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How the rule of the rabbis is fuelling a holy war in Israel

By Jonathon Cook | February 13, 2019

In which country did a senior, state-salaried cleric urge his followers last month to become “warriors”, emulating a group of young men who had murdered a woman of another faith?

The cleric did so with impunity. In fact, he was only echoing other highly placed colleagues who have endorsed a book – again without penalty – urging their disciples to murder babies belonging to other religions.

Where can the head of the clergy call black people “monkeys” and urge the expulsion of other religious communities?

Where does a clerical elite wield so much power that they alone decide who can marry or get divorced – and are backed by a law that can jail someone who tries to wed without their approval? They can even shut down the national railway system without notice.

Where are these holy men so feared that women are scrubbed from billboards, college campuses introduce gender segregation to appease them, and women find themselves literally pushed to the back of the bus?

Is the country Saudi Arabia? Or Myanmar? Or perhaps, Iran?

No. It is Israel, the world’s only self-declared Jewish state.

Which ‘shared values’?

There is barely a politician in Washington seeking election who has not at some point declared an “unbreakable bond” between the United States and Israel, or claimed the two uphold “shared values”. Few, it seems, have any idea what values Israel really represents.

There are many grounds for criticising Israel, including its brutal oppression of Palestinians under occupation and its system of institutionalised segregation and discrimination against the fifth of its population who are not Jewish – its Palestinian minority.

But largely ignored by critics have been Israel’s increasing theocratic tendencies.

This hasn’t simply proved regressive for Israel’s Jewish population, especially women, as the rabbis exert ever greater control over the lives of religious and secular Jews alike.

It also has alarming implications for Palestinians, both under occupation and those living in Israel, as a national conflict with familiar colonial origins is gradually transformed into a holy war, fuelled by extremist rabbis with the state’s implicit blessing.

Control of personal status

Despite Israel’s founding fathers being avowedly secular, the separation between church and state in Israel has always been flimsy at best – and it is now breaking down at an ever-accelerating rate.

After Israel’s establishment, David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, decided to subordinate important areas of life for Israeli Jews to the jurisdiction of an Orthodox rabbinate, representing the strictest, most traditional and conservative stream of Judaism. Other, more liberal streams have no official standing in Israel to this day.

Ben Gurion’s decision in part reflected a desire to ensure his new state embraced two differing conceptions of Jewishness: both those who identified as Jews in a secular ethnic or cultural sense, and those who maintained the religious traditions of Judaism. He hoped to fuse the two into a new notion of a Jewish “nationality”.

For that reason, the Orthodox rabbis were given exclusive control over important parts of the public sphere – personal status matters, such as conversions, births, deaths and marriages.

Biblical justifications

Bolstering the rabbis’ power was the urgent need of Israel’s secular leaders to obscure the state’s settler-colonial origins. This could be achieved by using education to emphasise Biblical justifications for the usurpation by Jews of the lands of the native Palestinian population.

As the late peace activist Uri Avnery observed, the Zionist claim was “based on the Biblical history of the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon … Israeli schools teach the Bible as real history.”

Such indoctrination, combined with a much higher birth rate among religious Jews, has contributed to an explosion in the numbers identifying as religious. They now comprise half the population.

Today, about a quarter of Israeli Jews belong to the Orthodox stream, which reads the Torah literally, and one in seven belong to the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, the most fundamentalist of the Jewish religious streams. Forecasts suggest that in 40 years the latter will comprise a third of the country’s Jewish population.

‘Conquer the government’

Both the growing power and extremism of the Orthodox in Israel was highlighted in the last week of January when one of their most influential rabbis, Shmuel Eliyahu, publicly came to the defence of five students accused of murdering Aisha Rabi, a Palestinian mother of eight. Back in October they stoned her car near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, forcing her off the road.

Eliyahu is the son of a former chief rabbi of Israel, Mordechai Eliyahu, and himself sits on the Chief Rabbinical Council, which controls many areas of life for Israelis. He is also the municipal rabbi of Safed, a city that in Judaism has the equivalent status of Medina in Islam or Bethlehem in Christianity, so his words carry a great deal of weight with Orthodox Jews.

Last month, a video came to light of a talk he gave at the seminary where the five accused studied, in the illegal settlement of Rehelim, south of Nablus.

Eliyahu not only praised the five as “warriors” but told fellow students that they needed to overthrow the “rotten” secular court system. He told them it was vital to “conquer the government” too, but without guns or tanks. “You have to take the state’s key positions,” he urged them.

Law-breaking judges

In truth, that process is already well-advanced.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who should have been the first to denounce Eliyahu’s comments, is closely aligned with religious settlers. Tellingly, she and other government ministers have maintained a studious silence.

That is because the political representatives of Israel’s religious Jewish communities, including the settlers, have now become the lynchpin of Israeli coalition governments. They are the kingmakers and can extract enormous concessions from other parties.

For some time, Shaked has been using her position to bring more openly nationalistic and religious judges into the legal system, including to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court.

Two of its current 15 judges, Noam Sohlberg and David Mintz, are law-breakers, openly living in West Bank settlements in violation of international law. Several more judges appointed to the bench by Shaked are religious and conservative.

This is a significant victory for the Orthodox religious and the settlers. The court is the last line of defence for the secular against an assault on their religious freedoms and on gender equality.

And the court offers the only recourse for Palestinians seeking to mitigate the worst excesses of the violent and discriminatory policies of the Israeli government, army and settlers.

Chosen people

Shaked’s colleague, Naftali Bennett, another ideologue of the settlement movement, has been education minister in the Netanyahu government for four years. This post has long been a critical one for the Orthodox because it shapes Israel’s next generation.

After decades of concessions to the rabbis, Israel’s school system is already heavily skewed towards religion. A survey in 2016 showed 51 percent of Jewish pupils attended sex-segregated religious schools, which emphasise Biblical dogma – up from 33 percent only 15 years earlier.

This may explain why a recent poll found that 51 percent believe Jews have a divine right to the land of Israel, and slightly more – 56 percent – believe that Jews are a “chosen people”.

Those results are likely to get even worse in the coming years. Bennett has been placing much greater weight in the curriculum on Jewish tribal identity, Bible studies and religious claims to Greater Israel, including to the Palestinian territories – which he wants to annex.

Conversely, science and maths are increasingly downplayed in the education system, and entirely absent from schools for the ultra-Orthodox. Evolution, for example, has been mostly erased from the syllabus, even in secular schools.

‘No mercy’ to Palestinians

Another key sphere of state power being taken over by the religious, and especially the settlers, are the security services. Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh lived for years in a settlement renowned for its violent attacks on Palestinians, and the force’s current chief rabbi, Rahamim Brachyahu, is also a settler.

