Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Russia isn’t just mapping Ireland’s internet cables – it’s planning to INVADE, foams Cold-War-revivalist DC think tank

A ‘top secret’ interactive map showing all undersea internet cables landing in Ireland © TeleGeography
By Helen Buyniski | RT | February 21, 2020

Russia is poised to invade Ireland and seize control of global communications, according to a crew of Cold War relics and professional Russophobes who’ve taken an already absurd James Bond-esque story and doubled down on it.

Ireland’s status as “a vital telecommunications and logistics hub linking North America and Europe” has made it an irresistible prize to “the Putin regime,” according to a bizarre paper published on Wednesday by the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank. Russia isn’t just lusting after Ireland’s burgeoning crop of tech firms, or its forest of undersea communications cables, the group argues – it’s actively plotting to invade the Emerald Isle.

The unhinged plot apparently derives from a story published last weekend in the Irish Times, which warned – citing the usual anonymous sources in the Garda and the military – that Russian spies were observed last year mapping out the precise location of the transatlantic ocean-bed cables that form the backbone of global communications in preparation for “future tapping or even damage.”

While that gripping saga could be deflated with a quick look at one of Ireland’s own government websites, which posts the exact latitude and longitude of those cables for all to see, it clearly lit a fire under the senescent Cold War hawks at the CSP.

Not content to let the Irish lie awake in their beds with visions of Russian divers – or better yet, weaponized beluga whales – dancing in their heads, this Strangelovian bunch let their imaginations run wild.

“The neutral republic of Ireland has no military allies, so a Russian attack would not invoke NATO’s Article 5 provision on collective defense,” writer J Michael Waller salivated, as if Ireland’s neighbors – or the US, for that matter – would sit by and twiddle their thumbs if the country was invaded by Russia, or anyone else, for want of treaty obligations!

“Russia would meet little resistance were it to take over Irish deep-water ports, occupy the vital Shannon airport, and physically control or cut trans-Atlantic undersea cable network that keeps the world economy running.”

Wait, what? Well, Ireland has had issues funding its military, Waller explains. Worse, it simply “doesn’t have a counterintelligence capability,” according to Royal United Services Institute fellow Mark Galeotti, whom Waller quotes in his comments to the Times.

Galeotti, who once midwifed the ‘Gerasimov doctrine’ hoax into existence, only admitting it didn’t exist after a generation of excitable Russophobes had run with it, warned about the fate facing Ireland should it not… hire a private security company to guard all the tech firms who’ve set up shop there because of comparatively friendly tax laws? Train their own team of killer whales to guard the cables? Join NATO?! It’s not clear what, exactly, the famously-neutral Ireland is supposed to do about this looming Kremlin takeover.

Nor was CSP the only group of Cold War revivalists to take the Times story as proof they had been on the right track with their obsession. A mysterious “pro-NATO” Twitter account calling itself GorseFires Collectif has been “warning since 2014 about Russian General Staff planning efforts & GRU interest regarding strategic assets in Ireland,” it reminded its followers after the story was published, dredging up several years’ worth of tweets that all predicted a Russian invasion was just around the corner and warning Irish authorities that a “Ukraine in 2014” situation could arise at any moment… whatever that means.

And a real-life invasion is only part of the dastardly Russians’ plans for little old Ireland, the CSP warns: “even without invading, Russia is using Ireland to tap into the trans-Atlantic undersea cable network and burrow into Dublin-based tech companies.” Evidence? Who needs evidence, when you’re keeping the world safe for democracy? With such a national-security emergency on their hands, Ireland would have to be downright suicidal not to leap into the waiting arms of its knight in shining NATO armor…

Follow Helen Buyniski on Twitter @velocirapture23

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 2 Comments

U.S. Intel Briefs Bernie Sanders That Russia is Trying to Boost His Presidential Run

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | February 21, 2020

“It’s like a nightmare, isn’t it? It just keeps getting worse and worse.”
– Grady Seasons in The Color of Money

Just when you thought America would eventually get over its addiction to scapegoating The Russians!™ for helping any anti-establishment or political outsider to get elected, there they go again.

As I predicted earlier this morning, it was only a question of time before the US establishment would blame those dastardly Russians for Bernie Sanders double-digit lead in national polls.

It was only yesterday, when we learned how the “IC” aka the vaunted Intelligence Community (a verified oxymoron at this point) has finally decided that the Russians are already active behind the scenes trying to swing the 2020 US Presidential Election in favor of President Trump.

Then 24 hours later the great paragon of honest journalism, the Washington Post, then tells us that intelligence officials have briefed Senator Bernie Sanders about how Russia is attempting to elevate his presidential campaign (no actual specifics were given, only a gut feeling we’re told) as part of a grand plot to “interfere with the Democratic contest.”

Of course, the Post’s source for this ‘bombshell’ was no one specific, just “according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.”

How reassuring. It must be true then.

So basically, this means that it’s now open season on Sanders – in the debates, with rude and cynical questions from CNN moderators, and imbecile questions from the likes of Chuck Todd. Soon Sanders will have no choice but to accept a media spot on Fox News. His Democratic primary competitors are all struggling for traction, so you expect they will take advantage of this latest psy-op.

Just when you thought American politics and mainstream media couldn’t sink any lower into the banal, anti-intellectual quicksand of RussiaGate, they seem to have done it again.

Even sadder than the realization that America’s media has fallen off the cliff of sanity, is how Bernie Sanders himself appears to have swallowed the RussiaGate hoax rhetoric hook, line and sinker. If anyone wants to see a sneak preview of how Bernie might perform as President in the face of US intelligence agencies dictating their worldview to the White House, you needn’t look any further than this tawdry vignette.

Warning, you are about to experience some seriously painful reading.

Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post had to stick no less than FOUR different names on this story to launder it and spread the blame around when the paper eventually is forced to admit this is 100% pure fake news….

Washington Post : Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Trump-Kushner “Peace” Plan ignores elephants in the room: Israel created this mess

The Trump-Kushner ‘Peace’ Plan is slick and businesslike, with an aura of objectivity and balance – but it’s exactly the opposite, and something about it stinks.

Trump-Kushner “Peace” Plan ignores elephants in the room: Israel created this mess

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump are always accompanied by their shared comfort animal, the elephant in the room (Photo-collage by If Americans Knew)
By Kathryn Shihadah  –  If Americans Knew – February 21, 2020

There is a giant herd of elephants circling the Trump-Kushner Peace Plan, and they’re not going away. The fragrance of pachyderms is unmistakable, but Trump administration, the Netanyahu government, and Israel partisans have decades of experience in ignoring whatever is inconvenient to their agendas.

