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Pinochet’s Caravan of Death and Its Significance for Chilean Memory

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 12, 2021

Chile’s September 11, in 1973, brought a brutal end to Salvador Allende’s socialist rule. In its wake, violence permeated Chilean society, through the U.S.-backed military coup which was to provide gruesome inspiration for the later regional systematic surveillance and elimination of socialists and communists known as Operation Condor, in which several Latin American countries were involved.

The mass arrests of Chileans loyal to Allende and socialist politics became a long purge in the country. The Caravan of Death – one of the earlier dictatorship operations aimed at instilling terror within the country – was carried out in the coup’s aftermath, between September 30 and October 22, 1973, after securing Santiago by means of brutal suppression, torture and killings. Dictator Augusto Pinochet’s purge was aimed at silencing dissent throughout the country, and also to ensure the military’s loyalty towards the dictatorship – any negligence or lenience exhibited by any individual would be punished by methods used against dissenting Chileans. The ultimate aim, according to retired Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Herrera Aracena, was “to bring an end to the remaining legal processes… In other words, finish with them once and for all.”

The Caravan of Death massacres are considered to be among the most brutal not only due to the extermination methods involved – at times the corpses were unrecognizable due to bludgeoning – but also because many Chileans willingly turned themselves in for interrogation.

Army officers travelled in Puma helicopters throughout Chile, inspecting detention centres and giving orders for execution, or carrying out the executions themselves. Testimony from La Serena indicates that 15 prisoners were executed by firing squad and their bodies buried in a mass grave. To prevent any possible dissemination of knowledge, at least in the immediate aftermath, the official version publicized by the dictatorship was that the prisoners had attempted an escape.

While at first the dictatorship seemed adamant on making its brutality known to quash any resistance, the more refined methods of disappearance and secret extermination sites hastened a culture of impunity and oblivion. The Calama massacres – the last stop in the Caravan of Death – was such an example. Relatives of the disappeared sought information about the whereabouts of their loved ones to no avail. It was the female relatives of the disappeared in Calama who took matters into their own hands and started physically searching for the bodies of their loved ones in the Atacama Desert. The dictatorship had forbidden any leaking of information due to the extent of mutilations the victims had been subjected to by the execution squads. As the women’s resilience increased, so did the dictatorship’s efforts to prevent any discovery of the bodies through exhumation and reburial of remains.

The Rettig Commission established that 75 Chileans were killed and their bodies disappeared throughout the operation, headed by Brigadier General Sergio Arellano Stark, and with the participation of agents Manuel Contreras, Marcelo Moren Brito, Sergio Arredondo Gonzalez, Armando Fernandez Larios and Pedro Espinoza Bravo – all of who played prominent roles in the torture and disappearances of dictatorship opponents throughout Pinochet’s rule. Contreras headed the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), Brito oversaw torture at Villa Grimaldi, while Fernandez Larios was involved in the assassination of Chilean economist and diplomat Orlando Letelier in Washington, carried out by double agent for DINA and the CIA, Michael Townley.

Although indicted by Judge Juan Guzman Tapia on December 1, 2000 for ordering the Caravan of Death killings, dictator Pinochet escaped justice on account of purported health reasons. In relation to dictatorship memory and rupture, the Caravan of Death stands as a forewarning of what was to be unleashed in Chile throughout Pinochet’s rule and its aftermath. Particularly in Calama, the women’s resilience against the dictatorship can be seen as one of the earliest expressions against the nationwide oblivion through which Pinochet attempted to crush any questioning, let alone investigations, into dictatorship-era crimes.

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Australia helped CIA in toppling Chile’s Allende, records show

Press TV – September 11, 2021

Australian government documents have revealed that the country assisted the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in launching a coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende.

On September 11, 1973, an American-orchestrated military coup against Allende’s government resulted in a long-time dictatorship led by the coup leader Augusto Pinochet.

On the eve of the 48 anniversary of the coup, declassified documents published by the National Security Archive reveal that spies from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) assisted in the destabilization of Allende’s leftist government.

At the request of the CIA, ASIS established a secret base in Santiago in the fall of 1970.

Liberal Party Foreign Minister William (Billy) McMahon had reportedly approved the cooperation of ASIS agents with the CIA.

The base operated for approximately 18 months and involved Australian agents and equipment alongside several Chilean s[pies recruited by the CIA in Santiago.

The group gathered intelligence that was relayed to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

According to one of the declassified documents, Austalia’s then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, elected in December 1972, was “uncomfortable” with the participation of Australia, because if the acts of international espionage were made public it would be “extremely difficult” to justify their presence there.

Whitlam ordered ASIS director at the time, William Robertson, to dissolve the den of spies that Australia set up in Chile to assist the Americans to topple Allende’s democratically-elected government.

Despite Whitlam’s order, an Australian intelligence agent reportedly stayed in Santiago until after the US-led coup.

Another report also noted that the prime minister “was well aware of the importance of this (operation) to the Americans” and “was very concerned that the CIA should not interpret this decision (of the closure of the base) as a hostile gesture towards the US in general or towards the CIA in particular. “

Numerous crimes against humanity, persecution of opponents, political repression, and state terrorism were committed by the Chilean armed forces, members of Carabineros de Chile, and agents of the secret police of the Pinochet regime from 1973 to 1990.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Bolivia: General Montero Arrested for Senkata Massacre

teleSUR | September 8, 2021

Former Commander-General of the Bolivian Police Rodolfo Montero was arrested on Tuesday after giving his statement about the episodes of violence which occurred in the Senkata massacre on Nov. 19, 2019.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office has determined the arrest of the former Commander of the Bolivian Police, Rodolfo Montero, for the crimes of genocide, homicide, and serious injuries in relation to the Senkata massacre” Interior Minister Carlos Del Castillo tweeted.

The resolution of the Prosecutor’s Office is part of a judicial process that will continue through a precautionary hearing, in which the judges may or may not ratify the imprisonment of Montero.

In Nov. 2019, the United States supported a coup against President Evo Morales which was executed on the pretext that the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) had committed fraud in the presidential elections. The breakdown of the constitutional order was led by Jeanine Añez, a senator who proclaimed herself “Interim President.”

Workers, farmers, students, and MAS supporters took the streets to repudiate the coup. After being inaugurated as Commander-General, Montero spearheaded repressive actions that were brutal, disproportionate, and unjustified.

On Nov. 15, the Bolivian security forces repressed a demonstration in Sacaba, leaving ten people dead from gunfire. The same happened only four days later, when citizens protesting against the Añez regime blocked the Bolivian Oilfields plant in Senkata, where 11 citizens were killed and 78 wounded.

Currently, some military and police chiefs have been prosecuted for Sacaba and Senkata massacres, while others have left the country. This week, relatives of the victims, activists and public officials held a march in La Paz to demand results from the Prosecutor’s Office and the judiciary.

September 8, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

The Añez Regime Tried To Assassinate Morales, Mexico Reveals

teleSUR | September 1, 2021

On Tuesday, Mexican Air Force (FAM) pilot Miguel Hernandez disclosed that a projectile could have been fired at the aircraft in which he rescued former President Evo Morales after the 2019 coup in Bolivia.

“Upon taking off from Cochabamba airport in Bolivia, the pilot observed a rocket-like trail of light from the left side of the cockpit when he nearly reached 1,500 feet over the ground,” FAM stated.

To avoid the projectile, Hernandez made a turn to the opposite side of its trajectory and increased the ascent speed. While making this maneuver, he observed that the projectile returned to the ground in a parabola-shaped trace without reaching much height.

The pilot did not communicate the incident to his crew so as not to increase tension during a diplomatic mission whose purpose was to lead Morales to Mexico as a political asylee. The aircraft was chased by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) while taking off from Cochabamba airport. Therefore, he suspects that the rocket could have come from this launcher.

“I got a lump in my throat when I thought what could have happened in our country if Morales had been murdered. The shadows of terror sown over the Bolivian people cannot go unpunished,” Gabriela Montaño, Health Ministry during the Morales administration, tweeted.

