From Ukraine to Palestine

“One of the best-trained, best-equipped, best fed terrorist organizations in the world. Their entire purpose is terrorism” ~ Miko Peled, son of an Israeli general

‘We are living by the sword’: The regrets of an Israel founder’s son

Yaakov Sharett

My name is Yaakov Sharett. I am 92 years old. I happen to be my father’s son for which I am not responsible. So this is how it is.” 

1946

A kibbutz in the northern Negev in the summer of 1946 (AFP)

From Ukraine to Palestine

His grandfather, Jacob Shertok – the original family name – was one of the first Zionists to set foot in Palestine, leaving his home in Kherson, Ukraine, in 1882 after Russian pogroms.

“He had this dream of tilling the land. The big Zionist idea was going back to the land and leaving the superficial activities of Jews who had become remote from land,” he says.

“They thought that, little by little, more Jews would immigrate until they became a majority, and could demand a state, which they then called a ‘homeland’ to avoid controversy.”

I wonder what Yaakov’s grandfather thought would happen to the Arabs, who then comprised about 97 percent of the population, with Jews around 2 to 3 percent.

“I think he thought the more Jews that came, the more they’d bring prosperity and the Arabs would be happy. They didn’t realize people don’t live only on money. We would have to be the dominant power, but the Arabs would get used to it,” he says.

In case the Arabs didn’t bend the knee

Adding with a wistful smile: “Well, either they believed it or they wanted to believe it. My grandfather’s generation were dreamers. If they had been realists, they would not have come to Palestine in the first place.

It was never possible for a minority to replace a majority that had lived on this land for hundreds of years. It could never work,” he says.

Four years later, Jacob wished he hadn’t come, returning to Russia, not because of Palestinian hostility – Jewish numbers were still tiny – but because he couldn’t make a living here.

Many of the very early settlers in Palestine found working on the land far harder than they had ever imagined, often returning to Russia in despair.

But in 1902, after more pogroms, Jacob Sharett returned, this time with a family including Moshe, aged eight.

Palestinians were still – for the most part – welcoming to Jews as the threat of Zionism remained unclear. A member of the prosperous Husseini family, who was headed abroad, even offered Yaakov’s grandfather his house to rent in the village of Ein Siniya, now in the occupied West Bank.

For two years, grandfather Shertok lived there like an Arab grandee while his children attended a Palestinian kindergarten. “My father herded sheep, learned Arabic and generally lived like an Arab,” says Yaakov.

Psychology of the minority

But the Zionist plan was to live like Jews so before long, the family had moved to the fast-growing Jewish hub of Tel Aviv and Moshe was soon honing every skill – including studying Ottoman law in Istanbul – in order to further the Zionist project.

Thanks to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine and ushered in British colonial rule, plans for a full-blown Jewish state now seemed possible, and over the next two decades, Moshe Sharett helped design it, becoming a key figure in the Jewish Agency, the state’s government-in-waiting.

Moshe Sharett seen seated to the left of first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion with the first Israeli government in 1949 (Wikicommons)

Moshe Sharett seen seated to the left of first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion with the first Israeli government in 1949 (Wikicommons)

Central to the project was the creation of a Jewish majority and ownership of as much of the land as possible, to which end Sharett worked closely with his ally David Ben-Gurion. Immigration rose fast, and land was bought, usually from absentee Arab landlords.

‘My father and the rest still thought that most Arabs would sell their national honour for the food we would give them’

– Yaakov Sharett

The pace of change provoked the Palestinian revolt of 1936, brutally crushed by the British. In the light of that revolt, did the future prime minister ever question whether the Jewish state could work?

“No,” says Yaakov. The leadership were “still full of justifying their ideas of Zionism. You must remember that they all thought in terms of being Jewish and how they had been subjugated by majorities in the countries in which they had lived.

“My father said this: ‘Wherever there is a minority, every member has a stick and rucksack in his cupboard’. Psychologically, he realizes a bad day will come and he will have to leave.

So the priority was always to create a majority and shake off the psychology of the minority for ever.

“My father and the rest still thought that most Arabs would sell their national honour for the food we would give them. It was a nice dream, but at the cost of others.

And anyone who did not agree was a traitor.”

Becoming mukhtar

As a young teenager, in the early 1940s, Yaakov didn’t question his father’s outlook. Quite the contrary.

“I must say,” he continues, “when I was in the Zionist Youth Movement, we went around the Arab villages on foot and you saw an Arab village and learned its Hebrew name as in the Bible and you felt the time has not divided between you and it. I have never been religious, but this is what you felt.”

By 1939, World War Two had broken out and many young Israelis had joined the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, serving in Europe. The Jewish Brigade was an idea of Yaakov’s father, and as soon as he was old enough, Yaakov volunteered, joining up in 1944, aged 17. But a few months later – in April 1945 – the war was over and Yaakov was too late to see any service.

Yaacov Sharett, 22, in Hatserim (Courtesy Yaacov Sharett)

Yaakov Sharett, 22, in Hatzerim (Courtesy Yaakov Sharett)

Back in Palestine, those young Jewish soldiers who had served in Europe were amongst those now being recruited to fight in what many knew was coming next: a new war in Palestine to establish a state of Israel.

 Yaakov – who had clearly not yet started to see that Zionism “was at the cost of others” – readily agreed to play his part.

Now aged 19, Yaakov was picked to play the role of a Jewish mukhtar, or village head, at a quasi-military outpost in the Negev, a barren terrain barely settled by Jews.  

“I didn’t think a lot about politics back then. To build this settlement was literally our dream,” he says.

His wife, Rena, has joined us, perching on a stool, and nods in agreement. Rena Sharett was another eager Zionist who claimed the Negev in 1946.

Before 1948, the Negev constituted the British administrative district of Beersheva and the district of Gaza, which together made up half the land of Palestine. Touching the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the terrain had vital access to water.

So not surprisingly, the Zionists, who had to date succeeded in purchasing just 6 percent of Palestinian land, were determined to seize it.

However, given that about 250,000 Arabs lived in the Negev, in 247 villages, compared to about 500 Jews in three small outposts, a recent Anglo-American partition plan had divided mandate Palestine between Jews and Arabs, apportioning the Negev region as part of a future Palestinian state.

A British ban on new settlement had also hindered Zionist attempts to alter the status quo. Arabs had always opposed any plan that envisaged the Palestinians as “an indigenous majority living on their ancestral soil, being converted overnight into a minority under alien rule,” as the Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, summarised it.

In late 1946, however, with a new United Nations partition plan in the making, the Zionist leaders saw it was now or never for the Negev.

Now or never

So the “11 points” plan was launched. Not only would the new settlements boost the Jewish presence there, they would serve as military bases when war broke out, as it inevitably would.

Everything had to be done in secret due to the British ban and it was decided to erect the outposts on the night of 5 October, just after Yom Kippur. “The British would never expect the Jews to do such a thing the night after Yom Kippur,” says Yaakov. 

“I remember when we found our piece of land on the top of a barren hill. It was still dark, but we managed to bang in the posts and soon, we were inside our fence. At first light, trucks came with pre-fabricated barracks.

It was quite a feat. We worked like devils. Ha! I will never forget it.”  

‘I remember when we found our piece of land on the top of a barren hill. It was still dark, but we managed to bang in the posts and soon, we were inside our fence’

– Yaakov Sharett

Looking out from inside their fence, the settlers at first didn’t see any Arabs, but then made out the tents of Abu Yahiya’s village, and a few “dirty huts”, as Yaakov described them.  

Soon, they were asking the Arabs for water. “I collected our water for our settlement from that well every day in my truck, that’s how I became friends with Abu Yahiya,” he says.

With his smattering of Arabic, he chatted to others too: “They loved to talk. On it went when I had work to do,” he laughs. “I don’t think they were happy with us there exactly, but they were at peace with us. There was no enmity.”

Another local Arab chief watched out for their security in return for a small payment. “It was a kind of agreement we had with him.

He’d act as guard and every month, he’d come up to our fence and sit there quite still – he looked like just a small bundle of clothes,” Yaakov says, smiling broadly.  

“He was waiting for payment and I shook his hand and got him to sign some sort of receipt with his thumb which I gave to the authorities in Tel Aviv and they gave me money for the next time.

That was my only real responsibility as mukhtar,” says Yaakov, adding that everyone knew he only got this role as chief because he was his father’s son. 

Moshe Sharett, by now a leading political figure, was known as a moderate, and as such was viewed with suspicion by some military hardliners.

The new Negev desert outposts were planned in large part as centres for gathering intelligence about the Arabs, and Yaakov believes it was probably because of his father he too was distrusted and excluded by those sent to the outpost to lay military plans

“Instead I was really used just as a jack of all trades” – driving, collecting water, buying fuel in Gaza or Beersheba. He sounds nostalgic for the freedom of that arid landscape, though the settlers were always back inside their fence at night.

