ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

IG Report On Afghanistan–War Driven By Years of Hubris and Mendacity (Lies)

US Afghan policy driven by years of ‘hubris and mendacity’: IG report

“Hubris and mendacity” characterize the U.S. approach to rebuilding Afghanistan, according to the federal watchdog monitoring the $132 billion of taxpayers’ money allotted for reconstruction in the war-torn country since 2002.

A damning new report by John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, comes amid fresh hopes of a peace deal to end a conflict that has bedeviled successive U.S. presidents at a cost of more than 2,000 U.S. lives.

Sopko warns that hopes of future security could be dashed if the world turns its back on the nation where American troops ousted the Taliban from power in 2001. And he said years of misguided U.S. policies meant that the risk of insecurity would likely remain long after any agreement.

“Hubris was that we actually thought we could turn a country as poor as Afghanistan, as beaten up after 40 years of war, with every major infrastructure and every government institution destroyed — we had this hubris that we could come in and turn it into a little America,” he said.

“I upset my Norwegian friends when I say it but this isn’t Norway, guys.”

He added that it was very difficult to set about “nation building” in a country riven by factional rivalries, a weak central government and pockmarked by decades of war.

Problems were exacerbated, he said, by public figures who offered an optimistic picture of progress.

“And mendacity because we oversold it to the American taxpayer. We oversold our capability, we oversold the success,” he said.

“Too many people witnessed it, going up and testifying to Congress, giving press releases with only the rosy picture — how easy it is, rebuilding all the roads, the Afghans love us, the military is fighting, our troops will come back by Thanksgiving.”

Sopko’s bleak assessment came with a list of eight threats to the country’s long-term stability: Widespread insecurity, the difficulty of disarming 60,000 Taliban fighters, underdeveloped police capacity, endemic corruption, a feeble economy, a booming trade in narcotics, threats to women’s rights, and weak oversight of foreign spending.

Those risks underscore the difficulty facing Donald Trump as he looks to make good on a promise to bring home the remaining 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

US says Russians in Venezuela For Maintenance On S-300 Missile System

A Russian Ilyushin Il-62 air force plane, one of two Russian military aircraft that arrived on March 23, 2019 with troops and equipment, sits on the tarmac at an airport near Caracas; the Trump administration has sharply protested the Russian presence
A Russian Ilyushin Il-62 air force plane, one of two Russian military aircraft that arrived on March 23, 2019 with troops and equipment, sits on the tarmac at an airport near Caracas; the Trump administration has sharply protested the Russian presence (AFP Photo/YURI CORTEZ)

Washington (AFP) – A Russian military deployment to Venezuela that has prompted warnings by the United States was meant largely to fix a broken missile system, a US official said Friday.

Elliott Abrams, the US envoy heading the US effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro, said that Washington believes that Moscow sent around 100 people to provide “technical assistance.”

“One of the things they are doing seems to be, and we have thought this from the very beginning, helping the regime with the S-300 ground-to-air missile system which apparently got all screwed up… by the blackout,” Abrams told reporters.

The S-300 is a major missile defense program designed to shoot down aircraft and other missiles that was designed by the Soviet Union. Russian official media in 2012 reported an S-300 shipment to Venezuela.

The economically crumbling country this week suffered its second nationwide blackout this month, knocking out transport, water supplies and communications and paralyzing the crucial oil sector.

John Bolton, the US national security adviser, on Friday urged Venezuela’s military to “uphold its constitutional duty to protect the citizens of Venezuela.”

“Maduro will only use this military support to further repress the people of Venezuela; perpetuate the economic crisis that has destroyed Venezuela’s economy; and endanger regional stability,” Bolton said in a statement.

The statement did not specify what exact actions the US wanted the Venezuelan military to take, but Trump has said its army chiefs could play a “vital role” in the country’s future if they abandoned their support for Maduro

The statement Friday warned that any effort by “actors external to the Western Hemisphere” to deploy military assets to Venezuela with an eye to military operations would be considered “a direct threat to international peace and security in the region.”

US President Donald Trump earlier called on Russia to “get out” of Venezuela.

Russia has said that its forces, which it described as military experts providing technical help, will stay “for as long as needed,” calling the US effort in Venezuela an attempted coup.

Two Russian military planes landed at the main airport outside Caracas on Saturday and offloaded the equipment and troops. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo soon afterward raised objections in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The United States and 50 other countries say that the leftist firebrand Maduro is no longer the legitimate leader of Venezuela and have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

Israel Lobby, Unified Disguise for Foreign Agency

How the Israel Lobby Got its

Start

 

As the annual AIPAC conference wraps up in Washington on Tuesday, historian Walter Hixson looked back on the Israel Lobby’s origins in this speech last Friday to the “Israel Lobby & American Policy Conference” at the National Press Club.

By Walter Hixson

This conference speaks truth to power. We gather here because we support truth and justice in Palestine. We also insist on a free and open discussion of the Israel lobby and its impact on American democracy and world politics.

All of you already know that the Israel lobby is extremely powerful—for the record, it constitutes easily the most powerful diaspora lobby representing the interests of a foreign nation in all of American history—but you may not know how deeply rooted it is. In fact, the extensive lobbying efforts of Zionists and their Jewish and Christian sympathizers in the United States predate the creation of Israel and flourished throughout the first generation of the Palestine conflict.

As good a date as any to fix the origins of the Israel lobby in the United States is the 1942 Biltmore Conference held in the heartland of American Zionism, New York City. Zionists quickly discovered that they could mobilize Jewish organizations as well as groups such as the American Christian Palestine Committee, to pressure Congress to back the cause. The nascent lobby efficiently lined up the two main political parties in support of creation of a Jewish commonwealth, admission of masses of refugees, and crucial US financial assistance to accommodate them. Military assistance would come later.

A well-organized and effective Zionist lobby thus pre-dated the creation of Israel. It was poised to ensure that Israel would receive the diplomatic, political, and military support that would enable it to undertake decades of aggressive expansion in direct violation of myriad UN resolutions, principles of human rights, and international law. From the beginning the purpose of the lobby was to insulate the Zionist state from widespread criticism, to deflect and distort the truth about its aggression, so that it could reap the benefits of security and massive financial assistance from the most powerful country in the world.

Louis Lipsky, an American Zionist from Rochester, declared that propaganda and persuasion would provide “the armor that Israel cannot live without.” The key figure in the first generation of the lobby, however, was a little-known Zionist from Cleveland, Isaiah Leo Kenen. Working hand in hand with the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, Kenen became the workhorse of the Israel lobby. His personal papers, available at the Center for Jewish History in New York yet largely neglected by scholars, reveal the early history of the lobby. Those and myriad other papers, along with State Department records and an abundant secondary literature, provide the research foundation for the book that I have done.

The Palestinians and the Arab world had no comparable lobby in the United States, which had the largest Jewish population in the world and millions of modernist and fundamentalist Protestants ready to line up behind the Jewish refugees in Palestine. Full awareness of the horrors of the Nazi genocide, combined with ignorance of the impact of Zionist aggression in Palestine, underlay US public support.

Buoyed by the growing U.S. support, Israel expanded its borders, rejected international mediation, and turned a blind eye to the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. When the UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden pressured Israel to compromise, a terrorist troika that included future Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir had him gunned down in his jeep at a Jerusalem roadblock in September 1948.

The Qibya Massacre 

By that time, with a presidential election looming in November, the lobby exercised a powerful influence over the Truman administration. Zionists worked through David Niles, a White House adviser on Jewish affairs, which became an essential post in presidential administrations. Israeli patriarch Chaim Weizmann assiduously cultivated Truman with the help of the president’s former business partner, Eddie Jacobson, a Zionist from Kansas City.

Fully aware and frequently resentful of the pressure exerted on him by the Israel lobby, Truman nonetheless ultimately sided with it and against the advice of the State Department. The United States became the first nation to recognize Israel, supported a massive influx of Jewish migrants, and glossed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles presented a greater challenge for Israel and the lobby than had Truman. The Republican administration entered office in 1953 determined to rein in Israel and forge a Middle East peace that would protect oil supplies, allow Arab moderates to fend off extremists, and support the overarching foreign policy of containment of communism. Israel appeared vulnerable when Ariel Sharon manifested a lifelong zeal for indiscriminate slaughter of vulnerable Arab people, as he orchestrated a massacre in the West Bank village of Qibya in October 1953.

Deeply alarmed by the impact the massacre might have on American public opinion, Kenen mobilized the local councils to calm the waters in the wake of the indiscriminate killing of innocent villagers in their homes. Kenen soon realized that the political power of the lobby already was so well ensconced that representatives and senators of both political parties could be counted on to line up behind Israel in a crisis. This was an important moment, as Qibya showed thatIsrael could massacre people and rely on the lobby to effectively manage the political fallout.

Israel thus could continue to lash out violently across the already expanded borders, regularly carrying out assaults disproportionate to any provocation in Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. In 1957 Eisenhower did force Israel to pull back after it had invaded Egypt, but even then, Israeli aggression was rewarded with critical new navigation rights that would enable it to precipitate the pivotal June 1967 War.

JFK and Dimona

In the period between Suez and the 1967 war, John F. Kennedy won election backed by overwhelming Jewish political support. In 1962 JFK pronounced the existence of the “special relationship” and opened the military supply spigot by selling Israel Hawk surface to air missiles. The Israelis showed their appreciation to Kennedy by repeatedly lying to him about the nuclear research program in the desert at Dimona. They pledged not to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East when in fact they were committed to doing precisely that. Israel refused to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran, by contrast, like the overwhelming majority of nations in the world, is a signatory.

By the Kennedy years the lobby had reorganized several times and established its structural component, AIPAC, backed by influential supporters in both political parties. Kenen regularly stuffed congressional mailboxes with copies of the Near East Report, the well-edited and highly successful propaganda newsletter that he created. Inside the White House, the Jewish affairs adviser Myer “Mike” Feldman undermined efforts to rein in Israel.

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., and Senator John Kennedy at Ben-Gurion’s Jerusalem home, October 1951. (Geopolitiek in perspectief)

The lobby ensured that the State Department and the few members of Congress who asked troublesome questions—notably Senator J. William Fulbright—were kept at bay. The lobby then targeted and in 1974 helped defeat Fulbright and drive him out of the Senate. Noting that the Kennedy administration was virtually powerless against Israel and the lobby, adviser Robert Komer, himself Jewish, asked in frustration, “What kind of relationship was this?” To Komer and the State Department diplomats it was obvious that Israel and the lobby were the tail that wagged the strategic dog of American Middle East policy.

LBJ and the ’67 War

In his blurb for my book, John Mearsheimer wrote that it is “especially good at showing how a select group of pro-Israel Americans profoundly influenced President Lyndon Johnson, who was like putty in their hands.” Johnson had been pro-Israel since his youth when his Aunt Jessie infused him with the biblical lore that God had chosen the Jews to inherit the holy land. Johnson also enjoyed the company of close Jewish friends and advisers—Eppie Evron, Abe Fortas, Arthur Goldberg, Arthur and Mathilde Krim, among others. Johnson apparently did not directly green light Israel’s initiation of the June 1967 War, but neither did he flash a red signal.

As several Israeli leaders subsequently openly acknowledged, Israel in 1967 as in 1956 launched the June war as a first rather than a last resort. The Israelis as well as the CIA knew that Israel was the more powerful force, could defeat all of its Arab rivals combined, and that is precisely what Israel did, initiating a blitzkrieg attack rather than seeking a negotiated settlement of maritime and territorial disputes.

After the war–which included the apparently deliberate attempt to sink an American spy ship, the USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding 171 US sailors–Johnson reversed a generation of US policy upholding the 1949 borders. He acquiesced to the lobby in support of an occupation of Arab territories that extended in myriad directions far beyond the 1949 armistice lines. The lobby thus enabled Israel to exploit the sweeping military triumph by embarking on a messianic quest for the Greater Israel.

My study culminates with the pivotal decisions in 1967 initiating an illegal occupation and the emergence of a violently regressive apartheid state. Before most Americans even knew that it existed the lobby had played a pivotal role in enabling Israel to launch an aggressive war, to choose land over peace with the Palestinians and its other Arab neighbors, and to continue to thumb its nose at the UN and international law. The United States not only enabled the illegal occupation, it bolstered the IDF with advanced weaponry including tanks and F-4 Phantom jets despite Israel’s contempt for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

USS Liberty after the attack.

By 1967, Israel and the lobby had achieved a stranglehold over modern American political life. “The U.S. position is all that can be desired,” Kenen declared after the Six Day War. “The U.S. is working like never before.”

Lobby Becomes Known

The lobby achieved its success by circumventing the foreign policy bureaucracy and applying pressure directly on the president and the Congress through campaigns to secure financial assistance, armaments, and unstinting diplomatic support for Israel. By the 1970s the lobby and Kenen himself began to be identified and chronicled by the press. Asked in 1973 to explain the operations of the lobby, Kenen responded, “I put it very succinctly in one sentence, ‘We appeal to local leadership to write or telegraph or telephone their Congressmen and urge them to call upon the President to overrule the Department of State,’ and this has been going on, now for some 20 years.” At the time of the interview the Near East Report had achieved a circulation of nearly 30,000.

As Kenen suggested, and as my book shows, throughout the first generation of its existence, from the Truman through the Johnson years the lobby successfully fended off persistent State Department efforts to forge an “impartial” or “balanced” diplomacy between Israel and the Arabs. While Israel carried out cross-border attacks, stonewalled refugees, and rejected diplomacy, the lobby successfully undermined the advice of area experts who warned that the imbalanced, pro-Israeli policy would perpetuate instability and achieve security for no one, including Israel.

American professional diplomats, often wrongly dismissed as pro-Arab or even anti-Semitic, neither of which was true, warned about the consequences, including the rise of extremism in the Arab world. Their prophecy would come full circle in the twenty-first century.

Blaming the Victim

I turn now to a broader interpretive study I have undertaken on a history of the U.S.-Israeli special relationship. When I began intensive study of Israel-Palestine several years ago, I was susceptible to the familiar stereotypes: age-old religious conflict, ancient enmities, neither side will compromise, etc., etc. Now that I know better, I am of course charged with being one-sided, so let me say this: Palestinians and Arabs are human and have made many mistakes, to be sure. The historical record clearly shows, however, that the Palestine conflict is rooted in Zionist aggression. Accelerating settler colonization has both caused and perpetuated the conflict and moreover has foreclosed genuine opportunities for a peace settlement–in 1949, even more clearly in 1967, and in the 1990s as well.

In everyday life we learn that it is inappropriate to blame the victim. The same is true in diplomatic history; no one blames Poland for being invaded in 1939. Accordingly, the focus in what follows is where it belongs, on the aggressors and their apologists. Today Israel and its American backers have become increasingly transparent in their regressive policies, claiming Jerusalem as the “eternal capital,” savagely cutting off Gaza as well as aid to the Palestinian refugees, engaging in targeted killings and collective punishment, and now the United States has signed off on another illegitimate annexation, this of the Syrian Golan Heights. All of these actions are in direct violation of international law. We may not be able to stop these actions at this moment in time, but what we can do as scholars and activists is call to account Israel and the United States for their crimes against humanity. Specifically, we must gain a clearer understanding of Israel’s core identity, and the ways in which the lobby acts to cover up Israel’s crimes.

Application of the framework of settler colonialism to explain Israeli history has been a step in the right direction, but what does this label really mean? Here is a brief overview: Animated bynationalist and religious discourses, settler states such as Israel, the United States, Australia and South Africa, among others, are congenitally aggressive. They strive to cleanse the land of its indigenous residents in the name of providential destiny, modernity, and racial hierarchy. Settler colonial states work relentlessly to establish facts on the ground. They embrace violent solutions including regular resort to massacre. They reject legal restraints and they abhor external authority.

The drive to lay claim to the biblical holy land meant that Israel would not agree to a negotiated settlement of the Palestine conflict. The “peace process” became a sham, providing cover for the establishment of ever more facts on the ground. Fueled by aggressive instincts and mythical destiny, Israel became a reactionary and a rogue state, building illegal settlements in contempt of the UN, and repressing Palestinians in contempt of human rights. Knowing that the lobby had its back, Israel ignored the State Department and rebuffed American presidents, thereby affirming Moshe Dayan’s famous quip, “Our American friends offer us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice.” The Israeli patriarch Ben-Gurion liked to say, “It is not important what the Gentiles say, what matters is what the Jews do.”

The Israeli political system has empowered a series of bigoted, bellicose leaders who showed utter contempt for Arabs and a determination violently to dispossess them. The early Zionist leaders bore the psychic scars and traumas of the bloodlands of east-central Europe from which they came. They carried the terrible burden of the Nazi genocide that took the lives of their family members and some six million Jews.

As a result, they were quick to brand Arab leaders like Nasser as the next Hitler; diplomacy became a reprise of Munich; any effort at compromise was dismissed as appeasement. This time, they vowed, the Jews would be the aggressors. The Israeli leaders thus inherited, internalized, and perpetuated an intolerant, Hobbesian worldview that was inimical to peacemaking.

War Crimes

For most of its existence Israel has been led by men who should be held accountable for war crimes. I do not make such an accusation lightly; abundant evidence exists under international law to make the case against, at a minimum, Ben-Gurion, Dayan, Begin, Sharon, Shamir, and Netanyahu. They must be held to account in the dock of history if nowhere else.

Millions of decent, caring people live in Israel. Some of them bear a heavy burden of regret and frustration over their country’s actions, as do many of us with respect to American policies both at home and abroad. The crucial point, however, is that neither peace-minded Israeli citizens nor liberal American Jews have thus far been unable to break through the iron wall of Israel’s militant chauvinism or to unhinge the right-wing vice grip on political power. The conclusion seems inescapable: the militant and messianic settler state selects like-minded leaders.

It is essential to come to grips with the militancy at the core of Israel’s identity in order to understand the role of the Israel lobby. The lobby provides cover for Israel’s congenital aggression, its pursuit of land over peace, its flaunting of international law. While Israel carries out violent and criminal acts, the lobby functions to insulate it from criticism, to distort history and reality, in sum to provide what Lipsky described, the armor that Israel cannot live without.

Such is the hubris of imperial settler states like Israel and the United States that even as they engage in violent repression, they simultaneously insist on being loved, honored, and accredited as model democracies. Historical denial and policing of dissent are thus among the primary characteristics of the militant settler state. Efforts to unpack Israeli or for that matter American mythology and to expose the aggression that inheres within, are invariably attacked as subversive.

For Israel, like the Soviet Union of old, glasnost could become a deadly virus. For these reasons Israel and the lobby smear and condemn their critics unmercifully. Which brings us to the recent remarkable, deeply disturbing, and yet highly revealing case of Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Rep. Omar may have been guilty of hitting the send button on some loosely worded tweets—clearly as rare and heinous a crime as there is in America today. Israel’s apologists attacked Rep. Omar for linking “Benjamins” with the Israel lobby; that is for having the temerity to suggest that a politicallobbyin a capitalist society might raise and use moneyin an effort to shape public opinion and the resultant national security policy. This, of course, is precisely what the Israel lobby doesdo.

Nonetheless, Rep. Omar apologized for the tweet, showing a degree of states-woman-ship that you may never see nor hear from the Israel lobby. Think about all of the people that CAMERA and other Zionist attack groups have smeared over the years? Have you ever known themto apologize?

Israel’s vocal partisans in Congress, backed by the lobby, stepped up the Orwellian assault on Rep. Omar when she stated another rather obvious truth, namely that the lobby demands political allegiance to the state of Israel. So, we have a situation in which a lobby was created for the express purposeof promoting uncritical bipartisan support for Israel, yet when a member of Congress dares to point this out, she is viciously attacked and inundated with death threats.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (Wikimedia Commons)

Derrida and Foucault would no doubt be gratified that the Israel lobby has mastered the concept of tropes, as well as the ability to use them to manipulate an all too easily confused, Internet-addled mass society. Tropes, as the French theorists taught us, are deployed for the purpose of exercising power. While Rep. Omar herself never used the term “dual loyalty,” her critics unleashed this particular trope as if she had. She was then promptly saddled with the scarlet letter of anti-Semitism.

Unreflective journalists including the so-called liberal news media jumped on the bandwagon, affirming and spreading the word to the point that a canard effectively became the “truth,” namely that Omar had trafficked in anti-Semitic discourse. What she had done in actuality was attempt to criticize Israel and illuminate the role of the lobby. These are the reasons that she had to be smeared and silenced.

Smears and distortion undermine free speech and dissent in a supposedly democratic society, but even worse in this case they cheapen and detract from the chilling reality of actualanti-Semitism, the hate-filled stereotypes and violent attacks such as Charlottesville and especially the massacre at the Pittsburgh synagogue in October of last year.

Let’s consider another trope: “Islamic terrorism.” In the United States, in Israel, and other countries you are free to use this trope at will. It is perfectly acceptable to link the world’s second largest religious tradition, with millions of adherents in scores of countries all over the globe, with terrorism. If you say “Islamic terrorism,” there will be no lobby, no trope police to step in with smears and vilification. You are thus free to inspire people to take action, like the mass murders last week in the New Zealand mosque. If you apply “Axis of evil” or “evil-doers” to Islamic countries, that is well and good. However, if you are a non-white, Islamic-congresswoman who wears a headscarf, and you condemn as “evil” Israeli war crimes killing innocent civilians in the Gaza strip, you are branded an anti-Semite.

Watch Hixson’s full speech:

The smearing of Omar calls to mind the remark Netanyahu once made, unaware that he was being recorded, about how easy it was to manipulate discourse and to move public opinion in the United States. It also lays bare the cynical tactics of the Israel lobby. From Qibya to the killing fields of Gaza, Israel and the lobby have discovered that a tenacious and relentless propaganda campaign can cover up almost any crime, justify almost any calumny, overcome almost any political challenge. Israel and the lobby have learned to mobilize fast, to attack without restraint, to eliminate perceived threats, and ultimately to turn them to their own advantage. Israeli propaganda thus mirrors Israeli military power: both deploy campaigns of shock and awe, allowing the bodies fall where they may, ever willing to make truth the first casualty.

Then Nothing is Wrong

As I bring this talk to a close, bear with me while I engage in a final bit of historical reflection. We live in dangerous times. The distortions and deep divisions within this country sometimes remind me of the antebellum years of American history. Ominously, it was a time when the political system collapsed.

In the year 1858, the nation confronted irreconcilable national divisions as a result of its long embrace of crimes against humanity. At that moment a little known former one-term congressman from the Midwest seized the national spotlight by declaring, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” A nation, he declaimed, could “not endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”

It was true of the United States in 1858 and it is true of Israel/Palestine today. Something, somewhere, somehow, sometime is going to have to give. In 1861 Abraham Lincoln went on to become president. He famously wore a top hot, which reposes in the Smithsonian just a few blocks from where I stand today. Encircling Lincoln’s top hat is a black silk mourning band through which he honored the memory of his son Willie, who died prematurely at age 11.

I think back to Lincoln and his top hat and then to the president we have today, a flag-hugging, certifiable narcissist demagogue who sports a red MAGA ball cap. The juxtaposition of Lincoln and Trump reminds me of the famous quotation from The Education of Henry Adams. The acerbic historian and scion of the vintage American political family wrote, “The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.”

I hate to think what Henry Adams might say today.

Amid the horrific civil war over which he agonized on a daily basis, Lincoln repeatedly demonstrated his astonishing ability to say so much in so few words, including the breathtaking poignancy of his remarks at Gettysburg in November 1863. Months later in April 1864, Lincoln again revealed the epic purity of his prose in a letter to a Kentucky newspaper editor, when he declared, “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”

Let me conclude in the same spirit. Let us declare here today that if demanding the right to exist while denying it to your neighbor is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

2012 funeral procession in Palestine. (World Press Photo)

If driving people from their land and demolishing their homes is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

If asserting absolute authority over a historic city, rightful home to people of all faiths, is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

If slaughtering children for throwing stones at their oppressors is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

If the terror and deprivation that are inflicted every day upon the imprisoned people of Gaza is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

If supplying more than $125 billion to finance a regime that commits such crimes against humanity is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

If converting the Congress of the United States into a lapdog for Israeli policies is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

Let us also emphasize once again that if anti-Semitism is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

Cynical deployment of baseless charges of anti-Semitism, however, in order to legislate against free speech; stifle criticism of a foreign nation; or insist on the right to boycott an apartheid state–if these things are not wrong, nothing is wrong.

As we continue to struggle, no matter what the odds and the monies arrayed against us, let us derive inspiration from another antebellum American freedom fighter. “I am earnest,” William Lloyd Garrison declared in 1831 as he launched publication of the first issue of his anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator. “I will not equivocate . . . I will not retreat a single inch . . . AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

Thank you.

Speech on March 22, 2019, at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Walter Hixson is distinguished professor of history at the University of Akron. He is author of the just-released Israel’s Armor: The Israel Lobby and the First Generation of the Palestine Conflict (Cambridge University Press). He gave this talk at the “Israel Lobby & American Policy Conference” on March 22, 2019.

Nobody In Middle East Will Help Zionist Scum Erase Palestine, Or Cleanse Palestinians

The Jordanian Option has Always Been Zionism’s Plan

Palestinians Reject Forced Ejection In “Jordanian Option”…Issue Calls For New Intifada

Jordan King: ‘No to resettlement of Palestinians’

Jordan wants Israeli envoy expelled over Temple Mount fracas

Two days ago, there was an Israeli military incursion into Gaza. An assassination squad crossed the border into southern Gaza in a disguised vehicle, to murder a resistance Hamas leader. They were detected just as they managed to hit their intended target. The firefight that erupted while the murderers were trying to escape back across the border into Israel resulted in many casualties. One Israeli officer was killed and two others were injured. On the Palestinian side, there were seven deaths and about the same number of injuries.

To guarantee a secure retreat, the Israeli assassination squad enlisted help from their air force, which proceeded to fiercely bomb targets in Gaza. The Palestinian resistance retaliated with volleys of rockets on neighbouring Israeli targets.

All this was sparked by blatant Israeli provocation, which could have escalated into a full-scale war. The region is so volatile that any spark could cause a devastating explosion; the last thing any party in our region can afford, Israel in particular.

Israel’s track record consists of countless assassinations of Palestinian targets around the world, as well as cross-border raids into neighbouring countries.

In the past few years, Israeli raids on Syrian targets have been routine. No blame has ever been placed on Israel for violating international law in committing such aggression, or even when openly threatening more aggression. No one blames Israeli fighter planes for violating Lebanese airspace on their way to Syrian targets.

Israel took advantage of the fact that the Syrian government was in no position to retaliate in view of the situation in the country. It is necessary to ask what such aggressive raids have achieved, other than deepening the hatred and the hostility to a level that no amount of future reconciliation, once that may happen, would be able to heal.

In this case, why should we consider this raid on Gaza to be a surprise, or an exception to the norm?

In fact, it is neither.

Israel did not deny this recent botched covert military operation in Gaza; it just denied that the purpose was the assassination of the Hamas leader. It was an intelligence collection mission that “went awry”, the Israelis said, even after the assassination had taken place.

What is very odd about the timing of this attack, however, is that it happened just as Egyptian efforts to broker an open-ended truce between Gaza and Israel were about to reach a positive conclusion.

Despite the huge contrast between the two situations in Gaza and in Israel, which falls clearly in Israel’s favour in every possible aspect, Israel needed the truce as much as Gaza did.

Israel is not under siege as Gaza is and Gaza’s resistance forces are no match for Israel’s military might, and yet, Israel still needed assistance from the Egyptians to reach a state of calm.

Had it not been initiated by Israel, this reckless assassination adventure into Gaza would have been seen as an attempt to sabotage the Egyptian truce effort. It appears, therefore, that Israel is prepared and willing to sabotage its own schemes.

Israel complains incessantly that it is threatened by surrounding enemies: It crows about peace and constantly claims that all it seeks is to live in peace with its neighbours. Towards that claim Israeli leaders have demonised the Palestinians as terrorists and any effort on their part to reject the siege or the occupation, however peaceful, is deemed as blatant terror.

The common formula in most of the grovelling Western media is that Israel’s aggression is always seen as justified self-defence; while real acts of legitimate Palestinian self-defence are routinely condemned as acts of terror.

For years, “peace loving Israel” has been fiercely trying to instigate a war on Iran. Its efforts in this direction remain in full force with its relentless attempts to recruit allies and sponsors. Israel’s hand in all previous wars in the region cannot be denied, particularly the disastrous US-led war on Iraq in 2003. Unfortunately, much of the world submits to Israel’s aggression, with no serious efforts to demand accountability for its constant violations of international law, despite the fact that in this region, and perhaps further afield, no peace, no political stability and no normal life can ever prevail while Israeli aggression remains unchecked.

Christian-Zionist Heaven Would Be My Idea of Hell

A picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows smoke rising from the Syrian Druze village of Hader, on June 16, 2015© AFP 2019 / JALAA MAREY

Apocalypse Now & Loving It!

Finian Cunningham

Remember the madcap scene in ‘Apocalypse Now’, the 1979 film by Francis Ford Coppola about American genocidal rampaging in Vietnam? “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”, bellows the psychotic military commander as US choppers strafe and destroy a Vietnamese village.

The same kind of unhinged death-wishing is reminiscent in the Trump administration. President Trump is on an infernal roll and his twisted supporters are loving it.

His military forces are reportedly killing civilians in air strikes simultaneously in four countries — Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; his officials are openly bragging about fomenting regime change in Venezuela; and now in the latest madcap dash for depredation, Trump is backing the illegal annexation of the Golan Heights captured by Israel 52 years ago in the Six Day War.

And to make all this mayhem even more horrific, Trump’s cabinet and many of his supporters are convincedthat he is on a “mission from God”.In a recent media interview, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his evangelical Christian beliefs make him view President Trump as a chosen instrument of the almighty. Why?

Because, in Pompeo’s view, Trump is fulfilling an apocalyptic biblical prophesy held by many evangelical Christians. This prophesy contends that Israel will be the scene for Jesus returning to Earth, bringing about Judgement Day and the end of the world, when all “good Christians” like Pompeo will ascend to heaven in glory.

It’s not just Pompeo who indulges this “vision”. Vice President Mike Pence and several other members of Trump’s White House are reportedly  of the same evangelical conviction. They are sometimes referred to Zionist Christians because their vision of divine glory is intertwined with the restoration of the “kingdom of Israel” as in reputed biblical times.

READ MORE: Trump’s Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights Draws Global Anger

That’s why Trump’s fawning over Israel — from the declaration of Jerusalem as its capital, to the ditching of the Iran nuclear accord, to the latest announcement on the Golan Heights — has been cheered on at every step of the way.

The Israeli state is, of course, delighted with Trump’s acquiescence to its every demand — despite what the rest of the world sees as the gross violation of international norms and laws. But, in addition, for the Christian rightwing believers within Trump’s White House, the policy of appeasement towards Israel is literally “God sent” because it is hastening “the end of times”. And Tump himself is thus viewed by these people as an embodiment of “God’s will”. (His alleged paying off of porn stars is a slight problem for their puritanical narrative.)

That’s what makes the present White House a truly frightening entity. It doesn’t just believe in its own self-righteousness — as with many other past US administrations. Team Trump actually want more conflict and mayhem in the name of “Israelite Glory” in order to fulfill their religious fantasies of divine redemption on Earth.This week, Russia and a host of other countries, including all Arab nations, even notably American client regimes like Saudi Arabia, warned that Trump’s unprecedented recognition of Syria’s Golan Heights as Israeli territory will unleash new waves of conflict across the Middle East. But such warnings will mean nothing to the Trump administration because it believes it is on a “mission from God”.

READ MORE: Trump’s Golan Move Brings Mid East a Step Closer to New Conflict — Ex-Diplomat

There are plenty of other mundane explanations for Trump’s kowtowing to Israel without bringing God into the equation. Multi-million-dollar donations from superrich Zionist Jewish-Americans like Sheldon Adelson are part of it. So too are well-documented American oil interests in the Golan Heights. And Trump’s re-election hopes for 2020 depend on keeping his evangelical Christian voter base happy-clappy and singing Alleluias all the way to the polling booths.

The irony is that while US news media and politicians have desperately sought to prove that “Russian collusion” was not an illusion, the stark reality is that the Trump administration has been openly, shamelessly colluding with the foreign state of Israel, pandering to all its despotism against Palestinian rights and warmongering towards Iran.

The US news media and politicians don’t even see that outrageous in-your-face “malign influence” — and the few who do speak out like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar are vilifiedmercilessly as “anti-Semitic”.

American imperialism has always been a particularly vile global scourge due to its “exceptionalism” and self-righteous propaganda. But the Trump administration has taken the obscenity to new depraved lows. When murdering children around the world with air strikes, starving countries into submission, and blessing the outright theft of foreign land is hailed as “God’s work” then you know there is something apocalyptic in the air. But not the kind of apocalypse that Trump’s Christian zealots cheer as a glorious event.Judgement Day of a kind is already here. Indeed, has been for quite a while. That judgement by the rest of the world who remain sane and retain basic moral goodness is that the United States is a diabolical rogue regime threatening the existence of the entire planet.

Syrian Air Defenses Down Multiple IDF Missiles In Latest Israeli Aggression

[Civilian airport hit as Israel strikes area around Aleppo – reports ]

Syria repels ‘Israeli aerial aggression,’ downs several targets, state media says

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Photo taken from Twitter

Photo taken from Twitter

“The Israeli aggression targeted some positions in Sheikh Najar industrial zone and a number of enemy missiles were brought down,” an army statement said.

Military experts say Aleppo is one of the main areas where Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have a strong military presence where it supports local militias that have for years been fighting alongside the Syrian regime.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said that at least seven militia fighters loyal to Iran were killed in the Israeli strikes that targeted an arms depot on the outskirts of Aleppo.

Initially, the U.K.-based watchdog said at least four people were killed in the attack.

Israel, which considers Iran as its biggest threat, has repeatedly attacked Iranian targets in Syria and those of allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel had carried out “hundreds” of attacks over the past few years of Syria’s war to curtail Iran and its ally Hezbollah.

With an election approaching, Israel’s government has increased its attacks in Syria and has also taken a tougher stance towards Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon.

The incident comes amid high tension between Syria and Israel, after U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, a flagrant violation of international law. The U.N. Security Council was due to meet on Wednesday after Syria requested the international body discuss the U.S. proclamation.

Three Security Council resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from the Golan, which it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed in 1981, in a move that was never recognized internationally.

Extremism Is Riyadh’s Top Export…and Nobody Cares Except For Its Victims

Our terrorists

Ramifications of Saudi Duplicity

White House Should Acknowledge Saudi Arabia As the Source of Salafi/Wahhabi Terrorism

Globalists Created Wahhabi Terrorism to Destroy Islam and Justify a Global State

European Parliament Calls-Out Saudi Wahhabis for Global Support of Islamist Terror Outfits

Saudi Arabia’s Phony War on Terror

Saudi Arabia, Fountainhead of Wahhabi Terrorism

The “Islam” of Saudi Wahhabis Is Anti-Islam, Mass-Suggestion for Mass-Murder

Extremism Is Riyadh’s Top Export

Saudi Arabia is fighting for a dangerous monopoly on Islamic thought

Construction of the Faisal Mosque in the foothills of Margalla Hills of Islamabad, Pakistan, began in 1976 after a grant from Saudi King Faisal, whose name the mosque bears. (Muhammed Semih Ugurlu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Construction of the Faisal Mosque in the foothills of Margalla Hills of Islamabad, Pakistan, began in 1976 after a grant from Saudi King Faisal, whose name the mosque bears. (Muhammed Semih Ugurlu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) 

Farah Pandith’s new book, How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat, provides insights and observations often missed in the larger conversation about extremism. In a detailed chapter, condensed and adapted here, she investigates Saudi global influence—including imam training, free Saudi-translated Qurans, textbooks, destruction of human cultural heritage sites, and more—she saw in almost 100 countries while working for the U.S. State Department, and it dissects how and why Saudi Arabia has had an influence on identity for Muslims worldwide.

In March 2010, while serving as the State Department’s first ever special representative to Muslim communities, a position created for me by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to connect to and engage with Muslim millennials globally, I managed to get a visa to visit China even though the State Department’s Human Rights Reports regularly called out China for its treatment of its minority Muslim populations, and one ethnic group in particular, the Uighurs. China saw the Uighur issue as a domestic terrorism problem and our public highlighting of it as an affront. Still, an opportunity had arisen—and, working with our embassy, we designed a trip that would allow me to talk to young Chinese Muslims in Shanghai, Nanking, Kunming, and elsewhere.