That unmistakable throng of elephants is the disenfranchisement and subjugation of the Palestinian people that has gone for a hundred years, and is presently so flagrant that numerous human rights organizations and experts have called it apartheid.

And while the Trump administration claims it wants a future of peace, this Plan will not bring peace.

Because, elephants.

Elephants from the get-go

Shortly after the Plan’s release, Kushner boasted on Fox & Friends, “This is an 80 page proposal, with a map. Never been done before.” Pachyderm prints are on every page (and the map), starting with the very first sentence:

“Israelis and Palestinians have both suffered greatly from their long-standing and seemingly interminable conflict.”

To start the document with this statement is to ignore a fundamental truth: the creation of Israel – the Zionist project – wreaked havoc on the people of Palestine, and continues to do so today.

Yes, both sides have suffered, but only one side has lost its homeland, lived under decades of injustice and oppression, and is being slowly starved and poisoned.

“Since 1946, there have been close to 700 United Nations General Assembly resolutions and over 100 United Nations Security Council resolutions in connection with this conflict.”

Missing factoid: Almost every one of the 800+ resolutions (Kushner left out 45 UN Human Rights Council resolutions) connected with this conflict, was critical of Israeli policies and actions that defied international law.

“These resolutions have not brought about peace.”

The resolutions have not brought about peace because (elephant alert) Israel has defied every one of them.

No peace, only elephantsElephants in basic assumptions: Palestinians “need” the Plan

The basic premise on which the Trump-Kushner Plan is based shows disdain for fundamental facts:

Palestinian society is languishing because of Israel’s policies – not some deficiency in Palestinians or their leadership.

Blaming Palestinian resistance

“For comprehensive peace to be achieved, it is up to the Palestinian people to make clear that they reject the ideologies of destruction, terror and conflict.”

Palestinian people aren’t committed to conflict – they are committed to resistance against occupation and apartheid (resistance is legal, but occupation and apartheid are illegal). For comprehensive peace to be achieved, Israel must abandon the elephants of discrimination and violence, and adhere to international law.

Blaming Palestinian backwardness

“The economic plan will empower the Palestinian people to build the society that they have aspired to establish for generations. It will allow Palestinians to realize a better future and pursue their dreams…By developing property and contract rights, the rule of law, anti-corruption measures, capital markets, a pro-growth tax structure, and a low-tariff scheme with reduced trade barriers, this initiative envisions policy reforms coupled with strategic infrastructure investments that will improve the business environment and stimulate private-sector growth.”

This suggests that the Palestinian people have been unable to build a great society because they lack a pro-growth tax structure and other first-world, art-of-the-deal schemes. While Kushner’s words dazzle, they ignore the myriad, incessant turmoil and economic hardship created by occupation, apartheid, and blockade. Israel has initiated wars, withheld food and medicine, and traumatized generations of Palestinians.

A 2016 publication by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) noted:

The relationship between the Israeli economy and that of the Occupied Palestinian Territory remains that of two dissimilar and unequal economies, whereby the large, dominant economy practices policies that keep the small economy weak and dependent…depriving the Palestinian people of their ability to produce and, in the process, cultivating a dependence on the Israeli economy and donor aid.

Without the occupation, the Palestinian economy could easily produce twice the GDP it currently generates, while the chronic trade and budget deficits, as well as poverty and unemployment, could recede and the economic dependence on Israel could end.

The elephant of occupation: Palestinian men line up at the Eyal checkpoint (one of about 150) in the northern occupied West Bank city of Qalqiliya. Thousands of Palestinian men arrive at the checkpoint before dawn due to the long delays that keep them waiting for hours as they attempt to enter Israel for work. (Daniel Tepper)
Blaming Palestinian ineptness/laziness

“This Vision has been developed to reduce over time the Palestinians’ dependence on aid from the international community.”

Palestinians have been aid-dependent because farmers have been restricted access to their fields, fishermen the sea, and workers their jobs; Israel has collected taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and then refused to hand funds over; Israel denies access to needed medicines, building supplies, and parts to repair crucial equipment like power plants and flour mills; and Israel has often destroyed or confiscated items that were donated to the Palestinian people.

UNCTAD reported in 2019 that between 2000 and 2017, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank cost the Palestinian people approximately $47.7 billion – over $2.5 billion a year. As Israel controls agriculture (more below), exports, natural resources, and tourism, it deliberately siphons money away from the Palestinian economy and into its own coffers.

The way to reduce Palestinians’ dependence on aid is to free them from occupation and blockade so they can work and produce, instead of standing at checkpoints and fighting a system that is stacked against them.

Blaming Hamas

“Gaza has tremendous potential but is currently held hostage by…terrorist organizations committed to Israel’s destruction… [that are] fueling a war machine of thousands of rockets and missiles, dozens of terror tunnels and other lethal capabilities… Gaza is run by terrorists who provoke confrontations that lead to more destruction and suffering for the people of Gaza…

As a result of Hamas’ terror and misrule, the people of Gaza suffer from massive unemployment, widespread poverty, drastic shortages of electricity and potable water, and other problems that threaten to precipitate a wholesale humanitarian crisis.”

While Hamas’ rule leaves much to be desired, Hamas is not the cause of Gaza’s humanitarian crisis. Gaza is under a brutal blockade because its people dare to resist the de facto occupation of their land. Some militants shoot mostly-homemade rockets toward Israel in defiance – these “lethal” rockets (which began after Israeli violence) have killed about 50 Israelis in 19 years, while Israel’s army (the most powerful in the Middle East) has killed over 7,000 Gazan Palestinians in the same time period and at least 461 West Bankers and East Jerusalemites.

Elephant of disproportionate force: Scene of destruction in Gaza during Israel’s 2014 invasion, in which 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed. (Jehad Saftawi/IMEU)

In the rush to demonize Hamas, Israel and its supporters (including Jared Kushner) once again disregard inconvenient facts: Hamas’ efforts are nothing more or less than resistance against oppressive, illegal Israeli policies; Hamas operations have been restrained; and – contrary to Israeli hype – its actions are not provocations but responses to Israeli provocation (not the least of which is the catastrophic blockade); Hamas has on multiple occasions offered long-term ceasefire deals, to which Israel has responded with violence; and most brokered ceasefires (79%) have been broken by Israel.