He came to know other Arab villages, too, like Burayr “which was always hostile, I don’t know why,” but most were friendly, particularly a village called Huj. “I used to drive through Huj often and knew it well.”

During the 1948 war, the residents of Huj reached an agreement in writing with Jewish authorities that they be allowed to stay, but they were driven out like all the other 247 villages of this area, mostly to Gaza. The Palestinians called the expulsions their Nakba – or catastrophe.

I asked Yaacov what he recalled of the Arab exodus in May 1948, but he was absent at the time as Rena’s brother was killed in fighting further east so the couple had left to join her family.

I told Yaacov I’d met survivors of the Abu Yahiya clan, who recounted being driven by Jewish soldiers into Wadi Beersheba where the men were separated from the women and some were shot, then the rest were expelled.

“Somehow I don’t remember that,” says Yaakov. But plumbing his memory, he suddenly recalls other atrocities including events at Burayr, the hostile village, where in May 1948 there was a massacre, with between 70 to 100 villagers killed, according to survivors and Palestinian historians. 

“One of our boys helped take Burayr. I remember he said when he got there the Arabs had already mostly fled and he opened the door of a house and saw an old man there so he shot him. He enjoyed shooting him,” he says.

By the time Beersheba was taken in October 1948, Yaakov had returned to his nearby outpost, now given the Hebrew name, Hatzerim.

“I learned our boys had led the army to the town,” he says. “We knew the area very well and could guide them through the wadis [riverbeds]”.

After Beersheba fell, Yaakov drove his comrades down in a truck to take a look: “It was empty, totally empty.” The entire population of about 5,000 had been expelled and driven in trucks to Gaza.

I had heard there was a lot of looting. “Yes,” he says. “We took things from several empty houses. We took what we could – furniture, radios, utensils. Not for ourselves, but to help the kibbutz. After all, Beersheva was empty and belonged to nobody now.”

What did he think of that? “Again, I must confess I didn’t think much at all at the time. We were proud of occupying Beersheva.  Although I must say, we’d had so many friends there before.”

Yaakov says he couldn’t remember if he had looted himself: “I probably did. I was one of them. We were very happy. If you don’t take it, someone else will. You don’t feel you have to give it back. They were not coming back.”

What did you think about that? He pauses. “We didn’t think about it then. My father, in fact, said they will not come back. My father was a moral man. I don’t think he was a party to the orders to expel the Arabs. Ben-Gurion was. Sharett no. But he accepted it as a fact. I think he knew something was going wrong, but he didn’t fight it,” he says.

“After the war my father gave a lecture and said I don’t know why a man should live two years secluded in a village [a reference to his time growing up in Ein Siniya] to realise that Arabs are human beings. This kind of saying you won’t get from any other Jewish leader…this was my father.”

Then, as if confessing on behalf of his father too, Yaakov adds: “But I have to be frank, my father had some cruel things to say about the refugees. He was against their return; he agreed with Ben-Gurion on that.”

Far more cruel than Sharett was Moshe Dayan. Appointed after the war as chief of staff by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, Dayan had the task of keeping back the Negev refugees and many others “fenced in” behind the Gaza armistice lines.

Moshe Dayan delivers a eulogy for Roi Rotberg in Kibbutz Nahal Oz in April 1956 (Twitter/@ProvMagazine)

Moshe Dayan delivers a eulogy for Roi Rotberg in Kibbutz Nahal Oz in April 1956 (Twitter/@ProvMagazine)

In 1956, a Gaza refugee killed an Israeli settler, Roi Rotberg, and at his funeral, Dayan gave a famous eulogy urging Israelis to accept, once and for all, that the Arabs would never live in peace beside them, and he spelled out why: the Arabs had been expelled from their homes which were now lived in by Jews.

But Dayan urged the Jews to respond not by seeking compromise but by “looking squarely at the hatred that consumes and fills the lives of Arabs who live around us and be forever ready and armed, tough and hard”.

This speech made a profound impression on Yaakov Sharrett. “I said this was a fascist speech. He was telling people to live by the sword,” he says. Moshe Sharett, who was foreign minister at the time, had been urging compromise through diplomacy for which he was called “weak”.

But it wasn’t until 1967, when he started working as a journalist for the centrist Israeli paper, Maariv, that Yaakov lost his faith in Zionism.

‘They were the majority’

In the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel seized more land, this time in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, where military occupation was imposed on the Palestinians who hadn’t fled this time.

Touring the West Bank, Sharett stared at the stunned but defiant Arab faces and felt “uneasy” once again, particularly when he visited his old family village of Ein Siniya, which his father, now dead, had spoken of so affectionately.

It was here that as a child, Moshe had herded sheep and “learned that Arabs were humans”, as Moshe Sharett would say in a later speech.  

“The villagers were under the first shock of occupation. They knew the Jews were now the dominating power, but they showed no feelings of hatred. They were simple people.

And I remember that several residents came and surrounded us and smiled and told me they remembered my family and the house in which our family lived.

So we smiled at each other and I left. I didn’t go back. I didn’t like this occupation and I didn’t want to go there as a master,” he says.

“Have you heard of shooting and weeping?” he asks, with another wistful smile, explaining this was an expression to describe Israelis who, after fighting in the West Bank in 1967 showed shame, but accepted the results.

‘We smiled at each other and I left. I didn’t go back. I didn’t like this occupation and I didn’t want to go there as a master’

– Yaakov Sharett

“But I wanted nothing more to do with this occupation. It was my way of non-identification with it. I was depressed by it, and ashamed.”

The faces of the Ein Sinya villagers revealed something else: “I saw in this defiance that they still had the psychology of the majority. My father used to say war always makes waves of refugees. But he didn’t see that usually those who flee are the minority. In 1948, they were the majority so they will never give up. This is our problem.

“But it took me years to realise what the Nakba was and that the Nakba didn’t start in 1967 but in 1948. We have to realise that.”

Rena chips in. “In 1948, it was a matter of them or us. Life and death. That was the difference,” she says.

“We two disagree on this,” says Yaakov. “My wife lost her brother in 1948. She views it differently.”

‘I would leave tomorrow’

In older age, Yaakov has gone back even further in time, looking into the problems with Zionism since the very beginning.  

“Now at [92]-years-old, I realise that the story started with the very idea of Zionism which was a utopian idea. It was meant to save Jewish lives but at the cost of a nation of occupants who inhabited Palestine at this time. The conflict was unavoidable from the beginning.”

I ask if he describes himself as an anti-Zionist. “I am not an anti-Zionist, but I am not a Zionist,” he says, turning to look at Rena, perhaps in case she disapproves – his wife holds less radical views.  

On the wall beside the picture of his father are photographs of their children and grandchildren; two of Yaakov’s granddaughters have emigrated to the United States. “I am not afraid to say I am happy they are there and not here,” he says.

Moshe Sharett (Courtesy Moshe Sharett)

Yaakov Sharett today (Courtesy Yaakov Sharett)

I ask if he has “a rucksack and stick” packed ready to go and join them? After all, with his views, Yaakov himself is now in a minority – a small minority – living amid a majority of right-wing Jews here in Israel.

And not only is he ideologically “fenced in” but also physically too. He talks of how he can barely move around Israel nowadays. He refuses to go to Jerusalem which he says has been taken over by ultra-orthodox religious Jews.

“This is one of the most terrible disasters. When we were young, we thought religion was going to vanish.” He says he never wishes to return to his beloved Negev because it was long ago settled by new generations of Jews “who have no empathy with Arabs”. 

He can still “breathe” in Tel Aviv, and enjoys speeding around on a scooter, but even here, feels that he lives inside a “bubble”. He chuckles again. 

“I call it the Haaretz bubble,” and he explains he is referring to a group of left-wingers who read the liberal Haaretz newspaper. “But this clan has no connection with each other except this daily paper that more or less expresses our opinion.

It is the last stronghold. And I feel very bad about it…. It’s true I do not feel at home here.”

‘Look. When you make me think about it, I would leave tomorrow. Thousands are already leaving’

– Yaakov Sharett

Yaakov says he is always thinking about leaving. If other members of his family would join him, he would.  

“Look. When you make me think about it, I would leave tomorrow. Thousands are already leaving, most have two passports. We have the worst government we have ever had with Bibi Netanyahu,” he says.

“We are living by the sword, as Dayan said we should…as if we must be forced to make Israel into a kind of citadel against the invaders, but I don’t think it is possible to live by the sword for ever.”

I ask how he sees the future for the Palestinians?

“What can I say? I feel very bad about it. And I am not afraid to say that the treatment of the Palestinians today is Nazi treatment. We don’t have gas chambers, of course, but the mentality is the same. It is racial hatred. They are treated as subhuman,” he says.

Yaakov is well-aware that he – a Jew – will be accused of “antisemitism” for saying such things, but says he believes Israel is “a criminal state”.

“I know they will call me a self-hating Jew for saying that. But I cannot automatically support my country, right or wrong. And Israel must not be immune from criticism. Seeing the difference between antisemitism and criticism of Israel is crucial.