A highlight of the trip turned out to be a visit to a small town I had never heard of: Shadian, in the southern part of the country, about 150 miles from Kunming, where a population of Hui Muslims have lived for more than a millennium. My team and I drove for hours through lush countryside, cruising along dusty roads through villages replete with mom-and-pop storefronts and skinny white lampposts. Grocers sold fresh produce on the side of the road, their apples and leafy vegetables piled in perfect pyramids. Chinese-language signage promoted medical products.

Our arrival in Shadian jolted me. Turning a corner, we came face-to-face with a glorious pedestrian boulevard with rows of majestic palm trees planted down the middle. At the end of those trees stood a huge, modern structure made of what appeared to be white marble and topped off by a light green dome. Fountains and two tremendous Jumbotron screens framed its entrance. I was mesmerized. What was all this? Then I glimpsed what seemed to be minarets flanking a prayer hall, and I knew: It was a mosque.

The next day, a professor at a local Islamic university, an ethnic Chinese man who identified as Hui, graciously hosted me for lunch at his home. Throughout the meal, my host talked about Islamic education—how important it was for Muslim kids to learn about the religion and mix with other Muslim students, and how few proper Muslim universities existed.

Throughout the meal, my host talked about Islamic education—how important it was for Muslim kids to learn about the religion and mix with other Muslim students, and how few proper Muslim universities existed.

He also related that local youth sought to learn about Islam by studying in Persian Gulf countries. The clock on the television set was set for Mecca time as well as local time, and the television was tuned to a Saudi channel.

Later, I toured the large mosque I had seen when I first arrived. It cost $19 million to build, funded entirely by private donations. My host seemed excited and proud to show the building to me. I asked him if Saudi money funded the mosque. He demurred.

I was pretty sure I already knew the answer, so I asked if he could take me to see a more traditional mosque from this region of China.

After much prodding, we got in the car for a short drive. When we got out, all evidence of the Gulf had vanished. I stood on a dirt road lined with modest houses and shops. My host pointed toward a compound surrounded by a tall wall covered over in painted terra cotta. “Here it is.” We proceeded through the entrance into a small courtyard, an oasis of fruit trees and flowerpots, the perfect site for prayerful contemplation.

The mosque itself was much simpler than the Gulf-style mosque had been, made of wood and reflecting the themes of traditional Chinese architecture. The structure’s roof curled outward at its edges, while its open doorways permitted a view of the faithful praying inside. The religious services it housed conformed to what I was told was the ancient Sufi devotion mingled with traditional indigenous Chinese customs.

Extremists such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda would like you to think about Islam as homogeneous or monolithic.

Extremists such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda would like you to think about Islam as homogeneous or monolithic.

As they exploit the global identity crisis among Muslim youth, they propound a very particular set of ideas about Islam and individual purpose—ideas that originate in the Gulf region and Saudi Arabia in particular, and that include a claim to represent the only true Islam. This form of Islam, called Wahhabism, is rigid, intolerant, highly dogmatic, puritanical, and contrary to liberal values.

In recent decades, it has proliferated thanks to a very important sponsor: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One can’t understand the global system underpinning extremism without surveying the pivotal role played by the Saudi government as well as private organizations and individuals within the kingdom. In recent decades, the Saudis have spent up to an estimated $100 billion spreading Wahhabism and perpetuating the notion that they are Islam’s caretaker. Their methods to persuade and influence run the gamut and include the funding of mosques, schools, textbooks, imams, imam learning centers and exchanges, cultural institutions around the world.
The Saudis don’t simply want their extreme form of religious practice and belief to prevail. Religious forces in the kingdom, backed by the ruling family, want to destroy other, local traditions within Islam. To that end, they are rewriting history, erasing evidence of the past to favor their own narrative—a move that ideologically aligned extremists in many parts of the world have since copied.

The relationship between the Saudis and extremism is not merely one of affinity. The Saudi government and Saudi individuals have directly supported terrorist groups in the Middle East and beyond. At the same time, quite paradoxically, the Saudi government has also served as a staunch ally in the fight against terrorism, sharing intelligence and military assets and helping to rein in terrorist financing. It also serves as a valuable counterbalance against Iran’s influence in the Middle East. Puzzling, isn’t it? Such is the canny strategy that has served the Saudis so well for so long.

Beyond direct support, Saudi efforts at indoctrinating young Muslims worldwide have rendered them highly vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups, including those formally unaligned with or even opposed to the Saudi regime. According to Will McCants, a counterterrorism expert and former senior State Department advisor, the so-called Islamic State in particular would not have existed “in the configuration that we see them today.” The group justifies its violence by recourse to Wahhabi tenets and teachings that “have been pushed by the Saudi state.”

Given this history, the single most important step the United States can take toward eliminating extremism would be to combat the supremacy of Saudi ideology worldwide by cutting off the Saudi money that funds it.

Given this history, the single most important step the United States can take toward eliminating extremism would be to combat the supremacy of Saudi ideology worldwide by cutting off the Saudi money that funds it.

It’s vital, too, that America takes action to buttress local Muslim cultures and traditions. Otherwise, a generation of Muslims risks falling under the sway of a pernicious ideology that presents itself as authentic and absolute, and humanity risks losing a true and full record of its rich, Islamic past. Finally, the United States must address the ignorance of governments and individuals who quite innocently (perhaps) perceive the Saudis as Islam’s legitimate arbiters. Whether they realize it or not, they are part of the problem as well.

My indignation over Saudi influence and homogenization only increased as I continued to travel as special representative to Muslim communities.

I saw evidence of Saudi influence in Kazakhstan and Timbuktu, in Burma, and the Balkans. In Pakistan, Senegal, Guyana, and Indonesia, leaders told me that they understood Saudi Arabia’s true motives and were only superficially playing along. They didn’t want to accept Saudi money at all, but they had no choice. They were desperate for funds for schools, clothes, and even health care. They thought they could control the impact of Saudi ideology, preventing it from taking root in the culture. What emboldened them was the notion that Wahhabi traditions were foreign to their local culture and thus something that would never resonate with local people. They were wrong. As I saw myself, Islam was in the process of becoming homogenized, rendered more synonymous with Wahhabism and Arab culture generally.

Rather than holding the Saudis responsible for redressing a longer-term, ideological problem, the United States has opted to secure their cooperation on short-term issues and to defer to them as the supposed arbiter of all things Muslim simply because they are the self-proclaimed custodians of Mecca and Medina. The United States has treated the Saudis the way it does the Vatican, assuming that they have the right to tell all Muslims what to do. But the Saudis don’t have this right. Ideology mattersThe Saudis might be helping the United States fight terrorist groups, they might be helping to counter the influence and power of Iran in the region, and they might be buying billions of dollars of weapons systems and commercial products from America, but they are simultaneously taking actions that feed extremism and help it to grow. U.S. tolerance of their behavior signals to other Gulf countries—the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait—that they can get away with their own, lesser support for extremism.

If we allow the Saudi-funded monolithic view of Islam to prevail, extremists will continue to find fertile ground for recruitment in local communities. Indeed, when the so-called Islamic State is defeated, other extremist groups will crop up in their place with equally harsh, unyielding ideologies, because the roots—the identity crisis that prompts youth to look outside their communities for answers—will remain.

Farah Pandith is the former (and first) Special Representative to Muslim Communities a the US Department of State and author of How We Win. Twitter: @farah_pandith

Trump Grovels Before Netanyahu, Proving Once More His Collusion With Hostile Foreign State

‘US decision on Golan Heights is highway to war’: Russian Duma speaker

Gulf states join rival Iran to condemn Trump over Golan Heights

Syria requests UN Security Council meeting on Golan

Arab states throw fit over Trump’s Golan declaration: ‘US becomes enemy of the Arabs’

Trump’s radical, dangerous Israel road map

New heights of irresponsibility over the Golan

US grovels to Israel the same way ‘supporters’ fawned on Saddam

As many as 20 years ago, I gathered together dozens of US and Israeli government policy statements on the region, jumbled them up – and asked a colleague to arrange them back in their original order. It was, and still is, an impossible task

True, the Middle East “peace process” died years ago – if it ever existed, or was meant to work – but Trump’s ostentatious signature on Israel’s annexation of Golan on Monday tore up the documents, the paragraphs, the very basis for the two-state Israeli-Palestinian settlement which might have ended the longest military occupation of our generation. And the United States has now given its open, public and wholehearted support to Israel’s side in the world’s last colonial war. And if Golan is now part of Israel because of the threat of Iran, then southern Lebanon can become part of Israel. Isn’t Hezbollah​ also an Iranian “threat”? And how quickly will we see the West Bank annexed by Israel with the approval of the United States?

Notice two things about the above paragraphs. Firstly, the number of times I have been forced to use quotation marks around verbs and nouns and adjectives which would normally never need them. And secondly, how one word – Syria – simply did not occur. Syria’s loss of Golan in 1967 is so long ago and has become so normalised that in a perverse way, its real ownership had ceased to exist; Trump’s recognition of Israel’s own “annexation” – unrecognised anywhere else in the world – merely accepted what we’d all secretly gone along with. That the theft of Syria’s land was now perfectly legal. Or “legal”. It was highly instructive that when the BBC website chose to cover the story about Trump’s Golan mischief, it ran a story headlined “What it all means” – but which did not mention Syria until the fifth paragraph.

This verbal transition, however, is neither subtle nor surprising – given America’s utter surrender to all things Israeli – but it is very sinister for the people of the Middle East. I was very struck by something Netanyahu said in response to Trump’s signature on that outrageous Golan document: he said that “the Jewish people’s roots in the Golan go back thousands of years”. True. But I recalled at once that in 1982, within weeks of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, Israeli troops and “civil affairs” officers travelled around the Shia Muslim and Christian villages of the south of Lebanon, handing out questionnaires to the Arabs. I saw them do this. The documents were long and complicated. Were there any Jewish archaeological remains on their lands, the Lebanese were asked? Had any of their older buildings any signs of Jewish habitation in previous decades or centuries? Did any hills or villages have Hebrew names? They were especially interested in the area within the triangle of Tyre, Sidon and Qana.

Of course, there were many Jewish remains. Even in the hill villages of the Druze Chouf mountains, I have found the indent of the mezuzah on stone door frames, proving that their ancient owners followed the instructions of the Book of Deuteronomy. The Israelis noted these marks; indeed, some of the inhabitants pointed them out to the initially friendly Israeli soldiers. But of course, it set a precedent. What if – after the next Lebanon war – Israel decides that rather than occupy southern Lebanon, it will annex the region because “the Jewish people’s roots” in the region “go back thousands of years”.

Yes, I know that Israel would have to defeat Hezbollah to do this – an unlikely event since Hezbollah would more likely be heading across the Lebanese border into Israel. But in the 18 years in which it occupied almost all of southern Lebanon, the media never referred to it as “Israeli-occupied”. It was always called “Israeli-controlled” and the vast Israeli occupation zone was never called by this name. Instead, it was always referred to as Israel’s “security zone”. We journos had already laid the semantic groundwork for the annexation which hasn’t happened – yet.

But this is not a story about Lebanon any more than it is about Trump himself. Indeed, watching the tomfoolery in the mother of parliaments, I find it ever more embarrassing to write about the insanity of the Trump White House. No, this is about the very act of international annexation and the west’s willingness to go along with land theft – unless, of course, Putin and Russia are involved. And it is about the fact – let us not haggle like skinflints over definitions – that the United States, in its foreign policy in the Middle East, is in hock to Israel. As many 20 years ago, I gathered together dozens of US and Israeli government policy statements on the region, jumbled them up – and asked a colleague to arrange them back in their original order. Readers might try the same test: it was – and is – an impossible task.

I’m tired of the utterly false arguments about antisemitism in the United States. The country contains many anti-Jewish, anti-Arab, anti-black racists without de-semanticising the word “antisemitism” by using it against all of Israel’s critics. It doesn’t need new Arab-origin legislators, with their dodgy, unpleasantly revealing remarks and their sloppy grasp of history, to understand that Americans will not and dare not complain about the dual loyalties of their countrymen and countrywomen.

Just look at the US congress when Netanyahu addresses it. The representatives of the United States stand up and applaud and sit down and again stand up and applaud and sit down – 29 times in 2011 and 39 times in 2015. I always watch this act of US legislative grovelling with a smile, for it reminds me of the ovations which Saddam Hussein would always receive from his beloved people and which Bashar al-Assad always received – and still receives – from his loyal subjects. I can well see why Middle East leaders spot parallels between the Arab world and America.

And I could well understand why congress stands to attention so many times on cue when Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, says, as he did on Monday, that “we stand with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight”.

Really? Does the United States, which fought a colonial war against the British, really stand with Israel’s colonial cause – its colonial expansion and land thievery in the West Bank? Do Americans really “stand with” Israel in its constant, brutal bombardments of Palestinians – and of Lebanon – and tolerate and approve those war crimes which all but the Americans acknowledge to be Israel’s responsibility. And if they do, why did Americans bother to go to war with Saddam? Why do we bomb Syria?

There’s no point in tracing the putrid history of annexation. Of the US annexation of Hawaii because it needed a naval port in the Pacific (as the Japanese noted) and its annexation of most of New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. I’m not even mentioning Putin and Crimea. Nor do we surely need to drag ourselves through the annexations perpetrated by the little corporal with the moustache – Jacinda Ardern-like, I shall not mention his name – who annexed the Sudetenland and all of Austria, the latter event accompanied by a Times editorial comparing it favourably with the 300-year-old union of Scotland and England.

No, I’m not comparing annexations. The Israelis are not Nazis and the Americans are not Russians and the Russians are not Israelis. But there are parallels which countries themselves draw when they choose to annex – or sanctify annexations – of other people’s land. All of which can be based and in most cases were based on both ethnic roots and military necessity.

Today, we must learn again that old phrase “facts on the ground”. Israel annexed Jerusalem and Golan in 1980 and 1981 – all the world (and a lot of Israelis) condemned this at the time – but now Trump has snapped the “land for peace” equation in half. Washington has given its imprimatur to illegal land acquisition, to territorial theft. And why not when congress is in thrall to Israel?

Yet why get worked up about this? By recognising Israel’s annexation of Golan, Trump merely recognised that Israel has annexed America.

If All Wages Grew Like Wall St. Execs, Min. Wage Would Be $33/hr.

  • Wall Street bonuses fell 17 percent to an average of $153,700 last year
  • Despite the decline, Wall Street bonuses are 52 percent higher than a decade ago
  • If the minimum wage had kept pace with the same growth as Wall Street bonuses, the hourly baseline wage would be $33.51 an hour, one analysis finds

Wall Street employees saw their typical annual bonus slip by 17 percent last year to $153,700, according to new data from the New York State Comptroller. But don’t feel sorry for the banking set just yet — even including down years like 2018, bankers’ bonuses have jumped by 1,000 percent since 1985.

The total Wall Street bonus pool last year was $27.5 billion, or more than triple the combined earnings of the 640,000 U.S. employees who earn the federal minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 an hour since 2009. More states are boosting their minimum wages in response to criticism that the federal baseline pay isn’t enough to provide a living wage.

At the same time, pay for the top-paid U.S. workers has surged, creating a rich-get-richer phenomenon that some economists say is exacerbating income inequality. The practice of awarding large bonuses to Wall Street executives is also widening the gender and racial pay gaps, since most of the recipients are white and male, IPS noted.

As for why Wall Street bonuses fell in 2018, it’s not because banks were less profitable last year, New York Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a statement. In fact, Wall Street recorded an 11 percent increase in pretax profits for the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms, which the comptroller said is the traditional yardstick for securities industry profits.

Instead, many banks paid out higher bonus amounts in 2017 because of changes in the federal tax code that encouraged them to pay more that year, according to a statement from the comptroller.

“The acceleration of payments into 2017 could have contributed to the decline in 2018,” the statement noted.

The bonuses are on top of average salary of $422,500 in 2017, the latest data available for Wall Street salaries, it added.

Venezuelan military deploys Russian S-300 missiles to airbase south of Caracas

[SEE: Russia sends more than 100 troops to Venezuela ]

Base Aérea Capitán Manuel Ríos

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – The Venezuelan military has deployed more S-300 air defense missiles to a key airbase south of Caracas, the Image Sat International reported on Sunday.

According to Image Sat, the Venezuelan armed forces activated their S-300 missiles after completing their military drills in February.

As shown in the photo below, Image Sat reveals through their satellite imagery the additional S-300 missiles that have been deployed to the Captain Manuel Rios Airbase in the Guarico state of Venezuela:

ImageSat Intl.@ImageSatIntl

: has put the into readiness, after conducting drills in February 2019 (as reported previously by ).

360 people are talking about this

In addition to activating their S-300 missiles, the Venezuelan Armed Forces received a major boost on Sunday when the Russian Air Force and their military personnel arrived inside the country.

It remains unclear how active the Russian military is going to be in Venezuela, as despite the protests and sporadic violence, there has been really no real attempt to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro did state on Saturday that his government foiled an assassination plot by the Venezuelan opposition recently; however, no details were given.

Malaysia–Israel a ‘state of robbers’

Malaysia: Israel a ‘state of robbers’

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad [Twitter]

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad [Twitter]
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During a visit to Pakistan on Friday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad described Israel as a “state of robbers”, the Safa news agency reported.

“We are not against Jews but we cannot recognize Israel because of [its] occupation of Palestinian land,” Mahathir said during a three-day visit to Pakistan.

He stressed that his country enjoys friendly relations with every country in the world except Israel. “You cannot seize others’ lands and form a state. It is like a state of robbers,” he said.

Mohamad’s remark came one day after US President Donald Trump’s decision to recogniseIsrael’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, which were followed by Israeli calls for similar recognition of its annexation of the occupied West Bank.

Bloodthirsty UAE Royal Wants Job of Killing Taliban Leadership

Did the Divided Afghan Govt Just Blow-Up In Kandahar?–Or Is It Open War w/Pakistan’s ISI?

It Looks Like the ISI Hit Both the UAE Govt and the Afghan NDS In Kandahar

UAE Closes Embassy In Kabul…Were They The Target?

UAE/Afghan Investigators Claim Quetta Taliban Ordered “The Hit” On UAE Officials In Kandahar

No role in ‘Dubai initiative’–Qatar-based Taliban leaders

Eric Prince (Blackwater) Rumored To Be Backdoor Dealing For Trump In Dubai

Abu Dhabi’s crown prince told Mike Pompeo that US withdrawal risked Afghanistan falling back into the hands of the ‘bearded bad guys’, source tells MEE

Mohammed bin Zayed met Mike Pompeo in Abu Dhabi on 12 January (Reuters)

Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, offered to set up a covert assassination programme targeting senior Taliban leaders during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year, Middle East Eye has learnt.

Bin Zayed made the offer during Pompeo’s visit to the United Arab Emirates on 12 January amid disagreements between the pair over the progress of peace talks between US and Taliban negotiators.

According to a source with detailed knowledge of the meeting, bin Zayed told Pompeo that Washington risked allowing Afghanistan to fall back into the hands of the “backward, bearded bad guys” and proposed hiring mercenaries to kill Taliban leaders to weaken the group’s negotiating position.

Pompeo was visibly taken aback by the offer, but said nothing, the source said.

The United Arab Emirates has previously supported US efforts to broker a peace deal with the Taliban, and hosted a first round of face-to-face negotiations between the two sides on 20 December last year in Abu Dhabi.

But bin Zayed is understood to have been frustrated that subsequent rounds of talks were moved to Doha, the capital of Qatar, at the Taliban’s insistence.

According to MEE’s source, bin Zayed also warned Pompeo that withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan risked turning back the clock to 2001, prior to the US-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban government in Kabul.

The US hopes that a negotiated deal with the Taliban, which continues to battle Afghan government and international forces, could allow it to start withdrawing some of its 14,000 troops still in the country before the end of 2019.

Bin Zayed suggested instead organising and funding what he described as a “Blackwater-style” operation to “wage an assassination campaign against the first-line leadership of the Taliban” in order to prevent it from achieving its chief political demands, the source said.

Mercenary army

Blackwater was the private security firm founded by Erik Prince which was hired by the CIA in 2004 to run covert operations involving the locating and killing of al-Qaeda operatives.

US officials acknowledged the existence of the programme in 2009 but said that no operations were ever conducted.

Blackwater gained notoriety over its activities in Iraq where several of its contractors opened fire on unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007, killing 14 people and injuring 17 others.

Prince later settled in Abu Dhabi and was subsequently hired by bin Zayed to build a mercenary army in the UAE to confront potential worker or pro-democracy uprisings.

An 800-member battalion of foreign troops was brought into the UAE, the New York Times reported in 2011.

Former Yemen allies furious as UAE assassination campaign exposed

The UAE also sent foreign mercenaries to fight as part of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where it ran an assassination programme targeting leaders of Al-Islah, the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In October last year, Abraham Golan, a Hungarian-Israeli security contractor, revealed details about the assassination programme to BuzzFeed News.

The UAE hired former special forces soldiers to carry out the missions, Buzzfeed reported.

“I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition,” Golan said.

Al-Islah said in August last year that nine of its leaders had been murdered since 2015. They are among at least 27 clerics killed, often in drive-by shootings, in the southern city of Aden and surrounding areas by unidentified militias in the same period.

A member of the group told MEE in October that he believed bin Zayed was behind the killings.

‘Killing and talking’

“I believe that Mohammed bin Zayed convinced [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman to fight the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen,” said Al-Islah’s Mohammed Abdulwadood. “The latter approves all UAE steps in Yemen.”

Bin Zayed has nonetheless maintained close contacts with Al-Islah leaders, who he hosted for talks in Abu Dhabi in November.

MEE’s source described bin Zayed’s proposal to target Taliban leaders even as peace talks were ongoing as a replica of the one deployed against Al-Islah leaders in Yemen.

‘Any threat… will eliminate the present chance for peace and will create irreparable mistrust’

– Taliban spokesperson

“It’s the same tactic: killing and talking,” he said.

Taliban officials are understood to be aware of bin Zayed’s proposal to assassinate the group’s top leadership.

But a Taliban spokesperson in Doha told MEE that he could not comment on the authenticity of the claim.

“Any threat and blackmailing whatsoever and from anywhere will eliminate the present chance for peace and will create irreparable mistrust,” he said.

The government of the UAE has been publicly supportive of US negotiations with the Taliban, with the official WAM news agency reporting after December’s talks that further rounds would also take place in Abu Dhabi “to complete the Afghanistan reconciliation process”.

Taliban talks
Taliban and US negotiators met in Doha earlier this month (Reuters)

But the next two rounds of negotiations – a six-day meeting in January described by Pompeo on Twitter as “encouraging”, and further talks over 16 days in February and March – were moved to Doha, where the Taliban has maintained a political office since 2013.

Pompeo is said to have pushed back despite bin Zayed’s displeasure, telling him that the move had happened at the request of the Taliban, and that the US side was less interested in the venue than in achieving a ceasefire.

The US negotiating team is headed by Zalmay Khalilzad, who wrote on Twitter following the end of the last round of talks on 12 March that “the conditions for peace have improved”.

U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad

@US4AfghanPeace

(1/4) Just finished a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in . The conditions for have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides.

“It’s clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides,” Khalilzad wrote.

‘Chaos follows’

Bin Zayed was also upset at US President Donald Trump’s announcement in December that he would pull all 2,000 US troops out of Syria, MEE’s source said.

At the time of his meeting with the crown prince, Pompeo and John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, were taking part in a nine-nation tour of the region to reassure allies jittery at the prospect of a sudden US withdrawal from Syria.

Two days earlier, in a keynote speech in Cairo, Pompeo had vowed to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria.

But his speech, framed as an assault on Barack Obama’s Middle East policies, was also read as an implicit row back of Trump’s announcement in December that all US troops would leave Syria in 30 days. The announcement prompted a clash with Turkey and the resignation of Jim Mattis, Trump’s defence secretary.

Pompeo declared in Cairo that “when America retreats, chaos follows.”

Bin Zayed reinforced the same message to Pompeo. He told the US secretary of state: “You are leaving Syria to be under Iranian and Turkish influence and that will bring everyone back. They will act against your acts and our interests.”

Bin Zayed held out a carrot. He said that if the US changed its mind, the United Arab Emirates would be prepared to fund the cost of keeping US troops in Syria from its own budget.

The State Department declined to comment when contacted by MEE. MEE also asked the UAE government to comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Russia sends more than 100 troops to Venezuela

Interfax: Cuba, Venezuela May Host Russian Bombers

Venezuela, China, Russia and Cuba are deployed in an exercise on the border with Colombia

Venezuela Agreed To Let Russia Set Up A Bomber Outpost On This Caribbean Island: Reports

Russia sends more than 100 troops to Venezuela

CARACAS – The Russian Defense Ministry has sent An-124 military transport aircraft, IL-62M jet airliner and more than 100 troops to Caracas, against the backdrop of growing tensions between Venezuela and the United States.

Citing its sources, the Defence Blog reported that Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces Col. Gen. Vasily Tonkoshkurov also arrived with the Russian troops.

Reports suggest the cargo plane arrived in Venezuela from Moscow through Syria.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

CNW@ConflictsW

Photos of the 2 RuAF airplanes that landed in Caracas today. An IL-62 and an AN-124

Growing discontent in Venezuela, fuelled by hyperinflation, power cuts and food and medicine shortages, has led to a political crisis.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó has declared himself interim president following large protests, galvanising opponents of current socialist President Nicolás Maduro.

Mr. Guaidó has been recognized as leader by more than 50 countries, including most in Latin America and the United States. Mr. Maduro, who still has the support of China and Russia, accuses the opposition of being part of a US-orchestrated coup.

https://santiagotimes.cl/2019/02/02/venezuelas-self-declared-guaido-invites-russia-and-china-to-change-sides/embed/#?secret=kyjzsqCeT1

At least 40 people are believed to have died since 21 January and the UN has warned that the situation could spiral out of control.

More than three million Venezuelans have fled their country over recent years, blaming hunger, lack of medical care, rising unemployment and violent crime.

Defence Blog reports the emergence of a large number of the Russian military is the desire of Moscow to show their determination to Trump administration. Moreover, it quoted some sources as saying that a new Russian military base may appear in Venezuela in the near future.

https://santiagotimes.cl/2017/08/16/russia-says-military-intervention-in-venezuela-crisis-unacceptable/embed/#?secret=gDVsVFR0dC

Confirmed! Iraq Was a War of Aggression

[SEE: Iraqi Woman Uses Chilcot Report To Prove War Crimes of George W. Bush]

Self-Proclaimed Islamist “Caliph”/Terrorist Baghdadi On Run, Disguised as Obese Red-Haired Nobody

[Desperate Daesh Leader Becomes Obese, Cuts Beard Short to Hide – Report]

ISIS loses all territory but its shadowy leader is still at large

 

https://www.cbsnews.com/embed/video/?v=1.64f464dcb1036c893e16a769da198f941dd7b4fb#1VYLb9s2EP4rgoANG2DGot4yUAxu03bB1i6Yk2FDXRh8yWJDPSBScdwi%2F313suxkA7Y%2BgG1YjNgUecd7ffedPvhscG1n2N5fuH5QM%2F9WS9X6iw%2B%2Bdqq2%2FuLNB9%2FtO%2BUv%2FNtW%2BjNfS1gmOSuKqFQkSVlG4khEhKUhJymLuVSBSFIZg2zd3f2sygvUeN%2F99uyl6lmfLX%2FR9HXRvorzm%2B%2Bfv%2Bh%2BzfLd%2Fi45SI%2Bi8vqmfN%2Bsrq7OVxq2rRm2sKuttsS0VlminSWlbpgh1vVts61aI4luiN33moGG086gwxeri5U3qnig4o0q3oOKpxtvNamUgzFfoCZY0zZaMHP1%2BbpO18o6Vnf%2BgiZJFEVFlgbwN%2FPl0DOn2wYPHj3%2ByLgyYCMIF1EAF5jDcwOuQ1lqtlUW62Yxh5VznV2s5%2Bu54LZROxuewUKDPafFmWjr9bwa%2BHqu1%2FN%2BPQ8DWqznQQQr%2BKcUapipgKiopCTmUUCKLGEkj6jiCQ0CKdl67qqh5g3TZj1P4%2BAuSoP1XCYhSzJZZKJUNE%2BSrAiKAO5OOI8ZpwpthBGxzNUtwYKWels53WyJZFvmGKE5pWEakunGs3fdFgKt%2FvWIaJgHd1kIIXEoTJLHVMacFbFSXJVhLpMgCIXM8yL8opDuZ37Xq1utdtc9VhSj6gZuIJBbbfbN3SEeqXsl3HqelyKiGQ0hBhpBd0WxSBIRc6GCKEppvJ5%2FSj%2BCib5NC7Cw041sd2d1hz069fuj%2FO52u7Mpxwc%2FWAdJvaXreamNcq21kKHvbDv0Qj3RHZPYhorVEPTXHXPVk6%2FCF7WSmuFvdwffWA34CSJc4xeN0ygN4yyjSUrHkzDarJZXr37aPM7h5nz5cnm13BxymG0c4%2BDAWR0N%2BdHz8H%2Fp%2BjCW%2FW%2F8HmMDMH8i6a3nyMz2ou5a61TvL0pmLJA5ULsWI5ljC8VpEKdJmJMsySWhVIWkkDQk0KJ5qXIWBDx4IFzwh7gK7Ndt30BE2IgaGVxUMCze4LmH597x%2FC3AWnXathKYkMI9ilkkMZ%2FipWpbq8YdDoYO4G%2FtyU1mzFII2HlqWnFzojR7bVW%2FGrgVveZKnsRt1za27Y9ylbpbnquSDcYhO87g44%2B7Tx92o2IWJ7Ok8O%2FfwqBRjo1M6YBY1XaPa9irWkwS6zrVSP%2F%2B%2FpSIUjE39EoSgUSscAhOE9EA%2FRwyc5wd2Npwq7jBbcy7fd5g5eVxvLIe6Mqo5QDmehx3b%2FwokExILqBbc%2FZXZXn7J9XXrFZTFRA13jeVllI1Ht8b3ahvH8mPMxXSFxY0zQnPaUHiTKSEyRJYIomTMiuAIDhWaVK5HPg5RAp6CH8SRCSMPJouaL4Iswex49BDlE5DDyrpAQB77dp%2B7%2FHBjWPQVgwIZ%2B8ZxaTqPcYHj7MbWBjC2baSTGoProBkgjpznmH9Vj2yc8i2aBsHENpMuzh%2BW2OAIWE2HjKpQlmyuOCE8ygncc5CkmdJQFIhs7JgUSKDEDPzoHdMo6uUN7auB6ytGwt%2BQ1AoK4GnxdEFqewN9NTYbOfqFhME6w5G7ySAtdjgmxNCHn6%2F19iNb%2Fxd2xuJ1%2BHm6mAbxA%2Fbh93pBmgMhLe%2BVd5OcX%2Fq4bGIaZAlZRx8rH9HhUNgJwP8ZgUm8BaYZ%2FBOYXStoS%2FiU45XIyeO%2BEfxnjXy0jBXtn092p5wtkFPNw9pwMfJ1CThY8rqdtuzrtLiB7XHd0j%2FXctfDM0h7Bk%2BPcPOA4xgKhs5QCvux4LW3QD4uezbUgutGnHcZc1%2Bpd9j0bfQnpBU8HyrXvbt0I0SQ4M3QIKdYkYPNTZfh7eYR76htyCtGqwcnEps19M73PXHSBlXf%2BBkQDs5oZ0A2keWntBODmgngHaCaCeP0E5GqBPmyAj1kb7HuXPZgo%2BQpAkMeMUEsP%2FYO3RhKvQ%2FbWqcfR8N9%2FMn5P397w%3D%3D
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has lost all the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria, but its shadowy leader and self-proclaimed “caliph” is still at large.

Despite numerous claims about his death in the past few years, al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts remain a mystery. He appeared in public only once, in 2014. Since then, many of his top aides have been killed, mostly in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

He is among the few senior ISIS commanders still at large after two years of steady battlefield losses that saw the self-styled “caliphate” shrink from an area the size of Britain to a tiny speck in the Euphrates River valley.

Although largely seen as a symbolic figurehead of the global terror network — he was described as “irrelevant for a long time” by a coalition spokesman in 2017 — al-Baghdadi’s capture would be a coveted prize for the various players across both Syria and Iraq.

But so far, he has eluded the Americans, Russians, Syrians, Iraqis and Kurds.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
This image made from video posted on a militant website Saturday, July 5, 2014, purports to show ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq.AP

In the last days of ISIS, as U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces zoned in on the last slice of territory held by the militants in eastern Syria — a couple of villages and farmlands near the Iraqi border — the possibility remained that al-Baghdadi would turn up there. Several hundred ISIS leaders and hardcore fighters, many of them Iraqis, made a last stand in the enclave before surrendering.

The last pocket, in the eastern village of Baghouz, was declared liberated on Saturday after weeks of fighting. During the siege, civilians streamed out of the pocket and surrendered — estimated at more than 30,000, mostly family of ISIS. But there has been no sign of al-Baghdadi.

Mohammed Kheder, co-founder of the Sound and Picture group which documents ISIS, said the last time al-Baghdadi was spotted in the area was about 15 months ago, citing sources on the ground and the testimony of the people who left the area.

In Twitter posts, Kheder’s group has said it cannot rule out the possibility al-Baghdadi was detained long ago — “especially since many of American airdrops and night operations targeting ISIS leaders along the Iraqi border have not been disclosed by the coalition.”

Iraqi intelligence officials believe al-Baghdadi is hiding somewhere in the desert stretching across the Syrian-Iraqi border, using tunnels to move around.

“He does not use any communication equipment or internet to avoid detection by coalition planes,” a senior intelligence official said. “When he wants to see someone from the organization, they are brought to him individually in cars that stop around two hours away from where al-Baghdadi is, and then they are brought to him individually on motorcycles.”

Another official, a colonel, said the Americans recently targeted some of al-Baghdadi’s closest people, including his personal bodyguard Khaled al-Saudi — known as Khallad — who was killed last week near the area of al-Baaj along the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Khallad’s wife was arrested. Another close aide to al-Baghdadi was also recently killed and his wife captured, the colonel said, adding that the Americans believe such targets will soon lead them to al-Baghdadi. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to share intelligence information.

 

Iraqi Woman Uses Chilcot Report To Prove War Crimes of George W. Bush

Iraqi Woman Uses Chilcot Report In War Crimes Lawsuit Against George W. Bush

Former U.S. President George W. Bush listens to a speech while visiting Warren Easton Charter High School one day before the Former U.S. President George W. Bush listens to a speech while visiting Warren Easton Charter High School one day before the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 28, 2015.

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry was published on Wednesday 6 July 2016. Sir John Chilcot’s public statement can be read here.

Below you can find links to the Executive Summary and the individual Sections of the Report.

The Executive Summary

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry – The Executive Summary

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Professionals Call on the CDC to Address Misapplication of its Guideline on Opioids for Chronic Pain

[War on Opioid Abuse Is Striking the Wrong Target]

 

Professionals Call on the CDC to Address Misapplication of its Guideline on Opioids for Chronic Pain through Public Clarification and Impact Evaluation

 

Authors: Health Professionals for Patients in Pain (HP3)

Date: March 6, 2019

 

  1. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, issued a Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Painfor primary care physicians. Its laudable goals were to improve communication between clinicians and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain, improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment, and reduce the risks associated with long-term opioid therapy. The Guideline reflected the work of appointed experts who achieved consensus on the matter of opioid use in chronic pain.

 

Among its recommendations are that opioids should rarely be a first option for chronic pain, that clinicians must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of maintaining opioids in patients already on them, and that established or transferring patients should be offered the opportunity to re-evaluate their continued use at high dosages (i.e., > 90 MME, morphine  milligram equivalents).

 

In light of evidence that prescribed dose may pose risks for adverse patient events, clinicians and patients may choose to consider dose reductions, when they can be accomplished without adverse effect, and with possible benefit, according to some trial data.

 

Nonetheless, it is imperative that healthcare professionals and administrators realize that the Guideline does not endorse mandated involuntary dose reduction or discontinuation, as data to support the efficacy and safety of this practice are lacking.  

  1.  Within a year of Guideline publication, there was evidence of widespread misapplication of some of the Guideline recommendations. Notably, many doctors and regulators incorrectly believed that the CDC established a threshold of 90 MME as a de facto daily dose limit. Soon, clinicians prescribing higher doses, pharmacists dispensing them, and patients taking them came under suspicion.