Both have actively promoted a programme, Believers in the Police, that recruits more religious Jews into the police force. Nahi Eyal, the programme’s founder, has said his aim is to help the settler community “find our way into the command ranks”.

The trend is even more entrenched in the Israeli military. Figures show that the national-religious community, to which settlers belong – though only 10 percent of the population – make up half of all new officer cadets. Half of Israel’s military academies are now religious.

That has translated into an increasing role for extremist Orthodox rabbis in motivating soldiers on the battlefield. In Israel’s 2008-09 ground invasion of Gaza, soldiers were issued with pamphlets by the army rabbinate using Biblical injunctions to persuade them to “show no mercy” to Palestinians.

Call to kill babies

Meanwhile, the rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox population has been encouraged by the government to move into West Bank settlements purpose-built for them, such as Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit. That, in turn, is gradually fuelling the emergence of an aggressive nationalism among their youth.

Once the Haredim were openly hostile, or at best ambivalent, towards Israeli state institutions, believing that a Jewish state was sacrilegious until the Messiah arrived to rule over Jews.

Now, for the first time, young Haredim are serving in the Israeli army, adding to the pressure on the military command to accommodate their religious fundamentalist ideology. A new term for these hawkish Haredi soldiers has been coined: they are known as the “Hardal”.

Brachyahu and rabbis for the Hardal are among the senior rabbis who have endorsed a terrifying book, the King’s Torah, written by two settler rabbis, that urges Jews to treat non-Jews, and specifically Palestinians, mercilessly.

It offers God’s blessing for Jewish terror – not only against Palestinians who try to resist their displacement by settlers, but against all Palestinians, even babies, on the principle that “it is clear that they will grow [up] to harm us.”

Gender segregation expands

The dramatic rise in religiosity is creating internal problems for Israeli society too, especially for the shrinking secular population and for women.

Posters for the forthcoming election – as with adverts more generally – are being “cleaned” of women’s faces in parts of the country to avoid causing offence.

Last month, the Supreme Court criticised Israel’s Council for Higher Education for allowing segregation between men and women in college classrooms to spread to the rest of the campus, including libraries and communal areas. Female students and lecturers are facing “modesty” dress codes.

The council has even announced that it intends to expand segregation because it is proving difficult to persuade religious Jews to attend higher education.

Violence of the mob

Israel has always been a society deeply structured to keep Israeli Jews and Palestinians apart, both physically and in terms of rights. That is equally true for Israel’s large Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population, who live almost entirely apart from Jews in segregated communities. Their children are kept away from Jewish children in separate schools.

But the greater emphasis in Israel on a religious definition of Jewishness means that Palestinians now face not only the cold structural violence designed by Israel’s secular founders, but additionally a hot-tempered, Biblically sanctioned hostility from religious extremists.

That is most keenly evident in the rapid rise of physical assaults on Palestinians and their property, as well as their holy places, in Israel and the occupied territories. Among Israelis, this violence is legitimised as “price tag” attacks, as though Palestinians have brought such harm on themselves.

YouTube is now full of videos of gun- or baton-wielding settlers attacking Palestinians, typically as they try to access their olive groves or springs, while Israeli soldiers stand passively by or assist.

Arson attacks have spread from olive groves to Palestinian homes, sometimes with horrifying results, as families are burned alive.

Rabbis such as Eliyahu have stoked this new wave of attacks with their Biblical justifications. State terrorism and mob violence have merged.

Destroying al-Aqsa

The biggest potential flashpoint is in occupied East Jerusalem, where the growing symbolic and political power of these Messianic rabbis risks exploding at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Secular politicians have long played with fire at this Islamic holy site, using archaeological claims to try to convert it into a symbol of historic Jewish entitlement to the land, including the occupied territories.

But their claim that the mosque is built over two Jewish temples, the last of which was destroyed two millennia ago, has been rapidly reconfigured for incendiary, modern political purposes.

The growing influence of religious Jews in parliament, the government, the courts and the security services means that officials grow ever bolder in staking a physical claim to sovereignty over al-Aqsa.

It also entails an ever greater indulgence towards religious extremists who demand more than physical control over the mosque site. They want al-Aqsa destroyed and replaced with a Third Temple.

The gathering holy war

Slowly, Israel is transforming a settler-colonial project against the Palestinians into a battle with the wider Islamic world. It is turning a territorial conflict into a holy war.

The demographic growth of Israel’s religious population, the cultivation by the school system of an ever-more extreme ideology based on the Bible, the takeover of the state’s key power centres by the religious, and the emergence of a class of influential rabbis who preach genocide against Israel’s neighbours has set the stage for a perfect storm in the region.

The question now is at what point will Israel’s allies, in the US and Europe, finally wake up to the catastrophic direction Israel is heading in – and find the will to take the necessary action to stop it.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fatal Houston PD Drug Raid Apparently Predicated On Drugs A Cop Had Stashed In His Car

By Tim Cushing | techdirt | February 19, 2019

The ugly Houston PD drug raid that resulted in four injured officers and two dead “suspects” just keeps getting uglier.

Officers swore a confidential informant purchased heroin from 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle in the house he shared with his wife of 21 years, Rhogena Nicholas. They swore the CI told them the house was filled with heroin packaged for purchase.

On the strength of this confidential informant’s claims, officers obtained a no-knock warrant and raided Tuttle’s house. The officers claimed Tuttle opened fire on them and that his wife tried to grab a shotgun from a downed officer. This was the supposed reason for SWAT team’s killing of Tuttle and Nicholas.

This was the narrative everyone was given. Not a single officer was wearing a body cam, despite the department possessing dozens of them. The only footage that survived — captured by a neighbor’s security camera — was confiscated by the Houston PD.

Even in this vacuum of information, the PD’s narrative quickly fell apart. No large amounts of heroin were found during the raid — just personal use quantities of heroin cocaine and marijuana. The inventory also included a few guns, which the PD has treated as inherent evidence of criminality despite the fact both Tuttle and his wife could legally own the weapons found in the house. The only criminal history either of them had was an old misdemeanor charge for a bad check.

Now that the PD’s investigation into this raid is underway, it’s becoming clear the official narrative — a daring no-knock raid that took out dangerous heroin dealers — isn’t going to survive. The new narrative already includes multiple lies by police officers and a lot of supporting evidence.

First off, the raid inventory does not include the weapon officers claimed Tuttle fired at them.

The other four items in the inventory are guns: a 20-gauge Beretta ALS shotgun, a 12-gauge Remington 1100 shotgun, a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, and a .22-caliber Winchester 190 semi-automatic rifle. The list does not include the .357 Magnum revolver that police say Tuttle fired at the officers who broke into his home, shot his dog, and killed his wife.

It also doesn’t include the money the CI paid for the heroin or the weapon he claimed Tuttle was carrying.