To be honest, I am amazed how in 2019 the world outside accepts Israeli propaganda. I really don’t know why they do,” he says.

“And remember that the very aim of Zionism was to release Jews from the curse of antisemitism by giving them their own state. But today, the Jewish state by its own criminal behaviour is one of the most serious causes for this curse.”

What is his prediction for the Jewish state? “I will tell you what my prediction is. I am not afraid to say it. When the time comes, it might come tomorrow, there will be a conflagration, maybe with Hezbollah … a big catastrophe of some sort that will destroy thousands of Jewish homes.

“And we will bomb Beirut but having Lebanese lose their homes won’t help the Jew who loses his home and family, so people will see no reason to stay here anymore. All rational Israelis will then have to leave.

“It doesn’t have to be Hezbollah. The catastrophe might be the strong domination of our own rightists. All the laws enacted by the Knesset now are fascist laws. I have no solution. Israel will become a pariah state,” he says.

‘To be honest, I am amazed how in 2019 the world outside accepts Israeli propaganda. I really don’t know why they do’

– Yaakov Sharett

Surely, America and the Europeans would never treat Israel as pariah state, I suggest, but Yaakov doesn’t agree: “Their support is mostly shame over the Holocaust. But these feelings of guilt will dwindle in the next generations,” he says.

I ask Yaakov what his father would say if he had heard all this? Rena says she hadn’t even heard Yaakov speak like this before. His eyes dart under his woolly hat.

“I think my father would have to agree with me somewhat. He remained a Zionist to the end, but I think he realised something was wrong. Sometimes, I say he was too moral to be at peace with what is going on here,” he says.

“But he is disappointing because he didn’t arrive at the conclusion his son did. I don’t blame him for that. He absorbed Zionism in his mother’s milk.  If he had lived to my age – I am 92, he died at 71 – perhaps he would have seen things like me. I don’t know.”

I get up to leave and pick up my laptop, thereby lighting up the picture of Abu Yahiya’s well again. Our interview has been haunted not only by Moshe Sharett but also by the image of that “tall lean Bedouin with the sympathetic face” last seen by Yaakov, stricken and alone.

“I must say, the picture of that nice man does sometimes come into my mind,” says Yaakov, who then takes me down to the street. Grabbing his scooter, he waves goodbye cheerily and kicks off into the traffic of Tel Aviv.

My Struggle for Peace, the Diary of Moshe Sharett 1953-1956 is published by Indiana University Press. Sarah Helm is a former Middle East correspondent and diplomatic editor of The Independent. Her books include A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE, and If This Is a Woman, Inside Ravensbrück: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women.​​​​​​​

Lead photo: Yaakov Sharett, 18, serving as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade (Courtesy Yaakov Sharett)

Israel: The Zionist Outpost for Imperialism in Occupied Palestine

Israel constitutes the largest undeclared military base in the world.

The illegal and deceitful Balfour Declaration will soon be 100 years old. This imperial agreement made by the British government cbecome a Jewish national homeland with total disregard to the will of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living there. 

The colonization process of Palestine was not characterized by military occupation of an imperialist country as the French did in Algeria. It was also not the European model used to colonize the U.S. and Australia that committed genocide against indigenous people in the nation building process.

Palestine, which was colonized by the Zionist project, was a model more like what happened in Latin America where national independence struggles fought back against racist regimes and did not accept the colonial nature of the conquering nations.

These struggles have taken on different forms but continue to this day. Cuba for example fought 2 wars of independence against Spain and then went on to defeat the United States in the great victory of the Cuban Socialist Revolution.

Under the most severe form of apartheid oppression the Palestinian people have never given up or accepted the conditions of the Balfour Declaration.

What makes the Palestinian struggle even more complex is that it is fighting against a regime that is supported and operates on the behalf of the U.S. in the Middle East and visa versa.

The essence of the Balfour Declaration in all its arrogant content contradicted and violated the Charter of the League of Nations, making it false and illegal for the following reasons.

  1. The declaration was issued in 1917 when Great Britain had no legal international link to Palestine. The British occupation mandate was not declared until after the end of the First World War on July 24, 1922.
  1. The Balfour statement was issued by an elite English Zionist of Jewish origin who had no right nor any legitimacy to declare anything on a territory that did not belong to them. And it did not have the right to surrender the Palestinian territory to a select group of Zionists alien to the Arab world as it did not belong to them either.
  1. The statement was not considered as a pact or treaty between States and recognized Nations, consequently the Zionist claim has neither legitimacy nor obligatory character from the point of view of International Law.
  1. The statement ignores and violates the historical rights of the national permanence of the Palestinian population in their native territory for more than 7 thousand years.
  1. The Balfour Statement contradicts and violated article 20 of the Charter of the League of Nations. In there the obligation of all members of the League was to maintain respect while applying the principles and objectives of the Charter “to help in the advancement of peoples and facilitate the freedom of their homelands, while respecting the cultures, religions and socio-economic development, in order to establish a national and independent Government”.

The history of foreign military bases has always been a direct form of intervention of foreign powers into the internal affairs of other States and the usurpation of sovereignty and national independence, as well as the dignity of the people.

It is a way of enforcing colonization and occupation to maintain a military and or economic condition favorable to the imperial powers. In other cases military bases occur at the request of governments who for reasons of military and economic dependence submit to this condition.

However there is an extremely serious form of installation of foreign military bases, with catastrophic consequences for the geography, demography, history and the very existence of the people of the region and that is the case of the Zionist State of Israel, artificially created in 1948 in the historic land of Palestine.

In the period of 1917 – 1947 there was a process of gradual multiplication of the installations of settlers that went from 50 thousand to 650 thousand. It was an invading army aided by mercenaries from 37 countries occupying 78% or the greater part of the territory of Palestine.

What followed was a reign of terror of Nazi-Zio style ethnic cleansing. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were massacred, another 850 thousand were expelled from their homeland, 532 cities and villages were either burned or bulldozed.

The holocaust was designed to distribute European Jews to Palestine as a labor force and to falsely legitimize a state before the world.

The same forces that created the holocaust now conducts it’s business in Palestine.

Later in the war of expansion that began on June 5, 1967 Israel seized the rest of historic Palestine and Arab territories in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

In 1948, the Zionist entity was formed primarily by Ashkenazi ( non-Semitic) Jews from various European groups, primarily Polish and Russian. But the project has never been about religion but rather culture and geographic location.

Since the beginning Israel has been a political, economic, ideological project, complex and globalized, inseparably organic and functional to imperialism and capitalism in its different phases that has gone from mercantilism to neoliberal globalization.

The militarization of the Israeli state with the help of regional powers created a country that in itself is essentially an occupying military base that has served the interest of U.S. Imperialism by participating in endless wars in the region with the most modern of weaponry.

Gaza: A Cruel Testing Ground for Israel’s Weapons-Marketing Campaign

War, or rather maintaining an ongoing conflict, is for Israel a lucrative business. The label “combat proven” translates directly into “healthy global sales” of firearms, drones and rockets.

This reality has been the decisive factor in the destabilization of peace and security in the area. In nearly seven decades of its spurious and illegal existence Israel has waged at least 11 wars against Palestinians and Arabs.

From its position of quantitative and qualitative military supremacy, backed by  U.S. imperialism, this rogue state has become a nuclear power without declaring it.

Israel has been a conventional and nuclear military base of the U.S. without any control or supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA) since it has refused to sign their Protocols, alleging lacking foreign policy, according to Henry Kissinger, “Israel has no foreign policy; only domestic politics”.

The racist mindset of the founders of Israel can be seen in David Ben Gurion when he said, “We can only become Arabs as much as the Americans became Redskins..

Our war against the Arabs is to be or not to be; it is not for borders;  Israel lives with war and dies with peace.”

Paul Findley took it further when he said, “The doctrine of Christian fundamentalists stipulates that the existence of a strong Israel is a necessity for the designs of God in Palestine. The United States has the duty to make Israel very strong until the last day of the judgment.”

Prisoner support and human rights organizations claim that approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are being prosecuted each year in Israeli military courts following their arrest, interrogation, torture and detention by the Israeli army.

More recent Zionist leaders are no less fanatical. On 13 March 1992, the Israeli newspaper Haartz, echoed a statement from the former NATO Secretary, Joseph Linz when he said, “Israel is the least expensive mercenary in our era”. 

Meanwhile, Simón Pérez said that “Israel could not survive without the help of the United States”. Since 1973 the U.S. has been the real guarantor of the existence and technology-military superiority of Israel.”

Currently there are no tensions in bilateral diplomatic and political relations and the Presidents of the United States and Israel, at the economic-military level have grown and has experienced improvement especially since the W. Bush administration.

The U.S. has command has posts and military warehouses, including nuclear weapons in Israel – there are at least 150 nuclear weapons according to former President Carter – at the service of the war fighting needs of both powers in the Middle East.