 

Actions that followed included payerimposed payment barriers, pharmacy chain demands for the medical chart, or explicit taper plans as a precondition for filling prescriptions, high-stakes metrics imposed by quality agencies, and legal or professional risks for physicians, often based on invocation of the CDC’s authority. Taken in combination, these actions have led many health care providers to perceive a significant category of vulnerable patients as institutional and professional liabilities to be contained or eliminated, rather than as people needing care.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

III. Adverse experiences for these patients are documented predominantly in anecdotal form, but they are concerning. Patients with chronic pain, who are stable and, arguably, benefiting from long-term opioids, face draconian and often rapid involuntary dose reductions. Often, alternative pain care options are not offered, not covered by insurers, or not accessible. Others are pushed to undergo addiction treatment or invasive procedures (such as spinal injections), regardless of whether clinically appropriate.

 

Consequently, patients have endured not only unnecessary suffering, but some have turned to suicide or illicit substance use. Others have experienced preventable hospitalizations or medical deterioration in part because insurers, regulators and other parties have deployed the 90 MME threshold as a both a professional standard and a threshold for professional suspicion. Under such pressure, care decisions are not always based on the best interests of the patient.

 

lV. Action is Required: The 2016 Guideline specifically states, “the CDC is committed to evaluating the guideline to identify the impact of the recommendations on clinician and patient outcomes, both intended and unintended, and revising the recommendations in

future updates when warranted”. The CDC has a moral imperative to uphold its avowed goals and to protect patients.    

 

Therefore, we call upon the CDC to take action:

 

  • We urge the CDC to follow through with its commitment to evaluate the impact by consulting directly with a wide range of patients and caregivers, and by engaging epidemiologic experts to investigate reported suicides, increases in illicit opioid use and, to the extent possible, expressions of suicidal ideation following involuntary opioid taper or discontinuation.

 

  • We urge the CDC to issue a bold clarification about the 2016 Guideline – what it says and what it does not say, particularly on the matters of opioid taper and discontinuation.

 

Signatories here represent their own views, and do not purport to reflect formal positions of their employing agencies, governmental or otherwise. For questions please contact Stefan G. Kertesz, MD  (skertesz@uabmc.edu) and Sally Satel, MD (slsatel@gmail.com)

 

Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH

Professor of Medicine

Director, Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit

Director, Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) Program

Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA

 

Richard C. Dart, MD, PhD

Executive Director, RADARS System, Denver Health and Hospital Authority

Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Former Director, ONDCP (2014-2017)

 

James DeMicco, PharmD

Adjunct Professor, Long Island University College of Pharmacy

Pharmacist-in-Charge, J&J Pharmacy, Hackensack, NJ

 

Stefan G. Kertesz, MD, MSc 

Professor of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine 

Opioid Safety Initiative, Opiate Advice Team, Opioid Risk Mitigation Team 

Birmingham VA Medical Center

Birmingham, AL

 

Sally Satel MD

Lecturer in Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine

Resident Scholar,  American Enterprise Institute

Washington DC

 

Organizational Endorsements

Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research in Substance use and Addiction)

 

Individual Endorsements

Barry R. McCaffrey, General USA (Ret)

ONDCP White House Drug Control Policy Director (1996-2001)

Chairman Addiction Policy Forum Advisory Council

 

Jerome Jaffe, MD

Director, U.S. Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (1971-1973) (“Drug Czar”)

Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Professor-adjunct, Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

 

Michael Botticelli

Executive Director, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center

ONDCP White House Drug Control Policy Director (2014-2017)

 

Ajay Manhapra MD

Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

Advanced Pain Clinic, Hampton VA Medical Center, Ha

Asst. Professor, Department of PM&R and Psychiatry, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA

 

Richard Saitz MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM

Chair and Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences

Boston University School of Public Health

Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine

 

Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS

Assistant Professor

Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center

Division of General Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine

Boston, MA

 

Colleen LaBelle MSN, RN-BC, CARN

Director STATE OBAT

Director Boston Medical Center OBAT

Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center

Boston MA

 

Sarah E. Wakeman, MD
Medical Director, Mass General Hospital Substance Use Disorder Initiative
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

 

Beth Darnall, PHD

Clinical Professor

Stanford University School of Medicine

Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

Palo Alto, CA

 

Mitchell S. Rosenthal, MD

President, Rosenthal Center for Addiction Studies

 

Theodore J Cicero, PhD

John P Feighner Professor of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine,

St Louis, MO

 

Cara A. Poland, MD, MEd

Director, Spectrum Health’s GREAT MOMs

Medical Director of Addiction, Spectrum Health

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

 

Matthew J. Bair, MD, MS

Associate Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine

Core Investigator, VA Center for Health Information and Communication

Indianapolis, IN

 

Barbara J Turner MD, MSED

Professor of Clinical Medicine

Keck School of Medicine

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

 

Christopher W. Shanahan MD MH FACP

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA

Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center

Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit

 

Sidney H. Schnoll MD, PhD

VP, Pharmaceutical Risk Management

Pinney Associates, Inc.

Bethesda, MD

 

Robert Twillman, PhD, FACLP

Executive Director

Academy of Integrative Pain Management

Clinical Associate Professor (Volunteer Faculty)

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

University of Kansas School of Medicine

 

Diana Coffa MD

Associate Clinical Professor

University of California, San Francisco

Director, Family and Community Medicine Residency Program

 

Daniel G. Tobin, MD, FACP

Associate Professor of Medicine

Medical Director, Primary Care

Yale University School of Medicine

 

Edwin A. Salsitz, MD, DFASAM

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai Beth Israel

New York, New York

 

Donna Beers MSN, RN-BC, CARN

Associate Director

Training and Technical Assistance

Office Based Addiction Treatment

Boston Medical Center

617 414.6633

 

Sheryl Cifrino RN DNP

Curry College School of Nursing

Milton MA 02186

 

Ruth A. Potee, MD

Medical Director

Franklin Recovery Center

Franklin County House of Corrections

Valley Medical Group

Greenfield, MA

 

Paula J. Lum, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor of Medicine

HIV, ID and Global Medicine Division

Director, UCSF Primary Care Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program

University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital

San Francisco, CA

 

John Mendelson MD

Chief Medical Officer – Ria Health

Senior Research Scientists – Friends Research Institute

Clinical Professor of Medicine – UCSF

1049 Market St #603

San Francisco, CA 94103

 

Ellie Grossman, MD MPH

Instructor, Harvard Medical School

Primary care lead for behavioral health integration, Cambridge Health Alliance

Somerville, MA

 

Carolyn Chu, MD, MSc

Associate Professor

Department of Family & Community Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

 

Meg D Newman, MD, FACP

UCSF Senate Emeritus- Medicine

HIV, ID and Global Medicine Division

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center

San Francisco, CA

 

Hannah Snyder, MD

Assistant Clinical Professor

Department of Family & Community Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

 

Aimee Moulin MD FACEP

Associate Professor

Dept Emergency Medicine

Dept Psychiatry

University of California at Davis

 

Lolita Roland

Certified Addiction Registered Nurse

Office Based Addiction Case Manager

Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge,  MA

 

Elvin Geng MD MPH

Associate Professor of Medicine

UCSF

San Francisco, CA

 

Alicia Agnoli, MD, MPH, MHS
Assistant Professor
Department of Family & Community Medicine
UC Davis School of Medicine

Lindsey Kelly, PA-C, MPAS

Windsor Chronic Pain/Chronic Opiates Group

Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge, MA

 

Laura G. Kehoe, MD, MPH

Medical Director

Mass General Hospital Substance Use Disorder Bridge Clinic

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

 

Gabriel Wishik, MD, MPH

Medical Director of the JYP clinic, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program

Addiction Fellowship Associate Program Director, Boston Medical Center

Instructor, Boston University School of Medicine

 

Arianna Sampson, PA-C

APP Lead, USACS

Marshall Medical Center ED

Placerville, CA

 

Marlene Martin, MD

Assistant Clinical Professor

University of California, San Francisco and Zuckerberg San Francisco General

San Francisco, CA

 

Scott Steiger, MD, FACP, FASAM

Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry

University of California, San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

 

Kenneth Saffier, MD

Clinical Professor

Department of Family and Community Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

 

Alexander Y. Walley, MD, MSc

Associate Professor of Medicine

Director, Addiction Medicine Fellowship

Boston Medical Center/ Boston University School of Medicine

Boston, MA

 

Theresa M. Damien MS, PMHNP, CARN-AP

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Mclean Hospital

115 Mill Street

Belmont, MA 02478

 

Marc R. Larochelle, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Boston Medical Center/ Boston University School of Medicine

Boston, MA

 

John L. Barboza, BSN CARN

OBAT Clinical Coordinator

Duffy Health Center

94 Main St.

Hyannis, MA 02601

 

Vivian M. Fraga, MD LLC

OB-GYN

5454 Wisconsin Avenue St. 1005

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

 

Dr Michael Dern

Signature Health

Brockton MA

 

Anne Rossi PCNS

Bridge Clinic

MGH, Boston, Ma

 

Erin R Lutes, MS, RN, PHN, CNS

University of California, San Francisco

San Francisco Department of Public Health

Samuel Merritt University

San Francisco, CA

 

Alyssa M. Peckham, PharmD, BCPP

Assistant Clinical Professor/Clinical SUDs Pharmacist

Northeastern University/MGH SUDs Bridge Clinic

Boston, MA 02115

 

Joseph W. Frank, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center

Aurora, CO


Janet Grochowski, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP
Clinical Pharmacist
Positive Health Program (Ward 86), San Francisco General Hospital

San Francisco, CA

 

David J. Snyder, PharmD, BCPP

Clinical Operational Pharmacist

McLean Hospital

Belmont, MA 02478

 

Laila Khalid MD MPH

Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Montefiore Medical Center

Bronx, NY 10467

 

Elisha L. Brownfield, MD, FACP
Associate Professor Internal Medicine

Medical University of South Carolina

 

William P. Moran MD MS

Professor of Medicine

Medical University of South Carolina

 

Diana Wingren RN, BSN

OBAT RN Care Manager

Outer Cape Health Services

Wellfleet, MA

 

James E. Bailey, MD, MPH, FACP

Director, Center for Health System Improvement

Robert S. Pearce Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine & Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Memphis, TN

 

Nina Vadiei, PharmD, BCPP
Assistant Professor

University of Arizona College of Pharmacy
Tucson, AZ

 

Joseph Guydish, PhD, MPH

Professor of Medicine and Health Policy

University of California San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

 

Daniel Robitshek, MD, FACP, FACOI, SFHM

Associate Professor of Medicine

Medical College of Georgia

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Director of Graduate Medical Education

Redmond Regional Medical Center

Rome, GA

 

Peter Phan, MD, FACP

Assistant Professor of Medicine

University of Illinois at Peoria School of Medicine

Peoria, IL

 

Robert L. Cook, MD, MPH

Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine
Director, Southern HIV Alcohol Research Consortium

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

 

Emily Hurstak MD, MPH, MAS

Assistant Director

San Francisco Free Clinic

Instructor, Yale Medical School and University of California San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

 

Carlos Estrada, MD, MS, FACP

Professor & Division Director, Department of Medicine, General Internal Medicine

Associate Provost for Interprofessional Education

Director, Center for Interprofessional Education & Simulation

University of Alabama at Birmingham

General Internal Medicine Section Chief and Senior Scholar, VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program, Birmingham VAMC

 

Ryan R. Kraemer, MD

Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine

University of Alabama at Birmingham

 

Paul Roman Chelminski, MD, MPH, FACP

Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

 

Barbara Herbert MD, FASAM

Medical Director

Addiction Treatment Center of New England

Brighton, Mass

 

Robert L. D’Agostino, MD, FAAFP

Clinical Instructor

Tufts University School of Medicine

Canton, Mass

 

  1. Allison Lyons MD, FACP

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Senior Associate Program Director

Associate Medical Director, University Medical Associates

University of Virginia

 

Jade L. Abudia, BS, PharmD

Psychiatric Pharmacy Resident

Carl Vinson VA Medical Hospital

Dublin, Georgia

 

Chayan Chakraborti, MD, FACP, SFHM

Vice Chair for Education, Dept of Medicine

Associate Professor of Medicine

Tulane University School of Medicine

New Orleans, Louisiana

 

Geoffrey Modest, MD

Clinical Professor of Medicine

Boston University School of Medicine

Boston, MA

 

Lawrence Greenblatt, MD

Professor of Medicine

Duke University School of Medicine

 

Ellen L. Edens, MD MPE

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Yale School of Medicine

 

Stephen J. Ingram, RPh, BCPP

Clinical Pharmacy Specialist (Psychiatry)

Overmountain Recovery

Gray, TN

 

Michael Clay MD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School

Opioid Safety Initiative and Primary Care Pain PACT Champion

VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System  

Ann Arbor, MI

 

David Tian, MD, MPP
Division of Primary Care, Department of Medicine

Medical Director, Buprenorphine Induction Clinic

Highland Hospital, Alameda Health System

Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine (Volunteer), UCSF

Oakland, California

 

Gordon D. Schiff, MD

Director Quality and Safety, Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care

Associate Professor Harvard Medical School

Asst Director Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Boston. MA

 

Shelly-Ann Fluker, MD, FACP

Associate Professor of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

 

Laura Read Sprabery, MD, FACP

Associate Professor of Medicine

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

 

Daniel Pomerantz, MD MPH FACP
Director of Ambulatory Care, Director of Palliative Care
Associate Program Director   
Department of Medicine (Einstein College of Medicine)

Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital
New Rochelle, NY 10801

Simeon Kimmel MD, MA

Infectious Disease and Addiction Fellow

Boston Medical Center

 

Mardge Cohen MD

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Boston, MA

 

Erica Heiman, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

 

Jada Bussey-Jones, MD, FACP

Chief, Grady General Medicine and Geriatrics

Professor of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

 

Christine Soran, MD, MPH

Primary Care Addiction Medicine Fellow

University of California San Francisco

 

  1. Stephen Waters, PsyD
    Clinical Supervising Psychologist
    Medicated-Addictions Treatment
    Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

 

Tracey L. Henry, MD, MPH, MS, FACP

General Medicine and Geriatrics
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA

 

Lucas G. Hill, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP

Clinical Assistant Professor

The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

 

Honora Englander, MD, FACP

Director/ PI, Improving Addiction Care Team (IMPACT)

Associate Professor of Medicine, Department

Oregon Health & Science University

 

Ximena Levander, MD

GIM & Addiction Medicine Fellow

Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine

Oregon Health & Science University

 

E-P. Barrette, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine

Medical Director, HIV Clinic

Washington University School of Medicine

 

Meroë B. Morse, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Department of Internal Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine

 

Daniel Mullin, PsyD MPH

Director, Center for Integrated Primary Care

Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

University of Massachusetts Medical School

 

Sarah Norman, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP

Clinical Assistant Professor

University of Texas at El Paso School of Pharmacy

 

Jessica Gregg, MD PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine

Section of Addiction Medicine

Oregon Health and Science University

 

Michael B. First, MD

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University

Research Psychiatrist, New York State Psychiatric Institute

 

Thomas S. Huddle, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

Birmingham, Alabama

 

Kevin R. Riggs, MD MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

 

Amy M. Kukucka, MSN, APRN, CHPN, FNP-C

Certified Nurse Practitioner

Certified MAT provider

Columbus, Ohio

 

Susan K. Lawson, PhD, LICSW

VAMC- Retired

Private Practice- Mental Health.   

Huntington, WV

 

Scott A. Dollinger, Psy.D

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Clinical Director Comprehensive Counseling P.C.

Lombard, IL

 

Daniel M. Doleys, Ph.D.

Director

Pain and Rehabilitation Institute

Birmingham, Ala

 

Jason N. Doctor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Chair

Health Policy and Management

Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California

 

Anne Fuqua, BSN

Senior Patient Advocate

Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain

Birmingham, Alabama

 

Cathleen London, MD

Family Medicine

Milbridge, ME

 

Michelle Wagner Talley MSRC,LPC BCPC

Clinical Psychotherapist                                            

Cape Girardeau,Missouri

Intractable Pain Advocate

 

James Merikangas MD

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The George Washington University School of Medicine

Washington D.C.

 

Rick Barnett, PsyD, MSCP, LADC

CARTER, Inc

BPS Health, LLC

Stowe, VT

 

Luc Frenette MD ABA FRCP ©

Preferred Pain Clinic Associates of Alabama

5057 Pinnacle Square

Birmingham AL

35235

 

Marlisa Griffith, RN, BSN

Texas Woman’s University

Chronic & Intractable Pain Advocate

Core Arachnoiditis Research Team

Hot Springs, AR

 

Deborah L Withrow , RN

Hibbing Community College, Hibbing  

Minnesota Intractable Pain Advocate

 

Isha Etienne RN,BSN

University of Massachusetts

Hospice, palliative care. Intractable pain

patient advocate. Mental Health

Boston, Massachusetts

 

Danial Laird, MD, JD

Medical Director

Flamingo Pain Specialists, PLLC

Partner, The Gage Law Firm, PLLC

Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Karen Yeargain, LPN

Public Health Nurse x 30 ½ years

Communicable Disease Coordinator

Crook County Health Dept

Prineville, Oregon

 

Kari Moore, RN, BSN

Neonatal ICU

Pain/Interstitial Cystitis Patient Advocate

Denver, CO

 

Kristie Walters RN

Adhesive Arachnoiditis Patient

Advocate and Research

Albuquerque,  NM

 

Steven Prakken MD

Director Medical Pain Service

Duke Pain Medicine (Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology)

Duke Hospital

Durham, NC

 

Adam Lake, MD, FAAFP, FACMQ, AAHIVS

Medical Director, LGHP-Comprehensive Care

Human Being

Lancaster, PA

 

Richard L. Martin, Pharmacist

Member ATIP

Pain Management Consultant (retired)

Pain Patient Advocate

Philip Brown  Burnet, Texas

Utilization Manager, Social Worker

Austin Travis MHMR

Retired, Pain Advocate, Patient

 

Sherry Sherman, BSN, RN

Arachnoiditis Patient

Cancer Patient (diagnosed July 2018)

Patient Advocate

 

James B. Ray, PharmD, CPE

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science

University of Iowa College of Pharmacy

Iowa City, Iowa

 

David J Barton MD

Pain Medicine

Hawaiian-Pacific Pain and Palliative Care

Oahu, Hawaii

 

Martha Miller  NP, MSN

Boston Health Care for the Homeless

780 Albany St

Boston, MA

 

James G. Marx, MD,  FASAM

Manager

Nevada Docs Care LLC

Las Vegas, NV

 

Leigh Ann Tatnall, RN, BA

Hospice, Palliative and Homecare

Milwaukee, WI

 

Mark J. Albanese, MD

Director, Adult Outpatient Psychiatry and Addictions, Cambridge Health Alliance;

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Cambridge, MA

 

Cynthia Laux RN

Intractable Pain Advocate

Mission Viejo, CA

 

Melissa Geraghty, Psy.D.

Rago & Associates

Naperville, IL

 

Jeffrey Bone, PsyD

Psychologist

Newport Beach, CA

 

Marcelo Hochman MD

Surgeon

Charleston SC

 

Steve Ariens, BS Pharm R.Ph., PD

Pharmacist

Chronic Pain Advocate/Consultant

 

Richard H. Barrett, II, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Fort Smith,

 

Richard C. Dobson, MD (Retired)
Formerly in Private Practice devoted to Chronic Pain Patients

Rochester, NY

 

Michelle L. Caccamisi RN

Hospital Staff Nurse

Roseville, CA

 

Leah Sies RN

Critical Care Nurse

CVICU

Texas City,Texas

 

Mary Kathryn Orsulak, MD, MPH, MSc

Resident Physician

Department of Family & Community Medicine

University of California Davis

 

Wanita Umer RPN

Perioperative Nurse

Niagara Health System

 

Lynn Webster MD

Vice President Scientific Affairs

PRA Health Sciences

Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, DAIPM, FCCP, FASHP, FFSMB

CEO, Remitigate LLC
Adjunct Associate Professor , Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences; Albany NY
Adjunct Associate Professor , Western New England University College of Pharmacy; Springfield MA

 

  1. Julian Grove MD

Pain Consultants of Arizona

President, Arizona Pain Society

 

Suffolk, VA

 

Inga Dawson, RN

Hagerstown, MD

 

Jeanne Kaake RN BSN

Sterling Heights, Mi

 

Jenny Wesner, RN, BSN

Hospice Nurse

Chronic Pain Pt, Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, Failed Spinal Fusion, Discectomy, Osteoarthritis, War on Pain Patients Member

Oshkosh, WI

 

Marcella Autry, LVN

Pediatric Home Health Nurse

 

Kari Kruska, RN

Intractable Pain Advocate

Oklahoma Don’t Punish Pain Rally Organizer

Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient

Oklahoma City, OK

 

Jill Ackerman, MD

Ophthalmologist

Irvine, CA

 

Angela Willis, RN

Indiana

 

Michele L. Matthews, PharmD, BCACP, CPE, FASHP

Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice

MCPHS University

Advanced Practice Pharmacist – Pain Management

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Boston, MA

 

Rebecca A. Brandt, RN

Cofounder: Central Pain Nerve Center

CPS/CRPS, Intractable Pain Patient & Advocate

Orondo, Washington

 

Douglas Stamp, PA-C

Pain Medicine

Peninsula Pain Clinic

Silverdale, WA

 

Vicki Ratner, M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon, retired

Founder and President of the Interstitial Cystitis Association 1984-2008

Los Gatos, CA 95030

 

Jane Liebschutz, MD MPH

Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

UPMC

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

Terri A. Lewis, PhD, NCC

Rehabilitation, Mental Health

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Rehabilitation Institute

Silver Point, TN

 

Julia Lindenberg, MD

Primary Care Physician

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Boston, MA

 

Lisetta Shah, MD, MA

Family Medicine Physician

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

Worcester, MA

 

Sarah King McKeon, RN, BSN

Addiction Nurse Care Manager

OBAT, BMC

Boston, MA

 

Jordan Tishler, M. D.

President/CMO InhaleMD

Instructor of Medicine Harvard Medical School

Founder/President Association of Cannabis Specialists

Boston MA

 

Stacie Schmidt, MD

Medical Director, Primary Care Center, Emory @ Grady

Assistant Professor, Emory University

Department of General Medicine and Geriatrics

Atlanta, GA

 

Ken Freedman, M.D., MS, MBA, FACP, DFASAM, AGAF

Clinical Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine

Chief Medical Officer, Lemuel Shattuck Hospital

Boston, MA

 

William M. Tierney, MD, MACP, FRCP

Professor and Chair, Department of Population Health

Professor of Medicine and Oncology

Dell Medical School

Professor, Steve Hicks School of Social Work

University of Texas at Austin

 

Kurt Kroenke, MD, MACP

Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine

Indiana University School of Medicine

Indianapolis, Indiana

 

Hannah Simon-Girard, RN, MPH, MA

Medicated Addiction Treatment Nurse, EMK CHC

DNP-FNP candidate University of Massachusetts Medical School GSN

Worcester, MA

 

Meg Devoe, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Oregon Health & Science University

Department of Internal Medicine

Portland, OR

 

Manik Chhabra, MD, MS

Medical Director

Chronic Pain PACT

CMC VA Medical Center

Philadelphia, PA

 

Daniel A. Graubert, MD

Immediate Past President Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine

Board Certified in Pain Medicine

 

Michael Fingerhood MD, FACP, FASAM

Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health

Johns Hopkins University

 

Patt Denning, PhD

Director of Clinical Services and Training

Fellow, Prescribing Psychologists Register

Center for Harm Reduction Therapy

San Francisco, CA

 

Chad D. Kollas, MD FACP FAAHPM

Medical Director, Palliative & Supportive Care

Orlando Health UFHealth Cancer Center

Orlando, FL

 

Robert V. Brody, MD

Attending physician, Medicine and Pain Services and Clinics

San Francisco General Hospital

Clinical Professor of Medicine and Family & Community Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

 

Darryl George, DO

Affordable Integrative Medicine

Roseburg, OR

 

Jennifer Barnhouse, Retired Nurse

Long term care, hospice and palliative

Director of Legislative Advocacy

The Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain

Geneva, OH

 

Nancy Jeanne Marr,  MSW, MPH

Patient Advocate

Los Angeles, CA

 

  1. Craig Allen, MD

Medical Director

Rushford Center

Chief of Psychiatry

Midstate Medical Center

Chair, Opioid Management Council

Hartford Healthcare

Hartford

 

Jenny M Heuck, MSN, PMHNP

Sheridan, WY

 

George Woody, MD

Perelman School of Medicine at the Univ. of PA

Philadelphia, PA

 

Jerry Cochran, MSW, PhD

Associate Professor, Epidemiology

University of Utah School of Medicine

 

  1. Keith McAfee, MD

UC Davis School of Medicine

PCN Clinic

Yuba City, CA

 

Carol A Froese, MD

Psychiatry

Honolulu, HI

 

Katherine M Hurlbut, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Denver Health Department of Emergency Medicine

Denver, CO

 

Elizabeth M. Pace, MSM, RN, CEAP, FAAN

Chief Executive Officer

Peer Assistance Services, Inc.

Denver, CO

 

Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil

National Clinician Scholars Program

Department of Medicine

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA  

 

Debbie Holt, RN

Writer and Advocate

 

Mark A. Jacobson, MD

Professor of Medicine Emeritus (Active)

Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine

University of California San Francisco

 

Marguerite Gump, MD

Valley Medical Group

Greenfield, MA

 

Lesley Ann Hughes RN, Ret NP

Former Corrections NP

 

Joseph O’Donnell, MD

Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry Emeritus

Senior Scholar Emeritus, C Everett Koop Institute

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Hanover, NH

 

Jeanne Ernst, APRN

Granite State Pain Associates

Somersworth, NH

 

Katherine Murphy APRN

medication /pain specialist

GRANITE STATE PAIN

24 bridge street

Concord NH

 

Andrea Rubinstein, MD

Chief, Department of Pain Medicine

Local Research Chair & Assistant Chief of Medical Legal Affairs

Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF

3559 Roundbarn Blvd

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

 

Geralyn Datz, PhD

Southern Pain Society, Past President

Clinical Director, Southern Behavioral Medicine Associates PLLC

1 Commerce Drive, Ste 106

Hattiesburg, MS 39402

 

Scott Schaeffer, RPh, DABAT

Managing Director

Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information

Oklahoma City, OK

 

Diane P. Calello, MD
Executive and Medical Director

New Jersey Poison Information and Education System

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Newark, NJ

 

Janetta L. Iwanicki, MD

Scientific Director of Research and Surveillance

Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center

Denver Health and Hospital Authority

Denver, CO

 

Ashley N. Webb, MSc, PharmD, DABAT

Director, Clinical Toxicologist

Kentucky Poison Control Center

Louisville, KY

 

Raymond Y. Ho, PharmD, DABAT

Director, Clinical Toxicologist

California Poison Control Center – San Francisco Division

San Francisco, CA

 

Jeffrey P Palmer MD

Valley Medical Group

329 Conway St

Greenfield

 

Jay L. Schauben, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT

Director, Florida Poison Information Center – Jacksonville

Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, and

Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research, College of Pharmacy

University of Florida Health Science Center

Jacksonville, FL

 

Henry A. Spiller , MS, DABAT, FAACT

Director, Clinical Toxicologist

Central Ohio Poison Center

Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, School of medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Columbus OH

 

Shan Yin, MD, MPH

Director, Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati School of Medicine

Cincinnati, OH

 

Diana Schaeffer, MPH, MSN, APRN-CNP

ProCure Proton Therapy Center

Oklahoma City, OK

 

Earl Siegel, Pharm. D.

Managing Director

Cincinnati Drug & Poison Information Center

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

 

Jami Johnson, PharmD, DABAT

Assistant Director, Oklahoma Center for Poison & Drug Information

Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy

Oklahoma City, OK

 

Niccole Winistoerfer, PharmD, BCPS BCPP

Clinical Pharmacist – Mental Health

Shawnee Mission Medical Center

Shawnee Mission, KS

 

Julie Aliff Miles, RN

Richmond, VA

 

Adam Overberg, PharmD, BCPS

Co-Director, Clinical Toxicologist

Indiana Poison Center

Indianapolis, IN

 

Steven A. Seifert, MD, FAACT, FACMT

Professor, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Medical Director, New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center

Albuquerque, NM

 

Reena Hemrajani, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

 

Karin van der Gaarden, PA-C, MPAS

Albuquerque, NM

 

James Cleary, MD

Professor of Medicine

Director and Walther Senior Chair of Supportive Oncology

Department of Medicine and IU Simon Cancer Center,

Indiana University  School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN

 

Kimber P. Richter PhD MPH NCTTP

Joy McCann Professor of Women in Medicine & Science

Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health

University of Kansas School of Medicine

Kansas City, KS

 

Jennifer McNeely, MD, MS

Associate Professor

Department of Population Health and Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation

NYU School of Medicine

New York, NY

 

Kelly-Anne Bryan, RN

Narvon, PA


Tiffany Greer, LCSW, MPA
Vacaville, CA 95688

Clinician in private practice focused on psychological needs of individuals with chronic/intractable pain and chronic illnesses. Personally impacted by pain secondary to EDS, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, and small fiber neuropathy

 

Daniel C. Vinson, MD, MSPH

Professor Emeritus

Family and Community Medicine

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO 65212

 

David D. Acevedo, Surgical Technician

Waukesha, Wisconsin

 

Michelle Wagner Talley MSRC, LPC, BCPC

Licensed Board Certified Clinical Psychotherapist

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

 

Gantt P. Galloway, Pharm.D.

Executive Director, New Leaf Treatment Center, El Cerrito, CA

Senior Research Scientist, Friends Research Institute

 

Gary Larson, MD

Medical Director, Procure Proton Therapy Center

Oklahoma City, OK  

 

Carole Attisano (retired LPN state of Pa)

Geriatric nursing

West Pittsburg, PA

 

Lisa K Kronus, RN (CHPN 2004-2008)

3430 Flagler Ave

Key West fl. 33040

 

James Andrew Lauerman, PA-C

Physician Assistant at University Pain Consultants

Riverside, CA.

 

Donna Durgin, RN, MSN

Roselle, IL

 

Peter Liepmann MD MBA FAAFP

Advocate for treatment of both pain and SUD,

as well as psychiatric conditions predisposing to misuse and pain

Glendale, CA

 

Aimee C. Chagnon, MD

Neurology/Pain Management

Founder/CEO Sonoma Pain Management

Sonoma, CA

 

Tammy C. Gates

Registered Nurse

Polk City, Florida

Sharon Dunbar, Texas , chronic severe pain for over 9 yrs. Kept in bed 24/7!

 

Carrie Monroy MD, HMDC

Medical Director, Northland Hospice & Palliative Care

Associate Medical Director, Steward Health Choice Arizona

Contracted provider, Arizona Independent Medical Associate

Flagstaff, Arizona

 

Michael K. Angevine, MSW, LMSW

Licensed Social Worker

Glen Cove, NY

 

Anne Platzner, MD

Family Physician

Greenfield, MA

 

Brett Sharp, LPN

Saint Paul, Mn

 

William Mangino II, M.D.  Philadelphia, Pa.

National Pain Consultants Inc.,

Anesthesiologist/Pain Management/ Pain Care Advocate

 

Monica Cleveland, RN, BSN.    

Fernandina/Jacksonville, FL

 

Tricia DLuna, LPN

Peoria, Arizona

 

James Chenoweth, MD MAS

Assistant Professor

Director of Toxicology Research

Division of Medical Toxicology

UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine

Sacramento, California

 

Gary W. Jay, MD, FAAPM, FACFEI

Clinical Professor

Department of Neurology

University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 

Kevin B. Guthmiller, MD

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Anesthesiology

Keck School of Medicine of USC

Los Angeles, California

 

Nel E. Gerig, MD

Medical Director

The Pelvic Solutions Center

Denver, Colorado

 

Sarah E. Rome, MS, DPT

Director of Physical therapy

Ivyrehab Physical Therapy

Montague,  NJ

 

Charles  Solender R.N-retired

Post anesthesia care Unit

Pain Management

Methodist Hospital

St. Louis Park  MN

 

Peter Grinspoon, M.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Instructor, Harvard Medical School

 

James J. O’Connell, MD

Founding physician, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Boston, MA

 

Michael E. Schatman, Ph.D.

DIrector of Research and Network Development

Boston Pain Care

Waltham, MA

Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine

Tufts University School of Medicine

Boston, MA

 

Jeffrey Curtis, MD MS MPH

Marguerite Jones Harbert – Gene Ball Endowed Professor of Medicine

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

Division of Clinical Immunology & Rheumatology

 

Timothy Lahey, MD, MMSc

Director, Department of Clinical Ethics

Professor of Medicine

University of Vermont Medical Center

Burlington, VT

 

Deborah A. Levine, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Medicine

Division of General Medicine

Department of Internal Medicine

University of Michigan Medical School

North Campus Research Complex

2800 Plymouth Road

Building 16, Room 430W

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

 

Cricket Fausek, MS, RN

GHC-SCW Hatchery Hill Clinic

Madison, WI

 

Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, MS, DABAM

Kingsboro Addiction Treatment Center

Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Langone Health

Department of Population Health

New York, NY

 

Andrea Cherrington, MD MPH

Director, Cooper Green Mercy Health System Diabetes Clinic

Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine

University of Alabama, Birmingham

Birmingham, AL

 

John Guenst, MD

St Thomas Medical Group

Nashville,TN

 

Phoebe Cushman, MD, MS

Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Worcester, MA

 

Saul J. Weiner, MD

Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Medical Education

University of Illinois at Chicago

Staff Physician, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center

 

Ryan Marino, MD

Division of Medical Toxicology (Fellow)

Department of Emergency Medicine

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

 

Michael Springer, MHS, Nurse Practitioner

CalFire Medical Services Unit

California CDFFP

Consultant, Rural Health Division

California Department of Health Services

Retired

 

Keith Susko, MD

Pain Relief and Physical Rehab, Inc.

Fort Myers, FL

 

Jonathan Giftos, MD, AAHIVS

Instructor of Clinical Medicine

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

 

Jennifer Sharpe Potter, PHD, MPH

Professor of Psychiatry

Vice Dean for Research

Long School of Medicine

UT Health San Antonio

San Antonio, TX 78229

 

John F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP
Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry,

Harvard Medical School

Boston, MA 02114

 

Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH

Chief, General Internal Medicine

John Noble MD Professor in General Internal Medicine & Professor of Public Health

Boston University Schools of Medicine & Public Health

Boston Medical Center

 

Robert W. West, Jr., Ph.D.

Emeritus Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

SUNY Upstate Medical University

Syracuse, NY 13063

 

  1. Kit Delgado, MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

 

Sarah Horton, PT

Medical College of Georgia

Disabled Physical Therapist

Lupus Advocate

Chronic Pain Advocate

Augusta, GA

 

Michael Picchioni, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

UMass Medical School – Baystate

Springfield, MA 01199

 

Nancy Osborne-Smith, RN

Intractable Pain Advocate

Athens, Georgia

 

Sarah Merritt, MD

Medical Director

Lifestream Health Center

Bowie, MD

 

Mark Phillips, MD

Director, Guilford Pain Management

Greensboro, NC

 

Mary Bodea, MD

2Co-Director, Guilford Pain Management

Greensboro, NC

 

Matthew Davis, MD

Associate Professor, McGovern Medical School

Houston, TX

 

Rachel Hardenstine, MD

Brockton Neighborhood Health Center

Brockton, MA

 

Theresa Tuite, RN

OBOT Nurse Care Manager

Boston, MA

 

John Winczura, PA

Anchorage Housecall Medicine, LLC

Eagle River, AK 99577

anchorgahousecalls@mtaonline.net

anchoragehousecallmedicine@gmail.com

 

Linda Kyvik, RN x 35 years

Pediatrics/Medical prior to OR & OR Educator

Ileofemoral to Ankle DVT ‘89 Chronic Pain Patient also

Melbourne, FL 32937

 

Cindy Perlin, LCSW

Psychotherapist, chronic pain survivor and pain patient advocate

Delmar, NY

 

Louise Silvern, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist (Colorado #374)

President, Pain Education Project

     (Nonprofit corporation)

Boulder, Colorado

 

Stephen A. Wyatt, D.O.

Medical Director, Addiction Medicine

Atrium Health System

Charlotte, NC

 

Emily Covington, RN, MSN

Critical Care

Irvine, CA

 

Dee-Dee Stout, MA; Member of MINT

Addiction Clinician, Coach, & Consultant

Director, Dee-Dee Stout Consulting

Professor, Holy Names University

Emeryville, CA

Christine K Cahill RN MSN (Retired)

Infection Prevention Consultant
Chronic Pain Patient

Greenland, NH 03840

 

Amber L Dewey RN, MSN, NP-C

North Shore Pain Management

Beverly MA 01915

adewey@nspaincare.com

 

  1. Scott Guess,PharmD, MS Pharm, RPh, APh, DAIPM

En Soleil Pharmacy, Inc.