Hamas and other resistance groups’ actions have been less deadly than Israel’s by a large margin. Witness these statistics from Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem:

“Peacetime,” Sept 2000 – Dec 2008

  •  136 Israelis killed (14 by rockets)
  •  3,000 Gazans killed

Israeli incursion into Gaza, 2008-9 (“to stop rockets”)

  • 9 Israelis killed (4 by rockets)
  • 1400 Palestinians killed

“Peacetime,” 2009-2012

  • 3 Israelis killed (by rockets)
  • 291 Palestinians killed

Israeli incursion into Gaza, 2012 (“to stop rockets”)

  • 6 Israelis killed (by rockets)
  • 174 Palestinians killed

“Peacetime,” 2012-14

  • 1 Israeli killed (not by a rocket)
  • 27 Palestinians killed

Israeli incursion into Gaza, 2014 (“to stop rockets”)

  • 72 Israelis killed (17 by rockets)
  • 2,200 Palestinians killed

Gaza/Israel since 2014

  • 5 Israelis killed (1 by Gazan sniper, 4 by rockets)
  • over 400 Gazans killed (most by Israeli snipers)

It is perhaps not surprising that multiple human rights organizations have placed the blame for the humanitarian crisis squarely on Israel’s shoulders.

For a Timeline of deaths in the conflict go here.

No peace, only elephantsElephants in basic expectations of the “Peace” Plan

Basic expectations of the Kushner Plan are unsound, blatantly partisan, and tell only the convenient parts of the story:

There will be no population transfer

“Peace should not demand the uprooting of people – Arab or Jew – from their homes. Such a construct, which is more likely to lead to civil unrest, runs counter to the idea of co-existence.”

This is a handy position to take after Israel has illegally transferred 600,000 Jews onto West Bank and East Jerusalem land stolen from Palestinians. “No population transfer” would have been a useful policy in 1948, to stop the Zionist army from depopulating hundreds of Palestinian villages and exiling 750,000 Palestinians, and then refusing to allow them to return. Transfer of population into occupied territory has been against international law since the Fourth Geneva Convention was ratified in 1949.

The transfer of Israeli Jews from their settlements back to Israel (also stolen) no doubt would cause “civil unrest,” but it was a grave error to position them in someone else’s land to begin with.

As an aside, when Palestinians participated in civil unrest circa 1939, protesting British rule and the population transfer of Jews into Palestine, they were brutally suppressed. In 1987, Israeli soldiers employed “force, might, and beatings,” in addition to live ammunition to subdue unarmed demonstrations against the occupation. The Great March of Return in Gaza, a massive and ongoing peaceful protest, has been answered with sniper fire. When Palestinians are the ones with grievances, no attempt is made to appease and avoid civil unrest.

Elephant of brute force in the Great March of Return: Palestinian protesters flee as Israeli forces shoot tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and live ammunition along the border with the Gaza Strip on May 4, 2018. Palestinians were demonstrating against the illegal Israeli blockade, then in its eleventh year. The blockade, the protest, and Israel’s violent repression are ongoing. ((Mahmud Hams / AFP/Getty Images))
Israel will sacrifice historical claims

“This Vision provides for the transfer of sizable territory by the State of Israel [to the Palestinians] – territory to which Israel has asserted valid legal and historical claims, and which are part of the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people — which must be considered a significant concession.”

This statement completely ignores Palestinians’ legal and historical claims to the land – their ancestral homeland. And while the claim of Jewish Israelis is based on a religious document and a short-lived mini kingdom 3,000 years ago, Palestinians have lived on the land recently enough to have Ottoman-era ownership records and deeds. Meanwhile, Israel controls all of the land. A large number of Palestinians have expressed willingness to settle for just 22% of what was once theirs. Is this not a significant concession on the part of Palestinians?

Of course, resolving a problem with these complexities isn’t easy, but no resolution will be valid when the arbiter is disingenuous.

Normalization as a starting point

“Since the moment of its establishment, the State of Israel has not known a single day of peace with all of its neighbors…The United States will strongly encourage Arab countries to begin to normalize their relations with the State of Israel…These countries are expected to end any boycott of the State of Israel and oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (commonly referred to as BDS) movement and any other effort to boycott the State of Israel.”

The statement that “Israel has not known a single day of peace with all of its neighbors” provokes another elephant alert: Israel started or caused its wars (Israel launched the Six Day War, the 1973 war was waged by countries trying to regain land that Israel had unlawfully taken over, and Israel has invaded Lebanon several times). In addition, both Jordan and Egypt recognized Israel long ago.

Ordering Arab neighbors to normalize relations with Israel in the current environment overlooks the legitimate reasons for the global BDS movement: Israel’s noncompliance with international law (not anti-Semitism).

Conflict with Israel’s neighbors was inevitable since the state was created on land belonging to another people group, who were pushed out to become a burden on their neighbors.

First Israel must make the appropriate changes. Then its neighbors – and the world – may consider normalizing relations.

No peace, only elephantsElephants in the education plan

“The [education] initiative will empower the Palestinian people to realize their ambitions. Through new data-driven, outcomes-based education options at home, expanded online education platforms, increased vocational and technical training… students can fulfill their academic goals and be prepared for the workforce.”

Again, the Trump-Kushner plan neglects the true reason why Palestinians can’t “realize their ambitions.” Under occupation, students often can’t get past checkpoints in time for classes; school days are regularly interrupted by Israeli military tear gas attacks or invasions, followed by arrests of students and/or teachers; a huge number of students have been traumatized by Israeli violence.

Against the odds, Palestinians have among the highest literacy rates in the world, and Gaza has one of the highest rates of PhD holders per capita in the world.

“While Palestinians have among the highest graduation rates in the region, many Palestinian schools are stretched beyond their capacity, with too few teachers and classrooms to support their students.”

In this statement, the Plan glosses over the fact that Palestinian students are succeeding at an impressive rate under impossible conditions. Their academic achievements should lead to a prosperous society, but it does not – because of the elephants.

The statement also fails to mention that overcrowding is due to Israeli forces’ regular practice of demolishing and refusing building permits for West Bank schools. In Gaza, over half of the schools were damaged during an Israeli assault in 2014 – and many are still not rebuilt, since Israel regularly blocks the delivery of construction materials.

Elephant of Israeli bombing of schools: Palestinians go through the rubble in a classroom at the Abu Hussein UN school in Jebaliya refugee camp which was hit by an Israeli tank strike, 2014. (AP)

“Unfortunately, Palestinians currently experience one of the highest youth-unemployment rates in the world… By providing the Palestinian public sector with policy advice on best practices, encouraging private-sector attention to this problem, and promoting a comprehensive strategy to empower youth and women, more women and youth will join the Palestinian labor force.”

Senior Advisor Kushner is under the impression that Palestinians can’t flip their graduates into successful careers because they need foreign billionaires to give them advice. This is the height of arrogance.

No peace, only elephantsElephants in the agriculture plan

“While agriculture accounts for approximately eight percent of Palestinian employment, this sector has not met its potential due to limited access of Palestinian farmers to land, water, and technology. An improved business environment in the West Bank and Gaza and access to more land will create an enormous opportunity for farmers to expand their operations.”