Billions of U.S. tax dollars has propped up the Israeli infrastructure and build up the largest military force in the Middle East. Each consecutive president since 1950 has followed suit including Obama who, on his way out the door, signed an agreement with Israeli that would include $38 billion in military aid over the next decade.

The current situation in the Palestinian territories occupied in the West Bank continues to deteriorate. The Jewish settlements continue to escalate and push Palestinians off their land to the point that they only control 15% of it and movement is extremely restricted.

In the West Bank there are some 700,000 settlers in more than 600 Zionist colonies. These are militarized areas controlled by state sanctioned paramilitary groups.

There are also more than 1000 military check points along the 720 km. wall.

Conclusion

The Zionist entity of the State of Israel with its racist colonial role against the Palestinian people and all Arab people is a major threat to global peace. It constitutes the largest undeclared military base in the world. Israel is a constant violator of all human rights agreements and continues to mock all UN resolutions.

Today the 1975 UN resolution declaring Zionism as form of racism and racial discrimination is truer than ever before.

To do any justice for the cause of the Palestinian people this artificial entity has to be dismantled. Today there are 7 million Palestinians who are either refugees or exiled.

We demand the right of return for all Palestinians to their homeland and an end to occupation, looting, prison, torture and death.

While preparing this presentation I thought of the seven thousand Palestinian prisoners who remain in Israeli jails under administrative detention without any legal protection.

Many of them are children, young people and women.

On April 17 over 1,500 of these political prisoners began an open ended collective hunger strike. The demands are basic; an end to administrative detentions, solitary confinement and torture, the right to receive medicines and medical care and to install public telephones for maintaining contact with their families.

The Zionist response to the strike is alarming.  Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, urged on his Twitter account the “necessity” that the Parliament of Israel, as soon as possible, pass a bill authorizing the death penalty of Palestinian prisoners being held.

This is the same Israeli Parliament, which adopted a resolution to legalize all the colonies that they occupy and currently usurp the land of Palestine.

The question for all justice loving people is how can we build peace with an occupant of this nature?

* Bassel Ismail Salem, is a Palestinian journalist and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) living in Cuba

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano

Why Nazi-Israel Gassed The Archbishop’s Church In Jerusalem

The Archbishop was gassed by an Nazi-Israeli army gas canister, lobbed at Hanna’s Church in Jerusalem December 18 .

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Hanna is particularly troubling for Israel because his political language demolishes Israeli hasbara at its very foundations.

Atallah Hanna has reiterated his belief that Jerusalem and the Holy Land belong to people of all religious beliefs, stressing the need to recognize the rights of Christians, Muslims, and the Jewish people to reside and visit the area freely without a permit requirement.

“They will run and not grow weary,” is a quote from the Bible (Isaiah, 40:41) that adorns the homepage of Kairos Palestine. This important document, which parallels a similar initiative emanating from South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle years, has come to represent the unified voice of the Palestinian Christian community everywhere. One of the main advocates of Kairos Palestine is Archbishop Atallah Hanna.

Hanna has served as the Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem since 2005. Since then, he has used his leadership position to advocate for Palestinian unity in all of its manifestations.

Expectedly, Hanna has been on Israel’s radar for many years, as this kind of leadership is problematic from the viewpoint of a hegemonic political and military power that requires utter and absolute submission.

So when Archbishop Hanna was hospitalized on December 18 as a result of what was reported to be Israeli “poisoning,” Palestinians were very concerned.

A few days later, Hanna was found to be at a Jordanian hospital receiving urgent medical treatment for what was described, by Hanna himself, as “poisoning by chemical substance.”

Whatever that substance may have been, it was reportedly discharged from an Israeli army gas canister, lobbed at Hanna’s Church in Jerusalem.

“The Christians of Palestine are one family of Jordanians and Palestinians,” he told journalists from his hospital bed, where he also said that “Israeli occupation may have attempted to assassinate him or keep him sick all his life, indicating that the substance has very serious effects, especially on the nervous system.”

Zionist criminals from the beginning.

Those familiar with Hanna’s discourse would know precisely what the rebellious Christian leader was aiming at when he spoke about the oneness of Palestinian Christians in Jordan and Palestine: unity which, sadly, has eluded Palestinians for a long time.

Indeed, wherever the man may be, standing tall at a rally in Jerusalem in defense of Palestinian rights or from a hospital bed, he advocates unity among Palestinians and for the sake of Palestine.

The Kairos document is itself an act of unity among Palestinian Christian churches and organizations. “This means for us, here and now, in this land in particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the land in love and mutual respect,” the document, championed by Hanna and many others, states.

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Even before claiming his current leadership position, Hanna was a target of Israel. During the Second Intifada, the uprising of 2005, Hanna emerged on the scene as an advocate, not of Palestinian Christian rights but the rights of all Palestinians.

He actively pursued the World Council of Churches to use its credibility and outreach to speak out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for an independent Palestinian state.

In August 2002, Hanna was detained by the Israeli police in front of his home in Jerusalem’s Old City.

On the orders of the Israeli Attorney General, he was charged with ‘suspicion of relations with terrorist organizations’, a concocted charge that allowed the Israeli government to confiscate the Palestinian leader’s Israeli and Vatican passports.

Despite the fact that Palestinian Christians undergo the same experience of military occupation, oppression, and ethnic cleansing as their Muslim brethren, Israel has labored to propagate an erroneous narrative that presents the “conflict” as one between Israel and Muslim fundamentalists.

Hanna is particularly troubling for Israel because his political language demolishes Israeli hasbara at its very foundations. 

“We intend to conduct special prayers inside the Church of the Nativity for the sake of our martyrs,” he declared on October 10, 2001, when he joined Christian and Muslim leaders in their march from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, to challenge Israel’s targeting of Palestinian religious sites.  

In an interview with ‘Russia Today’ on January 30, 2015, Hanna refused to even concede the language battle to those who ignorantly – or purposely – ascribe Muslim terminology to terrorism. “Allahu Akbar” – God is great in Arabic – is as much Christian as it is a Muslim phrase, he argued.

“We Christians also say Allahu Akbar. This is an expression of our understanding that the Creator is great. We don’t want this phrase to be related to terrorism and crimes,” he said.

“We speak against using this phrase in this context. Those who do, they insult our religion and our religious values,” he added, again, thoughtfully linking all religious values through faith, not politics. 

Israel illustrates daily it’s control over Muslim holy sites

“The city of Jerusalem is the city of the three Abrahamic religions,” Hanna recently said at Istanbul’s “First Global Conference on Israeli Apartheid.” 

Tirelessly and consistently, the Archbishop announced that “Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in Jerusalem suffer from the occupation, suffer from repression, tyranny, and oppression.”

Although born in Ramah in Palestine’s upper Galilee region, Hanna’s true love was, and remains, Jerusalem.

It was there that his spirituality deepened and his political ideas formulated. His advocacy for the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian identity of the city stands at the core of all of his activities.

“Everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by Israeli occupation,” Hanna said last January during a meeting with a Doctors without Borders delegation.

“The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalize our Arabic and Palestinian existence,” the Archbishop lamented.

 

In fact, Israel has been doing exactly that, efforts that have accelerated since Donald Trump’s advent to the White House, and the US’ subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

Archbishop Hanna is one of the strongest and most articulate Palestinian Christian voices in Jerusalem. His relentless work and leadership have irked Israeli authorities for many years.

Now that Israel is finalizing its takeover of the illegally occupied city, Hanna, and like-minded Christian and Muslim leaders, are becoming more than mere irritants but real hurdles in the face of the Israeli military machine.

I met Abouna—Father—Hanna at a California Conference a few years ago. I heard him speak, his thunderous voice is that of a proud Palestinian Arab.

He urged unity, as he always does. I chatted with him later, in the hotel lobby, as he was ready to go out for a walk with his close friend, the Mufti of Jerusalem. He was gentle and polite, and extremely funny.  

As I watched them both walk outside, I felt hopeful that unity for the sake of Palestine is very much possible.

US Interventions For +Military Bases

the U.S. and British governments exiled the Chagossian people from their homeland in the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Archipelago to create a secretive military base on Chagos’ largest island, Diego Garcia. the base on British-controlled Diego Garcia helped launch the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and was part of the CIA’s secret “rendition” program for captured terrorist suspects.

Third World Traveler

As each intervention was being planned, planners focused on building new U.S. military installations, or securing basing rights at foreign facilities, in order to support the coming war.

But after the war ended, the U.S. forces did not withdraw, but stayed behind, often creating suspicion and resentment among local populations, much as the Soviet forces faced after liberating Eastern Europe in World War II.

The new U.S. military bases were not merely built to aid the interventions, but the interventions also conveniently afforded an opportunity to station the bases.

Indeed, the establishment of new bases may in the long run be more critical to U.S. war planners than the wars themselves, as well as to enemies of the U.S.