In a plenary meeting of the Bolivian Congress, President Luis Arce affirmed that he would not rest until Jeanine Añez’s facto government is punished for torture, persecution, illegal detentions, and murders that it committed during the coup d’état.

On Aug. 19, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) confirmed that 38 citizens were killed and over 100 were injured during the protests against the Añez regime, which allowed Armed Forces and the Police to act with impunity during their repressive operations against Bolivians.

September 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | 1 Comment

Report Confirms Human Rights Violations in the 2019 U.S.-Backed Coup in Bolivia

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 23, 2021

A 471-page report by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts for Bolivia (GIEI-Bolivia) recently presented to Bolivian President Luis Arce in La Paz on Tuesday this week confirms the U.S.-backed coup’s persecution of opponents, including “systematic torture and summary executions” in 2019. The report is based on interviews with 400 victims of the Anez regime and other witnesses, as well as 120,000 files related to abuses between September 1 and December 31, 2019.

The findings prompted Bolivian prosecutors to charge the self-styled “interim leader” Jeanine Anez with genocide. Anez faces charges over the massacres in Sacaba and Senkata, where 20 protestors were killed by the security forces.

At the announcement of her arrest in March this year, Anez tweeted, “They are sending me to detention for four months to await a trial for a ‘coup’ that never happened.”

Yet the U.S. was swift to recognize Anez as interim president as well as to endorse the Organization of American State’s (OAS) report in 2019, which alleged electoral fraud in Bolivia with the intent to keep Evo Morales in power.

The former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s address to the OAS office in Washington gives quite a succinct summary of U.S. interference in Latin America – a twisted narrative of alleged democratic intent trickling down from the U.S., when the facts speak otherwise. Pompeo spoke of the U.S. role in recognizing Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president and how members of the OAS followed suit, as well as a historical overview which attempted to disfigure the leftist movements in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s as “producing repression for their own kind at home.”

Pompeo also described Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela as the countries through which “we face stains of tyranny on a great canvas of freedom in our hemisphere,” before moving on to praise the OAS for its role in ousting Morales. And as is typical of the U.S., with its long history of supporting military coups in the region, not a word was uttered about Anez’s persecution of the indigenous in Bolivia.

Yet the OAS report was denounced by the New York Times as having “relied on incorrect data and inappropriate statistical techniques.” The Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Co-Director Mark Weisbrot declared, “If the OAS and Secretary General Luis Almagro are allowed to get away with such politically driven falsification of their electoral observation results again, this threatens not only Bolivian democracy but the democracy of any country where the OAS may be involved in elections in the future.”

The GIEI report has established that the Anez regime committed summary executions, torture and sexual violence against indigenous people. Through the report, the Sacaba and Senkata massacres were revisited and will once again form part of Bolivia’s most recent memory of U.S.-backed violence. Just a day prior to the Sacaba massacres, on November 14, 2019, Anez signed a decree which established impunity for Bolivia’s armed forces.

Contrary to the rushed way in which the Trump Administration had recognised Anez as Bolivia’s legitimate leader, the U.S. is reluctant to comment on the GIEI report findings which established the U.S.-backed regime as having committed human rights violations. This year, however, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement in March after Anez’s arrest, stating he was “deeply concerned by growing signs of anti-democratic behavior and politicization” with regard to Bolivia’s quest for justice.

Of Bolivia’s quest for justice now, the U.S. can hardly be expected to voice support. Yet the report goes a long way in overturning the U.S. intervention narrative. Bolivia’s victims are victims of a U.S.-backed coup, and U.S.-funded political violence should equally share the spotlight now highlighting Anez’s short-lived legacy of human rights violations in Bolivia.

August 25, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 5 Comments

Lima Group Loses Lima

By Yves Engler · August 11, 2021

The Canadian instigated Lima Group has been dealt a probably fatal blow that ought to elicit serious discussion about this country’s foreign policy. But, don’t expect the media or politicians to even mention it.

In a likely death knell for a coalition seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government, Peru’s new Foreign Affairs Minister called the Lima Group the country’s “most disastrous” ever foreign policy initiative. Héctor Béjar said, “the Lima Group must be the most disastrous thing we have done in international politics in the history of Perú.”

Two days after Béjar’s statement St Lucia’s external affairs minister, Alva Baptiste, declared: “With immediate effect, we are going to get out of the Lima Group arrangement – that morally bankrupt, mongoose gang, we are going to get out of it because this group has imposed needless hardship on the children, men and women of Venezuela.”

Prior to Baptiste and Béjar’s statements, the Lima Group had lost a handful of members and its support for Juan Guaidó’s bid to declare himself president had failed. Considering its name, the Peruvian government’s aggressive turn against the Lima Group probably marks the end of it. As Kawsachun News tweeted a Peruvian congressman noting, “the Lima Group has been left without Lima.”

The Lima Group’s demise would be a major blow to Trudeau’s foreign policy. Ottawa founded it with Peru. Amidst discussions between the two countries foreign ministers in Spring 2017, Trudeau called his Peruvian counterpart, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, to “‎stress the need for dialogue and respect for the democratic rights of Venezuelan citizens, as enshrined in the charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.” But the Lima Group was established in August 2017 as a structure outside of the OAS largely because that organization’s members refused to back Washington and Ottawa’s bid to interfere in Venezuelan affairs, which they believed defied the OAS’ charter.

Canada has been maybe the most active member of the coalition. Former Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland participated in a half dozen Lima Group meetings and its second meeting was held in Toronto. That October 2017 meeting urged regional governments to take steps to “further isolate” Venezuela.

At the second Lima Group meeting in Canada, a few weeks after Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself president, Trudeau declared, “the international community must immediately unite behind the interim president.” The final declaration of the February 2019 meeting called on Venezuela’s armed forces “to demonstrate their loyalty to the interim president” and remove the elected president.

Freeland repeatedly prodded Caribbean and Central American countries to join the Lima Group and its anti-Maduro efforts. In May 2019 Trudeau called Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel to pressure him to join Ottawa’s effort to oust President Maduro. The release noted, “the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Lima Group, underscored the desire to see free and fair elections and the constitution upheld in Venezuela.”

In a sign of the importance Canadian diplomats placed on the Lima Group, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers gave Patricia Atkinson, Head of the Venezuela Task Force at Global Affairs, its Foreign Service Officers award in June 2019. The write-up explained, “Patricia, and the superb team she assembled and led, supported the Minister’s engagement and played key roles in the substance and organization of 11 meetings of the 13 country Lima group which coordinates action on Venezuela.”

Solidarity activists have protested the Lima Group since its first meeting in Toronto. There were also protests at the second Lima Group meeting in Canada, including an impressive disruption of the final press conference. At a talk last year, NDP MP Matthew Green declared “we ought not be a part of a pseudo-imperialist group like the Lima Group” while a resolution submitted (though never discussed) to that party’s April convention called for Canada to leave the Lima Group.

Hopefully the Peruvian and St Lucia governments’ recent criticism marks the end of the Lima Group. But, we should seek to ensure it doesn’t disappear quietly. We need a discussion of how Canada became a central player in this interventionist alliance.

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

Peru To Withdraw From the US-Controlled Lima Group

teleSUR | August 6, 2021

On Tuesday, Peru’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hector Bejar announced that his country would withdraw from the Lima Group, which supported the Venezuelan opposition to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution in 2019.

“From a democratic foreign policy, we will contribute to the understanding of the various political tendencies that exist in Venezuela without intervening in its internal affairs,” Bejar stated.

Conservative politicians and former presidents from Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina formed the Lima Group, an institution that operates as an instrument of U.S. geopolitics towards Latin America.

In his inaugural address, Bejar also assured that he will work to strengthen cooperation and integration among Latin American countries without making ideological distinctions.

“Under the international law and the Charter of the United Nations, we support the self-determination of all peoples and condemn any unilateral sanctions,” Bejar stated regarding U.S. blockades against Cuba and Venezuela.

On Tuesday, he also announced that Peru will return to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and strengthen the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

“Latin America is the geographical and sociological priority of the Peruvian foreign policy. It is our territorial, economic, and sociocultural environment. It is the space of our history,” Bejar stressed.