Why in the world would Palestinian farmers have “limited access” to their own land? It’s a simple question with a simple answer: Israel has built a wall that separates farmers from much of their farmland.  The International Court of Justice declared the wall illegal in 2004 (when it was less than half built) and ordered it torn down. In spite of this, Israel has continued construction along a route that effectively severs Palestinians from the nearly 10% of West Bank land – much of it agricultural – that lies outside the wall.

Elephant of essential imprisonment: A portion of the separation wall near Qalqiliya (Reinhart Krause, Reuters)

A 2016 publication by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) noted some of the measurable effects of the occupation on Palestinian agriculture:

Since the onset of the occupation in 1967, the Palestinian people have lost access to more than 60 per cent of West Bank land and two thirds of its grazing land. In Gaza, half of the cultivable area and 85 per cent of fishery resources are inaccessible to Palestinian producers…

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports that inside the wall, the Israeli expropriation for expanding illegal Israeli settlements and Jewish-only roads “includ[es] the most fertile and best grazing land.”

For those Palestinians who are able to access their land during the harvest season, much or all of their crops can be lost “due to violence and threats by settlers” – who are aided and abetted by the Israeli military.

Up to 1 million olive trees and 2.5 million fruit trees have been uprooted since 1967, many due to illegal Israeli settlement expansion and the construction of the wall, others as a form of vandalism.

All told, the occupation caused a drop in agricultural sector from over half of the Palestinian GDP prior to 1967, to just 6% by 2012.

In addition, Israeli military and illegal settlers destroy or vandalize infrastructure, buildings, and water systems, and the Israeli government restricts the import of fertilizers, seedlings, and certain types of livestock, ensuring “that most of the advantages present in the Israeli agricultural sector are beyond the reach of Palestinian farmers.”

Again, the assistance Palestinians need is not advice from billionaires, but freedom from Israeli domination and oppression.

No peace, only elephantsElephants in the water and wastewater plan

“The parties [must] recognize mutual water rights… [s]hared aquifers… and jointly seek to provide easily available, reasonably priced water to both parties.”

The wording in this statement suggests that Israel and the Palestinians endure roughly equal water hardship and suffer from exorbitant prices.

In reality, one of the “parties” already has more than enough water, the other too little, too expensive, and too toxic. Again, UNCTAD spells out the cause:

Palestinian farmers are denied the right to construct wells to meet the growing demand for water, even when that water originates almost entirely in the West Bank… [O]rganizations, such as Oxfam, report that Palestinian assets, including sources of water, have often been vandalized by Israeli settlers…

Environmental degradation is also caused by settlers, through the discharge of untreated wastewater into nearby wadis and release of solid domestic and industrial waste from settlements onto Palestinian lands. In addition, several incidents of dumping of hazardous and toxic waste in the West Bank have been documented.

Israel confiscates 82% of Palestinian groundwater for its own use or that of its settlers, piping it efficiently to Israelis, but avoiding Palestinian villages. Many poor Palestinian families spend up to 40% of their meagre income on trucked-in, high-priced water.

In addition, the Israeli military routinely destroys Palestinians’ own water pipes and wells. And as a variation on the theme, the Israeli military uses skunk water to break up protests or as collective punishment. (some US police forces have imported the product).

In Gaza, the situation is even more dire, with 97% of its water unfit for human consumption, thanks in great part to Israeli restrictions on import of supplies needed for wastewater treatment.

Israeli forces sprayed skunk water on children, homes and streets in the Qitoun neighbourhood of Hebron on two school days in the first week of November, 2015. (www.cptpalestine.com)

No peace, only elephantsElephants in the healthcare plan

“The [healthcare] program will provide new resources and incentives to transform the Palestinian healthcare sector and ensure the Palestinian people have access to the care they need within the West Bank and Gaza. This program will rapidly increase the capacity of Palestinian hospitals by ensuring that they have the supplies, medicines, vaccines, and equipment to provide top-quality care and protect against health emergencies.”

Once again, the Kushner Plan insinuates that Palestinians lack proper health care because they lack enlightenment or competence.

In reality, the healthcare sector in Gaza is in disarray because hospitals have been bombed, medicines and equipment have been withheld by the blockade, and huge numbers of critically wounded people seek medical help – many with devastating injuries from Israeli weapons that are likely illegal. Over the years, the Israeli military has shown a pattern of denying Palestinian women in labor permission to go to the hospital; Israeli soldiers chase away ambulances (even from small children), ultimately leaving Palestinians to die.

To top it off, the Trump administration recently cut off aid to hospitals in East Jerusalem.

These are some of the factors that have caused an infant mortality rate in the Palestinian territories of 18.8 per 1,000 births (in Israel mortality is 3.7/1,000), and an average life expectancy for Palestinians of 74 (vs. 83 for Israelis).

No peace, only elephantsElephants in the sports and athletics plan

“[S]ports and athletics can help Palestinian youth foster new ties…and Palestinian teams can be a source of entertainment and pride for all Palestinians. This project will expand options for competitive, healthy activities for Palestinians through the construction of public athletic facilities in the West Bank and Gaza. This project seeks to inspire the next generation of Palestinian athletes dreaming to be on, and training for, future Palestinian teams competing on the world stage.”

Sports and competition are already in the hearts of Palestinians – they don’t need Jared Kushner to inspire them. What they do need is an end to the occupation that denies them permits to participate in events, holds them back from competing in the Olympics, and maims their bodies. Even children playing soccer on the beach are unsafe under Israeli oppression.

The Palestine Amputee Football Association, with multiple teams in Gaza, aims to play at international level. Gaza is home to a disproportionate number of amputees, many of whom lost their limbs because Gaza’s medical facilities are strained and patients are often denied permits to leave Gaza for further treatment. (cdni.rt.com)

No peace, only elephantsElephants in the transportation plan

“[Palestinians face] transportation challenges. The lack of ports has raised the costs of Palestinian economic activity. Though the State of Palestine will include Gaza, security challenges make the building of a port in Gaza problematic for the foreseeable future.”

This notion is illegal according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Gaza has 25 miles of shoreline, but the Israeli-American coalition would forbid Palestinians from building a port. This is not how self-determination and sovereignty work. The Plan would essentially enforce the devastating, 13-year-old, illegal blockade, and license the now 53-year de facto occupation, as Israel would control all Palestinian imports and exports.

Conclusion

“Generations of Palestinians have lived without knowing peace, and the West Bank and Gaza have fallen into a protracted crisis.”

Did Palestinian bad luck cause them to “fall” into a “protracted crisis”? No, Palestinians have had a protracted crisis forced upon them – by Israel. They have resisted in every way they know how, but to no avail.

Reading the Kushner Plan, one would never know that the devastation, the desolation within Palestinian society was created by Israel. In 181 pages and a map, there is no acknowledgement  that the Zionist project brought great injustice to generations of Palestinians.

“Yet the Palestinian story will not end here. The Palestinian people continue their historic endeavor to build a better future for their children.”

Correct: Palestinians have endeavored for generations to build a future that includes justice, freedom, and equality – and they have no intention of giving up.

“If implemented, Peace to Prosperity will empower the Palestinian people to build the society that they have aspired to establish for generations. “

Incorrect: Palestinians don’t need a plan imposed on them by Western businessmen – they need justice, freedom, and equality, which Israel has steadfastly withheld.

“Ultimately, however, the power to unlock it lies in the hands of the Palestinian people. Only through peace can the Palestinians achieve prosperity.”

A better statement might be, “Only through justice can there be peace and prosperity. Israel and the US have the power to bring justice.”

“While the vision is ambitious, it is achievable. The future of the Palestinians is one of huge promise and potential. The Palestinian story does not end here. Their story is just being written.”

The story is just being written…by a partisan, privileged group that has nothing but disdain for the Palestinian people. They promise no peace, only more elephants.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu between the Nakba Arabs and the Arabs who are a joke

By Wael Qandil | Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed | February 21, 2020

The Arabs agreed in 1948 on the decision to form combat groups against the Zionist colonisation of the land of Palestine, which was known as the Nakba. Exactly 72 years later, the Arabs seem closer to form a united combat force to fight those rejecting the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.

It does not seem that the joke recently posted by a sarcastic Twitter activist about Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of the Palestinian people’s actions against the Israeli occupation will remain a joke for long, as all of the facts and indications say that the Arab capitals are very close to taking measures against those who refuse normalisation and the “deal of the century”. The Arab leaders’ patience is running out with the Palestinian resistance factions, who are disturbing the relationship between these leaders and Israel.

Matters rushing in this direction is not a new phenomena. It was announced and put into effect at least five years ago and many are competing to serve this. They are not ashamed to voice their approval of Israel’s leadership in the region and the first to voice this was General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who is loved and supported by all Zionists, especially their rabbis and generals.

More than four years ago, the right-wing Zionist newspaper Makor Rishon revealed that Al-Sisi confirmed, before the leaders of the American Jewish organisations, his admiration for Netanyahu’s personality and leadership capabilities. The newspaper’s correspondent, Zvika Klein, wrote that the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations in the United States informed Netanyahu during their meeting with him, on the side-lines of a meeting organised by the committee in occupied Jerusalem, that Al-Sisi told them that Netanyahu is “a leader with great powers that help him not only lead his country, but also could propel the region – even the world – forward.”

Well, here is the ruling general of the oldest Arab sister stripping his country of leadership of the region and giving it to Israel/Netanyahu to succeed him. Following in his footsteps is Mohammad Bin Salman, Saudi crown prince, who learned from Al-Sisi how to reach power through Israel. The story begins with hosting Trump and his family in Riyadh in order to establish the “moderate” alliance, the idea of which was proposed, formulated and developed years ago by Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump then leaves Saudi Arabia with more than $450 billion and lands in occupied Jerusalem wearing a skullcap.

In 2018, in anticipation of Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the Dhahran Summit, the Saudi crown prince held an interview with America’s Atlantic magazine, in which he announced a vision completely aligned with Israel’s for the Middle East according to extremist rabbis, violent generals and the Knesset hawks and doves. He spread his free kisses and gifts by stating that he was surrounded by enemies except for Israel and the so-called “axis of moderation” made up of the four parties that besieged Qatar. He said: “We are in an area not surrounded by Mexico, Canada, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We have ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, and even pirates.”

This insight took a practical form when Al-Riyadh newspaper, the mouthpiece of the government, stated, before the summit opening: “Today, the Arabs have no choice but to reconcile with Israel, to sign a comprehensive peace agreement, to devote themselves to confronting the Iranian project in the region and its nuclear program, and to put an end to its interference in Arab affairs. This is an option that cannot be delayed with any justification, even [accusations of] bargaining with and auctioning the Palestinian cause, because Iran poses a direct threat to all.”

Thus, without vagueness, and very early on, the capitals of the two largest Arab countries delivered the badge and cloak of leadership to Israel, until we reached a stage where Benjamin Netanyahu was authorised, alone, to speak about the pilgrimage trips from Israel to Saudi airports, promising that the Israelis will fly in the skies of Saudi Arabia soon. It is at this same stage that the Egyptian military man may find himself entrusted with the war against the Palestinian people, if the gas pipeline from the occupation to Egypt is damaged or endangered, when an uprising breaks out in the areas the pipeline passes through.

What misery awaits a nation that clashes with itself over who will serve its enemy more?

Translation by MEMO.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crippling lockdown on Kashmir surpasses 200 days

By Javed Rana – Press TV – February 21, 2020

The crippling security and communications lockdown in the Muslim-majority Indian disputed Kashmir region has entered its 200 days. Nearly 900,000 military and paramilitary troops are deployed to prevent mass agitation since August 5 last year when New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status and forcibly annexed it into India.

The controversial merger of the disputed territory was in defiance of eleven UN Security Council resolutions which call for a plebiscite to allow Kashmiris to decide on whether they want to stay with India or join Pakistan.

Since then, the top Kashmiri leaders including three former chief ministers have been imprisoned. In their absence, the second tier leaders held press conference in Islamabad to inform the world of what India seeks to hide.

India has banned the entry of independent journalists, human rights activists, observers and even many western politicians from entering into disputed Kashmir region.

Kashmiri leaders believe that the Indian government has been deliberately crippling the economy to create adverse conditions for Kashmiris to force them to sell their properties to Hindu businessmen. This, they say, is aimed at altering the demography of the Muslim-majority state.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Iraq regime needs to be changed again, argues ex-aide for Cheney and Bolton… referring to something he helped to install

RT | February 21, 2020

Baghdad’s ruling class is beyond saving, so it’s time to scrap it in its entirety, believes a neocon pundit who served in the Bush administration. What was the saying about doing the same thing and hoping for different results?

Things are really bad in Iraq these days. There are mass protests, where young people demand democracy, an end to corruption and that Iranians go back to their country. But Iranians have been “imperially usurping the authority of Iraq’s elected leaders,” and now “the rot of Iranian penetration” has rendered the entire Iraqi ruling class beyond saving. They need to go, and the US has things to do.

That’s the premise of an op-ed published by Foreign Policy magazine under the title ‘Iraq Needs Regime Change Again’. The author is John Hannah, a neoconservative pundit with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. During the George W Bush era, Hannah worked as an aide to mustached arch-hawk John Bolton before moving to the team of Vice President Dick Cheney. A few years ago, he was part of Donald Trump’s transition team.

With credentials like these, Hannah’s position is unsurprising, but his line of reasoning gives a good insight into the kind of gaslighting and wishful thinking feeding US Middle East policy.

Take, for example, his description of events leading to the US’s assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). PMF launched rocket attacks against facilities hosting US forces and killed a US contractor, thus “crossing an unambiguous red line.” After the US retaliated, the Iraqi government allowed “a mob” to “lay siege” to the US embassy in Baghdad, where “heavily armed but outnumbered US Marines steeled themselves to repel a potential assault a la Tehran in 1979 or Benghazi in 2012.” And then the US was “forced into the position of droning convoys on major Baghdad highways carrying senior Iraqi and Iranian military commanders openly conspiring to attack US interests.”

So, Washington is pretty much a victim here! Never mind, for instance, Israeli airstrikes at PMF bases in Iraq, which have been killing Iraqis since July 2019. Or the fact that the embassy ‘siege’ resulted in zero casualties on the American side.

Hannah’s plan for the proposed new regime change doesn’t seem to include any Shock and Awe-style action. Instead, Washington should “invest less in the Iraqi government and more in the [anti-government] protest movement”. The protesters are “an historic challenge to all that Iran has perpetrated in Iraq”, he argues, and while they “have no love lost for an America that they blame for saddling them after 2003 with a botched occupation and a failed political system,” they are secretly somewhat pro-American.

“After the targeted killings of Soleimani and Muhandis, the protesters did make a point of coupling their standard chant of ‘No, no Iran’ with ‘No, no America.’ But talk to them confidentially and they will admit that including the United States is largely a means of reducing the risk of being attacked by Iran’s unforgiving proxies,” he wrote. Or, to cite Hannah’s former boss, “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

The big goal for Hannah is “banishing Iraq’s current crop of corrupt rulers, Islamist parties, and Iranian toadies to the political margins”. But wasn’t that exactly what the US did to Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s rule? And the chaos created afterwards brought about the rise of various insurgency and terror groups, including the Islamic State.

And last, but not least: Hannah’s big argument in favor of toppling the Iraqi government again is that it has been perpetrating violence against its own people and is beyond redemption. Assuming this is true, and Iran’s puppets are waiting for an excuse to unleash tanks on democratic protests… An almost 3,000-word suggestion to use the demonstrators as a patsy to stick it to Tehran and publishing it in a leading US magazine doesn’t seem like a far-sighted thing to do.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Moscow Slams ‘Paranoid’ Claims of ‘Russian Meddling’ in US Primaries, Expects More as Election Nears

Sputnik – February 21, 2020

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that US intelligence agencies had told President Trump that Russia was planning to meddle in the 2020 election to help reelect him.

Fresh claims about ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2020 US elections are “paranoid” nonsense, but can only be expected to increase as the November vote nears, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

On Thursday, NYT reported, citing several unnamed sources, that US intelligence agencies believed that Russia was plotting to meddle in both the Democratic primaries and the 2020 general election in a bid to get Donald Trump reelected. According to the newspaper, Russia’s plans included fiendish schemes to use “ransomware attacks to damage or interfere with voting systems or registration databases,” and attempts to undermine confidence in the US election system generally.

“This is just another paranoid report of the kind which, unfortunately, we will see more and more of as the election approaches. Of course, such claims bear no relationship to the truth,” Peskov said, commenting on the NYT piece.US officials and pro-Democratic media have spent well over three years accusing President Trump of being a Kremlin agent, and claiming that Moscow was engaged in an aggressive pro-Trump interference campaign in 2016. These allegations, collectively known as ‘Russiagate,’ essentially collapsed in April 2019, after the release of a 400 page+ report by special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller, who spent over two years examining alleged coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign in 2016, found no evidence of collusion. Furthermore, Mueller’s charges regarding instances of actual alleged ‘Russian meddling’ were limited to Facebook and Twitter trolling campaigns whose effectiveness and significance have repeatedly been called into question.

Earlier this month, investigative US media revealed that a key piece of ‘evidence’ used by the Obama White House to start the FBI probe into possible Trump-Russia collusion in 2016, the so-called ‘black ledger’ of secret cash payments to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during his work in Ukraine, was a complete fabrication created from scratch by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau and leaked to US media in the summer of 2016.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russiagate returns: MSM ecstatically exploit evidence-free NYT claim Moscow ‘helping Trump in 2020’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 21, 2020

The same media that flogged the insane ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory for years are resurrecting that particular dead horse, in what appears to be an effort to stop the White House from cleaning up the US intelligence community.

“Russia is aiding President Trump in the 2020 election, intelligence officials told lawmakers,” the New York Times blared on Thursday, adding that President Donald Trump berated the acting Director of National
How nice of the Times to prove Trump’s (alleged) point, then – and with a story that relies entirely on anonymous, unverifiable sources no less. It’s just like the early 2017 stuff about the “Trump-Putin dossier” on which the president-elect was briefed by FBI chief Jim Comey and DNI James Clapper, only for this to immediately leak to the #Resistance press, and set the stage for years of “Russian collusion” investigations.

Sure, the ‘Russiagate’ nonsense failed to stop Trump from getting elected or being sworn in, just like it failed to provide a pretext for his impeachment, so the Democrats had to make one up with the Ukraine phone call. That doesn’t mean they can’t try again, though!

MSNBC – which never recanted its Russiagate reporting – immediately blared the Times report as breaking news. CNN went a step further, calling on Clapper to comment on the story – yes, the very same former spook who brazenly lied to Congress about spying on Americans, co-authored the infamous “intelligence community assessment” claiming Russia was meddling in the 2016 election, and claimed Russians were “genetically driven” to subvert the US.

In what surely speaks volumes by itself, the story was uncritically amplified by the Washington Post’s chief fact checker.

Notice that all of this is happening just a day after nearly every single mainstream Western outlet outright misinterpreted a quote – in exactly the same way – from a court hearing about WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, because it fit their narrative about “Russian meddling.”

This new alleged “bombshell” also comes a day after Trump named trusted envoy Richard Grenell to oversee the ODNI – Clapper’s old beat – causing much wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the #Resistance and NeverTrumper types.

Could it be that they’re just a tiny bit nervous Grenell might clean house of all the “resistance” types that have acted for years on the self-righteous conviction that they, not the elected president, should run US policy? Folks like Clapper, Comey, CIA chief John Brennan, or the “whistleblower”-who-must-not-be-named who initiated the Ukrainegate fiasco, for example.

While normal, sane people may think that ‘Russiagate’ was a failure – and on its face, it was – it did actually manage to accomplish two major things. One was to validate the Trump Derangement Syndrome of the mainstream media and the Democrats, eventually encouraging them to believe they could actually impeach him. We all know how that ended.

The other, and perhaps more important, was to provide cover for all the people involved in the spying on Trump’s campaign, illegal FISA wiretaps and “unmaskings” of names, perjury traps, trumped-up prosecutions, letting Hillary Clinton off the hook for private email server use, and whatever actually happened to the DNC computers that got blamed on Russia.

Those people now have lucrative book deals or cushy jobs in the media and think tanks, rather than being charged with plotting a coup and being locked up in a federal penitentiary – even as they bleat how “no one is above the law.” Funny how Washington works, isn’t it?

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Doomsday prophecies of ancient methane being released as temperatures rise are WRONG, say scientists

RT | February 21, 2020

The climate change movement has long warned that, as global temperatures rise, we run the risk of releasing vast reserves of trapped methane into the atmosphere and bringing about the end of days. New research says: probably not.

Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York studied methane emissions from a period in Earth’s history which bears many similarities to our current climate, examining ice cores taken from the last period of deglaciation some 8,000 to 15,000 years ago.

By closely examining air samples extracted from these frozen ice cores, the researchers found that even if the methane in these vast stores is released, it won’t actually reach our atmosphere.

“Our data shows we don’t need to be as concerned about large methane releases from large carbon reservoirs in response to future warming,” said Vasily Petrenko, a professor of Earth and environmental sciences at Rochester. “We should be more concerned about methane released from human activities.”

When carbon-based life (plants and animals) decays, the remains freeze and the carbon contained within becomes trapped in the permafrost seen across regions including vast swathes of Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada.

Later, when the water in this permafrost melts, the soil becomes waterlogged and creates the ideal breeding ground for microbes that consume the newly-thawed carbon and produce methane.

Meanwhile, in the oceans, methane hydrates – formed under immense pressures at low temperatures – are found in sediments on the ocean floor along the subaquatic borders of the continents. If ocean temperatures rise, the current theory goes, these hydrates will destabilize and release the methane gas into the atmosphere, wreaking havoc around the globe.

The team took ice core samples from the Earth’s past to see just how much methane from these ancient deposits is actually released during periods of warming, and found that the actual amount of emissions from ancient carbon reservoirs was quite small.

“The likelihood of these old carbon reservoirs destabilizing and creating a large positive warming feedback in the present day is also low,” said Michael Dionysus, a graduate student involved in the research.

Instead, the researchers argue that numerous natural ‘buffers’ actually prevent the majority of the carbon from reaching the atmosphere.

In the case of methane hydrates, most of the greenhouse gas is dissolved and oxidized by microbes in the oceans long before it makes it to the surface. The same goes for deeper deposits of methane in permafrost, which the researchers believe are consumed by bacteria in the soil and turned into carbon dioxide.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Subcomandante Bloomberg

By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | February 21, 2020

Break out the pussyhats and vuvuzelas, folks, because the neoliberal Resistance is back, and this time they’re not playing around. No more impeachments and investigations. It’s time to go mano-a-mano with Trump, and they’ve finally got just the bad hombre to do it. No, not Bernie Sanders, you commies. A battle-hardened Resistance fighter. El Caballo Pequeño! El Jefe Mínimo! Subcomandante Michael Bloomberg!

Yes, that’s right, Michael Bloomberg, multi-billionaire Republicrat oligarch, has mobilized a guerilla army of overpaid PR professionals, Wall Street sociopaths, liberal racists, and anti-outdoor-smoking fanatics, and is steamrolling toward the Democratic convention to buy a brokered nomination and save America from “Putinism.” He’s had it with you sugary-soft-drink-drinking, chain-smoking, gun-toting, Oxy-gobbling, Hitler-loving, Putinist peasants and your infatuation with Donald Trump. So he’s decided to transform the entire country into a sterile, upscale, fascist themepark where you can rent a studio for $3,000 a month and the cops keep “the darkies” in their place, like he successfully did to New York City.

Although his campaign seemed to come out of nowhere (and sort of resembles a desperate attempt to prevent a Bernie Sanders nomination), the Resistance have been planning this corporatist Tet Offensive for quite some time. Apparently, Subcomandante Bloomberg and his inner circle of sub-subcomandantes have been hiding out deep in the mountainous jungles of Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side (or in the Hamptons, or London, or in one of El Jefe’s other multi-million-dollar homes) since Trump and the Russians invaded the country, waiting for the perfect moment to start inundating the American people with television commercials and social media posts informing them of his “electability.”

Clearly, that moment has now arrived.

Bloomberg has spent over $400 million on TV, radio, and digital ads, and it isn’t even Super Tuesday yet. He bought the Democratic National Committee and had them change the rules so he could join the debates (which, based on his poor performance in Las Vegas, might not have been the most brilliant strategy). He has been buying politicians, community organizers, journalists, pundits, his opponents’ campaign staff, Instagram and Facebook influencers, and everyone else he can possibly buy to support his campaign to buy the presidency … which is totally legal, and the American way, and is our only hope of overthrowing the Putin-Nazi Occupation Government and regaining our God-given capitalist freedom!

Sure, to some folks, it looks … well, unseemly (not to mention decidedly undemocratic), this Wall Street oligarch attempting to bribe and bully his way into the White House, but, given the stakes, what choice do we have? As the corporate media and intelligence agencies have been telling us for the last three years, the country is under occupation by an evil conspiracy of Russian-backed Nazis personally controlled by Vladimir Putin! More or less any moment now, Putin is going to order Trump to nullify the U.S. Constitution, declare martial law, appoint himself Führer, and start rounding up and murdering the Jews … or investigating Hunter Biden, or the spooks who have been trying to force him out of office.

This Putin-Nazism cannot continue! Trump must be deposed, no matter the cost. As Robert Reich put it in this piece in The Guardian:

“If the only way we can get rid of the sociopathic tyrant named Trump is with an oligarch named Bloomberg, we will have to choose the oligarch.”

There you have it, folks. We’ll have to choose Bloomberg, or else his golf buddy, Literal Hitler, will destroy the fabric of democracy, or whatever.

Another op-ed in The Washington Post, It Might Be Time to Take Bloomberg Seriously, wondered, if it comes down to Bloomberg versus Bernie:

“Do you choose socialism or capitalism? An ideologue or an executive? Are you really going to ask Americans to trade one extreme for the other, or do you want to offer them a certified, electable moderate?”

Vox, in its “Case for Michael Bloomberg — Mike Bloomberg and His Billions Are What Democrats Need to Beat Trump,” observes that, sure, Bloomberg has drawbacks, like his history of racist remarks and policies, abusing women, oppressing the poor, and just generally being an arrogant little authoritarian corporatist creep, but hey, he’s apologized for all that stuff, and he’ll probably never do it again.

Plus, according to this piece in …uh, Bloomberg Opinion (which “does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bloomberg LP and its owners”), The 2020 Election Is a Choice Between Democracy and Putinism! At the end of the day, once the dust has settled:

“It will come down to rule of law. In November, Americans will decide whether they will fight for the foundation of liberal democracy and democratic capitalism or whether they will accede to Putinism.”

You’ll be hearing variations of this message over and over, and over again, as we approach election day in November … that is, assuming Bloomberg and the rest of the Resistance can buy, bribe, badger, and bamboozle enough Democratic voters into nominating him. First, they need to deal with Bernie Sanders and his swarm of kill-crazy commie terrorists (who rumor has it are also being remotely controlled by Vladimir Putin). To do this, all they will need to do is deny Sanders a first ballot win in Milwaukee, which shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish. Sure, a brokered convention will be ugly, but, as Robert Reich said, they’ll have to do it, or else … well, you know, end of democracy.

Yes, I’m aware that Subcomandante Bloomberg blew his first debate (prompting Twitter pundits to pronounce him DOA) and that millions of “progressive” Democrats hate him, and that the corporate media are running a lot of “Bloomberg’s Nasty Past” pieces now (in order to maintain the appearance of journalism), but, make no mistake, if he secures the nomination, they’ll be lining up to “reluctantly” endorse him, because the alternative will be Russian Hitler!

Look, it’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day ups and downs of the horse race (which is the primary purpose of the horse race, after all) and forget that we are in the middle of a global capitalist War on Populism … a war that GloboCap intends to win. Sure, they will survive another four years of Trump (or even four years of Sanders if they have to), but, at some point, in order to restore “normality,” or “democratic capitalism,” or whatever, they are probably going to need to stop dicking around and install a bona fide global capitalist oligarch in the Oval Office. They are going to need to do this in order to crush the hopes of the populist insurgency that erupted in the Spring of 2016, and led to the rise of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn, the Brexit, the ongoing protests in France, the downfall of Angela Merkel, etc.

Another Obama is not going to cut it … people aren’t buying that con anymore. No, if the empire is going to reestablish control, it is going to need to take its liberal mask off, and shove a blatant corporatist oligarch like Bloomberg down the public’s throat in order to remind everyone who’s boss. It may not be Michael Bloomberg this time, but it is going to be someone like Bloomberg eventually. Someone powerful, and extremely unpleasant, who will be sold to us as the only one who can save the world from the “Nazis” and the “Russians” … which will necessitate taking some very extreme measures, like the ones we took during the War on Terror. You remember the measures we took back then, don’t you?

Or what, you think that GloboCap has been manufacturing all this mass hysteria over “Russian election interference” and “Nazi terrorism” for their own amusement? Yeah, that’s probably all it is. It’s probably not a prelude to anything.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | | 1 Comment

Ocasio-Cortez to Constituents on Bolivian Coup: Drop Dead

By Jacob Levich | CounterPunch | February 14, 2020

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the celebrity who moonlights as my Congressional representative, has repeatedly claimed to speak for “ordinary people,” but she refuses listen to them,  even if they are constituents.

In late November, shortly after the US-backed military coup that unseated the legitimate president of Bolivia, I together with my life companion requested a meeting with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, whose local offices are located just a short walk from our Jackson Heights apartment building. Working on behalf of a group of anti-imperialists opposing the fascist junta, we hoped to persuade her of the need to act quickly to thwart the coup and defend the lives and rights of the Bolivian people.

Although we never got past the reception desk, we were permitted to present a petition signed by leading academics and anti-imperialist organizers on behalf of the people of Bolivia. We provided all personal data and contact info requested by the office. We were promised that we would be contacted promptly to discuss scheduling a meeting.

We were not contacted. For weeks. After pressing the issue, always taking care to remain courteous and respectful of process, we were subjected to a galling and contemptuous bureaucratic runaround that sometimes felt like applying to – and being rejected by – an exclusive private school.

This three-month process involved repeated visits to her office, where our reception ranged from chilly to downright intimidating, endless emails and telephone calls, bureaucratic excuses and dissimulations, and eventually, after much persistence on our part, a half-hour vetting via conference call by a Washington staffer.

The result? As we say in Queens, bubkes.

By contrast, a group of imperialist sympathizers who had been promoting the coup for months were granted instant access. On November 16, four days after the military coup that destroyed Bolivian democracy, Ocasio-Cortez met with a group of pro-Áñez, pro-Camacho activists led by one Ana Carola Traverso. Traverso’s connections to the Bolivian coup plotters have been extensively documented online.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez symbolically embraced the coup by posing for a photo with this group as they brandished the tricolor Bolivian flag, which during that period had become a signal of support for the golpistas (as opposed to the Wiphala flag, which symbolized popular resistance to the takeover). She told them that she supports their “democratic grassroots movement” and offered them “direct lines of communication.”

In sum, a gang of coup supporters, not constituents, were granted instant access, a photo op and promises of ongoing support. Actual constituents, opposing the coup, were shown the door.

Our reception by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was radically different from that I received from her predecessor, Joe Crowley. When, in 2004, I requested a meeting on behalf of the Queens Antiwar Coalition, we were granted prompt and respectful access to the Congressman. We did not have high hopes of changing his vote on the Iraq war, but we felt it was important that he hear from his constituents.

So, apparently, did he. We were greeted warmly in his rather funky local office – a striking contrast with AOC’s soulless corporate-style digs, where underlings refer to her as “the Boss”  – and were encouraged to speak our piece. Crowley never pretended to be an opponent of US imperialism, but he gave us a respectful hearing, stated his position, and engaged in what felt like meaningful discussion of the war. At a minimum, as Twitter’s bluecheck pundits would say, we felt “seen.”

AOC, by contrast, has no time for people who cannot help her to burnish her brand as she prepares to run for higher office. As a local staffer (who declined to introduce himself) proudly informed us: “She refuses 99 percent of meeting requests from constituents.”

Meanwhile, she happily clears her schedule for interviews about her makeup routine, canned videos in which she postures as a fearless progressive, and closed-door meetings with regime-change sympathizers.

But she will not make time for residents of her district. So much for “ordinary people.”

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 1 Comment