The massacre of September 11 were not directly tied to the Gulf War; Osama bin Laden had backed the Saudi fundamentalist dictatorship against the Iraqi secular dictatorship in the war. The attacks mainly had their roots in the U.S. decision to leave behind bases in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

The permanent stationing of new U.S. forces in and around the Balkans and Afghanistan could easily generate a similar terrorist “blowback” years from now.

This is not to say that all U.S. wars of the past decade have been the result of some coordinated conspiracy to make Americans the overlords of the belt between Bosnia and Pakistan.

But it is to recast the interventions as opportunistic responses to events, which have enabled Washington to gain a foothold in the “middle ground” between Europe to the west, Russia to the north, and China to the east, and turn this region increasingly into an American “sphere of influence.”

The series of interventions have also virtually secured U.S. corporate control over the oil supplies for both Europe and East Asia. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s just business as usual.

Gulf War.

Contrary to original U.S. promises to its Arab allies, the 1991 Gulf War left behind large military bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and basing rights in the other Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The war also heightened the profile of existing U.S. air bases in Turkey.

The war completed the American inheritance of the oil region from which the British had withdrawn in the early 1970s. Yet the U.S. itself only imports about 5 percent of its oil from the Gulf; the rest is exported mainly to Europe and Japan.

French President Jacques Chirac correctly viewed the U.S. role in the Persian Gulf as securing control over oil sources for the European and East Asian economic powers. The U.S. decided to permanently station bases around the Gulf after 1991 not only to counter Saddam Hussein, and to support the continued bombing against Iraq, but to quell potential internal dissent in the oil-rich monarchies.

Somalia War.

The intervention in Somalia in 1992-93 ended in defeat for the U.S., but it is important to understand why the so-called “humanitarian” intervention took place. In the 1970s-80s, the U.S. had backed Somali dictator Siad Barre in his wars against Soviet-backed Ethiopia.

In return, Barre had granted the U.S. Navy the rights to use Somali naval ports, which were strategically situated at the southern end of the Red Sea, linking the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean.

After Barre was overthrown, the U.S. used the ensuing chaos and famine as its excuse to move back in, but made the mistake of siding with one group of warlords against the Mogadishu warlord Mohamed Aidid.

In the battle of Mogadishu, romanticized in the movie “Black Hawk Down,” 18 U.S. troops and many hundreds of Somalis were killed. The U.S. withdrew, and eventually gained naval basing rights in the port of Aden, just across the Red Sea in Yemen.

Balkan Wars.

The U.S. interventions in Bosnia in 1995, and Kosovo in 1999, were ostensibly reactions to Serbian “ethnic cleansing,” yet the U.S. had not intervened to prevent similar “ethnic cleansing” by its Croatian or Albanian allies in the Balkans.

The U.S. military interventions in former Yugoslavia resulted in new U.S. military bases in five countries: Hungary, Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, and the sprawling Camp Bondsteel complex in southeastern Kosovo. NATO allies have also participated in the interventions, though not always with the same political priorities.

As in the Gulf and Afghan conflicts, European Union allies may be joining the U.S. wars not simply out of solidarity, but out of fear of being completely excluded from carving out the postwar order in the region

. The Kosovo intervention, in particular, was followed by stepped-up European efforts to form an independent military force outside of the U.S.-commanded NATO.

The U.S. stationing of huge bases along the eastern edge of the E.U., which can be used to project forces into the Middle East, was carried out partly in anticipation of European militaries one day going their own way.

Afghan War.

The U.S. intervention in Afghanistan was ostensibly a reaction to the September 11 attacks, and to some extent was aimed at toppling the Taliban. But Afghanistan has historically been in an extremely strategic location straddling South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

The country also conveniently lies along a proposed Unocal oil pipeline route from the Caspian Sea oil fields to the Indian Ocean. The U.S. had already been situating forces in the neighboring ex-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan before September 11.

During the war, it has used its new bases and basing rights in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and to a lesser extent Tajikistan.

It is using the continued instability in Afghanistan (like in Somalia, largely a result of setting warlords against warlords) as an excuse to station a permanent military presence throughout the region, and it even plans to institute the dollar as the new Afghan currency.

The new string of U.S. military bases are becoming permanent outposts guarding a new Caspian Sea oil infrastructure.

Why War?

Geopolitical priorities may help explain why Washington went to war in all these countries, even as paths to peace remained open. President George Bush launched the February 1991 ground war against Iraq, even though Saddam was already withdrawing from Kuwait under Soviet disengagement plan.

He also sent forces into Somalia in 1992, even though the famine he used as a justification had already lessened. President Clinton launched a war on Serbia in 1999 to force a withdraw from Kosovo, even though Yugoslavia had already met many of his withdrawal terms at the Rambouillet conference.

President George W. Bush attacked Afghanistan in 2001 without having put much diplomatic pressure on the Taliban to surrender Bin Laden, or letting anti-Taliban forces (such as Pashtun commander Abdul Haq) win over Taliban forces on their own.

Washington went to war not as a last resort, but because it saw war as a convenient opportunity to further larger goals.

Geopolitical priorities may also help explain the reluctance of the U.S. to declare victory in these wars. If the U.S. had ousted Saddam from power in 1991, his Gulf allies would have demanded the withdrawal of U.S. bases, but his continued hold onto power justifies intensive U.S. bombing of Iraq and a continued hold over the Gulf oil region.

The fact that Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar have not been captured in four months of war also provides convenient justification for the permanent stationing of U.S. bases in Central and South Asia. All three men are more useful to U.S. plans if they are alive and free, at least for the time being.

Wars in the Making.

Iraq is certainly the primary target for a new U.S. war, for President Bush to “finish the job” that his daddy left unfinished.

Now that the American sphere of influence is taking hold in the “middle ground” between Europe and East Asia, the attention may be turned on both Iraq and its former enemy Iran as the only remaining regional powers to stand in the way.

Bush may be under the illusion that Iraqi opposition forces can be refashioned into a pro-U.S. force like the Northern Alliance or Kosovo Liberation Army.

He may also be under the illusion that his threats against Iran will help Iranian “moderate” reformers, even though it is already dangerously strengthening the hand of Islamist hard-liners.

A U.S. war against either Iraq or Iran will destroy any bridges recently built to Islamic states, especially as Bush also abandons even the pretense of even-handedness between Israelis and Palestinians.

U.S. war planners are also openly targeting Somalia and Yemen, and are patrolling their shores with Navy ships, though they may decide to intervene indirectly to avoid the disasters of Mogadishu in 1993 and Aden in 2000.

Why Osama Bin-Laden?

Anti-Imperialist

Bin Laden had backed Aidid to prevent new U.S. bases in Somalia, and his father is from the historically rebellious Hadhramaut region of southeastern Yemen. Yet Washington’s priority would not be to eliminate Bin Laden’s influence, leaving that role mainly to local forces.

Rather the priority would be to regain naval access to strategic Somali and Yemeni ports.

The most direct U.S. intervention since the Afghan invasion has been in the southern Philippines, against the Moro (Muslim) guerrilla militia Abu Sayyaf.

The U.S. sees the tiny Abu Sayyaf group as inspired by Bin Laden, rather than a thuggish outgrowth of decades of Moro insurgency in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. U.S. special forces “trainers” are carrying out joint “exercises” with Philippine troops in the active combat zone.

Their goal may be to achieve an easy Grenada-style victory over the 200 rebels, for the global propaganda effect against Bin Laden. But once in place, the counterinsurgency campaign could easily be redirected against other

Moro or even Communist rebel groups in Mindanao. It could also help achieve the other major U.S. goal in the Philippines: to fully reestablish U.S. military basing rights, which ended when the Philippine Senate terminated U.S. control of Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, after the Cold War ended and a volcanic eruption damaged both bases.

Such a move back into the country would be strongly resisted, however, by both leftist and rightist Filipino nationalists.

The U.S. return to the Philippines, like Bush’s newest threats against North Korea, may also be an effort to assert U.S. influence in East Asia, as China rises as a global power and other Asian economies recover from financial crises.

A growing U.S. military role throughout Asia could counteract increasing criticism of U.S. bases in Japan. The moves could also raise fears in China of a U.S. sphere of influence intruding on its borders.

The new U.S. air base in the ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan is too close to China for comfort. (Russian fears of U.S. encirclement may also be rekindled, though Russia may instead join the U.S. in using its oil to lessen the power of OPEC. )

Meanwhile, other regions of the world are also being targeted in the U.S. “war on terror,” notably South America. Just as Cold War propaganda recast leftist rebels in South Vietnam and El Salvador as puppets of North Vietnam or Cuba, U.S. “war on terror” propaganda is casting Colombian rebels as the allies of neighboring oil-rich Venezuela.

The beret-clad Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, is described loosely as sympathetic to Bin Laden and Fidel Castro, and as possibly turning OPEC against the U.S. Chavez could serve as an ideal new enemy if Bin Laden is eliminated.

“Hello Mr. President,” he told off Bush in English, saying: “You are a donkey.” Noam Chomsky is not.