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

History tells us the United States’ supposed ‘concern for democracy’ in Nicaragua is nothing of the sort

By Daniel Kovalik | RT | July 30, 2021

A century and a half has shown us that American meddling in Nicaragua is never about improving the lot of the people of that nation, and only ever about furthering Washington’s imperialist agenda.

The US government is back at it. It is again expressing concern about the state of democracy in Nicaragua, and conjuring up a new round of punitive sanctions against that tiny country to allegedly prevent dictatorship from taking hold there.

The newest sanctions bill against the country is titled “Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act.” As the Senate version explains, “This bill requires the Executive branch to align US diplomacy and existing targeted sanctions to advance democratic elections in Nicaragua, and includes new initiatives to address corruption, human rights abuses, and the curtailment of press freedom.” Sadly, many US non-governmental organizations and ‘intellectuals’ who should know better have sided with the government in its attack on Nicaragua.

However, a brief history of US involvement in Nicaragua is worth recounting here to fairly assess the government’s bona fides regarding its interest in democracy in that country. The first instance of US intervention in Nicaragua came in the form of William Walker in the mid-19th century, at around the time the Monroe Doctrine, by which the US proclaimed its sole prerogative to dominance over the Western Hemisphere, was announced. William Walker declared himself president of Nicaragua, reinstituted slavery there, and burned down the historic city of Granada for good measure, yet his foray into the country was supported by many Americans as an exercise in progressive advancement.

John J. Mangipano explains this phenomenon well in his peer-reviewed dissertation titled ‘William Walker and the Seeds of Progressive Imperialism: The War in Nicaragua and the Message of Regeneration, 1855-1860’. As he explains: “For a brief period of time, between 1855 and 1857, William Walker successfully portrayed himself to American audiences as the regenerator of Nicaragua. Though he arrived in Nicaragua in June 1855 with only fifty-eight men, his image as a regenerator attracted several thousand men and women to join him in his mission to stabilize the region. Walker relied on both his medical studies as well as his experience in journalism to craft a message of regeneration that placated the anxieties that many Americans felt about the instability of the Caribbean. People supported Walker because he provided a strategy of regeneration that placed Anglo-Americans as the medical and racial stewards of a war-torn region. American faith in his ability to regenerate the region propelled him to the presidency of Nicaragua in July 1856. … Though William Walker did not ultimately succeed as a regenerator, American progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt revived his focus on medical and racial stabilization through their own policies in the Caribbean, starting in the 1890s.”

As Mangipano concludes, “The continuity existing between these groups of imperialists suggested that the regenerators, despite their temporary failures, succeeded in nurturing ideas about why Americans needed to intervene in the Greater Caribbean.” This impulse to “progressive imperialism” – now called by the kinder and gentler-sounding “humanitarian interventionism” – continues to motivate even many US leftists in their attitudes towards Nicaragua and other countries of the Global South, and with the same terrible results.

Meanwhile, in the name of progressivism and democracy promotion, the US would go on to send the US Marines to occupy Nicaragua in the early part of the 20th century and set up the Somoza dictatorship that ruled Nicaragua with an iron fist for over four decades from 1936. The Marines were routed by Augusto César Sandino and his gang of merry men and women, Sandino was later assassinated, and the Somozas held control. America would then organize, finance, and direct the murderous ex-Somoza National Guardsmen in the form of the Contras to try to destroy the Sandinista Revolution, which finally overthrew the US’s beloved dictatorship in 1979. Washington coerced the Nicaraguan people into voting against the Sandinistas in 1990 with the threat of continued war and brutal economic sanctions. Then, in 2018, they supported violent insurrectionists who terrorized Nicaragua for months in an effort to topple the very popular Sandinista government that was re-elected in 2006.

In short, there is a grave threat to democracy in Nicaragua. But it is not from Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas, who have built the first democratic state in that country in years. Rather, it is from the United States and the “useful idiots” who continue to believe the US is somehow attempting to bring democracy, despite all evidence to the contrary.

One way the US is threatening democracy is by funding destabilizing and anti-government efforts to the tune of millions of dollars. Nicaragua has responded, as any self-respecting nation would, by punishing those facilitating such foreign interference pursuant to its Law 1055, titled ‘Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination for Peace’. As Stephen Sefton, an educator and decades-long resident of Estelí, Nicaragua, explains,

“Under the law, it is a crime to seek foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs’ request military intervention; organize acts of terrorism and destabilization; promote coercive economic, commercial and financial measures against the country and its institutions; or request and welcome sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens.

“In addition, Cristiana Chamorro of the Violeta Chamorro Foundation, Juan Sebastián Chamorro of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES), Félix Maradiaga of the Institute for Strategic and Public Policy Studies (IEEPP) and Violeta Granera of the Centre for Communications Research (CINCO) may also face charges for money laundering and breaking the ‘Foreign Agents’ law which requires all organizations receiving finance from overseas [in this case, the US] to register with the authorities, report the amount of money received and how it is used.”

However, as Sefton emphasizes, “Despite numerous reports in international media to the contrary, none of the people arrested had been selected by any of Nicaragua’s political alliances or parties as possible candidates for the upcoming general election on November 7th this year. Cristiana Chamorro, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Arturo Cruz and Félix Maradiaga had earlier stated they aspired to the candidacy of one of the political parties, most likely the Citizens for Liberty political alliance. But none of them was formally under consideration. In any case, as many observers have noted, the figure of their possible candidacy in the elections has served as a smokescreen to distract from the criminal charges against them, for which they would face prosecution in practically any country in the world.” Note that last, important phrase.

To put it bluntly, it is the US which, as it has now done for about a century and a half, is trying to dictate to the Nicaraguan people the type of government and economic model they should choose. As an independent, sovereign nation, Nicaragua has every right to push back against this incessant meddling.

I’ve just returned from Nicaragua, where, along with other members of an international delegation, I witnessed first-hand the Nicaraguan people’s enthusiasm for the Sandinista Revolution on its anniversary, July 19. I saw the crowd of thousands assemble in Pope Paul II Plaza, in Managua, to celebrate this extraordinary event, in which the Sandinista Front, led by Daniel Ortega, overthrew a dictator heavily armed by the US government. Our delegation visited Masaya, which was bombed from the air by Somoza in the final days of his brutal rule. It is continuing to rebuild after the destruction wrought by the neo-Contras of 2018, who, with US backing, laid siege to the city and terrorized it for months, until the historic combatants who defeated Somoza routed them with the assistance of the police.

During our trip, we saw for ourselves the incredible advancements of the Sandinista government, which is providing free healthcare and education to all Nicaraguans. We witnessed the children, who had suffered such poverty and deprivation during the Somoza years and the Contra War that followed, attend school and play in the beautiful parks erected across the country by the Sandinistas. We traveled throughout Nicaragua on beautifully paved roads that once were dirt and stone, if they existed at all

I myself travelled on those dirt roads in 1987 and 1988, when I visited Nicaragua for the first time. Back then, I saw children dressed in rags and without shoes, barely able to get enough to eat because of the US sanctions and the brutal war. One does not see that type of destitution in Nicaragua now, and that’s thanks to the Sandinista Revolution, which, contrary to mainstream claims, has stayed true to its values of defending the poor and the most vulnerable.

Nonetheless, the US is intent on destroying it, and the progress it has brought for the Nicaraguan people. And the people are fully aware of this, and that is why 85% of those polled oppose foreign interference in their country, just as any self-respecting nation would. I stand with them in denouncing US interference, sanctions, and aggression toward that little country which has mightily stood up to the Goliath of the North. In this Biblical struggle, all my support is with David.

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

July 30, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

Meet Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | July 21, 2021

LONDON –This past Sunday, an investigation into the global abuse of spyware developed by veterans of Israeli intelligence Unit 8200 gained widespread attention, as it was revealed that the software – sold to democratic and authoritarian governments alike – had been used to illegally spy on an estimated 50,000 individuals. Among those who had their communications and devices spied on by the software, known as Pegasus, were journalists, human rights activists, business executives, academics and prominent political leaders. Among those targeted political leaders, per reports, were the current leaders of France, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Iraq.