VeraPharm, Inc., a Palliative Care Clinic

Santa Maria, CA 93454

KSG.PharmD@icloud.com

 

Scott D. Mueller, MD, FAAFP, DABFM

Private Practice, Family Medicine

1900 Bridge Street

New Cumberland, PA  17070

drsmueller@ymail.com

 

Wesley Haddix, DDS (Retired)

Surgeon/Clinician

Mcdowell, Virginia 24458

drhaddix@gmail.com

 

Leslie S. Harrington, MD

Boarded in PM&R, Brain Injury, EMG

Denver VA and private inpatient/outpatient practices

 

Sunil K. Aggarwal, MD

Boarded in PM&R and Hospice and Palliative Medicine

AIMS Institute

Clinical Instructor, University of Washington School of Medicine

Seattle, WA

 

Tanja Johnson, APN

Radiant Health LLC, Pain & Addiction Medicine

Boulder Colorado

 

Misdee Kornder-Guess, RN

VeraPharm Palliative Care Clinic

Santa Maria, CA 93454

 

Marion Mass, M.D.

Perkasie, Pa

 

Rene Perez, D.O.
Addiction & Pain medicine
Miami, Fl

 

Garlon L. Campbell, Jr., M.D.

Chair, Anesthesiology, Pain and Addictions  Medicine Division

Carolinas Center for Surgery

Carolinas Center for Interventional Pain Medicine

Morehead City, NC 28557

 

Catherine Coolidge, MSN, APRN-BC

Board Certified in Pain Management

PMC Medical Group

Somersworth and Merrimack, NH

 

Sandra Schramel RN BSN

Ambul Surg, Pain Mgmt

Former Hospice RN case mgr

Scottsdale, Az

 

Drew A Rosielle MD, FAAHPM

Medical Director – Palliative Care

University of Minnesota Health / Fairview Health Services

Minneapolis, MN

 

Laura Cantino, MD

Associate Physician, Palliative Medicine

The Permanente Medical Group

Kaiser Permanente Northern California

 

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

White River Health Care, PC

Muncie, IN

Family Physician, retired.

Previous community pain management physician. Now doing free online consults as a ministry.

 

David Nagel, MD

DavidNagelMD.com

Pain Management Specialist,

Concord, New Hampshire

Author:  Needless Suffering: How Society Fails Those with Chronic Pain

 

Joshua Klapow, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

 

Denise Niemi RN

Disabled

 

Susanne Fogger, DNP, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP, FAANP

Professor, Addictions Specialist

UAB School of Nursing

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham Alabama

 

Howard Kornfeld, M.D.

Clinical Faculty

Pain Fellowship Program

School of Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

 

Wendy S. Cohen MD

palliative care fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University:  7/2002 — 6/2003

psychiatrist

Commonwealth Counseling Associates

5213 Hickory Park Drive, Ste. A

Glen Allen, VA 23059

 

Angela Willis RN

Disabled, chronic pain patient due to rare neurological disease 1999 but still attempt to work prn when allowed (w/c dependent).

Rossville, IN 46065

 

Steven Freedman, MD

Palliative Care Physician

John Muir Hospital

Concord, CA  94520

 

Marian Wilson, PhD, MPH, RN-BC

Certified Pain Management Nurse/Pain Researcher

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing  

Washington State University

Spokane, WA

 

A.J. Rush, MD

 

Wendy R Burnett, OTR,CHT(retired)

Director

NY Hand Rehabilitation, OT, PC

New York, New York

 

Rachel Katz, FNP

Valley Medical Group

Greenfield MA

 

John Fairbanks, M.D.

Riverpark Medical Center

Vidalia, La.  71373

 

Bruce Stark, MD

Addiction Medicine/Internal Medicine

Burbank, CA

 

Paul Perez DMD

VA Hospital Dentist

Albuquerque, NM.

 

Amanda Neucks, RN, BSN

Hospice Nurse, Case Manager

Indianapolis, IN

 

Jennifer Richards, MS LPC-S

Licensed Professional Counselor

UTSW MS in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology

Specializes in chronic pain & chronic illness

Arlington, Texas

 

Michael Stuart MD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine

University of Washington School of Medicine

Seattle, Washington

 

Theresa E. Vettese, MD

Associate Professor, Division of General Medicine

Department of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

 

Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D.

Redlich Professor

Chief, Division of Pain Medicine

Director, Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab

Stanford University School of Medicine

 

First, Trump Declares Nobody As Venezuela’s President, Now, He Declares Part of Syria As “Israeli”

President Trump has tweeted that the U.S. will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President Trump made a major foreign policy announcement by tweet today. He said it was time for the U.S. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. That’s the land that Israel captured from Syria in 1967 during the Six-Day War. This announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting Jerusalem.

MIKE POMPEO: President Trump made a bold decision to recognize that – an important decision for the people of Israel. It will truly be historic.

CHANG: It will also give a big boost to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fighting a tough re-election battle. NPR’s Daniel Estrin is in Jerusalem. Hey, Daniel.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Hi there.

CHANG: So can you just remind, us what are the Golan Heights, and why does Israel want it?

ESTRIN: Well, the Golan is a gorgeous rocky, hilly area. It was in Syrian hands until Israel came under attack and captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War. That’s the same time Israel captured the Palestinian territories. And in 1981, Israel annexed the Golan to make it an official part of Israel. And today, there are wineries there. Lots of Israelis like to hike there.

And Israel says it’s a strategically important territory because from the Golan, you can look out onto Syria. And the Golan looms over the Sea of Galilee, which is – which has been an important Israeli water source. So the international community considers the Golan occupied territory, but Israel has been lobbying the Trump administration for several weeks and months to recognize the Golan as Israeli territory.

CHANG: And what’s been the reaction to Trump’s announcement in Israel so far?

ESTRIN: Netanyahu said he’s very excited. Have a listen to this.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: President Trump has just made history. I called him. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel. He did it again.

ESTRIN: This came as people in Jerusalem are celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim, and that tells the story of how Jews were saved from genocide in ancient Persia.

And Netanyahu drew a line from that story to modern Persia – Iran. And he said Israel’s presence in the Golan is important because across the fence in Syria are Iranian forces establishing a presence, he said, and trying to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel. And he said that’s why it’s important that Israel keeps the Golan.

CHANG: Can you talk about the timing of this decision by the White House? Because this is all happening just weeks before Israeli elections, right?

ESTRIN: Yes, and the timing is very important because this really is a big gift for Netanyahu. He is even going to the White House next week to meet Trump. And all of this Netanyahu can show the Israeli electorate as his achievement. But there is a lot of criticism about this move. The International Crisis Group is saying the U.S. recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan could weaken America’s ability to oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

And critically, this move could lay the groundwork for the U.S. to recognize any future Israeli annexation of the West Bank. The West Bank is still under Israeli military occupation. The Palestinians want the West Bank to be their own state. But today, some of Netanyahu’s government ministers are saying this recognition by Trump of the Golan should be a step forward toward Israel annexing at least part of the West Bank.

CHANG: That’s NPR’s Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem. Thanks so much, Daniel.

ESTRIN: Thank you.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

White House protest hits aggression against Venezuela

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White House protest hits aggression against Venezuela

Washington, D.C.

Over a thousand activists converged on Lafayette Park in front of the White House March 16 in a show of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro. Coming just days after the U.S. sabotage of Venezuela’s electrical grid, which left the country without power for over 48 hours, the protest, called by Answer, was a rebuke to the ongoing coup attempt orchestrated by the Trump administration.

Representing Workers World and the International Action Center, Loan Tran and Taryn Fivek spoke from the stage to the rally.

“We remember Vietnam, we remember Libya, we remember Syria, we remember Yemen. We know what is happening in Venezuela right now,” said Tran, from Durham, N.C. “Democracy under capitalism is democracy for the rich, it is democracy for killer cops, it is democracy for Jeff Bezos and for Donald Trump. It is not democracy for working people!”

Leading the crowd in a chant of “No sanctions, no coup! Venezuela, we stand with you!” Fivek, from New York City, linked the struggle against U.S. militarism and occupation abroad to the successful fight waged against the plan to build the second Amazon headquarters in New York. Issuing a challenge to the crowd, Fivek asked, “What are people here willing to do to stop this war on Venezuela? What are people here willing to unite around in order to end U.S. imperialism?”

Undeterred by a hundred or so pro-coup Venezuelans who had gathered to disrupt the rally, the strong column of Venezuela supporters marched past the White House and down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Trump International Hotel. Members of Workers World Party marched alongside activists from Veterans For Peace, Code Pink and the Party for Socialism and Liberation in a united front against the racism and aggression of the Trump administration.

An upcoming D.C. mobilization scheduled for March 30 will unite the struggle to defend Venezuela with the global fight against NATO, from Colombia to Ukraine. NATO will be meeting in D.C. to mark the 70th anniversary of this global capitalist military alliance.

War Crimes Charges Prepared For Old Bush and His Gang of War-Criminals

[SEE:  Will the Real War Criminals ever be tried?–Nov 07, 2015 ; Whitewashing the War Crimes of Old Bush ]

United States War Crimes During the First Persian Gulf War

On February 27, 1992 Albany Law School in Albany, N.Y. convened a Symposium on the subject of “International War Crimes: The Search for Justice.” The Symposium organizers invited the author to come in for the express purpose of arguing the case against the Bush Sr. administration for committing international crimes during their Gulf War I against Iraq, and then to debate this position with the other Symposium speakers, who were law professors or lawyers. The Symposium proceedings were taped for later broadcast by C-SPAN:

1. For the past year I have been working with the International Commission of Inquiry into United States war crimes that were committed during the Persian Gulf War. This Commission has conducted the largest independent worldwideinvestigation of war crimes in history. Since last May, the Commission has held thirty hearings across the United States and in twenty countries across five continents to expose the war crimes that the United States government inflicted upon the people and State of Iraq.

2. On Saturday, February 29, 1992 in New York City, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, the Commission will publicly present its evidence before an International War Crimes Tribunal consisting of distinguished jurists and human rights activists drawn from around the world. In the brief space that has been allotted to me, I would like to present the basic gist of the charges that will be brought before the Tribunal against President George Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, Secretary of State Jim Baker, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, National Security Assistant Brent Scowcroft, CIA Director William Webster, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, General Norman Schwarzkopf, and other members of the High Command of the United States military establishment who launched and waged this brutal, inhumane, and criminal war. Hereinafter, these individuals will be collectively referred to as the Defendants.

The Charges

3. The international crimes that have been charged and will be proved against these Defendants consist principally of the three Nuremberg Offenses: the Nuremberg Crime Against Peace, that is, waging an aggressive war and a war in violation of international treaties and agreements; Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity; and Nuremberg War Crimes. In addition, these Defendants also committed grievous war crimes by wantonly violating the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907; the Declaration of London on Sea Warfare of 1909; the Hague Draft Rules of Aerial Warfare of 1923; the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977; and the international crime of genocide against the people of Iraq as defined by the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 as well as by the United States’ own Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987, 18 U.S.C. §1901. Finally, and most heinously of all, these Defendants actually perpetrated a Nuremberg Crime against their own troops when they forced them to take experimental biological weapons vaccines without their informed consent in gross violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation that has been fully subscribed to by the United States government.

Universal Jurisdiction

4. These international crimes create personal criminal responsibility on the part of all these Defendants that warrant their prosecution under basic norms of customary international law, treaties, and statutes in any state of the world community that obtains jurisdiction over them for the rest of their lives. We believe that the International War Crimes Tribunal will produce a Judgment that can be put into the hands of every government in the world with the injunction that should any of these Defendants ever appear within their territorial jurisdiction, they must be apprehended and prosecuted for the commission of the specified international crimes. Like unto pirates, these Defendants are hostes humani generis—the enemies of all humankind!

The Historical Origins of the War

5. I do not have the time in this brief presentation to analyze the entire history of illegal U.S. military interventionism into the Middle East—especially the Persian Gulf region—and in particular its divide-and-conquer (divide et impera) policies. Suffice it to say here that the “immediate cause” of the United States war to destroy Iraq and take over the Arab oil fields in the Persian Gulf goes back to the 1973 Arab oil boycott of Europe. The Arab oil states imposed the boycott in solidarity with those Arab states that were then attempting to reclaim their lands that had been illegally stolen from them by Israel in 1967. The Arab oil boycott brought Europe to its knees. Subsequently, Arab oil states were able to increase the price of oil to a point of economic fairness that would enable them to provide for the basic human needs of their own Peoples.

6. But the success of the Arab oil boycott led several prominent U.S. government officials in the Nixon administration, and especially Henry Kissinger, to publicly threaten that the United States government would prepare itself to seize the Arab oil fields in order to prevent something like the boycott from ever happening again. This illegal governmental threat was stated openly, publicly, and repeatedly during the course of the Nixon administration, the Ford administration, the Carter administration, and the Reagan administration. The Bush administration would finally be the one to carry this threat out—but only after a decade of active preparations.

The Rapid Deployment Force

7. During the course of the Carter administration, the United States government obtained authorization from Congress to set up, arm, equip, and supply the so-called Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), whose primary mission was to seize and steal the Arab oil fields of the Persian Gulf region. So the planning and preparations for the U.S. war against Iraq go all the way back to the so-called “liberal” Carter administration—at the very least. The United States foreign policy establishmentconsists of liberal imperialists, reactionary imperialists, and middle-of-the-road imperialists. But they all share in common a firm belief in America’s “Manifest Destiny” to rule the world.

8. For the next decade, the Pentagon obtained a new generation of high-technology conventional weapons possessing massive destructive power and lethality; the logistical support network necessary to convey a force of 500,000 soldiers over to the Persian Gulf region within six months; and base access rights and facilities for that purpose throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Working in conjunction with its de facto allies in the region such as Egypt and Israel, the Pentagon stockpiled enormous quantities of weapons, equipment, and supplies in the immediate vicinity of the Persian Gulf as a prelude to military intervention. Hence, the United States government had been planning, preparing, and conspiring to seize and steal the Persian Gulf oil fields for over a decade.

United States War Plans Against Iraq[i]

9. Sometime after the termination of the Iraq-Iran War in the summer of 1988, the Pentagon proceeded to revise its outstanding war plans for U.S. military intervention into the Persian Gulf region in order to destroy Iraq. Defendant Schwarzkopf was put in charge of this revision. In early 1990, Defendant Schwarzkopf informed the Senate Armed Services Committee of this new military strategy in the Gulf allegedly designed to protect U.S. access to and control over Gulf oil in the event of regional conflicts. In October 1990, Defendant Powell referred to the new military plan developed in 1989. After the war, Defendant Schwarzkopf referred to eighteen months of planning for the campaign—a campaign whose public rationale was based on the illegal invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, which occurred on August 2, 1990.

10. Sometime in late 1989 or early 1990, the Pentagon’s war plan for destroying Iraq and stealing Persian Gulf oil fields was put into motion. At that time, Defendant Schwarzkopf was named the Commander of the so-called U.S. Central Command—which was the re-named version of the Rapid Deployment Force—for the purpose of carrying out the war plan that he had personally developed and supervised. During January of 1990, massive quantities of United States weapons, equipment, and supplies were sent to Saudi Arabia in order to prepare for the war against Iraq, again prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

11. Pursuant to this war plan, Defendant Webster and the CIA assisted and directed Kuwait in its actions of violating OPEC oil production agreements to undercut the price of oil for the purpose of debilitating Iraq’s economy; in extracting excessive and illegal amounts of oil from pools it shared with Iraq; in demanding immediate repayment of loans Kuwait had made to Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War; and in breaking off negotiations with Iraq over these disputes. The Defendants intended to provoke Iraq into aggressive military actions against Kuwait that they knew could be used to justify U.S. military intervention into the Persian Gulf for the purpose of destroying Iraq and taking over Arab oil fields. To be sure, the recitation of these facts is not intended to justify the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The U.S. “Green Light” to Invade Kuwait

12. The Defendants showed absolutely no opposition to Iraq’s increasing threats against Kuwait. Indeed, when Saddam Hussein requested U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie to explain State Department testimony in Congress about Iraq’s threats against Kuwait, she assured him that the United States considered the dispute to be a regional concern, and that it would not intervene militarily. In other words, the United States government gave Saddam Hussein what amounted to a “green light” to invade Kuwait.

13. This reprehensible behavior was similar to that of the Carter administration during September of 1980, when United States government officials gave Saddam Hussein the “green light” to invade Iran and thus commence the tragic Iraq-Iran War.[ii] A decade later, Saddam Hussein simply surmised that he had been given yet another “green light” by the United States government to commit overt aggression against surrounding states. Only this time, the Defendants knowingly intended to lead Iraq into a provocation that could be used to justify intervention and warfare by United States military forces for the real purpose of destroying Iraq as a military power and seizing Arab oil fields in the Persian Gulf.

Bush Is the Bigger War Criminal

14. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait without significant resistance. The Kuwaiti government itself estimated that approximately 300 people were killed as a result of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and a few hundred more as a result of the military occupation. By comparison, Defendant Bush’s invasion of Panama in December of 1989 took between 2,000 and 4,000 Panamanian lives, and the United States government is still covering up the actual death toll. Defendant Bush killed more innocent people in Panama than Saddam Hussein did in Kuwait.

15. Defendant Bush’s invasion of Panama was even more illegal, reprehensible, and criminal than Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The world must never forget that the first step in the construction of Bush’s “New World Order” was his illegal invasion of Panama and the murder of thousands of completely innocent Panamanian civilians. America’s self-anointed policeman in the Persian Gulf had the blood of the Panamanian People on his hands.

Bush’s Perversion of the Constitution

16. Pursuant to the Pentagon’s war plan for destroying Iraq and stealing Persian Gulf oil fields—and without consultation or communication with Congress—Defendant Bush initially ordered 40,000 U.S. military personnel into the Persian Gulf region during the first week of August 1990. He lied to the American people and Congress when he stated that his acts were purely defensive. Right from the very outset of this crisis—and even beforehand—Defendant Bush fully intended to go to war against Iraq and to seize the Arab oil fields in the Persian Gulf. Defendant Bush deliberately misled, deceived, concealed and made false representations to the Congress to prevent its free deliberation and informed exercise of legislative power.

17. Defendant Bush intentionally usurped Congressional power, ignored its authority, and failed and refused to consult with the Congress. He individually ordered a naval blockade against Iraq—itself an act of war—without approval by Congress or the U.N. Security Council. Defendant Bush waited until after the November 1990 elections to publicly announce his earlier order sending more than 200,000 additional military personnel to the Persian Gulf for offensive purposes without seeking the approval of Congress. Pursuant to the Pentagon’s war plan, Defendant Bush switched U.S. forces from a defensive position and capability to an offensive capacity for aggression against Iraq without consultation with, and contrary to assurances given to, Congress and the American people.

18. On the very eve of the war, Defendant Bush then strong-armed legislation through Congress that approved enforcement of U.N. resolutions vesting absolute discretion in any nation, providing no guidelines, and requiring no reporting to the United Nations. Defendant Bush demonstrated, through the prior planning above indicated, the intention to destroy the armed forces and civilian infrastructure of Iraq. Those acts were undertaken to provide an international legal cover, under the pretext of responding to an act of aggression, for the commission of a Nuremberg Crime Against Peace and war crimes. This conduct violated the Constitution and Laws of the United States and especially the War Powers Clause found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the U.S. War Powers Act of 1973, 87 Stat. 555, and the United Nations Charter, which is the “Supreme Law of the Land” under Article 6 of the Constitution. For this reason alone, Defendant Bush and his co-conspirators committed “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” that warrant their impeachment, conviction, removal from office, and criminal prosecution.

Bush’s Mad Rush to War 

19. While concealing his true intentions, Bush continued the military buildup of U.S. forces from August into January 1991 for the purpose of attacking and destroying Iraq. Bush pressed the military to expedite preparations and to commence the war against Iraq before military conditions were optimum for domestic political purposes so that the war would not interfere with his presidential reelection campaign. Indeed, the entire timing, conduct and duration of the war were planned so as to promote Defendant Bush’s reelection prospects. But as a direct result of Defendant Bush’s mad rush to war, United States military personnel suffered needless casualties. Defendant Bush has continued to lie and cover up to the American people and Congress the true nature and extent of U.S. casualties during the Persian Gulf War.

Bush Corrupted the United Nations

20. Defendant Bush repeatedly coerced the members of the United Nations Security Council into adopting an unprecedented series of resolutions that culminated in his securing authority for any nation to use “all necessary means” to enforce these resolutions. To secure these votes in the Security Council, Defendant Bush paid multi-billion-dollar bribes; offered arms for regional wars; threatened and carried out economic retaliation; illegally forgave multi-billion-dollar loans; offered diplomatic relations despite human rights violations; and in other ways corruptly exacted votes. This illegal activity subverted and perverted the very purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter itself found in articles 1 and 2 thereof.

Bush Circumvented and Violated Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter

21. In his mad rush to war, Defendant Bush caused the United Nations to completely bypass Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter that mandates the pacific settlement of international disputes. Defendant Bush consistently rejected and ridiculed all of Iraq’s efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Defendant Bush proudly boasted that there would be no negotiation, no compromise, no face-saving, etc.

22. Defendant Bush’s successful attempt to subvert every effort for negotiating a peaceful resolution of this dispute violated the solemn obligation mandating the peaceful resolution of international disputes found in article 2, paragraph 3 of the United Nations Charter; in article 33, paragraph 1 of the United Nations Charter; and in article 2 of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. Just like the Nazi war criminals before him, Defendant Bush pursued recourse to war as an instrument of his national policy and for the solution of international controversies in violation of article 1 of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Just as the Nazi war criminals had done by invading Poland in September of 1939, these Defendants perpetrated a Nuremberg Crime Against Peace in their decision to go to war against Iraq with the intent to seize and steal the oil resources of the Persian Gulf.

The Conduct of the War Itself

23. Obviously, in the brief space that has been allotted to me, there is no way that I could adequately describe all of the atrocities and war crimes that were committed by these Defendants and their Agents during the course of their actual conduct of military hostilities against the People and State of Iraq. These matters have been covered in great detail during the course of the public investigations and hearings conducted around the world by the Commission during the past year. The results of this work will be presented to the members of the International War Crimes Tribunal for their consideration and adjudication. Nonetheless, I will provide you here with a succinct account of the major categories of war crimes committed by these Defendants during the course of their criminal war against Iraq.

Bush Ordered the Destruction of Facilities Essential to Civilian Life and Economic Productivity Throughout Iraq.

24. Systematic aerial and missile bombardment of Iraq was ordered to begin at 6:30 p.m. E.S.T. January 16, 1991, in order to be reported on prime time TV. The bombing continued for 42 days. It met no resistance from Iraqi aircraft and no effective anti-aircraft or anti-missile ground fire. Iraq was basically defenseless.

25. Most of the targets were civilian facilities. The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed centers for civilian life, commercial and business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices. In aerial attacks, including strafing, over cities, towns, the countryside and highways, United States aircraft bombed and strafed indiscriminately. The purpose of these attacks was to destroy life and property, and generally to terrorize the civilian population of Iraq. The net effect was the summary execution and indiscriminate corporal punishment of men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor, of all nationalities and religions.

26. As a direct result of this bombing campaign against civilian life, at least 25,000 men, women and children were killed. The Red Crescent Society of Jordan estimated 113,000 civilian dead, 60% of them children, the week before the end of the war. According to the Nuremberg Charter, this “wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages” is a Nuremberg War Crime.

27. The intention and effort of this bombing campaign against civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq’s infrastructure leaving it in a pre-industrial condition. The U.S. assault left Iraq in near apocalyptic conditions as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war. As a direct, intentional and foreseeable result of this anti-civilian destruction, over one hundred thousand people have died after the war from dehydration, dysentery, diseases, and malnutrition caused by impure water, inability to obtain effective medical assistance and debilitation from hunger, shock, cold and stress. More will die until potable water, sanitary living conditions, adequate food supplies and other necessities are provided. Yet Defendant Bush continues to impose punitive economic sanctions against the people of Iraq in order to prevent this from happening.

The United States Intentionally Bombed and Destroyed Defenseless Iraqi Military Personnel; Used Excessive Force; Killed Soldiers Seeking to Surrender and in Disorganized Individual Flight, Often Unarmed and Far from Any Combat Zones; Randomly and Wantonly Killed Iraqi Soldiers; and Destroyed Material After the Cease-Fire.

28. In the first hours of the aerial and missile bombardment, the United States destroyed most military communications and began the systematic killing of Iraqi soldiers who were incapable of defense or escape, and the destruction of military equipment. The U.S. bombing campaign killed tens of thousands of defenseless soldiers, cut off from most of their food, water and other supplies, and left them in desperate and helpless disarray. Defendant Schwarzkopf placed Iraqi military casualties at over 100,000. Large numbers of these soldiers were “out of combat” and therefore not legitimate targets for military attack.

29. When it was determined that the civilian economy and the military were sufficiently destroyed, the U.S. ground forces moved into Kuwait and Iraq attacking disoriented, disorganized, fleeing Iraqi forces wherever they could be found, killing thousands more and destroying any equipment found. In one particularly shocking maneuver, thousands of Iraqi soldiers were needlessly and illegally buried alive. This wholesale slaughter of Iraqi soldiers continued even after and in violation of the so-called cease-fire.

30. The Defendants’ intention was not to remove Iraq’s presence from Kuwait. Rather, their intention was to destroy Iraq. The disproportion in death and destruction inflicted on a defenseless enemy exceeded 1000 to one. The Defendants conducted this genocidal war against the male population of Iraq for the express purpose of making sure that Iraq could not raise a substantial military force for at least another generation.

The United States Used Prohibited Weapons Capable of Mass Destruction and Inflicting Indiscriminate Death and Unnecessary Suffering Against Both Military and Civilian Targets.

31. Fuel air explosives were used against troops in place, civilian areas, oil fields and fleeing civilians and soldiers on two stretches of highway between Kuwait and Iraq. One seven mile stretch called the “Highway of Death” was littered with hundreds of vehicles and thousands of dead. All were fleeing to Iraq for their lives. Thousands were civilians of all ages, including Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Jordanians and other nationalities.

32. Napalm was used against civilians and military personnel, as well as to start fires. Oil well fires in both Iraq and Kuwait were intentionally started by U.S. aircraft dropping napalm and other heat intensive devices.

33. Cluster bombs and anti-personnel fragmentation bombs were used in Basra, and other cities and towns, against the civilian convoys of fleeing vehicles and against military units.

34. “Superbombs” were dropped on hardened shelters with the intention of assassinating Iraqi President Saddam Hussein—a war crime in its own right.

The United States Intentionally Attacked Installations in Iraq Containing Dangerous Substances and Forces in Violation of Article 56 of Geneva Protocol I of 1977.

35. The U.S. intentionally bombed alleged nuclear sites, chemical plants, dams and other “dangerous forces.” The U.S. knew such attacks could cause the release of dangerous forces from such installations and consequently severe losses among the civilian population. While some civilians were killed in such attacks, there are no reported cases of consequent severe losses. Presumably, lethal nuclear materials, and dangerous chemical and biological warfare substances, were not present at the sites bombed.

The United States Waged War on the Environment.

36. Before the war started, the Pentagon had developed computer models that accurately predicted the environmental catastrophe that would occur should the United States go to war against Iraq. These Defendants went to war anyway knowing full well what the consequences of such an environmental disaster would be. Attacks by U.S. aircraft caused much if not all of the worst oil spills in the Gulf. Aircraft and helicopters dropped napalm and fuel-air explosives on oil wells, storage tanks and refineries, causing oil fires throughout Iraq and many, if not most, of the oil well fires in Iraq and Kuwait.

Defendant Bush Encouraged and Aided Shiite Muslims and Kurds to Rebel Against the Government of Iraq Causing Fratricidal Violence, Emigration, Exposure, Hunger and Sickness and Thousands of Deaths. After the Rebellion Failed, the U.S. Invaded and Occupied Parts of Iraq Without Lawful Authority in Order to Increase Division and Hostilities Within Iraq.

37. Without authority from the U.S. Congress or the United Nations, Defendant Bush encouraged and aided rebellion against Iraq, failed to protect the warring parties, encouraged mass migration of whole populations placing them in jeopardy from the elements, hunger and disease. After much suffering and many deaths, Defendant Bush then without authority used U.S. military forces to distribute aid at and near the Turkish border, ignoring the often greater suffering among refugees in Iran. He then arbitrarily set upbantustan-like settlements for Kurds in Iraq and demanded that Iraq pay for U.S. costs. When Kurds chose to return to their homes in Iraq, he moved U.S. troops further into northern Iraq against the will of the government and without any legal authority to do so. As Defendant Baker correctly put it when he visited the area, these atrocities constituted a Nuremberg “crime against humanity.” Although he was referring to the culpability of Saddam Hussein, Baker effectively condemned the relevant members of the Bush Sr. administration under international criminal law as “aiders and abettors” to a Nuremberg crime against humanity.

Defendant Bush Intentionally Deprived the Iraqi People of Essential Medicines, Potable Water, Food and Other Necessities.

38. A major component of the assault on Iraq was the systematic deprivation of essential human needs and services, to terrorize and break the will of the Iraqi people, to destroy their economic capability, and to reduce their numbers and weaken their health. Towards those ends, the Defendants:

— imposed and enforced embargoes preventing the shipment of needed medicines, water purifiers, infant milk formula, food and other supplies;

— froze funds of Iraq and forced other nations to do so, depriving Iraq of the ability to purchase needed medicines, food and other supplies;

— prevented international organizations, governments and relief agencies from providing needed supplies and obtaining information concerning such needs;

— failed to assist or meet urgent needs of huge refugee populations and interfered with efforts of others to do so, etc;

— the intentional bombing of the water treatment plants, despite their awareness of the likely resultant spread of diseases from drinking non-potable water.

As a direct result of these cruel and inhuman acts, thousands of people died, many more suffered illnesses and permanent injury. For these actions, the Defendants are guilty of Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide as recognized by international law and U.S. domestic law.

Defendant Bush, Having Destroyed Iraq’s Economic Base, Demands Reparations Which Will Permanently Impoverish Iraq and Threaten Its People with Famine and Epidemic.

39. Defendant Bush seeks to force Iraq to pay for damages to Kuwait largely caused by the U.S. and even to pay U.S. costs for its violation of Iraqi sovereignty in occupying northern Iraq to further manipulate the Kurdish population there. Such reparations are neo-colonial means of expropriating Iraq’s oil, natural resources, and human labor. Meanwhile, the United States government dominates and controls the respective governments and oil resources of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

40. The United States government has successfully carried out its longstanding threat and war plan to seize and steal the oil resources of the Persian Gulf for its own benefit. The United States now either directly or indirectly controls the natural energy resources that fuel the economies of Europe and Japan. Acting with their de facto allies in Israel and Great Britain, the Defendants are today seeking toconsolidate their control over the entire Middle East in a blatant bid to establish worldwide hegemony.

Bush’s “New World Order”

41. Today, the government in the United States of America constitutes an international criminal conspiracy under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles that is legally identical to the Nazi government in World War II Germany. The Defendants’ wanton extermination of approximately 250,000 people in Iraq provides definitive proof of the validity of this Nuremberg Proposition for the entire world to see. Indeed, Defendant Bush’s so-called New World Order sounds and looks strikingly similar to the New Order proclaimed by Adolph Hitler over fifty years ago. You do not build a real New World Order with stealth bombers, Abrams tanks, and tomahawk cruise missiles. For their own good and the good of all humanity, the American people must condemn and repudiate Defendant Bush and his grotesque vision of a New World Order that is constructed upon warfare, bloodshed, violence and criminality.

Impeachment

42. All of these aforementioned international crimes constitute “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” as defined by the Article 2, Section 4 of the United States Constitution and therefore warrant the impeachment, conviction, and removal from office of Defendants Bush, Quayle, Baker, Cheney, Powell, and Scowcroft. In regard to this matter, Congressman Henry Gonzalez of Texas has already introduced an Impeachment Resolution into the House of Representatives, that is numbered House Resolution 86, calling for the impeachment and removal from office of these Defendants because they have committed these international crimes and also because they have subverted and perverted constitutional government in America “to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

A Special Prosecutor

43. These Defendants must be impeached by the House, tried and convicted by the Senate, and removed from office. Thereafter, we believe that the Commission of Inquiry and the International War Crimes Tribunal will have produced sufficient evidence to trigger the application of the Ethics in Government Act, 28 U.S.C. §591 et seq., that would lead to the appointment of an Independent Counsel (i.e., Special Prosecutor) to investigate and prosecute these high-ranking officials for the wholesale violation of federal criminal laws in their decision to launch and wage this criminal war against the people and State of Iraq. We fully intend to see Bush, Baker, Cheney, Quayle, Scowcroft, Webster, Powell, Schwarzkopf and the rest of the U.S. High Command sitting in jail for the rest of their natural lives.

Conclusion

44. Make no mistake about it: The very nature, future and existence of the American Republic depends upon the success of these endeavors. Today, the battle begins for the hearts and minds of the American People between the Warmongers and the Peacemakers. We ask all of you to join us in this legal campaign and moral crusade to reclaim for the United States of America a democratic government with a commitment to the Rule of Law and the Constitution both at home and abroad.

[i] See Ramsey Clark, Planning U.S. Dominion over the Gulf, in his The Fire This Time 3-37 (1992). See also Ramsey Clark & Others, War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq (Maisonneuve Press: 1992).

[ii]See Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time 23-24 (1992); Hamdi A. Hassan, The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait 37, 47-51 (1999); The Glaspie-Hussein Transcript, Beyond the Storm 391-96 (Phyllis Bennis & Michel Moushabeck eds. 1991).

ends

© Scoop Media

Disinformation Foul-Up In Sinjar, Iraq

[On Sunday, March 17, Iraqi fighters fought-off a PKK attack in Sinjar, according to Iraqi News.  The next day, Turkish news Hurriyet announced a joint effort with Iran against those PKK forces, which Iranian News site Tasnim quickly denied…what is the relevance of this report?]

[PKK fighter killed, two others injured in clashes with Iraqi army in Sinjar]

[Turkey, Iran launch joint operation against PKK ]

Armed Forces Official Says Iran Not Involved in Turkey Operation against PKK

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An official of the Iranian Armed Forces announced that the country has no role in Turkish military’s ongoing operation against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Armed Forces Official Says Iran Not Involved in Turkey Operation against PKK

The informed official at the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces confirmed on Monday that Turkey has started an operation against PKK in its eastern border regions.

“It should be said that the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not involved in this operation,” the informed official added.

The comment came after western media reports had claimed that Turkey has started a joint military operation with Iran against Kurdish militants.

The reports quoted Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu as saying that the operation against PKK, began Monday on Turkey’s eastern border.

PETER DALE SCOTT ON ENLIGHTENMENT VALUES IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

PETER DALE SCOTT ON ENLIGHTENMENT VALUES IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

Apotheosis of Washington, ScienceApotheosis of Washington: Science. Photo credit: US Capitol / Flickr

On a panel at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Peter Dale Scott expressed concern about the decay of the US commitment to global peace and collective security, as shown in the recent expansion of unilateral lethal US strikes against terrorists, sometimes with no legal authority. But he also voiced words of encouragement for those troubled by this, recalling the successes of the Civil Rights Movement and the people who later helped end the Vietnam War.

Peter Dale Scott is a former Canadian diplomat, Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Berkeley, poet, and 2002 recipient of the Lannan Poetry Award.


I want to thank the Commonwealth Club and George Hammond for devising this most timely conversation. America has indeed veered from Enlightenment when our president denies global warming and rejects international cooperation to address it. But I do not believe that such militant anti-scientism can prevail.1

I am much more concerned for those enlightenment values enunciated by Immanuel Kant, in his essay “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch.” Kant’s visionary ambition — “the end of all hostilities” — contained important instrumental ideas. One was: “Standing armies shall in time be totally abolished.” Another: “No state shall by force interfere with the constitution or government of another state.”2

America honored the first principle for only a few years, but it honored the second as recently as that great American-inspired achievement, the 1945 UN Charter. Charter Article 2(4), to which the US is treaty-bound, requires states to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force.” For 60 years America’s observance of this rule has eroded; until under Trump it is virtually ignored.3 But America’s global unilateralism cannot be blamed on Trump; its roots are very deep and very old.4

The American Constitution marks the first major political implementation of Enlightenment values: an outstanding and enduring achievement. Of necessity, it was also very imperfect, doing much for liberty, but nothing to end slavery.5 This contradiction led to the Civil War and emancipation. These divisions, still with us, underlie much of our intemperate public discourse. The slow processes of emancipation and adjustment are still unfinished.