The crisis in South America, though it cannot be tied to Islamic militancy, may be the most dangerous new war in the making.

Common themes.

Whether we look at the U.S. wars of the past decade in the Persian Gulf, Somalia, the Balkans, or Afghanistan, or at the possible new wars in Yemen, the Philippines, or Colombia/Venezuela, or even at Bush’s new “axis of evil” of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, the same common themes arise.

The U.S. military interventions cannot all be tied to the insatiable U.S. thirst for oil (or rather for oil profits), even though many of the recent wars do have their roots in oil politics.

They can nearly all be tied to the U.S. desire to build or rebuild military bases.

The new U.S. military bases, and increasing control over oil supplies, can in turn be tied to the historical shift taking place since the 1980s: the rise of European and East Asian blocs that have the potential to replace the United States and Soviet Union as the world’s economic superpowers.

Much as the Roman Empire tried to use its military power to buttress its weakening economic and political hold over its colonies, the United States is aggressively inserting itself into new regions of the world to prevent its competitors from doing the same.

The goal is not to end “terror” or encourage “democracy,” and Bush will not accomplish either of these claimed goals. The short-term goal is to station U.S. military forces in regions where local nationalists had evicted them.

The long-term goal is to increase U.S. corporate control over the oil needed by Europe and East Asia, whether the oil is in around the Caspian or the Caribbean seas.

The ultimate goal is to establish new American spheres of influence, and eliminate any obstacles– religious militants, secular nationalists, enemy governments, or even allies–who stand in the way.

U.S. citizens may welcome the interventions to defend the “homeland” from attack, or even to build new bases or oil pipelines to preserve U.S. economic power.

But as the dangers of this strategy become more apparent, Americans may begin to realize that they are being led down a risky path that will turn even more of the world against them, and lead inevitably to future September 11s (false flags)

The Imperialist Lie That Won’t Die: America is Making the Planet Safer

When you’re right you don’t have to run from questions and you can provide straight answers.  When Secretary Mike Pompeo declared Iran guilty of provocations he ran from questions and of course offered no credible evidence. Just compare this to Pompeo’s version and truth is clear from error.

 The US doesn’t answer questions, it just gives answers with no evidence. As with lying Israel, we just ‘say’ and it ‘is’. Just watch the beginning of this video (Trump) to get the gist. All three videos exposes the Imperialist lies. Since the NWO was passed to the Jews in 1940, everyone has to play along. Lie cheat steal kill it doesn’t matter how to get rid of the obstacles.

Chabad is a Judeo-Nazi ultra-Orthodox sect, also known Chabad-Lubavitch as movement. They run the NWO for Jews and everyone else. “Jews are above all, and Chabad is higher than the Jews.”

Venezuela – Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project

Lest we forget Israel’s hidden hand. The US is throwing in it’s neocons Elliot Abrams – Rubio – Bolton -Wasserman to lead the regime change…neocons are Israeli firsters and war criminals. [Previously terming themselves “leftists,” and now calling themselves “conservatives,” in actuality neo-cons are neither. Rather, their ideology largely revolves around passionate devotion to Israeli interests.]

Israel’s financial and military support for these right-wing powers spells nothing good for the people of Latin America.  Today Israel maintains full diplomatic relations with all the countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean region, except Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela (the latter two severed relations with Israel in 2009). Many Israelis visit Central and South America, particularly young Israelis for whom a visit to these regions is part of a post-army right of passage.

“You can’t understand what’s been going on around the world with American covert operations and the Israeli covert operations until you understand that the two countries have this secret arrangement”

The Trump administration has launched a large political project to remake several states in Latin America. The Wall Street Journal headlines:

U.S. Push to Oust Venezuela’s Maduro Marks First Shot in Plan to Reshape Latin America
The Trump administration’s broader aim is to gain leverage over Cuba and curb recent inroads in the region by Russia, Iran and China

The plan includes regime change in Venezuela, Nicaragua and eventually Cuba. The removal of any Russian or Chinese interest is another point. It is a multiyear project that has bipartisan support. It will likely require military force.


The targets: Raúl Castro of Cuba, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.
READ MORE

Trump’s Economic Sanctions Have Cost Venezuela About $6bn Since August 2017

The inescapable conclusion is that Trump’s policy is depraved. The US has deliberately made an economic catastrophe much worse in the hope that its Venezuelan allies can seize power through violence as they briefly did in April of 2002. But as it stands today, US puppet leader for Venezuela is in hiding from Maduro’s loyal army haha.*

Images and portrayals of Venezuelans rioting in the streets over high food costs, empty grocery stores, medicine shortages, and overflowing garbage bins are the headlines, and the reporting points to socialism as the cause.

Perversely, Maduro’s government has been widely accused of “using” the economic crisis to “buy” loyalty of the most vulnerable through the direct delivery of food and other basic products. Trump’s goal is clearly to starve the government of funds it uses to allegedly “buy support” (i.e. respond to the crisis). Maduro, like Chavez before him, regularly decries US interference in Latin America.

venezuelanalysis.com/analysis

Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodriguez, a longtime critic of the Venezuelan government, wrote a piece showing that after sanctions Trump introduced in August of 2017 Venezuela’s oil production dropped much faster than analysts had predicted it would. Rodriguez was the economic advisor to former presidential candidate Henri Falcon, who defied US threats to run in Venezuela’s presidential elections that were held in May despite the boycott of other opposition leaders.

Below is the key graph Rodriguez provides.

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Venezuelan and Colombian oil prices (OPEC)

Venezuelan and Colombian oil prices (OPEC)

Venezuelan oil production followed essentially the same pattern as Colombia’s during 2016 and most of 2017 –until August when Trump’s sanctions came into force. A decline in production was driven by the price of oil hitting its lowest point in about a decade at the start of 2016.

But in August of 2017 Trump’s sanctions made it illegal for the Venezuelan government to obtain financing from the US which was devastating for two reasons: all the Venezuelan governments’ outstanding foreign currency bonds are governed under New York state law; and one of the Venezuelan government’s major assets, the state-owned CITGO corporation, is based in Texas.

The sanctions also blocked CITGO from sending profits and dividends back to Venezuela (which had been averaging about $1 billion USD per year since 2015).

The table below shows my estimate of Venezuela’s oil revenues each month since Trump’s sanctions came into force. The price of WTI oil (which approximates the price of Venezuela’s) basically increased linearly since August of 2017 from $50 to about $70 per barrel.

The oil production volumes are taken from the estimates Rodriguez has provided. In the “no sanctions” case show below, it is assumed that Venezuela‘s oil production would have continued to fall at the same rate as in the 12 months before Trump’s sanctions.

Rodriguez cited a “worst case” prediction made by a prominent oil consultant that a 13% decline in production would take place in 2017 followed by a 6% decline in 2018. The “no sanctions” case shown below is close to that “worst case prediction”. It assumes an 11% decline would have taken place.

In reality (i.e. the “sanctions” case) production has fallen by 37% since the sanctions were imposed. The difference in total revenue between the “sanction” and “no sanctions” case over the twelve month period is about $6 billion.

table.png

Venezuelan oil revenues with and without the impact of sanctions (Joe Emersberger)

Venezuelan oil revenues with and without the impact of sanctions (Joe Emersberger)

That sum, $6 billion, is 133 times larger than what the UNHCR has appealed for in aid for Venezuelan migrants. It is also equal to about 6% of Venezuela’s GDP at present. Health care spending in Latin America and the Caribbean averages about 7% of GDP.

Perversely, Maduro’s government has been widely accused of “using” the economic crisis to “buy” loyalty of the most vulnerable through the direct delivery of food and other basic products. Trump’s goal is clearly to starve the government of funds it uses to allegedly “buy support” (i.e. respond to the crisis). 

Rodriguez pulls his punches and heavily qualifies his thesis, but the inescapable conclusion is that Trump’s policy is depraved. The US has deliberately made an economic catastrophe much worse in the hope that its Venezuelan allies can seize power through violence as they briefly did in April of 2002.

Rodriguez is correct to say that the “toxification” of dealing with Venezuela’s government, and the imposition of “reputational costs” on those who do so, is a huge factor in all this. The Western media has indeed demonized Venezuela‘s government for 17 years and has therefore reduced, almost to zero, the legal and moral constraints on the US and its allies.

The priority for decent people whose governments have collaborated with Trump in attacking Venezuela should be to strengthen those constraints. The attacks could easily become even more barbaric.

“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”- George Orwell

Media Reports “Good News”: Kids Are Dying in Venezuela, Sanctions are Working

To strengthen corporate dominance, Washington steadily undermined democracy, encouraged exploitation and nourished anti-union violence in the south.