The abuse of Pegasus software in this very way has been known for several years, though these latest revelations appear to have gained such traction in the mainstream owing to the high number of civilians who have reportedly been surveilled through its use. The continuation of the now-years-long scandal surrounding the abuse of Pegasus has also brought considerable controversy and notoriety to the Israeli company that developed it, the NSO Group.

While the NSO Group has become infamous, other Israeli companies with even deeper ties to Israel’s intelligence apparatus have been selling software that not only provides the exact same services to governments and intelligence agencies but purports to go even farther.

Originally founded by former Israeli Prime Minister and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ehud Barak, one of these companies’ wares are being used by countries around the world, including in developing countries with the direct facilitation of global financial institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank. In addition, the software is only made available to governments that are “trusted” by Israel’s government, which “works closely” with the company.

Despite the fact that this firm has been around since 2018 and was covered in detail by this author for MintPress News in January 2020, no mainstream outlet – including those that have extensively covered the NSO Group – has bothered to examine the implications of this story.

Worse than Pegasus

Toka was launched in 2018 with the explicit purpose of selling a “tailored ecosystem of cyber capabilities and software products for governmental, law enforcement, and security agencies.” According to a profile of the company published in Forbes shortly after it launched, Toka advertised itself as “a one-stop hacking shop for governments that require extra capability to fight terrorists and other threats to national security in the digital domain.”

Toka launched with plans to “provide spy tools for whatever device its clients require,” including not only smartphones but a “special focus on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).” Per the company, this includes devices like Amazon Echo, Google Nest-connected home products, as well as connected fridges, thermostats and alarms. Exploits in these products discovered by Toka, the company said at the time, would not be disclosed to vendors, meaning those flaws would continue to remain vulnerable to any hacker, whether a client of Toka or not.

Today, Toka’s software suite claims to offer its customers in law enforcement, government and intelligence the ability to obtain “targeted intelligence” and to conduct “forensic investigations” as well as “covert operations.” In addition, Toka offers governments its “Cyber Designers” service, which provides “agencies with the full-spectrum strategies, customized projects and technologies needed to keep critical infrastructure, the digital landscape and government institutions secure and durable.”

Given that NSO’s Pegasus targets only smartphones, Toka’s hacking suite – which, like Pegasus, is also classified as a “lawful intercept” product – is capable of targeting any device connected to the internet, including but not limited to smartphones. In addition, its target clientele are the same as those of Pegasus, providing an easy opportunity for governments to gain access to even more surveillance capabilities than Pegasus offers, but without risking notoriety in the media, since Toka has long avoided the limelight.

In addition, while Toka professes that its products are only used by “trusted” governments and agencies to combat “terrorism” and maintain order and public safety, the sales pitch for the NSO Group’s Pegasus is remarkably similar, and that sales pitch has not stopped its software from being used to target dissidents, politicians and journalists. It also allows many of the same groups who are Toka clients, like intelligence agencies, to use these tools for the purpose of obtaining blackmail. The use of blackmail by Israeli security agencies against civilian Palestinians to attempt to weaken Palestinian society and for political persecution is well-documented.

Toka has been described by market analysts as an “offensive security” company, though the company’s leadership rejects this characterization. Company co-founder and current CEO Yaron Rosen asserted that, as opposed to purely offensive, the company’s operations are “something in the middle,” which he classifies as bridging cyber defense and offensive cyber activities — e.g., hacking.

The company’s activities are concerning in light of the fact that Toka has been directly partnered with Israel’s Ministry of Defense and other Israeli intelligence and security agencies since its founding. The company “works closely” with these government agencies, according to an Israeli Ministry of Defense website. This collaboration, per Toka, is meant to “enhance” their products. Toka’s direct IDF links are in contrast to the NSO Group, a company that does not maintain overt ties with the Israeli security state.

Toka’s direct collaboration with Israel’s government is also made clear through its claim that it sells its products and offers its services only to “trusted” governments, law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies. Toka’s Rosen has stated that Russia, China, and “other enemy countries” would never be customers of the company. In other words, only countries aligned with Israeli policy goals, particularly in occupied Palestine, are permitted to be customers and gain access to its trove of powerful hacking tools. This is consistent with Israeli government efforts to leverage Israel’s hi-tech sector as a means of countering the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement globally.

Further evidence that Toka is part of this Israeli government effort to seed foreign governments with technology products deeply tied to Israel’s military and intelligence services is the fact that one of the main investors in Toka is Dell Technologies Capital, which is an extension of the well-known tech company Dell. Dell was founded by Michael Dell, a well-known pro-Israel partisan who has donated millions of dollars to the Friends of the IDF and is one of the top supporters of the so-called “anti-BDS” bills that prevent publicly employed individuals or public institutions in several U.S. states from supporting non-violent boycotts of Israel, even on humanitarian grounds. As MintPress previously noted, the fact that a major producer of consumer electronic goods is heavily investing in a company that markets the hacking of that very technology should be a red flag.

The government’s initial admitted use of the hi-tech sector to counter the BDS movement coincided with the launch of a new Israeli military and intelligence agency policy in 2012, whereby “cyber-related and intelligence projects that were previously carried out in-house in the Israeli military and Israel’s main intelligence arms are transferred to companies that, in some cases, were built for this exact purpose.”

One of the reasons this was reportedly launched was to retain members of Unit 8200 engaged in military work who were moving to jobs in the country’s high-paying tech sector. Through this new policy that has worked to essentially merge much of the private tech sector with Israel’s national security state, some Unit 8200 and other intelligence veterans continue their work for the state but benefit from a private sector salary. The end result is that an unknown – and likely very high – number of Israeli tech companies are led by veterans of the Israeli military and Israeli intelligence agencies and serve, for all intents and purposes, as front companies. A closer examination of Toka strongly suggests that it is one such front company.

Toka — born out of Israel’s national security state

The company was co-founded by Ehud Barak, Alon Kantor, Kfir Waldman and retired IDF Brigadier General Yaron Rosen. Rosen, the firm’s founding CEO and now co-CEO, is the former Chief of the IDF’s cyber staff, where he was “the lead architect of all [IDF] cyber activities,” including those executed by Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200. Alon Kantor is the former Vice President of Business Development for Check Point Software, a software and hardware company founded by Unit 8200 veterans. Kfir Waldman is the former CEO of Go Arc and a former Director of Engineering at technology giant Cisco. Cisco is a leader in the field of Internet of Things devices and IoT cybersecurity, while Go Arc focuses on applications for mobile devices. As previously mentioned, Toka hacks not only mobile devices but also has a “special focus” on hacking IoT devices.

Toka IoT

A slide from an April 20, 2021 presentation given by Toka’s VP of Global Sales, Michael Anderson

In addition to having served as prime minister of Israel, Toka co-founder Ehud Barak previously served as head of Israeli military intelligence directorate Aman, as well as several other prominent posts in the IDF, before eventually leading the Israeli military as minister of defense. While minister of defense, he led Operation Cast Lead against the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2009, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians and saw Israel illegally use chemical weapons against civilians.

Toka is the first start-up created by Barak. However, Barak had previously chaired and invested in Carbyne911, a controversial Israeli emergency services start-up that has expanded around the world and has become particularly entrenched in the United States. Carbyne’s success has been despite the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, given that the intelligence-linked pedophile and sex trafficker had invested heavily in the company at Barak’s behest. Barak’s close relationship with Epstein, including overnight visits to Epstein’s now-notorious island and apartment complexes that housed trafficked women and underage girls, has been extensively documented.

Barak stepped away from Toka in April of last year, likely as the result of the controversy over his Epstein links, which also saw Barak withdraw from his chairmanship of Carbyne in the wake of Epstein’s death. Considerable evidence has pointed to Epstein having been an intelligence asset of Israeli military intelligence who accrued blackmail on powerful individuals for the benefit of Israel’s national security state and other intelligence agencies, as well as for personal gain.