As a non-violent radical conservative, I am ambivalent about Lincoln’s Civil War. Slavery was an infamy that had to go. But the war accelerated America on a long process, still with us, of interventionism and imposing social change through military violence.6 (That too has its source in an Enlightenment idea — Rousseau’s unfortunate notion of forcing men to be free.) The Civil War also converted the United States from a plural noun to a singular one. As the southern historian Shelby Foote noted, “Before the war, it was said ‘the United States are’ … And after the war it was always ‘the United States is.’”7

This change — from an “are” to an “is” — was important. Washington, paralyzed for years over the slavery issue, now became an active agency for vigorous intervention: in the South (Reconstruction), in the West (the escalation of Indian Wars),8 and later overseas (Cuba and the Philippines). Most Americans are unaware of the continuity from the Indian Wars of the 1860s and ‘70s, to the Philippine interventions of the 1900s and 1950s, to the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.9

Uncle Sam, Philippines

Cartoon: Uncle Sam offering on one hand a soldier and on the other a “School Teacher” to a group of reluctant Filipinos, telling them that the choice is theirs. Photo credit: Puck / Library of Congress

One source of our present discontent can be found in this evolution. Intervention in the south produced a political reaction, and in 1876 militarized Reconstruction — America’s first exercise in “nation-building” — largely ended in failure. The subsequent interventions elsewhere, predictably, have aroused reactions no less intense. But those infuriated elsewhere cannot vote. Instead many become terrorists.

Experts repeatedly advise that the Global War Against Terrorism is counterproductive: “If the terrorist group can recruit five new members for every terrorist killed or captured, the battle against the terrorist organization is lost.”10 As a result of such a campaign we see terrorist counterattacks against the countries that target them; and these in turn encourage public support for heightened revenge. We are currently mired in this avoidable dialectic.11

We, and our politicians, are very divided about intervention at home. But most politicians, along with our ruling elites and media, are so united in their support of interventions abroad that the underlying principle of UN collective security has been forgotten.

War has become an immensely lucrative activity, generating many lobbies, from the military-industrial complex,12 to others like the nation-building business oligopoly.13 Thus Congress was silent when Trump “cleared the way … for offensive strikes in Somalia,”14and started “paving the way for lethal strikes against terrorists in Niger,”15 with no legal authority.16

Citing the Soviet Union, it has become fashionable to mock the folly of those who would seek to implement visionary ideas in the real world. A key example of renounced idealism is the Kellogg-Briand Treaty of 1928, which outlawed war as an instrument of national policy. Recently Henry Kissinger called it “meaningless”; George Kennan called it “childish.” They could hardly have spoken otherwise. Both men were only too aware that they were violating a treaty (and a Charter) that America had not only signed but inspired and brought into being: Kissinger in Cambodia, Kennan by underwriting a guerrilla army in the Ukraine.17

Measured by the events that led up to World War Two, the Kellogg-Briand Treaty, lacking sanctions, can be assessed as a failure. But by creating the notion of a crime against peace, it was the legal foundation for the Nuremberg trials, following which the interdiction of aggressive war was confirmed and broadened by the United Nations Charter. A recent book argues compellingly that in this way the Kellogg-Briand idea has slowly acquired its needed sanctions.18

Nuernberg Trials

Prosecutors interrogating witnesses during Nuremberg trials. Photo credit: National Archives / Wikimedia

Visionary Enlightenment ideas, such as “the end of all hostilities,” can only be implemented very slowly.19 Nevertheless, they can.20

What can we in this small room do to encourage American public politics back towards enlightenment decorum, in the service of a more peaceful future? The obvious first step is to eschew all hatred in ourselves when defending reason. We should also condemn it in others, from Antifa and Nazis in the streets, to sneering commentators in the media, to educators who condescend toward those undereducated in our society who may be truly suffering.

America is still to be both believed in, and questioned. We in this room can begin by questioning our own enlightenment values which so alienate the supporters of Trump. Trump is on sure ground when he says over and over to cheering crowds, “this is a nation of believers.” We who are also questioners should recognize that enlightenment values are not an absolute, but part of an ongoing dialectical process between faith and reason, which is as old as Plato’s Euthyphro and the Book of Job.

There is a timeless tension between belief and enlightenment. Humanity is both a condition (a form of being) and a process (a becoming). The good life is a harmonious reconciliation of both. Let me say as a Canadian, despite all else I have said tonight, that I regard America as one of the world’s best examples of this harmony. Even under Trump.

Enlightenment values, historically, have concerned process, not being. The word itself implies change. The 18th century enlightenment (there have been others), was a polemical effort to replace dogmas with ideas: it never fully escaped the shadow of Voltaire’s écrasez l’infame.21 The Enlightenment inspired the American Constitution and the separation of church and state (a very good idea). It also inspired Marx’s idea that religion was “the opium of the masses” — a false notion that contributed to the failure of the Russian revolution.

Just as we in this room need equanimity, so the nation outside needs equilibrium. Good ideas unchecked can produce their violent opposite, accelerating the natural dialectic of history.22 The dream of liberté and égalité, unrestrained, produced in rapid order the French Revolution, Napoleon, the Metternichian reaction. Similarly, the spread of these ideas to the Middle East, most recently in the Arab Spring, has produced violence in many countries, and also militant reactionary Salafism, underwritten by the nervous monarchies of the Persian Gulf. The consequent dislocation of masses of refugees now threatens the equilibrium of Europe, encouraging racist xenophobia.

US Army Soldiers, Iraq

US Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division in Kirkuk, Iraq, Feb. 28, 2008. Photo credit: The US Army / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

We have seen the same xenophobic reaction in America after 9/11, but to a far smaller degree. There are no easy formulas for returning America in the direction of tolerance and compassion. But I am old enough to remember the nightmare in America of McCarthyism, and how McCarthy’s own excesses brought that nightmare to a dramatic end.

America today is gripped by another nightmare, of hysterical over-reaction to terrorism.23A state of emergency, and an Act authorizing America’s longest war, were proclaimed after 9/11 to deal with al-Qaeda; they are still in force, resulting in suspensions of parts of the American Constitution.24 None of this is by accident. The emergency allows US armies in Asia to protect US investments in Kazakhstan, and a US Brigade in Ohio to protect against any resurgence of a successful anti-war movement in America.25

Thus I argue in my book The American Deep State that, as a first step, Congress should end the state of emergency and restore the Constitution.26 That will not happen soon. All power corrupts, all imperial power intoxicates, and all great previous empires have ended in idiocy. The British-French Suez Canal folly in 1956, for example, was idiotic.27 So was the Soviet folly that year in Hungary, contributing not only to Moscow’s eventual loss of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but the final demise of the once global Communist dream.

American folly became flagrant in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars. It is linked to today’s White House folly of anti-scientism: Both arise from a US political economy based on the petrodollar, and both are promoted by petrodollar interests.28 We clearly need to wean our economy from its dependence on petroleum, for the sake of both peace and climate stability.

Surely the American people, who inspired the successful Civil Rights Movement and who later helped end the Vietnam War, can successfully mobilize to demand a more reasonable, and realistic, foreign policy for a multipolar world.

To this end, we can all work to embody and promote among ourselves America’s historic spirit of comity among differences, achieved through widely dispersed checks and balances.

Endnotes


1. From 2008 to 2015, under Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, 2000 environmental scientists were fired, and decades of governmental research were discarded, sometimes in landfill. It was a nightmare of anti-scientific reaction, possibly funded by the American Koch brothers. But it ended.

2. Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch,” in Andrew J. Williams, Amelia Hadfield, J. Simon Rofe, International History and International Relations (New York: Routledge, 2012), 73.

3. See e.g. Marty Lederman, “Why the strikes against Syria probably violate the U.N. Charter and (therefore) the U.S. Constitution,” JustSecurity, April 6, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/39674/syrian-strikes-violate-u-n-charter-constitution/.

4. See Brian Bogart, “US Conflicts Abroad Since World War II: America Declassified — Chronicling the Official History of US Conflict Dependence,” Institute for Policy Research and Development.

5. The Constitution actually made arrangements to perpetuate slavery, which is why William Lloyd Garrison detested and publicly burned it, calling it as “a Covenant with Death, an Agreement with Hell.”

6. There were of course examples of military intervention before — the early Indian wars, the Mexican-American War — but the scale and intensity radically increased.

7. Shelby Foote, Interviewed in the documentary series The Civil War (PBS): “…. And that sums up what the war accomplished. It made us an ‘is’.” The change was noticed in 1887 by the Washington Post:

There was a time a few years ago when the United States was spoken of in the plural number. Men said “the United States are” — “the United States have” — “the United States were.” But the war changed all that. Along the line of fire from the Chesapeake to Sabine Pass was settled forever the question of grammar. Not Wells, or Green, or Lindley Murray decided it, but the sabers of Sheridan, the muskets of Sherman, the artillery of Grant. … The surrender of Mr. Davis and Gen. Lee meant a transition from the plural to the singular. (Washington Post, April 24, 1887, 4)


8. Before the Civil War the largest and longest Indian War was the Second Seminole War (1835–1842), with estimated casualties of 3,000 Seminoles (John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War [Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 1967]. 321). In 1894, the US Census Bureau estimated that 30,000 Indian corpses had been “found by the whites” in all the wars between 1789 and 1891, adding that the actual number of deaths “must be very much higher.” Its confirmed estimate for the wars between 1846 and 1891 was that 11,000 Indians had been killed (Bureau of the Census Report on Indians taxed and Indians not taxed in the United States (except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890 [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1894], 637–40).

9. Peter Dale Scott, “Atrocity and its Discontents: U.S. Double-Mindedness About Massacre;” in Adam Jones, ed. Genocide, War Crimes and the West: Ending the Culture of Impunity (London: Zed Press, 2004).

10. Graeme C. S. Steven and Rohan Gunaratna, Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004), 31. For other examples of expertise weighing in against current U.S. counterterrorism strategies, see The American Deep State, 174-75.

11. Cf. Peter Dale Scott, “Why Americans Must End America’s Self-Generating Wars,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 22, 2015, http://apjjf.org/2012/10/36/Peter-Dale-Scott/3819/article.html.

12. Retired Army Colonel Lawrence B. “Larry” Wilkerson, former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, has concluded from his insider experience that “We have become a national security state, that means our reason for existing is war and defense contractors are the merchants of death” (Speech at Code Pink Conference: Divest from the War Machine, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFJIBU-YBsY). Wilkerson reports that 40 percent of US army recruits now come from just seven states, such as Alabama and West Virginia, increasingly because of poverty. (Officers can look forward in retirement to good jobs in the defense industries, the raw recruits to PTSD and opioids.)

13. In 2015, just one company, Chemonics International, “received a contract of $9.5bn over eight years from USAid — the largest contract ever from the government agency Devex reports. Only one other contractor receives more USAid awards, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, which is a conglomerate of 13 companies” (“Top US government aid partner to pay $500k damages to African American job applicants,” Guardian, November 21, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/nov/21/top-us-government-aid-partner-to-pay-500k-damages-to-african-american-job-applicants?CMP=twt_gu).

14. Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Carries Out Drone Strike Against Shabab Militants in Somalia,”

15. Ken Dilanian, Courtney Kube, William M. Arkin, Hans Nichols And Cynthia Mcfadden.

16. Witness the action of the House just now: “The House has just approved a nearly 700 billion dollar Military Spending Bill. That is almost 100 billion dollars more than President Trump had asked for….. The House vote was an overwhelming 356 to 70 with 127 Democrats voting in favor. A similar measure is expected to pass the Senate, although lawmakers will have to agree on raising the budget cap first.” (“Divided Congress Unites to Spend $700B on Military and War,” The Real News, November 18, 2017,http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20484:Divided-Congress-Unites-to-Spend-%24700B-on-Military-and-War).

17. Mario del Pero, “The Role of Covert Operations in US Cold War Foreign Policy,” in Heike Bungert, Jan G. Heitmann, Michael Wala, eds., Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century(London; Frank Cass, 2003), 71-73.

18. Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro, The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017): “As its effects reverberated across the globe, it reshaped the world map, catalyzed the human rights revolution, enabled the use of economic sanctions as a tool of law enforcement, and ignited the explosion in the number of international organizations that regulate so many aspects of our daily lives.” The book may be ahead of its time: the New York Times chose a prominent interventionist, Max Boot, to review it. His predictable judgment: “’There are some ideas so absurd only an intellectual could believe them,’ George Orwell wrote. The notion that the Kellogg-Briand Pact was a raging success is one of them” (Max Boot, “When the Governments of the World Agreed to Banish War,” New York Times, September 21, 2017).

19. Another such idea was Young Europe’s dream of a united Europe, frustrated in 1848, but implemented a century later (with help from America).

20. This is, I believe, what I call the “prevailable” direction in history. Cf. Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 179, 181. I define my term “prevailable will of the people” in Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 270.

21. Consider, for example, Kant’s essay “What Is Enlightenment?”: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage…. It is more nearly possible, however, for the public to enlighten itself; indeed, if it is only given freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable…. This enlightenment requires nothing but freedom–and the most innocent of all that may be called ‘freedom’: freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters. Now I hear the cry from all sides: ‘Do not argue!’ The officer says: ‘Do not argue–drill!’ The tax collector: ‘Do not argue–pay!’ The pastor: “Do not argue–believe!’” (Immanuel Kant, ““What Is Enlightenment?” http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/CCREAD/etscc/kant.html).

22. We can include in these unchecked ideas America’s naïve faith that you can improve what we think of as the “third world” with vast sums of money, in so-called “nation-building” or modernization programs. Although much good has been achieved on a small scale, major projects have always led to major corruption. Yet as Bradley Simpson has observed, “modernization … was part of a larger, widely dispersed fabric of thinking about the process of becoming modern, the origins of which stretch back to the Enlightenment” (Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 [Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008], 8).

23. From my book The American Deep State, 139-40:

I call our new hysteria the “Doomsday Mania,” after the Doomsday Project that (as we saw in chapter 7) was the Pentagon’s name for the twenty years of COG planning to suspend parts of the U.S. Constitution. The Doomsday Project was escalated under Reagan in 1982 as emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.” Expanded by the end of the Reagan presidency to cover planning for any emergency, the planning was entrusted to a secret committee including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, even when both men were no longer in the U.S. government.24 Composed mostly of fellow Republicans, even under Clinton, at least one section of the committee became what a former Pentagon official described as in effect “a secret government-in-waiting.” From its outset in 1982 to its implantation on 9/11, the Doomsday Project was indeed apocalyptic in its baseless determination that America faced a terrorist crisis so dire that the Constitution needed to be partly set aside. A decade before 9/11, its far-reaching arrangements were expanding the groundwork of Oliver North, to create what CNN in 1991 already described as a “shadow government . . . about which you know nothing.”


24. Scott, The American Deep State, 31-34.

25. Scott, The American Deep State, 9, 68, 89. “The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories” (“America’s Forever Wars,” editorial, New York Times, October 22, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/opinion/americas-forever-wars.html?_r=0). (3) An international Gallup Poll confirmed in 2014 that “The rest of world believes that the United States is the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, beating out all challengers by a wide margin” (Meredith Bennett-Smith, “Womp! This Country Was Named The Greatest Threat To World Peace,” Huffington Post, January 2, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/02/greatest-threat-world-peace-country_n_4531824.html). The New York Times reported this finding in their online International Business Times, but not their domestic print edition. See Eric Brown, “Leading Threat to World Peace is…America?” Cf. Paul Street, ZMagazine, February 24, 2014.

26. Scott, The American Deep State, 179-82.

27. Before that, there were the idiotic conditions both countries imposed on Germany at Versailles in 1919, and their consequence the Second World War. I should mention also the “Jameson raid” of 1895, as part of a process which “provoked, predictably, a responsive buildup from other powers, particularly France and Germany; and this ultimately made World War I (and its sequel, World War II) all but inevitable” (Scott, The American Deep State, 170).

28. How do we enjoy more than our share of the world’s resources? Partly from financial management and control of petromarkets, which leads to dominance also in the arms market. Here I am telescoping quite lengthy arguments in The American Deep State; also David E. Spiro, The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999).


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Vitruvian Man (Luc Viatour / Wikimedia).

New Zealand Mosque Gunman Inspired by Serbian Nationalists

New Zealand Mosque Gunman ‘Inspired by Balkan Nationalists’

A gunman who killed 49 people in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand is believed to be an admirer of Balkan nationalists and historical figures, and he played a song honouring Radovan Karadzic before opening fire.


An injured person is loaded in an ambulance following a shooting resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries at the Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. Photo: EPA-EFE/Martin Hunter NEW ZEALAND OUT

A Facebook user with the name Brenton Tarrant – the man who reportedly killed dozens of people in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday morning – posted pictures of Balkan nationalist symbols online and a statement criticising US involvement in Kosovo.

A video also showed that before the shooting, the gunman played a song honouring Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic, whose final verdict for genocide and war crimes is due to be delivered next week.

Embedded video

Harald Doornbos

@HaraldDoornbos

I just noticed that song in car played by suspected gunman before is a Serbian nationalist song praising convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.

“Karadzic will lead the Serbs,
Karadzic leads the Serbs”

Ahead of the killings, the user of the Brenton Tarrant account posted a 73-page ‘manifesto’ which said the motive for the attack was to “create fear”, and included anti-migrant hate speech, calls for killings of Muslims, and white supremacist rhetoric.

The text also contained a section about the Kosovo conflict.

“Balkanization will also reduce the USA’s ability to project power globally, and thereby ensure that never again can such a situation as the US involvement in Kosovo ever occur again (where US/NATO forces fought beside Muslims and slaughtered Christian Europeans attempting to remove there Islamic occupiers from Europe),” it said.

NATO has been leading peacekeeping operations in Kosovo since June 1999 after its campaign of air strikes to end Serbia’s military campaign against ethnic Albanian rebels.

Pictures showing weaponry used in the shooting were also marked with the name of Montenegrin military leader Marko Miljanov Popovic, who led his tribe in the fight against the Ottoman Empire.

The weapons were also marked with the name of Bajo Pivljanin, a commander who also fought against the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia and Montenegro.

 

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MrRevinsky@Kyruer


He dedicates the attack also to ‘Luca Traini’: he is an italian man who opened fire on a group of migrants in Macerata in late 2018.
Part 2

Another name marked on the weaponry was Novak Vujosevic, who fought on the Montenegrin side in the Battle of Fundina against the Ottoman Empire’s forces.

So far New Zealand police have arrested four people in connection with the terrorist attacks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the shootings “New Zealand’s darkest day” and said in a statement on Friday morning that “many of the people affected by this act of extreme violence will be from our refugee and migrant communities”.

CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid

[SEE:  They attack the North Korean embassy in Madrid with hostages and theft of computers]

CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid

According to Spanish investigators, two of the men who broke into the diplomatic headquarters have connections to the US intelligence service

The North Korean embassy in Madrid.
The North Korean embassy in Madrid. ULY MARTÍN 
Madrid 

Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Sources believe the goal of the attack embassy was to get information on the former North Korean ambassador to Spain

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

If it is proven that the CIA was behind the attack, it could lead to a diplomatic spat between Madrid and Washington. Government sources say that it would be “unacceptable” for an ally to take such action. Not only would it mean that the US agency had operated on Spanish soil without asking for authorization or informing the authorities, it would also be a violation of the international conventions that protect diplomatic delegations.

What’s more, unlike other intelligence activities – such as cyberattacks, which are characterized by their discretion, the attack on the North Korean embassy was especially violent. On February 22 at 3pm, 10 masked men carrying alleged imitation weapons broke into the embassy, located north of the capital in the residential area of Aravaca. They tied up the eight people inside and put bags on their heads. The victims were beaten and interrogated. A woman managed to escape from a window on the second floor and her screams for help were heard by a neighbor, who contacted the police.

Officers arrived at the scene but when they tried to enter the embassy a man opened the door to them and told them that there was nothing going on. Minutes later, two luxury vehicles sped out of the embassy. The cars used for the getaway belonged to the diplomatic mission and were later abandoned in a nearby street.

The assailants tied up the eight people inside the embassy and put bags on their heads

Police found the eight victims inside. They had been held hostage for two hours, had had bags placed over their heads, had been beaten and were scared. Two of them required medical attention.

Investigators from the General Information Office (CGI) and CNI ruled out the idea that the attack was the work of common criminals. The operation was perfectly planned as if it were carried out by a “military cell,” said sources close to the investigation. The assailants knew what they were looking for, taking only computers and mobile phones.

The highly secretive investigation will be heard at Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, which could order the arrest of the identified assailants. Government sources, however, admit it would be difficult to prove the CIA was involved in court.

Kim Hyok Chol

Sources believe that the goal of the attack on the North Korean embassy was to get information on Kim Hyok Chol, the former North Korean ambassador to Spain.

Former North Korean ambassador to Spain, Kim Hyok Chol, in a file photo from 2015.
Former North Korean ambassador to Spain, Kim Hyok Chol, in a file photo from 2015.CARLOS ROSILLO

Kim Hyok Chol was expelled from Spain on September 19, 2017 by the then-Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis given that the nuclear testing that the country was carrying out at the time was in serious breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Kim Hyok Chol, who was declared persona non grata by Spain and was invited to leave the country before the end of the month, is currently one of Kim Jong-un’s highly trusted diplomats, and one of the architects of the failed nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jon-un in Vietnam. The meeting, aimed at securing North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, ended in failure without any agreement on a timetable for disarmament or on future negotiations.

In February, Kim Hyok Chol also led the North Korean delegation that negotiated a nuclear disarmament plan with US special envoy Stephen Biegun in exchange for sanctions to be lifted.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

US Congressman Confesses That He Is “One of Israel’s Guys”

[The following short post is a candid, honest admission, by a US Congressman, that he is one of Israel’s controlled assets in the US Congress, elected by Jewish money, dominated by Jewish money, allegedly serving the interests of 2 Nations on Capitol Hill.  Repeating the recorded confession of US Congressman Charlie Wilson IS NOT “Antisemitic,” but to know the truth about the power of Jewish money to control weak politicians and NOT repeat it may be tantamount to “TREASON.”]

[The US Government Is Controlled By Men and Women Who Answer To the Jewish Lobby…PERIOD.]

[NY Times Fails To Debunk “Canard” of Jewish Money Dominating Congress, Because It Is the Cold Truth]

[Dems’ Antisemitism Bill Stalls, Despite Massive Effort To Let Israel/Jews Control Congressional Vote]

Charlie Wilson’s War

“You’re going to Israel next week
to meet with Zvi Rafiah
about the Lavi jets.
I want you to tack Pakistan
on the end of your trip.


And meet with the President?


Let him convince you that
it’s a Christian imperative
to let the Afghans rid
their country of Communism.


Okay. It’s not likely the President
of Pakistan is a Christian,
but I’m gonna do this for you, Joanne,
’cause you saved my ass
once with the pro-lifers
and I owe you my seat in Congress
and because you look very good naked.
But I have to tell you,
I’m elected by Jews.


How many Jews do you
have in your district?


Seven.
But congressmen aren’t
elected by voters,
they’re elected by contributors,
and mine are in, well, New
York, Florida, Hollywood,
because I’m one of
Israel’s guys on the Hill.
And I don’t know how they’re gonna feel
about me taking up the cause of Muslims.


Well, that’s your problem.


Yes, it is.”
–(Charlie Wilson’s War)

 

Will the Real War Criminals ever be tried?–Nov 07, 2015

Will the Real War Criminals ever be tried?

Question: When does a congenital liar stop lying? Answer: Never. Even if he ever seems to be recanting his lies he isn’t. All that he may be doing is hoodwink the world and make people believe that he’s contrite, which he isn’t.

Those doubting the above need only look at the former British PM Tony Blair’s half-hearted attempt to be seen by the world as repenting his crime of having brazenly abetted his old ‘buddy’ George W. Bush’s unprovoked aggression against Iraq in 2003.

At the peak of that popular cry of protest in Britain against Tony Blair’s blatant involvement in Bush’s war against Iraq—deemed, rightly, as a crime against humanity—the protestors regularly carried placards that dubbed Blair as B-Liar. The epithet was so appropriate and popular that it almost replaced Blair’s real name and people only referred to him as B-Liar.


Will the real War Criminals ever be tried?
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair

That epithet wasn’t a spur-of-the moment thing. It was fully deserved and that’s why it lingered on and hasn’t gone off the people’s radar although Blair has long ceased to be Britain’s leader.

They say old habits die hard. But in Blair’s case it may seem that they never have a chance of dying, given the man’s potential to keep lying about himself and about his record.

Blair served a fresh reminder of his unlimited perspicacity for lying in a recent interview on American television with Fareed Zakaria, a journalist with a reputation of treating his neo conservative guests with kid gloves. Talking of his role in the sordid episode of the alibi concocted, by Bush and his neo con warmongers, of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), Blair feigned as if he was, after all, contrite and repentant. He apologised that because of it, Iraq was invaded and lives were lost without justification.

A sympathetic western media that had never really seriously probed Bush’s underlying motive in the invasion of Iraq—a country without any involvement in 9/11, the template and alibi for the Bush aggression—quickly summed up that Blair was feeling sorry for his role and was contrite.

That, at best, is so much of trash. Blair only regretted that he was fed false intelligence and because of it readily became part of the Bush juggernaut to lay waste Iraq.

So, all that B-Liar was contrite about was the faulty intelligence that became the template of that wantonly illegitimate Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

Blair never said a word of repentance about the whole idea of the old and new imperialists pouncing upon a country that neither had a role in the crime perpetrated on 9/11, nor posed a threat to the security of either of their countries or, for that matter, any other country listed on the imperialists’ roster of ‘friends and allies.’

The unvarnished truth is that Blair, viscerally, was part of the neo con agenda of war against Iraq and was fully complicit in the alibi brazenly crafted by the warmongers to justify their invasion of Iraq.

Iraq had been in the cross-hairs of the neo con warmongers from the day the idea of an American Century sprouted in their fertile imagination. For nearly a decade preceding the actual invasion of Iraq in 2003, the neo cons had been laying their groundwork for it. Open letters to the then President Bill Clinton were inserted by inveterate dreamers of an American Empire—notorious men like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Chenney and their gang of warmongers—in the New York Times and Washington Post pleading with the president to follow their lead.

Planning for regime change in Iraq had begun soon after the end of the First Gulf War, in 1991, as Kuwait was ‘liberated’ from Iraqi occupation and Saddam Hussein’s forces were pushed back into Iraq.

The neo cons were furious that Bush Sr., then president, hadn’t chased Saddam up to Baghdad and expelled him from power. To them it was a golden opportunity missed by George H W Bush to acquire a foot-hold in the old Mesopotamia—a geo-strategically important land essential to their dream of imposing American tutelage over the Gulf region and exploit its vast oil and gas resources for America’s outreach to the areas beyond.

Iraq was key to the neo con dream of dominating the region, totally, in more senses than one. The plan was two-pronged: degrade any potential in the area to pose any threat to Israel—the darling of the neo cons and central to their ploy of making the whole region around Israel subservient to US and Israeli interests.

Iraq, with its vast resources of oil, gas and water from two big rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, had the potential to pose a credible threat to Israel. Saddam may have been used by the Americans to nip the ‘evil’ of the Islamic Revolution in next door Iran in its infancy by triggering the 8 year-long war with Iran, in 1980. But that bloody conflict couldn’t finish off the Iranian revolution and ended up making it stronger and more resilient.

By his inability to cripple Iran, Saddam Hussein had outlived his utility and had to go. A change of regime in Iraq was deemed an absolute essential if the dream of the American Century was ever to be realised. Saddam’s fate had been sealed, as far as the neo cons’ strategy was concerned.

As these lines were being written, news has just come in from Baghdad of the demise of Ahmed Chalabi, the principal US puppet in the then Iraqi diaspora, who had offered his services to CIA for millions of dollars in American tax payers’ money.

Chalabi, from a prominent Shiite family loyal to the Iraqi royalty, until its overthrow in a bloody coup d’etat in 1958, was CIA’s ace Iraqi asset who became an invaluable tool to the neo con planning of subversion and subterfuge in Iraq against the Saddam regime.

It was Chalabi who was believed to have confirmed to CIA and Pentagon that Saddam possessed not only lethal weapons of mass destruction but also the rockets to target these WMDs at targets in the west.

Chalabi fed whatever info he deemed necessary to his American mentors who, in turn, lapped up every word from his mouth and elevated it to the status of gospel truth. Chalabi kept feeding CIA and the Pentagon concocted evidence of Saddam’s WMDs and his gullible hosts took it for real. Or was it that it suited their aggressive intent against Saddam to lend credence to whatever Chalabi was feeding them for self-preservation as CIA’s principal asset among the Iraqi leaders in exile?

It’s not hard to conclude, with the benefit of hind-sight, that both Chalabi and CIA were using each other for the extension of their respective agendas; Chalabi dreamed of riding into Baghdad—from which he’d been in exile since 1958—on US tanks as Iraq’s new leader; the Americans were led to believe by Chalabi, and others of his ilk, that the Iraqi people were so absolutely fed up with Saddam and his tactics that they would welcome the American invaders of their land as their ‘liberators’ and emancipators’ and shower rose petals on them. The real ‘reception’ turned out to be radically different.

Bill Clinton was still in office when US Congress passed the Iraq Act, in 1998, calling, openly, for regime change in Iraq. It was an unprecedented act of imperialist hubris for the American lawmakers to place themselves in place of God and decide who should be ruling over a sovereign state, Iraq, which was a founding member of UN. It also amounted to thumbing their noses at the UN by the American lawmakers. The world body—the message between the lines of Iraq Act said—was impotent to act US wanted it to and, therefore, Washington would take the law into its own hands to dictate Iraq’s fate.

Blair signed on the nefarious agenda merrily and willingly because it was a reflection of his own imperialist impulse. British cooperation in the planned aggression against Iraq, on the fabricated alibi of it being in possession of WMDs was deemed essential because of the old imperialist’s colonial expertise and experience. Blair was cut from the same cloth as the neo cons and didn’t flinch for a moment from hitching his wagon with Bush’s treacherous invasion plan.

Nowhere in his interview with Zakaria did Blair offer anything remotely attributable to feeling sorry that Iraq was laid waste, brutally vulgarised and its people treated as animals by the arrogant American occupiers of their land. He abides by his convoluted sense that the people of Iraq were actually done a favour by the western invaders because they toppled Saddam and saved them from his clutches.

Likewise, the incorrigible liar only dissembles that the invasion of Iraq, in his words, was a contributory factor in the rise of ISIL and all the attendant terror and destruction this band of predators has unleashed in its wake.

Blair should know that the end-game for his fellow neo cons in Iraq was its truncation. To achieve this end-result, the first Bush ‘viceroy’ of Iraq, Paul Bremer—a Zionist to boot—disbanded the well-trained and well-armed army of Saddam Hussein on the first day of assuming control of a vanquished Iraq. Degrading Iraq was a principal component of the scheme to make the country vulnerable to centrifugal forces. A weak and vulnerable Iraq couldn’t pose any threat to Israel—the fortress of American power in the region and the sword intended to be kept hanging over the heads of all the neighbours of Israel.

The disbanding of Saddam’s army was done with so much haste and poor planning that the soldiers and officers were allowed to carry all their weapons with them; the arsenals were emptied by disbanded soldiers. They became the harbingers of an ISIL with no shortage of weapons.

On top of it all, brazen humiliation was heaped on the occupied Iraqis by their power-drunk American masters. Abu Ghuraib was just one instance of inhuman and barbaric torture inflicted on the Iraqis made prisoners there. It became famous because of those pervert and sexually-deviant American ‘guards’, both men and women, who treated their Iraqi quarries as toys to satisfy their pervert urges. But Abu Ghuraib was not a solitary example; there were dozens of other places where Iraqis were humiliated and tortured, day-and-night.

The toll exacted, with diabolical intent, from the Iraqis was as much a catalyst of revolt against a pernicious American occupation as attempts to divide Iraq along ethnic and sectarian divides. ISIL, Blair should know, didn’t come up as a spur-of-the-moment reaction by the Iraqis—and subsequently the Syrians. It flared and took hold of the people because of their sense of privation, humiliation and suffering under an insensitive and uncaring occupying power and its allies bent upon truncating Iraq in more senses than one. That was the principal catalyst for the rise of radicalism in Iraq and neighbouring Syria which, in turn, spawned the terrorist outfit, ISIL.

The neo con agenda for Iraq and its surrounding areas was predominantly impacted by Henry Kissinger’s policy of divide-weaken-and rule. That Kissinger Doctrine was devised in the wake of the first oil embargo of 1973 and has since been adopted by the warmongers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as their bible.

To put teeth to the divisive Kissinger Doctrine, the oil rich Gulf potentates were encouraged to invest in forces arrayed against the Baathist regime of Syria. They opened their coffers for those ready to overthrowing the Assad regime because that would not only have removed Assad but also weakened Iran—a principal reason for the Saudis and Qataris to bankroll the terrorists who became the progenitors of ISIL.

The Arab Spring, of 2011, came as a huge shock to the neo cons, just as the 1979 Islamic Revolution had taken the imperialists by complete surprise. The warmongers failed in their tactics to roll back the Iranian revolution but they did—with a lot of help from reactionary and anti-democratic status-quo holders among the Arabs—succeeded in snuffing out the short-lived Arab Spring.

In the process, Libya has been rendered worse than Iraq and the promising democratisation of Egypt subverted by imperialist agents in the Egyptian military high command. As these lines are being written, General Abdel Fattah Sisi, the butcher of Egypt, is being received with full honours by David Cameron of Britain—the mother of democracy in our ‘civilised’ world.

But Britain alone hasn’t rolled out the red carpet for the blood-thirsty Egyptian dictator who has the blood of thousands of Egyptians—predominantly the youth—on his hands. Earlier, Sisi was received with similar fanfare in Germany and France.

Blair, surely, can’t be ignorant of it that the overly-trumpeted and touted western values of democracy and human rights come with a proviso: they aren’t meant for the Arabs or Muslims whose misfortune it is to be ruled and persecuted, ruthlessly, by western surrogates and minions. Cameron and his ilk couldn’t care less how the human rights of the Egyptian people are mauled by a blood-thirsty cabal under Sisi.  Their sole concern is that an Israel-friendly Egyptian autocrat should cause no problem to Israel running roughshod over its Palestinian quarries and making their lives a living hell for them.

The International Criminal Court is most eager and overly anxious to try the Sudanese President, Bashir, for alleged war crimes. One wonders, when, if ever, it will have the moral fibre to try well-known war criminals like Bush, Blair, Cheney and Rumsfeld whose crimes are amply documented and known to all?

Karamatullah K Ghori is a former ambassador of Pakistan, now lives in Canada. His book Bar-e-Shanasaee: Kuch log, kuch yaaden, kuch tazkeray — un shakhsiyaat kay jinhon nay Pakistan kee taarikh banaee aur bigaadee was published from India by Pharos Media, New Delhi.

Journalist’s Expose’ Shows “Comedian” Colbert To Be Just Another Deep State Hitman

Colbert Smears Tulsi Gabbard To Her Face While Telling Zero Jokes



Hawaii Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard recently appeared onThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where instead of the light, jokey banter about politics and who she is as a person that Democratic presidential candidates normally encounter on late night comedy programs, the show’s host solemnly ran down a list of textbook beltway smears against Gabbard and made her defend them in front of his audience.

Normally when a Democratic Party-aligned politician appears on such a show, you can expect jokes about how stupid Trump is and how badly they’re going to beat the Republicans, how they’re going to help ordinary Americans, and maybe some friendly back-and-forth about where they grew up or something. Colbert had no time to waste on such things, however, because this was not an interview with a normal Democratic Party-aligned politician: this was a politician who has been loudly and consistently criticizing US foreign policy.

After briefly asking his guest who she is and why she’s running for president, Colbert jumped right into it by immediately bringing up Syria and Assad, the primary line of attack employed against Gabbard by establishment propagandists in American mainstream media.

Colbert: Do you think the Iraq war was worth it?

Gabbard: No.

Colbert: Do you think that our involvement in Syria has been worth it?

Gabbard: No.

Colbert: Do you think that ISIS could have been defeated without our involvement and without our support of the local troops there?

Gabbard: There are two things we need to address in Syria. One is a regime change war that was first launched by the United States in 2011, covertly, led by the CIA. That is a regime change war that has continued over the years, that has increased the suffering of the Syrian people, and strengthened groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, because the CIA was using American taxpayer dollars to provide arms and training and equipment to these terrorist groups to get them to overthrow the government. So that is a regime change war that we should not have been engaging.

This interview was easily Colbert’s most blatant establishment rim job I’ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey’s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they’re meant to like him. Colbert’s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American “comedy” shows look like now is nauseating.

Colbert: So, but if it is someone like Bashar al-Assad, who gasses his own people, or who engages in war crimes against his own people, should the United States not be involved?Gabbard: The United States should not be intervening to overthrow these dictators and these regimes that we don’t like, like Assad, like Saddam Hussein, like Gaddafi, and like Kim Jong Un. There are bad people in the world, but history has shown us that every time the United States goes in and topples these dictators we don’t like, trying to end up like the world’s police, we end up increasing the suffering of the people in these countries. We end up increasing the loss of life, but American lives and the lives of people in these countries. We end up undermining our own security, what to speak of the trillions of dollars of taxpayer money that’s spent on these wars that we need to be using right here at home. [In this passage, Gabbard walks back much of the good she just did by actually endorsing a falsehood, that the US, perhaps clumsily, is right in attacking these “terrible” dictators. This is not the way to clarify the people’s jumbled perceptions about US foreign policy. And it gets worse.—Ed)

Like I said, this is not a normal presidential candidate. How often do you see a guest appear on a network late night talk show and talk about the CIA arming terrorists in Syria and the fact that US military interventionism is completely disastrous? It just doesn’t happen. You can understand, then, why empire propagandist Stephen Colbert spent the rest of the interview informing his TV audience that Tulsi Gabbard is dangerous and poisonous.

Colbert: You got some heat for meeting with Bashar al-Assad. Do you not consider him a war criminal? Why did you meet with that man?

Gabbard: In the pursuit of peace and security. If we are not willing to meet with adversaries, potential adversaries, in the pursuit of peace and security, the only alternative is more war. That’s why I took that meeting with Assad. In pursuit of peace and security. 

Colbert: Do you believe he is a war criminal? Do you believe he gassed his own people or committed atrocities against his own people?

Gabbard: Yes. Reports have shown that that’s a fact. (Here she totally destroys her own antiwar credibility! Ed.]

Colbert: So you believe the intelligence agencies on that. Because I heard that you did not necessarily believe those reports.

The reason I call Colbert a propagandist and not simply a liberal empire loyalist who happens to have been elevated by billionaire media is because these are carefully constructed narratives that he is reciting, and they weren’t constructed by him.

Trying to make it look to the audience as though Gabbard is in some way loyal to Assad has been a high-priority agenda of the mainstream media ever since she announced her presidential candidacy. We saw it in her recent appearance on The View, where John McCain’s sociopathic daughter called her an “Assad apologist” and demanded that Gabbard call Assad an enemy of the United States. We saw it in her recent CNN town hall, where a consultant who worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign was presented as an ordinary audience member to help CNN’s Dana Bash paint Gabbard’s skepticism of intelligence reports about an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government as something that is weird and suspicious, instead of the only sane position in a post-Iraq invasion world. We saw it in her appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last month, where the entire panel piled on her in outrage that she wouldn’t call Assad an enemy of the United States. It’s such a common propaganda talking point that the New York Times‘ Bari Weiss famously made a laughingstock of herself by repeating it as self-evident truth on The Joe Rogan Experience without having the faintest clue what specific facts it was meant to refer to, just because she’d heard establishment pundits saying it so much.

This is an organized smear by the mass media attempting to marry Gabbard in the eyes of the public to a Middle Eastern leader whom the propagandists have already sold as a child-murdering monster, and Colbert is participating in it here just as much as the serious news media talking heads are. It’s been frustrating to watch Gabbard fold to this smear campaign by acting like it’s an established fact that Assad “gasses his own people” and not the hotly contested empire-serving narrative she knows it is. Gabbard is being targeted by this smear because she challenges US political orthodoxy on military violence (the glue which holds the empire together), so no amount of capitulation will keep them from trying to prevent the public from trusting her words.

“I don’t know whether America should be the policemen of the world,” Colbert said after Gabbard defended her position.

Media whore Colbert. Like others of his type, they all made a Faustian pact. Kissing the empire’s ass to advance fame and career. Who cares if entire nations are destroyed and millions die?

“It is my opinion that we should not be,” Gabbard replied, causing Colbert to launch into a stuffy, embarrassing sermon on the virtues of interventionism and US hegemony that would make Bill Kristol blush.

“If we are not, though, nature abhors a vacuum, and if we are not involved in international conflicts, or trying to quell international conflicts, certainly the Russians and the Chinese will fill that vacuum. And we will step away from the world stage in a significant way that might destabilize the world, because the United States, however flawed, is a force for good in the world in my opinion. (sic) Would you agree with that?”

Again, this is a comedy show.

Gabbard explained that in order to be a force for good in the world the United States has to actually do good, which means not raining fire upon every nation it dislikes all the time. Colbert responded by reading off his blue index card to repeat yet another tired anti-Gabbard smear.

“You’ve gotten some fans in the Trump supporter world: David Duke, Steve Bannon, and, uh, Matt, uh, Gaetz, is that his name? Matt Gaetz? What do you make of how much they like you?”

This one is particularly vile, partly because Gabbard has repeatedly and unequivocally denounced David Duke, who has a long-established and well-known history of injecting himself into the drama of high-profile conversations in order to maintain the illusion of relevance, and partly because it’s a completely irrelevant point that is brought up solely for the purpose of marrying Tulsi Gabbard’s name to a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Colbert only brought this up (and made Newsweek totally squee) because he wanted to assist in that marrying. The fact that there are distasteful ideologies which also happen to oppose US interventionism for their own reasons does not change the undeniable fact that US military interventionism is consistently disastrous and never helpful and robs the US public of resources that are rightfully theirs.

This interview was easily Colbert’s most blatant establishment rim job I’ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey’s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they’re meant to like him. Colbert’s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American “comedy” shows look like now is nauseating.

When Tulsi Gabbard first announced her candidacy I predicted that she’d have the narrative control engineers scrambling all over themselves to kill her message, and it’s been even more spectacular than I imagined. I don’t agree with everything she says and does, but by damn this woman is shaking up the establishment narrative matrix more than anybody else right now. She’s certainly keeping it interesting.

__________________________

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About the Author
 
Caitlin Johnstone
 is a brave journalist, political junkie, relentless feminist, champion of the 99 percent. And a powerful counter-propaganda tactician.

Whitewashing the War Crimes of Old Bush

Whitewashing George HW Bush’s legacy

There is much wrong that Bush did and the media should not try to cover it up after his death.

by

Cutting through the bush of media's posthumous propaganda is not about disrespecting George HW Bush in his death, but about respecting the lives of those victimised by his policies, writes Kanji [AP]
Cutting through the bush of media’s posthumous propaganda is not about disrespecting George HW Bush in his death, but about respecting the lives of those victimised by his policies, writes Kanji [AP]

If “the present conducts the past the way a conductor conducts an orchestra,” bringing forward “these particular sounds, or those, and no others” – as the great Italian novelist Italo Svevo observed in an often quoted metaphor – then American mainstream media’s posthumous treatment of George HW Bush can only be described as a one-note symphony of glorification, contrasting the 41st president’s supposed virtues with the vices of the office’s current occupant. “The only part of [the past] that is highlighted,” as Svevo had noted, “is that part that has been summoned up to illumine, and to distract us from, the present.”

Among the instruments of selective historical memorialisation is the taboo against speaking ill of the dead -which is articulated as a universal principle but applied, in reality, with extreme partiality.

When luminary of the South African anti-apartheid struggle Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died in April, Western media coverage rushed to highlight her alleged participation in acts of violence. The very first sentence of the New York Times’ story about her death, for example, stated that Madikizela-Mandela’s “hallowed place in the pantheon of South Africa’s liberators was eroded by scandal over corruption, kidnapping, murder, and the implosion of her fabled marriage to Nelson Mandela,” and the Times’ original headline (subsequently revised following complaints) described her as a “tarnished leader of South Africa’s liberation.”

But for George Bush, who had the privilege of directing acts of mass violence from afar, the abuses and atrocities tarnishing his leadership have been treated as mere footnotes to the main story – if they are accorded any attention at all. While commentators have fawned over cartoons depicting Bush’s projected arrival in heaven, they have erased the victims consigned to hell on Earth by his policies.

Expunged from the hegemonic hagiographies is Bush’s complicity as CIA director with Operation Condor: a CIA-supported collaboration between South American military dictatorships that kidnapped, tortured, murdered, or disappeared thousands of political dissidents – including former Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Orlando Letelier, who was assassinated on American soil during Bush’s directorship of the agency. While the New York Times, the Washington Post, and MSNBC all managed to feature in-depth analyses of Bush’s penchant for patterned socks, not one bothered to mention the far more significant pattern of the CIA‘s involvement in projects of state-sponsored terror, such as Operation Condor under Director Bush.

Bush’s decision as president to banish thousands of Haitian asylum seekers to detention camps at Guantanamo Bay, which his administration claimed laid outside the protections of international law, has also been completely ignored – in notable contrast to his decision to banish broccoli from his dinner table, which was the subject of fond reminiscences in the Washington Post and New York Times.

In the hands of the panegyrists at the Washington Post, the US-led “humanitarian intervention” in Somalia initiated by Bush in 1992 has been framed as an example of the former president’s guiding “concern for humanity.” Omitted was the fact that the operation quickly degenerated into an assault on Somali humanity – bombings of hospitals and gatherings of elders, unprovoked shootings of unarmed civilians, and culminating in the slaughter of approximately 1,000 Somalis in the Battle of Mogadishu – by American soldiers heard repeating the slogan “the only good Somali is a dead Somali.”

Bush’s 1989 invasion of Panama has likewise been repackaged and sold as a humanitarian triumph: “a successful invasion to oust Panama’s strongman General Manuel Antonio Noriega,” in the words of the New York Times. Nevermind that the United Nations General Assembly condemned it at the time as a “flagrant violation of international law and of the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of [Panama],” and that it “inflicted a toll in civilian lives that was at least … twelve to thirteen times higher than the casualties suffered by US troops,” according to Human Rights Watch.

In a CNN interview following Bush’s death, Bush military adviser Colin Powell channelled Orwellian newspeak to celebrate the invasion for “putting Panama back on a path of democracy and freedom” – a characterisation that went unchallenged by host Jake Tapper, who has previously spoken in soaring language of the journalistic responsibility to “tell the truth and report the facts regardless of whom those facts might benefit.”

Similar deficits of truth-telling are apparent in representations of Bush’s military follow-up to Panama, the First Gulf War, almost universally depicted as a courageous confrontation against the evils of dictator Saddam Hussein. Inconvenient details – that Hussein’s evils had been enabled by Bush, who facilitated sales of military equipment to the Iraqi leader and continued to protect him from sanctions even after he massacred thousands of Kurds with poison gas at Halabja in 1988; that the war was sold to the American public with deliberately fabricated lies about Iraqi soldiers ripping babies from incubators; and that the execution of the war itself involved such atrocities as the annihilation of the Amiriyah bomb shelter, which killed at least 400 civilians, and the use of enough depleted uranium weaponry to toxify the land for 4.5 billion years – have been scrubbed from the record.

A CNN panel of journalists reflecting on Bush’s presidency contrasted him favourably to Donald Trump for having “respected media’s role” – neglecting to mention that the Bush administration imposed unprecedented restrictions and censorship on media coverage of the First Gulf War, turning media into a mouthpiece for jingoism.

While mainstream American media organisations rail against the proliferation of “fake news,” they continue to propagate half-news: a severely partial perspective in which Trump is portrayed as an aberration in American political history rather than a product of its deeply entrenched regressive forces. The recent eulogies masquerading as journalism not only sanitise Bush’s individual legacy, but conceal and distort elements of the past that are vital for understanding the present.

Operation Condor, for instance, prefigured the CIA’s extensive use of terrorising tactics such as extrajudicial assassination, extraordinary rendition, and torture in the name of counterterrorism.

George HW Bush’s treatment of Guantanamo Bay as an extra-legal warehouse for unwanted humanity laid the foundations for his son’s employment of Gitmo as an indefinite detention and torture camp for “war on terror” detainees.

The disaster in Somalia exposed the persistently racist dynamics underlying military operations pitched as “humanitarian interventions,” presaging the recurrent failures and abuses of such interventions across the formerly officially colonised world, from Haiti to Libya.

The invasion of Panama “inaugurated the age of pre-emptive [American] unilateralism, using ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ as both justifications for war and a branding opportunity,” as New York University historian Greg Grandin has observed.

And the use of governmental deception and media control to manipulate public opinion in the First Gulf War foreshadowed the politics of misinformation in the Second Gulf War, Bush Jr’s 2003 illegal war of aggression on Iraq.

Cutting through the bush of media’s posthumous propaganda is not about disrespecting George HW Bush in his death, but about respecting the lives of those victimised by his policies – and the lives of those who will continue to suffer as long as the structures of American imperial power he helped construct remain in place and immunised from critique.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Unholy Union Between US Energy Giants and US Govt. Comes Out In the Open

Pompeo enlists US energy conglomerates for global oil war

By Bill Van Auken

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an extraordinary speech this week to a conference attended by representatives of the major US energy conglomerates in which he appealed to “Big Oil” to play an increasingly direct role in the drive by US imperialism for global dominance and the preparation for war on every continent.

Speaking Tuesday at the annual CERAWeek conference in Houston, Texas which brings together US oil and gas company executives, representatives of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and US government officials, Pompeo stressed that the steep growth in US energy production, driven by what industry insiders describe as the “shale revolution,” has provided Washington with a potent weapon to use against its global rivals.

The growth in energy production, with the US surpassing both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest crude oil producer late last year, and estimates that US exports will exceed those of Russia in the next three years and those of Saudi Arabia in the next five, is seen by the US ruling elite as a means of exerting its hegemony on a worldwide scale.

Pompeo’s speech provided a blunt description of US predatory aims across the planet that involve the interests of the American-based energy conglomerates.

His attempts to present this as some kind of moral crusade were laughable. Countries targeted by US imperialism, he claimed, were “using their energy for malign ends, and not to promote prosperity in the way we do here in the West. They don’t have the values of freedom and liberty, or the rule of law that we do, and they’re using their energy to destroy ours.”

The “prosperity” promoted by Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and other US-based energy conglomerates is that of their CEOs and major capitalist investors. Their values of “freedom and liberty” and “rule of law” extend just as far as their freedom to exploit the planet’s energy reserves at will and to impose the rules dictated by the US government to protect their interests.

Pompeo went on to link the interests of “Big Oil” to the multiple geostrategic conflicts between US imperialism and its global and regional rivals.

He stressed that US energy production and export was crucial to countering a series of “bad actors.”

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the NordStream II project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to the expansion of a natural gas pipeline linking Russia to Central Europe. He stressed that US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports could “make Europe free from that Russian intervention.”

This pitch for promoting US energy dominance in Europe came as the Pentagon announced that it is preparing to develop and test new low-flying intermediate-range nuclear missiles beginning in August, after the formal expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the US and Russia, torn up by the Trump administration last month. The Pentagon has also sent officials to Warsaw to discuss the establishment of a permanent US base in Poland, dubbed “Fort Trump” by Polish officials.

Pompeo also denounced China, claiming: “China’s illegal island-building in international waterways isn’t simply a security matter. By blocking development in the South China Sea through coercive means, China prevents ASEAN members from accessing more than $2.5 trillion in recoverable energy reserves.” Clearly, the main concern is that these reserves could be exploited by US-based conglomerates.

Beijing issued an angry rebuke to Pompeo’s charge, denouncing his remarks as “irresponsible” and insisting that “Nations in the region are capable of resolving and managing the disputes in their own way.” It added, “Nations outside the region should refrain from stirring up trouble and disrupting the harmonious situation.”

The day after Pompeo’s speech, two B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew from Guam over the disputed areas of the South China Sea, the second flight carried out in 10 days in the face of Chinese objections. The warplanes are capable of carrying nuclear payloads.

The US secretary of state also signaled the importance of US energy production in underpinning the economic blockades imposed by US imperialism on both Iran and Venezuela, measures that are tantamount to acts of war.

Pompeo vowed to tighten the stranglehold on Iran in the coming period. “We’re committed to bringing Iranian crude oil exports to zero as quickly as market conditions will permit,” he said. He declined to answer a question as to whether Washington is preparing to revoke waivers granted to a number of countries dependent upon Iranian oil.

Pompeo told the energy executives that Washington is “using all of the economic tools at our disposal” to effect regime change in Venezuela, including the embargo on Venezuelan oil exports imposed in January. He denounced the Venezuelan government for shipping oil to Cuba at a “subsidized price,” contrasting this practice to the “superior business model” of the United States.

After delivering the speech, Pompeo, asked by CNBC whether Washington is considering military action in Venezuela, thuggishly repeated the mantra that “every option is on the table.”

Appearing together with Pompeo, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was asked if the overthrow of Maduro would lead to the reassertion of control over Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest on the planet, by US-based energy giants. “Absolutely, I think that is the real message, that the national companies want to see this regime outside so that we can return,” he replied.

Pompeo’s pep talk to US “Big Oil” about supporting the predatory aims of US imperialism was hardly necessary. The two have been intertwined for well over a century. Pompeo’s predecessor as secretary of state, it should be recalled, was Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, whose predecessor, Standard Oil, monopolized control of Venezuela’s oil industry until its nationalization in 1976.

The oil corporations have been intimately involved in the US wars of the 21st century. The invasion of Afghanistan, directed at furthering US influence over the vast energy reserves of Central Asia, resulted in the installation of Hamid Karzai, a former consultant of Unocal, as president. The US ambassador to the country, Zalmay Khalilzad, who served as Karzai’s handler, also worked for the oil company in plotting the construction of strategic pipelines across its territory.

In advance of the Iraq war, Vice President Dick Cheney, the former CEO of the oil service giant Halliburton, organized a “task force” on Iraqi oil comprised of major US oil executives. Detailed maps were drawn up for the parceling out of the spoils of the US war of aggression launched in 2003.

If the secretary of state is compelled to make a fresh appeal to the “patriotic” profit interests of the energy conglomerates it is because US imperialism is now preparing for a far greater conflict, a world war with catastrophic implications for humanity.

West’s Wars of Aggression Have Cost People of Mideast Nearly $1 Trillion In Economic Losses

Mideast wars cost $900 billion in economic losses since 2010: World Bank

ISTANBUL
Apartment buildings destroyed in Syria's civil war seen on the outskirts of Aleppo. (Sabah File Photo)

Apartment buildings destroyed in Syria’s civil war seen on the outskirts of Aleppo. (Sabah File Photo)

Wars in the Middle East have incurred an estimated $900 billion in economic losses since 2010, a senior World Bank official said Monday.

Mahmoud Mohieldin – the World Bank Group’s senior vice president for the 2030 development agenda, U.N. relations and partnerships – said conflicts in Arab countries between 2010 and 2018 resulted in massive economic losses due to physical destruction and missed development opportunities, according to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

Mohieldin cited the Arab Spring in 2011, followed by wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

He said Arab countries have the worst income distribution in the world, with 10 percent of the population of these countries holding 60 percent of the national income. This ratio is closer to 45 percent in European countries.

The World Bank expects oil prices to stay between $69 and $74 per barrel in 2019 and 2020, Mohieldin added. The average price of crude oil among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was $69.52 per barrel in 2018, according to Statista.

Mohieldin is visiting Kuwait to examine the status of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agreed upon by United Nations countries in 2015.

Growing Media Realism About the “War On (Sunni) Terrorism”

[We are finally starting to see the corporate media offer realistic assessments of America’s failed “War On Terror”, a.k.a., “Bush’s Folly.”  This post from the New Yorker (co-written by a former Obama coördinator for the Middle East) is surprisingly straightforward in its assessment of the alleged Sectarian war between Sunni and Shia.  The authors confirm that since 2001, we have been deeply involved in an intra-Sunni civil war, trying our best to tip the war in favor of the bloodthirsty Saudi head-choppers.  Trump has chosen to double-down on that bet, despite their devious history of duplicity and underhandedness, trying to buy the world and to establish a Middle East-wide Sunni Caliphate.]

The spectre of sectarianism haunts the Middle East. It is blamed for chaos, conflict, and extremism. It defines what is seen as the region’s principal fault line: Sunni versus Shiite. It has the power and elegance of a grand theory that seemingly explains all. Sunnis, embattled and embittered by Shiite ambitions, radicalize in large numbers, join Al Qaeda, or enlist in isis. Shiites, moved by the anxiety of a minority, overstep and seek power far in excess of their numbers.

Past and present tensions between the two main branches of Islam inarguably play a part in the region’s dynamics. But the vast majority of recent violence that has brought desolation and ruin to large parts of the Middle East has little to do with those strains. The bloodiest, most vicious, and most pertinent struggles occur squarely inside the Sunni world. Sectarianism is a politically expedient fable, conveniently used to cover up old-fashioned power struggles, maltreatment of minorities, and cruel totalitarian practices.

The region’s most ferociously violent Sunni actor, the Islamic State, for all its anti-Shiite discourse, claims Sunnis as the overwhelming majority of its victims. The fierce battles for the Iraqi city of Mosul or the Syrian city of Raqqa pitted Sunni against Sunni. isis attacks in Egypt, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, and elsewhere almost always have Sunnis as prey. There are few examples of wide-scale killings of Shiites by the group.

The Arab uprisings, the most momentous political upheaval to have shaken the Arab world in a generation, typically involved Sunni-on-Sunni battles: in Tunisia, where the uprisings began; in Egypt, where they grew; and in Libya, where they persist. The same was true of the extraordinarily brutal and bloody Algerian civil war in the nineteen-nineties. Each episode of unrest featured violent confrontations and shifting alliances, among the Muslim Brotherhood, neo-Ottomans, Salafis, Wahhabis (in both their Saudi and Qatari versions) and jihadis. More moderate forces—Al-Azhar in Cairo, Jordanian Hashemites, and the vast majority of peaceful Sunnis—helplessly stood by, hoping for the tumult to pass, and waiting anxiously for an opportunity to be heard.

In the Syrian tragedy, the Sunni-Alawite divide is routinely presented as a subset of a broader Sunni-Shiite confrontation and as central to understanding the violence. Yet the Assad regime is not exclusively Alawite, having been built around an alliance among Alawites, Sunni middle classes, and an array of religious minorities. It is hard to imagine the regime having survived without at least some backing from mainstream Sunnis: for much of its history, it relied on financial and political support from Sunni Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia first and foremost. During the early stages of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Syrian regime enabled the transit of radical Sunni Islamist fighters to the country, where they targeted Americans and mostly Iranian-backed Shiites.

Iran’s and Hezbollah’s rush to Assad’s defense is political and strategic, not an embrace of common sectarian identity. Indeed, Syria’s regime is about as distant in its religious orientation from that of the Islamic Republic as can be. To a large extent, the war in Syria became a battle among Sunni Islamist groups of assorted persuasions and patrons that spent more time, life, and treasure on fighting one another than on fighting the regime.

To focus solely on an overriding Sunni-Alawite conflict in Syria ignores other salient facts. Sunni rebel groups targeted more Sunnis than Alawites. Islamist groups besieged Christian communities, desecrated their symbols, pillaged their villages, murdered their religious leaders, and drove them out of their ancient homelands. When Russia rescued the regime in Damascus—killing a large number of Sunnis in the process—Sunni Arab leaders did not spurn Putin; they instead embarked on repeated pilgrimages to Moscow with offers of arms and trade deals and strategic alliances. Egypt, the most populous Sunni Arab country and the seat of the most respected center of Sunni learning, maintained channels to the Assad regime and kept a distance from the opposition. Cairo saw not a Shiite or Alawite threat from the regime but an Islamist menace from the opposition. Algeria, the largest state in the Maghreb, acted in a similar manner. It is unsurprising that, as the war winds down, the U.A.E. and Bahrain have decided to restore diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime. Both are preoccupied with the struggle against Turkey and Qatar and share a fear of Sunni Islamism. Saudi Arabia may not be far behind.

The latest, most covered, and vivid act of violence, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, is also an internal Sunni affair. The slain journalist was Sunni. The perpetrators were Sunni. Turkey, the country in which the assassination took place and that played an instrumental role in leaking information about the culprits, is predominantly Sunni as well. The backdrop to the killing is the tug-of-war among variants of Sunni Islam: the ascetic Wahhabis, the activist Muslim Brotherhood, and the statist neo-Ottomans, each competing for leadership. Conspicuously missing from this crowded drama is Iran, the region’s principal Shiite country.

The list goes on. The Lebanese Prime Minister detained by Saudi Arabia, in 2017, was a Sunni. Hezbollah actually increased the number of Sunni allies it has in Parliament and in the Lebanese government in the aftermath of its intervention in the Syrian civil war against Sunni rebels. Shiites are not involved in the bitter inter-Palestinian rift between Fatah and Hamas. Shiites are not involved in the Algerian-Moroccan conflict over Western Sahara, the ongoing Saudi-Jordanian tensions, Saudi-Moroccan strains, Saudi-Qatari feud, or the scramble for influence between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the U.A.E. in the Horn of Africa. The Turkish campaign against the Kurds, likewise, is an intra-Sunni affair. The continued chaos in Libya, where there is no relevant sectarian fault line, stems from ethnic, tribal, or regional rivalries among Sunnis, as do clashes in western Iraq and geographic tensions between the Tunisian coast and hinterlands.

In Iraq, intra-Shiite tensions define the political space today and may play a more important role in shaping future politics than the sectarian divide. Shiite Iran—not Sunni Turkey or Sunni Gulf countries—was the first to supply weapons and abet the predominantly Sunni Kurds when they were threatened by isis. Saudi Arabia’s attempt to build ties to Shiite elements in Iraq and Iran’s robust relations with some Iraqi Sunnis do not fit neatly in a binary sectarian dynamic. Nor does the refusal of Pakistan—which has one of the world’s largest Sunni populations—to heed Saudi Arabia’s call to arms in Yemen. Amid the recent upheaval in Iraq and Lebanon, the Shiite enclaves in the south of both countries, although bordered by Sunni communities, experienced no major attacks or threats from their Sunni neighbors.

There is, of course, a Sunni-Shiite divide. It is constantly put to use by Saudi Arabia and Iran to mobilize their respective constituencies in the struggle for regional influence. Al Qaeda and isis also attack Shiites in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to foment sectarian strife from which they hope to profit. But these are tactics of war, not its causes. In a region and religion whose glorious days lie in the past, history becomes a potent tonic to mobilize the masses. Political leaders evoke distant quarrels to revive memories of more salubrious and magnificent days. Unable to appeal to higher values such as freedom and tolerance, they resort to narratives of ancient conflict to whip up fervor and loyalty.

There is an explanation for why fighting occurs more often among Sunnis than between Sunnis and Shiites. Sunnis know that, at roughly eighty per cent of the region’s population, they are an undisputed majority and that there is scant threat that they will be overrun by their Shiite brethren. Shiites have long recognized that they will remain a minority in an overwhelmingly Sunni region. Sunnis of various persuasions vie for supremacy and control over their branch of Islam; there is little to gain in that tussle from fighting Shiites.

Wrongly defining the struggles gripping the Middle East encourages misguided remedies. Talk of “moderate Sunni Arab states,” a remarkably entrenched lore in American foreign-policy circles, is drivel. Those who advocated military support for the armed Syrian opposition typically argued that this was necessary to avoid alienating the “Sunni world.” The decision to arm and aid the Syrian opposition, however, did not mean siding with Sunnis against non-Sunnis; it meant taking part in a fierce intra-Sunni fight. It was a choice based on the mistaken conviction that ordinary Syrian Sunnis hoped the Islamist opposition would prevail over the Assad regime because of its atrocities.

Western misreading also led to a failure to anticipate how Iran, the most powerful Shiite state, and Turkey, the most powerful Sunni one, would agree to not allow their very real differences to prevent understandings from being reached. It led to misjudgment of the dynamics underpinning relations between Iranian and Iraqi Shiites, driven less by sectarian solidarity than by common anxiety over the role of the United States. Should American troops withdraw from Iraq, the differences between the two—between Iranian and Iraqi nationalism, and between the dominant Iranian and Iraqi variants of Shiism—will likely come to the fore. It also caused Washington to miscalculate the impact of Russia’s support for the Syrian regime. Far from damaging its relations with Sunni Arab states, Moscow reëstablished and legitimized its presence throughout the region.

Today, the Sunni-Shiite prism prompts illusory pursuits. The attempt to establish an Arab nato, designed to bring together Sunni Arab states in opposition to Iran, has been mired in intra-Gulf squabbles. Sunnis in the region still perceive Iran as a strategic threat. But the American belief that bellicose U.S. rhetoric can unite Sunni Arabs in an anti-Iranian alliance comes at a time when Sunni regimes are increasingly absorbed by the challenge posed by Turkey. The neo-Ottoman dream is a competitor in a way that Iran is not. The historical roots of the struggle between Ottomans and Arabs date back hundreds of years: the Ottoman Empire ruled Mecca and Medina for four centuries; Persia never did. Longings for a resplendent past do not fade easily. The embrace of simplistic theories has real consequences. It misses the real struggles shaping what the Middle East will become.

  • Hussein Agha is a senior associate member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a co-author of “Syria and Iran: Rivalry and Cooperation.” Read more »

  • Robert Malley, a former White House coördinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region under President Obama, is the president and C.E.O. of the International Crisis Group. Read more »

US Threatens Int. Crim. Court Officers Investigating Possible War Crimes In Afghanistan

[SEE: US bars entry to International Criminal Court investigators]

‘Change your course!’: Pompeo threatens ICC over US war crimes probe

'Change your course!': Pompeo threatens ICC over US war crimes probe

In an effort to threaten everyone into not investigating US or Israeli war crimes in the International Criminal Court, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says anyone involved in such probes will lose their visa and may be sanctioned.

The Washington war hawk said that action had to be taken because any investigation into alleged war crimes and torture committed by the United States would be a threat to US rule of law. Visas will be pulled or denied for anyone who has been involved in or even requested an ICC investigation of “any US personnel.

The ICC is currently mulling over a request to investigate possible war crimes committed by the US in Afghanistan in the course of the nearly 20-year conflict which has left over 100,000 Afghans dead. The international court prosecutor’s office says it has “reasonable basis” to believe that “war crimes and crimes against humanity” were, and continue to be, committed by foreign government forces in Afghanistan.

Pompeo openly stated that the action was intended to get the court to drop the potential investigation, and that Washington was ready to further increase the pressure if they don’t do as he says.

We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change course,” he said.

An independent and impartial judicial institution [is] crucial for ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes under international law.The court responded later in the day saying they would continue their work “undeterred” by Pompeo’s aggressive statement, and act in accordance with international law rather than Washington’s threats.

Following up on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s threats against the court last year, Pompeo said that action had already been taken against members of the Hague-based court for daring to look into potential crimes committed by the US abroad. He declined to name any names or reveal how many people had been targeted.

We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation,” he declared.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Mask is off’: US shifts to open coercion & manipulation against ICC, analysts tell RT

Washington also stepped up to protect its close ally Israel from the threat of prosecution for crimes against Palestinians.

These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allied consent,” he continued.

While the US signed the initial document which created the international court in 2000, it has since refused to actually become a member, and many American politicians see the court’s ability to hold the country accountable for its actions abroad as a threat to national sovereignty. Bolton later “unsigned” the document altogether.

CONTRAS REDUX?…US Air Freight Company that Smuggled Weapons Into Venezuela Linked to CIA

21 Air | Venezuela
CONTRAS REDUX?
A 21 Air cargo plane coast on a runway in Colombia in 2018. Photo | Juan Pardo 

US Air Freight Company that Smuggled Weapons Into Venezuela Linked to CIA “Black Site” Renditions

The parallels between aspects of the Contra scandal and the current situation in Venezuela are striking, particularly given the recent “outrage” voiced by mainstream media and prominent U.S. politicians over Maduro’s refusal to allow U.S. “humanitarian aid” into the country.

Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio…Front Man For Trump’s War of Aggression Against Venezuela

MSM finally admit that Venezuela aid truck was torched by protesters

Sen. Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio
Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Rubio Lied About Who Burned the Venezuelan Aid Trucks

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio appears to have shared fake information over the past month as part of an attempt to oust Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro, according to a scathing report published over the weekend by the New York Times. Rubio blamed Maduro’s forces for burning a bunch of American “aid” trucks lined up at the Colombia-Venezuela border — but newly released footage shows Rubio’s own allies actually set the trucks on fire by mistake when a protester’s Molotov cocktail accidentally hit one of the trucks.

Colombian officials, who are allied with the United States, appear to have known this fact. The Times noted the Colombian government released doctored footage that intentionally omitted video of the incendiary device flying sideways and landing near the aid trucks. Rubio and his allies have since used the doctored footage to accuse Maduro of “crimes against humanity” for burning the trucks.

International aid groups, including the United Nations and Red Cross, told the U.S. not to do anything like this to effect regime change. They said the actions of Guaidó and his allies were likely to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Rubio, in tandem with warmongering National Security Adviser John Bolton and war-crime-abetting Venezuelan envoy Elliott Abrams, ignored these requests and even attacked the UN for allegedly protecting Maduro.

But while Maduro has unquestionably committed crimes against everyday Venezuelans, last month’s so-called aid push appears to have been cynically used by American politicians to generate propaganda.

Guaidó’s forces tried to drive most of the “aid” trucks over a single, nonfunctioning bridge that connects the town of Cúcuta, Colombia, to Venezuela. Times reporter Anatoly Kurmanev, who was on the scene that day, noted the plan seemed designed to fail and intended to generate optics instead of helping Venezuelans. It was an attempt by Trump and Rubio to gin up electoral support in South Florida before the 2020 elections. (Even the Canadian Broadcasting Company admitted the “aid” push on the bridge appeared to be an act of “propaganda.”) The news about the burned trucks reinforces the point.

Minutes after flames engulfed the trucks, Rubio began tweeting out a Colombian news report that accused Maduro’s forces of setting the vehicles on fire by throwing tear-gas canisters at the caravan:

Commenters began casting doubt on those claims almost immediately. Numerous critics noted it’s virtually impossible for a tear-gas canister to set something on fire. Some online critics accused Guaidó’s forces of setting the trucks ablaze on purpose.

But within 24 hours, a more accurate theory emerged: Footage from the scene suggested the trucks simply caught fire by accident and that Rubio and his allies seized on the incident, facts be damned. Now, the Times has obtained new, previously unaired footage that proves that point.

Rubio also seems to have lied about the trucks’ cargo. He repeatedly said the caravan was full of medicine, but Times reporters could not confirm that claim. Instead, the trucks seemed to be carrying medical supplies such as gloves and face masks.

Rubio has not commented publicly about the Times report. The story is the latest in a series of propagandistic lies and half-truths from the senator and his cohorts. For instance, Guaidó and his American allies claimed there was video of Venezuelan authorities threatening to open fire on a U.S. aid ship that had set sail for Venezuela from Puerto Rico. But in the weeks since, no video has emerged, and CBS News reporter David Begnaud has all but implied the footage does not exist.

(U.S. Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, two Democrats, were in Colombia over the weekend calling for Maduro’s removal.)

Rubio also put his foot in his mouth earlier this year when he referenced U.S. military disasters in Panama and Libya to gin up support for his efforts in Venezuela. The tweets backfired, even among many of his allies.

Rubio is still posting gibberish to bolster his cause. Venezuela is experiencing massive power blackouts due, in part, to the Maduro government’s mismanagement of utilities. But Rubio made an ass of himself once again. He claimed on Twitter that an electrical transformer exploded at the “German Dam” in Venezuela. In fact, no such dam exists — “Germán Dam” is actually the name of the reporter who broke the news.

Rubio has not yet issued corrections for any of the misinformation he’s spread online about the trucks. (Though he did apologize to Dam this morning.) He should also apologize for the time he quoted Cardi B’s single “Money” on Twitter while agitating for war against Maduro.

Venezuelan Power Grid–chronicle of US sabotage

Guri DamSimon Bolivar (Guri) 10,055 MW Venezuela

[Maduro says 2 perpetrators of power grid ‘sabotage’ captured]

 

Marco Rubio, an American senator, was one of the first to announce the blackout, which he blamed on the “Maduro regime”, and pointed out something that only those who were involved in the sabotage operation could know[Rubio Lied About Who Burned the Venezuelan Aid Trucks].

At 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 7, almost the entire country was left in the dark. Light was cut in 22 of the 24 states, which resulted in cuts to many of the telephone and transportation communications. The first to report on behalf of the government was the minister of electrical energy, Motta Domínguez, who denounced an attack on the “generation and transmission unit in Bolívar, specifically in the Guri, the backbone of electricity.” 

Then the communication minister, Jorge Rodríguez, announced that “the criminal intent was to subject the people of Venezuela to several days without power supply to assault and mistreat him.” President Nicolás Maduro, for his part, focused the responsibility on “the electric war announced and directed by US imperialism.” The darkness was total in the Caracas night of Thursday, some candles, phones with battery, generators, stars, the streets in total solitude.

At dawn on Friday the vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, declared a non-working day and no school. The country woke up in the uncertainty, in Caracas neighborhoods people left early to find ways to reach their commitments, to stand at the door of their houses to talk among neighbors to gather information available, few people had telephone service to receive messages. Almost all shops were closed, and Plaza Bolivar, for example, became a meeting point for those seeking information.

The reaction of the national and international right was another from the beginning. Marco Rubio, an American senator, was one of the first to announce the blackout, which he blamed on the “Maduro regime”, and pointed out something that only the person involved in the sabotage operation could know: that the back-up generators had not worked. Juan Guaidó, meanwhile, wrote that “Venezuela is clear that the light comes with the cessation of usurpation,” and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said: “There is no food, there is no medicine, now there is no electricity, next, there will be no Maduro. ” 

That data provided by Rubio was the one that Jorge Rodríguez showed to show how it was a planned action as part of the plan of attacks underway in the strategy of overthrow. The minister spoke at night hours of Friday, when the electrical system was reestablished and returned to go by areas, both nationally and in Caracas.

According to the information provided, it was a cyber attack on the automated control system of the hydroelectric plant, which, in effect, prevented backup generators from working. El Guri, according to the minister, generates a large part of the electricity required by the country. 

It is not the first time that acts of sabotage to the electrical installations occur. It is instead the first time that happens in these dimensions, and, in turn, within a political framework of these characteristics, where the possibility of acts of sabotage was already anticipated as part of the attacks of attrition and construction of a Caotization scenario that seeks to develop the right.

Friday night was the restoration of service, where, with the passage of hours the system was stabilized. One of the central elements that left the days of sabotage was the reaction of the population, which responded with tranquility, prudence, which led to no episodes of violence as it seemed that it sought to trigger the blackout. 

The day of Saturday 9 is marked by the mobilizations of the right and chavism, in a picture of instability, where it has been shown that the strategy of the right can resort to criminal actions as it is to leave a country without light, with all the consequences that entails. 

“The US gets its ass handed to it” In RAND Corp Analysis of War w/China and Russia

The RAND Corporation, who carried out the simulation, claimed US land, sea and air forces would be reduced to rubble in the outlandish scenario. Nonprofit research organization RAND Corporation reported the war-game showed US armed forces facing substantial losses, despite repeated attempts to overcome both Russia and China’s military muscle. RAND analyst David Ochmanek said: “In our games when we fight Russia and China, the US gets its a** handed to it.

“We lose a lot of people.

“We lose a lot of equipment.

“We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary.”

The simulations showed the US see major setbacks in all five battlefield domains.

The US were soundly beaten on land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

US stealth fighters were often wiped out while still on the runway.

Former deputy secretary of defence and an experienced war-gamer Robert Work said: “F-35 rules the sky when it’s in the sky, it gets killed on the ground in large numbers.”

Other scenarios showed that US warships were sunk and US bases reduced to rubble.

The aircraft carrier Liaoning of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy leaves a shipyard
The aircraft carrier Liaoning of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy leaves a shipyard (Image: GETTY)

The US was seen to not have enough anti-air and missile defence capabilities to strike back in the event of a high-end conflict.

Both aircraft carriers and US Air Force bases were often targeted by long-range precision-guided missiles, and the US Army’s tank brigades were pummeled by cruise missiles, drones and helicopters, officials stated.

Mr Ochmanek said: ”Things that rely on sophisticated base infrastructure like runways and fuel tanks are going to have a hard time.”

When it comes to cyber warfare, Mr Ochmanek indicated that US satellites and wireless networks could become ineffective if Chinese military forces were to employ “system destruction warfare”.

The Growing Anti-Semitism Scam

The Growing Anti-Semitism Scam

“An anti-Semite used to mean a man who hated Jews. Now it means a man who is hated by Jews.”– Joe Sobran

 

In his novel 1984 George Orwell invented the expression “newspeak” to describe the ambiguous or deliberately misleading use of language to make political propaganda and narrow the “thought options” of those who are on the receiving end. In the context of today’s political discourse, or what passes for the same, it would be interesting to know what George would think of the saturation use of “anti-Semitism” as something like a tactical discussion stopper, employed to end all dispute while also condemning those accused of the crime as somehow outside the pale, monsters who are consigned forever to derision and obscurity.

The Israelis and, to be sure, many diaspora Jews know exactly how the expression has been weaponized. Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni explained how it is done“Anti-Semitic”…”its a trick, we always use it.”

If one were to read the U.S. mainstream media, reflective as it nearly always is of a certain institutional Jewish viewpoint, one would think that there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism worldwide, but that claim is incorrect. What has been taking place is not hatred of Jews but rather a confluence of two factors. First is the undeniable fact that Israel has been behaving particularly badly, even by its admittedly low standards. Its slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza has been unusually observable in spite of media attempts to avoid mentioning it, plus its support of terrorists in Syria and attacks on that country have also raised questions about the intentions of the kleptocratic regime in Tel Aviv, which is currently pushing for an attack on Iran. That all means that the perception of Israel, which boasts that it is the exclusively Jewish state, inevitably raises questions about the international Jewish community that provides much of its support. But the shift in perception is driven by Israeli behavior, not by Jews as an ethnicity or a religion.

Second, the alleged increase in anti-Semitic incidents is largely fueled by how those incidents are defined. Israel and its friends have worked hard to broaden the parameters of the discussion, making any criticism of Israel or its activities either a hate crime or ipso facto an anti-Semitic incident. The U.S. State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism includes “…the targeting of the state of Israel” and it warns that anti-Semitism is a criminal offense. Recent legislation in Washington and also in Europe has criminalized hitherto legal and non-violent efforts to pressure Israel regarding its inhumanity vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Legitimate criticism of Israel thereby becomes both anti-Semitism and criminal, increasing the count of so-called anti-Semitic incidents. That means that the numbers inevitably go up, providing fodder to validate a repressive response.

One might add that Hollywood, the mainstream media and academia have contributed to the allegations regarding surging anti-Semitism, relentlessly unleashing a torrent of material rooting out alleged anti-Semites and so-called holocaust deniers, while simultaneously heaping praise on Israel and its achievements. Professor of Holocaust Studies Deborah Lipstadt has written a book Anti-Semitism: Here and Now about what she regards as the new anti-Semitism, supporting her belief that it is getting markedly worse in both Europe and the U.S. There is also a movie about her confrontation with holocaust critic David Irving called Denial. All of the media exposure of so-called anti-Semitism has a political objective, whether intended or not, which is to insulate Israel itself from any criticism and to create for all Jews the status of perpetual victimhood which permits many in the diaspora to unflinchingly support a foreign country against the interests of the nations where they were born, raised and made their fortunes. That is called dual loyalty and, in spite of frequent denials from Israel-apologists, it clearly exists for many American Jews who are passionate about the Jewish state, including members of the Trump Administration Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman and Jared Kushner.

In the past week, a newly elected member of congress has been derided, shunned and then forced to both recant and apologize for having said something that is manifestly true: that Jewish money corrupts the American political system to favor Israel. The controversy erupted after House minority leader Republican Kevin McCarthy said he would initiate investigations of two Muslim congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, over their criticisms of Israel. McCarthy called for the two to be denounced by the Democratic Party as anti-Semites after Tlaib had said that the sponsors of recent legislation intended to benefit Israel by limiting free speech “…forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right and part of our historical fight for freedom and equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.”

Indeed, Tlaib had a point as the Congressional Israel boosters have long since forgotten that they are supposed to uphold the Constitution of the United States while also promoting the interests of their constituents, not those of a country seven thousand miles away. Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept responded to the news of the McCarthy threat with a tweet “It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.” Ilhan Omar then tweeted her own pithy rejoinder to Greenwald on Sunday February 10th: “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!” which was in reference to the Founder Benjamin Franklin’s portrait on hundred-dollar bills. Her comment was almost immediately interpreted as meaning that she was accusing McCarthy of being bought by Jews. She followed up on a question about who was doing the buying she tweeted “AIPAC,” an elaboration that unleashed something like an anti-Semitism shit storm in her direction.

It was manufactured outrage, with political leaders from both parties latching on to a media frenzy to score points against each other. Even though it is perfectly legitimate for a Congresswoman on the Foreign Affairs Committee to challenge what AIPAC does and where its money comes from, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi complained that Omar’s “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters” was “deeply offensive.” Chelsea Clinton accused Omar of “trafficking in anti-Semitism.” President Donald Trump, who has admitted that his Mideast policy is intended to serve Israeli rather than U.S. interests, also jumped in, saying “I think she should either resign from congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

Ilhan Omar quickly understood that she had touched a live wire, surrendered, and recanted. She apologized by Monday afternoon, 18 hours after her original tweet, saying “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.” But she also bravely wrote “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

Pelosi approved of the apology. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who is running for president in 2020, chimed in to make sure that everyone knew how much she loves Israel, saying “I’m glad she apologized. That was the right thing to do. There is just no room for those kinds of words. I think Israel is our beacon of democracy. I’ve been a strong supporter of Israel and that will never change.”

Two days later, a motion sponsored by Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York passed by a 424 to 0 vote. It was specifically intended to serve as a rebuke to Omar. It stated that “it is in the national security interest of the United States to combat anti-Semitism around the world because…there has been a significant amount of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred that must be most strongly condemned.”

Congressional votes professing love for Israel notwithstanding, the fact is that there is a massive, generously funded effort to corrupt America’s government in favor of Israel. It is euphemistically called the Israel Lobby even though it is overwhelmingly Jewish and it boasts fairly openly of its power when talking with its closest friends about how its money influences the decisions made on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Its combined budget exceeds one billion dollars per year and it includes lobbying powerhouses like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which alone had $229 million in income in 2017, supporting more than 200 employees. It exists only to promote Israeli interests on Capitol Hill and throughout the United States with an army of lobbyists and its activities include using questionably legal all expenses paid “orientation” trips to Israel for all new congressmen and spouses.

McCarthy and the other stooges in Congress deliberately sought to frame the argument in terms of Ilhan Omar having claimed that he personally was receiving money from pro-Israel sources and that money influenced his voting. Well, the fact is that such activity does take place and was documented three years ago by the respected Foreign Policy Journal, which published a piece entitled “The Best Congress AIPAC can Buy” as well as more recently in an al-Jazeera investigative expose using a concealed camera.

And Kevin McCarthy does indeed receive money from Israel PACs – $33,200 in 2018. The amount individual congressmen receive is dependent on their actual or potential value to Israel. Completely corrupt and enthusiastically pro-Israel Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey received $548,507 in 2018. In the House, Beto O’Rourke of Texas received $226,690. The numbers do not include individual contributions of under $200, which are encouraged by AIPAC and can be considerable. In general, congressmen currently receive over $23,000 on averagefrom the major pro-Israel organizations while Senators get $77,000.

But, of course, direct donations of money are not the whole story. If a congressman is unfriendly to Israel, money moves in the other direction, towards funding an opponent when re-election is coming up. Former Rep. Brian Bard has observed that “Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with significant amounts of campaign spending if you’re with them, and significant amounts against you if you’re not with them.” Lara Friedman, who has worked on the Hill for 15 years on Israel/Palestine, notes how congressmen and staffs of “both parties told me over and over that they agreed with me but didn’t dare say so publicly for fear of repercussions from AIPAC.”

A good example of how it all worked involves one honest congressman, Walter Jones of North Carolina, who recently passed away. In 2014, “Wall Street billionaires, financial industry lobbyists, and neoconservative hawks” tried to unseat Jones by bankrolling his primary opponent. The “dark money” intended to defeat him came from a PAC called “The Emergency Committee for Israel,” headed by leading neoconservative Bill Kristol. Jones’ war views, including avoiding a war with Iran, were clearly perceived as anti-Israel.

And one should also consider contributions directly to the political parties. Israeli/U.S. dual nationals Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are the largest single donors to the GOP and to the Democrats, having contributed $82 million and $8,780,000respectively in the 2016 presidential campaign. Both have indicated openly that Israel is their top priority.

If they have demonstrated fealty to Israel while in office, many Congressmen also find that loyalty pays off after retirement from government with richly remunerated second careers in Jewish dominated industries, like financial services or the media. And there are hundreds of Jewish organizations that contribute to Israel as charities, even though the money frequently goes to fund illegal activity, including the settlements. Money also is used to buy newspapers and media outlets which then adhere to a pro-Israel line, or, where that does not work, to buy advertising that is conditional on being friendly to Israel. So the bottom line is indeed “the Benjamins” and the corruption that they buy.

Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Education Trust said in January that “One person questioning the truth of the Holocaust is one too many.” That is nonsense. Any, and all, historical events should be questioned regularly, a principle that is particular true regarding developments that carry a lot of emotional baggage. The Israel Lobby would have all Americans believe that any criticism of Israel is motivated by historic hatred of Jews and is therefore anti-Semitism. Don’t believe it. When the AIPAC crowd screams that linking Jews and money is a classic anti-Semitic trope respond by pointing out that Jews and money are very much in play in the corruption of congress and the media over Israel. Terrible things are being done in the Middle East in the name of Jews and of Israel and it all comes down to those Benjamins and the silence they buy by accusing all critics of anti-Semitism. Just recall what the Israeli minister admitted, “It’s a trick, we always use it.”

Trump Reveals Himself As Latest Manchurian Neocon President

[SEE: BILL CLINTON: FIRST NEOCON PRESIDENT–(updated 3/8/2019)]

 

He took barely three months to reveal the truth. Donald Trump is the true Manchurian Candidate, only a tool of Neoconservatives rather than Communists. A new movie is sure to come and undoubtedly will be a smash, the biggest ever with the most Academy Awards ever, at least if President Trump has his way.

Donald Trump ran as a populist. Some conservative critics imagined that he was a plant pushed into the presidential race by the Clintons to ensure Hillary’s election. If true, that plan sure backfired.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accompanied by President Donald Trump, right, speaks at a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

It’s looking more likely that he was a Neoconservative plant instead. The Neocons, whose objective is a war on every continent, multiple permanent military commitments persisting until the end of time, and massive armed services ready to bomb, invade, and occupy every square foot of the earth, realized that they were chiefs without Indians. Most Americans were more interested in defending the U.S. than the rest of the globe. Average folks didn’t see much reason to bankrupt the nation attempting to remake other societies, irrespective of history, religion, ethnicity, geography, and culture. People didn’t like having their relatives in uniform treated as gambit pawns in a global chess game by Washington’s ivory tower warriors.

The Iraq debacle left a particularly bad odor. The “cakewalk” generated thousands of dead and tens of thousands of wounded Americans, sectarian civil war, hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of displaced Iraqis, mass religious persecution and “cleansing,” al-Qaeda in Iraq turned Islamic State, and enhanced Iranian influence. Heck’uva job, Georgie Bush!

Donald Trump turned out to be the perfect answer for the Neocons. He’d supported the Iraq war but claimed to be against it. And he became almost the only Republican presidential contender to criticize the invasion ordered by the last Republican president. He also urged withdrawing from Afghanistan, which no one else even mentioned. These stands offered perfect camouflage for his Neocon inner self.

Then he made a populist pitch to win the votes of Americans who were tired of being stuck with GOP candidates who wanted the U.S. to be the global 911 number. During the campaign he criticized nation-building and aggressive war. He advocated staying out of Syria’s civil war, focusing instead on ISIS. He opposed President Barack Obama’s proposed attack over Syria’s apparent use of chemical weapons and said congressional authority was necessary for such a strike.

Candidate Trump called NATO obsolete and criticized the Europeans for relying on America for their defense. He urged better relations with Russia rather than courting war over the countries of Georgia and Ukraine, which were irrelevant for U.S. security. Trump suggested talking to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and said the U.S. didn’t get its money’s worth from the alliance with the Republic of Korea. The GOP candidate even questioned Washington’s defense of the oil-rich Saudi royals.

Flags flap in the wind in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, March 31, 2017. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with his NATO counterparts in Brussels for the first time. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Overall, President Trump called for an “America first” approach, which his critics treated as a horrid throwback to the bad old days when the U.S. didn’t attempt to patrol the globe and engage in social engineering far and wide. He still urged a military build-up, promised to defeat ISIS, and demonized Iran. But his foreign policy views represented a dramatic break from those of President George W. Bush and subsequent GOP presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney. For the first time in years, the Republican contender was more in tune with the interests and views of general citizens than elites.

Alas, having taken office, he’s obviously been activated by his Neocon controllers. He now is shifting U.S. foreign policy in precisely the opposite direction. Most important, more wars are in the offing. There will be more subsidies to more allies. And American military personnel will continue to be tossed about the world to serve the interests of populous and prosperous allies rather than the United States.

For instance, any “reset” with Russia has gone by the boards. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained that better relations would require Moscow to disgorge Crimea, which no one believes is going to occur. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared to be acting as secretary of state when she insisted that Russia be punished for backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Score one for the Neocons.

NATO has gone from “obsolete” to a wonderful, fabulous organization which should be kept around to ensure the Europeans don’t have to do much to protect themselves. The president has taken credit for the fact that Germany’s share of GDP devoted to the military skyrocketed from 1.19 percent last year to 1.22 percent this year. Now he can rest on his laurels, just like the German and other European governments. And NATO expansion continues, with the administration backing admission of the military and economic powerhouse Montenegro. Monaco will probably be next on the administration’s agenda.

Score two for the Neocons.

President Trump has been in full bluster mode regarding North Korea, glorying in the “armada” he was sending to threaten Pyongyang while his appointees acted as a Greek Chorus insisting that “all options are on the table,” meaning military action. However, talking with the North apparently was decidedly, completely, and fully off the table. No longer any silly nonsense about negotiation.

Score three for the Neocons.

US Vice President Mike Pence visits Observation Post Ouellette near the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border between North and South Korea on April 17, 2017. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

A succession of administration officials—Secretary Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence—trooped to Seoul to reassure the South Koreans. No more criticism of a country with 40 times the GDP, twice the population, and massive technological and industrial edge over its adversary for acting helpless and relying on America for its defense. And no more talk that maybe the South should develop its own nukes, allowing Washington to extricate itself from the Korean imbroglio.

Score four for the Neocons.

Now Donald Trump wants to make U.S. involvement in Presidents Bush’s and Obama’s wars forever. The administration is talking about a permanent garrison in Iraq, to back continued sectarian rule in Baghdad. The president now plans to stay in Afghanistan and even is considering a major increase in military forces there. Finally, President Trump has proposed creating “safe zones” in Syria, which would require a major military deployment, while administration officials are talking about promoting regime change, their only disagreement being over timing, whether Assad’s ouster should wait for the Islamic State’s defeat.

Score five for the Neocons.

On occasion the president is still falling short of Neocon orthodoxy. There’s his attack on foreign “aid,” for instance. The Neocons like giving away Americans’ money as well as making war. Perhaps he hasn’t been fully activated yet. Or perhaps restoring those programs will be left up to Congress.

Moreover, the president has yet to buy into the Neocons’ democracy agenda. He’s cheerfully praised Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is more brutal than was Hosni Mubarak. President Trump was the first major leader to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in the latter’s rigged referendum to ratify constitutional changes creating an elective dictatorship. And the Pentagon is increasing aid to the Saudi royals, a totalitarian kleptocracy which launched an aggressive war against its poor neighbor, Yemen.

Although these policies would seem to violate Neocon orthodoxy, which holds that democracy promotion is worth war, some Neocons have forgiven al-Sisi, since he ousted a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as president, and the Saudis, since they oppose Iran. Anyway, it is early in the administration. The Neocons have plenty of time to enlist his support for democracy-oriented wars. Attempting to overthrow Syria’s Assad certainly would count.

The main area of disagreement is personnel. The president still takes criticism personally. Neocons who ostentatiously trashed him as being unqualified for president found themselves blacklisted. But a lot of positions remain open. There’s still time for a reversal and appointment of those previously damned “in the national interest.”

Candidate Trump called NATO obsolete and criticized the Europeans for relying on America for their defense. He urged better relations with Russia rather than courting war over the countries of Georgia and Ukraine, which were irrelevant for U.S. security. Trump suggested talking to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and said the U.S. didn’t get its money’s worth from the alliance with the Republic of Korea. The GOP candidate even questioned Washington’s defense of the oil-rich Saudi royals.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) leads the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), right front, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) during a transit of the Philippine Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Or President Trump could implement a Neocon foreign policy without Neocons. And if he doesn’t end up turning around on foreign aid and democracy promotion, the differences still will be small. America will be patrolling the globe. There will be more wars and nation-building; there will be less diplomatic conciliation. The world will look pretty good from a Neocon vantage.

Taking candidate Trump’s peace-oriented rhetoric seriously obviously was naïve. The president explained away his NATO flip-flop with the explanation that he didn’t know anything about the transatlantic alliance when he criticized it. Presumably he could justify all of his other changed positions in the same way: he knew nothing about North Korea, the South Korean alliance, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, war-making, and most other foreign policy topics.

While this could be true, a Manchurian Candidacy remains the most logical explanation. It also absolves me of responsibility for having gotten Donald Trump so wrong. After all, at this stage he’s looking to become the most pro-war president in a long time.

I am a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, I also am a Senior Fellow in International Religious Persecution with…

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Dems’ Antisemitism Bill Stalls, Despite Massive Effort To Let Israel/Jews Control Congressional Vote

[SEE: Orthodox Jews in US express support for Ilhan Omar]

Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Ilhan Omar’s Victory for Political Sanity

The freshman congresswoman was right: The pro-Israel lobby uses financial muscle to influence Congress. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement.

The Creation of Conflict Is the Hallmark of US Foreign Policy

Fighting Terrorists By Creating Terrorists

Manufacturing Justification for the NATO Takeover of Central Asia

NATO’S ISIS–Creating Justification for WWIII

The Obscenity of Humanitarian Warfare

A PAGE OUT OF THE EMPIRE’S PLAYBOOK?

March 5, 2019

Jacob F. Lee, author of Master of the Middle Waters: Indian Nations and Colonial Ambitions Along the Mississippi, looks at how the U.S. government justified war nearly two centuries ago — and asks whether the pattern is repeating today.

IN APRIL 1846, U.S. Army Colonel Seth Thornton led 80 dragoons toward the Rio Grande. Just above the river, they encountered 1,600 Mexican cavalrymen heading north from Matamoros. The Mexican cavalry quickly overpowered the much smaller U.S. force. Eleven Americans were killed, and 49 others were captured.

When President James K. Polk received news of the skirmish, he declared, “Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon American soil.” On May 13, the U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico.

Such a pattern — the U.S. provoking a conflict with a foreign country in order to justify imperialist intervention — has been one repeated throughout the history of U.S. wars, and the opening stage may be on display yet again in Venezuela today.


IN THE case of Thornton’s skirmish with Mexican forces, the entire chain of events was a setup.

U.S. troops during the Mexican-American War
U.S. troops during the Mexican-American War (Wikimedia Commons)

In 1845, the U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas, which had declared its independence from Mexico nearly a decade earlier. However, Mexico asserted that Texas remained part of its sovereign territory. Moreover, Mexico asserted that the Nueces River, not the Rio Grande, was the boundary between the province of Texas and its neighbors.

Even if the U.S. had a right to annex Texas, the international boundary would be located far to the north of where Thornton’s dragoons were defeated. Polk had ordered the invasion of Mexican territory and then presented it to the U.S. public as a Mexican invasion of the U.S.

More than simply sending troops into the disputed territory between the Nueces and Rio Grande, Polk laid the groundwork for a U.S. invasion of Mexico for more than a year. In 1845, he sent Louisiana politician John Slidell to Mexico City to settle the dispute over Texas and to purchase the territories of California and New Mexico. The mission was designed to fail. A known U.S. spy accompanied Slidell, and Mexican officials refused to meet with him.

When Slidell reported his failure to the Polk administration, U.S. Secretary of State James Buchanan informed him that he should remain in Mexico longer “to satisfy the American people that all had been done which ought to have been done to avoid the necessity of resorting to hostilities.”

In short, Slidell should perpetuate a charade that would give the Polk administration the necessary cover to launch a war. Indeed, that’s what happened. Congress passed the declaration of war, and at least initially, the U.S. public embraced Polk’s narrative. At the end of the war, the U.S. forced Mexico to cede over half a million square miles of territory, including New Mexico and California.

Polk orchestrated his war with Mexico using well-established strategies. In his writing on U.S. imperial wars against American Indian nations, scholar Philip J. Deloria described the logic of “defensive conquest” at the heart of U.S. imperialism.

According to the U.S., it uses violence only in response to the violence of others. Its aggression is actually self-defense. These arguments are disingenuous, but they have been deployed to justify wars against Indigenous nations, Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Iraq and countless others.


IN RECENT months, the U.S. has used similar strategies against Venezuela. The Trump administration is determined to depose Venezuela’s elected President Nicolás Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

At the end of January, Trump appointed Elliott Abrams as special representative to Venezuela. Abrams is a veteran diplomat best known for his support of right-wing dictatorships in Central and South America during the 1980s, his role in the Iran-Contra scandal and his subsequent conviction for lying to Congress.

Soon after, Abrams’ appointment, the U.S. placed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil exports, which provide 90 percent of the nation’s revenue, while also insisting that Maduro allow it to deliver humanitarian aid to the country. The U.S. is simultaneously exacerbating a crisis and asserting that it can solve it.

In early March, Abrams traveled to Colombia, and soon, a U.S.-backed “aid convoy” attempted to cross the Venezuela-Colombia border.

Given Abrams’ past of helping smuggle weapons to right-wing militias, Venezuela — along with the United Nations, the Red Cross and other relief organizations — is rightfully suspicious of the “humanitarian aid” Abrams offers. While accepting aid from Russia, China and other nations, Venezuela blocked the U.S. convoy. Conflicting reports alternately suggest that pro-Maduro or pro-Guaidó forces set it on fire.

Immediately, pro-coup Americans called the violence a violation of Colombian sovereignty, another pretense for overthrowing Maduro. Speaking in Colombia, Vice President Mike Pence referenced the violence and warned that “any who would threaten [Colombia’s] sovereignty or security would do well not to test our commitment to our ally.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, a vocal cheerleader of a U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela, promised, “The United States will help Colombia confront any aggression against them.” Military intervention has been the goal of the Trump administration all along, and recent events are intended to provide justification for it.


IN VENEZUELA, we are watching a replay of the events leading up to the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846. Pro-coup politicians like Trump, Pence and Abrams are using against Venezuela the tactics that Polk, Buchanan and Slidell employed to frame the war against Mexico as a “defensive conquest.”

Supporters of U.S. imperialism have explicitly argued that alleged pro-Maduro violence must be met with U.S. military intervention.

Even the most left-leaning politicians in Washington have echoed this rhetoric. Despite his track record of opposition to U.S. imperialism and support for left-wing governments around the world, Sen. Bernie Sanders insisted that Maduro must “allow humanitarian aid into the country.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a similar statement, declaring that “Maduro is a dictator and does not have our support,” and that the U.S. must “provide humanitarian aid.”

Even as they stated that they opposed military intervention, Sanders, Warren and other left-leaning politicians lent credibility to the pro-coup narrative that Maduro has isolated Venezuela from all sources of aid and must be forced to allow supplies into the country.

Self-determination is the only solution to the crisis in Venezuela, and demanding that the U.S. be involved, as Sanders and Warren have done, only furthers the goals of the Trump administration.

In the 1840s, the U.S. public only slowly recognized that Polk had initiated the war against Mexico. In 1848, after antiwar politicians gained control of the House of Representatives, they narrowly passed a resolution censuring the president for “unnecessarily and unconstitutionally” beginning the conflict. But, by that point, it was too late to stop the conflict or to prevent the cession of the northern provinces of Mexico.

Today, however, offers a new opportunity to prevent a U.S. coup in Venezuela. We can watch events unfold in real time, and with the perspective provided by the history of U.S. imperialism, we can recognize the “defensive conquest” rhetoric adopted by the Trump administration.

From this vantage point, we can avoid the narratives that have supported U.S. imperialism for centuries — and instead argue for democracy and socialism in explicitly anti-imperialist terms.

We Cannot “Scrub” America’s Bad History Retroactively

Shall We Defend Our Common History?

Editor and Publisher, The New Criterion


The following is adapted from a talk delivered on board the Crystal Symphony on July 19, 2018, during a Hillsdale College educational cruise to Hawaii.

The recent news that the University of Notre Dame, responding to complaints by some students, would “shroud” its twelve 134-year-old murals depicting Christopher Columbus was disappointing. It was not surprising, however, to anyone who has been paying attention to the widespread attack on America’s past wherever social justice warriors congregate.

Notre Dame, a Congregation of Holy Cross institution, may not be particularly friendly to its Catholic heritage. But its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, demonstrated how jesuitical (if not, quite, Jesuit) he could be. Queried about the censorship, he said, apparently without irony, that his decision to cover the murals was not intended to conceal anything, but rather to tell “the full story” of Columbus’s activities.

Welcome to the new Orwellian world where censorship is free speech and we respect the past by attempting to elide it.

Over the past several years, we have seen a rising tide of assaults on statues and other works of art representing our nation’s history by those who are eager to squeeze that complex story into a box defined by the evolving rules of political correctness. We might call this the “monument controversy,” and what happened at Notre Dame is a case in point: a vocal minority, claiming victim status, demands the destruction, removal, or concealment of some object of which they disapprove. Usually, the official response is instant capitulation.

As the French writer Charles Péguy once observed, “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” Consider the frequent demands to remove statues of Confederate war heroes from public spaces because their presence is said to be racist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for example, has recently had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson removed from a public gallery. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has set up a committee to review “all symbols of hate on city property.”

But it is worth noting that the monument controversy signifies something much larger than the attacks on the Old South or Italian explorers.

In the first place, the monument controversy involves not just art works or commemorative objects. Rather, it encompasses the resources of the past writ large. It is an attack on the past for failing to live up to our contemporary notions of virtue.

In the background is the conviction that we, blessed members of the most enlightened cohort ever to grace the earth with its presence, occupy a moral plane superior to all who came before us. Consequently, the defacement of murals of Christopher Columbus—and statues of later historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt—is perfectly virtuous and above criticism since human beings in the past were by definition so much less enlightened than we.

The English department at the University of Pennsylvania contributed to the monument controversy when it cheered on students who were upset that a portrait of a dead white male named William Shakespeare was hanging in the department’s hallway. The department removed the picture and replaced it with a photograph of Audre Lorde, a black feminist writer. “Students removed the Shakespeare portrait,” crowed department chairman Jed Esty, “and delivered it to my office as a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department.” Right.

High schools across the country contribute to the monument controversy when they remove masterpieces like Huckleberry Finn from their libraries because they contain ideas or even just words of which they disapprove.

The psychopathology behind these occurrences is a subject unto itself. What has happened in our culture and educational institutions that so many students jump from their feelings of being offended—and how delicate they are, how quick to take offense!—to self-righteous demands to repudiate the thing that offends them? The more expensive education becomes the more it seems to lead, not to broader understanding, but to narrower horizons.

Although there is something thuggish and intolerant about the monument controversy, it is not quite the same as the thuggishness of the Roman emperor Caracalla, who murdered his brother and co-emperor Geta and had statues of Geta toppled and his image chiseled off coins. Nor is it quite the same as what happened when Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin exiled Leon Trotsky, had him airbrushed out of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, and sent assassins to Mexico to finish the job.

Iconoclasm takes different forms. The disgusting attacks on the past and other religious cultures carried out by the Taliban, for example, are quite different from the toppling of statues of Saddam Hussein by liberated Iraqis after the Iraq War. Different again was the action of America’s own Sons of Liberty in 1776, who toppled a statue of the hated George III and melted down its lead to make 40,000 musket balls. It is easy to sympathize with that pragmatic response to what the Declaration of Independence called “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” It is worth noting, however, that George Washington censured even this action for “having much the appearance of a riot and a want of discipline.”

While the monument controversy does depend upon a reservoir of iconoclastic feeling, it represents not the blunt expression of power or destructiveness but rather the rancorous, self-despising triumph of political correctness. The exhibition of wounded virtue, of what we now call “virtue-signaling,” is key.

Consider some recent events at Yale University, an institution where preening self-infatuation is always on parade. Yale recently formed a Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming and a Committee on Art in Public Spaces. Members of the former prowl the campus looking for buildings, colleges, faculty chairs, lecture programs, and awards that have politically incorrect names. The latter police works of art and other images on campus, making sure that anything offensive to favored groups is covered or removed.

At the residential college formerly known as Calhoun College, for example—it’s now called Grace Hopper College—the Committee ordered the removal of stained glass windows depicting slaves and other historical scenes of Southern life. Statues and other representations of John C. Calhoun have likewise been slotted for removal. Calhoun, an 1804 Yale graduate, was a leading statesman and political thinker of his day. But he was also an apologist for slavery, so he has to be erased from the record.

Of course, impermissible attitudes and images are never in short supply once the itch to stamp out history gets going. Two years ago it was Calhoun and representations of the Antebellum South. More recently it was a carving at an entrance to Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library depicting an Indian and a Puritan. The Puritan, if you can believe it, was holding a musket—a gun! Who knows, perhaps he was a member of the NRA or at least could give inspiration to other members of that very un-Yale-like organization. According to Susan Gibbons, one of Yale’s librarian-censors, the presence of an armed Puritan “at a major entrance to Sterling was not appropriate.” Solution? Cover over the musket with a cowpat of stone—but leave the Indian’s bow and arrow alone!

Actually, it turns out that the removable cowpat of stone was only a stopgap. The outcry against the decision struck a chord with Peter Salovey, Yale’s president. “Such alteration,” he noted, “represents an erasure of history, which is entirely inappropriate at a university.” He’s right about that. But if anyone has mastered the art of saying one thing while doing the opposite it is President Salovey. He spoke against “the erasure of history.” But then, instead of merely altering the image, he announced that Yale would go full Taliban, removing the offending stonework altogether.

In the bad old days, librarians and college presidents were people who sought to protect the past, that vast storehouse of offensive attitudes and behavior that also just so happens to define our common inheritance. In our own more enlightened times, many librarians and college presidents collude in its effacement.

Someone might ask, “Who cares what violence a super-rich bastion of privilege and unaccountability like Yale perpetrates on its patrimony?” Well, we should all care. Institutions like Yale, Harvard, and Stanford are among the chief drivers of the “progressive” hostility to free expression and other politically correct attitudes that have insinuated themselves like a fever-causing virus into the bloodstream of public life. Instead of helping to preserve our common inheritance, they work to subvert it.

Spiriting away stonework in the Ivy League may seem mostly comical. But there is a straight line from those acts of morally righteous intolerance to far less comical examples of puritanical censure.

Consider the case of James Damore, the now former Google engineer who wrote an internal memo describing the company’s cult-like “echo chamber” of political correctness and ham-handed efforts to nurture “diversity” in hiring and promotion. When the memo was publicized, it first precipitated controversy—then it provided Google CEO Sundar Pichai a high horse upon which to perch, declare Damore’s memo “offensive and not OK,” and then fire him. For what? For expressing his opinion in a company discussion forum designed to encourage free expression!

In one way, there was nothing new about Google’s actions. Large companies have always tended to be bastions of conformity. Decades ago, everyone at IBM had to wear a white shirt and was strongly encouraged to espouse conservative social values. Today, everyone in Silicon Valley has to subscribe to the ninety-five theses of the social justice warrior’s creed, beginning with certain dogmas about race, fossil fuels, sexuality, and the essential lovableness of jihadist Muslims. If you are at Google and dissent from this orthodoxy, you will soon find yourself not at Google.

The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 was a godsend to the self-appointed hate police. In its immediate aftermath, companies around the country took pains to declare their rejection of “hate,” and ProPublica, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and other leftish thugs expanded their witch hunts beyond such targets as the “Daily Stormer”—a vile anti-Semitic website. After Charlottesville, for example, “Jihad Watch”—hardly a hate group website—was dropped by PayPal until a public outcry induced PayPal to reverse its decision. There have been other such casualties, and there will be many more.

Let’s step back and ask ourselves what motivates the left-wing virtuecrats attempting to enforce their new regime of political correctness. Christian theologians tell us that the visio beatifica—the beatific vision of God—is the highest pleasure known to man. Alas, that communion is granted to very few in this life. For the common run of mankind, I suspect, the highest earthly pleasure is self-righteous moral infatuation.

Like a heartbeat, moral infatuation has a systolic and diastolic phase. In the systolic phase, there is an abrupt contraction of sputtering indignation: fury, outrage, high horses everywhere. Then there is the gratifying period of recovery: the warm bath of self-satisfaction, set like a jelly in a communal ecstasy of unanchored virtue signaling.

The communal element is key. While individuals may experience and enjoy moral infatuation, the overall effect is greatly magnified when shared. Consider the mass ecstasy that at first accompanied Maximilien Robespierre’s effort to establish a Republic of Virtue during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror in 1793.

The response to Donald Trump’s comments about the murderous violence that erupted in Charlottesville provides another vivid example. Trump’s chief crime was to have suggested that there was “blame on both sides” as well as “good people” on both sides of the protest. I am not sure there was an abundance of “good people” on either side of the divide that day, although Trump’s main point was to distinguish between lawful protest and hate-fueled violence. But forget about distinctions. The paroxysms of rage that greeted Trump were a marvel to behold, as infectious as they were unbounded. One prominent commentator spoke for the multitude when he described Trump’s response as a “moral disgrace.”

I didn’t think so, but then I thought that the President was correct when he suggested that the alt-Left is just as much a problem as the alt-Right. Indeed, if we needed to compare the degree of iniquity of the neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klanners, on the one hand, and Antifa and its fellow travelers on the other, I am not at all sure which would come out the worse. Real Nazis—the kind that popped up like mushrooms in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s—are scary. But American neo-Nazis? They are a tiny bunch of pathetic losers. The Ku Klux Klan was a terrorist group with millions of members in its earlier incarnations. Now it too is a tiny bunch—5,000 or 6,000 by most estimates—of impotent malcontents.

Antifa, on the other hand, has brought its racialist brand of violent protest to campuses and demonstrations around the country: smashing heads as well as property. I suspect that paid-up, full-time members of the group are few, but the ideology of identity politics that they feed upon is a gruesome specialty of the higher education establishment today.

I also thought that the President was right to ask where the erasure of history would end. At Charlottesville it was a statue of Robert E. Lee. But why stop there? Why not erase the entire history of the Confederacy? There are apparently some 1,500 monuments and memorials to the Confederacy in public spaces across the United States. According to one study, most of them were commissioned by Southern women, “in the hope of preserving a positive vision of antebellum life.” A noble aspiration, inasmuch as the country had recently fought a civil war that devastated the South and left more than 700,000 Americans dead. These memorials were part of an effort to knit the broken country back together. Obliterating them would also be an attack on the effort of reconciliation.

And what about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? They both owned slaves, as did 41 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. What about them? To listen to many race peddlers these days, you would think they regarded George Orwell’s warning in 1984 as a how-to manual: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified,” Orwell wrote,

every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.

Plato was right when he said that politicians are essentially rhetoricians. Rhetoric succeeds or fails not because of its logic or intellectual substance, but on the question of its emotional appeal. By that standard, I’d say that Donald Trump, though often rhetorically effective, missed an important rhetorical opportunity at Charlottesville. He didn’t understand that the politically correct dispensation that rules academia, the media, the Democratic Party, and large swathes of the corporate world requires a certain ritual homage to be paid to its reigning pieties about “racism” in America.

Doubtless there are things to criticize about Donald Trump. But being racist isn’t among them. What infuriates his critics—but at the same time affords them so many opportunities to bathe in the gratifying fluid of their putative moral superiority—is that Trump refuses to collude in the destructive, politically correct charade according to which “racism” is the nearly ubiquitous cardinal sin of white America. He is having none of that, and his refusal to go along with the attempted moral blackmail is driving his critics to a fever pitch. They scream “racism” but, unlike other politicians, Trump refuses to cower in the corner whimpering. That he goes against their script infuriates them.

Back in 1965, the Frankfurt School Marxist Herbert Marcuse wrote an essay called “Repressive Tolerance.” It is a totalitarian classic. Marcuse distinguished between two kinds of tolerance. First, there is what he called “bad” or “false” tolerance. This is the sort of tolerance that most of us would call “true” tolerance, the sort of thing your parents taught you and that undergirds liberal democracy. Second, there is what Marcuse calls “liberating tolerance,” which he defined as “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

So here we are. The old idea of tolerance was summed up in such chestnuts as, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The new dispensation is: “I disapprove of what you say, therefore you may not say it.”

The Marxist-tinged ideology of the 1960s has had a few decades to marinate the beneficiaries of our free-market society, steeping them in the toxic nostrums that masquerade as moral imperatives in our colleges and universities. Today we find the graduates of those institutions manipulating the fundamental levers of political and corporate power.

The monument controversy shows the susceptibility of “liberating tolerance” to fanaticism. And it reminds us that in the great battle between the partisans of freedom and the inebriates of virtue, freedom is ultimately negotiable—until it rouses itself to fight back. At stake is nothing less than the survival of our common history.


Roger KimballRoger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterionand publisher of Encounter Books. He earned his B.A. from Bennington College and his M.A. and M.Phil. in philosophy from Yale University. He has written for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Book Review, and is a columnist for The Spectator USA, American Greatness, and PJ Media. He is editor or author of several books, including The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed AmericaThe Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages ArtTenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education, and Vox Populi: The Perils and Promises of Populism.

The Taliban Started Talking Peace When the US GOVT Stopped Demanding Permanent Occupation

Ending war not hypocrisy

Peace, they say, is basically a period after war for the preparation of next war. Let us not imagine the next American wars. For now, a war-weary America is ready to come home.

The Taliban and America may be close to a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. While many are pointing to the victory by the Taliban in bringing the mightiest army in the history of mankind to its knees, nobody has pointed to how the Taliban were sold on the deal.

The unchanged condition of the Taliban for the occupation forces to leave has been approved. Let us not forget that that has been the American desire and aim for quite a while now.

Yet, it was traded to appease the Taliban. Reminds me of the movie Sleepers where Brad Pitt advertently loses a case to his opponent attorney who is defending Pitt’s childhood friends. Sometimes, losing is victory.

The former American ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker criticised the American withdrawal as a rush for exits saying, “I can’t see this as anything more than an effort to put lipstick on what will be a US withdrawal.” Crocker said it reminded him of the Paris peace talks on Vietnam.

It is interesting that Crocker is critical of the manner of ending America’s longest war, and not critical of why America started this war.

Likewise, he is critical of the method of exit from Vietnam rather than how and why it was wrong to invade and destroy South Vietnam, which started the mission creep. For one, it was his boss who started the Afghan war, at the height of which Crocker was an ambassador in Pakistan.

New York Times story titled “US and Taliban Edge Toward Deal to End America’s Longest War” speaks volumes about the mindset in Washington.

It counts American, Allied forces, and Afghan lives as the human cost of this war. In another world where truth and common sense were the dominant features of journalistic life, deaths resulting from the Afghan war would be called genocide, atrocities, and terrorism perpetrated by American and Allied forces.

Interestingly, in ‘human cost’ no Pakistani lives are taken into consideration. Pakistan has lost more lives than the Afghan military and police lives combined ‘over the past decade’. The article then points to the cost of the war. Again, it is Uncle Sam’s wallet.

A whopping $932 billion since 2001 in Afghanistan; its allies and international agencies, many billions more. On reconstruction aid alone, America spent more on Afghanistan than on the entire Marshall Plan to rebuild post-World War II Europe, in today’s dollars.”

Interestingly, whenever there’s a story about Afghanistan in the American press, there’s more mention of Pakistan than Afghanistan. But when it comes to the toll on finance and human lives, not one word for Pakistan.

Washington and the American journalism talk about exiting Afghanistan as a great idea because it is in line with the opinion of most Americans. As if Afghans have no right over what should happen to their country. And as mentioned above, it is sold to the Taliban as a bargain. Moreover, and quite laughably, it is said that the West and the Afghan government would only accept a deal which guarantees Afghan civil rights, especially the rights of women.

I wonder if these Afghan women were ever asked if they would accept that their country be invaded. What about the rights of Afghan women to live in a country free of any foreign military occupation let alone occupation by the most lethal military machine in the history of mankind?

The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at imran.jan@gmail.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan

NY Times Fails To Debunk “Canard” of Jewish Money Dominating Congress, Because It Is the Cold Truth

HEAD OF AIPAC BOASTED ABOUT HIS CONTROL OF POLITICIANS IN 1992

U.S. DOJ asked to regulate AIPAC as a foreign agent of the Israeli government‏

“AIPAC is a spinoff of an organization already ordered by the DOJ to register as an Israeli foreign agent. In November of 1962 the American Zionist Council was ordered by the Attorney General to begin filing disclosures as an Israeli foreign agent under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. Six weeks later, former AZC employees incorporated the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC, taking over the AZC’s lobbying.”

Anti-Boycott Movement Creating Awareness of Israeli Domination of US Congress

The US Government Is Controlled By Men and Women Who Answer To the Jewish Lobby…PERIOD.

(SEE: THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY. John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt.)

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, at last year’s Aipac conference. Mr. Netanyahu, along with leaders of both parties in Congress, is also expected to attend this year.CreditCreditJose Luis Magana/Associated Press

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON — When Representative Ilhan Omar landed a coveted seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Stephen Fiske began working the phones to Capitol Hill.

Alarmed by messaging that he saw as anti-Semitic and by Ms. Omar’s support for the boycott-Israel movement, Mr. Fiske, a longtime activist with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, began texting and calling his friends in Congress to complain. He is hoping Aipac activists will punish Ms. Omar, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, with a primary challenge in 2020.

On Wednesday, House Democratic leaders will mete out one form of punishment: Spurred by outrage over Ms. Omar’s latest comments suggesting that pro-Israel activists “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” they will put a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on the House floor.

“Many other people involved in the pro-Israel community, a lot of Aipac-affiliated members, there’s a lot of concern; there’s a clarion call for activism,” said Mr. Fiske, who is the chairman of a political action committee that backs pro-Israel candidates. “It really hit a nerve, and the grass-roots Jewish community in South Florida is not one to treat it as an ostrich, putting their heads in the sand.”

Ms. Omar’s insinuation that money fuels American support for Israel — “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she wrote on Twitter, specifically citing Aipac — revived a fraught debate in Washington over whether the pro-Israel lobbying behemoth has too much sway over American policy in the Middle East. The backlash to Ms. Omar’s tweet was fierce, with even Democratic leaders accusing her of trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The congresswoman apologized.

But the swirling debate not only around Ms. Omar but also around broader currents buffeting the Middle East has forced an uncomfortable re-examination of the questions that she has raised: Has Aipac — founded more than 50 years ago to “strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship” — become too powerful? And with that power, has Aipac warped the policy debate over Israel so drastically that dissenting voices are not even allowed to be heard?

Those questions have grown louder with the controversy around Ms. Omar and will grow louder still in the run-up to this month’s annual Aipac policy conference — a three-day Washington confab that is expected to draw more than 18,000 people, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and leaders of both parties in Congress. To critics, Ms. Omar had a point, even if it was expressed with unfortunate glibness. Aipac’s money does have an outsize influence.

“It is so disingenuous of some of these members of Congress who are lining up to condemn these questioning voices as if they have no campaign finance interest in the outcome,” said Brian Baird, a former Democratic congressman from Washington State, who became a vocal critic of Israel, and Aipac, after a constituent of his was killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer in Gaza while protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes in 2003.

“If one dares to criticize Israel or dares to criticize Aipac, one gets branded anti-Semitic,” Mr. Baird added, “and that’s a danger to a democratic republic.”

The story of how Aipac became one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington is, in large part, the story of how it has managed to harness the passions of thousands of people like Mr. Fiske, a 54-year-old mortgage broker from South Florida who visited Nazi death camps in Poland and came back determined, he said, “to make a difference and never repeat what happened in the ’30s.”

It is also the story of how Aipac has harnessed its members’ pocketbooks. Unlike the National Rifle Association, the Human Rights Campaign and other powerful grass-roots advocacy organizations, Aipac, which is bipartisan, does not endorse or raise money for candidates. But its members do, with the organization’s strong encouragement.

Mr. Fiske’s Florida Congressional Committee is one of a string of political action committees with anodyne names — NorPac in New Jersey, To Protect Our Heritage PAC outside Chicago, the Maryland Association for Concerned Citizens outside Baltimore, among others — that operate independently of Aipac but whose missions and membership align with it.

Countless individual Aipac members and other pro-Israel donors give on their own — including megadonors like the billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a onetime Aipac backer who has started a harder-line rival to the group.

Tom Dine, who urged local activists to create the regional PACs when he ran Aipac from 1980 to 1993, summed up his “mantra” for Aipac members this way: “To be pro-Israel is to be politically active. To be politically active is to give of your time, your brain power and your wallet.”

Aipac does not lobby on behalf of Israel; it is sensitive about being characterized as an agent of a foreign power, as Ms. Omar suggested it was during her talk in Washington last week. But it almost always sides with the Israeli government, no matter who is in charge. (In a rare exception, the group rebuked a right-wing party in Israel last month, prompting a backlash from Mr. Netanyahu.)

“I guarantee you that every senator who’s sitting in office now, including an indirect standoffish guy like Rand Paul, they’ve got five to 15 key contacts on their scorecards at the Aipac office,” Mr. Dine said, referring to the isolationist Republican senator from Kentucky.

Aipac activists say the work they put into building relationships — more than campaign contributions — is responsible for the organization’s success.

“Call me a true believer, but my own view is that the more people understand about Israel the more likely they are to see the issues more or less the way Aipac does,” said Seth M. Siegel, an author, businessman and Aipac board member.

But in a recent article in The Nation, M.J. Rosenberg, who worked for Aipac in the 1980s and is now a critic of the organization, described how “Aipac’s political operation is used precisely as Representative Omar suggested,” including during policy conferences, when members gather “in side rooms, nominally independent of the main event,” to raise money and “decide which candidate will get what.”

Mr. Kohr declined a request for an interview. But the group’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, issued a statement: “Aipac does not rate, endorse or contribute to candidates. We encourage our members to participate in the legislative and political process exercising their democratic rights as Americans.”

And they have. In 1982, Aipac activists organized to oust Paul Findley, an Illinois House member who had embraced the Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat. The To Protect Our Heritage PAC, run by Aipac activists in Skokie, Ill., backed Richard J. Durbin, according to Marc Sommer, a PAC official.

Two years later, Aipac activists mobilized to replace Senator Charles Percy, then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a backer of a deal allowing the sale of sophisticated military planes called Awacs to Saudi Arabia, with the Democrat Paul Simon. Mr. Simon wrote in his memoir that Robert Asher, an Aipac board member in Chicago, asked him to run.

The back-to-back victories established Aipac as an organization not to be trifled with. In the more than three decades since, Aipac has helped create and maintain a staunchly pro-Israel Congress, producing bipartisan support for foreign aid and military and intelligence cooperation, most recently $500 million for missile defense and $3.3 billion for security assistance. Aipac spent $3.5 million last year on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying and campaign expenditures.

But the increasing willingness of Democrats like Ms. Omar to accuse Israel of human rights abuses — coupled with the far-right policies of Mr. Netanyahu and his embrace of President Trump — is challenging Aipac’s claim to bipartisanship. Some liberal Democrats, including young Jews, are abandoning the organization.

“This split between Republicans and Democrats on Israel is real, and is mirrored in a split between the government of Israel and the American Jewish community,” said the diplomat Martin Indyk, who worked for Aipac in the 1980s and is now with the Council on Foreign Relations. “And since the American Jewish community is a pillar of the Democratic Party and is Aipac’s base, you’ve got kind of a perfect storm.”

When Israel demolished Palestinian communities in the West Bank last year, Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, gathered signatures from 76 members of Congress to criticize the move. Aipac was silent.

When President Barack Obama secured a nuclear accord with Iran over Aipac’s vehement opposition, Senate Democrats delivered for him, despite the work of an Aipac spinoff that vowed to spend $20 million to oppose it. (Mr. Trump has since backed out of the deal.)

Aipac’s allies on Capitol Hill say the group is an invaluable resource for information. Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, said Aipac “gives its members an opportunity to meet with elected officials, often in Washington, to talk about an issue that they feel deeply about.”

But other lawmakers bristle at Aipac’s tactics. In 2006, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, who has advocated humanitarian aid for Palestinians, wrote an angry letter to Mr. Kohr saying Aipac would be barred from her offices until it apologized for the behavior of one of its representatives who had berated her chief of staff, Bill Harper, and said Ms. McCollum’s “support for terrorists will not be tolerated.”

Mr. Harper said he took it as an effort “to intimidate” Ms. McCollum, “including threatening to take care of her in the next election.” He said Aipac’s members subsequently stopped donating to her.

Aipac instructs its volunteers never to bring up politics or donations in lobbying meetings. But Mr. Baird, the retired House member, said it was “a fairly common experience” for three or four members of a state congressional delegation to be invited outside the Capitol to meet with “some potential high-dollar individuals affiliated with Aipac.”

“And if one were to say, ‘You know, this is a pretty complex issue; I think the Palestinians have some legitimate concerns,’ your pile of envelopes at the end of the event would be substantially smaller than the next guy’s envelopes,” he said.

So far, no organized effort to field a primary challenger against Ms. Omar has begun, although Rudy Boschwitz, a former Republican senator from Minnesota who served on Aipac’s board in the 1990s, said he had “suggested that to some people.”

In Florida, Mr. Fiske said it was time for “pro-Jewish voices to speak up” about Ms. Omar and two other Democratic freshmen who have been critical of Israel: Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

And he offered a prediction: “They are three people who, in my opinion, will not be around in several years.”

Relatives mourned a Palestinian killed during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza last year. Liberal Democrats are increasingly willing to accuse Israel of human rights abuses.CreditSaid Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

American Exceptionalism, Doorway To Fascism

With all due respect to Secretary Albright, her belief in American exceptionalism is in conflict with anti-fascism. Exceptionalism is an ideology based on the premise that one nation is superior to others; that one race is more worthy than another; that “God is on our side.” Exceptionalism justifies the theft of other nations’ land and natural resources. American exceptionalism is based on the chauvinistic white supremacy that led to the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of African Americans, the overthrow of elected foreign leaders whose policies are unpopular with the US corporate oligarchy, and many other crimes against humanity. As a nation, we must once and for all reject a foreign policy based on perpetual war and violence, simply to enrich ourselves at the expense of others. We cannot continue to support fascist regimes such as Saudi Arabia, based solely on America’s selfish economic interests. U.S. exceptionalism must be replaced with the idea that all human beings have evolved as equals and should be treated with respect.

— Robert deFreitas, Santa Cruz

Much Maligned Reporter, Lara Logan, Remembers When Reporters/Journalists Told the Truth

[SEE: WARNING–Explicit Details of Degrading Sexual Attack on Lara Logan in Egypt]

Political bias is destroying people’s faith in journalism

Lara Logan, former correspondent for “60 Minutes,” caused a stir last week when, on a podcast called “Mike Drop,” she said that too many in the media have become “political activists.” Here, she explains to The Post how one-sided reporting has undermined the credibility of the press.

I was a working journalist before I could legally drink. On Saturday nights in Durban, South Africa, when most kids in high school were partying with friends, my last job was to hand deliver first-edition copies of the Sunday newspaper where I worked to the police station, the fire station, the hospital and the morgue.

It was a violent time in South Africa. The people had risen up against the injustice of Apartheid to fight for freedom and the region where I grew up was one of the bloodiest. So I persuaded the guys on night shift at the morgue to break the rules and tell me how many dead bodies they had received. I asked so many questions, they gave in and let me count the bodies myself. It mattered because no one knew how many people were dying every night in the political violence. The police had a habit of clearing the dead from the streets so the government could hide the truth.

But on that one night, every week, in that one place, I knew the truth. And no one could take it from me because I learned it first hand.

I do my job today, some 30 years later, the same way I did it then: with an open mind, an open heart and a million questions. There is nothing more human than opinions and bias. To say we have none is dishonest. But what we do have as professional journalists is a simple standard to get us past that: two first-hand sources — question everything and independently verify. I didn’t invent this — I inherited it from people like Edward R. Murrow and I will keep passing it on.

Journalists are not activists. We may share the passion for a particular cause, but our job is to follow the facts wherever they may lead. We can’t ignore something that reflects badly on a noble cause, as an activist might. We have to care about the means as much as the end because our duty is to search for the whole truth.

Nor are we lawyers in a court of law, cherry-picking facts to prove our case. Fortunately, there is only one truth. How we feel about it, how we perceive it, those things are subjective but the truth itself is not.

Above all, we are not propagandists or political operatives. That is not our job.

I have profound respect for my colleagues and for what we as journalists are at our best. Today, as a whole, we are not at our best. Just ask people in towns and cities across this country, as I do. Everywhere I go, people tell me they have lost faith in journalism. It comes from all people, all walks of life and all political stripes.

Frankly, I don’t blame them. Responsibility for this begins with us.

It is a fact that the vast majority of journalists in this country are registered Democrats. The colleges we come from are similarly dominated by one political ideology. This matters today because the reporting has become so one-sided. As we try to figure out why people have lost faith in our profession, let’s start by being honest about who we are.

CBS News’ foreign correspondent Lara Logan sparks controversy claiming all media is liberal

I would feel the same way if the media were tilted in the opposite direction. It is the one-sided nature of this fight that disturbs me. Is that what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the first amendment?

We dismiss conservative media outlets for their political bias, but we don’t hold liberal media outlets to the same standard. Many journalists who claim to be objective have publicly taken a political stand, saying the urgency of the time justifies a departure from journalistic standards. Yet they ask us to believe their reporting is still unbiased?

It is not hard to find examples of how far we have strayed from reporting standards in the Trump era. A simple example is Time Magazine falsely reporting on President Donald J. Trump’s first day in office, stating that he’d removed a statue of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. The news went viral. But the writer did not follow the most basic rule of journalism — pick up the phone and ask the White House if it was really gone, and why? The writer late wrote a correction on his Twitter account, stating “The MLK bust is still in the Oval Office. It was obscured by an agent and door.”

Lara Logan says media standards have led to ‘horses–t’ reporting

Did this feed a racist narrative Time and the reporter wanted to advance and believe, so no fact check was needed? I don’t know — did it? We all make honest mistakes and I am no exception. I’ve made a few of my own in three decades of reporting. But consider this mistake alongside 70 other examples on a running list compiled by independent investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who is one of the bravest journalists I know. Is it a mistake when media outlets keep beating the same drum over and over? With our credibility as low as it is today, it’s a question worth asking.

I will be attacked for writing these words. But I welcome these attacks because it tells me my words matter. And I speak on behalf of all journalists who believe in standing up for the truth and honest, independent reporting. Most do not feel free to speak publicly. We live in a free country yet as journalists we are not free.

They can’t attack the substance of our work, so propaganda machines like David Brock and his staff at Media Matters for America, smear, manipulate and invent false narratives driven by their well-funded political agenda. With armies of bots and a stable of journalists that parrot their talking points, they silence and intimidate. They use our criticism of unfairness and bias to falsely accuse us of being conservative. But all of us know, the louder the attack, the closer we are to the truth.

No one owns me. No party, no organization, no corporation. We are free because freedom lives in us. No one gives it to you or takes it away.

And we are strongest when we stand together.

Has JEM Terrorist Leader Masood Azhar Died From Kidney Failure In Pak Army Hospital?

‘Unwell’ Masood Azhar Getting Treatment at Army Hospital in Pakistan: Report

Is Masood Azhar Dead? Speculation Runs Rife On Social Media

Masood Azhar afflicted with renal failure, undergoes regular dialysis at Pakistan Army hospital, say Indian officials

New Delhi: Masood Azhar, the founder of the dreaded terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), is suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and is under regular dialysis at an army hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan, officials said in New Delhi on Saturday.

This suggestion of security officials came after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the JeM chief is “unwell”.

File photo of JeM chief Masood Azhar. AFP

File photo of JeM chief Masood Azhar. AFP

“Recent reports indicate that Masood Azhar is now afflicted with renal failure and is under treatment and regular dialysis at the army hospital in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan Army,” a senior security official said.

Qureshi said Thursday: “He is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is unwell to the extent that he can’t leave his house, because he’s really unwell”.

The Jaish-e-Mohammad chief was a close associate of Osama bin Laden, terror motivator in several African countries and also known by many as the Pakistani cleric who brought jihad into the religious discourse at mosques in the UK, the official said.

The influence of the 50-year-old terrorist mastermind was so huge that, when he was released by India in exchange for freeing the hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814 on 31 December, 1999, in Kandahar, Laden hosted a banquet for him the same night. In the banquet, Laden recalled how he and Azhar had first worked together in 1993, the official said.

Azhar was arrested for preaching jihad in Jammu and Kashmir in 1994. One of his British recruits, Omar Shaikh, as a member of the terrorist group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), kidnapped four western tourists in India in 1994 in order to secure the release of Azhar. However, security agencies succeeded in releasing the hostages and arresting Shaikh.

Again in 1995, five western tourists were kidnapped by HuA and eventually killed in order to gain the release of Azhar. Almost immediately after Azhar’s release, Jaish-e-Mohammad was formed and it carried out its first suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir in April 2000 by striking the Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. The 24-year-old bomber, Asif Sadiq, was one of Azhar’s earliest recruits and student from Birmingham. At this time, Azhar also began using several Al-Qaeda recruits, another official said.

In 1979-1989, after he suffered injuries in the Soviet-Afghan War, he was chosen as the head of Harkat-ul-Ansar’s department of motivation.

In the early 1990s, Azhar became the general secretary of Harkat-ul-Ansar and visited international locations to recruit, raise funds and spread the message of pan-Islamism. Among his destinations were Zambia, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, the United Kingdom and Albania, the second official said. He also went to Kenya to meet an Al-Qaeda affiliate of Somalia in 1993 and in August 1993, Azhar entered the UK for a speaking, fund-raising, and recruitment tour with the message of jihad.

Azhar made contacts in Britain with people who helped to provide training and logistical support for terrorist plots.

In January 1993, Azhar visited Bangladesh along with Sajjad Afghani, a terrorist leader to facilitate the intrusion of Afghani to India.

Azhar was part of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen or Harkat-ul-Ansar, when he was arrested in 1994 in India for spreading hate. Azhar formed Jaish-e-Mohammad after his release in 1999 when Indian Airlines flight IC 814 was hijacked and taken to Kandahar. Since then, the JeM has been involved in terror attacks in the country. The terror group was responsible for the attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 in which nine security personnel and officials were killed.

On 2 January, 2016, a heavily armed group of JeM attacked the Pathankot airbase in which seven security personnel were killed. The JeM also carried out the attack on Uri brigade headquarters on 18 September, 2016, killing 17 soldiers and injuring 30 others. On 14 February this year, the JeM carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF bus in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir killing at least 40 jawans.

Trump Wants It Both Ways–Protecting Free Speech AND Blocking Criticism of Israel/Jews

[Surely the Jews and Israel are still exempt from public criticism, especially on American campuses (SEE: The End of Free Speech? Criminalizing Criticism of Israel).]

U.S. envoy: No distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

Trump said he intends to sign executive order requiring ‘free speech’ at colleges

donald trump cpac
President Donald Trump speaks during CPAC 2019 on March 02, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland.
 Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Saturday he would soon sign an executive order requiring American universities and colleges to maintain “free speech” on campuses.

“Today, I am proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research funds,” Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The announcement came after the president invited Hayden Williams, a conservative activist and student at the University of California Berkeley who was filmed being punched on campus, onstage before announcing the executive order.

“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak,” Trump said. “Free speech. If they don’t, it will be very costly.”

The White House did not immediately reply to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Trump previously tweeted about Williams’ case, referencing denying federal funds as retribution for schools allowing “violence on innocent people with a different point of view.”

—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed” style=”box-sizing: border-box; margin: 20px 0px;”>

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

(Reuters reporting by Katanga Johnson; editing by Diane Craft)

Our Medical Dictatorship–Since when does the government write prescriptions?

[Here in Ohio, the epicenter of the American opioid “witch hunt”, we see the beginnings of a “medical police state”, beginning with the ongoing harassment of pain patients for taking their prescribed pain medicines, Ohio has enacted by state mandate, narcotics testing for many non-opioid drugs, including all benzodiazepines, but even neuropathic pain meds lyrica and neurontin now require the same drug monitoring given to convicted drug offenders and job applicants…but, in addition to all of this, they even do drug monitoring for the probable placebo “drug””ultram”, a.k.a., “tramadol”. Anyone who has been prescribed tramadol for pain knows that it is a cruel joke, intended to replace real medical treatment…as I told my doctor, I would rather take Tylenol than Ultram, at least the tylenol fights pain.--ed.]

Opioid crisis — Since when does the government write prescriptions?

 

 

Clearly, something must be done, but federal and state agencies are focusing on the wrong target – legitimate prescribing of opioids – and have insinuated themselves into the doctor-patient relationship as never before. Our governments are taking prescription pads out of the hands of physicians and dictating which, and how much, prescription pain medication may be prescribed for patients. This is chilling and unprecedented.

As of last October, 33 states had instituted laws that restrict opioid prescriptions in some way. Although state laws differ in stringency, they are all intrusive. For example, Florida has a three-day limit on prescribed opioids, with the possibility of a seven-day supply if strict conditions are met. Massachusetts limits first-time patients to a seven-day supply and forbids a second prescription until the first expires.

And nationwide, millions of pain patients, even those who were functioning well with long-term opioid therapy, are being forcibly tapered or having their medicines stopped outright, regardless of their wishes or those of their physicians.

DR. MARC SIEGEL: THE OPIOID CRISIS HAS A SOLUTION — HERE IT IS

Legal “solutions” to medical issues are dubious, both scientifically and with respect to policy. For example, consider surgical recovery. It is well known that not only does surgical pain vary from patient to patient, but so do patients’ responses to pain medications. Therefore, a standardized, one-size-fits-all dose of a given drug cannot meet the needs of all post-surgery patients, and it will also fail those afflicted with other kinds of pain, both acute and chronic. The principles of pharmacology tell us why.

The effect of a drug on an individual is directly related to his or her weight. All things being equal, no dose of any drug will produce the same effect in a 100-pound person as in a 300-pound one. But weight is only one variable that determines a drug’s effects, and it is not even the most important one.

Americans are now more likely to die of an opioid overdose than in car crash, a new report warns

The rate of metabolism of opioids can vary as much as 30-fold from one individual to the next because of genetic differences in the liver enzymes responsible for the degradation of the drugs. This means that a given dose of an opioid could be dangerously high for one person while too low to be effective for another.

If the science is bad, the legal precedent is worse. In the mad rush to address a complex problem with simplistic thinking, there has been an insidious power shift – toward state governments and federal agencies, in effect, writing prescriptions. This insidious trend has been ignored by the press, civil rights advocates, the public health community and the general public.

In a country so respectful of individuals’ rights, it is unimaginable that we would surrender the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship without a whimper.

This is not likely to end with opioids. Since our government now intrudes into determining the use of pain drugs, why not do so with other potential drugs of abuse? The death rate from sedatives such as Valium and Xanax has soared in recent years, almost always due to combination with other drugs or alcohol. Should government override a physician’s ability to prescribe sedatives to patients because others are abusing them? It would be only a small step to bring those drugs under the same umbrella as opioids.

Indeed, these seeds are already being planted. One of the so-called “addiction specialists” who played a significant role in the current opioid fiasco has now set her sights on benzodiazepine sedatives (which include Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, and Xanax) because of their addiction potential. It is ironic that people who suffer from anxiety will have ample reason to worry even more — about the very real possibility of their medicines being taken away.

And why stop there? The use of drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall for children with ADHD is highly controversial, and both are abused. Many believe that these drugs are overused or shouldn’t be used at all. Should our government instruct pediatricians when and how to use such medicines, or limit the number of pills or the dose they decide is appropriate?

At the core of this disturbing trend is the myth that restriction of certain drugs will eliminate drug abuse. It doesn’t work. It just raises the street price of highly sought-after, abusable drugs.

The decades-long “War on Drugs,” which has never succeeded in controlling abuse or addiction, is now being waged in doctors’ offices, the last place we should want government intrusion. In the name of addressing a crisis, we are sacrificing freedoms in a new, frightening way. That’s a prescription for disaster.

 

Josh Bloom holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and is the director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at the American Council on Science and Health.

The US Government Is Controlled By Men and Women Who Answer To the Jewish Lobby…PERIOD.

[Even old white, Christian men criticize government dominance by Israeli/Jewish money (SEE: THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY. John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt.)]

[ New US envoy on anti-Semitism: No distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism]

[ Israel should not be allowed to criminalise BDS in the US]

Ilhan Omar: Influential Americans ‘Push for Allegiance to Foreign Country’

Minnesota Democrat says ‘everything’ she and fellow Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib say about Israel is labeled anti-Semitic ‘because we are Muslim’

Ilhan Omar listens as lawmakers speak about the Voting Rights Enhancement Act on Capitol Hill, Washington, February 26, 2019.
AFP

According to Jewish Insider, Omar said during a panel discussion at a Washington, D.C. bookstore that because she and fellow first-term Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who was also there, are Muslim, “a lot of our Jewish colleagues, a lot of our constituents, a lot of our allies, go to thinking that everything we say about Israel to be anti-Semitic because we are Muslim.”

She said that she felt “pained” when people accuse her of intolerance.

“But it’s almost as if, every single time we say something regardless of what it is we say…we get to be labeled something,” she said. “And that ends the discussion. Because we end up defending that and nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of what is happening with Palestine. So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Accusing Jews of having loyalties to countries other than their home is a longtime anti-Semitic trope. Some accused Tlaib of deploying this rhetoric when she tweeted in January that legislators who wanted to vote for an anti-BDS bill during the government shutdown “forgot what country they represent.”

Both liberal and conservative Jewish commentators expressed their disapproval of Omar’s comments: At one point, according to Jewish Insider, an audience member shouted out “It is about the Benjamins,” quoting Omar’s tweet from earlier this month that accused politicians of supporting Israel because of donations from the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

Earlier this week, Omar deleted those tweets, as well as a tweet from 2012 accusing Israel of having “hypnotized the world.”

Genocide survivors demand violent coup master Elliott Abrams’ removal from Holocaust museum board

Genocide survivors demand violent coup master Elliott Abrams’ removal from Holocaust museum board

Genocide survivors demand violent coup master Elliott Abrams' removal from Holocaust museum board

A dozen survivors of genocides from the Holocaust to the 1980s’ US-backed slaughter in Central America have demanded US diplomat Elliott Abrams be removed from the US Holocaust museum’s “Conscience Committee.”

“We cannot fathom how Abrams – a proven supporter of some of the world’s most nefarious perpetrators of genocide and mass murderers for nearly 40 years – could be a member” of the US Holocaust Memorial Council and Committee on Conscience, they wrote in a letter to the museum on Tuesday, adding that “his presence on that committee and his affiliation with the Museum runs contrary to everything that you and your mission stand for.”

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Abrams’ resurrection as special envoy to Venezuela by US President Donald Trump “sent shock waves in our communities,” the group wrote, spurring them to research what the convicted felon had been up to – at which point they learned about his committee appointment.

How can the Committee on Conscience prevent future genocides if it has not come to terms with the involvement of one of its own members in supporting such atrocities?” the survivors pleaded, warning they would “take [their] concerns to the broader public” if the Museum did not respond.

Survivors and relatives of those tortured, killed and disappeared under the Guatemalan dictatorship of General Efrain Rios Montt joined relatives of Holocaust victims and survivors of repression in El Salvador in adding their names to the letter. Abrams “unconditionally supported” Montt, whom the Guatemalan courts convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2013. Abrams also backed the Salvadoran military government that massacred tens of thousands of people during his tenure in the Reagan administration, as well as the brutal anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua, whom the CIA notoriously funded with the profits of illegal drug trafficking.

ALSO ON RT.COMVenezuela crisis: Border clashes, ‘masked thugs’, ‘torched aid’ & fake Red Cross

Naming an abettor of convicted war criminals to a “Committee on Conscience” may stretch the bounds of irony, but Abrams was appointed to the Holocaust Memorial’s board in 2009 as one of then-President George W. Bush’s last acts before leaving office – a fitting quid pro quo, given that Bush’s dad pardoned him after he was convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, and Abrams returned the favor by helping George W. Bush wage his devastating war in Iraq.

Trump’s appointment of Abrams as special envoy has introduced a whole new generation to the envoy’s ruthless tactics, making the US involvement in Venezuela that much less defensible – including aid trucks that were reportedly loaded with barricade materials and alleged use of agents provocateurs to gin up violence at peaceful protests.