US foreign policy and US corp exploitation in Latin America  increases poverty, The poor and indigenous people have their land  stolen out from under them, and paramilitary death squads enforce their removal. Large land owners, resource corporations and monocrop  plantations for export move in, often they are US corporations.

shoah.org.uk/2019/01/15

Tom is becoming the Luke Harding of Venezuela. Luke…err, Tom blames all of Venezuela’s problems on president Nicolas Maduro. Tom has piled on, repeating the Washington Consensus vilifying Maduro……that is what “repeaters” do.

If Maduro is illegally and violently removed from office, what will come after? Probably chaos, since there is no united opposition. Chaos is what the US desires, because chaos gives the US an excuse for interventions. A dysfunctional opposition then gives the US the power to be the kingmaker. The US has a self-proclaimed “right” to intervene anywhere, anytime in Latin America, according to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, and the 1904 “Big Stick” Roosevelt corollary.

As a rule, US doctrines do not become internationally laws, and instead usually violate international law. Doctrines are just a “wish-list” of US foreign policy. The main US foreign policy objective is to promote US corporate exploitation of foreign countries.

Ros Lehtinen, anti-Castro cuban exile hired by the Bush dynasty:” As a political refugee, I have a unique perspective on the greatness of the …. To fight against climate change. … democracy and the rule of law in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.”

If the US gets its way in Venezuela, then Venezuela will be ruled by oligarchs, dictators or the military—or a confabulation of the three natural allies. The Venezuelan people overwhelmingly rejected the 40-years of oligarchy, when they elected Hugo Chavez in 1998. Chavez ran for election on a socialist platform. The US has been trying to overthrow Chavez’s socialist movement from the first moment Chavez took office.

In 2002 Bush backed a failed coup. Trump and his cronies have been planning another coup. This just in from Tom Phillips January 11th: Juan Guaido of the opposition is calling for an international intervention and a military coup. An illegal violent regime change is very likely soon.

After Chavez died of cancer at the age of 58 in 2013, his vice president Nicolás Maduro constitutionally assumed his office. Maduro has been struggling to continue Chavez’s socialist programs for the poor. Maduro is no Chavez, but he is trying to carry on Chavez’s legacy. Maduro was reelected to his second term in 2018.

Maduro faces many economic problems, much of them stemming from the collapsing international oil price in 2015. There are good reasons to believe that the collapse in oil prices was a US-Saudi conspiracy, since the economic victims were Russia and Venezuela, two of the countries the US is trying to regime change. Oil is 95% of Venezuela’s revenue from exports, and 25% of its GDP.

The other major problem for Maduro is that on top of collapsing oil prices the US imposed crushing economic sanctions. Tom’s article unwittingly exposes the lie that the sanctions were targeted, and not intended as collective punishment of the people. Children are dying! Instead of using dead children as propaganda props, economic sanctions should be immediately suspended, and foreign aid sent to save the lives of these innocent victims. Tom did not mention that in the article. All he had for the dead children was crocodile tears.

The US is stomping on Venezuela’s neck, trying to kill socialism. And vengefully killing Venezuelan kids. (Just a few weeks ago, Pompeo mocked Iran, saying ….”if you want your people to eat”). The US is stomping its boot on the neck of socialism throughout Latin America, after years of a “pink tide” of elected progressive governments. It is working, as progressive governments in Latin America are becoming extinct.

Regime changes: A day after Colombia’s foreign minister announced the country’s recognition of a Palestinian state, the government backtracked and vowed to review the move. The original decision was taken by former president Juan Manuel Santos right before he was replaced by Ivan Duque, who was sworn in on Tuesday. Regime changes: New Colombian government to review recognition of ‘Palestine,’ whereas leading Brazilian presidential candidate vows to shut Palestinian mission

Critics of Chavez and Maduro claim that socialism never works. It worked just fine under Chavez, as people were lifted out of poverty. Inequality declined dramatically. Critics blame Chavez and now Maduro for “overspending” on the poor.

As the US rebounds from one economic crisis to another, one bank bailout to the next, it is obvious to those that can see: Capitalism does not work. The US with its hyper-neoliberalism is 25th on the UN Human Development Index, adjusted for inequality. The US has its own healthcare crisis of 45,000 people dying every year because they cannot afford healthcare. Many of them children, Tom!

Sad how the critics never blame a country’s economic problems on over spending for US weapons, concentration of wealth in a few wealthy families, or austerity for the people because of crooked debt-imposed austerity by the IMF. The poor are expendable for oligarchs North and South. US healthcare and needed infrastructure suffer from overspending on the military and wars.

Socialism, even a democratic one is a dirty word to the US, because socialist governments use their country’s natural resources, and state-owned enterprises for the benefit of the people. US corporations want those resources, privatized state-owned enterprises, and to have poor people as a source of cheap labor. The driver of US foreign policy is what corporations want.

US foreign policy and US corporate exploitation in Latin America increases poverty there. The poor and indigenous people have their land stolen out from under them, and paramilitary death squads enforce their removal. Large land owners, resource corporations and monocrop plantations for export move in, often they are US corporations.

US welcoming committee for asylum seekers on the southern border. (Photo by the White House)

Unfair trade agreements allow the import of cheap US agricultural products. Cheap agricultural products, such as corn, is highly subsidized by US taxpayers, corporate welfare to agribusiness. Indigenous small farmers cannot compete with the dumped US imports. They are driven out of business and off their farms. With nowhere else to go, the poor and dispossessed migrate to the city where they are exploited as wage-slaves. Because the poor are vulnerable, they are easy targets for extortion from criminal gangs……while corrupt police look the other way.

Ironically, the poor fleeing for their lives, seeking protection and an opportunity to earn a subsistence wage head in the direction of their abuser……to the USA. That is why the US is experiencing a sharp increase in people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador seeking political asylum.

Trump and his xenophobic racist supporters want the US to turn asylum seekers away. They want the US to be a “gated community”, as Trump put it. When other countries such as Venezuela want to be a “gated community” and keep out US corporations and unfair trade from exploiting them, then the US sends in the jackals.

In the old days the US “opened” foreign “gated communities” with gunboats, and admitted that the purpose was commercial interests. At one time or another, over the past 200 years the US has invaded almost every Latin American and Caribbean country; some of them multiple times. US invasions haven’t been for democracy. They have been for commercial reasons, and the source of wealth for those that became elite families.

William Allen Rogers’s 1904 cartoon recreates the Big Stick Diplomacy of Theodore Roosevelt as an episode in Gulliver’s Travels……(Wikipedia)

Today foreign holdouts from the neoliberal Washington Consensus are “opened” by the CIA, Special Forces, mercenaries, terrorists, local collaborators, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, and other government-private NGOs. NGOs do overtly what the CIA used to do covertly to sow discontent, opposition and violence.

The US uses psychological warfare and propaganda to “open” closed foreign countries. The US uses threats, bribes, political isolation, economic sanctions and the constant reminder that “all options are on the table”. The mainstream media, such as the Guardian (British, but very much part of this fetid media conspiracy) are complicit by keeping up a steady drumbeat of propaganda.

The US always presents its aggression as being out of concern for democracy, human rights, or because the US is being threatened by some small country, like Cuba, Bolivia, or Venezuela. Absurdity and blatant cowardice do not exist in the minds of US policymakers or their media stenographers: The US multiforce attack on puny Grenada (with a population smaller than a single neighborhood in Brooklyn, and with no actual armed forces of any kind) was hailed as a victory for US arms, and made into a “hero” movie by Clint Eastwood.—Ed) And quite typically, Pompeo just gave a delusional lying speech in Cairo that the US is a force for good, and he praised the bloody military-coup dictator Sisi. Mentioning commercial interests, greedy banks and the military-industrial-complex is considered uncouth, even though it is the truth behind US foreign policy.

The mainstream media is a vital player and collaborator in preparing the domestic audience for US wars of aggression, interventions, and regime changes. Mockingbirds, such as Tom Phillips, members of a compliant media, can only be described charitably as “useful idiots” in advancing the US agenda, when not outright hidden collaborators. The mainstream media such as the Guardian creates a circus-like atmosphere of a crisis. They sell the public that “something has to be done”.

After a US invasion the mainstream media again provides the cover story. When all the lies come out as they did about the Iraq War, then the media sticks its head in the sand and denies any responsibility. But in all cases, when the media acts as a propagandist for war, then they have blood on their hands too. They are first-degree accomplices to grave international crimes for which people were hanged under Nuremberg tribunal statutes.

US imperialism, neocolonialism, resource exploitation, imposed austerity, unfair trade, and the US monopolizing of the international financial system have destroyed millions of people’s lives. Trump says he does not hate US victims. Like a lot of US Americans, he just does not care. The US has no empathy for its victims, but cries crocodile tears for the alleged victims of US enemies. It is the syndrome that Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky referred to as “Worthy and Unworthy Victims”.

As Paul Jay of The Real News Network put it, for Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer, and Tony Soprano, the US is like the mafia: “it’s not personal, it’s just business”.