Another notable Toka executive is Nir Peleg, the company’s Vice President for Strategic Projects. Peleg is the former head of the Research and Development Division at Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, where he led national cybersecurity projects as well as government initiatives and collaborations with international partners and Israeli cybersecurity innovative companies. Prior to this, Peleg claims to have served for more than 20 years in leading positions at the IDF’s “elite technology unit,” though he does specify exactly which unit this was. His LinkedIn profile lists him as having been head of the IDF’s entire Technology Department from 2008 to 2011.

While at Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, Peleg worked closely with Tal Goldstein, now the head of strategy for the World Economic Forum’s Partnership against Cybercrime (WEF-PAC), whose members include government agencies of the U.S., Israel and the U.K., along with some of the world’s most powerful companies in technology and finance. The goal of this effort is to establish a global entity that is capable of controlling the flow of information, data, and money on the internet. Notably, Toka CEO Yaron Rosen recently called for essentially this exact organization to be established when he stated that the international community needed to urgently create the “cyber” equivalent of the World Health Organization to combat the so-called “cyber pandemic.”

Claims that a “cyber pandemic” is imminent have been frequent from individuals tied to the WEF-PAC, including CEO of Checkpoint Software Gil Shwed. Checkpoint is a member of WEF-PAC and two of its former vice presidents, Michael Anderson and Alon Kantor, are now Vice President for Global Sales and co-CEO of Toka, respectively.

Tal Goldstein

The Wolrd Economic Forum does little to hide its partnership with former Israeli intelligence officials

Toka’s Chief Technology Officer, and the chief architect of its hacking suite, is Moty Zaltsman, who is the only chief executive of the company not listed on the firm’s website. Per his LinkedIn, Zaltsman was the Chief Technology Officer for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last January, when Toka was covered by MintPress News, his profile stated that he had developed “offensive technologies” for Israel’s head of state, but Zaltsman has since removed this claim. The last Toka executive of note is Michael Volfman, the company’s Vice President of Research and Development. Volfman was previously a cyber research and development leader at an unspecified “leading technology unit” of the IDF.

Also worth mentioning are Toka’s main investors, particularly Entrèe Capital, which is managed by Aviad Eyal and Ran Achituv. Achituv, who manages Entrée’s investment in Toka and sits on Toka’s board of directors, was the founder of the IDF’s satellite-based signals intelligence unit and also a former senior vice president at both Amdocs and Comverse Infosys. Both Amdocs and Comverse courted scandal in the late 1990s and early 2000s for their role in a massive Israeli government-backed espionage operation that targeted U.S. federal agencies during that period.

Despite this scandal and others in the company’s past, Comverse subsidiary Verint was subsequently contracted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to bug the telecommunications network of Verizon shortly after their previous espionage scandal was covered by mainstream media. The contract was part of Operation Stellar Winds and was approved by then-NSA Director Keith Alexander, who has since been an outspoken advocate of closer Israeli-American government cooperation in cybersecurity.

In addition to Entrèe Capital, Andreessen Horowitz is another of Toka’s main investors. The venture capital firm co-founded by Silicon Valley titan Marc Andreessen is currently advised by former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, a close friend of the infamous pedophile Jeffery Epstein. Early investors in Toka that are no longer listed on the firm’s website include Launch Capital, which is deeply tied to the Pritzker family — one of the wealthiest families in the U.S., with close ties to the Clintons and Obamas as well as the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby — and Ray Rothrock, a venture capitalist who spent nearly three decades at VenRock, the Rockefeller family venture capital fund.

In light of the aforementioned policy of Israel’s government to use private tech companies as fronts, the combination of Toka’s direct Israeli government ties, the nature of its products and services, and the numerous, significant connections of its leaders and investors to both Israeli military intelligence and past Israeli espionage scandals strongly suggests that Toka is one such front.

If this is the case, there is reason to believe that, when Toka clients hack and gain access to a device, elements of the Israeli state could also gain access. This concern is born out of the fact that Israeli intelligence has engaged in this exact type of behavior before as part of the PROMIS software scandal, whereby Israeli “superspy” Robert Maxwell sold bugged software to the U.S. government, including highly sensitive locations involved in classified nuclear weapons research. When that software, known as PROMIS, was installed on U.S. government computers, Israeli intelligence gained access to those same systems and devices.

The U.S. government was not the only target of this operation, however, as the bugged PROMIS software was placed on the networks of several intelligence agencies around the world as well as powerful corporations and several large banks. Israeli intelligence gained access to all of their systems until the compromised nature of the software was made public. However, Israel’s government was not held accountable by the U.S. government or the international community for its far-reaching espionage program, a program directly facilitated by technology-focused front companies. The similarities between the products marketed and clients targeted by Maxwell during the PROMIS scandal and currently by Toka are considerable.

World Bank, IDB aid Toka in targeting Palestine’s allies

While the ties between Toka and Israel’s national security state are clear as day, what is also significant and unsettling about this company is how its entry into developing and developed countries alike is being facilitated by global financial institutions, specifically the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Notably, these are the only deals with governments that Toka advertises on its website, as the others are not made public.

Several projects funded by one or another of these two institutions have seen Toka become the “cyber designer” of national cybersecurity strategies for Nigeria and Chile since last year. Significantly, both countries’ populations show strong support for Palestine and the BDS movement. In addition, Toka garnered a World Bank-funded contract with the government of Moldova, an ally of Israel, last September.

The World Bank selected Toka in February of last year to “enhance Nigeria’s cyber development,” which includes developing “national frameworks, technical capabilities and enhancement of skills.” Through the World Bank contract, Toka has now become so intimately involved with both the public and private sectors of Nigeria that it relates to the country’s “cyber ecosystem.” The World Bank’s decision to choose Toka is likely the result of a partnership forged in 2019 by the state of Israel with the global financial institution “to boost cybersecurity in the developing world,” with a focus on Africa and Asia.

Nigeria Toka

Toka executives pose with Nigerian officials in 2020. Photo | Israel Defense

“Designing and building sustainable and robust national cyber strategy and cyber resilience is a critical enabler to fulfilling the objectives of Nigeria’s national cybersecurity policy and strategic framework,” Toka CEO Yaron Rosen said in a press release regarding the contract.

Given Toka’s aforementioned use of its technology for only “trusted” governments, it is notable that Nigeria has been a strong ally of Palestine for most of the past decade, save for one abstention at a crucial UN vote in 2014. In addition to the government, numerous student groups, human rights organizations, and Islamic organizations in the country are outspoken in their support for Palestine. With Toka’s efforts to offer its products only to countries who align themselves with “friendly” countries, their now intimate involvement with Nigeria’s cyber development could soon have consequences for a government that has tended to support the Palestinian cause. This is even more likely given Toka CEO Rosen’s statements at an April 2021 event hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Economy, where he emphasized the role of cyber in developing countries specifically in terms of their national defense and economic strategy.

Three months after the deal was struck with Nigeria through the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) selected Toka to advise the government of Chile on “next steps for the country’s national cybersecurity readiness and operational capacity building.” As part of the project, “Toka will assess the current cybersecurity gaps and challenges in Chile and support the IDB project implementation by recommending specific cybersecurity readiness improvements,” per a press release. Toka claims it will help “establish Chile as a cybersecurity leader in South America.” Regarding the deal, Toka’s Rosen stated that he was “thankful” that the IDB had “provided us with this opportunity to work with the Government of Chile.”

Israel signed consequential agreements for cooperation with the IDB in 2015, before further deepening those ties in 2019 by partnering with the IDB to invest $250 million from Israeli institutions in Latin America specifically.

Toka executives are pictured with Chilean officials during a 2020 meeting in Santiago

Like Nigeria, Chile has a strong connection with Palestine and is often a target of Israeli government influence efforts. Though the current far-right government of Sebastián Piñera has grown close to Israel, Chile is home to the largest Palestinian exile community in the world outside of the Middle East. As a result, Chile has one of the strongest BDS movements in the Americas, with cities declaring a non-violent boycott of Israel until the Piñera administration stepped in to claim that such boycotts can only be implemented at the federal level. Palestinian Chileans have strong influence on Chilean politics, with a recent, popular presidential candidate, Daniel Jadue, being the son of Palestinian immigrants to Chile. Earlier this year, in June, Chile’s congress drafted a bill to boycott goods, services and products from illegal Israeli settlements.