Nor does it mention the 9mm semi-automatic handgun that the C.I. supposedly saw in the house the day before, which apparently disappeared along with the heroin and the money.

The PD also claimed the investigation was initiated by an anonymous call claiming the couple were selling drugs from their house. Since that initial press salvo by Chief Art Acevedo, information has come out indicating the “tip” was neither anonymous nor did it reference drug dealing.

A 911 call from the mother of now-deceased suspect Rhogena Nicholas put 7815 Harding Street on police radar. Sources close to the investigation say her mother called reporting the 58-year-old was doing drugs inside her own home.

It only gets worse. According to statements from officers now under investigation, it appears the Houston PD raided a house, shot a dog, and killed two people over drugs a police officer had stashed in his vehicle.

In the original warrant – the one used to justify the raid – [Officer Gerald] Goines wrote that he watched the buy and, along with Bryant, identified the substance as heroin. But when investigators went back to talk to [Officer Steven] Bryant, he admitted that he’d actually just retrieved two bags of heroin from the center console of Goines’ car, at the instruction of another officer.

Though he then took the two bags of drugs for testing to determine that they were heroin, he eventually admitted that he had never seen narcotics in question before retrieving them from the car. That, the investigator noted, contradicts the search warrant affidavit filed before the raid, which indicates that Bryant “recognized the substance purchased by the CI as heroin.”

This is absolutely terrifying. Investigators can’t seem to locate the informant both officers claimed was a reliable source of intel, which suggests this person — relied on in other Houston PD investigations — doesn’t even exist. None of the CIs interviewed by Houston investigators said they’d made the purchase detailed in the warrant affidavit.

How do citizens protect themselves against police officers willing to fabricate every aspect of an investigation in order to perform armed raids of their houses? Legally owning weapons means nothing when cops (and many courts) consider homeowners defending themselves from armed intruders a crime in and of itself. Two people are dead and no amount of late-arriving indictments is going to change that. Officers took a concerned mother’s call about her daughter’s drug use and turned it into a criminal conspiracy involving heroin and dangerous drug pushers armed to the teeth.

We have to grant law enforcement a massive amount of power in order for them to do their job. Time after time, they abuse the powers we’ve given them, wielding them like weapons against the same citizens they’re supposed to answer to. Vast power has been paired with nearly nonexistent accountability to create an atmosphere where officers feel comfortable manufacturing evidence to support their adrenaline habits. This should be nightmare fuel for all Americans. Unfortunately, outside of those already attuned to the miserable state of American policing, this will appear to be nothing more than a couple of bad apples they can safely ignore.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

US court reopens Palestinian lawsuit against billionaire Israel donor Adelson

MEMO | February 20, 2019

A US appeals court has reopened a billion-dollar lawsuit against Jewish-American tycoon Sheldon Adelson, which seeks to hold him and more than 30 others liable for war crimes and support of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC) Circuit yesterday voted unanimously in favour of reopening the case, arguing that a federal district judge concluded wrongly in August 2017 that all of the plaintiffs’ claims raised political questions that could not be decided in US courts, Ynet has reported. At the time, the district judge claimed that the lawsuit raised political questions over which the court had no authority, including who has sovereignty over the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip. Yesterday, however, US Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson said that the sovereignty issue was separate from a broader question of whether war crimes were being committed in the oPt, reported Fortune Magazine.

“A legal determination that [illegal] Israeli settlers commit genocide in the disputed territory [oPt] would not decide ownership of the disputed territory and thus would not directly contradict any [US] foreign policy choice,” explained Judge Henderson. The lawsuit, she added, could thus be treated as a “purely legal issue” and, since genocide violates international law, the court could hear the case under America’s Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign citizens to seek remedies in US courts for human rights violations committed outside the United States.

The lawsuit is being led by Bassem Al-Tamimi from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, father of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi who was jailed for eight months for slapping an Israeli soldier who trespassed on her family’s land. He is one of 18 Palestinians or Palestinian-Americans, as well as a Palestinian village council, who filed the lawsuit, claiming that Adelson and the other defendants conspired to expel non-Jewish communities from the oPt and accusing them of aiding genocide and other war crimes.

The other defendants include a number of high-profile US billionaires and companies with histories of funding or cooperating with Israel. Among them is Jewish-American businessman Larry Ellison – who is known to have donated billions of dollars to the Israeli army via the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) – as well as Elliot Abrams, a vocal critic of former US President Barack Obama’s lukewarm support for Israel’s illegal settlements.

Two major Israeli banks are also involved in the lawsuit — Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim – as well as technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement accuses of providing technology for Israel’s checkpoints and Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank.

Adelson has long been a controversial figure for his support of Israel and involvement in the pro-Israel lobby in the US. Having made his fortune with the Las Vegas Sands Casino, Adelson is estimated to be worth $36.1 billion. He is known to have given $410 million to Birthright, which sends young Jews on trips to Israel, and has donated billions of dollars to the US Republican Party as well as President Donald Trump’s 2016 election and 2018 mid-term campaigns.

The billionaire Adelson is also the owner of Israel Hayom, Israel’s biggest circulation newspaper known for its overt support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel Hayom lies at the heart of Case 2000, one of three corruption cases in which Netanyahu is embroiled. The Prime Minister is being investigated for promising Arnon Mozes – the owner of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aronoth – that he would curtail the circulation of Israel Hayom, Mozes’s main competitor publication, in return for favourable coverage of him and his policies. Netanyahu is also under investigation in two other cases – dubbed Case 1000 and Case 4000 – and is awaiting a decision by Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit as to whether he will be recommended for indictment before the country’s upcoming general election on 9 April.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Turkey won’t abandon the S-400 deal with Russia

By Ali Hussein Bakir | MEMO | February 20, 2019

Washington’s first deadline for Turkey to respond to its offer to buy the Patriot missile defence system passed last Friday with no progress made. Only one day after the deadline, US Vice President Mike Pence raised the issue once again with Ankara regarding Turkey’s recent deal to acquire the Russian S-400 missile defence system. In his speech at the Munich Security Conference last Saturday, Pence threatened Turkey, without mentioning it explicitly, when he said, “We’ve also made it clear that we will not stand idly by while NATO Allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defence of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

The Americans agreed recently to offer Turkey the Patriot missile deal, worth about $ 3.5 billion, but linked its agreement to do so on several conditions, including the need for Ankara to abandon the S-400 deal with Russia. The Turks initially welcomed the offer, but rejected the conditions tied to it. They also linked any possible agreement to the extent that it serves Turkey’s interests, especially regarding the timeframe offered for delivery of the system. The government in Ankara also stipulated the need for the deal to include the transfer of technology to Turkey as well as financial provisions to help pay for it.

According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the US responded positively to the possibility of delivering the system early, but it has not yet responded to the matters of joint production and financial arrangements. Since the official deadline for the response to the American offer will expire entirely at the end of March, this means that the debate on the topic will continue for another few weeks, at least. This will occur amid American threats to stop the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and the possibility of imposing sanctions if it does not back down from the S-400 deal with Russia.

However, Turkey believes that removing it from the F-35 production programme will lead to higher costs for the Americans, and it will also hamper delivery times to many allies. More importantly, it will damage Washington’s already shrinking credibility. The Trump administration’s arrogant, exploitative behaviour only strengthens Turkey’s commitment to its deal with Russia, as it seems that pulling out is nearly impossible under the current circumstances.

There are three possible reasons why Ankara will not abandon the S-400 deal with Russia. First, the lack of trust in Washington’s sincerity, especially as the latter has not kept its promises on several occasions, most recently by threatening to cancel the delivery of the F-35s. Ankara believes that the US will be able to cancel the Patriot deal, threaten to do so or use it as a means to blackmail Turkey if and when it deems it necessary to do so. Furthermore, the lack of a financial incentive makes it very costly for Turkey to buy the Patriot system from the US, especially in the current economic climate. Unless Washington discusses this aspect of its deal, the Patriot offer will not be attractive from a purely financial point of view, neither on its own or when compared with Russia’s S-400 offer.

Finally, Washington has so far refused to transfer the technology to Turkey as part of the potential deal with Ankara. If this is not done, Turkey will not achieve its declared aims, and so it would be taking the Patriot system for purely political reasons in order to be balanced in the relationship between Russia and America. When all things are considered, therefore, it is almost certain that Ankara will stick to the S-400 deal with Russia.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Arab on 19 February 2019

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Rats Begin Leaving the Labour Ship

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | February 20, 2019

A group of seven perpetually-whingeing MPs has quit the UK Labour Party to go independent. They are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey. Their gripes are various but boil down to disgruntlement with Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership especially over Brexit and anti-Semitism.

Stop the War Coalition observes that the seven “have voted for war, foreign military intervention and the renewal of Trident throughout their political careers. A warmongering foreign policy is central to the so-called values they talked about in today’s launch and is arguably the main unifying strand of their political ideologies.”

STWC points out that the four of them who sat in Parliament in 2003 (Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie and Angela Smith) all voted for the Iraq War and have continually supported the policy of military intervention. With seven fewer warmongers in the Labour Party, says STWC, “now is a chance to redouble our efforts to ensure that Labour is never dragged into any more catastrophic wars and is a party rooted in peace.”

Momentum, a large pro-Corbyn pressure group dedicated to “transforming Labour”, take a swipe at the deserters’ new ‘independent’ status and especially Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna. “Just when Labour has the flailing Tories on the ropes, they have decided to leave the fight. Whatever they say, their real goal is simply to stop Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party coming to power and prevent a transformation of this country for the many, not the few.

“They are even reportedly planning to deliberately stand in marginal seats where splitting part of the Labour vote would have the most effect – that effect being that the Tory wins. In short, they are trying to create a Blairite spoiler party.

“Leslie and Chuka have been undermining the leadership from the very moment Jeremy was elected…. They will do everything they can to sabotage Labour now, and we know they’ll have major donors and corporate backing already lined up.”

Without the party ‘brand’ they are nothing

According to the BBC Ms Berger said Labour had become institutionally anti-Semitic and she was “embarrassed and ashamed” to stay. “I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation.”

Chris Leslie said Labour under Corbyn had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”.

Mike Gapes said he was “sickened that Labour is now perceived by many as a racist, anti-Semitic party” and “furious that the Labour leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit”.

Angela Smith had previously told Channel 4 News: “Labour MPs are being pushed to the very edge by the attitude of the leadership on Key issues such as Brexit and anti-Semitism.”

And the ever-talkative Chuka Umunna said they had taken the first step and urged other Labour MPs – and members of other parties – to join them in building a new politics. “It is time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics and created an alternative that does justice to who we are today and gives this country a politics fit for the here and now – the 21st Century.”

Jeremy Corbyn responded by expressing disappointment that the MPs felt unable to continue working for the policies that “inspired millions” at the 2017 election.

Some in the media are comparing the Seven with the Gang of Four who quit the Labour Party in 1981 to form the SDP. But they don’t bear comparison. The Four (Roy Jenkins, David Owen, William Rodgers and Shirley Williams) were high-calibre and talented. Even they couldn’t make a real political breakthrough. These Seven are small fry. At least five of them (Berger, Umunna, Leslie, Gapes and Smith) are listed supporters of Israel and presumably endorse its military occupation of Palestinian lands and vicious oppression of the Palestinian people; and they spend much of their time stooging for that racist regime while complaining about racism within the Labour party. As for Umunna, Wikipedia reports him as saying that his moral values come from Christianity, which is strange given his admiration for Israel and, as far as I’m aware, his reluctance to publicly condemn its horrendous crimes against the indigenous people in the place where Christianity was born.

Furthermore none of the seven respects the British people enough to implement their democratic wish to leave the EU – all are agitating for a second referendum.

While there’s much to complain about with Labour’s leadership and among the many airheads not yet purged, the party is well shot of troublemakers who just walk out. The danger is that the Not-So-Magnificent Seven will serve as a magnet for other malcontents with little regard for British interests, only their own warped ambition.

Corbyn’s reaction on Labour’s Facebook page was to say: “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.”

And Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell felt the “honourable thing for them to do” would be to stand down as MPs and seek re-election to Parliament in by-elections without the Labour ticket. However, it seems the seven intend to remain super glued to their Parliamentary seats, calling themselves The Independent Group and practising “new politics”.

Less than two years ago these quitters won their seats with the Labour machine’s support and on a Corbyn manifesto that stirred the blood and vastly increased Labour’s standing. They should reflect on the fact that without party help and without the party brand they are nothing.

On the other hand I suspect it won’t be long before we see this breakaway as another milestone in the wider conspiracy to frustrate the chances of a Corbyn government by dark forces with a belligerent agenda in the Middle East and an eye on other juicy targets.

Two years ago I and others were urging Corbyn to detach himself from the Labour Party’s Blairite ‘rump’ that was out to destroy him, to take his huge army of supporters and start a new party with a clean sheet and without the unpleasant baggage that lumbers modern Labour. The process now seems to be happening the other way round. The baggage is leaving.

And the seven desertions are likely to attract more in coming weeks.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Russia remains Ukraine’s key trade partner despite Kiev’s claims of cutting economic ties

RT | February 20, 2019

Despite years of mutual trade restrictions, Russia remained Ukraine’s biggest trade partner in 2018, according to data published by the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

Sales of Russian produce to Ukraine saw 12.3-percent year-on-year growth to US$8.1 billion. That makes Russia the biggest Ukrainian supplier, leaving China, Germany, Belarus, and Poland far behind. At the same time, the Russian market remained a major destination for Ukrainian exports. Ukraine sold $3.7 billion worth of goods to Russia, marking a 7.1 percent increase compared to the previous year.

Moscow suspended the free trade zone deal with Kiev shortly after the Ukrainian government signed an association agreement with the EU. Ukraine was automatically included on Russia’s counter-sanctions list against the EU, introduced by Moscow in 2014 in retaliation to European penalties over re-unification with Crimea and Russia’s alleged military involvement in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

In 2015, Ukraine imposed sanctions on a wide range of food imports from Russia, including meat and fish, coffee, dairy products, chocolate and confectionery, grains, cigarettes, beer, and many others. Last year, Kiev added fertilizers to its endless list of restrictions. In December, the Ukrainian authorities extended the measures for another year. The country also introduced sanctions against several individuals and entities.

In response, Russia banned the import of more than 50 Ukrainian goods, worth $510 million. The Kremlin announced that the restrictions can be lifted if Kiev gives up its own restrictions targeting specific Russian goods.

Despite bilateral restrictions, trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine has been increasing in recent years, with Russia enjoying a significant trade surplus.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Pompeo, Pence & the Alienation of Europe

Pompeo leaving Warsaw. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)
By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | February 19, 2019

What a job Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in Europe last week. If the objective was to worsen an already critical trans–Atlantic rift and further isolate the U.S., they could not have returned to Washington with a better result.

We might have to mark down this foray as among the clumsiest and most abject foreign policy failures since President Donald Trump took office two years ago.

Pence and Pompeo both spoke last Thursday at a U.S.–sponsored gathering in Warsaw supposedly focused on “peace and security in the Middle East.” That turned out to be a euphemism for recruiting the 60–plus nations in attendance into an anti–Iran alliance.

“You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran,” Pompeo said flatly. The only delegates this idea pleased were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and officials from Gulf Arab nations who share an obsession with subverting the Islamic Republic.

Pence went on to the annual security conference in Munich, where he elaborated further on a few of the Trump administration’s favored themes. Among them: The Europeans should ditch the nuclear accord with Iran, the Europeans should cut off trade with Russia, the Europeans should keep components made by Huawei and other Chinese companies out of their communications networks. The Europeans, in short, should recognize America’s global dominance and do as it does; as if it were still, say, 1954.

It is hard to imagine how an American administration can prove time and again so out of step with 21stcentury realities. How could a vice-president and a secretary of state expect to sell such messages to nations plainly opposed to them?

Pounding the Anti-Iran Theme 

Pompeo, who started an “Iran Action Group” after the Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear accord, returned repeatedly to a single theme in his Warsaw presentations. The Iranians, he said, “are a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, and Syria and Iraq. The three H’s—Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah—these are real threats.”

Pence ran a mile with this thought. “At the outset of this historic conference,” he said, “leaders from across the region agreed that the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran.” To be noted: all the “leaders from across the region” in attendance were Sunnis, except for Netanyahu. The major European allies, still furious that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear accord, sent low-level officials and made no speeches.

The European signatories to the Iran accord knew what was coming, surely. While Pence insisted that Britain, France and Germany withdraw from the nuclear pact—“the time has come,” he said—he also criticized the financing mechanism the three set up last month to circumvent the Trump administration’s trade sanctions against Iran. “They call this scheme a ‘special purpose vehicle,’ ” Pence said. “We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

There were plenty of European leaders at the security conference last weekend in Munich, where Pence used the occasion  to consolidate what is beginning to look like an irreparable escalation of trans–Atlantic alienation. After renewing his attack on the Iran agreement’s European signatories, he shifted criticism to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Now under construction, this will be the second undersea pipeline connecting Gazprom, the Russian energy company, to Germany and other European markets. Last month the U.S. renewed threats to sanction German companies working on the $11 billion project. “We cannot strengthen the West by becoming dependent on the East,” Pence said at the security conference Saturday.

These and other remarks in Munich were enough to get Angela Merkel out of her chair to deliver an unusually impassioned speech in defense of the nuclear accord, multilateral cooperation and Europe’s extensive economic relations with Russia. “Geo-strategically,” the German chancellor asserted, “Europe can’t have an interest in cutting off all relations with Russia.”

US Primacy V. Europe’s Future  

Merkel’s speech goes to the core of what was most fundamentally at issue as Pompeo and Pence blundered through Europe last week. There are three questions to consider.

The most obvious of these is Washington’s continued insistence on U.S. primacy in the face of full-frontal resistance even from longstanding allies. “Since day one, President Trump has restored American leadership on the world stage,” Pence declared in Warsaw. And in Munich: “America is stronger than ever before and America is leading on the world stage once again.” His speeches in both cities are filled with hollow assertions such as these—each one underscoring precisely the opposite point: America is fated to continue isolating itself, a little at a time, so long as its leaders remain lost in such clouds of nostalgia.

The other two questions concern Europe and its future. Depending on how these are resolved, a more distant trans–Atlantic alliance will prove inevitable.

First, Europe must soon come to terms with its position on the western flank of the Euro–Asian landmass. Merkel was right: The European powers cannot realistically pretend that an ever-deepening interdependence with Russia is a choice. There is no choice. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as it progresses westward, will make this clearer still.

Second, Europe must develop working accommodations with its periphery, meaning the Middle East and North Africa, for the sake of long-term stability in its neighborhood. The mass migrations from Syria, Libya and elsewhere have made this evident in the most tragic fashion possible. It is to Germany’s and France’s credit that they are now negotiating with Turkey and Russia to develop reconstruction plans for Syria that include a comprehensive political settlement.

As they do so, Washington shows no sign of lifting sanctions against Syria that have been in place for more than eight years. It may, indeed, impose new sanctions on companies participating in reconstruction projects. In effect, this could criminalize Syria’s reconstruction—making the nation another case wherein Europe and the U.S. find themselves at cross purposes.


Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is http://www.patricklawrence.us.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

When is a British Person Not British?

By Craig Murray | February 20, 2019

The attitude to immigrants which is betrayed by the stripping of citizenship from Shamima Begum is truly appalling. A British citizen, born in the UK, is deemed to be a citizen of another country they have never seen, because their immigrant parents came from there. To refuse to accept first generation Britons are Britons, as in Windrush, was bad enough. To claim that second generation Britons are not British, but rather citizens of where their ancestors “came from”, is racism pure and simple.

Begum is not a sympathetic figure. Savid Javid could not have found an easier target for his macho display of vindictiveness, guaranteed to win plaudits from the bigots whose votes Javid needs for his looming Tory leadership bid. Javid knows full well his decision will eventually be overturned by the courts, but he has already achieved his political objective of personal self-aggrandisement.

I do not know everything Begum has personally been doing in Syria and to what extent she has been culpable in any of the crimes of the Saudi backed jihadist group Daesh, originally launched by the CIA as a counterweight to Shia influence in Iraq. Begum, as with other members of the ISIS community in Syria, ought initially to be subject to any legal proceedings by the Syrian authorities on behalf of the Syrian people against whom such dreadful crimes were committed. If of no interest to the Syrian justice system or once any sentence has been completed, she should be returned to the UK and then subject to investigation as to whether any UK crimes were committed. All these processes need to take into account that she arrived in Syria as a minor, has been subject to indoctrination, and may well have severe mental health issues.

In a situation where the government is falling over itself to bring members of the UK-funded jihadist support group the White Helmets to the UK, having no claim to British citizenship; in a situation where jihadist activity in Syria was entirely dependent on finance, supplies and air support from the US, UK, and its Gulf State allies; in a situation where the Royal Navy had evacuated the Manchester bomber en route back to the UK after his Western backed terrorist jaunt in Libya; in a situation where the Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge terrorists all had extensive pre-existing relationships with the British security services; in all these circumstances, the decision to crack down to general applause on a bewildered East London child is a sickening example of the lack of ethics in modern politics.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

US Threats to Venezuelan Military Violate UN Charter – Lavrov

Sputnik – 20.02.2019

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Washington’s threats to Venezuela’s military violated the United Nations Charter, and are representative of direct interference in the state’s internal affairs.

He also stated that Moscow grew worried about developments in Venezuela following US President Donald Trump’s recent statement urging the Venezuelan military to accept opposition leader Juan Guaido’s offer of amnesty.

“We are concerned about what is happening around Venezuela. The threats heard from the US, which are actively supported and stimulated by the Venezuelan opposition, which in fact directly invites external intervention, are certainly a violation of the UN Charter and direct interference in the internal affairs of an independent country,” Lavrov said during a press conference following talks with his Zambian counterpart Joseph Malanji.

Lavrov’s remarks come after US President Donald Trump said on Monday in a speech to Venezuelan Americans in Miami that the military of the Latin American country could either accept opposition leader Juan Guaido’s amnesty offer or “lose everything” as there would otherwise be no way out for them.

On 16 February Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who earlier declared himself the country’s interim president, called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces, supporting President Nicolas Maduro, to change sides, giving the military seven days to do so, in the anticipation of humanitarian aid arrivals to the crisis-hit country. Prior to that, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa said US humanitarian aid could be a trap to be followed by military invasion.

Venezuela has long been facing political turmoil and the situation deteriorated on 23 January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, disputing President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last year. While the United States has openly backed Guaido, the European Union did not issue a joint statement following suit because the motion was vetoed by Italy, according to a diplomatic source. Despite this, however, many European countries have individually voiced their support for the Venezuelan opposition leader.

Russia, China, Mexico, among other nations, voiced support for Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating an attempted coup.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Hispaniola Rising: How the US Coup in Venezuela Is Taking Root in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

For more than a decade Venezuela has aided the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through a preferential system known as Petrocaribe, and the people of those nations are not taking their governments’ support for the US coup in Venezuela lightly.

By Ariel Fornari | MintPress News | February 15, 2019

As Judas betrayed the Son of Man with a kiss for 20 pieces of silver, the institutionally corrupt governments in Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo have written another sad chapter in their nation’s history.

Ironically, it was Venezuela that helped to develop the island’s energy infrastructure in recent years. A key part of this is the REFIDOMSA oil refinery in the Dominican Republic which the Venezuelan government helped to develop and partially owns, and which has also been used to help alleviate increased fuel demands and shortages in Haiti.

For more than a decade Venezuela has aided the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through a preferential system known as Petrocaribe, which provided subsidized crude oil prices to meet the countries critical energy demands.  The Petrocaribe oil agreement, allowed for governments to pay only 60 percent of the oil shipments they purchase from Venezuela. The remaining 40 percent could be financed over 25 years at 1 percent interest, as long as oil prices stayed above $40 per barrel. This allowed for tremendous savings, and money that (according to the agreement) was supposed to be used for socially beneficial purposes.

Countries such as Nicaragua, Jamaica, Cuba, and many islands in the eastern Caribbean have successfully utilized Petrocaribe funds and other Venezuelan support mechanisms, investing in vital infrastructure, education, healthcare, and have used the funding to avoid austerity deals with the IMF and other international financial institutions. Corrupt politicians in Hispaniola, though, whose regimes are closely aligned with Washington, have by contrast become well-known for robbing many of the funds meant for the social needs of their population.

For this reason, the date of January 10, 2019, will go down in the historical memory of the Dominican and Haitian peoples, as an ignominious reminder of the historically aberrant role of the Organization of American States (OAS), when that body was used as a front by neo-conservative policymakers in Washington. It was on that date that the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic voted to no longer recognize Venezuela’s legitimately elected president.

The people of Hispaniola, on both sides of the island, are waking up. They are coming to understand how the political orders in their countries are being managed by Washington and how local corrupt elites are stealing the solidarity funds sent by Venezuela while failing to meet the needs of the local population. Haitians and Dominicans are organizing protests, meeting at homes and schools to discuss what is happening, learning on social media and through news spread over Whats App and Facebook. Hispaniola’s betrayal of Venezuela will not be taken lightly.

The people of Hispaniola know better. They know that it was the U.S., not Venezuela, that twice invaded and occupied the Dominican Republic; they know of the multiple coups and occupations that the U.S. has carried out in Haiti.  The Dominican collective memory still bears the deep scars of the over 2,000 Dominicans that perished during the invasion of Santo Domingo by the U. S. marines in April, 1965. (Dominican historians calculate that the actual figure of deaths including civilians & military during the 1965 invasion & occupation, could have been as high as 5,000). Haitians still march annually protesting the 1991 and 2004 Coup d’états, which cost the lives of so many thousands, as many human rights studies verified, such as a paper in the Lancet Medical Journal that found that upward of 8,000 people were killed as a result of the 2004 coup and pro-US paramilitary violence. A decade prior it was estimated that more than 10,000 were killed in the wake of the 1991 coup.

We need also to remember how the U.S. supported the ruthless Trujillo and Duvalierist dictatorships. We must not forget the first U. S. invasion & occupation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, that took place in the early 20thcentury during the Era of Gunboat Diplomacy in the Central-American and Caribbean Basin.

It is against this compelling & stark historical background, that we are confronted again with tumultuous events in the region, when the U. S. is once more employing the infamous & wholly discredited OAS, in its theatrical charade to lend an air of “legitimacy” to the recent lopsided vote against Venezuela. While 14 of the CARICOM states, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Uruguay, Cuba, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, India, South Africa, and nearly all of the states in mother Africa continue to recognize the elected government, the U.S. has found support from its rightwing and neoliberal allied governments across Latin America, Europe, and in Israel. Shockingly, the Dominican Republic and Haiti joined with the U.S. in denouncing Bolivarian Venezuela.

This eerily reminds some of us old enough to remember, of those similarly turbulent days in the hemisphere during 1962, when an OAS meeting took place in a beach resort known as Punta del Este, Uruguay as Cuba was removed from the body. It was at that OAS meeting, that the legendary Foreign Minister of Cuba Dr. Raul Roa, forever baptized that odious organization as “The Ministry of Yankee Colonies”.

Dominicans won’t accept their government stabbing Caracas in the back

Precisely because of these historical realities that transpired in Hispaniola & the region, vis-à-vis the “Colossus of the North”, the popular movements & social organizations of the Dominican Republic have again assumed their vanguard roles as national leaders, mobilizing throughout the country, reminding the people of the historic legacy serving as background to current events, once again building up the people’s collective consciousness, illustrating that these latest events have not happened in a vacuum.  Within this context, a broad coalition of popular movements & organizations, scheduled a vigil on February 5, 2019, In Santiago, the heart of the northern Cibao region of the country, comprising 13 key provinces which have played a determining role in this country’s history, going back all the way to its independence in the mid 19thCentury.

The deep solidarity bonds of Venezuela towards the Dominican nation can be traced further back in time, when in 1930 the first outflow of Dominican exiles began arriving in the “Patria de Bolivar”, fleeing the U.S. backed Trujillo’s dictatorship. Professor Juan Bosch, a legendary figure of Dominican history & who in 1962 became the first democratically elected President after the fall of Trujillo, arrived in this first contingent of Dominican exiles in Venezuela. Bolivar’s homeland in turn became the safe harbor of patriotic activism against Trujillo, by the Dominican diaspora. This anti-Trujillo militancy from Venezuela became so intense, that the “Satrap of the Caribbean” as Trujillo was sometimes known, ordered an assassination attempt against President Betancourt of Venezuela in 1960. The Dictator Trujillo was finally assassinated in 1961

After the fall of Trujillo & the ascent to power in Dominican Republic of another lackey of U. S. imperialism-President Joaquin Balaguer, whose elections in 1966 were known to have been financed by the U. S. Department of State according to declassified files, over 2,000 Dominican combatants that participated in the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1965, arrived in Venezuela. Afterwards during the re-election of Balaguer in 1971-72, hundreds of Dominicans also migrated to Venezuela.  The situation in D. R. then became so untenable for many Dominicans due to Balaguer’s fierce persecution of opponents, it is estimated upwards of 60,000 of them migrated to Venezuela. Eventually, the Dominican diaspora in Venezuela became the largest migration inflow from the insular Caribbean, up to the ascent to power of Chavez, at which time Cubans began to increasingly arrive in Venezuela, composing in part the core of Chavez’s “Mision Barrio Adentro” massive health clinics projects, in the poor neighborhoods of the country.

In summary, the brotherly hospitality & solidarity afforded to Dominicans in Venezuela, throughout 20thCentury migratory periods, along with the aforementioned fact of Venezuela’s consistent solidarity with Dominican Republic through the generous Petrocaribe oil agreement, this honorable background stands in stark contrast to D. R.’s “Kiss of Judas” vote at the OAS against Venezuela, on January 10, 2019. This “Kiss of Judas” comes at a time when Bolivarian Venezuela faces a mounting economic war undertaken by the U.S. and its allies, compounded by a huge decline in the international price of oil.

With Dominicans aware of their history and learning the truth about the empire’s actions in the region, in the coming months, it appears very likely that the elite consensus in Dominican politics will begin to be shaken, as Danilo Medina faces a crisis of legitimacy.

Jovenel Moïse’s treason and the oncoming tidal wave of resistance

It was Haitians who stood out within our concert of colonized Caribbean nations, as the people which decisively proved in the field of battle, that the very best of Europe could be defeated in war when it finally gained independence from France in 1804. Venezuela’s & Haiti’s history is also intertwined, when in 1816 Petion gave arms, money & men to Bolivar, for the cause of independence of Venezuela, which in turn eventually liberated Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia from imperial Spain.

More recently, during the second Presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Venezuela was one of the only countries which kept providing financial support to the Haitian government as it was embargoed and undermined by the George Bush administration. Furthermore, it was Chavez who was the only Latin American leader who forcefully denounced the 2004 coup against Aristide. Afterwards, during the Preval and then the rightwing Martelly & Moise regimes, Venezuela continued its unconditional solidarity with the people of Haiti, through its Petrocaribe agreement, as well as providing financial assistance for infrastructure projects. Venezuela has never required the conditionalities, nor the political alignment, for its aid, as have the supranational agencies and countries of the north. A true friend.

Regarding Venezuela & Haiti we must remember, that during Chavez’s tenure & following Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution soon thereafter announced Venezuela would “write off” Haiti’s undisclosed oil debts.  At an ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) foreign ministers’ meeting after the earthquake, Chavez remarked that “it wasn’t Haiti that had a debt with Venezuela, but just the opposite Venezuela had a debt with that nation.”  He also mentioned that an initial donation of $10 million would be disbursed to Haiti for emergency energy needs, along with an additional $100 million “for starters” towards infrastructure projects. Additionally, Chavez mentioned, one part of ALBA assistance to Haiti would consist of fuel distribution via “mobile service stations” to be up and running within a few weeks. The ALBA plan of aid for Haiti also included support for such sectors as agriculture production, food imports and distribution, and immigration amnesty for Haitians living illegally in the bloc’s member-states. At that time also, Cuba and Venezuela sent assistance and aid workers to Haiti within days of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that left an estimated 150,000-200,000 dead and more than a million people homeless.

To illustrate that unique internationalist relationship between Venezuela & Haiti, we must witness the Venezolana de Television report of Chavez’s trip to Haiti in 2007,  exemplifying the close emotional bond between these two Caribbean nations, which Chavez in great measure revived as he recuperated its historic memory jogging openly with the peoples of Cite Soleil and Bel Air through the streets of Port-au-Prince. In this report, you will witness the incredible feat of Chavez leaving his vehicle, as he actually joins the joyful masses in Port Au Prince, which are jogging in unison along his motorcade. On the other side of the historical spectrum, when Nixon as Vice President visited Venezuela in 1958 the total opposite occurred at that time. Instead of joyful crowds awaiting Nixon, enraged Venezuelans violently assaulted his limousine, manifesting the people’s rebuke of the U. S.’s close collaboration with the ruthless dictatorship of Perez Jimenez, which had recently ended.

As Moïse’s unpopular government has been caught up in corruption scandals and as complaints grow over the worsening economic situation and a lack of government support for the poor, in recent months the USPGN (Moïse’s own personal security forces) took part in a violent massacre targeting an anti-government slum. With Moïse facing mass protests his government increasingly takes its cues from Washington.

With regards to Jovenel Moïse’s governemnt’s treasonous vote against Venezuela at the OAS, another of its aberrant dimensions was its diametrical position vis-à-vis the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Haiti is a member. CARICOM’s position has been unequivocal in contravention to the virtually neocolonial position of OAS Secretary Almagro, who by all reasonable standards has become a virtual mouthpiece of Uncle Sam at the “Ministry of Yankee Colonies.” CARICOM on the one hand recognizes the legitimacy of President Maduro of Venezuela, while the OAS secretary general Luis Almagro has recognized the so-called “self-proclaimed” interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido.

Haiti has long been in the crosshairs of the Empire and its local proxies. In recent years top elites have sought to restructure the county’s economy and political scene. This has come after the U.S. and its allies have essentially neutralized the country’s sovereignty & independence, heavily influencing, installing regimes, or supporting political processes that relied on heavy vote suppression and years of political disenfranchisement (such as in 2016 with one the lowest percentages of voter participation in the world). This is the same unpopular & corrupt regime, which has been the subject of massive nationwide protests against its misuse of Venezuela’s Petrocaribe funds, starting on August, 2018, and which continually burst out throughout the following months & into February, 2019.

These protests were practically made invisible by Western mainstream media, even as their brutal repression has been well documented by citizen journalists and local grassroots groups.

Hispaniola Rising!

In spite of the backstabbing vote of the corrupt Dominican and Haitian administration’s against Venezuela at the OAS, the people of Hispaniola’s solidarity with Venezuela has been manifest in many ways.

Huge marches backed by many grassroots groups and Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party have called for an end to the foreign occupation and new sovereign elections, while a smaller opposition party Pitit Dessalin has planned demonstrations in support of the legitimacy of President Maduro. Already Haitian paramilitary and police forces are being used to brutally attack these demonstrations.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Hispaniola, on February 17, 2019, a massive demonstration in support of Venezuela is scheduled to take place, at the Parque Independencia of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Student groups and activist circles across the country are being mobilized and are coming to understand the threat that Trump and his neo-con allies present.

In view of all the aforementioned, this writer while not an expert on geopolitics or history, by virtue of the fact of having been born in the Caribbean, & having closely observed its regional history since childhood & comprising many decades, I have reasonably concluded that this recent crisis between Venezuela & the Empire (or the “Colossus of the North”), could perhaps be opening a new threshold in the correlation of forces in the hemisphere, to the point where we could almost start leaning towards the conclusion, that perhaps the United States of America is no longer the absolute master of this hemisphere, say as it was the case prior to the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

What we are witnessing now are key nations such as Venezuela deciding to chart a course in favor of thier own people, implementing the re-foundation of the nation-state, while further steering away from the imperial diktat. At the same time, it is obvious that the Empire while commencing its decline, still exerts plenty of hemispheric muscle, as the treacherous OAS vote of Haiti & Dominican Republic has shown, in spite of Venezuela’s committed and honorable solidarity record with these two sister nations. Informing the younger generations about the history of the U.S. empire in the region, about the role of soft power in the media, and what is happening around the region today is vital. Also vital are creating new bonds and working to unify popular sectors to oppose the plans of Washington and their clients, to once again build south-south bonds and regional development from below.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK: Daniel Finkelstein admits powerful Jews engage in secret political plotting

Diversity Macht Frei | February 20, 2019

Yet another case study in hypocrisy from the Chosen People.

First, here’s an incident they were complaining about a few days ago.

A local Labour party member, Sir Michael Duncan, complains that the “Jewish community plans to attack our party.”

Jews then attacked his party, claiming that his statement that they planned to attack his party was antisemitic and false.

Jew Mike Katz complained:

“Talking about an undemocratic elite, talking about the Jews acting as a whole community to attack the Labour party, that really plays into some of the oldest antisemitic tropes about Jews being conspiratorial, acting in secrecy, as some sort of cult, to try and influence politics”.

Yet top Jew, milord Daniel Finkelstein offered an interesting revelation in a recent Times article as he reflected on the departure of the monstrous Luciana Berger from the Labour party.

The Times :

Yesterday, in modern Britain, a young woman was driven out of Britain’s biggest progressive party by people who hate Jews and by other people who won’t do anything about it. Set against that, so much else just seems blah.

I attend meetings of the Jewish community where we discuss the problem and what to do about it. The room is full of dynamic people used to getting things done. There’s plenty of strength there and determination and brains too. Yet we all feel numb.

Finkelstein made a similar admission about Jewish collective political strategising a few years ago. Of course there were no consequences, just as there will be none now. Danny the Fink (his chosen Twitter handle) won’t lose his job or be accused of promoting “antisemitic tropes” by acknowledging that a clique of powerful Jews meet in secret to plot political change. But poor Sir Michael Duncan, who earned a knighthood by making distinguished contributions to engineering, doing something real, building things, will probably now be chased from his political party by mere artful wordsmiths and manipulators for the crime of noticing that a hostile elite is pursuing an agenda of its own, disconnected from the interests of the country it is living in.

The best illustration of the power of the Jews is that they can tauntingly admit something in one of their own articles one day then destroy your life for pointing it out the next. We are living in an ethno-tyranny.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 2 Comments

What “community standards” did this comment breach? #18

OffGuardian | February 20, 2019

The following comment – posted to twitter by Craig Murray – was censored by The Guardian. Which of the well-publicised CiF “community standards” did they breach?

Removed comment, posted under this live news feed earlier today:

Screen shot of where it used to be:

For those of you unfamiliar with the video Craig linked to, or the story connected with it: In 2017 Joan Ryan MP was secretly recorded having conversations with employees of the Israeli embassy, in which she appeared to be accepting large amounts of money in order to influence other MPs.:

This recording was released as part of the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby. In the same documentary is this clip where an Israeli embassy employee discusses a plan to “take down” Jeremy Corbyn.

Seven of the eight (so far) Labour defectors were members of the Labour Friends of Israel. Joan Ryan was the chair.

But back to Craig’s comment, and its removal: Which of the Guardian’s “community standards” did it break?

  • Does it “misrepresent the Guardian and its journalists”?
  • Is it “persistent trolling or mindless abuse”?
  • Is it “spam-like”? Or “obviously commercial”?
  • Is it “racism, sexism, homophobia or hate-speech”?
  • Is it “extremely offensive of threatening?”?
  • Is it “flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations”?
  • Is it not “relevant”?

If none of the above – why was it taken down?

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 4 Comments