Putin ‘threatens’ the West with a new generation of nuclear weapons

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The headline is comically absurd. According to US-Israel, any country with an aim to defend itself against imperialist aggression is a threat and an enemy. But just think of how many countries have been aggressive against US or Israel? Any?  Unless one believes the official version of 9/11. Unless one believes that Bin-Laden masterminded an operation which involved 3 state governments at the highest echelon of power to pull such a thing off. Unless one believes that the US ‘got’ Bin Laden years after he was dead of natural causes…and declared him dead buried at sea with virtually no evidence and no witnesses.

And where should we suppose US has it’s own nuclear warheads pointed at!
What would have happened to Colonel Qaddafi had he nuclear capabilities? He would not have not been sodomized with a knife, that’s for sure! Libya would not be in chaos! Iran, Russia and N. Korea leaders are not aware of this fact? How does anyone buy this imperialist crap narrative?

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia threatened the West with a new generation of nuclear weapons Thursday, including what he described as an “invincible” intercontinental cruise missile and a nuclear torpedo that could outsmart all American defenses.

The presentation by Mr. Putin, which included animation videos depicting multiple warheads aimed at Florida, where President Trump often stays at his Mar-a-Lago resort, sharply escalated the military invective in the tense relationship between the United States and Russia, which has led to predictions of a costly new nuclear arms race.

While Mr. Putin may have been bluffing about these weapons, as some experts suggested, he cleverly focused on a vulnerability of American-designed defenses: They are based on the assumption that enemy nuclear missiles fly high and can be destroyed well before they reach their targets.

The new class of Russian weapons, he said, travel low, stealthily, far and fast — too fast for defenders to react.

Mr. Putin’s announcement, in his annual state of the nation address, seemed intended chiefly to stir the patriotic passions of Russians at a moment when he is heading into a re-election campaign, even though his victory is assured in what amounts to a one-candidate race.

Trump administration planning Pinochet-style coup in Venezuela

 
“What’s the point of having this superb military … if we can’t use it?” —Madeleine Albright U.S. State Department

Tillerson hints at forthcoming military coup in Venezuela.

Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, has long eyed unfettered U.S. control over Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA). Tillerson’s Latin American itinerary betrays his plans for Venezuela.

The retrograde Donald Trump administration is planning a military coup in Venezuela to oust the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking at the University of Texas prior to embarking on a multi-nation tour throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, said the military in Latin America has often intervened in Latin American politics during times of serious crises.

Tillerson’s remarks conjured up scenes from America’s dark past in Latin America. To make matters worse, Tillerson invoked the imperialistic Monroe Doctrine of 1823, stressing that it is as “relevant today as it was the day it was written.” The Monroe Doctrine, throughout American history, has been used by the United States to justify military interventions in Latin America, often with the aim of establishing “banana republics” subservient to Washington’s whims.

According to a BBC report, Tillerson prefaced his augmented his remarks by stating that he was “not advocating regime change and that he had no intelligence on any planned action.” Richard Nixon’s National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger made similar remarks before the bloody September 11, 1973 Central Intelligence Agency-backed coup against Chile’s Socialist President Salvador Allende.

While publicly rejecting any U.S. involvement in the destabilization of Chile’s democratically-elected government, Kissinger was working behind the scenes with Chile’s armed forces to overthrow and assassinate Allende. Eleven days after the Chilean coup, Kissinger was rewarded by Nixon by being named Secretary of State, along with keeping his National Security Adviser portfolio.

Ever since Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, came to power in 1999, the CIA has attempted at least one military coup — a putsch that was quickly reversed – in 2002, several “color revolution”-style street protests and disruptions, economic warfare, and CIA-initiated general strikes to force both Chavez and Maduro from power.

Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, has long eyed unfettered U.S. control over Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA). Tillerson’s Latin American itinerary betrays his plans for Venezuela. Tillerson will travel to Mexico, a nation that has a troubled relationship with the United States over Trump’s racially-tinged rhetoric. Tillerson and Trump’s National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster have charged Russia, without an iota of proof, with interfering in Mexico’s current presidential election campaign.

Leftist MORENA party candidate, front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or “AMLO,” has had to fend off false charges that he has accepted financing from Russian interests. Right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Meade, Washington’s favorite, has charged that AMLO is backed by Russia. AMLO, calling the charges from Meade — who is running on the ticket of the narco-corrupted Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – ridiculous, often jokingly wears a jacket bearing the name “Andres Manuelovich.”

Besides Mexico, Tillerson is also visiting Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Jamaica. Tillerson’s stops belie his actual intentions. Argentina, governed by Mauricio Macri, a real estate developer crony of Trump, and Peru, whose scandal-ridden president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has praised Trump, have led anti-Venezuela actions within the Organization of American States and other international institutions. Colombia has served as a base for CIA-backed paramilitary and intelligence operations against Venezuela.

Due to U.S.-led sanctions against Venezuela, Colombia is now home to thousands of Venezuelan economic refugees, fertile ground from which to recruit foot soldiers in a coup against Maduro. All of Tillerson’s stops in Latin America – with the exception of Jamaica — are in countries that are members of the Lima Group, a bloc of nations seeking to peacefully ease Maduro from power in Venezuela.

Tillerson’s stopover in Jamaica is obviously designed to pry away from Venezuela’s orbit, several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) island states that have benefitted from inexpensive oil deliveries from Venezuela. According to the BBC, Tillerson even joked in Texas about Maduro’s ultimate fate: “If the kitchen gets a little too hot for him [Maduro], I am sure that he’s got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda on the beach.”

For Venezuelans who support their government, Tillerson’s “joke” was a reminder that Chavez, after temporarily being ousted in the April 2002 coup, was held captive at the Antonio Diaz Naval Air Station on the Venezuelan island of La Orchila. Had the coup not failed, it is believed the United States was going to fly Chavez into exile, possibly to Cuba via the U.S. Naval Station and detainee gulag in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Tillerson, who is apparently still carrying the water for Exxon-Mobil, is reprising the role played by Harold Geneen, the president of International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT). Geneen, working with the CIA, provided $1 million to Allende’s opponent in the 1970 presidential election, Jorge Alessandri. ITT was also discovered to have financially supported the 1973 coup plotters in Chile. In 1964, Geneen and ITT worked with the CIA to overthrow the democratically-elected Brazilian government of Joao Goulart.

Today, it is Exxon-Mobil and its plant inside the Trump administration – Tillerson – who are working overtime to play the roles of ITT and Geneen in attempting to overthrow Maduro in Venezuela; imprison on trumped up charges, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the former and possible future presidents of Brazil and Argentina, respectively; and return U.S. “gunboat diplomacy” to the Western hemisphere.

In a news conference in Mexico City, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray rejected Tillerson’s notion of a military coup in Venezuela to oust the Maduro government. Present at the news conference was Canadian External Affair Minister Chrystia Freeland, an outspoken enemy of Venezuela and Russia.

Tillerson has a visceral hatred for Venezuela that transcends Maduro and Chavez. In 1976, a year after Tillerson began working for Exxon, Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez nationalized Venezuela’s oil industry. Among the assets nationalized were Exxon’s holdings in the country. Chavez re-nationalized Exxon-Mobil’s assets in 2007, during Tillerson’s reign over the firm. Exxon-Mobil and Tillerson battled Venezuela over compensation by Caracas.

Exxon-Mobil took its case to World Bank arbitration and demanded that Venezuela compensate the company with a $15 billion payment. The bank settled on compensation of only $1.6 billion, an act that ruffled Tillerson’s feathers. Tillerson never forgot that Venezuela won the skirmish over compensation for Exxon-Mobil. Tillerson now intends to even the score by seeking to overthrow Chavez’s successor, Maduro, from power.

In 2015, Exxon-Mobil began oil operations off the coast of Guyana, to Venezuela’s east, in the disputed territory of Essequibo. Although Venezuela and Guyana have sought international arbitration in the case, that did not stop Tillerson, while heading Exxon-Mobil, to order his Guyana subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd., to continue exploring in the disputed region. For Tillerson and his boss, Trump, legal agreements are apparently not worth the paper they are printed on.

While in Jamaica, Tillerson is expected to lean on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to buy out Venezuela’s 49 percent stake in the Jamaican oil refining company, Petrojam. Tillerson wants to subject Caribbean nations, which established cooperative agreements with the Venezuelan oil industry through the PetroCaribe alliance, to cancel those deals to comply with Trump’s punishing Executive Order 13808, which extended “Russia-style” sanctions to Venezuela. Tillerson would like nothing more than to increase Exxon-Mobil’s profits by nixing PetroCaribe agreements with nations like Haiti, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Guyana, Belize, Honduras, Bahamas, Suriname, St. Kitts-Nevis, and St. Lucia, thus forcing Caribbean nations to purchase more expensive oil and gasoline from Exxon-Mobil.

Tillerson has shown the ugly face of the Trump administration to Latin America. It not only wants to deport millions of undocumented Latin American residents of the United States in a mass movement of displaced persons not seen since World War II, but it wants to change, through bloody coups, governments not to Trump’s pleasing throughout Latin America.

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