While Toka frames both of these projects as aimed at helping the cyber readiness and economies of the countries it now services, Israeli media has painted a different picture. For instance, Haaretz wrote that Israel’s partnerships with development banks, specifically those made in 2019 that resulted in these Toka contracts, were planned by an inter-ministerial committee set up by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to realize the potential of international development to strengthen the Israeli economy, improve Israel’s political standing and strengthen its international role.” One source, quoted by Haaretz as being close to this undertaking, stated that “development banks are a way to help advance Israel’s interests and agenda in the developing world, including Latin America. But it’s not philanthropy.”

Given these statements, and Toka’s own modus operandi as a company and its background, it seems highly likely that the reason both Nigeria and Chile were chosen as the first of Toka’s development banks contracts was aimed at advancing the Israeli government’s agenda in those specific countries, one that seeks to counter and mitigate the vocal support for Palestine among those countries’ inhabitants.

The spyware problem goes far beyond NSO Group

The NSO Group and its Pegasus software is clearly a major scandal that deserves scrutiny. However, the treatment of the incident by the media has largely absolved the Israeli government of any role in that affair, despite the fact that the NSO Group’s sales of Pegasus to foreign governments has been approved and defended by Israel’s government. This, of course, means that Israel’s government has obvious responsibility in the whole scandal as well.

In addition, the myopic focus on the NSO Group when it comes to mainstream media reporting on Israeli private spyware and the threats it poses means that other companies, like Toka, go uninvestigated, even if their products present an even greater potential for abuse and illegal surveillance than those currently marketed and sold by the NSO Group.

Given the longstanding history of Israeli intelligence’s use of technology firms for international surveillance and espionage, as well as its admitted policy of using tech companies as fronts to combat BDS and ensure Israel’s “cyber dominance,” the investigation into Israeli spyware cannot stop just with NSO Group. However, not stopping there risks directly challenging the Israeli state, particularly in Toka’s case, and this is something that mainstream media outlets tend to avoid. This is due to a mix of factors, but the fact that NSO’s Pegasus has been used to spy on journalists so extensively certainly doesn’t help the matter.

Yet, Israel’s weaponization of its tech industry, and the global use of its spyware offerings by governments and security agencies around the world, must be addressed, especially because it has been explicitly weaponized to prevent non-violent boycotts of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, including those solely based on humanitarian grounds or out of respect for international laws that Israel routinely breaks. Allowing a government to engage in this activity on a global scale to stifle criticism of flagrantly illegal policies and war crimes cannot continue and this should be the case for any government, not just Israel.

If the outlets eagerly reporting on the latest Pegasus revelations are truly concerned with the abuse of spyware by governments and intelligence agencies around the world, they should also give attention to Toka, as it is actively arming these same institutions with weapons far worse than any NSO Group product.

Whitney Webb has been a professional writer, researcher and journalist since 2016. She has written for several websites and, from 2017 to 2020, was a staff writer and senior investigative reporter for MintPress News. She currently writes for her own outlet Unlimited Hangout and contributes to The Last American Vagabond and MintPress News.

July 24, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Jews enlist US govt to intervene in Chile as Palestinian-descendant rises to presidential election frontrunner

By Eric Striker | National Justice | July 15, 2021

Jews in America are demanding the United States intervene in Chile’s internal politics in the run up to their presidential election next November.

Daniel Jadue, a descendant of Palestinian refugees and member of the Chilean Communist Party, is currently the frontrunner in polls. Jadue is an unapologetic anti-Zionist who has in the past directly confronted the Jewish power structure of his country.

Gerardo Gorodischer, president of Chilean Jewish lobby, has successfully recruited Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress to call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken — a Jew himself — to meddle in Chile’s internal affairs and prevent Jadue from becoming president.

Jadue has in the past called attention to Jewish control of the media in his country. Last year, he was listed as one of the top 10 anti-Semites in the world by the Simon Wiesenthal Center after he passed a strict Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) law as mayor of the city of Recoleta. He is currently supporting a law in the parliament that would make Chile the first nation in the world to officially institute a total boycott of Israel.

With 400,000 descendants, Chile is home to the world’s largest Palestinian diaspora outside of the Middle East. Chilean-Palestinians are overwhelmingly Christians who were forced to flee their homeland after being ethnically cleansed by Israel. Chile’s Jewish population is much smaller, currently estimated at 150,000 people. Jews in the country have started immigrating to Israel in larger than usual numbers out of fear of Jadue potentially becoming the nation’s next leader.

So far, Jewish attempts at “Corbyning” Jadue have failed. Complaints from Zionist organizations in Latin America and the US to stop Jadue have largely been ignored by the local population. Their trump card appears to be using the United States to intimidate the Chilean government with threats of economic retaliation or more.

In her letter to Blinken, Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz made a collective racial attack on the entire Chilean Palestinian community for protesting against Israel’s attacks on Arabs last May:

“Militant leaders of the 400,000-strong Chilean Palestinian community, and their partners, from a variety of political parties, were quite aggressive during and after the Gaza crisis, burning Israeli and U.S. flags, brandishing Nazi symbols and accusing Israel of apartheid and Chilean Jews of controlling the media. This dangerous climate has been intensifying for many years and has already affected Chile’s social fabric despite alarms sounded by the local Jewish community and U.S. Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee.”

The billionaire neo-conservative president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, also received the letter. His allies in the parliament have started grilling Jadue over his 1983 high school yearbook entry, where he declared himself an “anti-Semite” and vowed revenge against Jews for what they did to his family. Jadue, a 54-years-old man, responded by making fun of Chilean conservatives asking him to “clarify” comments he made as a teenager as the country suffers through an economic crisis.

Jews have been encountering resistance from all across the political spectrum and diverse countries in recent months. Earlier this month, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko gave a speech suggesting that Jews use the “Holocaust” to intimidate and control people. Yesterday in Poland, local nationalists crashed a Jewish ceremony racially defaming Poles as genocidal killers.

July 16, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 9 Comments

The CIA, Kennedy, and the Haiti Assassination

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 16, 2021

The legal authorities have been rounding up suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. Criminal prosecutions will follow. If those accused are found guilty, they will be punished  with long terms in jail.

Ironically, however, if the CIA or the Pentagon had been the ones that assassinated Moïse, the situation would be completely different. There would be no arrests or criminal prosecutions. That’s because the CIA and the Pentagon wield the authority to do what private individuals are not allowed to do — the authority to assassinate political leaders and, well, for that matter, anyone else in the world.

Recall the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani. He was in charge of Iran’s security and intelligence apparatus. The U.S. national-security establishment fired a missile at him, killing him instantly.

Unlike the recent assassination in Haiti, there were no arrests or prosecutions of any Pentagon or CIA official after Suleimani’s assassination. That’s because they wield the authority to snuff out people’s lives on grounds of national security.

Moreover, assassination is not some new power wielded by the CIA and the Pentagon. It actually stretches all the way back to the conversion of the U.S. government to a national-security state after World War II. As far back as 1953, the CIA was developing an assassination manual for its assassins. The manual trained the CIA’s assassins not only in the art of assassination but also in the art of covering up the CIA’s role in assassinations.

The following year — 1954 — the CIA instigated a regime-change operation in Guatemala in which it prepared a list of Guatemalan officials to be targeted for assassination. While the CIA still will not release that top-secret list — on grounds of “national security” of course — there is no doubt that the democratically elected president of the country, Jacobo Arbenz, was at the top of the assassination list. Fortunately for him, he was able to escape the country before they could kill him.

In 1961, just before President Kennedy was sworn into office, the CIA conspired to assassinate Congo leader Patrice Lumumba. They actually rushed the assassination because they knew that Kennedy would oppose it. Lumumba was assassinated on January 17. Kennedy was sworn into office on January 20.

In 1970, CIA officials conspired with other U.S. officials to kidnap and assassinate Gen. Rene Schneider, the overall commander of Chile’s armed forces. Although the CIA denied any role in the assassination at the time it was carried out, it later came out that the CIA had conspired to violently kidnap Schneider.

The CIA claimed that its conspiracy was limited to kidnapping, not assassinating, Schneider. However, that was clearly a lie because the CIA’s intent was to remove him from his position in the government because he opposed the U.S. plan for a coup in Chile. Thus, there was no way they ever would have returned him after kidnapping him. In any event, Schneider was shot dead on the streets of Santiago during the kidnapping attempt. The CIA was later caught paying hush money to the killers.

One of the things that has long fascinated me about all this assassination mayhem is how some Americans find it inconceivable that the CIA and Pentagon planned and carried out the assassination of President Kennedy. How can such an assassination be inconceivable when that’s what the Pentagon and the CIA do — they assassinate political leaders on grounds of protecting U.S. national security.

No one seems surprised when they learn about the Pentagon’s or CIA’s assassination of a foreign leader. In fact, most everyone seems pretty nonchalant about the matter. But when one brings up the Kennedy assassination, there is a segment in mainstream American society that goes absolutely ballistic. I don’t get it. 

I suppose they would claim that the CIA and the Pentagon would never assassinate an American citizen. But that’s ridiculous. If the CIA or the Pentagon conclude that an American citizen poses a threat to national security, why would they hesitate to take him out? In fact, during the Chilean coup, they authorized Chilean officials to execute two American citizens, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. More recently, they assassinated two American citizens — Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman.

That leaves the final inconceivable argument — that it is simply inconceivable that the Pentagon and the CIA would exercise their power of assassination against a U.S. president. But what if they conclude that the president poses a grave threat to national security and that that country will fall to the communists or the terrorists or to Russia owing to the president’s policies? Would the Pentagon and the CIA really just let the country go down, or would they take the necessary steps to save the country?

We know the answer to that question from the coup in Chile. Like the United States, the Chilean Constitution did not allow for an assassination or coup to save the country from a president whose policies were deemed to pose a grave threat to national security. That’s why Gen. Schneider opposed a coup. The position of the Pentagon and the CIA was that regardless of the Chilean constitution, the Chilean national-security establishment had a moral duty to save the country by forcibly removing its democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, from office. After Schneider was removed from the scene through assassination, the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s view prevailed. The U.S.-inspired coup occurred on September 11, 1973, and left Allende dead.

Thus, the real questions are: (1) Did the Pentagon and the CIA conclude that Kennedy posed a grave threat to national security owing to the radically different direction he was taking America? (2) Does the evidence establish that Kennedy’s assassination was a highly sophisticated regime-change operation on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment?

Those are the two questions that the inconceivable crowd declines to confront and address. They remain stuck within their inconceivable doctrine.

The answers to those two questions were provided in FFF’s recent online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.” I have no doubts that anyone who watches the presentations delivered in that conference from beginning to end will conclude beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that the Pentagon and the CIA exercised their power of assassination on November 22, 1963, to protect the country from a president whose policies they concluded posed a grave threat to national security. 

July 16, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Cuba and Color Revolution: A Cautionary Tale of the Next Phase of Forever-War

By Joaquin Flores | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 14, 2021

If one believes that the protests in Cuba can be explained within the rubric of 20th century economic systems, and then believes they can go on to extract some great truths about socialism vs. capitalism, then they are misinformed. No, this is about technocracy, color revolution, and forever-war.

The events in Cuba were caused by the staged economic collapse directed by the IMF under the advisement of the World Economic Forum, under the pretext of supply-line stoppages and economic closures to combat Covid-19. The socio-economic strife that such an imposed crisis is known to provoke, is then weaponised to destabilize ‘regimes’ so as to further the hegemonic agenda of the (admittedly divided) oligarchy ruling the global west. We saw this before in 2008 with the crash and crisis, and how this was weaponised to create a destabilization process known as the Arab Spring.

The planners involved are long-term planners, having transcended the quarter-driven constraints of the old market system. The new technocracy emerging is simply able to use Friedmanesque manipulations to keep the system afloat until the law of value is entirely transcended through automation. That was the crypto-Marxian understanding of economics promoted by Maynard Keynes.

Just as Cuba positioned itself away from socialism and towards further integration into global markets, the IMF moved openly to wind down the global market system and move towards a new type of totalitarian order which some critics have likened to communism.

Cubans are protesting against the mask-mandates and the lockdowns which have harmed people’s way of life. They are protesting the way that the government has effectively privileged those with dollar accounts who can buy from state-sanctioned dollar stores. Hence, those without families abroad sending dollars are negatively affected the most. This strikes against the whole narrative of Cuba and its gusano diaspora. Cuba produces its own vaccine, one that is not an experimental mRNA vaccine. The US would like very much to force a concession onto Cuba that it accept the mRNA vaccine. Perhaps the Cuban population of 11 million is just too high.

The fake news talking points that Cubans are protesting a lack of vaccines is a lie. We knew that trans-Atlantic talking points were a part of the Color scheme last year in Belarus when we were told that protestors rose up to oppose Lukashenko’s lackadaisical approach to the plandemic. Lukashenko in turn revealed that he refused an IMF offer of $980 million to play the lockdown deathmatch.

This is a Color Revolution

Anyone like Tom Fowdy for RT who writes that it is premature to say that the clear signs of a Color Revolution aren’t there, probably only says so because they don’t really know what those signs are.

They probably approach that question in terms of on-location forensics: identifying that a particular protest leader is actually an employee of the state department or Soros NGO in some fashion.

Yet for those who understand what the signs are, the signs of a Color Revolution are certainly there. But to understand this requires a long and broad view of the interplay between staged economic crises and the predictable turmoil they create in certain countries.

Because turmoil and protests are all but predictable even to OXFAM, once the FAO food index price surpasses about 210 (by 2012 ratios). Then, it becomes a question of which countries global lending institutions deem worthy of borrowing to subsidize against the newly inflated food price, or which countries the food production companies view in a lenient fashion.

As OXFAM wrote in 2012: “While concerns about high food prices are foremost about the spread of hunger and poverty, high food prices are also strongly correlated with political instability and have historically been a catalyst for mass protest in countries where legitimacy is already faltering. Research performed by the New England Institute for Science and Society has identified “a global food price threshold for unrest;”

Since 2007, food riots have broken out in more than 60 countries and have occurred with heightened frequency during periods of record-breaking food prices such as in 2008, when food riots erupted from Europe to the South Pacific. The FAO food price index crossed the 210 threshold, for the first time, in February 2008.”

Do we need to mention again that global economic crises are staged? Surely, there are structural problems broadly speaking, in the entire Neo-Keynesean system built in some large part from the ideas of Milton Friedman. So it should be clarified that while the timing of these economic crises are planned, they are also bound to happen. But when precisely they happen, and the point of them, would probably shock and confuse, then demoralize anyone who had a naïve understanding of global politics. You see, the point of planned economic crises is the upwards redistribution of wealth. Every firm except a handful of ‘zaibatsu’ style state-picked winners must absorb their own losses. This is corporatism 101.

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) American economist and statistician who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

Each market crisis is structurally predetermined as these bubbles which define them, grow to a certain point. But it is a decision that is made to ‘pop the bubble’ at a particularly more fortuitous time as opposed to some other time – granted that it would need to be popped sooner or later. So these are both features of the structure, but also planned.

Understanding Color Revolutions requires an understanding of this phenomenon. In 2008, the massive bail-outs to banks using currency debasement, led to a geopolitical strategy on the part of the US deep state to buy up and corner the markets on perishable goods, especially those markets and firms which directed their energies towards Turkey, the Arab world, and Iran. This led to strife across the Maghreb region, Egypt, Syria, an increase of problems in occupied Iraq, and a boon to the Green movement in Iran.

The Crisis in Cuba

Further destabilization in Cuba will be a huge part in a coming global destabilization, and so it must be opposed. This is the case, even contemplating the reasonable grievances of the actual protesters, which in turn are not the same as the Sorosian demands placed in the mouths of anonymous protestors by the globalist media.

An inflation crisis has hit Cuba because of the staged political response to Covid, meant precisely to cause inflationary crises globally. The tourism industry has taken the biggest hit. Food and similar perishables are unaffordable for many without access to dollar accounts. There are state-picked favourites in the private sector (as is the case everywhere) as well as Communist Party bureaucrats who seem unaffected by the very same conditions that the protesters accuse them of bringing about. This much seems reasonable: in looking at who to blame for a problem, look to those who are making out.

The themes affecting Cuba are isolation and sovereignty, versus integration and dependence. Ever since the collapse of the USSR, which Cuba relied on for massive subsidies, Cuba has had both up and down periods as it struggles to balance between these two questions. Cuba is an island nation with just 11 million people, and so there can be no real sovereignty without the heavy price of isolation, nor can there be any integration into the globalist system without becoming a dependent state.

It’s a very tough predicament, because the Ideological State Apparatus of Cuba is its own variant of Marxism-Leninism, and this means that no matter how actually integrated and dependent Cuba is or is becoming, it must use the pages of Granma to pencil polemics declaring that Cuba is more sovereign and stable than ever before. Conversely, each undeniable period of crisis must be blamed on the very same socio-economic systems of global governance which Cuba relies upon in part for its own legitimacy.

The July 13th Edition of Granma, Official Organ of the CC of the CP of Cuba

The problem then is when people really believe this state propaganda, or when people are forced to openly proclaim a public truth they know personally to be a lie. Because instead of the public understanding that Cuba has lost much of its sovereignty in its process of dollarizing so much of its economy, (and that the machinations of foreign actors, the IMF, the planned and staged collapse of the global speculative economy that Cuba is integrated in, is a large part of Cuba’s present woes) blame is laid by the public directly at the feet of a nominally sovereign state’s ruling government.

Quite the predicament. Because the government cannot really tell the truth, it must take the blame. Or do as it has done (and done so with no shame for provoking incredulity), and claim that the entire protest is a foreign provocation.

The Cuban government and its sinecure functionaries must always declare that any grassroots grievances expressed en masse are always at its core the work of foreign ‘imperialist’ intelligence operations bent on a destabilization strategy.

Yet such accusations of foreign plots are more likely to be true than not.

Another problem, and this is something where the Cuban government needs to make a fix, is the issue of dollar accounts.

Those with dollar accounts are tremendously less affected by the perishable goods inflation crisis in Cuba. But those deposits are only possible by having loved ones who have left Cuba for the US. So those who have ‘betrayed’ the revolution are the ones able to help those in Cuba. Those in Cuba living better off are not those who have been loyal to the socialism project of Cuba excepting a small layer of bureaucrats and professional snitches, but instead are the relatives of those gusanos in Florida and the rest of the US who have moved on to greener pastures.

What sort of message does that send? This greatly weakens the legitimacy of the government, because those common-folk who defend the Cuban system are left feeling like fools. When this layer joins a protest movement, the government’s days are numbered.

Cuba – Between a Rock and a Hard-Spot

Color Revolution schemes cannot work unless there are real-existing grievances shared among large segments of the population.

And yet going further, those real-existing grievances today, (while they compound longer standing ones which the Cuban government must account for), are directly caused by the IMF’s decision to bring global capitalism to a grinding halt for some period of time.

It is very difficult for a nominally sovereign government to tell a Thatcherite story of ‘TINA’ – there is no alternative. Cuba lacks alternatives except going either the path of the Khmer Rouge, or the path of laissez-faire. It has chosen some middle-path.

This really touches on a very big problem Cuba faces: its civilizational decision to place its legitimacy at the hands of international organizations related to global governance. Cuba strives to show its own citizens, and perhaps secondarily the US, that the rest of the world and especially the UN’s alphabet soup of agencies and organizations, recognize any number of successes that Cuba promotes having accomplished. To wit, at least within the rubric of those accounting systems, Cuba makes a decent case.

So a problem arises when this very same system of global governance, under the pretext of fighting Covid-19, instructs various countries to commit ritual seppuku at the altar of world health in order to preserve this status and these relationships to global trade and global governance.

And how? The western hemisphere is controlled almost entirely by the IMF and global banking systems. Cuba exists in some netherworld of ‘helpful harm’, if not through the US due to sanctions, then through the same banks in their Trans-Atlantic incarnations by way of Europe.

Since we understand that the WHO is effectively controlled by allies of the World Economic Forum like Bill Gates, which in turn is the think-tank of the IMF; and since the IMF includes in its bylaws and requirements that countries in a time of a declared global pandemic by the WHO must take the proscribed measures to combat this, then we understand what we have seen as a global phenomenon.

It’s been only a handful of leaders, several in Africa, in Haiti, and Belarus, that have openly bucked these provisions. And of these, all have been since eliminated except for Lukashenko in Belarus who no doubt enjoys some security provisions from the Russian Federation.

The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) explains that in 2019, “The top exports of Cuba are Rolled Tobacco ($287M), Raw Sugar ($211M), Nickel Mattes ($134M), Hard Liquor ($97.3M), and Zinc Ore ($78.4M), exporting mostly to China ($461M), Spain ($127M), Netherlands ($65.5M), Germany ($64.7M), and Cyprus ($48.9M).

The top imports of Cuba are Poultry Meat ($286M), Wheat ($181M), Soybean Meal ($167M), Corn ($146M), and Concentrated Milk ($136M), importing mostly from Spain ($1.01B), China ($790M), Italy ($327M), Canada ($285M), and Russia ($285M).”

Hence Cuba was placed in a pincer move. It lost massively from the global plandemic and the restriction of supply lines, the tightened access to imports, the loss of tourism. The compliance of other countries to the IMF’s mandated economic implosion reduced demand for Cuba’s exports and damaged tourism as well.

But in order to maintain its own relationship with the IMF and also following the global narrative of the Socialist International (2nd International), (an EU driven social-democratic association of governments and political parties), it went along with the ‘solidarity’ driven component of woke politics seen in the ‘do-your-part’ masking and lockdowns.

But those harmed by the lockdowns were ordinary Cubans, not government officials or those with dollar accounts. And so the reaction we see today is a predictable one.

Conclusion

There can be no doubt: Cuba’s present crisis is not the direct result of its own economic mismanagement, but rather the staged demolition of finance, global trade, and supply lines using the Covid pandemic as a pretext. However, a number of social and political decisions by Cuban leaders have no doubt compounded the impact of the crisis and emboldened protesters.

What citizens in first world countries have seen as a ‘stock market rebound’ predicated by ‘too-big-too-fail’ type bailouts (socialism for the rich), are only possible so long as those moneys are held on the books but not really spent – hence the lockdowns. At least not spent in such a way as would this liquidity naturally circulate in the economy. For such velocity of moneys based on such extreme debasement of the currency, would lead to the largest inflationary crisis in the history of man on earth.

In raw-materials producing countries like Cuba, that has meant a tripled hardship. The aim of the centers of finance capital has been to do something like the Arab Spring, only more so.

At the same time, the Cuban government’s defensive and accusatory posture is poor optics and bad politics. It needs to better engage the protestors and validate some part of their grievances. Pointing the finger at Uncle Sam is tone deaf and only serves to satisfy a single demographic in Cuba.

Today, we are seeing only the start of a fresh wave of global destabilization efforts, never-ending wars. But now governments have prepared the civilian populations for these wars under the pretext of never-ending lockdowns due to a mystery illness. The right to protest, strikes, and the basic social contact needed to organize these can be revoked by instantaneous mandate as some new variant of Covid will always invariably be discovered. This is the biggest threat humanity faces since the Second World War, but in addition to destabilization campaigns, is the backdrop of a class-war gambit of the oligarchy against everyday people. Cuba needs to be understood in this light, and while it needs a better approach to managing the Covid narrative and hearing its people, foreign meddling in its affairs needs to be opposed.

July 16, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment