democrats support Israel over Palestinians.

Despite the record breaking quantity of money, almost no mainstream U.S. media have informed Americans of the bill.

The aid package was first negotiated by the Obama administration, which largely submitted to Israeli demands. The Forward reported at the time: “When Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting national security adviser, was tasked with heading the team negotiating a new 10-year military aid package with the United States, Prime Minister Netanyahu set forth the guidelines: ‘If you reach $3.5 billion a year, you’ll get a gold medal,’ Nagel recalled Wednesday, hours before signing the agreement in Washington. ‘If you get $3.3 billion you’ll get a silver medal; and if you get $3.1 billion you’ll get the bronze.’”

Senate sponsors of the bill:


Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL] –


Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]*

Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA]

Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]

Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]

Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD]

Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS]

Sen. Rounds, Mike [R-SD]

Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]

Sen. Isakson, Johnny [R-GA]

Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR]

Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX]

Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND]

Sen. Inhofe, James M. [R-OK]

Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT]

Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA]

Sen. Crapo, Mike [R-ID]

Sen. Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV]

Sen. Kennedy, John [R-LA]

Sen. Markey, Edward J. [D-MA]

Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS]

Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC]

Sen. Donnelly, Joe [D-IN]

Sen. Sullivan, Dan [R-AK]

Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL]

Sen. Nelson, Bill [D-FL]

Sen. Young, Todd C. [R-IN]

Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]

Sen. Smith, Tina [D-MN]

Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX]

Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND]

Sen. Heller, Dean [R-NV]

Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]

Sen. Risch, James E. [R-ID]

Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY]

Sen. Kaine, Tim [D-VA]

Sen. King, Angus S., Jr. [I-ME]

Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]

Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS]

Sen. Blunt, Roy [R-MO]

Sen. Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD]

Sen. Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]

Sen. Tester, Jon [D-MT]

Sen. Perdue, David [R-GA]

Sen. Boozman, John [R-AR]

Sen. Gardner, Cory [R-CO]

Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]

Sen. Murphy, Christopher [D-CT]

Sen. Flake, Jeff [R-AZ]

Sen. Toomey, Pat [R-PA]

Sen. Heinrich, Martin [D-NM]

Sen. Peters, Gary C. [D-MI]

Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ]

Sen. Hyde-Smith, Cindy [R-MS]

Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]

Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]

Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]

Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]

Sen. Jones, Doug [D-AL]

Sen. Ernst, Joni [R-IA]

Sen. Sasse, Ben [R-NE]

Sen. Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI]

Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]

Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH]

Sen. Lankford, James [R-OK]

Sen. Hassan, Margaret Wood [D-NH]

Sen. Hirono, Mazie K. [D-HI]

Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT]

Sen. Daines, Steve [R-MT]

Sen. McCaskill, Claire [D-MO]

Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]

Sen. Schumer, Charles E. [D-NY]

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel used excessive force to seize Gaza-bound ship in intl. waters: Captain

Press TV – August 2, 2018

Israel has violated international law by seizing a Gaza-bound humanitarian ship in international waters and using excessive force to arrest its crew and passengers, the boat’s captain says.

“We were arrested in international waters and we were closer to Egypt than Israel,” Herman Reksten, the captain of the Norwegian Karstein ship, said Thursday upon arrival at Oslo International Airport after being held for three days in an Israeli jail.

Captain Reksten said that the Israeli troops used tasers against the activists, adding, “I still have a headache from being hit in prison.”

A Norwegian government spokesman also said the country was yet to receive a clarification from Israel on why the 22 pro-Palestinian activists on board the boat were arrested.

Norway’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Frode Andersen said it had asked Israel to “clarify the course of events and on what basis they think they are entitled to intervene on the ship.”

According to the group Ship to Gaza Norway, which organized the shipment, all of the activists have been released and expelled or are about to be deported soon.

However, the fate of an ailing Canadian passenger was uncertain on Thursday.

The intercepted vessel was one of the four ships that made up the Freedom Flotilla, which intended to break Israel’s nearly 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Back in late May 2010, an Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, comprising six civilian ships, killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas and sent the Ankara-Tel Aviv ties into a tailspin.

Israel’s military raid against the civilian flotilla was met with global condemnation. The United Nations Security Council called for a prompt investigation into the incident and the United Nations Human Rights Council described the attack as “outrageous.”

Additionally, numerous attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public attention to the ongoing siege of Gaza. From 2008 through 2016, international activists have sailed 31 ships and boats to challenge the Israeli naval blockade.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Following Israel’s participation: Glasgow pledges to reject military exhibits

MEMO | August 2, 2018

The city council of Glasgow, Scotland, has vowed not to sponsor any future military exhibitions in response to months of widespread protests against its decision to sponsor the Conference on Subsea Defence Technology. The city council also promised to “reconsider its guidelines” to ensure that they would reflect “Glasgow’s respect of human rights”.

This pledge came after the formation of a popular campaign to put pressure on the city council, a coalition that included the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Scotland against Militarism, as well as the Anti-Arms trading Campaign.

The military exhibition, which included Israeli weapon manufacturers, was held in Glasgow in late July under the sponsorship of BAE Systems and Babcock, the two major arms companies responsible for renewing the UK’s Trident program for the development, activation, and sale of nuclear weapons despite Glasgow’s declaration of being a nuclear-free Council in December 2017.

The exhibition that the city hosted stated Israel Defence, a media organisation promoting the arms industry in Israel, as an official media partner. The presentation was nevertheless attended by the Israeli company DSIT Solutions, involved in the ongoing brutal Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

Israeli arms companies regularly market their weapons as “tested” and “field tested”, meaning that they are tested on the Palestinian people and then exported to facilitate the suppression of the army and police forces in the rest of the world.

The National Chairperson of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), Sofiah MacLeod, welcomed the city council’s statement and added that the campaign would work with other coalition members to ensure that the city council would implement its pledge.

MacLeod added that the popular pressure on Glasgow City Council and the House of Advisers would continue because the council still manages the Strathclyde pension fund known for its investment in arms factories and other companies that have been complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee welcomed the campaign’s success, according to its coordinator in Gaza, Abdul Rahman Abu Nahl. He said: “Such news increase our determination to step up our campaigns against companies involved in Israel’s human rights violations. What has been happening in local councils in Scotland, Ireland, Spain, and Italy is a new indication of the growing impact of the BDS movement around the world and the growing isolation of the occupation and apartheid Israeli state.”

The Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) continues to work with various groups such as the Unison Scotland and the Scottish Friends of Palestine, in the “Time to Divest” campaign to push local Scottish authority retirement funds to dispose of contracts of companies complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights. These banks include Hapoalim, the largest Israeli bank, which funds the construction of illegal settlements on usurped Palestinian lands, as well as companies like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and DXC.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Chile: Activists Protest Against Dictatorship Killers’ Parole

teleSUR | August 1, 2018

Human rights activists in Chile are protesting a Supreme Court decision to release former Judge Gamaliel Soto, three former military soldiers and a police officer involved in the torture and disappearance of 31-year-old Eduardo Alberto Gonzalez Galeno in 1973.

The demonstrators gathered in front of the court in Valparaiso holding pictures of people forcibly disappeared during the military dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet, including Gonzalez Galeno, director of the Hospital of Cunco in Araucania, on September 14, 1973.

Soto had been sentenced to ten years for his involvement in ordering Gonzalez Galeno’s kidnapping, but Chile’s Second Chamber of the Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to grant him parole.

The three military soldiers, Jose Quintanilla Fernandez, Hernan Protillo Aranda and Felipe Gonzalez Astorga, as well as police officer Manuel Perez Santillan, all convicted of crimes against humanity, were also released as a result of an appeal to the country’s highest court, according to Nodal.

Their release was welcomed by the group’s legal defence, arguing that good behavior and the fact that they served half of their sentence were sufficient reason for their release.

Witnesses said Gonzalez Galeno was accused of being a member of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) during his captivity by the military dictatorship headed by military general Augusto Pinochet and, subsequently, beaten and disappeared.

Human rights lawyer Nelson Caucoto decried the court’s decision to release the men, stating there was no justification to grant parole: “We must take into account that parole is justified only by people who have been rehabilitated.

“It does not make sense to grant people freedom to live alongside others if they have not recognized the gravity of their crimes, nor have shown repentance beyond the fulfillment of certain formalities.”

Caucoto also said granting parole to people convicted of crimes against humanity, as in this case, violates the international agreements that Chile is a signatory to.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 02.08.2018

President Donald Trump is threatening to take away the security clearances of a number of former senior intelligence and security officers who have been extremely critical of him. Most Americans were unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

A security clearance is granted to a person but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know anything about China’s spying on the United States. Or do you? If you transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

At top levels among the beltway bandit companies, where little work is actually done, some make the case that you have to remain “well informed” to function properly. The fact is that many top-level bureaucrats do retain their clearances for those nebulous reasons and also sometimes as a courtesy. Some have even received regular briefings from the CIA and the office of the Director of National intelligence even though they hold no government positions. A few very senior ex-officials have also been recalled by congress or the White House to provide testimony on particular areas of expertise or on past operations, which can legitimately require a clearance, though in such cases one can be granted on a temporary basis to cover a specific issue.

The problem arises when former officials use their clearances as bona fides to enhance their marketability for non-clearance jobs in the media or corporate world, particularly when those individuals are criticizing current government policies and behaving in a partisan fashion regarding specific candidates for office. Donald Trump was especially assailed by former officials John Brennan, James Clapper, Michael Hayden and Michael Morell before the 2016 election, all of whom continue to attack him currently, most particularly for the recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the 2016 campaign, Morell, who openly supported Hillary Clinton and is the designated intelligence on-air contributor for CBS news, deliberately linked the fact that he was ex-CIA Acting Director to his assertion that Trump was somehow an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation” to establish his credibility. That type of activity should be considered abusive and an exploitation of one’s former office.

Morell left CIA in June 2013 and by November was a senior counselor with Beacon Global Strategies. According to the firm’s website, Beacon Global Strategies is a government and private sector consulting group that specializes in matters of international policy, foreign affairs, national defense, cyber, intelligence, and homeland security. Morell may know little about those issues as they have evolved in the past five years, but citing his clearance gives him credibility for knowledge that he might not really possess and also gives him direct access to former colleagues that he can lobby to obtain government contracts.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, who famously voted for the Communist Party candidate for US president in 1976, has also profited greatly from his government service, becoming rich from his board memberships. He sits on the board of directors of SecureAuth + CORE Security and also on the board of The Analysis Corporation. More important in terms of his public profile, he is the “Intelligence Consultant” for NBC News and MSNBC and appears regularly.

Last week Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and recommended that Brennan’s security clearance be revoked. He argued that Brennan, Trump’s most aggressive critic, has been using his credentials to provide credibility when he calls meeting with Russia’s president “treasonous” and describes the president as “wholly in the pocket of Putin.” Clearance holders also more generally use their privileged access to “secret information” to leverage speaking and television network pundit fees. In other words, Brennan and the others are using their security clearances to enhance their incomes, monetizing their access to classified information to enhance their value.

It is by no means clear whether Trump will revoke the clearances of Clapper, Brennan, Morell and Hayden. As he is the legal source of all government clearances he has the power to do so. An equitable solution on the clearance issue more generally speaking would be to cancel all security clearances on the day when one leaves government service unless there is a direct and immediate transition to a private sector position that absolutely requires such a qualification. That would be fair to lower level employees seeking a second source of income and it would also eliminate many of those who are merely cashing in on their presumed access. As it is a rational solution it is very unlikely that it will be entertained by either the White House or by Congress.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Hilarious & paranoid’: Lavrov laughs at idea that Russia uses memes to destroy US democracy

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. May 2018 © Grigoriy Sisoev / Sputnik
RT | August 2, 2018

The idea that Moscow is swaying elections and bringing down US democracy by ‘meme-sharing’ is preposterous, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The accusations hurled at Russia by the US lawmakers left him baffled.

“It’s just hilarious when I hear that funny pictures can undermine American democracy,” Lavrov told reporters on Thursday, answering RT correspondent’s question about the latest US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on alleged Russian interference in US domestic affairs.

Experts, brought as witnesses to testify before the Senate on Wednesday, spoke about Russia allegedly using the “less news, more memes” approach online to divide the US public. This led the lawmakers to raise concerns over how Russian “meme-sharing” affects American voters.

“I think that’s just paranoia that goes off the scale,” Lavrov chuckled, saying that talk of weaponizing memes only makes the Senators themselves look bad. “It’s not respectable for American lawmakers to make a sensation out of nothing.”

US politicians consistently accused ‘Russian trolls’ of waging a coordinated campaign to influence elections in the country – something Moscow denies. During repeated hearings in Congress, lawmakers failed to provide any concrete evidence that the alleged nefarious online activity was tied to Russia, and to present data on the effects such a campaign might have caused.

In fact, last year, tech giants Facebook, YouTube and Twitter told Senators that the content allegedly produced by “Russian operatives” made up a tiny fraction of their feeds.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Politics in bad faith: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigns in Michigan

By Andre Damon | WSWS | July 31, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, visited Southeast Michigan this past weekend. Her primary victory last month over New York Congressman Joe Crowley has made her, virtually overnight, a leading spokesperson for the Democratic Party.

Ocasio-Cortez appeared at rallies in Detroit, Flint and Ypsilanti, as part of a statewide tour in support of Abdul El-Sayed, a former Detroit health department official running for governor of Michigan.

Ocasio-Cortez speaks at Wayne State University in Detroit

Ocasio-Cortez has been lionized in the press as the leader of a radical wave sweeping over the Democratic Party. Given the location of her events—including Detroit, the poorest large city in America, and Flint, which has been devastated by a lead water crisis—anyone taking her and the DSA’s pretenses to “socialism” seriously might have expected to hear bold proposals for tackling America’s rampant social inequality.

But when it came time for her to speak, what followed was a torrent of evasive and dishonest platitudes. She began her remarks at Wayne State University in Detroit:

My fingers are tingling right now because I know that this room is not just a rally, not just an audience, or even just a community; this is movement. Movement cannot be stopped, movement is like a wave; that energy cannot be contained, and Abdul, like many others, is just the crest, is just the foam at the tip of that wave. This is a movement so much bigger than just one person, there is no one person that is the future, there is a people that is the future.

To see such statements in print is to confirm the impression they produce on the listener: So much hot air.

America needs a “salt of the earth government,” Ocasio-Cortez went on, because, “We know that what is right in one place is what is right in all places.” And so on and so forth.

Like Barack Obama, whom she acknowledges as an inspiration, Ocasio-Cortez revels in seemingly profound motivational statements that are, upon the slightest examination, shown to be devoid of content. Her speeches are a variant of Obama’s slogan: “Yes we can.” She makes no effort to explain why Obama’s “Yes we can” was turned into eight years of “No we can’t.”

She continued, “The future of this nation and the future of this party is working class, the future of this party is working people, the future of this party is the marginalized, it is women, it is gender-extended people, it is people of color, it is the affirmation of justice, that is the future of this party.”

This invocation of the working class, mixed with appeals to other “identities,” is in bad faith, because the entire purpose of her campaign, and of the existence of the DSA, is to promote the Democratic Party, which, along with the Republicans, is a party of the corporate and financial oligarchy.

The Democrats are currently in the midst of a ferociously right-wing campaign centered on denunciations of Trump for “betraying” the country to Russia. In the midterm elections, the Democrats are fielding an unprecedented number of former members of the CIA and the military, which reflects their position as the preferred party of dominant sections of the military-intelligence apparatus.

Ocasio-Cortez’s inability to say anything genuinely oppositional, let alone radical, is bound up with her political role. She has quickly been absorbed into the Democratic Party establishment, and her rhetoric conforms to its politics. In promoting a right-wing party, her “left-wing” gloss is reduced to empty slogans.

Only a few sentences of her speech touched on actual policy. “The future of this party is improved and expanded Medicare for all,” she declared. For Abdul El-Sayed, “Medicare for all” means a statewide health care system paid for by workers from their own paychecks, one which his website boasts will exempt a substantial number of businesses from health care contributions.

Abdul El-Sayed

Such campaign promises are meaningless anyway. Obama declared himself a “proponent of a single payer universal health care program” in 2003, before going on to implement the “Affordable Care Act,” a reactionary attack on health care that shifts the burden from corporations and the state to workers by requiring individuals to purchase private insurance. This was cynically packaged as a major social “reform.”

Of particular note in the rallies to which Ocasio-Cortez spoke was the absence of any reference to foreign policy or the slightest hint of opposition to war. In fact, it was as if the rest of the world did not exist.

When a WSWS reporter asked the candidates at the post-rally press briefing in Detroit, “Do both of you support withdrawing all US troops from the Middle East and Africa?” El-Sayed gave an evasive non-answer: “We’ve got to make sure that we are focused on a foreign policy that articulates what we all can do when we come together around a more peaceful world.”

A staffer immediately attempted to conclude the briefing. When the reporter restated the question, “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, are you anti-war? Do you support withdrawing all US troops from the Middle East?”

She replied, “I’m sorry, I’m here to support Abdul.”

The press conference immediately concluded, and the candidates were whisked away. (The next day, another WSWS reporter asked Ocasio-Cortez the same question at a rally in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She gave the same rehearsed answer.)

After the conclusion of the press conference, a WSWS reporter asked a high-level Ocasio-Cortez staffer, “What does she think the tax rate on the top income bracket should be?” He said he could not answer that question, because “She’s just focused on getting candidates with a similar program elected right now.”

In other words, Ocasio-Cortez can’t even commit to an explicit policy of raising taxes on the wealthiest section of society. In the spectrum of traditional American politics, this places her “democratic socialism” somewhere on the left wing of the 1960s-era Republican Party. Her inability to make any statement in opposition to war likewise put her to the right of both major Democratic nominees in the 1968 presidential primaries, who ran on an anti-war program.

The events make clear the political function of the Democratic Socialists of America. Far from creating a politically independent socialist movement, the DSA functions as an adjunct of the Democratic Party, providing candidates whose programs are largely indistinguishable from the rest of the party and are compatible with the agenda of the “CIA Democrats.”

The political role of Ocasio-Cortez and a slew of similar, DSA-backed candidates is to put a “left-wing,” “progressive,” youth-oriented, and multicultural gloss on a right-wing, pro-war party.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

US Senators Introduce Sanctions Bill, Targeting Russia’s Sovereign Debt, Energy

Sputnik – 5 02.08.2018

New legislation introduced in the US Senate would require Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to determine whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

A bipartisan group of US senators on Thursday introduced a new package of punitive measures aimed at Russia. A proposed bill includes new sanctions against Russia’s political figures, restrictions on energy investments and limitations connected with uranium imports.

The harshest part of the new bill calls for the sanctioning of Russian sovereign debt.

Six US Senators said in a press release that the legislation “will increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s continued interference in our elections, malign influence in Syria, aggression in Crimea, and other activities.”

According to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, “the current sanctions regime has failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections.”

“Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyberattacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria,” he added.

Congress passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in July 2017 in response to allegations that Russia sought to influence the 2016 US presidential election. The Trump administration has been widely criticized for not doing enough in response to Moscow’s alleged activities in 2016; however, the White House claimed otherwise, saying that Trump has been tougher on Russia than any previous administration.

Relations between Russia and the United States rapidly deteriorated following the crisis in Ukraine in 2014. Washington introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions after Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the latter’s alleged involvement in the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Russia has refuted all the accusations and issued retaliatory economic restrictions.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Turkey in panic as Assad seeks to reclaim occupied territory

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | August 1, 2018

The meeting of the senior diplomats from Russia, Iran and Turkey in Sochi on Tuesday was prima facie meant to hasten the Astana process on a Syrian settlement. But in reality, it took place in the backdrop of reports that Syrian forces, which have liberated the southwestern provinces of Quneitra (facing Golan Heights) and Daraa (on the Jordanian border) will now proceed to assault the northwestern province of Idlib on the Turkish border.

Ankara has warned that any such move by Damascus will prompt Turkey to pull out of the Astana process altogether in protest. Turkey’s fear is that unlike in the southern provinces, the terrorist groups that control Idlib may fight it out, which would lead to large-scale violence and an exodus of refugees and militants across the border into Turkey. Idlib is estimated to have a population close to 2.5 million. Importantly, though, Turkey seeks to maintain its presence in Idlib, thanks to its enduring links with many of the extremist groups ensconced there. Turkey is equally adamant that the Kurds should not spread their influence into Idlib close to eastern Mediterranean coast.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan personally took up the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin twice during the past fortnight, demanding that Moscow should restrain Damascus from launching any operations in Idlib. After the meeting in Sochi today, Russian presidential envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev was quoted as saying, “I’d rather refrain from speaking about the city’s (Idlib’s) storming or a pending operation. There are too many rumors and they are ungrounded. Any large-scale operation in Idlib is out of the question.”

He seemed to hint that Russia and Turkey are trying to find a way to influence the terrorist groups to surrender (which was how Daraa and Quneitra were liberated without fighting.) To quote Lavrentyev, “We still hope that the moderate opposition and our Turkish partners, who took responsibility for stabilising this region, will manage it.” But he added, “The threat coming from this zone is still significant.” (In the past 10 days, Russia had shot down as many as four drones launched by the militants from Idlib targeting the Russian military near the Hmeymim airbase.)

On the other hand, Damascus has insisted that it intended to liberate Idlib. All indications are that preparations have begun for a big military operation. The militant groups in Idlib are estimated to be over 50,000 strong and are drawn from Turkish, Uzbek, Chechen, Turkistani and Arab fighters from the Persian Gulf.

Overshadowing the Idlib issue, there is another development that worries Turkey – the direct talks between the Syrian Kurds (previously aligned with the US) and Damascus for reaching a modus vivendi regarding northern Syria up to the Euphrates in the east. The Kurds hope to reconcile with the Assad government in pursuit of their common interest to force Turkey to vacate the large chunks of Syrian territories occupied by it in military operations in the recent years.

Contradictions are galore. For one thing, Russia encourages the newfound proximity between Syrian Kurds and Assad regime. Russia is also keen to vanquish the jihadi fighters who migrated to Syria from North Caucasus and Central Asia. Again, Moscow is one with Damascus on preserving Syria’s unity and territorial integrity at any cost.

On the other hand, it is of supreme importance for Moscow that Turkey is somehow assuaged so that the Astana process as such doesn’t get derailed. At the same time, Russia also places store on its working relationship with Turkey at the bilateral level that is steadily deepening and assuming a strategic character, especially with the downswing in Turkish-American relations lately. The business ties between Russia and Turkey are also flourishing with Russia winning multi-billion dollar contracts in energy projects.

Realpolitik aside, however, morally or legally Turkey has no business to stop the Assad regime from regaining control of the entire Syrian territory. Turkey has blood on its hands by fostering al-Qaeda groups and Islamic State. Equally, Turkish occupation of Syrian territory is untenable on any ground. In reality, Turkey overreached, hoping that it could exploit the US-Russia tensions to bargain with both superpowers and maximize its returns in a Syrian settlement. But President Trump has instead begun tightening the screws on Erdogan lately. Equally, Ankara didn’t expect the stunning victory of the Syrian-Russian operations in southwestern Syria.

There will be growing pressure on Turkey to pull out from Syrian territory in the coming months. Evidently, an American withdrawal from Syria in a near future is on the cards. The Syrian Kurds’ move to reconcile with Damascus is the sure indicator that their American mentors are exiting the war. In short, the US’ capacity to create new facts on the ground in favor of Turkey is virtually zero. This puts Turkey under immense pressure to negotiate a deal with Russia on the best terms available.

To be sure, Assad’s tenacity to reclaim all lost territories is not to be doubted. Make no mistake, he will liberate Idlib, no matter what it takes, and he will thereafter head east towards Jarablus, Azaz, al-Bab and Afrin — territories that are under Turkish control — as well as areas near the Euphrates front line that have been under the control of the Kurdish groups backed by the US. It seems some skirmishes have already begun in the region adjacent to Idlib between Syrian government forces and terrorist groups. Read a report by FARS news agency, here.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment