May 26, 2020 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia)
The United States has banned flights from Brazil as coronavirus cases and deaths have exploded in the South American nation, Latin America's most populous country with more than 212 million inhabitants.
Brazil, which accounts for roughly half the population of Latin America, registered 376,669 cases and 23,522 deaths up to May 25.
From Wednesday, May 27, citizens who have been to Brazil for the last 14 days cannot enter the US unless they stay at least 15 days in a country that has not banned their entry, for instance Mexico, to then enter the the American territory.
As Brazil has overpassed 1,000 daily deaths of coronavirus, South America is the worldwide epicenter of the novel coronavirus according to the World Health Organization.
“Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,” said the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, last Sunday, May 24, about the new travel restrictions that will not affect bilateral trade between the US and Brazil, she said.
Before the US ban announcement, Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo had said that Washington will send 1,000 respirators to his country, according to him part of "excellent cooperation between both countries," something not confirmed by the facts, as much as the sending of such medical supplies from the US to Brazil. On the contrary: the Trump Administration has restricted imports from Brazil, and there is no record of any cooperation with Brazil to date.
Coronavirus hit Brazil relatively late, but the country has now the second-highest infection rate in the world, and the sixth-highest recorded Covid-19 deaths. The number of deaths in the South American country is now doubling every two weeks compared with every two months in the hard-hit United Kingdom.
As Jair Bolsonaro's office declined to comment the US restriction, his foreign relations adviser, Filipe Martins, kept the Bolsonaro administration's hallmark of blaming others, especially journalists: “Ignore the hysteria of the press,” the adviser said in a Twitter post in the following day to the White House announcement.
On the same day, a Brazilian woman said to President Jair Bolsonaro in the streets of Brasilia, that Brazil's Ministry of Communication should "do a better propaganda" of his government. Mr. Bolsonaro replied, saying that the "world media is leftist," a Bolsonaro Administration's endless attempt of creating imaginary enemies.
The world-renowned Brazilian Economist Ladisau Dowbor said to Pravda.ru that Mr. Bolsonaro is trying to violate the Constitution to achieve his goals, which are not to seek a solution to the pandemic nor to fix the national disastrous economy.
"The president is clearly attempting to get power instruments much beyond the Constitution and is daily claiming that the chaos we are living in is a result of his enemies who are tying his hands: the Congress, the Judiciary, the media, and of course communists, now resurrected for Bolsonaro's sheer necessity of having someone to blame," pointed out the expert based in Sao Paulo city.
A similar strategy of US President Donald Trump to divert attention, now blaming China, a so-called American enemy trumpeted by his administration, of producing the virus in a laboratory in Wuhan city, without any evidence about it.
Former Brazil's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Celso Amorim, said on Monday, May 25, that the banning of Brazilians from entering the North-American country, "is a demonstration of the total failure of a Brazilian foreign policy completely subservient to Washington."
Mr. Bolsonaro's popularity ratings in Brazil have tumbled, and are now below 30 percent. Some 50 percent of the Brazilian population disapprove of his handling of the crisis. Adding up to the terrific health crisis caused by the pandemic, Brazil faces a deep economic and political crisis, on the brink of a coup d'état by military allied to President Bolsonaro. There has been a social confusion, too, much likely never seen in the history of Brazil.
According to the French Author and Political Scientist Elodie Brun, an expert in Foreign Relations, Brazil's historically fragile democracy is running risk under Mr. Bolsonaro, who she considers responsible for the dramatic spread of the coronavirus throughout the South American country.
"Jair Bolsonaro's behavior is jeopardizing the Brazilian health system, and the protection of the Brazilians at the same time," told Pravda.ru the researcher at Colegio de Mexico.
"And the Brazilian democracy, as proved by the increasing presence of the military to manage the Covid-19 crisis," Doctor Brun added in an exclusive interview from Mexico City.
Doctor Dowbor, a political refugee in the years of Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985), agrees with Doctor Brun: "The generals in charge of the Army, Navy, and Air Force have jointly declared that they stand for democracy. When Latin-American generals claim that they will defend democracy, we should worry."
The decline in Brazil's gross domestic product this year could be around 4.5%, which would mark, according to Central bank data, the biggest annual fall in at least 50 years. The real is the currency that has faced the worst devaluation in the world in 2020, falling 45% against the US dollar.
Brazil's Federal Police incriminated, on May 25, one of President Jair Bolsonaro's son, councilman Carlos Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro, pointing him as one of the chiefs of a criminal organization in the South American country devoted to spreading fake news, since the 2018 presidential campaign to date.
Carlos Bolsonaro's criminal activities include, according to investigations, long ago well-known among Brazilians, threats against his father's political opponents. The Bolsonaros are suspected of having killed Marielle Franco in March of 2018, then-councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilian jurists have said that the election won by Mr. Bolsonaro could be revoked, and there could have been new elections without the current president.
"The Brazilian situation is particularly worsened by the very low legitimacy of the present government – Bolsonaro was elected because Lula, who was widely favorite, was conveniently jailed for the time of the election, based on absurd corruption charges – and instead of uniting the country to fight the virus, the government authorities are fighting each other," observed Doctor Dowbor.
May 22, 2020 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia)
“Guatemala is an ally of the United States, but the United States is not Guatemala's ally,” said the Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, revealing frustration last Thursday (21) over U.S. deportations of people infected with the coronavirus, saying it was causing “serious problems” for his nation's health system, especially a crisis of overcrowding in hospitals and lacking of medical supplies.
“This of allies with the United States isn't true. They don't treat us like an ally,” Giammatei added.
On May 13, the latest flight landed Guatemala in which 16 of the 65 deported passengers from Alexandria, Louisiana, tested positive from a total of 119 Guatemalans with COVID-19 deported from the United States, to the Central American country. A nation of about 17 million people, Guatemala has more than 2,200 confirmed coronavirus cases and 45 reported deaths.
Unilateral alliances are a rule in the history of US-Latin America relations. As well as in US's relations all over the world.
Nowadays, as countries like China promises that a possible vaccine locally produced against the coronavirus would be a world good to be shared with all humankind, Russia sends humanitarian aid - especially medical supplies - to several parts of the globe (including the US), and Cuba sends doctors across the globe to help to combat the novel coronavirus as always in the Caribbean country's history, the United States continues being a world enemy, especially in the region Uncle Sam historically calls "US backyard," that is, Latin America.
The US, which is seeking to patent a vaccine against the coronavirus for an exclusively use of it, has militarily intervened Latin America 47 times between 1846 - 2000. The bloody Latin American dictatorships in the 20th century, have been directly funded by the "land of free."
Not to mention the outnumbered secret interventions through coups against democratically-elect heads of states, espionages, kidnappings, murderers, and boycotts which is a US hallmark in the world's richest region in biodiversity.
During these too hard times of pandemic, which only can be overtaken through worldwide solidarity, the US, the worst threat to world democracy and peace, keeps its embargoes threatening to strengthen them and to militarily intervene in countries like Venezuela, and to bomb Iran.
It's really amazing that some leaders in the region, never taking lessons from history and the current reality, insist on trying to be a US ally - due to fear, personal interests, or a combination of both?
It is urgent an alliance, inside each Latin American country and regionally, to stop once for all any kind of relationship with the United States. If so, one thing is sure: the hawks will face more loss than Latin American countries. The most terrorist Empire in history is well aware of that.
Under Bolsonaro "The Nazi Beast," Brazil lives one of the most dramatic periods in its history: social, economic
and political crisis maybe like never before. As exclusion is a rule in the South American country today, abroad
the regional Giant is mocked. In my case, a self-exiled journalist in Bolivia forgotten as a repatriation requester
to the Brazilian "diplomacy": "just" another social exclusion for one reason or another, or an ideological exclusion?
April 14, 2020
"I simply can't believe what is happening in Brazil," said recently to this journalist the matchless Professor Doctor Noam Chomsky, the world's most renowned analyst.
Really, since the former army captain Jair Bolsonaro took power in January of 2019, Brazil is living a terrible social, economic and political convulsion. Sinking day after day. Blacks, indigenous and the poor, second-class citizens again like in the darkest moments in the history of the country - home of a too angrily discriminatory ruling class.
Internationally, Brazil has become a bad joke. "Hard to remember that a decade ago, Brazil was one of the most respected countries in the world," observed Doctor Chomsky.
Speaking about Brazil, especially related to diplomacy today is laughable across the globe. More than ever, since "democracy" has backed to Brazil in 1988, the country has been a diplomatic disaster. All this, widely predicted during Brazil's 2018 presidential election when millions of reactionary, deeply ignorant Brazilians in the run-off disregarded a universitarian professor, the Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad, to open portress to the Nazi Beast Jair Bolsonaro who too badly articulates himself. Not to mention his horrendous statements, and doings.
Ridiculously licking Uncle Sam's boots. Again, like in the dictatorship years (1964-1985) against which Lula fought, being tortured by the military. That military regime has been constantly exalted by Bolsonaro. Many of Lula's mates were murdered in the 21 bloody years ruled by the military in Brazil.
Day by day, the Nazi Beast threatens, along with his three politician sons and mates, another military coup in the South American country. Brazil's justice system, overwhelmed by the Washington regime, keeps silent, of course. Public Ministry, Federal Police, Supreme Court: US puppets fulfilling the US War Economy agenda. US regime that does not cooperate, does not negotiate but imposes its aims everywhere by threatening the world of using the military force. A regime that has not diplomats in my country, but spies - like it does all over the world.
The British, eternal US puppets, secretly supported the Nazi Beast campaign, not to mention the mockery of judge Sergio Moro, a scoundrel, the Cinderella of the Brazilian ruling class also secretly supported by the US.
Through a lawfare, "Serginho" removed Lula da Silva from the last presidential campaign, paving the way for the Nazi Beast who could not win the elections, if former President Lula were a candidate. A former peasant in his childhood, years later a unionist, up to date Lula makes tremble the former captain that constantly signals guns with his hands: Brazilians massively support the Workers' Party leader.
In Bolivia, a neighboring too poor country, the novel coronavirus has come to unmask local politicians due to centuries of an amazingly neglected public health care system, which will be detailed in a coming report.
For those who - rightfully - strongly criticizes Brazil's and the US's neoliberal policies, for instance, both countries are much more close to a social-democracy than Bolivia, after fourteen years of Evo Morales administration which, yes, did some good things to the country, in other cases great things, but far from being a Change Process as trumpeted. In general, Morales has left a disastrous country. Maybe nothing is worst here than the tragic public health.
In circumstances like this, a family's house even if in the poorest Brazil's state, which country faces a dramatic advance of coronavirus - and the Nazi Beast in power -, surely means a safe harbor.
So, living for more than two years as a self-exiled journalist with my three-year-old baby, I was one of the first Brazilian citizens to sign up, weeks ago, a list of fellow citizens to be repatriated from Bolivia to Brazil. After years of drama in Brazil, where exclusion was just a joke in my life compared to other too serious issues, I decided to listen to relatives now and go back, given the disastrous Bolivian public health system.
I chose Bolivia years ago, trusting the world alternative media that used to publish that this nation was living a revolution, the so-called Change Process under Evo Morales: a bitter lie. "Without money, nobody does anything in Bolivia," Bolivians are used to saying even those who voted for Morales, and up to date support him.
Simply, there are no public services here among many other issues to be approached in a coming report. Something recognized to a representative of this journalist by officials at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Santa Cruz de la Serra city, was that this country is too lagging behind in human rights. It is common to listen to hundreds of asylum seekers, regretting having come to this country.
Even so, if it were not due to coronavirus, and a too poor country now locked down with people already dying in the streets of COVID-19, I would stay given the hell that the owners of power did in my life in Brazil. I am alone with my baby. The family is destroyed: ex-wife has left us - in the Bolivian refuge.
The Consulate of Brazil in Santa Cruz de la Sierra coordinated the repatriation of Brazilians, along with Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bolivian far-right government. The Consulate released on its website, on April 2 and 3, two lists of Brazilians to would be repatriated. The first one had 523 names and the second, 250. Those days, I was just waiting for a promised contact from the Consulate about the pending trips, to be taken those very days, on April 2 and 3 (much likely, the citizens to be repatriated had been previously contacted by the Consulate).
I came to know that the two lists were released on April 5, seeking information on the Consulate website. Immediately, I contacted Brazil's Embassy in La Paz: they suggested to contact the Consulate in Santa Cruz, which sent every name signed up to Brazil's Foreign Affairs Ministry, surely getting back the authorization to repatriate my fellow citizens. With two exceptions: my daughter and me...
Up to then, with much goodwill toward the Consulate, I could consider that our exclusion from the list of 773 Brazilians repatriated - mostly universitarian students -, had been nothing more than a mere mistake although, under international law when it comes to repatriations, refuge or any other kind of humanitarian issue, a priority must be given to cases in which children are involved.
I had exposed to the Consulate that the situation, taking care by myself of the child in Bolivia, was critical in the face of the total lockdown due to the virus - and all the implications of that for a foreigner, exiled in a poor country. Asked about why I was here, I told them the truth, of course: a self-exiled journalist. My difficulties have to be multiplied by at least ten compared to universitarian students here, supported by their parents from Brazil.
The answer I got from the Consulate has been, on April 9: "We inform you that the situation narrated by you will be verified."
Up to date, a week later, no response from the Brazilian "Diplomatic Mission". One could not expect any other posture from Bolsonaro's international... "team" (a euphemism to "gang", as what and how has happened can only be labeled as inhumane). No without a reason, Brazil has been mocked at diplomatic relations all over the world.
No without a reason, thieves, narcotraffickers (the biggest bosses are not the drug smugglers themselves, but politicians and cops), militiamen, and white-collar criminals are those with more chance of succeeding in Brazil.
Brazil's ruling classes are cheering more than ever, as their old dream of washing toilet bowls for Americans in the US in exchange for crumbs, are getting closer and closer to come true under Bolsonaro's submission to Donald Trump's greedy interests. By the way, the best Brazilians, in general, can do. Until when? Intellectually and morally miserable country.
April 2, 2020
A Russian military plane headed from Moscow to the United States on Wednesday (1) loaded with medical equipment, including masks, to help the United States fight the coronavirus pandemic, where 240,000 people are infected and over 5,000 have already died from the COVID-19.
Moscow decided to help Washington on Monday (30), after a telephone conversation between Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, in which both officials discussed how they could more efficiently fight COVID-19.
The Russian aid, coordinated by the Ministry of Defense, has been welcomed by the American head of State. "Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid," said Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin's spokesman. "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice," said Trump.
"It is important to note that when offering assistance to US colleagues, the president assumes that when US manufacturers of medical equipment and materials gain momentum, they will also be able to reciprocate if necessary," added Peskov, who even regretted difficulties in accelerating aid to the US, due to the objection of some American authorities.
In the midst of profound, well-known schizophrenia that Putin's humanitarian aid has once again caused among the pathetic hawks, McCarthy's disciples of terrible memory in the United States, it is worth remembering that other "threats to humanity" according to the White House, great means of mass brainwashing, Cuba and China have been added to Putin in the current indiscriminate provision of support to the world's peoples, no news.
As always, causing ignorant reactions around the right-wing world to scream hysterics, "Russian propaganda!", while cynically silencing, or cheerfully applauding Uncle Sam's unilateral "humanitarian interventions" (military invasions and countless bombings, including against civilians) across the globe.
Humanitarian aids have been Russian foreign policy's rule - as well as Chinese and, mainly, Cuban - which does not depend on the benefited government's ideology, which means authentic aid with humanitarian intentions. Russian foreign policy, like that of Cuba and China, oppose the Washington regime one which imposes the strength to achieve its greedy aims, of exploiting foreign wealth and indiscriminate wealth accumulation, assassinating, unilaterally invading nations, bombing, raping girls and women, achieving coups and putting its puppets in power.
President Putin has also sent humanitarian aid to Italy, Spain, China, Iran, North Korea, and Germany, in these times of deep uncertainty and fears of the pandemic, including the sending of virus specialists. Worth noting, neither Russia nor any other nation in the world aid African nations, which is an unspeakable mistake - Brazil's Lula made a partnership with African nations, now strongly persecuted by local oligarchies and the US deep State.
Russian diplomacy is based on the idea - and practices - that only through solidarity, mutual aid all the world is benefited, and overcome challenges. The deep crisis foreshadowed by coronavirus confirms that, rejecting by itself the poor ideology of individualism and the unrestricted free market to the ground: neoliberalism.
The Kremlin, obviously, works primarily for the interests of the Russian people but has excelled in international relations based on negotiation, cooperation, and respect for others' sovereignty. Which the US has never done, something strongly felt all over the world, especially these days in Latin America and Africa.
Russia has been at the remarkable global vanguard: it has been a counterbalance to the dying imperial liberal fascism, more and more aggressive, growing despair due to its extraordinary social, political, cultural and economic decay. The imminent war of the "Nobel Peace Prize", Barack Obama (!) against Syria in 2014, prevented from being achieved, which would be a world disaster, by the intervention - peaceful but firm - of President Putin, with his distinguished foreign minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov.
"We can attack [Syria] whenever we want to," said at the time Obama, then self-considered the world's sheriff as every US president under a local bipartisan dictatorship. In the land where democracy is a big fantasy.
Not without reason, Russia and Putin are demonized by the great media that inverts social reality, funded by the eight families that hold wealth equivalent to half the poorest population on the planet.
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom," once said Martin Luther King Jr., murdered by the F.B.I. and the same oligarchy who, in these times, are spreading the virus across the globe.
Coronavirus is dramatically spreading in the U.S., now the world's epicenter in confirmed cases. Chomsky has spoken exclusively to Edu Montesanti about the tragic Trump regime's response to one of the worst evils in contemporary history.
"Under neoliberal dogma, its role is to subsidize private power, not to interfere with it," says Chomsky, the world's most renowned commentator, author of innumerable books.
Noam Chomsky is considered ''The Father of Modern Linguistics," a major figure in analytic philosophy, and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science.
March 27, 2020
Edu Montesanti: Professor Doctor Noam Chomsky, I'd love to find out words to express my gratitude and deep honor for having you, once again, in my publications. What are your thoughts of the Washington regime's response to the spread of coronavirus?
Noam Chomsky: The US response has been shocking. It was known for years that a pandemic was likely.
Why didn't the pharmaceutical industry provide medicines before the spread of the virus?
Drug companies weren't interested in preparing: no profit.
And Trump never did anything to interfere...
The government can't step in: under neoliberal dogma, its role is to subsidize private power, not to interfere with it.
Trump made it worse by smashing all the defenses, eliminating the pandemic division, cutting back on medical funding.
The Trump regime is blaming China for the spread of coronavirus. Your view, please, Professor Doctor Noam Chomsky.
China notified the World Health Organization in early January that unexplained pneumonia cases in Wuhan Province were traced to a new coronavirus and shared its genetic sequence for countries to use in developing specific diagnostic kits.
What was, then, the West's response, especially Washington's?
The West ignored all this, Trump most all, so much so that by now the US is the only major country that cannot even provide data on the spread of the disease because of the abysmal lack of testing.
I can understand, then, that you believe, like me, that the U.S. toll of coronavirus infections is much higher than has been announced.
Media, Trump "a pathological liar", neoliberalism with "an avaricious profit-motivated pharmaceutical industry," exponential contagion, social
crisis, economy, international relations, perspective: long talk, a must-read interview in one of the most critical moments in human history
March 27, 2020
Edu Montesanti: Thank you as always, Historian Peter Kuznick, for joining us in publications about important global affairs. Please describe the situation where you are with your family, the general situation in the U.S., and Americans' state of mind.
Prof. Dr. Peter Kuznick: Thanks, Edu, for the opportunity to communicate with your readers, especially those in Latin America which hasn't yet been hit as hard as parts of Asia, Europe, and North America, though reports out of Brazil, Bolivia, and elsewhere make me fear the worst is coming shortly.
My wife and I are fortunate. I was lecturing in Spain where we have many dear friends, for about ten days when we started getting urgent messages from our daughters to come home immediately. Trump had announced that he was ending flights from Europe to the U.S.
There was a lot of confusion as to what that would mean. So we cut short our visit by a couple of days, caught a flight from Madrid to London, and then flew from London back to Washington, D.C. We got in just ahead of the chaos at the airports.
We've been self-quarantining since. There had been very little concern in Spain before we left. That changed rapidly in the next twenty-four hours. Now the situation there is quite tragic.
Here in the U.S., the situation is worsening by the hour. Most people are taking it quite seriously and staying indoors. The economy has, for the most part, shut down.
At American University, as at almost all colleges and universities, classes have been canceled for the rest of the semester. We've shifted to teaching remotely online. The university provided extensive guidance on how to do so. I was pretty apprehensive. I'm only teaching one class this semester, but it requires my showing numerous film clips that I discuss with the students.
It is highly interactive. The university provided us options on both Blackboard and Zoom. I had my first class a few days ago. After practicing for hours, I managed to conduct the class seamlessly on Zoom. It went great. The students were engaged. The discussions were lively. The technology worked flawlessly. My trepidation proved unwarranted. The student feedback afterward was all positive.
While this is not a substitute for an intimate classroom setting, it is manageable in a crisis situation like we now face in which communications are not disrupted. But it requires students to have access to computers or smartphones and functioning Internet. One of the students was able to download free copies of all the books and articles I assigned for the semester and she distributed them to the class.
The students, being mostly in their late teens and 20s, are not in the high-risk group, but many of their parents and grandparents are. Some of the parents are on the front lines in medical and other professions. They're clearly worried and should be. One mother is in charge of X-raying coronavirus patients at a large New York medical facility that is running out of face masks. Others shared similar stories.
We also have other concerns at the university. Our president, Sylvia Burwell, was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration and is uniquely qualified to handle a crisis like this. Still, the faculty has mobilized to make sure that all university employees are protected, including those like food service workers who are technically employed by outside contractors and therefore at risk of losing their jobs.
We've also pushed to make sure that the deadlines for choosing to switch grading options to Pass/Fail are eliminated so that we can alleviate some of the students' anxiety given how their lives have been disrupted.
How do you see U.S. media coverage on coronavirus?
The usual media divide has persisted throughout the crisis. The right-wing media -- Fox News and talk radio -- has disgraced itself as always. It blindly followed the Trump administration's lead and dismissed the crisis as a "hoax" or a left-wing conspiracy to destroy the Trump presidency.
The Rush Limbaughs, the Bill O'Reillys, the Lou Dobbses, and the Sean Hannitys, the loudest of the reactionary blowhards, led the charge. It is hard to know whether they took their marching orders from Trump or it was the other way around, but they spread two months of lies about the seriousness of the situation and continue to do so.
We know from previous studies that people who watch Fox know less about the world than people who watch no TV and read no newspapers. That was the case again in this crisis. So, until very recently, the majority of Fox viewers told pollsters that they thought the crisis was overblown and they weren't worried.
The "liberal," or should we say "corporate," media -- CNN, MSNBC, and the other networks -- has been more responsible but doesn't adequately discuss the ways neoliberal economics, corporate greed, the growing gap between the obscenely wealthy and the rest of society, a completely outmoded and inadequate health care system, an avaricious profit-motivated pharmaceutical industry that charges outrageous amounts for drugs, and a bloated empire-defending national security state with a vast nuclear arsenal and 800 overseas bases, have set the preconditions for the current crisis.
These outlets, as well as newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, have, at least, made an effort at responsible journalism. But they've shed little light on the real causes of the crisis and provided no historical context. They treat it as a crisis of Trump's making. While Trump deserves his fair share of the blame, as I'll discuss in a minute, the problem with the American response goes deeper--much, much deeper.
The progressive media have been much better at telling the truth, but their reach in the United States is, unfortunately, very limited.
President Donald Trump has been criticized by many, for being omissive. Many blame him on the spread of the virus across the country, in a so very short period of time. Your thoughts, please, Professor Doctor Kuznick.
Donald Trump is a clown, a buffoon, a carnival barker, a pathological liar, a first-class ignoramus, a narcissistic self-promoter devoid of even a modicum of humanity or empathy.
He lied about the seriousness of the crisis for months and refused to take action until the stock market began to tank. Then he realized that his reelection would be threatened if he didn't do something. So he began to appear in daily briefings in which he tried to tamp down the spreading fears with unscientific happy talk and attempted to look presidential.
He took credit for the positive things that the nation's mayors and governors had done and failed to take the bold actions that would correct for the country's utter lack of preparation under his watch.
The daily briefings have turned into Trump's reality TV show. They've replaced his rallies. The medical experts who appear with him, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, have to constantly correct his misstatements. But he manages to convince gullible Americans that he is a "wartime" president, who has taken command. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
His performance has been disgraceful. He continues to downplay the seriousness of the situation as he talks about returning to normal by Easter, an approach that most experts think would be disastrous at a time when new cases continue to spiral out of control. He says the stupidest most ignorant things.
For example, he declared,
In reality, the mortality rate for the 1918 influenza pandemic was 2.5 percent. The coronavirus mortality rate, according to the WHO, is 3.4 percent. He tries to normalize the current situation by talking about all the people who die every year from influenza but doesn't mention that the mortality rate from the flu is 0.1 percent, a tiny fraction of the rate for coronavirus.
In response to the fact that the U.S. was pathetically slow to begin testing, he brags that the U.S. has tested more people than any other country, including South Korea. In so doing, he neglects to mention that the U.S. has more than six times the population of South Korea.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, as of March 25, the U.S had tested 367,710 people compared to South Korea's 357,896, which means the U.S. had testing one in every 900 residents while South Korea had tested one in every 144. Yet, despite his constant lies, exaggerations, and misleading statements, his approval ratings continue to climb when he should instead be exposed for the fraud he is.
And all the networks continue to give him two hours a day for his self-promoting pep rallies. People have to remember that this is an administration that has been at war with science since the day Trump took office. This was most evident in his treatment of climate scientists, who he successfully muzzled. It extended to all those who had supported environmental regulations, workplace safety, and medical research.
He wasted no time in eliminating the office dealing with pandemics. He disempowered the "experts" in all fields and replaced many with people who shared his contempt for knowledge, regulatory agencies, and public safety. Scientists have left the federal government in droves.
That's no wonder considering Cabinet appointees like Education Secretary Betsy Devos, a fierce advocate for school vouchers who is openly contemptuous of public schools, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who had called for eliminating the Department of Energy and was shocked to learn that his department oversaw the nation's nuclear facilities, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who pushed for increased oil and gas drilling and coal mining on public lands, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, who quickly undermined the agency's environmental protection programs, and Secretaries of State Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, who oversaw the slashing of their agency's workforce and the subordination of diplomacy.
In one of Trump's more absurd moves, he appointed Vice President Mike Pence to head the administration's coronavirus response team. Outside of the members of Trump's own family, it would be hard to find someone less qualified. Pence's disdain for and ignorance of science are legendary. Like the other members of this administration, he has dismissed climate change as a "myth," contending, "the earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago."
He rejects the evolutionary theory, telling fellow Congressional representatives:
He believes that "smoking doesn't kill"; "condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted disease"; "America has the cleanest air and water in the world"; and "pray[ing] on it" was the best solution to his state of Indiana's HIV outbreak last decade.
President Trump has been reluctant to invoke the Defense Production Act. Would that be an important tool to save lives, and stop the coronavirus dramatic spreading in the US as health-care equipment is in extremely short supply in America?
It would be a necessary first step. Trump has the authorization but refuses to act upon it for fear of showing that the government can solve a problem better than the capitalists can.
He idiotically says it would turn the U.S. into Venezuela. Meanwhile, people are dying [in the U.S.] from lack of tests, lack of ventilators, shortages of masks, woefully inadequate numbers of ICU beds, and shortages of other desperately needed protective devices.
Anyone with foresight could have seen the coming months before Trump acted. The experts were raising alarms at least as early as January. Yet Trump assured Americans that the crisis was an overblown "hoax" that the country was fully prepared to handle.
On March 17, Trump stated,
Yet, when he was asked by a CNBC reporter on January 22 if he “worries about a pandemic,” he replied,
As late as February 26, he told a White House news conference,
two people over the next short period of time. So we've had very good luck.
The next day, he announced,
Trump insists that the Defense Production Act isn't needed because American corporations are voluntarily taking action and supplies are on the way. Perhaps this will happen in some distant future, but the crisis is here now and it is only getting worse.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he needs 30,000 respirators and that FEMA has offered 400 from the federal emergency stockpile. Cuomo wants to know who will tell the other 29,600 sufferers that they will have to die as a result of the shortages.
Yet, Trump claims he is doing a "perfect" job and pats himself on the back for stopping travel from China.
Given the current situation, the exponential spread of the virus and Trump's response to the Covid-19 so far, how will it affect the US economy and the life in the country in the near future?
The stock market bounced back a bit in response to aggressive Congressional action, but the underlying economy is taking a big hit as the U.S. heads into a recession and possibly a full-blown Depression.
New unemployment figures came out and they are frightening: 3.3 million new unemployment insurance applicants last week alone, with more on the way.
People are suffering. The usually cited statistic is that 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $500 in an emergency. More than half the population lives from paycheck to paycheck.
Because Sanders, Warren, and some of the other progressive Democrats fought to protect working people, the current legislation will offer some temporary protection. But getting the needed aid to the undocumented, the homeless, the poor will be very difficult. Unemployment will skyrocket.
The long-term economic prospects are dismal indeed. But we can be sure the corporate leaders and the bankers will be well-taken care of like they were in the 2008 recession.
What can you say about the world economy as a whole? Many are saying, including the IMF, that it is going to more strongly impact the global economy than the 2008 recession. I myself foresee now a more dramatic scenario to the near future than the 1929 Great Depression caused to the world, in the subsequent years. Your view, please, Professor Doctor Peter Kuznick.
I've studied the Great Depression at length. Unemployment in the U.S. topped 25 percent. Industrial production plummeted 40 percent. The farm economy collapsed. Conditions were deplorable for many years. Similar impacts were felt around the world.
Interestingly, Russia fared much better than the capitalist West with its first five-year plan. Desperate American workers lined in hopes of getting jobs in the Soviet Union. I wrote about this in my first book Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America. Whether we again sink to such depths will depend on the seriousness of the global response.
We've seen encouraging control efforts, after initial disasters, in China and South Korea. Japan has kept rates of transmission relatively low thus far, though the latest figures out of Tokyo are concerning.
Vietnam has taken encouraging steps. But other countries like Italy, Spain, and the U.S. that didn't respond aggressively are in much more dire straits. And some, like Hong Kong that did well initially, let down their guard too quickly and are having a serious relapse.
The question is whether or not countries are going to behave intelligently. When Trump says he wants the economy to return to normal in little more than two weeks, this is a prescription for disaster. Most experts fear temporary abeyance, followed by a second wave of infections next fall or winter.
But it could happen well before that if the social distancing and other precautions are lifted prematurely. Prospects for a vaccine before summer 2021 are slim. Effective treatments are still uncertain.
The long-term economic effects are very hard to predict. And I have great concern about countries like India. Conditions there are ripe for a terrible outcome. I've done three extended speaking tours in India these past two years. I've seen the way people live. Homelessness is rampant. Sanitation is primitive. Poverty is ubiquitous. Overcrowding is universal. And health care is worse than inadequate. Modi is demanding that people quarantine themselves and remain indoors for 21 days, but the infrastructure to support that among such a vast and impoverished population simply doesn't exist.
Or look at Iran, which is already suffering under the oppressive conditions imposed by the cruel U.S. sanctions policy. Trump has actually stiffened sanctions since this crisis began. I've seen estimates from Iranian medical experts that 3.5 million people could die if the barbaric sanctions regime isn't lifted.
Many of us have been trying to exert pressure on Trump to ease this unconscionable burden on the Iranian people, but, of course, he refuses to comply.
How will COVID-19 affect international relations?
The crisis is already having a largely negative effect on international relations. It has exacerbated tensions between the U.S. and China.
The Chinese downplayed the seriousness in the beginning and made a lot of other mistakes. But Trump, unable to restrain his xenophobia and act presidential for even a minute, went against all expert advice in branding this the “Chinese virus.”
In fact, he used his own sharpie to cross out the “coronavirus" on the speeches his advisors wrote for him and changed it to the “Chinese virus." Pompeo calls it the “Wuhan virus.” Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who declared the Chinese government “an existential threat to the Chinese people and to the world, not just the United States,” calls it the “CCP virus.”
The Chinese, for their part, engaged in a similar propaganda war when Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted “it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” when 300 U.S. troops participated in the October 2019 Wuhan Military Games, an allegation for which the evidence is thin at best and probably no more credible than World War I allegations that the Germans were responsible for spreading the “Spanish” flu in the United States.
Trump had already created tremendous tension between the U.S. and China with his trade wars and anti-Chinese policies. It was unfortunate but no surprise that the Chinese denied access to representatives of the U.S. Center for Disease Control or that both countries have recently expelled each other's journalists.
Trump's racist slurs led to so many attacks on Asian Americans that even he was forced to tone down his bigotry. Many Americans have been shocked to discover the extent to which the U.S. depends on China for essential products such as drugs, masks, and other protective gear, and ventilators and other medical devices.
The Chinese, for their part, have turned an embarrassing situation into a major propaganda victory. Now that conditions seem to have improved in China, they have begun providing doctors, medical advice and devices, and the needed protective gear to Iran, Serbia, Spain, Greece, Poland, Liberia, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, and Italy.
President Xi told Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that he hoped to build a “health silk road.” Italian and Serbian leaders regretted that none of their EU allies lifted a finger when they asked for help. Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic charged that the idea of “European solidarity... was a fairy tale.”
The U.S. might have once played that leadership role. It no longer does. It is this rather than arms, troops, and military bases that constitute global leadership in the current multipolar world. And the U.S. has been very slow to learn that lesson.
Interestingly, little Cuba, unlike the U.S., has once again set an example by sending teams of doctors to countries in need.
Taking into account a historical perspective, how much does coronavirus pose a threat to humanity? Many have said it is the worst global harm, since the Second World War.
The two main existential threats to the continued existence of life on our planet remain the nuclear threat and climate change.
But this novel coronavirus is at minimum a planetary wakeup call and potentially a global gamechanger. The national security states and military-industrial complexes, with their bloated militaries and never-ending wars, were once justified, falsely in my opinion, on the grounds that they protected nations from external enemies.
It should be obvious today that the threats we really face are of a different sort. The question is how the world's people will collectively create the conditions under which we can thrive together. Clearly, a world in which the richest eight people have more wealth than the poorest 3.8 billion people, is neither viable nor tolerable. We must become a global community.
The coronavirus has made abundantly clear just how interconnected we are. What begins in Wuhan spreads to the farthest corners of the planet. If people in Omaha want to protect their children, it behooves them to make sure that people 10,000 miles away have proper food, shelter, health care, air quality, and sanitation.
We can no longer allow the global economy to be guided by short-term profitmaking and neoliberal economic policies that leave billions in poverty and destroy national health care systems and the environment itself.
We must work together to solve the problems of deforestation, inadequate food and water supplies, and global warming. This must be done on a global scale. We can no longer waste trillions of dollars on our militaries.
I was glad to see that one casualty of the coronavirus was DEFENDER-Europe 20, NATO's most recent anti-Russian war game that was canceled when Germany withdrew because of the coronavirus-related health risks. Two days earlier, on March 11, Norway canceled Cold Response, a war game involving 15,000 NATO and allied soldiers, out of the same coronavirus concern. U.S. troop movements have been halted for sixty days as coronavirus spreads among the troops.
If the present crisis jars us into realizing the bankruptcy of our past behaviors and stupid competitions and makes us realize our human connectedness, the pandemic will be a godsend.
If, however, it leads, as it appears to be in many places, to price-gouging, profiteering, repression, militarism, and furthering the divide between the rich and the poor, it may produce the dystopian future we have been struggling so hard to prevent. We must make sure that doesn't happen.
A Dirty War against the Left
their tool to take back power through the local Justice system, especially arresting Lula da Silva, is as disgusting as Bolsonaro's nation
in these times. "I simply can't believe what is happening in Brazil," says Noam Chomsky exclusively to Edu Montesanti
July 7, 2019,/ Published on Pravda (Russa)
Operation Lava Jato, since 2014 trumpeted by the mainstream media, nationally and internationally, as cleansing Brazil of corruption, has become another example of the great service to the truth and democracy by the alternative media, since the beginning denouncing - facing wrath and every kind of aggressions - the outrageous disservice of the "heroes" of the criminal task force, clandestine right-wing ideologues masquerading as apolitical law enforcers. Perpetrators of a self-evident lawfare.
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald has revealed, or confirmed taking into account alternative media's exhaustive denouncements through the last five years, serious wrongdoing, unethical behavior, and systematic deceit by Lava Jato investigation's prosecutors led by the chief prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who oversaw former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's prosecution along with then-Judge Sérgio Moro, now the Justice minister for Brazilian far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, elected last October based on fake news and a campaign of deep hate. - strongly supported by the local mainstream media.
Lula da Silva was sentenced by Moro to 12 years in prison for corruption and money laundering, in July 2017, convicted of, according to the then-judge, benefiting from renovations to a beachfront apartment, both paid by the building company OAS as payback for some contracts he helped the company get. The accusation was based on a report published by O Globo's paper, which brought contradictions in the same publication years ago.
It is worth remembering that Lula's exclusion from the election, based on Moro's finding of guilt as Dallagnol confided to the judge his increasing doubts over two key elements of the prosecution's case, was a key episode that paved the way for Bolsonaro's victory. As soon as this retired military officer took over the Presidency, he nominated Moro as his "super-minister" of Justice and Public Security. "I believe that the US government influenced, at least tacitly, the outcome of Brazil's recent national elections," says to Pravda's Edu Montesanti the CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who co-hosts the Sputnik's radio show Loud and Clear.
A well-known mucky Brazilian "Justice" system mostly composed by the same elitist white families through the years, deeply corrupted, a solid caste secretly trained by the Washington regime as revealed years ago by WikiLeaks (Moro included in such legal courses, based on United States law), whose main objective through Lava Jato has been:
The deterioration of the Brazilian left, especially preventing Lula da Silva from winning the 2018 election;
The destruction of the national industry, especially oil and construction companies, in favor of the American one; and,
Latin America's and BRICS's disintegration.
The investigation called Lava Jato which, in alliance with the mainstream media - especially Rede Globo with a vast history of promoting coups in the South American country -, has taken the form of a totalitarian regime in Brazil, as it has had a strong and clear political character. Which relinquishes national sovereignty in favor of the interests of the United States as well as the 1964 CIA-funded military coup ("What is good for the United States, is good for Brazil," said the Justice Minister Juracy Magalhães shortly after the coup, that overthrew elected President João Goulart without any corruption charge).
An excess of temporary prisons, bargains of delation awarded and even pressure against one to delate especially those statements which, even being false but meeting Sérgio Moro's political interests, the inclusion of illegal documents, illegal eavesdropping, leaking to the media of covert operations and even Moro's illegal eavesdropping involving then-President Dilma Rousseff with Lula da Silva, disregarding formalities such as previously informing the Ministry of Justice of certain measures taken, a reversal in the jurisdiction of many judgments - including Lula da Silva's -, are marks of Lava Jato task force since 2014, when the probe began as a money-laundering investigation.
Since then, many lawyers including some Prosecutor's Public officials all over Brazil has said that every Lava Jato sentence could be invalidated soon and Sérgio Moro, expelled from the judiciary. The Intercept also has revealed that the then-judge acted like a chief of the Public Prosecutor's Office, something, of course, illegal to a judge who must be impartial, of course.
At the same time, prosecutors secretly allied to protect the judge, and prevent tensions between him and the Supreme Court from paralyzing investigations, in March 2016. "The prosecutors' submission to Moro is scandalous. There is no doubt that they acted illegally," said the Brazilian lawmaker in Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Freixo.
Operation Lava Jato origins in the scandal of Banestado, a state bank of Paraná State in Southern Brazil: between 1996 and 2002, during President Fernando Henrique Cardoso years (1995-2003, of the rightist Brazilian Social-Democratic Party - PSDB -, Lula da Silva's Workers' Party's - PT - strong opponent), Banestado was used as a means for PSDB politicians, money dealers, a big drug trafficker, economists and businessmen, to evade currency to tax havens that reached US$84 billion (Brazil's Odebrecht construction company, at the center of Lava Jato probe now, struck a deal with the United States Justice Department in 2016, admitting it paid at least US$3.5 billion in bribes around the world, from Latin America to Africa).
In the mid-2000s, then-Judge Moro, until then an unknown jurist - as national tasks, of course, require a renowned lawyer -, condemned several bank officers but no one politician among many involved in the case that has developed and, in the last years, has generated a national hysteria (falsely) against corruption - against the Workers' Party, particularly.
There has been another investigation in Brazil, important to be noted in this context: Operation Zelotes inquires Brazil's Ministry of the Treasury for the embezzlement of US$ 4,9 billion, in which are involved government officials, businessmen - including Ford and Mitsubishi vehicle makers -, bankers (Bradesco, Santander, and Safra banks), and Rede Globo, the country's biggest media company.
Even being the monetary values involved much higher than in Lava Jato scandal, too, Zelotes has not drawn the mainstream media's attention - but when, in late 2014, Lula da Silva's son was denounced. Neither a big company nor a businessman has been prosecuted.
In other leaks by The Intercept on June 21, then-Judge Moro turned a blind eye to the corruption scheme that Flavio Bolsonaro, Jair Bolsonaro's son, kept in his cabinet while he was a lawmaker in Rio de Janeiro, not to displease his father who had already given him the post of Minister of Justice in his future government.
Such scandals, among others in Brazil, have not got the local Justice's and the mainstream media's interest, neither The Intercept's revelations: cynically, the focus has been who hacked prosecutors's and Moro's cell phones, not the contents of the revelations. A strong, disproportional, incredible contrast to the widespread hysteria anti-corruption regarding Lava Jato probe.
Greenwald versus Moro, 'The U.S.'s Son of a Bitch'
"We're of course watching the great work that Glenn Greenwald has been doing, with real fascination," says Noam Chomsky to Pravda's Edu Montesanti. "We hope that those with real power won't succeed in covering it up."
To make matters worse in the already tragic Brazil, since his first revelations about Lava Jato, last June 9, Glenn Greenwald has been investigated and intimidated by the Brazilian Federal Police, subordinated to Minister Moro. "I have known Glenn Greenwald since 1986. I have found him to be an honest journalist, even if I do not always agree with him," states John Kiriakou to this report. "If Glenn Greenwald were in the US to talk to the FBI or any other government agency, it would have been in his role as a legitimate journalist."
According to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN), referring to Greenwald's case, the Brazilian State is now "obliged to prevent, protect, investigate and punish violence against journalists, especially those who have been subjected to intimidation, threats or other types of violence."
One of Moro's secret sayings to his obedient "Public Prosecutor" Dallagnol revealed by Greenwald, about ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, was: "An important support, that is better not to be offended [through investigations]."
Greenwald has said that Rede Globo, which in 2013 published a cynical letter stating the organization regretted having supported the 1964 coup in Brazil, "has been Lava Jato's friend, an allied and associate." A coalition that many still believe as being "a coalition of good people," that conceals under the carpet the blood of the victims of the dictatorship regime (1964-1985), which Bolsonaro and Minister of the Supreme Court Dias Toffoli, openly advocate.
What said then-US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt about the Nicaraguan dictator in 1936, can undoubtedly be said about Moro by US deep State in these times: "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."
During presidents Lula's and Dilma's years (2003-2016), Petrobras (the Brazilian state oil company) production multiplied by several times: while in 2000 it represented 3% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), in 2014 the company produced of 13% of the GDP.
It is worth pointing out that the local elites, aligned with the Washington regime (according to WikiLeaks and so many historical evidence), wants to privatize the national oil company - since its creation, in the 1950s. Petrobras boosted the overthrow of presidents Getúlio Vargas in 1954, much likely Jânio Quadros in 1961, and João Goulart three years later.
Surely not for a mere coincidence, Lava Jato has strongly weakened Petrobras, as mentioned above as in no country across the globe, a state agent goes against its nation's interests as Moro and his gang have done. Moreover, the Brazilian "Justice" system is well-known for also being biased against the poor, blacks and leftists in general, while shamefully shields the elite's interests.
As for Dallagnol, he has received money lately from two sectors spared by the probe that has condemned Lula da Silva: health plans and banks, for presenting lectures. Both the chief Lava Jato's prosecutor in Brasília and Judge Moro in Curitiba disregarded accusations against such billionaire sectors (in the second case, Bradesco, Itaú, Safra and BTG banks).
The Public Prosecutor's Office has spoken out against the annulment of the penalty imposed on Lula da Silva, disregarding The Intercept revelations.
Operation Car Wash, a so precarious as aggressive lawfare, is part of an imperialistic intervention in Brazil, a soft coup with clear objectives backed by the local oligarchs.
Brazil, June 2013. The President was, since 2010, Dilma Rousseff with a 57% approval rating at the time. Brazil, after eight years of Lula da Silva in the Presidency, Dilma's predecessor, was respected all over the world as never before. Domestically, the nation was living times of full employment - as never before, again: unemployment was then 5,7%, a historic record in Brazil.
Suddenly, a popular "Spring" took to the streets across the country. The motive? Few people could explain why they were in the streets angerly protesting. "Against everything that is there" was the most common answer to journalists, in many cases after thinking some seconds to speak something; people were confused.
Three weeks after the beginning of the protests, deeply fueled by the mainstream media and incited also by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (!), then-President Dilma failed to a 30% approval rating. Unexplainable. Nothing had changed in the country, to justify such a free-falling. From overnight, as the local mainstream media, soon followed by The New York Times, incited more protests praising "the sacred people" (whose causes the same elitists par excellence, had barely or even never advocated before), and then demonized President Dilma with much hate.
The Brazilian "Spring" followed the same pattern of the countries that were, all over the world, being victims of a US color revolution, idealized by the American Gene Sharp. A Tension Strategy was taking place in the South American country, through attacks of public places by policemen to justify more repression by the State - this video published by Telesur is just one example, among many others regarding a Tension Strategy in Brazil at the time.
Part of the Brazilian alternative media, shyly and just for some time denounced that a Color Revolution was happening. It was unpopular reporting a fact like that at the time. And many others in the media did not understand what was suddenly going on in the country - the massive protests took everybody by surprise. Sociologists could not explain that "phenomenon".
The Brazilian political and social scenario, of course, started to drastically change, then. At the same time, Edward Snowden spoke out, saying in the first week of July that Brazil had been the world's most spied on by the US in January 2013 and the last decade, the most spied on in Latin America - especially then-President Dilma and Petrobras.
Two years later, would start a strong boycott against the Dilma administration by the Congress, secretly led by then-Vice-President Michel Temer who also led, publicly speaking out about this, the impeachment process against the then-president - a total shame as the first woman in Brazil's Presidency did not commit any crime.
Temer was revealed by WikiLeaks as the main CIA informer in Brazil. In the meanwhile, obscure movements such as Vem pra Rua (Take to the Streets) and Movimento Brasil Livre (Free Brazil Movement), evidently funded and trained by the Washington basements (detailed in Pravda Brasil) - the latter, a national champion in spreading fake news, according to academic studies.
Then took place the impeachment process in 2016, an aberration that negatively drawn the attention of jurists, journalists, activists, and intellectuals in general across the globe. No word from the Washington regime, whose "diplomat" in Brazil was Lilian Ayalde who served as an ambassador in Paraguay in 2012, when the progressive President Fernando Lugo was overthrown by a parliamentary coup, much similar to the Brazilian one. Lava Jato's investigation reached its peak at the time.
The alternative media, locally and internationally, started very soon to denounced that a coup was taking place in Brazil. And that Temer would not be a solution to the economic and political crisis, as heralded - on the contrary, he and his gang were poison to Brazil's weak democracy. Shortly after Temer took power on October 5, 2016, the House of Representatives revoked Law 4567/16, which ensured exclusivity for Petrobras to exploit crude oil.
On March 14, 2018, Marielle Franco, a councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro who used to speak out against the State repression towards the poor in her city, was murdered in a sophisticated operation. Shortly after that crime, the alternative media all over the country started denouncing she was assassinated by State forces - mocked by right-wing politicians (including then-lawmaker in Rio, Jair Bolsonaro), and civilians -, which has become evident through time.
All those "phenomena" have fundamentally cooperated with hate speech spread today in Brazil, and the election of a too mediocre and violent character to the Brazilian Presidency, Jair Bolsonaro, late last year. It was warned by the alternative media all over the world, that Brazil would be far from finding its way back with the retired military in the Presidency.
Asked about a possible U.S. funding to Bolsonaro's campaign, John Kiriakou analyzes:
"I do not believe that there was a massive, expensive operation to elect Jair Bolsonaro. But the US doesn't always need expensive operations to influence outcomes. The State Department, working with the CIA and others can easily exert 'soft power' to bend foreign elections to its will. For example, did the US pressure the Brazilian courts to keep President Lula in prison? Did the US support Brazilian forces that sought to depose President Rousseff? What was US influence over the Brazilian media to make the US position known, but not necessarily publicly tied to the US?".
These are questions never investigated, neither asked by the Brazilian mainstream media, they a motive of Kiriakou's questions.
Recently, a survey in Brazil about Moro's behavior revealed by The Intercept presented a fearful outcome. It was considered inappropriate by 33% of respondents, but for 32%, not. Nevertheless, far more people, 48%, considered that Moro and the prosecutors acted correctly, while those who think otherwise, corresponded to 31%.
Surely a byproduct of the mainstream media that has denied achieving the basic job of journalism in covering Lava Jato - investigating, criticizing, questioning, reflecting -, the Brazilian society position now, regarding Moro's secret behavior, scares Chomsky: "That's shocking and depressing."
The corrupted businessman Emilio Odebrecht, once said: "Everything that is happening is an institutionalized business. The whole press knew that what was happening was that. Why are they doing this now? Why didn't they do it ten, twenty years ago? This sector of the press always knew that, but now is coming with such demagogy".
While inside the country the Brazilian elite angrily seeks by all means possible to defend its privileges, abroad the shame is more and more evident. A U.S.'s backyard again.
"I simply can't believe what is happening in Brazil. I saw clips of Bolsonaro at the G20 conference, making a complete fool of himself and embarrassing Brazil," observes Chomsky. "Hard to remember that a decade ago, Brazil was one of the most respected countries in the world."
Car Wash investigation is the clearest evidence of whats is happening in Brazil. There are many progressive politicians, journalists, and activists in general suffering in the hands of a strong elite in power, a ruthless lawfare paving the way for fascism whose starring clown now calls Jair Bolsonaro applauded by obscure mass manipulation groups such as MBL, that controls millions of washed brains through marketing, excessive lies and money not declared.
What is happening in Brazil is part of the U.S.'s plan of regional and global dominance, through a neo-fascism.
Unfortunately, Chomsky's hope that those with real power won't succeed in covering Lava Jato's crimes up, is not going to come true. Much more amazing than the mainstream media manipulation of facts in this case, too, is that millions of individuals, in times of information revolution led by the Internet and even before this, being well-aware of the media's features still form an opinion through it, being so easily deceived and manipulated.
“Brazil above everything, God above everyone,” Jair Bolsonaro's campaign motto, plagiarized from Nazi Germany.
"Today at 9 p.m. I was stopped by the military and lynched because, they said, I look like a drug smuggler. They said now Bolsonaro is the commander. I regret for had voted for Bolsonaro," Douglas Barcellos on October 28, shortly after Bolsonaro had been declared the winner of Brazil's presidential election.
“I'm going to vote... armed with a knife, pistol, devil, crazy to see a lounger, bum with a red shirt and to immediately kill... This bunch of negroes is going to die! Gonna die!!! He is a captain, [calling names]!!!,” said the lawyer Pedro Baleotti as filmed himself in his car, on October 28.
One week before the election, university students in Campinas city were banned by the Police from giving out Haddad tracts: “military dictatorship is back!” the policemen said.
November 1, 2018
Jair Messias Bolsonaro is the 38th president of Brazil, elected with 55.14% of the valid votes, 44.86% of the Brazilians' preference in the second round. At least 43 million Brazilians abstained from voting, annulled or voted blank, something like 29% of the entire contingent of voters.
The former army captain received 57.7 million votes out of 147.3 million voters, that is, he was elected by 39% of eligible voters. Fernando Haddad, a professor, economist, political scientist, lawyer, and philosopher, received 47 million votes, 32% of the voters in a country of 210 million people.
An expected victory after a large difference in favor of Bolsonaro in the first round, on October 7; shortly after that date, according to polls, the difference was day by day increasing even more in favor of the candidate whose professional propaganda structure was carefully set up, with no clear sources yet. the former army captain
As soon as his victory had been declared, in a national speech, Bolsonaro appeared eager to dispel concerns that he would govern despotically, vowing to govern respecting the Constitution, democracy, and liberty. “Enough of lies, enough of fake news in Brazil,” he hypocritically said later.
In his campaign, among many other terrible words Bolsonaro, a declared admirer of the military dictatorship who is used to saying that, “the dictators' mistake has been only torturing but not killing about 30,000 people,” vowed during an address, delivered via a video linkup, to thousands of supporters gathered in São Paulo city, that,
“Those red good-for-nothings will be banished from the homeland. It will be a clean up the likes of which has never been seen in Brazilian history.
Once again, Bolsonaro is not only vague but contradictory: he says some tragic thing, some days later states he has not said that as accuses others of spreading fake news, to soon say the same thing in even worst words.
He refused to debate during all the campaign, an omission that makes many people wonder about this project for Brazil – including among thousands of his supporters.
The opponents state that Bolsonaro has not any Project for the South-American nation; the latter are not concerned about any Project, but a declared “anti-Workers' Party sentiment” which justified their votes for the admirer of Adolf Hitler. The former army captain himself focused his campaign on that deeply hateful sentiment.
At the same time, the Workers' Party has promised to contest the electoral process in court, due to Bolsonaro's innumerable threats, excessively aggressive incitement to violence, had been funded by private companies, and spread fake news up to the last minute – in the election day, Haddad was falsely accused via WhatsApp of having raped an eleven-year-old girl.
Progressive sectors have been too aggressively attacked by Bolsonaro supporters, a declared civil war though across the country there have been armed attacks by Workers' Party voters, too. A chaos state is installed in Brazil.
Since President Michel Temer took power substituting Dilma Rousseff, impeached without any crime two years ago, the South-American giant has gone down many steps in the international scenario.
Brazil has the largest hydrological reserve on the planet; the oil discovered in the late 2000s in the pre-salt layer may elevate the country to have the world's biggest reserves of the product; is the world's richest territory in biodiversity; and by strengthening South-South alliances, during the Workers' Party years was creating powerful international blocs and institutions, such as BRICS and Unasur's Banco del Sur (Southern Bank).
US President Donald Trump and the Israeli Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after knowing the Brazilian electoral results, called Bolsonaro to congratulate him.
What does Bolsonaro's victory mean to Brazil? Is he really going to forget his old criminal sayings and doings, increased in this campaign, respecting the rule of law? Does the extreme right-wing now president-elect have any government program? Why has the Workers' Party lost, and what does it mean to the South-American nation?
These questions will be discussed in the lines below.
“I do not know anything about economics, I am military, but I'll have a minister of economy in my government. Am I going to a campaign or an entrance examination?”, Bolsonaro replied to a journalist question in an interview last July, and in October of 2017.
Like Donald Trump, Bolsonaro is culturally and intellectually too poor; like Trump, the Brazilian president-elect believe much more in persuasion and force; alike the American fascist felt as he won the US presidential campaign, the Brazilian neo-nazi is not sure now about what he will do in Brazil's Presidency.
So the Trump-Bolsonaro's proximity goes far beyond the fact that Steve Bannon has advised both.
That said, unlike what so many people think, Bolsonaro has a government program: it is an ultra-neoliberal one, outline by Paulo Guedes, a Chicago Boy who proposes to “slim Brazil's puffed-up, ineffective and near-bankrupt state through privatizations and public-spending cuts, and to undo the country's serpentine red tape.”
As Bolsonaro's candidacy has been confused in part as a tactic to reach everybody, he has been vague and fled debates for people not to know the essence of the unpopularity of his “proposals” to the country.
He also fled debates due to his total lack of moral, cultural and intellectual skills. Not for not having a project as many people have said. Much likely, Bolsonaro's absence in debates was due to afraid of himself as he is excessively talkative, but there is a program.
His campaign, movements, and individuals in the favor of Bolsonaro dedicated much more to attack the Workers' Party than to advocate for the then-extreme-right candidate, and his agenda. As never seen before in any campaign in the South-American country.
Constructing more and more prisons – privatizing all of them instead of confronting social problems, also improving prisons trying to recover individuals and opting for alternative methods for minor crimes –, making the society free to get guns instead of discussing public security and social issues, the traditional war on drugs, the privatization of water and everything, no rights to workers and to minorities. Independence to the central bank, free to take every measure of big banks' interests.
This is Bolsonaro, eased out of the army in 1988, after trying to explode bombs in his institutions due to salary issues.
Neoliberal policies are themselves empty and deeply contradictory, so Bolsonaro's team feared, of course, the candidate debating face to face with his opponents, especially on the eve of the second round. His hysteria and deep intolerance would surely be much more evident and exposed to public shame along with every Bolsonaro's anti-virtues. But it cannot be said that there is no program by Brazil's president-elect.
It has been much easier to keep the Brazilian society submerged in fear, hysteria, discrimination, hate, and blindness.
Objectively, Brazil's so fragile democracy, unlike some analysts have said, has not been overthrown by democracy last October 28, but by a strong network of false propaganda, and countless electoral and social crimes. By an omissive justice system. Not to mention foreign shadows behind the scenes.
Surprisingly to many people, it is the fact that the mainstream media, the Brazilian justice system and the people themselves, too hateful standing against corruption and political deceives since 2013, now keep silent before Bolsonaro's endless lies and crimes.
That is not a surprise at all if the last electoral process is considered a continuation of the coup d'Etat through former President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment in 2016, and the criminalization of progressive sectors.
As the far-right program has been hidden from most Brazilians, its only evident project is barbarism, accepted by almost 60 million Brazilians. Total confusion is just getting worse and worse in Brazil. In essence, Brazilians, stuck in hate by hidden powers, have been killing themselves by nothing.
The Brazilian “left” has opted for an identity politics and sectarianism. Priority is not fighting capitalism and social inequality anymore. For this sector, if one does not share some social values in a minimal detail about abortion, gender, feminism, drugs, and so on even tireless combating poverty under genuine progressive politics, is aggressively condemned and rejected, not considered a real progressive citizen – but a potential “fascist”.
As discrimination is strongly rooted in a historically authoritarian nation, the last one to abolish slavery in America, every “liberation” movement is permeated by this sentiment – discrimination against others and even against them themselves. It is something very clear among Brazilians.
Generally, what fewer matters to consider one a progressive, in practice, has been its economic ideas: it has been common a question from the Brazilian “left” about the social values like those pointed out above, to consider an individual one of them, or not.
The country, included the “left”, has not been preparing itself to the current political crisis drawing for at least five years and a half. Until recently, talking to many “leftist” leaders one could feel them highly skeptical about a new military coup in Brazil.
Particularly, the Workers' Party (PT) rejected any constructive criticism even from progressive sectors, aggressively labeling them “fascists” or “radical left”, to lead its neoliberal policy with a human face for thirteen years in power, beginning to Luiz Inacio da Silva in 2003.
Though important – and ephemeral – social gains proportionated especially by Family Allowance program (an improved continuation of the predecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso's School Allowance), and some real increase on minimum wage, social inequality never left the Brazilian society, one of world's most unequal.
Tragic public health, basic sanitation, access to justice, housing and working conditions, social and institutionalized discrimination, and education.
About the last point, it is important to highlight that during PT years, not very different from its predecessors, Brazil under-invested in public education: around 5%. In short, every government from the military dictatorship to Michel Temer amounts to the same (tragic) thing as the “investment” has been inefficient and the practice, taken into account terrible Brazil's educational level, is even more disastrous.
The PT lifted 30 million people out of poverty, and the country was removed from the U.N. World Hunger Map; at the same time, never in Brazil's history bankers had gained too much as in PT years. The same can be said about the mainstream media, agribusiness, and currency evasion.
The PT hypocritically today manifests indignation towards Bolsonaro against indigenous people, as the party which presented himself as promoting a “Social Revolution”.
In PT years, the native people were murdered by agribusinessmen, supported by the party, like never before in the country's recent history – neither in the military years in power, from 1964 to 1985: a rise year by year from Lula to Dilma, getting 269% in both governments compared to the eight years that former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was in the Presidency.
The indigenous question during PT years is another practical example of its authoritarian way of governing, only or, at the best, mostly concerned about keeping itself in power.
As the party was never willing to dialogue with popular sectors, during the 2013 protests when many people required a political reform, the then-President Dilma refused to even put it in the discussion: PT lost its greatest chance of being closer to the society, winning the local oligarchy that would destroy the party in the near future.
In the name of power, PT used to ally itself to the elites, never listening to some claims that everything would end up in tragedy, to the party and local democracy. Worst of all, year by year since Dilma was impeached, the PT has refused to recognize its mistakes, something required even by internal militants.
All in all, PT's principle “project” for Brazil has been the same through years, even since Dilma's impeachment including this Haddad's presidential campaign, wins the election and retakes the power.
So it has been so easy for the local and foreign elites to – once again – overthrown Brazil's democracy. Now PT desperately needs the masses supporting it, a politized society never created by the party. Power was the limit for PT.
It is worth remembering that it was Dilma who passed the Anti-Terrorism Act on the eve of the 2014 World Cup, which actually gives to public forces the power of repressing public manifestations.
Though the mainstream media tried so hard to present both candidates in extreme points (as part of the anti-PT discourse), the big difference between Bolsonaro and Haddad is that if the academic had won the last election, Brazil would now be sure that there would be an election in 2022, fact surrounded by too many uncertainties as the first has won.
Haddad is not an extremist, far from it; Bolsonaro is the most one in Brazil's presidential history. The “left” in general, trying to preserve the PT, in its years in the Presidency, during the massive protests in 2013 and the last campaign, not mobilizing itself, what ended up opened gaps and, finally, strengthening to the extreme right.
As mediocrity is the great winner in Brazil's presidential election, the PT is the principal and a most pathetic loser; its national recovery is unthinkable for the coming years.
The destruction of the national industry, of Brazil's regional alliance and its inclusion in the BRICS, are the first evident tragedies Bolsonaro will continue to do, a job begun in 2015/2016 by the Judge Sergio Moro, the mainstream media and the most corrupted politicians in the Brazilian Congress, when they overthrew Dilma without any crime.
He also promises a withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and is eager to deforest even more the Amazon, saying that the native people do not want to live in a forest, which has to be given to big companies to produce. Large latifundia, according to Bolsonaro, are the wealthy and progress of the nation.
Though PT has not been a progressive party, what was at stake in these elections was the privatization of water, Petrobras, Eletrobras (an energy public company), Caixa Economica Federal (a public bank).
In an open letter published last week, 136 Brazilian geographers from Pará state manifested their serious concerns about Bolsonaro: the researches and professors pointed out that the extreme right-wing candidate presents a "political stance" of delivering the natural resources of the world's largest rainforest "to the private initiative of foreign countries, thereby eliminating areas of environmental protection, extractive reserves and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] that have historically been fighting for the traditional populations of the country."
Last year, Temer invited US Armed Forces to participate in joint in joint military exercises in the Amazon, “to develop a greater knowledge, share experiences and develop mutual trust.” It is absolutely evident that Bolsonaro will continue to open Brazil's doors to Uncle Sam's Southern Command silent occupation of the world's richest region in biodiversity – as Brazil's Armed Forces themselves, who support him, does and did in the dictatorship times. It is worth remembering that, in his visit to Washington D.C. in October of 2017, Bolsonaro saluted US flag.
The Bolsonaro regime, as it has catastrophically been presented, and Jair Bolsonaro character itself as Brazilians historically know very well, will not be able to minimally mediate democratic relations, far from it. In Brazil's particular case, given the current social, political and economic crisis, such a possibility is even most remote – unthinkable, we could say.
Bolsonaro's “government” will be totally incapable of ordering that, and promised to cut even more social investments, far from good during PT years, which Temer started to totally destroy. Times sign to a disaster in the near Brazilian future.
His anti-corruption speech cannot become reality, not even taking seriously as another Bolsonaro's opportunist verbiage. His historical truculent and corrupted essence, and his agenda reinforce the possibility of a self-coup leaned on falsely fighting the internal enemy violence, and corruption itself.
The militarization of Rio and the terror spreading across the country are examples that Brazil is an advanced Police State where, last year, 64,000 were killed – and Bolsonaro, a declared fan of Augusto Pinochet, has insisted that more assassinations, much more are necessary to combat violence in Brazil (!).
In a country where 55 percent of people are black, Bolsonaro and his vice, General Antonio Hamilton Mourao, dare to state that Afro-descendants are second-class citizens.
Bolsonaro will have to handle with the monster he has set up, the deep hate in many cases repressed for so long in a hostile society; a campaign based on the fake news is socially terrible and will surely charge its high price.
Sadly, this way democracy has been finished in Brazil by local and international oligarchies, in the person of Jair Bolsonaro. In times of capitalism deep depression, nothing more appropriate to the owners of international power than, once again, substituting the fragile representative “democracy”, by a nazi-fascism regime.
In the absence of something to justify a hardline policy back to Brazil, a neo-McCarthyism has hysterically been imposed. Blindness is the raw material for such an “ideology”. Given the world's economic crisis, the Bolsonaro regime tends to be even more aggressive as any hard-liner, in such circumstances.
As the Workers' Party is one of the biggest lies in Brazil's history, Jair Bolsonaro tragically is one of the truest faces, in his neo-McCarthyism sense.
“Not even the military dictatorship defended an ideology which is so openly fascist like
Bolsonaro does today. He does not care about being compared to Hitler,” Michael Löwy
October 24, 2018 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia), and Global Research (Canada)
“It is difficult to explain the emergence of a phenomenon best described as pathological politics on a large scale” according to French-Brazilian sociologist Michael Löwy, in an interview when asked about Jair Bolsonaro's ascension, Brazil's presidential candidate whose great-grandfather was a Nazi soldier.
A former lawmaker that delivered just two bills across almost three decades, as a presidential candidate now Bolsonaro promises, among many other fascist “policies” layered in a total lack of project to the country as he refuses to debate, to make the “police free to kill” without any investigation.
The candidate of the Liberal Social Party (PSL, totally in favor of privatizations, and deeply nationalist) who leads the polls, has once said that a civil war is the only solution for Brazil. Bolsonaro often attacks his opponents with much violence, especially leftists and homosexuals promising a “zero tolerance” against them once he is elected, which includes torture and assassination.
Not surprisingly, the nation is living a vertiginous growing of violence of the eve of the second round of the election.
In June of 2013, Brazil lived its social “Spring”: another sociological “enigma”: hardly explained up to date, it was very similar to others all over the world whose multitudes did not know exactly why, how and to what they suddenly took to the streets (as teleSUR showed interviewing Brazilian citizens at the time).
Movements which have produced around the world, cooperated by the mainstream media – locally and internationally distorting facts, or not putting news in context: the minimization of the rule of law hurting civil liberties, increasing repression, corruption, and foreign influence.
Filled with hate, resentment, discrimination, and violence including by State forces, sometimes infiltrated among people: even those protests, an important part to overthrow the then-President Dilma Rousseff three years later and to boost Bolsonaro, were a consequence of dark winds blowing from the offshore against the South-American giant.
“The stranger, of course, is not the fascist preaching of an individual, but the adhesion of a large part of the electorate to these ideas,” observed the sociologist based in Paris.
“The spectacular success of Bolsonaro is something that still needs to be explained,” stated Löwy as he astonishingly mentioned that the former captain army does not care about being compared to Adolf Hitler – Bolsonaro also praised the Nazi as a great strategist, saying he would have enlisted in Hitler's Army.
In retribution, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, has manifested his enthusiastic support to Bolsonaro: “Sounds like us.” Inside his country, Bolsonaro's supporters are in general on the same level, of course.
In the Information Age, there is no international conspiracy that both Julian Assuage and Edward Snowden cannot bring to light.
The Brazilian Economist Ladislau Dowbor in an interview with the author said by supporting Bolsonaro, the oligarchy once more time in Brazil's history “prefers to bury the country than to acknowledge the mistakes.”
The fragility of the democratic institutions have been aggravated since President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, in August of 2016. “There is not much mystery about what is happening in Brazil. This is the good old fight for social surplus”, the specialist says.
Talking to sociologist Löwy, three important factors could have contributed to Bolsonaro's ascension leading to the possibility of a Brazilian police State:
Politics is socially discredited;
The long vacuum left by the main opposition to the Workers' Party (PT), the Brazilian Social-Democratic Party (PSDB) through a lack of political proposals, and moral crisis (largely hidden by the mainstream media, and the Brazilian “Justice”);
An international scenario which, under U.S. President Donald Trump, favors far-right wing politicians.
The specialist agreed, adding some more points:
“The social impact of crime in Brazil; leading sectors of society opting for violent repression as the only solution; the hatred of certain social strata to PT, leading them to support the 'totally destruction of the party'; the strong political influence of conservative evangelicals; and the hostility to democracy of important sectors of the ruling classes.”
Economist Dowbor pointed out some of the contradictions of the PT years:
“Family Allowance [a national program that helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty, and remove the country from the U.N. World Hunger Map], which reached 50 million poor people, cost about 30 billion reais [about U$D 8 billion]. In comparison, in 2015 the payment of interest on the public debt was 500 billion reais [about U$D 134 billion]”,
said the economist.
Dowbor recalled that in 2012, Dilma decided to contain interest rates:
“From that moment, a war started. Many account holders left private banks such as Itaú, Bradesco and Santander, taking refuge in the public banks.
“As of 2013 there is no more government in Brazil, only boycotts [by the Congress], and [public] protests enthusiastically inflated by the media. Dilma was impeached without any crime, Lula is imprisoned without any proven guilt.”
According to Löwy:
“The coup against Dilma is explained by the oligarchy's desire – agribusiness, entrepreneurs, financial capital, rentiers – to end the long PT realm, despite the willingness of the center-left governments to negotiate agreements, and make numerous concessions [in favor of the oligarchy].
“The oligarchy, in the new economic situation created by the crisis, no longer wanted to negotiate anything, and was not content with concessions: it wanted to directly govern, and fully put into practice its anti-popular neoliberal program.
“At first, thanks to the media and corruption scandals also involving PT leaders, an important part of the population seemed to accept the arguments of the coup.”
The sociologist also pointed out that Temer's “solution” on behalf of the local oligarchy, had devastating consequences including:
“The aggravation of the socio-economic crisis, the deeply anti-popular measures of the Temer administration, corruption scandals against several members of his government and his parliamentary base, and above all with the growth of unemployment, poverty and social inequality.”
In an international context, Lula and Dilma highlighted the cooperation South-South, supported Venezuela and strengthened the BRICS.
All this, intolerable to the local oligarchy and the Washington regime, which historically fights democracy in the region through boycotts, coups, and assassinations.
'Phenomenon' Made in U.S.A.
In July of 2013, less than a month after the “Brazilian Spring” had started, the national paper O Globo published a series of reports denouncing US espionage directed against Brazil. Quoting Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee, Brazil was the Latin American country most spied upon in the 2000's, leading up to the impeachment of Dilma.
The mainstream media (including The New York Times), well-known by its conservative and pro-elites biases, praised “Brazil's Spring” and its vague “purpose”: like Bolsonaro's today it was based on the rhetoric, “we are against everything.”
The local media performance was then very similar to that on the eve of the 1964 military coup, with a tendency towards a new authoritarianism within the Armed Forces.
Largely promoted by fake profiles on Facebook, these protests were the result of foreign support and influence, In this regard, the movements which have led t massive protests in the last years, such as Movimento Brasil Livre (Free Brazil Movement) and Vem pra Rua (Take to the Streets), are funded by US billionaires.
Threats of a coup d'Etat emanating from the highest levels of the military hierarchy in recent years especially since Dilma won her second term in 2014, were followed by Marielle Franco's murder (mocked by many conservatives, who falsely fight corruption and violence in Brazil), which coincided with the militarization of Rio: since the first days of the intervention, the military is giving out magazines to children with a cover that shows a red monster (the “red danger”) trying to attack a white-skinned, blond-haired boy, protected by the military.
The Brazilian “Justice”, historically pro-upper class and corrupt, has been trained by Washington which also funds, via the State Department, the travel of Brazilian judges and prosecutors to the US according to cables recently released by WikiLeaks. These include judge Sergio Moro, responsible for Lula's imprisonment; Moro has a longstanding background of corruption.
Marielle's assassination itself has not been clarified, though the evidence points to a state crime as Bolsonaro freely commits, without any punishment, several electoral crimes, such as:
Indiscriminately funded by private companies, spreading fake news;
illegal use of social media;
getting private funding for his campaign, not permitted by the Brazilian electoral law, since 2016;
his well-known incitement of violence against those he opposes,
praising the crimes against humanity committed by the military dictatorship (1964-1985).
The Brazilian “Justice” system has been too strict in fighting corruption, arbitrarily condemning some parts at the same time it is now, in the Bolsonaro scandal, totally silent: how to explain that?
Moreover Brazil's “Justice” (supported by Washington) has persecuted leftist journalists, human rights activists, social movements and academics. And this expanded unabated since the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.
Under the “no ideology” discourse promoted by the mainstream media and “politicians” like Bolsonaro, Brazilians have been forbidden to think.
The impossibility of dialogue, the spread of violence and the worship of his image, raw materials of fascism, are resources on which Jair Bolsonaro relies upon. He has promised a constitutional breakup. So it has been easy for Bolsonaro's campaign, which prevails through demagogy and irrationality, to use hate and fear as a political instruments coupled with propaganda slogans which completely distort reality:
Fear of the PT as the icon of the Great Satan, the origin of all the problems (“We have to strafe PT militants”);
Fear of the local “red danger” (“Dictatorship's big mistake was torturing without killing”).
Fear of Venezuela (“One of my first measures, will be the invasion of Venezuela”).
In his hysteria against leftists, followed by reactionary movements and the local society as a whole, Bolsonaro has said that anyone less than the former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a rightist of PSDB, should be killed as a “communist.”
Fear of homosexuals (“I'd rather my son to die in an accident, than to appear with a mustache guy”).
Fear of women (“A woman has to receive lower wages [than the man], because she can get pregnant”).
Fear of black people [“They (negroes descendant from slaves, from “Quilombola” community in Brazil) do nothing! I do not think are useful neither to procreate”).
Fear of all “immoralities” threatening religion and family – solution: killing immoral people, in the name of God and good customs.
Fear of real problems like violence to be “resolved”, as Bolsonaro and his followers often rampage, “arming people, and authorizing policemen to indiscriminately kill.”
Fear of the economic crisis to be resolved by “privatizing everything.”
Fear of corruption authorizing the “Justice” to put itself against Brazil's “enemies”, or even closing every institution linked to justice in the country.
Fear of democracy [“He (Adolf Hitler) was a great strategist: annihilated his enemies as everyone does at was; I would have enlisted in Hitler's Army”; "I will only accept my victory in this election").
As fear increasingly permeates Brazilian society, Bolsonaro's campaign is based on a total absence of rational thought and critical political analysis.
Any similarity to nazi-fascism “policies”, that takes advantage of fear and hate, of an enemy, generally nonexistent, to force people to abandon their liberties in the name of the common good and security?
Democratic institutions have been totally destroyed by fascist influences in Brazil, who openly break the law without any embarrassment and excess of aggressiveness, as if they (including judges, public prosecutors, policemen and even public workers) were the owners of the state and a blatantly corrupt power.
The nation has been delivered to the hands of the worst bandits.
A totally demoralized “Justice” system: this weekend, Federal Member of Parliament Elect Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the messianic candidate, threatened the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) saying that “a soldier and a corporal are enough to close the institution,” after calls for an investigation to bar the popular right-wing candidate from the presidential race, and from politics for the next eight years due to spreading fake news along with Brazilian big companies.
All this, under the world's sheriff silence: so where is now Uncle Sam, to advocate for democracy in Latin America?
Though the Brazilian culture is deeply colonized, elitist and reactionary, deeply discriminatory (Brazil was the last American country to abolish slavery) which, of course, favors authoritarianism in politics and in social relations in general, there is not any phenomenon to be sociologically understood from the many coups against democracy in the South-American country; the most recent assassin puppet terrifying the Brazilian long nightmare is called Jair Bolsonaro, who saluted the U.S. flag in a travel to that country in October of 2017.
None of this can be understood without considering the international scenario, neither fundamentally helped by Assange and Snowden.
Löwy sees military intervention as a real danger. “For the first time since the end of the military dictatorship, generals begin to intervene in political life for example by threatening judges, if they free Lula.”
Brazil's Superior War College in Rio, which has been the object of indoctrination by the Pentagon, calls for a gradual militarization of politics.
The Brazilian military has for many years embraced America's national security doctrine:
combating the enemy, starting by the internal one – a communist, the poor, the [leftist] subversive.
Brazil's “justice” system, including the Public Ministry, follows this pattern, which helped this sector to work side by side with the military dictatorship, torturing and murdering.
In the case of a Haddad victory, Michael Lowy points to the danger of a “parliamentary coup,” modelled of what happened to then-President Joao Goulart in 1964. The objective was “to weaken the President's power”.
“The Parliament in Brazil is a caricature of democracy, entirely dominated by the Bullets (military, police, paramilitary), Bull (agribusiness), Bible (conservative evangelical)” and Banks lobby in Congress,” he says.
“The oligarchy, which controls the Assembly, has lost all presidential elections since 2002, hence the possible 'parliamentary' coup against the presidency,” added the sociologist.
Both Lowy and Dowbor agree that if Bolsonaro is elected president, a chaotic situation will unfold whereby prevailing neoliberal policies (as promised by the far-right candidate), will be multiplied by several times.
“Bolsonaro's election would be an immense disaster for the country, for democracy, for the Brazilian people,” pointed out the sociologist who says his popularity is an icon of the hate that marks the Brazilian society.
Fleeing from debates, Bolsonaro reflects and at the same time incites even more the social aversion to a political dialogue.
The former army captain and his running mate, General Antonio Hamilton Mourao, have threatened a de facto military coup if they are elected next October 28.
Another troubling scenario is considered, in the case of PT victory of Fernando Haddad (image on the left), Bolsonaro has said he would not accept the result of his opponent. Brazil seems like a dead-end country...
The imperialist tactic in Brazil is clearcut: fomenting social divisions, generating extreme poverty and violence – to justify a hardline policy.
The State against its citizens, and the citizens against themselves tragically is the most accurate way of describing today's Brazil, left by Michel Temer – the commencement of a historic tragedy in Brazil?
Venezuelan Presidential Elections
US filmmaker talks to Edu Montesanti on the election in the Caribbean country on May 20, and its importance
to Latin America. "The left will come back in Latin America, more likely sooner than later," says Stone
May 18, 2018 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia), in Portuguese on Pravda Brasil, and in Spanish on Globalización (Canadá)
Edu Montesanti: Great Oliver Stone, I would like to thank you so very much for the honor of interviewing you, and congratulate you for your matchless contributions for peace, and social justice all over the world.
What are your thoughts about the Democratic Unity Roundtable`s (MUD) and Washington regime`s boycott to the Venezuelan election?
Oliver Stone: It is part of a strategy of both the MUD and the Trump administration of dismissing the election in favor of extra-legal regime change. It is also convenient for the MUD, because the opposition cannot agree on a candidate, and if they had multiple candidates, they could easily lose.
Of course, both the Bush and the Obama administrations pursued regime change most of the time for the 15 years preceding Trump. Examples include the 2002 military coup, which Washington was involved in; and in supporting the 2013 violent street demonstrations that rejected the presidential election results, which were not in doubt.
The US has also poured many millions of dollars into Venezuela through the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, and other sources that are public and included in the US federal budget -- not including any covert aid -- to promote regime change.
Edu Montesanti: How do you see both sides in this campaign, President Nicolás Maduro who seeks re-election, and the opposition?
Oliver Stone: Well, your first question was about the MUD, and they are boycotting. But there are actually four candidates opposing Maduro, and one of them is ahead of all the others, and according to the more reliable polls has a good chance of winning if people vote. That is Henry Falcon, a former Governor and military officer who is more of a centrist than the far-right-led MUD coalition.
The US government threatened him with personal financial sanctions if he entered the race, because, as I noted, they don't want an election. And they don't want a centrist candidate who might try to make peace with the Chavistas if he were to win.
Basically, Washington and the MUD believe that the government can be overthrown as hyperinflation accelerates and the economy continues to decline.
At the same time, the Trump administration has imposed a financial embargo on Venezuela, which makes it nearly impossible for the Venezuelan government to borrow internationally or restructure its foreign debt.
So they are basically telling the Venezuelan people that their suffering will get worse so long as Maduro remains in power, and exacerbating the shortages of food, medicine, and many other goods, as well as hurting oil production, which the economy depends on.
Despite the depression and hardships of daily life, the country remains politically polarized. If you look at the crowds of pro-government and anti-government demonstrators over the years, you can see the difference in class and also race -- since the two are highly correlated in Venezuela, as in most of the Americas.
And millions of Venezuelans got health care, college education, and pensions for the first time in the 21st century under Chavez and his party.
So, even though the depression and hyperinflation have erased many of these gains, the government still has a base of about a third of the electorate.
That's why, no matter who wins the election, there will have to be a negotiated solution in order to resolve the political crisis. And whoever wins will have to fix the economy.
Edu Montesanti: What is the importance of this election to Latin America, especially in this moment of an agressive advance of hate, intolerance and attack against human rights and social justice in favor of local elites, all over the region?
Oliver Stone: Well, the last few years have definitely been a period of resurgence of the right in Latin America.
In Brazil, President Dilma Rosseff was impeached in 2016 without even being charged with a crime and replaced with a right-wing government.
And now Lula, who remains the most popular politician in Brazil, has been imprisoned under the most dubious of legal procedures.
Convicted without material evidence on the basis of plea-bargained testimony from a witness who was cut off from plea bargaining until he said what the judge -- who did not hide his political motivations -- wanted. And all this to prevent Lula from running in the October presidential election, where he has a substantial lead in the polls.
And in Argentina, there is a right-wing president since the end of 2015, and he is also using the legal system to persecute the former president Cristina Fernandez and other officials of her government.
These new governments are very loyal to the US government, which has helped them, and very allied in terms of foreign policy in the region. So there has been a serious reversal.
There is an attempt to get rid of the Nicaraguan government too, and Washington is pouring millions of dollars into that effort as well, according to the US federal budget.
It so happens that the left governments that were elected in the 21st century -- in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Nicaragua, and others -- asserted their rights to self-determination and national sovereignty as perhaps never before, on so large a scale, in the history of the region.
And so, naturally, they ran into trouble with the US, which considers the region its "backyard." I think that is a very important part of the context in which we can see what is happening in Venezuela, although the role of the US is almost never mentioned in the major media.
But this reversal is temporary. The right doesn't offer any solutions to the problems of economic and social injustice that propelled the left, pro-self-determination movements and governments to power.
Brazil's President is deeply unpopular, and in Argentina, President Macri is also in trouble half-way through his term. And in Mexico, the leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is expected to win the Presidency in six weeks, an unprecedented, historic event if the polls are correct and it occurs.
So the left will come back in Latin America, more likely sooner than later.
December 6, 2017 / Published on Pravda Report, Instituto Presidente João Goulart, and Global Research
"Jango was very well physically, taking care, taking seriuosly his diet, and lively to celebrate Christmas and New Year with our children, João Vicente and Denize, in London," Maria Theresa Goulart, Jango's widow, told Pravda Report.
December 6 is one of the saddest anniversary for Brazilians, and the democratic world who fights for social justice and peace: on this day in 1976, former President João Goulart (1961-1964), overthrown by a military coup with more than 70 percent of an approval rating, passed away at 57 years old in his exile with family, in Argentina.
Jango, as the most progressive president in Brazil's history was popularly known, suffered from heart disease but his passing has been kept in mystery even today, 41 years after his death. There are lots of evidences that Jango was poisoned.
The more the family investigates, the more it becomes clear that secret agents, largely infiltrated in the Goularts house, changed Jango's heart medicine for poison.
"It is a long, painful, painful process to undergo this kind of investigation, especially when we have a country [Brazil] subservient to the United States of America," said João Vicente Goulart, Jango's son, to Pravda.
"Documents prove the clandestine subtraction of my father's personal documents inside our apartment in exile by an agent B of the room where he slept, according to a statement to our Federal Police of a Uruguayan secret agent, Mario Barreiro, who attended the meeting in August 1976 at the Uruguayan secret police headquarters in the presence of Fleury's delegate [Sérgio Fernando Paranhos Fleury, a Brazilian police official who tortured in the years of dictatorship in the South American country], the CIA Chief Frederick Latrash, US Ambassador Slauderman, the head of the Uruguayan Armed Forces with Chilean agents who brought from Santiago the Operation Condor extermination poisons, commanded by the chemist of the DINA (Chilean secret police) Hermes Berríos and the agent Michael Townley, that lives under protection of the American State under another name," Goulart added.
""There are so many indications, that the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in Rio Grande do Sul state (southern Brazil), conducted by prosecutor Suzete Bragagnolo, did not close the investigation even after the exhumation [in 2013] of the remains that have not yet been conclusive, for the time between death and exhumation," regrets Goulart.
Maria Theresa, Jango's widow, said that time is not enough to forget her husband, and everything he did to a better world. She has been seeking comfort in her family through the years. "Nowadays I have the compensation of being always with my son and daughter, João Vicente and Denize, and of all my family who means the world to me."
"It was a brilliant period, where Cinema Novo [New Cinema], Bossa Nova, and Arena Theater in the cultural sector came up in Brazil," remembers the 60's João Vicente Goulart. "New social movements such as peasant leagues, industrial and rural syndicalism, the student movement that, in the fervor of the debate during the Jango administration, emerged as a nationalist nation in opposition to the internationalism of its opponents.
"The João Goulart government brought to the broad discussion of society the reform of the Brazilian State, through the 'Basic Reforms', a set of proposals aimed at the development of the internal market as a lever of development."
"The agrarian, tributary, banking and university reforms, the National Literacy Plan, urban reform, the remittance law of multinational companies, the expropriation of oil refineries granting the monopoly not only of exploration, but also of refining to Petrobras [state oil company], were nationalistic measures that displeased the owners of the world, and the national elites.
"In foreign policy, for the first time Brazil positioned itself internationally with absolute independence and sovereignty: Jango established the policy of self-determination of peoples. Brazil reestablished relations with the Soviet Union, voted against colonialism in the UN, moved forward with the reestablishment of relations with China and with the Asian and African peoples, in short, all these achievements were denied by the military dictators who, for years, tried to hide these proposals from the Brazilian people," observed Goulart.
The Brazilian Historian Vitor Schincariol told Pravda: "He was trying to continue Getúlio Varga's efforts of building a sovereing and economically developed nation on capitalist grounds," and added the researcher at University of ABC in São Paulo that "his presidential term was marked by a growing economic crisis caused by structural factors - foreign trade, financial crisis, cyclical downturn-, by wrong economic decisions such as former President Jânio Quadro's economic reform in the exchange rate system that, as the Brazilian Economist Celso Furtado (1920-2004) pointed out years ago, caused a loss of 30% of government's revenues. Also by the economic terrorism by the domestic bourgeousie and the international enterprises, that did not want a government that was supported by workers and that wanted to implement social reforms, which was not exactly socialist."
Professor Doctor Schincariol pointed out that when the economic and social situation worsened, President João Goulart chose the path of a more radical policy, so "the Army decided, side by side with the domestic elites and the United States, to implement a coup d'etat.
"The United States, the domestic bourgeousie, the ring wing forces in the Army could not tolerate Goulart, because of his honesty, his good relations with worker's movements and his genuine will of transforming Brazil into a developed, just and sovereing nation.
"Goulart was genuinely compromised with democracy, and social peace," stated Professor Doctor Vitor Schincariol.
Jango's son said that the story told during the period of the dictatorship tried not only to erase President Goulart's period of government from history, but also "to alienate two Brazilian generations from the banner of nationalism while giving the international capital the reaction capacity of a free people."
Historian Schincariol pointed out to the same direction: "Goulart's and Varga's legacy was erased, phisically and ideologically, by the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. The economy was 'globalised'; the case for a industrialization with national capitals, social justice and national independence was substituted by 'dependence', 'fascist' policies and censorship; the democratic and left wing forces were imprisoned, killed or left the nation."
U.S. Historian Peter Kuznick considered that the military coup against President Jango was a thoroughly deplorable period in U.S. history, and a tragic one for the people of Brazil.
"When Humberto Castelo Branco [a military official and first president of Brazil after the coup] seized power, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Lincoln Gordon cabled Washington that the generals had carried out a 'democratic rebellion', which was 'a great victory for the free world' that had prevented a 'total loss... of all South American Republics' and improved the climate for 'private investments'," the head of the Institute of Nuclear Studies of the American University in Washington told Pravda.
"U.S. President Lyndon Johnson sent "warmest good wishes" to Castelo Branco. Secretary of State Dean Rusk told the NSC and congressional leaders that the 'United States did not engineer the revolt. It was an entirely indigenous effort'. Repression began immediately.
"Johnson told National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy that he wanted to send Castelo Branco a warm message on his inauguration. Bundy warned Johnson about the repression that was occurring. Johnson replied, 'I know it. But I don't give a damn. I think that...some people... need to be locked up here and there too',", pointed out Professor Doctor Kuznick.
"The new Brazilian regime complied, locking up more than 50,000 people the first month alone. U.S. aid flowed into the new government. A repressive military regime ruled for the next 20 years, leaving Brazil with the largest gap between rich and poor in the world. Equally bad, Brazil worked closely with U.S. leaders to defeat progressive movements throughout Latin America."
The renowned Brazilian historian reminded that when the dictatorship ended, Brizola and other democratic political forces tried to implement some of Goulart's ideas. "But the international environment, 'globalization' in 1990's, was still very hostile, and Brazilian left wing forces were more divided, with a new left-wing party, Workers' Party, having no direct relation and in fact lack of will to discuss or remember Varga's legacy, which they labelled 'populist'."
Goulart was incisive in comparing the 21 years of military dictatorship which murdered 455, left 155 "disappeared" and tortured more than 30,000 people, to today's Brazil under President Michel Temer, a deeply corrupted politician who, as vice-president, colluded against former President Dilma Rousseff, overthrown through a parliamentary coup in 2016: "Any similarity with what we are experiencing today is not mere coincidence, it is the purest reality of those who cowardly sell the country, of an illicit government that has once again taken over Brazil."
Recently, João Vicente Goulart authored a book titled Jango e Eu, Memórias de um Exílio sem Volta (Jango and I, Memories of an Exile with No Return), reporting the period of the Goularts. Jango's son told Pravda about the sufferings and persecutions in the exile, in Uruguay and Argentina.
"Exile brought not only to my father, but to every patriot from different nations that, at that time, fought in the exile to restore local democracies and freedom, which dictatorships had imposed in Latin America.
Asked about how was feeling his father in his latter days, Goulart said: "Sad, very sad... but always thinking of returning to his land when Brazil and the suffering people could finally get freedom, sovereignty and social justice."
Goulart said that in exile the family had moments of hope and faith. "Exile builds inside of us such an armor of resistence, based on faith that someone is fighting for your homeland which is not a bad luck for anyone."
"Jango, my father, undoubtedly brought within me teachings that I will take as an example until the end of my days," Responded Goulart full of passion when asked about the legacy left by his father. "Growing up in exile with him built solid foundations. Today, are present among us his struggle and examples not only for granting rights to a more fair society, but also to a fraternal and more distributive system to Brazilian workers.
"It also built within us the certainty that social and collective goals should never be abandoned, in order to keep us alive and standing to face the resistance and tyranny of oppression."
Family Members and Historians Remember One if the Saddest Day of Brazil's History
said exclusively Jango's widow, Maria Theresa Goulart, about the most progressive president of Brazil's history
December 6, 2017 / Published on Telesur
On December 6, 1976, former President João Goulart, popularly known as "Jango", passed away when he was 57 in his exile with family in Mercedes, Argentina. Officially, he died by a cardiac attack, but many evidences point to poisoning.
"There are still some available tissue samples at Criminalistic Institute of Federal Police in Brazil, for a new investigation as new evidences are expected, if we can have new documents declassified, and testimonies that would bring new informations," told teleSUR João Vicente Goulart, Jango's son.
"In the first results analyzed, a substance appeared in tiny amounts which should not be in a human body, called pentaerythritol tetranitrate or erythrin tetranitrate, also known as pentrite,", revealed João Vicente. "It is a chemical with characteristic and end of explosives that, at the time, was only controlled as a weapon of exclusive use of the American Army," added Jango's son, pointing out that secret agents used to infiltrated the family's house in exhile. "As it is proven that spies removed my father's documents, they could have easily changed his heart medicine for a poison. Itamaraty lacks of sovereignty to require a response from the U.S. government".
Jango's body did not undergo an autopsy at the time he died. His body was only buried in São Borja, Brazil, after the assurance that the coffin would not be opened. According to João Vicente, "there was a severe military repression at my father's funeral." There were military officials everywhere at the place, monitoring Jango's coffin so it could not be open. In 2006 Mario Neira, a former Uruguayan secret agent, told João Vicente that his father had been really poisoned.
Overthrown from the Brazilian Presidency by a military coup d'état on April 1, 1964, the democratically elected João Goulart at the time with more than 70 per cent of approval ratings, exiled with family three days later to Uruguay, and in 1973 to Argentina welcomed by the then President Juan Domingo Perón. In exile, the Goularts were constantly threatened so the son, João Vicente, and Denize, the Goularts' daughter, went to study in London. Some friends warned former President Jango several times, that he could be killed.
On March 13, 1964, 18 days before the coup, President João Goulart gave a speech to more than 200,000 people in Central do Brasil square (Rio de Janeiro), with his wife Maria Theresa Goulart beside him, for the first time in his years in the Brazilian Presidency. Then, he promised an agrarian reform, reducing remittances of profits overseas, extending democratic rights among other very popular reforms. "Goulart committed the crimes of reforming the economy. That was more than Lyndon Johnson could tolerate and he opted to destablize the economy and assist a right-wing military takeover," said to this report the U.S. historian Peter Kuznick.
"The 1964 coup that toppled Goulart's government was extremely significant," added Professor Doctor Kuznick. "Oliver Stone and I begin our documentary episode about the invasion of Vietnam with a discussion of that coup. We then talk about the Dominican Republic, Greece, Indonesia, and Chile to show that the Vietnam War was part of a pattern.
"A National Intelligence Estimate in the summer of 1963 had warned that Goulart might be establishing 'an extreme leftist regime, with a strongly anti-US character'. Johnson's appointment in December of Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann to coordinate Latin American affairs was another nail in the Goulart government's coffin.
"When Goulart the next year responded to U.S. demands to impose austerity on the Brazilian people by instead offering land reform and control of foreign capital and by recognizing Cuba, the U.S. moved quickly to destabilize the economy. Goulart seized U.S. properties.
"Ambassador Lincoln Gordon and U.S. embassy officials urged right-wing Brazilian officers to overthrow Goulart. The U.S. backed Army Chief of Staff General Humberto Castelo Branco. The CIA assisted behind the scenes," observed the researcher of the Institute of Nuclear Studies, at the American University.
The Brazilian Historian Victor Schincariol observed to this report that in order to preserve national peace and people's security, the then President Jango didn't call for a military intervention tp protected him. "Goulart was genuinely compromised with democracy and social peace. He said that he could not tolerate the death of Brazillians in a virtual civil war.
"At the same time, he knew that the US would support the right wing forces, which would make the case for the defence of the democracy very hard indeed to win," added the Brazilian researcher at University of ABC (São Paulo).
On December 18, in the presence of the heads of the Armed Forces and the then President Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian Congress symbolically returned President João Goulart's mandate, as OAS exhorted Brazil in 2010 for the crimes against humanity never punished, committed by the military dictatorship that killed 475, left 144 "disappeared", tortured more than 30,000 people.
There is an Amnesty Act in Brazil, elaborated and passed in 1979 by Brazilian military officials themselves and never confronted in the country by politicians, mainstream media and local elites, that acquits the dictators of the crimes committed between 1964 and 1985, when the regime ended.
"Goulart's and Varga's legacy was erased, phisically and ideologically, by the military dictatorship between 1964-1985. The economy was 'globalised'; the case for a industrialization with national capitals, social justice and national independece was substituted by 'dependence', 'fascist' policies and censorship; the democratic and left wing forces were imprisoned, killed or left the nation," told Professor Doctor Schincariol.
"The most important legacy Jango left to Brazil was his tireless fight for workers' right and social justice", said to this report Maria Theresa Goulart. "And for us, his family, his generosity and partnership."
Azadeh Shahshahani told this report, as Washington vows to respond Pyongyang with “fire and fury”
December 3, 2017 / Published on Telesur and on Global Research
The risk of war between the US and North Korea is "increasing every day", US National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster has said, adding that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is working to advance his country's nuclear capability against the US.
“The greatest immediate threat to the United States and to the world is the threat posed by the rogue regime in North Korea, and his continued efforts to develop a long range nuclear capability,” McMaster told Fox News Saturday, after Pyongyang's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last November 29.
Wednesday's missile test, North Korea's first since mid-September, came after Pyongyang had denounced Trump's decision to relist it as a State sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement.” Kim Jong-un claimed it as a “breakthrough” that will allow it to strike the mainland United States, adding that his nation has “completed” the state nuclear force.
“After watching the successful launch of the new type ICBM Hwasong-15, Kim Jong-un declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power,” a statement read on state television said.
In the statement, North Korea described itself as a “responsible nuclear power”, saying its strategic weapons were developed to defend itself from “the US imperialists' nuclear blackmail policy, and nuclear threat”.
President Trump has said repeatedly that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea, and has traded insults and threats with Kim. In September, US president said that Washington would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.
North Korean state media has repeatedly called President Trump an “old lunatic,” as American leader called Kim Jong-um "a sick puppy" last week.
On November 30, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, said that the regime in Pyongyang would be "utterly destroyed," if war were to break out in the wake of the latest ballistic missile test by Pyongyang. “We have never sought war with North Korea, and still... we do not seek it," Nikki Haley said.
"If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed... And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed. No one can doubt that this threat is growing.”
UN ambassador also called on all nations to "cut ties" with North Korea. “Yesterday the North Korean regime made a choice. It chose to feed its nuclear aggression” and to “thumb its nose” at the world, she said.
The Finnish Professor of International Relations Timo Kivimäki, Director of Research at the University of Bath in England, told this report that "while Ambassador Haley feels that North Korea is begging for a war, and that it is blackmailing the region with nuclear weapons, North Korea can, actually, be begging for peace. It may be building a nuclear deterrent to react to what it sees as US nuclear blackmail."
"The North Korean situation is very dangerous. We've got to irresponsible, impulsive, reckless, bullying, threatening leaders with access to nuclear weapons. They're playing an apocalyptic game of chicken," pointed out to this report the American nuclear expert, Peter Kuznick.
"Both keep escalating the rhetoric and the provocations. This might end very, very badly. Neither wants to back down and look weak. They both base their reputations on being strong and always winning, regardless of the costs or how much suffering they cause".
President Trump has repeatedly and openly dismissed efforts to start talks with North Korea. In early October, he said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man [Kim Jong-un]” in putting out feelers for negotiations with Pyongyang.
On October 9, Defence Secretary James Mattis declared that the armed forces had “to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed.”
During a Moscow conference dedicated to peace on the Korean peninsula, and the future reunification of its two states on September 30, North Korean Ambassador to Russia Kim Yong-jae said: "If the US behaves in ways that deny our state's right to exist, our republic, as our supreme leader Kim Jong-un has said, will make them pay in full by the just power of our nuclear arsenal.”
Prof. Dr. Kivimäki said that "only with dialogue can both sides see that what both see as nuclear blackmail, could actually be just deterrence."
"Unfortunately, it seems, North Korean leader has been unable to understand that his provocative moves not only deter, but also provoke, and instead of provocations, both North Korea and the US should focus on dialogue, so that the core interests of both countries could be secured.”
In mid-October, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier along with a guided-missile cruiser, nearly 80 aircraft on board and a nuclear-powered submarine, arrived in the Korean Peninsula to prepare for a potential war with North Korea.
Since then, US and South Korea are conducting joint drills to detect, track, and intercept ballistic missiles, in addition to anti-submarine warfare training.
Prof. Dr. Kuznick said that the world lives under a deep uncertainty. "We know what the ultimate solution will have to be. The world will have to accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, as odious as that prospect might be," the expert said, adding that a peace treaty ending the Korean War is fundamental, as both parties has signed an armistice agreement at the end of the war on July 27, 1953.
"The U.S. will have to reduce its military presence and training exercises in South Korea and stop threatening regime change. It may have to also ease its sanctions," the Director of Nuclear Studies at the American University added. "North Korea will have to halt its missile and nuclear weapons tests and freeze its programs. It will have to stop making threats. This is what we call the 'freeze for freeze' option.
"Something like that was in place between 1994 and 2002 and it was largely successful though neither side fully met its responsibilities. It can work again. But it doesn't look like Trump and Kim are capable of working this out.
"Therefore other international leaders will have to take the initiative. I hope this happens quickly because the situation gets more dangerous by the day. And this is the closest we've come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis, with the possible exception of the dangerous standoff between India and Pakistan in 2001 and 2002, another crisis that continues to fester," observed Prof. Dr. Kuznick.
US human rights attorney Azadeh Shahshahani, Founder and Advocacy Director for the Project South in the US, spoke to the report considering that Washington has no the right of a preemptive attack against North Korea. "From a legal point of view, the launch of a military attack against North Korea will be very problematic," she pointed out.
"The UN Charter only allows the use of military force by states for self defense or when there is collective action by the UN Security Council. Neither of these pre-requisites are met here. As a result, US military action against North Korea under current conditions should be considered illegal under international law."
US Historian Kuznick observed that North Koreans would rather "eat grass" than give up their nuclear weapons, as Russian President Vladimir has said.
"They feel under attack from the United States. They vividly remember what the U.S. did to them in the Korean War, when the U.S. burned down every city in both North and South Korea.
"The U.S. dropped four times as many bombs on Korea as it did against Japan in World War II. They know that the Korean War never officially ended."
Prof. Dr. Kivimäki pointed out to the same direction, reminding that North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho claimed in his paper at the ASEAN Regional Forum on August 7, that "North Korea's fear is rational. given that the US has actually used nuclear weapons against civilians, that it has placed nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, that it keeps on practicing war operations that simulate regime change, that it has changed regimes in several authoritarian non-nuclear countries and that it has refused the commitment to non-use of nuclear weapons against countries with no nuclear weapons."
"None of this can be read from the world media," stated the Finnish researcher.
Concluding his analysis, International Relations expert Kivimäki considered that Pyongyang fear is not irrational, given that president NIxon has actually once given an order for a nuclear attack against North Korea.
"The CIA's top Vietnam specialist, George Carver, reportedly said that in 1969, when the North Koreans shot down a US spy plane, 'Nixon became incensed and ordered a tactical nuclear strike.'
"Someone has said that Nixon was like Trump but without the Twitter. Trump, again, was like Nixon, but without Kissinger. Hopefully, the obvious conclusion is not a nuclear strike against North Korea."
On the other hand, Prof. Dr. Kuznick warned, deeply concerned: "we don't know what to expect. These situations can not be allowed to turn into nuclear holocausts, from which our species and our planet may never recover."
October 3, 2017 / Published on Telesur
Democratic People`s Republic of Korea has toned up nuclear force rhetoric, as UN Security Council Resolution passed tougher sanctions after Pyongyang's latest missile test in September.
Renewing North Korea's commitment to becoming a “state nuclear force,” the sanctions are "futile" and will "lead to their final doom," said he country's state news agency KCNA on Sunday, referring to the US and allies.
UN Security Council Resolution 2375 restricts the supply of fuel into DPRK, and imposed a ban on North Korean textile imports. "The US and the South Korean puppet forces are mistaken if they think that sanctions and pressure will keep [North Korea] from attaining the goal of completing the state nuclear force," said KCNA.
On September 26, Donald Trump warned again Pyongyang at a White House news conference, saying that any U.S. military option would be “devastating” for North Koreans.
As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday in Beijing, discussing efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Trump posted on Twitter that Tillerson "is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man [Kim Jong-un]."
US Secretary of State told reporters during his visit to China that the US is “probing” North Korea to see if it is interested in dialogue.
“We ask: Would you like to talk? We have lines of communications to Pyongyang. We're not in a dark situation,” stated Tillerson.
In an exclusive interview with teleSUR, former CIA agent John Kiriakou says that a South Korean general told him on condition of anonymity, that Seoul "believes the Chinese will urge all sides to go to the negotiating table."
According to Kiriakou, the South Korean official "believes the US is overreacting to the North Korean threat."
Despite crescent belligerent rhetoric on all sides, Choe Son-hui, director general of the North American department at the North Korean foreign ministry, and one of its most prominent nuclear negotiators, talked with top Russian diplomat Oleg Burmistrov in Moscow on Friday.
Moscow and Pyongyang are ready to “find ways to solve regional problems through peaceful, political and diplomatic means,” said a statement from Russia's foreign ministry after the meeting wrapped up, reported RT.
China and Russia are trying long ago to normalize tensions between DPRK and the US, proposing a 'double-freeze' plan in which Pyongyang suspends its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korea military exercises, an alternative firmly rejected by Washington.
"The most likely scenario that I see is that the Chinese will intervene to push the idea of diplomacy. This will lead to talks, either directly or indirectly, between Washington and Pyongyang," says the former CIA agent.
"War in the region serves nobody. It will endanger South Korea and Japan, it will force the US and China to the brink of conflict, and, of course, it could destroy North Korea," points out Kiriakou, who doesn't believe things will get worse.
"I don't believe that President Trump's saber-rattling is a 'policy', observes, too, the whistleblower, detained for two years by the US government for denouncing the secret CIA torture methods, according to him directly commanded by President George Bush (2001-2009).
"I think it is an uncoordinated action, off the cuff, that Trump did without consulting any of his advisors, including those in the Departments of State or Defense. Those advisors will now try to walk him back from the statements. They will likely ask the Chinese to engage to smooth the path," says Kiriakou.
Kiriakou agrees to some analysts, that Kim Jong Un wants to stay in power, which is an argument against nuclear war. "If war breaks out, whether it's nuclear or conventional, there is no way that Kim Jong Un can survive. If war breaks out, and I think it is highly unlikely, the US will not stop until the North Korean government is destroyed."
The American historian Peter Kuznick, a nuclear expert, says in an exclusive talking to teleSUR that while he doesn't like seeing nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, he understands why Kim Jong-un wants them. "He feels he needs a credible deterrent against the United States in the wake of George W. Bush declaring North Korea to be part of the 'axis of evil.'"
"He believes that otherwise the U.S. will overthrow him. After what happened in Iraq and Libya, he's got good reason to think that way."
Asked about the current risk of a nuclear confrontation, Kuznick differs from Kiriakou: "The situation is very dangerous. This is the closest we've come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis, with the possible exception of the dangerous standoff between India and Pakistan in 2001 and 2002, another crisis that continues to fester, and it doesn't look like Trump and Kim are capable of working this out."
Kuznick takes into account recent history as a resource, especially the Cold War, to warn what may happen today. "What Kennedy and Khrushchev learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis is that once a crisis develops, it quickly spins out of control.
"Despite the fact that both of them were trying desperately to avoid a nuclear war in 1962, they realized that they had lost control. They moved after that to eliminate any conflict that might cause another crisis. That was Khrushchev's initiative and Kennedy eventually responded."
"Imagine what would be left of the world today if that was Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un confronting each other in October 1962, instead of Kennedy and Khrushchev."
Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal and Advocacy Director at Project South in the US, told this report that ,"from a legal point of view, the launch of a military attack against North Korea will be very problematic. The UN Charter only allows the use of military force by states for self defense or when there is collective action by the UN Security Council."
"Neither of these pre-requisites are met here. As a result, US military action against North Korea under current conditions should be considered illegal under international law," adds the lawyer.
The Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky, director of Centre for Research on Globalization, is even more incisive in his talking to teleSUR: "Who is the threat to world security? The United States is. Does any country threaten US security? The answer is no."
Kuznick points out to the same direction. "The US has created a new kind of empire undergirded by between 800 and 1,000 overseas military bases from which US special forces operate in more than 130 countries each year."
Chossudovski reminds that DPRK "lost 30% of its population from 1950 to 1953 as a consequence of US bombings in the Korean Peninsula, destroying every city and village, and 97% of the North Korean landscape. Every single family has lost their family members."
"Since then, every year the US and South Korea have conducted military exercises against North Korea. They decided to defend themselves as the US is not a model society," remarks the economist.
The American nuclear expert says he doesn't know what to expect from US-DPRK tensions, pointing out to only one solution, "an acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, as odious as that prospect might be."
"There will have to be a peace treaty ending the Korean War. The U.S. will have to reduce its military presence and training exercises in South Korea and stop threatening regime change. It may have to also ease its sanctions.
"North Korea will have to halt its missile and nuclear weapons tests and freeze its programs. It will have to stop making threats. This is what we call the 'freeze for freeze' option. Something like that was in place between 1994 and 2002 and it was largely successful though neither side fully met its responsibilities. It can work again."
The US historian based out in Washington also points out that "Trump needs an external threat to justify his regime's massive increase in military spending and unconscionable cuts to domestic programs and social spending."
Recently the US Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill for 2018, as the World Health Organization (WHO) admonishes the country for “not having a universal health coverage."
In July 2010 in North Korea, some 99 percent of the population had access to sanitation, and 100 percent had access to water. According to WHO's director-general, Margaret Chan, the country had "no lack of doctors and nurses," pointing out that local "health system is the envy of the developing world.”
According to UNESCO, Public Education in DPRK is universal and fully funded by the State. “Education in North Korea is free, compulsory, and universal for 11 years, from ages four to 15, in state-run schools.
The national literacy rate for citizens 15 years of age and older is 99 percent," reported the Library of Congress, Federal Research Division in July 2007.
Such facts evidence a contradiction in the Western concept of democracy, especially regarding the U.S., the only country in history which has ever dropped atomic bombs on populations.
On September 25, 92 percent from the total of 8.4 of Iraqi Kurds have voted "yes" to independence on the Iraqi Kurdish referendum, on whether to secede from the Iraqi territory. That was a symbolic step for the world's largest ethnic group composed by more than 30 million people spread across five countries, to settle a homeland of their own in northern Iraq where the Iraqi Kurdistan is made up of three provinces run by an autonomous regional government, and protected by their own security services.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on foreign states to stop cooperating with the the Iraq's autonomous and oil-rich Kurdish on issues in the oil sector, and also demanded that all border posts with Turkey, Syria and Iran be placed under Baghdad's supervision, closing airports. Turkey also responded aggressively, threatening military action and sanctions in order to force the Kurds to "give up on this adventure that can only have a dark end.”
The mainstream media and even a large part of the alternative media all over the world have enthusiastically supported the Kurdish secession, generally neither listening to the Iraqi part in the issue nor putting facts into context. A blustering "coincidence" in this case s that, as the international community and regional neighbors have opposed the referendum, there is only one government all over the world which has openly supported it: the State of Israel, year by year condemned by several international organizations for crimes against humanity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But in this no sense support to the Kurdish case, there is some facts that perfectly fit to the Benjamin Netanyahu regime's contradictory posture towards the Iraq Kurds.
As "coincidences" regarding the Zionist state and international media go even farther in the issue, an Iraq senior government official, speaking to Pravda Report on condition of anonymity, has stated that "Tel Aviv is only interested on weaken Iraq." As Lebanese journalist and political commentator Osama al-Sharif wrote in the Jordan Times, “Netanyahu and his far right allies know very well that a unilateral Kurdish decision to cede from Iraq in the absence of an agreement over a number of contentious issues, least of which is the future of oil-rich Kirkuk province, would trigger a civil war that is likely to spill over.
In the mid 1960s and 70s, Mossad planned and funded a Kurdish Army to fight Iraqi troops in northern Iraq, and other Israel enemies in the Middle East: Syria and Egypt. One of Zionists's partner then was Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Masoud Barzani's father, currently the (illegal) President of Kurdistan, and Nechirvan Idris Barzani's grandfather, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) a nephew of Masoud Barzani, who rules the region without any legal basis since 2015: in 2013 he concluded his eight-year term in the Kurdish Presidency, extended by two years by the local Parliament but, since the mandate totally expired, Barzani has prevented the Members of Parliament from setting up new elections.
As observes the website The Moon of Alabama, Barzani's corrupted power has also been propelled by the United States oil interests in the region. "The Kurds pumped and sold oil without the consent of Baghdad. Corruption rules in Kurdistan and the regional government had to rob local banks to find fresh money. That still wasn't enough to pay salaries. The Barzani family mafia has robbed the region blind. To keep going, the local government needs to annex more riches and widen its business base."
In August 24, 2015, The Jerusalem Post reported, "Majority of Israeli Oil Imported from Kurdistan [report title]. Importing crude from Erbil [capital of the KRG] could be geopolitically, economically favorable for Jerusalem. Israel had imported as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Kurdistan [KRG] in recent months, bringing in some 19 million barrels between the beginning of May and August 11. During that period, more than a third of all northern Iraqi [KRG] exports, shipped through Turkey's Ceyhan port, went to Israel, with transactions amounting to almost $1 billion.”
As reported Telesur English on September 26, "an official within Iran's Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, stated before the vote that the existence of a secessionist Kurdish state in Iraq would only benefit the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel, both of whom seek to “colonize and dominate” the Middle East."
In an exclusive interview, the Iraqi Ambassador to Russia, Doctor Haidar Mansour Hadi, affirms that the Kurdish referendum is a severe violation to the Iraqi Constitution, ratified by the Kurdish people. "The international community recognized the illegitimacy of the referendum, rejects its results and expressed its support for the unity of Iraq," says Ambassador Hadi.
The diplomat also reminds that the Kurds are genuine participants in the Federal Government since 2003, what does not justify a secession. "The Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people."
Below, the full talking to Ambassador Hadi: the Iraqi version of the facts, largely forgotten by the international press.
October 2, 2017 / Published on Pravda Report and Pravda Brasil
Edu Montesanti: His Excellency Ambassador Haidar Hadi, first of all I'd like to thank you so very much for this honorable interview. The Iraqi government has opposed Kurdish referendum, considering the separatist vote as "unilateral and wrong step". Please explain the Baghdad position.
Ambassador Haidar Hadi: Thank you, Edu, for this important interview which will give me the opportunity to talk about the Kurdish referendum, from the Iraqi government point of view.
Until the last minute, the Iraqi federal government hoped that the regional government retreats of its unilateral and wrong steps, and the federal government followed all the means to convince the region, but there was no avail.
The international community recognized the illegitimacy of the referendum, rejects its results and expressed its support for the unity of Iraq: the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation decision, the Security Council statement, official statements issued by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and other countries, in addition to all neighboring countries.
The Kurds alleges the right to self -determination, guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How does the Iraqi government respond to it?
The Kurdish leadership determination to conduct the referendum was a severe violation to the Iraqi Constitution, that represents the social contract between all Iraqi components, ratified by the Kurdish people in a way exceeded other Iraqi provinces: Erbil 99.36%, Dohuk 99.13% and Sulaimania 98.96% votes.
There is a clear and sharp division between the Kurdish forces regarding the referendum. This was clear through the statements issued by those forces, political and popular movements for fear of that one party will dominate the power in Iraqi Kurdistan; this was clearly addressed in reports of the international press agencies in this regard.
The Kurds say the vote acknowledges their contribution in confronting Islamic State group after it overwhelmed the Iraqi Army in 2014, and seized control of a third of Iraq. How does Baghdad respond to it, especially now that ISIS has is defeated in Iraq?
The Kurdish referendum undermines the international efforts to combat terrorism, especially the battle against Daesh, therefore it's considered a danger on the security of the region.
Not just Kurdistan fought ISIS. All Iraqis fought hand in hand and sacrificed their lives in order to win the war against ISIS.
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said, previously to the vote, that Kurds will not declare independence, but "will engage in serious negotiations with Baghdad." Do you think that Prime Minister Barzani really means that, or he is trying to distract and get time?
Kurdish leadership made it very clear, from the beginning, that they want their own independent state, so I would strongly disagree with what Prime Minister of Kurdistan said.
The Kurdish referendum was the first step in making the Kurdish dream come true.
What could Baghdad negotiate with the Kurds, if so?
Baghdad refused the referendum to go ahead as it is a clear violation of the Iraqi Constitution, which the Kurds themselves were part of it.
Therefore, the Federal Government in Baghdad refuses any negotiation with the Kurdish leadership unless they admit the referendum results are void, and the referendum itself is a violation of the Constitution.
Don't you see the referendum as a result of the tragedy caused by US-led invasion in 2003, weakening the Iraq State?
The US-led invasion in 2003 was a result of the actions by the brutal dictator's regime of Saddam Hussain, coordinated by the Iraqi oppositions in Exile.
Since 2003, our Kurdish brothers were an important part of the Iraqi political process we together, as Iraqis, worked closely to convince the US-led forces to leave Iraq after signing a strategic agree with the United States.
Kurds are genuine participants in the Federal Government since 2003, and have senior positions represented by the President, Members of Parliament, ministers including Foreign Minister from 2003-2014, deputy ministers, Ambassadors and private positions in an equal proportion to their population, so the marginalizing claims are false.
The Kurdish leadership is claiming that Baghdad government is punishing the Kurdish people by closing borders and airports, for trying to express their rights. How does the Iraqi government respond to it, Ambassador Haidar?
The Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people, and the governmental procedures are basically addressed to deter the Kurdish government for fragmenting Iraq's unity and preserve its regional position. Prime Minister Doctor Haider Alabadi made this clear in his media office statement
Iraqi Federal Government has full rights to control the airports in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, subject all border crossings to federal authorities and close all non-official ports.
Oil exporting, foreign trade, investments, bank transactions and the diplomatic and consulate representations are subjected to the federal government authority.
Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Lybia and Afghanistan. In June, five months in the White House
Trump averaged an attack every 1.8 days, far superior to his predecessors Barack Obama and George Bush.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), 1600 US strikes were recorded in Afghanistan
from January to June this year, killing 366-575 people, at least 18 were civilians. “More US strikes hit
Afghanistan in the first six months of the year than in 2015 and 2016,” reported the BIJ early in July 2017.
In Yemen, 90 strikes killed from 81 to 120 people this year, at least 33-40 civilians including nine children. From
2001 to 2016, 254-276 strikes were confirmed on the country, which killed 890-1228, at least 166-210 were civilians.
On March 16, the al-Jina village in Syria was victim of an emblematic attack on Uncle Sam's "murderous birds"
by criminal aggression followed by cynicism, when at least 38 civilians were killed in a mosque, including at least five
children victims of two bombings followed by drone - the so-called "double tap," through which the US unmanned aerial
vehicle fired a second time as survivors tried to get out of the rubble.
The Pentagon, which had never conducted a personal investigation into the area of the reconnaissance
attack by limiting itself to remotely controlled surveillance, denied that a mosque had been bombed, against
reports, photos and videos released by independent Syrian organizations, and by Human Rights Watch.
The market of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is highly profitable for corporations. According to the National Priorities Project
of Massachusetts, in the fiscal year of 2016, U$ 116,063 per hour was spent by the Washington regime for the United
States drone program, which includes the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper and the General Atomics MQ -1 Predator.
For the fiscal year of 2017, according to the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in Washington D.C., of about
U$ 600 billion in total defense spending, the US Department of Defense allocated about U$ 4.6 billion for the drone warfare.
The biggest UAV manufacturers are: The Boeing Company, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.,
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, AeroVironment Inc. and E Textron Inc. (US), Prox Dynamics AS (Norway),
Denel Dynamics (South Africa), SAIC (China) and Israel Aerospace Industries (Israel).
As observed T. J. Petrowski in August 2014: "The infamous 'Predator Drone' that President Obama loves so much he makes provocative jokes about is manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. for the United States Air Force for U$ 4.5 million each. (...) The missile often attached to Predator UAVs, the Hellfire missile, manufactured by Lockheen Martin, costs on average around U$ 110, 000 each."
According to Robotenomics, the almost 400 UAV strikes in Pakistan alone have cost U$ 33 million to U$ 44 million
and killed between 2,000 and 3,000 people. "Depends on the type and level of sophistication, of course.
U$ 12,548,710.60 will get you one MQ-9 Reaper. Roughly U$ 5 million will get you a Predator," informs Mother Jones.
human rights campaigner Medea Benjamin was not only confronting the world's most powerful president, but also a
profitable market all over the world, a strong mafia that controls including the mainstream media of desinformation
Not surprisingly, Medea was then dragged out of place, but until her last second there, in the guards' arms, she protested
and screamed cruel truths regarding to US unmanned aerial vehicles. "Drones have hit weddings, funerals, marketplaces,
residential houses, health facilities," she says as a witness who has been to Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan
In the following talking, the American activist for human rights, Medea Benjamin, speaks of the US drone program, what she expects to the near future regarding to US “drone policy” (an euphemism to international crimes), and reminds the day when she “felt compelled to challenge the president [Obama, in a speech in 2013] on a program that was murdering many innocent people, and making us more hated in the world”
Edu Montesanti: What did disgust you so deeply to protest against the then-US President Barack Obama, during his speech in May, 2013? [vídeo below]
Medea Benjamin: I was totally disgusted during President Obama's speech in May 2013 that I decided to get up and challenge him. I was disgusted because he continued to justify the use of drone warfare, I had been to Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where I met with families who had lost their loved ones to US drones.
The president said that we only used the drones when there was near certainty that no civilians would be killed, but I knew that was not the case. I knew that many civilians were being killed, and that the US government has keeping this information from the American public.
I felt compelled to challenge the president on a program that was murdering many innocent people and making us more hated in the world. As a constitutional lawyer, he should never have authorized the use of killer drones, particularly in countries where we were not at war.
The US government assures that drone operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground, authorized only when an “imminent" threat is present and there is "near certainty" that the intended target will be eliminated. The justification for the use of drones is that they are surgical and precise, and don't kill civilians. However, the official number of civilians killed by drones is so large, for so long.
a) What do you think of US "policy" substituting boots on the ground, by drones?
b) How much are drones precise in targeting combatants?
and c) How do you see the US justification for the use of drones as "collateral damege" or that every killed was an enemy, when they kill civilians, Medea?
a) Using drones instead of boots on the ground is a way to get the US involved in military action without putting the lives of our soldiers at risk. If the cause is so critical to the security of the United States, we should be willing to engage our soldiers.
Also, precisely because the use of drones keeps our soldiers out of harm's way, it is easier for the United States to get involved in military interventions and makes the US government more belligerent;
b) Drones are not precise. The vast majority of people killed are people who the US military (or CIA) can't even identify. The missiles fired by the drones have hit weddings, funerals, marketplaces, residential houses, and health facilities. This is certainly not “precise.”
c) The US military and CIA call the people they kill combatants, and in most cases, have no proof of that. It is also criminal and callous to just dismiss the killing of innocent people as “collateral damage” as if their lives didn't matter.
Most of the time the US government does not even bother to acknowledge its mistakes, and apologize or compensate the family for its terrible loss. It is only because the US is so powerful that it can get away with such arrogant behavior.
Professor Doctor Azadeh Shahshahani, a respected lawyer and Director for Project South, recently observed to me that:
a) In the domestic (US) context, they be used for artistic or investigative purposes. For example, they can be used to investigate agribusinesses to see if they are engaging in animal abuse or not. In that sense, they can play an important and legitimate role. However, their use needs to be regulated to ensure that they are used for surveillance by law enforcement agencies;
b) Per international humanitarian law, drones can only be used as bombs in an active armed conflict and even then with certain restrictions including military necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality. Only combatants or civilians who are directly participating in hostilities may be targeted. Targeting of other civilians is prohibited and may constitute a war crime,
How much the US government is respecting these principles, Medea, using drones both as surveillance and bombs?
There are many positive uses for drones but not for killing or for illegal surveillance. In many cities throughout the United States, community groups are trying to stop their police forces for getting access to drones that would be used to invade their privacy.
As far as war crimes, I am certainly that the US government has committed such crimes with its use of drones. One particularly egregious example is the use of “double taps”, or firing a missile and then following up with another one shortly afterwards to target the rescuers. That is certainly a war crime.
Which is worse in the drone program, being used as "an engine of surveillance that threatens privacy", or as a “killing machine,” both points observed recently to me by Professor Peter Kuznick [interview below]?
It is certainly worse to kill people than to spy on them. But much of the time the two go hand-in-hand.
The drones can hover over villages, terrifying the entire population, and then a few days later drop missiles to kill the people they were spying on.
Contrary to Barack Obama, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. The situations is going to get even worse, isn't it, Medea?
Yes, the situation is getting worse under Trump. He is giving more authority to both the CIA and the military.
He is no longer involved in the targeted killing but has designated this authority to others. In all areas of combat (whether with drones or piloted aircraft), the air wars are being intensified under President Trump.
program oninternational relations. "From February 2012 to March 2013 nearly 90% of those killed by
drones were not the intended targets," points out the Finish Professor of International Reations
Edu Montesanti: US government assures that operations with drones are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground, authorized only when an “imminent" threat is presente and there is “near certainty”; that the intended target will be eliminated. The justification for the use of drones is that they are surgical and precise, and don't kill civilians.
However, the official number of civilians killed by drones is so large, for so long much larger than combatentes killed. US drone program have been used as bombs out of regions at war such as Yemen and Somalia, and as surveillance all this mostly in secret by the Washington regime.
What is the impact of the US drone program on international relations?
Prof. Dr. Timo Kivimäki: Drones are part of a slightly colonial ethos in which US and a few other countries feel that they can protect people in fragile states in far-away places against criminals, terrorists and dictators. This ethos has led to military operations that tend to escalate conflicts and kill the people that we originally wanted to protect.
This is because of two reasons:
1. From the distance it is difficult to know how different societies react to military operations;
2. These apparently altruistic operations are often corrupted by selfish objectives (access to oil, geopolitics, etc.),
and 3. Because external influence gives “criminals, terrorists and dictators” nationalist legitimacy to their violence: it is justified as “protection against intruders”.
Classified, leaked US documents on the Haymark Operation in Northern Afghanistan reveal that from February 2012 to March 2013 nearly 90% of those killed by drones were not the intended targets. Data by a human rights organization, Reprieve, suggests that the percentage might be even higher. How the unintended targets still get classified as militants, escapes me.
Furthermore, precision does not mean accuracy. Even the intended targets may not be legitimate. When the US tries to avoid American fatalities by reducing presence on the ground, it will understand even less about the dynamics of the society it operates in. Thus it will be even less able to identify who is a terrorist and who is not, let alone that it will have an even weaker legitimacy to make that call.
When we look at the faces of the terrorists that have made violent operations in Europe, we can see that they look the same as any other people. Visual images do not reveal them, especially since the visual imagery drone targeting must rely on is so inaccurate that the drone operator cannot, according to one of them, Brandon Bryant, see if the target is carrying a rifle or a spade.
Telephone metadata is problematic, too. Whether a known terrorist calls someone for a barber's appointment or for a shipment of AK47s , is not revealed by metadata. If then the barber becomes classified as a terrorist because of his telephone contacts, there is a risk that the barber's other customers also become terrorist contacts, too.
I am sure that the network analysis of the metadata is more sophisticated that what I am making it look like, but the fundamental problem is that metadata is technical and thus it cannot penetrate the meanings, motives and intentions of people. From the distance, it is hard to understand people.
Acting as the judge, jury, police and the executioner is so difficult from the distance. Even identifying the right target succeeds only in one of the ten cases. Thus, it is understandable that US drone program is not very popular among people who live under the hovering US drones.
The fact that the judge/jury/police/executioner is a foreigner of another religion does not help. It is, therefore, likely that drone warfare does, indeed, escalate resentment and conflict and give rise to anti-Western militias and terrorists.
This does not mean that innocent Western civilians would be legitimate targets for terrorists who have lived under the shadow of drones. Of course not. But the fact of the matter is that conflicting sides tend to seek legitimacy for their own violence from the violence their opponents have subjected themselves to.
All this, has so far looked at the problem of violence from a perspective that sees the militant terrorist violence as the only problem. The use of drones has fuelled that violence, not dealt with it. But the other side of the problem of US drones is that warfare without a risk for one's own side encourages American violence.
Thus, drone technology in the use of the military is problematic also because it encourages the US to get militarily involved in an increasing number of areas. That, too, is a conflict problem. Yet, one should realize that drones are just one element of the problem, an element that is often exaggerated.
For example, until rather recently in Iraq and Syria, drone strikes constituted only less tan 10% of all US airstrikes (while the rule of drones in the UK air battle was more extensive). So the problem is more broadly the air-based warfare that aims to police the world, not just drone warfare.
Contrary to Barack Obama, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. The situations is going to get even worse, isn't it?
Yes, there is already some evidence (compiled by the UK-based organization Airwars) of the increase of proven civilian fatalities of US military operations in the Middle East after the beginning of the Trump presidency. This was disappointing given that originally Trump seemed to be less interested in this military “protection” in the Middle East and given that Trump did not originally have such good relations with his intelligence bureaucracy.
Yet, it seems that the CIA has gained the upper hand in the power battle and the democratically elected political leader has had to yield to the will of the his securocracy. This became quite clear already with the dismissal of president's National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Flynn was a strong opponent of the ways in which the US intelligence apparatus operated.
He was forced/encouraged to retire in 2014, after his critique of the way in which US intelligence failed to understand the society in Afghanistan, even though the causal relationship between his critique and his early retirement has not been reliably shown.
In his damning report, Fixing Intel in 2010, he claims that soldiers tasked to fight insurgency often “acquire more information that is helpful by reading U.S. newspapers than through reviewing regional command intelligence summaries”.
Now with Flynn gone, and the president harassed by legal investigations, it seems that the CIA is running the drone show. This is not the first time, though, as, according to leaked confession by a senior US State Department official, at least in Pakistan, there has been a period when the CIA was clearly in control of the drone warfare, with President Obama securely in the passenger's seat.
The degree of CIA control and the number of civilian fatalities was then, too, clearly correlated. So, yes, growing power of the CIA is a concern for all those people living in the shadow of US drones.
How can drones be useful particulary to international relations, and to humanity in general?
Surely, there are useful ways to utilize drone technology for humanity. It is just in the realm of warfare where the technology affords developments that are dangerous.
The fact that with drones you can fight wars without being at personal risk, and the fact that you can monitor you enemies from the sky by relying on visual data, are the reasons for the negative consequences.
For such a long time the US was “monopolizing” drone technology in global conflicts. This made them reluctant to negotiate on the regulation of the use of drones.
Today almost hundred countries have mobilized drones for their defence effort, and the world with limited regulation of how drones can be used is a dangerous world.
for the benefit of humanity, and its current stage: besides a devastating tool, it subverts democracy within the United States
itself as a maneuver. Peter Tatchell also comments on the British alliance with Washington: "What the US wants, the US gets"
Tatchell is the founder of the Tatchell Foundation, and contributes to The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2
Edu Montesanti: When the Obama administration discussed drone strikes publicly, it offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is "near certainty" that the intended target will be eliminated. How do you see such a "policy", that of substituting boots on the grounds by drones?
Peter Tatchell: Drones serve the same purpose as boots on the ground. They are merely a different way of achieving the same military objective.
The drone strategy of the US armed forces is intended to improve target-hit accuracy and enhance the elimination of enemy combatants, while reducing civilian and US military deaths.
But the reality is that flawed intelligence has led to civilian casualties, including the killing of wedding parties and others.
Professor Doctor Azadeh Shahshahani, a respected lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, recently observed to me that:
a) In the domestic (US) context, they be used for artistic or investigative purposes. For example, they can be used to investigate agribusinesses to see if they are engaging in animal abuse or not. In that sense, they can play an important and legitimate role. However, their use needs to be regulated to ensure that they are used for surveillance by law enforcement agencies.;
b) Per international humanitarian law, drones can only be used as bombs in an active armed conflict and even then with certain restrictions including military necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality. Only combatants or civilians who are directly participating in hostilities may be targeted. Targeting of other civilians is prohibited and may constitute a war crime.
How much the US government is respecting these principles, Peter, using drones both as surveillance and bombs?
Drones can be used for benign purposes, such as monitoring bushfires and floods, delivering aid to remote earthquake victims and finding sailors lost at sea.
The US use of drones for military purposes is purportedly restricted and within the confines of the international laws of war.
However, civilians are being killed. In some cases, it looks like these deaths may have been the result of the reckless use of unreliable intelligence sources or broad-brush indiscriminate targeting.
These instances may amount to war crimes.
What do you think of the UK government historically supporting US attacks with drones and surveillance, including using it in the Great Britain to spy?
The UK complicity with US drone attacks and surveillance is too open ended. London seems to not ask questions or assess consequences.
Britain's 'special relationship' with Washington often involves giving the Pentagon a free hand. What the US wants, the US gets.
Contrary to Barack Obama, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. Your view, please, Peter.
The problem is mostly not drones per se, but the military strategy and decisions that direct their use. It is the military and targeting policy that needs to change.
Drones are sometimes used as a way of circumventing congressional and public opposition to troop deployment. They become tools for the subversion of the democratic process.
interview the renowned researcher and author, Peter Kuznick, Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at
American University, in Washington D.C. Drones "kill women, children, they kill everybody,” Kuznick says.
He observes that odious Obama's drone warfare was, appears today as the voice of moderation compared to Trump.
As for him, instead of using drones for humans and environment, US drone program is "mostly negative" as
Washigton is turning them into "killing machines." Peter Kuznick points out that the matter is not "a choice
between drones, manned bombers, and boots on the ground. I see it as a choice between war and diplomacy."
Edu Montesanti: When the Obama administration discussed drone strikes publicly, it offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is "near certainty" that the intended target will be eliminated. How do you see such a "policy", that of substituting boots on the grounds by drones?
Peter Kuznick: I'm very much opposed to widespread U.S. use of drones, especially outside of declared war zones. I don't see it as a choice between drones, manned bombers, and boots on the ground. I see it as a choice between war and diplomacy. There are certainly situations in which diplomacy doesn't work, but the U.S. has been much too quick to resort to military means to resolve all disputes and problems.
Take the case of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan for example. Yes, the Taliban government in Afghanistan had sheltered Al Qaeda when it planned the attack on 9/11 and the Taliban government was extremely repressive, especially toward women. But has 16 years of U.S.-led war been an improvement? Some Afghans and American defense contractors have gotten rich, but most Afghans have been pretty miserable.
After 9/11, the U.S. insisted that the Afghans turn over the Al Qaeda leaders. On October 15, one week after Operation Enduring Freedom had begun, the Taliban foreign minister offered to turn Osama bin Laden over to the Organization of the Islamic Conference for trial, but the U.S. accused them of stalling.
But Milton Bearden, the former CIA station chief who had overseen the 1980s covert war from Pakistan, the Taliban was sincere. “We never heard what they were trying to say,” he insisted. “We had no common language. Ours was 'give up bin Laden.' They were saying 'do something to help us give him up.'” U.S. representatives had met with Taliban leaders more than 20 times the previous three years. Bearden said he had “no doubts they wanted to get rid of him,” but the U.S. was intent on going to war and never offered the face-saving measures the Taliban needed.
Since then, Afghanistan has been a playground for U.S. drone warfare, especially after Obama withdrew most of the hundred thousand troops he and Bush had deployed.
But the justification for the use of drones is that they are surgical and precise and don't kill civilians. President Obama made this case repeatedly when he was in office.
Speaking at the University of Chicago Law School in April 2016, he declared, “What I can say with great certainty is that the rate of civilian casualties in any drone operation are far lower than the rate of civilian casualties that occur in conventional war.” That sounds good, but it's not true. A 2013 study by Larry Lewis of the Center for Naval Analyses and Sarah Holewinski of the Center for Civilians in Conflict concluded that drone use in Afghanistan caused ten times as many civilian deaths as manned fighter aircraft.
In 2016, Micah Zenko and Amelia Mae Wolf of the Council on Foreign Relations reported that “The Obama administration's assumption that drones cause less collateral damage than piloted aircraft is simply untrue. According to the best publicly available evidence, drone strikes in non-battlefield settings — Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia — result in 35 times more civilian fatalities than airstrikes by manned weapons systems in conventional battlefields, such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.”
The real advantage of drones is that they result in far fewer U.S. combat deaths than would manned flights and boots on the ground.
Contrary to Barack Obama, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. Your view, please, Professor Peter Kuznick.
As odious as Obama's use of drone warfare was, he appears as the voice of moderation compared to Trump. Obama had his weekly meetings at which he personally signed off on his “kill lists.” After much criticism, he crafted new rules to limit the harm to civilians. Toward the end of his administration, he didn't allow drone strikes outside war zones unless there was “near certainty” that civilians wouldn't be injured, capture of the offenders was “not feasible,” and the target posed an “imminent threat” to the U.S.
Trump, on the other hand, has given carte blanche to his generals. He says he “trusts” his generals to make military decisions and leaves it up to them. As a result, the number of drone strikes has actually risen dramatically since Trump took office.
The Long War Journal reported that in Obama's last year in office, there were only three drone strikes in Pakistan, down sharply from previous years, and 38 in Yemen. Trump has relaxed the rules Obama instituted and gives the CIA and military much more latitude in targeting Al Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a result, the number of civilian deaths has skyrocketed.
Whereas Obama had sharply limited CIA involvement in drone warfare, Trump has expanded the CIA's role.
How do you see the official version in the US, that asserts "collateral damage" involving drone "efficient" attacks, whenever they kill civilians?
As I mentioned before, the cavalier attitude sometimes expressed about “collateral damage” is unconscionable. It is obscene. As Archbishop Desmund Tutu said in his letter to the editor of the New York Times, “Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours?”
But the United States found a solution to the problem of “collateral damage.” The Obama administration defined the problem out of existence by assuming that any male of military age in a war zone is a militant and worthy of execution in a “signature” strike. In most of these strikes, the U.S. has no way of knowing whether those targeted were terrorists.
These attacks are not only morally objectionable and often illegal, they are also counterproductive. They produce more terrorists than they kill. As Faisal Shahzad, “the Times Square Bomber,” responded to the judge who asked him how he could risk killing innocent children and women, the drone strikes, he said, “don't see children. They don't see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody.” Drone operators often dehumanize the victims by referring to them as “bug splats."
Professor Doctor Azadeh Shahshahani, a respected lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, recently observed to me that:
a) In the domestic (US) context, they be used for artistic or investigative purposes. For example, they can be used to investigate agribusinesses to see if they are engaging in animal abuse or not. In that sense, they can play an important and legitimate role. However, their use needs to be regulated to ensure that they are used for surveillance by law enforcement agencies;
b) Per international humanitarian law, drones can only be used as bombs in an active armed conflict and even then with certain restrictions including military necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality. Only combatants or civilians who are directly participating in hostilities may be targeted. Targeting of other civilians is prohibited and may constitute a war crime,
How much the US government is respecting these principles, Peter, using drones both as surveillance and bombs?
Like with most scientific and technological innovations, drones can be used for war or peace. They can be used to enrich human life or to destroy it. They represent not only an engine of death in warfare but an engine of surveillance that threatens privacy. Their potential uses go far beyond making deliveries like Amazon has in mind.
They can be used for monitoring the environment, protecting wildlife, and firefighting among other things. The sky, so to speak, is the limit for them. But right now the uses are mostly negative. They have been turned into killing machines. And, as we've learned with nuclear arms and other dangerous weapon systems, once one country has them, others will too.
So right now the U.S., Israel, and Britain have been weaponizing them for use in “war zones,” but what's to stop the Russians from using them to kill Chechins or the Chinese from killing Uighurs? The U.S. approach is very shortsighted if U.S. leaders think they'll retain a monopoly on this type of warfare. China, Russia, and Iran also have very advanced systems of predator drones. The face of modern warfare is ugly and about to get uglier. Watch out.
Lisa Ling, US Air Force whistleblower who exposed secrets of the American drone program in the documentary
National Bird, comments in the following talking why he decided to blow the whistle, what interests are behind
the use of drones, and the outlook for humanity given the lack of accountability by the US government
Edu Montesanti: Lisa Ling, thank you so very much for granting this so important interview. When, how and why did you blow the whistle against US drone program ?
I blew the whistle on the drone program by going on the record in Sonia Kennebeck's documentary film National Bird. It wasn't something I took lightly after spending so many years in the military. I am not against my fellow service members in the U.S., or abroad; I am against policies that can claim lives and limbs of innocent non-combatants even in places we are not at war.
I believe that if it is something where we are unwilling to send troops, and have the public be fully aware of what is being done in our name, than there is something definitely wrong about it that must be addressed. I also believe that governance over such a massive system is important and that discussion and public awareness is the only way that will happen.
I knew I was going to speak out and that I am against weaponized drones, but it wasn't until Sonia Kennebeck approached me during a veterans conference that I had any idea of how it would be possible for me to speak out. Since the film, I have had numerous opportunities to engage with people and learn how little the public knows about the drone program.
Sonia Kennebeck discovered how little was known or talked about with regard to the military drone program, and that service members who worked in the drone program had actually taken their own lives. She did an enormous amount of preliminary research before making the film; much of her research she showed me after several meetings where we discussed my participation.
Finally after much thought, I said I would do it, and be on the record. It was a difficult decision, but I still believe it was the right one. I have nothing but respect and trust for Sonia and her team for giving me the opportunity to share my story, and most importantly for giving the Afghan victims an opportunity to share their story with the world. That was one thing that really motivated me to participate in the film.
When the Obama administration discussed drone strikes publicly, it offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is "near certainty"; that the intended target will be eliminated. How do you see such a “policy”, that of substituting boots on the grounds by drones - in the case of the Obama administration, using it much more than the Bush administration? And how precise are drones?
I do not think drones are a good alternative to human intelligence. I do not see how technology, no matter how “good” it is, is an effective replacement for human beings in the current situation. I do not see how a two dimensional image is good enough to replace the situational awareness of trained soldiers on the ground. All lives of innocent human beings require the same reverence; in my view no life of innocent non-combatants is more important than another.
Here in the United States, we are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and even then innocent people are imprisoned. That is a much higher standard; one I believe should be met, especially in countries where we are not at war. The people on the ground do not have an ID card, or a driver's license. Many people in Afghanistan do not know the exact date they were born. It is not always clear who is and who is not an enemy combatant, under these conditions nothing can really be “precise”.
Contrary to Barack Obama, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. War crimes by US drone program are going to increase even more, aren't they, Lisa?
What is needed is human intelligence, and the CIA, I believe, is the organization responsible for gathering it. The intelligence community seems to have lost its way. Instead of studying different cultures or appreciating social and traditional nuances it is depending on technology and quantity of data collected - not quality actionable information.
The data gathering and collecting capacity means nothing if there is too much to actually analyze effectively by those who understand the cultural or traditional implications found in it.
Oversight and governance globally and locally is necessary to keep this immense power in check. This will never happen in the hands of any clandestine organization. It could take years for the public to find out about faults costing thousands of innocent human lives, and the ability to correct any disparity could take decades. Keeping an eye on the proportionality legally required would be exceedingly difficult if it were even possible at all.
The world is now our battlefield; this already violates the Nuremburg principles and other international laws. I do not see how effective governance or oversight is practical or achievable under these conditions.
How do you see the official version in the US government involving drone “efficient” attacks as they actually kill much more civilians?
Technology will never replace real situational awareness and without that, how can we know who lives and who dies with any certainty at all. Efficient is an interesting word to use. Wouldn't “efficient” mean a quick end to these wars? I am not sure how to use the word efficient in the context of wars that have lasted as long as these wars have with no end in sight.
Peace is efficient, and preferable. I assume efficient could mean a clear winner and looser in the context of war, and yet as it stands this doesn't seem to be where we are. War is not efficient by it's very nature. Killing other human beings is not a matter of efficiency and relegating human lives to such sanitized terms seems cruel to me.
I do not think armed drones are efficient or proportional when used to seek out individual human beings. I do not think armed drones are efficient or even ethical in this context. Sending Drones is also enabling war to be invisible, there is no weighing it against sending troops so there is less of a connection to it. There is less discussion or assertion because it isn't publically announced like it often is when we deploy troops.
It has made a kind of new normal of constant war. There is a dangerous separation that is allowing the wars to continue with very little pushback, no one says send our troops home when fewer and fewer troops are being deployed.
It is easier to send drones without loosing political capital, it makes endless war too easy and we are living with the evidence of this, and more importantly the innocent civilians living under drones are living with it.
Those living under armed drones are living in constant terror. I don't think we can fight a war on terror with more terror.
The renowned lawyer, Professor Doctor Azadeh Shahshahani of American Civil Liberties Union observed recently to me that:
a) In the domestic (US) context, they be used for artistic or investigative purposes. For example, they can be used to investigate agribusinesses to see if they are engaging in animal abuse or not. In that sense, they can play an important and legitimate role. However, their use needs to be regulated to ensure that they are used for surveillance by law enforcement agencies;
b) Per international humanitarian law, drones can only be used with bombs in an active armed conflict and even then with certain restrictions including military necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality. Only combatants or civilians who are directly participating in hostilities may be targeted. Targeting of other civilians is prohibited and may constitute a war crime.
How much the US government is respecting these principles, Lisa, using drones both as surveillance and bombs?
In my view, it is not possible in the absence of ground troops, to know the answer to this question with any certainty. Much of their use is in secret, which is another reason it is hard to be certain.
It is difficult to tell who is and isn't an enemy combatant. It is not like there is a uniformed opposing military force and the battle lines are clear. This is global and borders don't seem to matter.
This is why I believe global governance specific to armed and unarmed drones is necessary. I believe drone specific agreements between nation states must be made. I also believe there should not be weapons on drones; I believe that the missiles and bombs should be removed.
Proportionality does not seem attainable when weaponized drones have relegated war to a kind of hunter vs. prey. The truth is that living under drones when you don't know if and when something is going to come down from the sky and kill you or someone you love is terror by it's very definition.
Drones have killed people of all ages and professions. No one has respite; they can't say I am holding an infant so it will not come for me or I am a doctor, it will not attack me. I couldn't imagine living like that. That is one reason I think the weapons should be removed from drones.
Given all this, why do you think US government and the CIA insist on using drones? What are the real interests behind it?
There is a lot of money to be made; there is political expedience when a drone is sent instead of someone's son or daughter. There are so many possible answers to this question; many are well above my pay grade.
What I know is that these wars are still going on, and that blowback is a thing that happens. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers are still dyeing both at home and overseas. There is still no end in sight to the devastation in countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and all the other places where armed drones fly.
I know that as a nation when we set our collective agency to a goal, we generally achieve it. The global arms trade is a powerful thing. President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously warned U.S. citizens about the military–industrial; in his farewell address. Perhaps we are now in the place he warned us about.
That being said, it is time to rearrange our collective priorities to a place where humanity and the sanctity of all human life are at the top of the list. We all must start doing all that we can to ensure that is the case.
How are drones going to affect humanity in the near future, being used this way both in wars and surveillance by the US?
We are now at a pivotal point in the use of armed drones. Soon, if not already, drones will be stealth and capable of deployment to developed countries such as our own. Artificial intelligence will be implemented and human intervention will become unnecessary. When this happens, how will the Global West react? Will we choose global governance? Will we change the precedence we are setting by what we do? It is illogical to believe that the use of any military technology will not be used against us at some point in time.
Maybe speaking this truth will get others to engage in the realities of what the future has in store if we leave things as they are. Maybe by acknowledging that weapons have a way of proliferating out of control, things will change. It is not that I believe that lives of people in the Global West are any more valuable than the lives of people from any other place on earth; it is just that if something is happening “over there” we tend to think as if it has nothing to do with us.
How we treat humanity has everything to do with all of us and I believe that is the most important thing we ought to consider when we talk about drones and other military technology. It is true that what goes around comes around, it is just a matter of when.
"Meeting with Russians Is Not a Crime", on Trump's Campaign
As US mainstream media criminalizes Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower in New York, US President Donald Trump posted last July 17 a defense on Twitter of his son's meeting with the lawyer promising sensitive government information that could be damaging to then-presidential candidate by Democratic Party Hillary Clinton, by saying that it was simply politics as usual.
US media in general alleges that the meeting broke the American law which prohibits foreign nationals from contributing any “thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any [federal] election.” US "presstitute" as Paul Craig Roberts is used to saying, also criminalizes the Kremlin for the meeting during US Presidential campaign, based on facts never proved, that Moscow hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC), one of the reasons that, according to US media portrait, Ms. Veselnitskaya wanted to meet Mr. Trump Jr. last year. However, according to its participants the subject at the meeting was only the Magnitsky Act.
In the following and exclusevily talking, former CIA agent John Kiriakou depicts the events, especially the meeting and the allegedly Russian espionage on US campaign heralded by US media without any evidence, never proved, on the contrary: all evidences have pointed out to an “inside job.”
As Mr. Kiriakou affirms that meeting with Russians is not a crime, he reminds US perjury law broken by Mr. Trump Jr., which says: "I swear or affirm that the above mentioned information is true and complete to the best of my knowledge under penalty of perjury." “Not reporting that meeting to the FBI on a Standard Form 86, which is necessary for a security clearance, is a crime,” observes Kiriakou.
Mr. Kiriakou co-authored with Michael Ruby the book The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror, published in 2009, is the author of Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison, and was honored with the January 2016 Patriot Award by The Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation. Kiriakou spent two years in prison for blowing the whistle in 2007 about the Intelligence Agency torture program against prisoners.
July 20, 2017 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia)
Edu Montesanti: John Kiriakou, thank you so very much for the privilege of having your so important participation in one more publication. Your view, please, on Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, promising sensitive government information that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from contributing any “thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any [federal] election.” The statute also says no American shall “knowingly solicit, accept, or receive” any “contribution or donation” from a foreign national in connection with an election. Don't you think that a meeting itself is not a real donation, a concrete contribution - in this case, to then-candidate Donald Trump to the point of breaking the law? There has been observations in news outlets in Russia that every candidate all over the world and his/her electoral team meet foreigners, which is not a crime at all.
John Kiriakou: First, I think many Americans, especially in the media, have already taken sides on this issue.
But I believe that the issue is not whether there was a meeting or not. Of course, there was a meeting. But meeting with Russians is not a crime.
Not reporting that meeting to the FBI on a Standard Form 86, which is necessary for a security clearance, is a crime. Not registering with the Justice Department as a representative of a foreign government (Manafort and Flynn) is a crime. I mean the Standard Form 86, which every American applying for a federal security clearance fills out: Trump Jr. did not disclose his contact with the Russians. That's a crime.
In the end, I believe that the criminal charges that will come out of this case will not be directly tied to Russian meddling or collusion. They will be perjury, conspiracy, making a false statement, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
Stephen Duke, a Yale University law professor, told Vox in 11 July: “If receiving information that Hillary was being helped by the Russians is a crime, so, too, would be receiving information that the Russians were helping Trump in the election”. To date there is no evidence of Russian espionage: The New York Times, who also strongly criminalizes the meeting, recognized this fact last week, saying that "In other words, informed of a secret Kremlin effort to use highly sensitive information about a former secretary of state (presumably obtained by espionage, for how else?) to manipulate an American election, Trump Jr. signaled, 'We're in!'.” And even more: the so-called "very high level and sensitive information" has not come to light, and the DNC itself has repeatedly refused to hand over the hacked servers to the government for examination. What we really know so far is a meeting and even what was discussed there is not clear. Do you believe Russia committed any crime against US election and “democracy”?
I have seen no proof whatsoever that the Russians hacked the DNC servers. If the US government has such proof, it must release it for there to be any case at all.
Mint Press reported this last week: "(...) Files and email stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were copied to a USB drive by someone with physical access to a computer that had DNC server access. The analysis shows that the files, published as a .7z archive file, were transferred from the server at a speed of 23 MB/second, leading the investigator to conclude that it was 'unlikely that this initial data transfer could have been done remotely over the Internet.' The investigator also found that the copying of the files from the DNC servers took place either over a local high-speed network (LAN) or by someone who had physical access to the computer where the data was stored. (...) This makes it unlikely that Russian military intelligence remotely hacked the DNC servers from abroad."
How important are these facts, and could them change the story heralded by the mainstream media, that the Kremlin really influenced US election and further investigations?
Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, told Th Guardian that he was the conduit between a DNC whistleblower and WikiLeaks. Ambassador Murray says that there was no Russian hacking.
A DNC staff member downloaded the information, gave it to Murray, and Murray passed it to WikiLeaks.
Putin Interviews Demonized by the American Media
July 1, 2017 / Published on Telesur
Edu Montesanti: Professor Doctor Peter Kuznick, thank you so very much again for the unspeakable privilege of being your partner in publications all over te world. How do you evaluate American media coverage of Oliver Stones's recent interviews with the Russian President Vladimir Putin?
Peter Kuznick: I completely understand why Oliver Stone would want to interview Vladimir Putin. I completely understand why the interviews would be so controversial. And I completely understand why so many of the critics would want to kill Oliver – the Messenger – rather than deal with the content of what Putin told Oliver in the interviews.
Oliver's interest in Russia and Putin is not some kind of passing whimsy. Oliver is a child of the Cold War, who grew up in its shadow. His father was a conservative Republican. In his home, the Soviets were the bad guys out to conquer the world. Most Americans believed that in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Oliver was very patriotic and politically conservative. As a freshman at Yale in 1964, he supported Barry Goldwater for president. Oliver later dropped out of Yale and volunteered for combat in Vietnam, where he was wounded twice and highly decorated. Not only did he believe that the United States was on the right side, he risked his life for his convictions. Vietnam planted some seeds of doubt, but he was just beginning to figure things out. He didn't have some sudden epiphany.
As late as 1980, Oliver voted for Ronald Reagan. It wasn't really until his visit to El Salvador in the early 1980s that he began to understand the nature of the American empire and the insidious impact of American exceptionalism. Then his views began to change, as was evident in his movies Salvador, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, and JFK--all made during an extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, burst of creativity between 1886 and 1991.
As with all of us who grew up during the Cold War, Oliver was fascinated with Russia. In the 1980s, he visited the Soviet Union, met with dissidents, and wrote a script about them. Oliver says it was very good. I'm sure it was. However, it was too serious a movie for Hollywood at that time and never got made. But Oliver's interest in Russia never waned.
U.S.-Russian relations are at the heart of our Untold History of the United States documentary film and book project. While we worked on this for five years, Oliver studied Russian history as well as the history of U.S. foreign policy. We presented a very different portrait of these topics than most Americans learn in school or in the U.S. media. We showed that the armed U.S. opposition to the Russian Revolution and the overt U.S. support for the counter-revolutionaries.
We demolished the myth that the Americans won the Second World War in Europe, showing that it was the Soviets who did the bulk of the fighting, the bulking of the dying, and the bulking of the killing of German forces, suffering 27 million dead in the process.
While deploring Stalin's extraordinary brutality, we showed that it was the U.S. that held all the cards after WWII – from a booming economy to a network of bases around the globe to a monopoly of atomic bombs - and bore the principal responsibility for starting the Cold War.
We delved into the history of the Cold War, focusing largely on the ways the U.S. departed from its professed ideals to overthrow popular democratic leaders, interfere in other countries' political processes, support dictators and tyrants who gave free rein to avaricious U.S. corporations and banks, and intervene militarily across the globe – the nearly four million dead Vietnamese being only the most obvious victims.
But Russia remained at the center of the story as the Soviets responded to the massive U.S. nuclear arsenal built largely under President Eisenhower by building one of their own as the world quaked under the prospect of universal annihilation.
Subsequent decades saw the easing and heightening of tensions, but the danger of mutually assured destruction never abated until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. There was even a brief moment of hope for humanity as Gorbachev, a true visionary, tried desperately to create a world of peace and democracy. Unfortunately, he lacked a partner in the United States or Europe.
The 1990s were a disaster for the Russian people as Boris Yeltsin, with the prodding of U.S. advisors, put the economy through shock therapy so savage that it wrecked standards of living and created a new group of blood-sucking plutocrats or oligarchs almost overnight.
During that dismal decade, Russian life expectancy plummeted and the economy shrank to the size of Holland's. Russia went from being a superpower to being a doormat on which the United States wiped its feet. It was Putin who engineered Russia's dramatic recovery and restored it to the status of a great nation and major player in world affairs.
At first, Putin reached out to the United States, seeking friendly relations. But U.S. policymakers had grown accustomed to treating Russia with contempt in the 1990s and getting away with it. They assumed that Russia would continue to roll over upon U.S. command under Putin. They were in for a rude awakening.
With the help of higher energy prices, Putin reversed Russia's economic decline and its economy grew rapidly. Standards of living and life expectancy rose. He also reversed Russia's military decline, bolstering and modernizing its armed forces.
In 2006, the Council of Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs magazine even published an article claiming that the U.S. had achieved its long-sought first-strike capability. The authors argued that if the U.S. launched a nuclear attack on Russia, Russia would be defenseless and incapable of striking back. That sent heads spinning in the Kremlin.
On top of that, Russia was surrounded by NATO. Despite promises by President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker, NATO expanded 12 (now 13 with Montenegro) countries to the east, right up to Russia's doorstep.
When George W. Bush began promoting further expansion to include Georgia and Ukraine, Putin decided enough was enough and began his resistance. He decided that the U.S. and Europeans were not trustworthy partners. He realized that they were out to weaken, humiliate, and marginalize Russia.
The European Union's effort to ensnare Ukraine was another step too far for Putin who responded to the U.S.-backed coup by seizing the former Russian territory of Crimea and supporting the resistance in the Donbass.
Russia became more assertive on other fronts too, including Syria. It strengthened ties to China and other nations that mistrusted U.S. hegemonic intentions. Under Putin's leadership, Russia became a player again on the world stage.
In response, American political leaders and the lapdog media began a campaign of Putin vilification in the U.S. and parts of Europe. Tensions escalated between the U.S., NATO, and Russia in Syria, Ukraine, and the Baltics. Neither side respected the other's red lines. The threat of war loomed larger and larger.
Oliver and I, along with many of our colleagues, grew alarmed and said so publicly as often as we could. But Oliver had a chance to do more and he seized it. He wanted to bring Putin's views to the public in hopes that understanding how the world looks to Putin would help ease tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
He wanted to show that Putin was not the bloodthirsty ogre he is often portrayed to be. He hoped to break through the U.S. media vituperation toward Putin and his policies so the U.S. and Russia might be able to find common ground, act together where we have common interests, and ease tensions where we don't.
Oliver is well aware that the U.S. and Russia have more than one thousand nuclear weapons pointed at each other on hair-trigger alert. He is well aware that two individuals – Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin –have veto power over the future existence our species.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy and Khrushchev discovered how fragile life on this planet really is and endeavored to work together to eliminate everything between our two nations that could cause another such crisis. Unfortunately, they were not able to see that effort through to fruition.
In bringing Putin to the American public and letting him speak for himself, Oliver was acting in the tradition of Kennedy and Khrushchev. He was being a peacemaker. Oliver reached out his hand and stuck out his neck.
And the lockstep American media, led by the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Daily Beast, stomped on his fingers and tried to cut off his head. That's what happens to peacemakers in this sick world.
Why do you think the American media demonizes President Putin?
The American media demonizes Putin because he defends what he believes to be Russia's national interests, which often puts him at odds with America's neocon-dominated leaders and their efforts to maintain U.S. unipolarity.
In fact, American policymakers don't even recognize that Russia has national security interests that need to be respected. The U.S. media lacks historical context and perspective. One can turn on CNN or other networks and hear all the "experts" agree that Russia's alleged hacking of the U.S. election was an "act of war." They call for sanctions and boycotts and aggressive measures. No one ever mentions the U.S. history of intervening in election after election all over the globe, including in Russia, since 1947 and throughout Latin America starting long before that.
The pundits talk about the need to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine. Did they call on the world to boycott the United States for its invasion of Iraq? Did they call for sanctions against the U.S. and NATO for overthrowing Gaddafi in Libya and further spreading chaos throughout the region? Are they even capable of judging the U.S. the way they judge other nations? Of course not. This is the sickness of nationalism and parochialism. It is what we call American exceptionalism--a blindness toward America's own "mistakes" because our motivations are so pure.
Well, after you see the U.S. intervening into, bombing, invading, hacking, surveilling, droning, looting one country after another, you start questioning the purity of America's motives--at least you do if you're still able to think rationally and critically.
The problem with the American media is not that it knowingly spreads "fake news." The problem is that its frame of reference is so narrow that it excludes versions of history, truth, and reality that challenge the American exceptionalist framework. As Samuel Huntington wrote, “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion...but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”
Knowing how dismissive the American media is of views that in any way challenge the mainstream consensus, as Oliver obviously does, he might have adopted a slightly different approach in his own media appearances around the Putin interviews.
Instead of stating categorically that Putin didn't hack the U.S. election, I think it's better to say that we have yet to see solid evidence to support that charge. Russia has the capability to hack those emails and might have had the motivation to do so, given hostile U.S. behavior that goes back several years. We can't rule out the possibility. But, on the other hand, there are reasons to question the certainty of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, which essentially boils down to the three that did the study.
First, the hack was extremely sloppy and the hackers left so many fingerprints behind that it appears that they wanted to get caught or, alternatively, to cast blame on Russia.
Second, it would have been uncharacteristically risky behavior on Putin's part to do something that would antagonize the U.S. and Clinton, especially in light of the fact that neither he nor anyone else in either country expected Trump to win, probably including Trump himself.
Third, it defies credulity to believe that both the FBI and the Democratic National Committee thought it was sufficient to accept the private security firm CrowdStrike's investigation of the hack without the FBI conducting its own investigation.
And fourth, the argument that the Russians wanted to undermine American democracy makes no sense. Nothing could possibly have done more to make a mockery of American democracy than the Republican primary campaign and Trump candidacy.
With 17 flat-earthers arguing over who was the biggest ignoramus when it came to climate change and science in general and debating who had the biggest penis, did Russia really need to intervene to discredit American democracy? The Americans were doing a good enough job without Russian help. That U.S. voters chose a colossally ignorant and bigoted reality TV host and pathological liar as president is more than sufficient proof that the U.S. is a failed democracy.
But Oliver, not wanting to give an inch to the Putin-bashers who run roughshod over American political discourse, dug in his heels and denied the possibility that Russia was behind the hack and distribution of emails to Wikileaks. I would have just said that that many governments and private outlets hack and there has been no proof yet provided that the Russians were Wikileaks' source.
In fact, Julian Assange has adamantly denied this on numerous occasions. But I would not reject the possibility that the Russians did this and that Putin was involved because governments often act irrationally and go against their own interests.
What is the importance of such interviews, and what are the most important passages of them to you?
The most important thing about the interviews is that they humanize Putin. That in itself is a major achievement at a time when the U.S. media presents him as a comic book villain.
In the interviews, Putin comes across as a knowledgeable and reasonable defender of Russian national interests even if he clearly dissembles on occasion. He has a coherent view of history, much of which I tend to share. I was glad to see a copy of the thousand-page Russian translation of our Untold History book on his desk.
I certainly don't agree with Putin on everything. For example, I have a much more laudatory view of Mikhail Gorbachev than Putin does. Yes, Gorbachev should have been more practical and less trusting, as Putin tells Oliver. He should have gotten in writing the promise from Bush and Baker not to expand NATO one thumb's width to the east. That was extremely naïve of him.
But I welcome and admire Gorbachev's utopianism and faith in humanity and wish that more shared it. He wanted to replace the failed Soviet system with a democratic socialist one and establish a new international order based on shared peaceful development.
Unfortunately, he never got the chance. Yeltsin replaced him. Putin rescued Russia from the Yeltsin debacle, but the country, like its leader, has some profoundly and disappointingly conservative tendencies in its embrace of capitalism, nationalism, and religion and in its ties to some pretty unsavory characters around the world.
Putin justifies many of Russia's excesses by saying that its democracy is still young. To me, an outspoken critic of American “democracy,” that is not good enough.
In Russia, I would much rather see a more open media, a more equal distribution of wealth, not only toleration but encouragement of dissent, explicit repudiation of all forms of discrimination against gays and lesbians, greater protection for journalists and more vigorous prosecution of their assailants, and a diminished role for religion. But Putin has different ideas and he expressed them clearly in the interviews. His ideas apparently resonate with the vast majority of Russians.
His approval ratings still top 80 percent and the hit that the economy has taken due to falling oil and gas prices and U.S. and European sanctions has not dented those approval ratings. Gorbachev, who provided the first blurb in support of our Untold History project, is, I'm sorry to say, much less popular in Russia despite the fact that he came so tantalizingly close to abolishing nuclear weapons at Reykjavik in 1986 in what would have been one of the greatest achievements in all of human history.
Those quibbles aside, the interviews provide an unprecedented opportunity to understand the Russian perspective on many of the crucial issues of our time.
Putin details his views on Syria, Ukraine, NATO, U.S. politics and foreign policy, cyberwarfare, terrorism, climate change, and a host of other issues.
I found his cautionary statements about the nuclear threat to be particularly revealing and I very much appreciated that Oliver convinced Putin to sit down with him and watch Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick's brilliant black comedy about nuclear annihilation.
Putin thought the film raised “serious issues” about “real threats that exist.” He said that “little has changed” since the film was made in 1964. Though modern nuclear weapons, he warned, are “more sophisticated, more complex,” the “idea of a retaliatory strike and the inability to manage these systems” is just as relevant today. And these things, he predicted, will “become even more difficult and more dangerous” in the future.
Oliver got Putin to talk about his own background and family history and questioned him about his desire to retain power and control. In the fourth interview, Oliver pushed Putin hard to defend alleged Russian hacking of the recent U.S. election. Putin's repeated denials were less than convincing.
His statement that Russia doesn't intervene in other countries' internal affairs sounded ludicrous. We know that all powerful nations do so. Perhaps his comment that every action brings a counter-action was more to the point, especially after he detailed a long list of U.S. actions that were hostile toward Russia.
What one comes away with is a good understanding of how Putin views the collapse of U.S.-Russian relations since the end of Communism. He clearly doesn't like the current hostility between the two nations, repeatedly referring to the Americans as his “partners” and urging improved relations between the world's two most powerful nations.
He says he is cautiously optimistic. But he is also a realist. At the end of the interview, after they had watched Strangelove, Oliver handed Putin the DVD case to keep in case he wanted to watch it again. Putin thanked him and opened up the case to find that it was empty. “Typical American gift!” he declared.
Oliver knew that he was going to pay a steep price for giving Vladimir Putin a platform to express his views on American television. And he has been pounded mercilessly across American media.
At the end of the third interview, Putin asked Oliver if he'd ever been beaten. “Oh, yes, many times,” Oliver said. Putin responded presciently, “Then it's not going to be anything new, because you're going to suffer for what you are about to do.” To which, Oliver replied, “I know... but it's worth it. It's worth it to try to bring some more peace and consciousness to the world.” Sadly, there are many who don't share that goal.
The US Must Leave for Peace to Reign in Afghanistan
"The only solution to this situation is in the hands of the people of Afghanistan", says Friba, an Afghan women's leader
June 2, 2017 / Published on Telesur (Venezuela)
A suicide attacker struck the heavily guarded diplomatic quarter in Kabul with a massive truck bomb during rush hour on Wednesday morning, killing over 100 people, and wounding more than 400. There was no claim of responsibility.
"I have been to many attacks, taken wounded people out of many blast sites, but I can say I have ever seen such a horrible attack as I saw this morning," ambulance driver Alef Ahmadzai told The Associated Press. "Everywhere was on fire and so many people were in critical condition."
Contacted moments after the attack, Friba, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan's representative, said: “Everyone is still rattled. The city died with the blast.”
In a short interview, the Afghan women's leader speaks on one of worst suicide attacks in Afghanistan in many years, and the mockery of the U.S. “War on Terror”. Friba, who doesn't mention her real name for security reasons as RAWA works underground, unmasks once again local government and intelligence, and U.S. led coalition which promised to free her people 16 years ago, especially the women.
Corruption and alliance with terrorists, according to RAWA's representative, permeates all powers in her country, including the foreign ones. “Traitors that sell their country to aliens obviously do not care about their people or their security. A government that welcomes their killers with open arms despite countless massacres committed by them; and a government whose foreign backers provide these enemies with arms and money!” she says.
Friba states that insecurity has increased in her country after U.S. invasion in October 2001, and the solution is not with any foreign power, but only in the hands of the Afghan people. “Barely a month goes by without one or two attacks that leave tens dead and hundreds of loved ones in mourning.” A reality not shown in the West by a mainstream media, supported by weapons manufacturers, which raises the question once again: are some human lives more valuable than others for Westerners?
“'War on Terror' is not actually waged against terrorists, only those terrorist groups that do not comply with the U.S's orders. Just like the U.S., the puppet Afghan government also uses terrorist groups for its purposes. It is no secret that the U.S. actively nourishes terrorism in Afghanistan and the region to attack its rivals, Russia and China,” says RAWA's representative.
Below, the full interview with Friba.
Edu Montesanti: What exactly happened and why the Afghan forces, financed and trained by US military, cannot keep your country safe 16 years after US-led coalition invasion of Afghanistan, as attacks like this are frequent and even grow, month by month, in number and intensity?
Friba: The death toll has climbed to over 100 now with more than 400 injured. These are however official statistics which we cannot entirely trust, the casualties may be higher than this. Insecurity in Afghanistan has been the biggest hardship our people have faced after the US invasion.
To begin with, the “war on terror” is not actually waged against terrorists, only those terrorist groups that do not comply with the US's orders. This means that the US and its allies do not target the Taliban or other terrorist groups fighting the Afghan forces, uniformly. In fact Afghan soldiers have witnessed foreign forces' helicopters dropping off weapons in Taliban-held areas, and the payment of huge bribes to the Taliban.
It is no secret that the US actively nourishes terrorism in Afghanistan and the region to attack its rivals, Russia and China – the growing instability and shift of terrorist presence to northern Afghanistan is proof of this policy.
The Afghan apparatus is comprised Jehadi criminals who are lackeys of foreign countries and whose own lives depend on the support of their foreign masters. Traitors that sell their country to aliens obviously do not care about their people or their security. Their only aim is to fill their pockets by taking money from foreign countries and in return, allowing them to influence the state at the highest levels, maintaining their mafia ties, dealing drugs (many prominent Afghan government officials are mafia figures and drug lords), running kidnapping rings, and other such criminal activities.
This greedy mercenary nature of the state also translates into corruption in the high ranks of the military and Defense Ministry. These bodies have been hit with high-level corruption cases, with scandals ranging from land grabbing, “ghost soldiers” cases, and fuel theft worth millions of Dollars, to accusations of collusion with the Taliban.
While Afghan youngsters die on the war front every day, the brethren-in-creed of the Taliban in the Afghan government, propose "peace talks", calling the brutal Taliban "upset brothers". They have released countless dangerous terrorists from jails over the years. It is natural that this entire situation kills the spirit and will of the young Afghan soldiers, dying in battles every day, to fight against these terrorists resolutely. These forces are fighting for a government and military that do not care about them, are deeply embroiled in corruption and rolling about in money; a government that welcomes their killers with open arms despite countless massacres committed by them; and a government whose foreign backers provide these enemies with arms and money!
These soldiers have been deserted by their superiors when they were under Taliban siege, and several bloody attacks on these soldiers have carried suspicions of inside collusion. How can these youngsters fight whole-heartedly in such a situation? Today, the purpose of most Afghan soldiers is to earn a mouthful for their families in this extreme poverty and unemployment, with the salaries they are paid, their intension is not to fight Taliban, as they don't see any major difference between the Taliban and the army generals and high ranking officials who mostly have bloody and dark past and implicated in war crimes.
This is not to mention that the police and army force is already ravaged by illiteracy, drug addiction, and poor management. All these are reasons that the Afghan forces have failed continuously for the past fifteen years.
It is curious that, again, a very safe place has been attacked in Afghanistan - months ago, the Afghan military area was strongly attacked by the Taliban, too. What can you say about the Afghan intelligence?
The situation described above extends to the Afghan intelligence as well. Just like the US, the puppet Afghan government also uses terrorist groups for its purposes, and turns a blind eye to terrorists on the orders of their foreign masters.
According to former intelligence chief, Rahmatullah Nabil, figures within the highest ranks of the government maintain the interests of different foreign countries, yet continue to enjoy their position and the backing of the president – in other words they are “untouchable”. Hanif Atmar, senior national security advisor, and Masoom Stanekzai, the intelligence chief, are called the “suit and tie wearing” Taliban by our people for their lack of action against the Taliban, and those figures within the government who serve the intelligence agencies that support the Taliban.
The corruption and absolute breakdown of military leadership means that the Taliban can easily penetrate the capital city, military bases, ministries, military hospitals, and now the diplomatic area. Although commissions are made for investigation of every such incidents, but they never share the results with the public. Everyone knows that such complex attacks are made possible through the help from the within the Afghan security and intelligence agencies.
No group has claimed responsibility: what is said in Afghanistan about the author of this attack?
The Taliban denied any responsibility, and Afghan intelligence have stated that the Haqqani Network inside Pakistan carried out the attack with the help of the Pakistani intelligence. The specific target of the attack is also unknown, which would have offered clues as to which country was behind the attack. Afghanistan has become the center of intelligence warfare between the West and its regional rivals, Russia, China, Iran, and India.
Most regional powers and the US/NATO, are heavily engaged in fostering terrorism and designing plans using terrorist groups as their strategic weapon. If Russia or Iran supports a certain Taliban leader or group, he/they is/are immediately targeted by the US. Similarly, if India supports some group of terrorists, it is immediately attacked by the US, with Pakistan at its heels. In this complex and foggy situation, it is very difficult to ascertain exactly which intelligence agency is behind such attacks, but the US knows this very well and might even have prior knowledge of such attacks, but it never reveals such information. Such is the game ongoing in Afghanistan today.
What must happen to attacks like this have an end?
We have said this before, and will say it again: the only solution to this situation is in the hands of the people of Afghanistan. An end to the US/NATO occupation should be the first step of our struggle for justice, peace and democracy. Occupation and terrorism are two sides of the same coin. If our people are mobilized and organized under a truly democratic and national leadership, and rise up against their enemies – Islamic fundamentalists inside and outside the government and their foreign masters – only then can our country escape from this quagmire.
Palestine: There's No Conflict, There's an Occupation
Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, Ph.D. in Constitutional and International Law, Associate Professor of Law of Birzeit University,
Palestine: Ways to consolidate the Palestine State, and definitiely end Israeli crimes against humanity in Palestinian lands
March 21, 2017 / Published on Global Research (Canada)
Edu Montesanti: Dear Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, thank you so very much for granting this interview. How do you see the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I'm looking at two-State and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”. Your view, please.
Asem Khalil: The Palestinians always called for a One State; as a compromise they accepted to enter a peace process where two state solution is envisaged as a way to get peace. If by one state, we mean equal rights for all citizens,
I don't see why Palestinians would reject that – if they were first to ask for it and accepted only as a compromise the call for two state solution where most of historic Palestine will be part of the now state of Israel.
I think the answer given by Trump wasn't thought through enough, and I don't think Israel would go for a one State where one person one vote anyway.
Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?
Palestinians are under occupation. It is not their own responsibility to negotiate with the occupier; for sure, it is not part of any negotiation whether to maintain or end occupation – negotiation may be on the modalities on how to do that only.
So far, Palestinians are in a weak position. They are requested to chose pacific means to reach liberation and end occupation, while at the same time, they are asked to negotiate directly with an occupier who continues to confiscate land day on day out.
It is the responsibility of the international community to put an end to one of the last occupations in the world. It is the responsibility of all community of states to make sure that rights of Palestinians – which are erga omnes – are respected.
The passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member states "agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council" according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. Journalist Daoud Kuttab observed in Al-Jazeera in February, in the article US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood: "Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 'emphasising inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war'." Why does nothing change year by year, massacre after massacre?
Change doesn't come by UN resolutions. There are few cases like the one of Israel where the UN and the Security Council in particular showed how incompetent they are in dealing with Israel's violations of Palestinians' rights on their land and their right to self-determination.
Palestinian leadership, nonetheless, still think that such resolutions are important. They help maintain clear what is just and what is not.
What is acceptable and what is not. Changes in international relations and power relations between states may help in the future bring the change that is needed. Although it may be too late by then.
You know the Western media distorts the facts involving this massacre against Palestinians, Professor Khalil. Please number the crimes or at least some of them commited by Israel.
There are various massacres that were committed by Israel against Palestinians surrounding the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 – causing and contributing to forced displacement and refugeehood of thousands of people.
Many other massacres were committed afterwards, either directly or indirectly. Bombings directed towards civilian areas and facilities continued in recent years when attacking Gaza.
How is life in Gaza and in the West Bank?
Gaza is being qualified as a big prison – unqualified for human living because of lack of necessary civilian infrastructures and lack of jobs.
Most West Bank populated cities are living under Palestinian Authority rule – which coordinates with Israel in security and civil matters too.
Professor Avi Shlaim observed days ago, in Al-Jazeera: "Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas." Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please, Professor Doctor Khalil.
He is right. This is part of the problem and why stagnation is in place. It is part of the story though.
The full picture is an Israeli occupation which separated Gaza from West Bank and maintained legal and political fragmentation since then; it is also in the way Oslo separated de facto the two areas and maintained a status quo where Palestinians are not dealt with by Israeli occupation – and contrary to the wordings of Oslo – as one political community and West Bank and Gaza Strip were not in reality considered or dealt with as one political entity.
What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on?
We don't have much expectations. We think the Arab region is now busy with their own problems.
They are now seeing the Palestinian issue as marginal and secondary. This is very problematic now.
How do you see the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement?
The BDS movement can be the way ahead for peaceful resistance to occupation and apartheid in Palestine. Israel is aware of the historical precedence of South Africa and the boycott movement that ended up at the end in delegitimizing the apartheid regime in South Africa, and contributed to the entry of a new era there.
We hope similar thing happens now – not delegitimizing the state of Israel, but the apartheid regime in place.
What is the solution to the conflict, Professor Doctor Asem Khalil?
There is no conflict. There is an occupation that needs to come to an end; a colonization project that needs to be aborted; an apartheid regime that needs to be dismantled; justice and equality to be restored.
If and when this is done, no need to think of mechanisms to end a conflict because it wouldn't exist.
Palestine: Resistance against Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid
Hatem Abudayeeh, a civil rights leader in the United States, speaks out on the Question of Palestine.
An American son of Palestinians, Hatem is Executive Director of Arab American Action Network,
and co-founder and national coordinating committee member of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network
March 21, 2017 / Published on Global Research (Canada)
Edu Montesanti: How do you see the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15, especially the following observations by the American president: “I'm looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”?
Hatem Abudayyeh: Half of what Trump says is based on a lack of knowledge and understanding of domestic or foreign policy. He says the first thing that comes into his head with no regard for precedent or ramifications. He wants to run the U.S. like he runs his businesses and his relationships with women, like an autocrat. But the other half of what he says is based on an ultra-right wing worldview, so this could be that.
This sounds like he wants to help Israel achieve the Ersatz (Greater) Israel dream of the most fascist and rabid of zionists, not the one state solution that most progressive Palestinians like we in the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) would want.
Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?
Hatem Abudayyeh: The Palestinian question is not only one that affects us and the settler-colonialist Europeans who live on our land, but the entire region of the Arab World and the Middle East. So it's a global question that does not necessarily need only a third party, but many parties.
We know clearly that the U.S. is not an honest broker and has never been one, so we have absolutely no interest in Trump or his ideas, even if he has invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House.
The Israelis will not accept any political or diplomatic pressure, so the pressure must instead come from the Palestinian resistance, in all its forms.
Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has become an international phenomenon, even in the U.S., and Palestinians inside the borders of historic Palestine, including those who live inside the 1948 territories, must continue organizing and struggling to put pressure on the racist Israeli regime.
The passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member states “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council” according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. As journalist Daoud Kuttab observed last month in Al-Jazeera, in the article US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood:”Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 “emphasizing inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” Why does nothing change year by year, massacre after massacre?
Nothing changes because of the U.S., which uses and needs Israel as its proxy state in the Arab World. Many people misrepresent the conflict and believe that the zionists dictate U.S. foreign policy, whether those zionists are in Israel, Europe, the U.S., or even the Arab World. But in reality, it is U.S. imperialism that unequivocally supports Israel diplomatically, politically, militarily, and financially, because the U.S. needs Israel to safeguard its economic interests in the Arab World.
The U.S. knows that the Arab masses will not stay silent, and will rise up to overthrow dictators like they did in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen in 2011. The white, settler-colonialist state of Israel provides the U.S. security that Arab states (regardless of how corrupt and autocratic they are) cannot.
So it is U.S. policy that allows Israel to continue to violate the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including self determination, the Right of Return, and independence.
You know the Western media distorts the facts involving this massacre against Palestinians. Please number the crimes or at least some of them committed by Israel.
Collective punishment, home demolitions, expropriation of land, administrative detention, settler violence and killings, military violence and killing, racist legislative and judicial decisions inside Israel affecting 1948 Palestinians, and many others.
How do you evaluate the Western media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Ultimately, the media is the tool of the government in the U.S. and other Western countries. As I stated above, the U.S. needs Israel to safeguard its interests in the Arab World and Middle East, so its media coverage of the conflict must reflect almost unequivocal support of Israel as well.
That is why there is no balance in the Western media coverage, and why independent media is so important in this day and age.
Would you please comment a little more about the Zionist lobby in US politics? And comment please how it interferes in the peace process in the Question of Palestine.
The zionist lobby is powerful, we acknowledge, but it is not the ultimate determinant of U.S. foreign policy. It has money and political capital, of course, and definitely pushes Israeli propaganda in the U.S. Congress and across the country, but even if it were non-existent, the U.S. government would still support Israel the way it does currently.
Professor Avi Shlaim observed weeks ago, in Al-Jazeera: ”Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas.” Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank became a comprador years ago, and the cabal around PA President Mahmoud Abbas will continue to work with the enemy to repress Palestinian resistance.
There are many elements of Fatah that are patriotic and want to resist Israel, but ultimately, they never truly challenge the PA. Hamas, on the other hand, has recently played the most leading role in the military resistance against Israel, so its popularity has risen accordingly over the years.
But it is also guilty of some repression against non-Hamas Palestinian forces in Gaza, and it has not been able to administer the Gaza Strip in a way that makes people's lives better, but this is mostly due to the Israeli and Egyptian siege on the tiny piece of land.
The vast majority of Palestinians want peace and justice, and know that can only happen if we continue our resistance against the oppressor.
The best way for that to happen is to give up on the notion that we are in a “state building” stage of our revolution. We are not. We are still in the national liberation stage, so it doesn't matter who the president of the PA is, or even that there are two PAs right now, one in the West Bank and one in Gaza.
What needs to happen is for true national unity that includes not only Fatah and Hamas, but all the other Palestinian political parties and forces as well. The Palestinian victory against Israel in 2014 was won because the resistance was unified, and only political unity can win freedom and independence.
We need a re-formed PLO that does not make concessions to Israel and the U.S., and that truly represents all the resistance forces and social sectors of Palestinian society.
What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on?
Most Arab leaders in the Arab World are corrupt tools of the U.S., and by extension, Israel. These leaders will do nothing to challenge the status quo, and only care about keeping themselves in power.
On the other hand, the Arab masses can and will make a difference, by winning their own independence in their own countries, and then providing leadership that supports the Palestinian people in our struggle for freedom.
What is the solution to the conflict? And what are the principal obstacles to a fair agreement and solutions?
The solution is a simple one. We do not accept the notion of a racist, white, settler-colonialist state, like the one in South Africa during the Apartheid regime there.
Israel is a racist state, and so it must be dismantled like Apartheid South Africa was. If this happens, and if Palestinian refugees are able to return to their homes and lands inside historic Palestine, and if the military occupation is defeated and ended, then all the people can live together in one, single state.
This is the only solution, because Palestinian refugees will never give up their Right of Return, and Israel will eventually be forced to end its occupation and oppression of Palestinians in the 1948 territories, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
When the racist structures of zionist Israel are dismantled, then there can be equality for all people living there. And this will happen as long as the international community continues to organize BDS campaigns, the people of the U.S. continue to strike blows against U.S. imperialism they way they have been in the anti-Trump movement, and the Palestinians continue their legitimate resistance against occupation, colonialism, and apartheid.
For Israel, the Solution Is the Land without Palestinians
March 20, 2017
How do you evaluate the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I'm looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, President Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”
One feels sorry for having such a passive position by the President of superpower-America, as leaving the solution to “the one that both parties like.”
This can have only one meaning that is letting Israel enjoy unchallenged impunity and violation to international law. The solution that Israel likes is that of land without Palestinians.
In fact Israel is actually acting according to this attitude. One only needs to have a look at the expansion of settlements across the West Bank and Jerusalem, the siege of Gaza, all of which can only have one goal, which is to have the Palestinian people leave their homeland.
Israel seems to be totally indifferent to the world and international law, because of the support it enjoys by the US and some western countries.
There is no country in the world that detains remains of dead civilians it killed and keeps them as bargain chips for over 40 years other than Israel.
There is no country that moves its militant immigrant population into occupied territories, by force, without the consent of the original and legitimate owners of the land.
There is no country in the world that openly builds separation walls right inside the territories it occupied by force and builds separate roads for its nationals, while denying the occupied nationals access to such roads.
Israel is the only country that denies the occupied people, the Palestinians, access to telecommunication technology; such as the 3G technology.
Israel is the only country that openly acknowledges enforcing a calorie restriction ration system against the besieged Palestinians in Gaza Strip. Israel is the only occupier that oppresses the Palestinians and expects them to show gratitude for that.
We believe that the US should revise its policies in respect to democracy and human rights principles that are indivisible and can't be enjoyed by some and denied for others. Ending the Israeli occupation is the only way to achieve peace in the region.
The Palestinian people should be able to enjoy all the rights the world nations enjoy. Land theft and daily murders and intimidations can't bring stability nor peace. Israel must take the ICC and ICJ most seriously and the several international tribunals are but examples that Israel must remember, while these mechanisms are expected to take up their responsibilities towards the protection of the oppressed and suffering Palestinians.
Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?
Israel seems to be determined to go all the way to a worse and more horrible apartheid model by combining occupation, land grab, ethnic cleansing and playing the role of chronic-victim, while enjoying the unconditional US support.
The Palestinians have already made their historical decision by recognizing state of Israel over more than two thirds of historical Palestine, while Israel signs agreements and then violates them.
The Palestinians are the occupied oppressed, who demand for statehood and independence like any other free country.
A third fair party is a must to ensure that Israel complies and respects the agreements it signs. Israel effectively controls all of the Palestinian land and controls all aspects of life. Thus having a fair third party is paramount to achieving justice and peace.
There are dozens of international resolutions and UN Security Council resolutions that Israel continue to violate, thus, there is a need for a third party to have this humanity nightmare come to a speedy and just end.
In fact, the situation will continue worsening, murders committed by Israel against the Palestinians, unless the free world wakes up to the fact that occupation corrupts, not only the free world but Israel as well. Just remember Tom Hurndel and Rachael Cure, Israel doesn't even blink at killing any non-Israeli, without limiting that to Palestinians.
The army that kills injured civilians, while under control and then consider the murderer soldier a national hero and even ask school students to wear military uniform in solidarity with the murderer, this can only end with sincere, fair intervention efforts that observe international law and integrity principles.
You know the Western media distorts the facts involving this massacre against Palestinians, Mr. Maher Awawdeh. Please number the crimes or at least some of them commited by Israel.
The bias and/or negligence or ignorance of the Western media concerning the Palestinian cause is well known, there were several recent incidents, such as the Israeli army murder of Abdul Fattah Elsharif in Hebron, although he was bleeding and controlled on the ground..
Many western media simply focussed on the farce trial by Israel to the murderer Israeli soldier and showed him as a foolish ignorant boy instead of showing his real terrorist character and the military incitement to murder among the Israeli soldiers.
That soldier was sentenced to 18 months in prison, although he is still at large. The farce prison sentence is uglier and more criminal when compared to prison sentences ordered by the same Israeli court against Palestinian children, whom the court sentences to several years just for alleging they were throwing stones at the strongest army of the world.
The western media did very little in covering the many murders of Palestinian women and children at Israeli checkpoints and even ignored videos of Israeli soldiers planting knives near the bodies of Palestinian children after killing them to allege they were attacking soldiers.
How do you evaluate the Western media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian confict?
I see it as negative, considering endless examples of using the situation of occupation and lack of Palestinian control to borders, thus you see many of such outlets simply entering the Palestinian territories without meeting the official Palestinian requirements for international journalists.
The Western media is doing very little to shed light on the Israeli incitement to murdering and killing the Palestinians in the Israeli schools. Instead, that media focusses a lot on Israeli allegations against Palestinian schools, the same schools that Israel is demolishing and destroying.
The Israeli racist separation wall that walls out majority of the occupied West Bank and only leaves the Palestinian citizens away from their land, hoping that they eventually leave their land after Israel restricted their ace their farms, the Western media; such as the AFP published a photo named “70 walls around the world protecting national borders” including that Israeli wall.
The news agency simply ignored the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice that considered the Israeli wall and settlement as a crimes, which must be removed and prohibited the international community from facilitating or acknowledging that crime.
The State of Palestine has asked many such media outlets to visit hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israel, but they declined in most of the cases, or publish things that were totally distorted or biased to the criminal Israeli occupation. Israel has installed gates at the entrance of every Palestinian community and closes them according to the whims of criminal military officers hoping to have the Palestinians leave their country, but the western media rarely writes about the suffering of Palestinians because of these restrictions or the suffering of women who have to give birth at these gates while waiting for such soldiers to allow them to proceed to hospitals.
How is life in Gaza and the West Bank?
In Gaza, as I mentioned before, Israel is operating a calorie racist system, as they acknowledged that, whereby Israel allows food to enter in quantities enough for people stay in a miserable life.
In Gaza you can't travel for any reason, including medication or study. Israel rations electricity-generation fuel supply to limit power supply by 4 hours a day maximum.
Same thing applies for construction materials that are mostly needed to reconstruct the devastated housed that Israel bombed and destroyed in the several wars it waged against Gaza.
Professor Avi Shlaim observed days ago: "Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas." Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please, Mr. Maher Awawdeh.
The Palestinian leadership is restricted by the Israeli occupation restrictions, as no Palestinian leader can supply fuel for electricity in Gaza without the consent of the Israeli occupation army, for instance.
The Palestinian leadership has been lobbying for international support to end this Israeli occupation and we all know that all starts or ends at the UN Security Council, nonetheless, the Palestinian leadership has succeeded in expanding international recognition of the State of Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinian people by raising international public awareness on this issue, take for instance the several arrest warrants against Israeli leaders in different countries and the expanding boycott against Israel.
Yes, the internal Fatah-Hamas rivalry is negatively impacting the Palestinian cause, but one mustn't forget the Israeli and international interventions in this issue; such as limiting Palestinian self-healing potential by means of restrictions on the Palestinian leadership or public, including the ability to have elections, reconstruct destroyed houses and run a smooth democratic life at large.
What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on?
Many of the Arab leaders are too busy with their internal issues, nonetheless many of them continue to support the Palestinian cause, thus, we are hopeful that the Arab countries would step up their support at the international forums, including the UN and use their relations with the US and other countries to ensure a more balanced and urgency for ending this Israeli occupation.
What is the solution to the conflict, Mr. Maher Awawdeh?
One can't have illegal occupation and ongoing crimes while expecting to have this conflict resolved. Israel is if flagrant violation to international law and continues wasting time and opportunities for peace.
The Palestinians have already made a historical concession and recognized Israel, but Israel continues asking for more and doing nothing to meet the Palestinian minimum, which is a sovereign state along the 1967 borders. Israel must comply with the endless international resolutions calling for ending the conflict based on this position, otherwise, Israel is simply going for a one state apartheid regime that is already existing.
Do you want a two-State solution?
Yes, I believe in the two-State solution where Independent Sovereign democratic State of Palestine can prosper, live in peace and contribute to international stability and peace.
Why not a one-State solution?
If you read the recent UN report by ESCWA which the UN Secretary General ordered canceling it before ESCOWA Secretary General Rima Khalaf had to resign, you will see how Israel operates as a shameless Apatheid regime.
In historic Palestine, the Palestinians can make a great majority, do you think the US and the west will allow for that? In few words the answer is - Israeli racism won't allow for that.
What are the principal obstacles for a fair agreement and solutions?
Only one obstacle that is the Israeli disregard to international law that calls for ending the Israeli occupation and establishment of independent State of Palestine across the 1967 borders.
This Israeli disregard to international law is certainly unjustly shielded and supported by the US and several US countries.
The International Community Must Bring an End to the Occupation of Palestine
Established 28 years ago by a group of a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members, B'Tselem, in Hebrew "in the image of," is an Israeli human rights organization which endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.
Independent and funded by contributions from foundations in Europe and North América, B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under international law.
Edu Montesanti speaks to Amit Gilutz, B'Tselem spokesman, on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. "We welcome (UN) resolution 2334 [condemning the Israeli settlements, voted last December]", Amit says.
Below, the talk with B'Tselem spokesman
March 20, 2017
Edu Montesanti: Would you please tell about B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories? How exactly does it work, and what have the organization got for justice and a solution towards the so long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands?
Amit Gilutz: B'Tselem －The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, was founded in 1989 by a group of journalists, academics, lawyers, and MK Members, during the height of the first Intifada, when there was need of accurate and verifiable information about events in the occupied territories.
Until this day we are primarily an information and research center; we document, analyze and publish violations of human rights occurring under the Israeli military occupation, now in its fiftieth year.
Our end goal is to close our offices, once the occupation －a grave and fundamental human right violation in and of itself－ends.
How do you see the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I'm looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”? Many say that President Trump has "killed"two-state solution in that speech...
B'Tselem is not invested in a particular political formulation for ending the occupation, so long as it upholds the human rights and dignity of all people. We follow the developments and statements of the Trump administration and fear that the same trends we've been seeing will continue or escalate by an emboldened extreme right Israeli government.
2016 for example, saw a record high number of home demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and from what we are seeing currently, 2017 is on the same path or worse, with whole communities facing the risk of expulsion, to make room for Israeli settlements' expansion.
Regardless of Trump however, the Israeli policy of settlement construction and expansion, while fragmenting Palestinian space into 165 enclaves that cannot thrive, and an ongoing occupation not designed to ever end, has been wholly consistent.
What do you think of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution?
We welcome resolution 2334 and hope it will be followed up by decisive action from the international community to bring an end to the occupation.
There's a huge power disparity between Israel and the Palestinians, and lack of political will on part of Israel to change that brings not simply stagnation, but rather, the occupation becoming more and more entrenched as time goes by.
The Israeli State Does Not Commit to Agreements: The Main Problem
March 20, 2017
Edu Montesanti: How do you evaluate the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahy on February,15? “I'm looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr.Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”
Bader Araj: Trump's statement is a first official step to change the American stand towards the two-state solution, which has been declared and emphasized by three American previous presidents who were in office before Trump - Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
It also shows that Trump is accepting Netanyahu's attempts to avoid the two state solution and to impose the one state solution.
Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?
Our main problem is that our enemy, the Israeli State, does not commit to agreements that they reach and sign with us, due to the that fact that they are the stronger party in the conflict. Therefore, we need a third party or parties to put pressure on the Israelis to implement such agreements.
However, the question in this regard is that not whether we need a third party to facilitate negotiations and monitor the implantation of reached agréments, but which third party we should resort to: the U.N or the USA? PLO during the Oslo process, resorted to the Americans and as we have seen from Trump's stand referred to in the previous question, the USA is biased and cannot be trusted as a third party.
The passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member states "agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council" according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. Journalist Daoud Kuttab observed in Al-Jazeera last month, in the article US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood: "Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 "emphasising inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" Why nothing changes year by year, massacre after massacre?
The main reason behind this is the imbalance of power between the Israelis and the Palestinian and the American unconditional support of Israel in the U.N and Security Council which make such institutions unable to force Israel to comply to international resolutions.
How is life in Gaza and the West Bank?
It is difficult politically, economically, and socially. In Gaza, Palestinian suffer form a siege imposed by Israel since 2016 which affect all aspects of life that in addition to four wars and attacks on Gaza which led to huge destruction.
The same applies to the West Bank but to a lesser degree; the confiscation of Palestinian land, the building of the separation agreement which spate 12 percent of the West Bank from the rest of the region, as well as controlling borders, water, check-points...etc. all of that makes the Israeli occupation literary affects all aspects of Palestinian daily.
As a result, unemployment rate is about 26 percent in the West and Gaza Strip , one-fourth of Palestinian families live under poverty line, etc.
Professor Avi Shlaim observed days ago, in Al-Jazeera: "The Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas." Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please, Professor Doctor Araj.
Throughout their Palestinians suffer because of thier leadership. This happened during the 1936-1939 revaluation against the British colonialism when its leader Haj Ameen Hoseini believed British promises to stop the revolution and achieve national independence gradually.
A similar mistake by the Palestinian leadership took place during the Oslo agreement in 1993; stop the First Intifada or Uprising (1987-1993) and leave the final issues to be negotiated in the future. We are now 24 years after that agreement and we all know how things turned out.
Another major problem face the Palestinians is the weak democratic commitments of their leadership. This has led to the internal division and the Hamas-Fatah conflict due to not respecting the result of lections in 2006. Also this leads to the lacks of democracy either in the GS where Hamas is tacking control or the West Bank where Fatah is taking control.
Decision making institutions in both regions suffer from the lack of democracy. In short, Palestinians badly need democratic transition and reform which is the best way to have an elected and countable leadership that can lead the national struggle and the national state-building process.
What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on, to get a solution?
In the light of the consequences of the Arab uprisings which started in December 2010 in Tunissia and led to civil wars in several Arab countries, the expectations of Palestinians from Arabs and Arab leaders are lower than any other stages in recent history.
However, I still believe that democratic transition will take place in Arabic counties if not now in the future and that going to be the best way to have strong Arabic support to Palestinian national struggle.
What is the solution to the conflict, Professor Doctor Bader Araj?
The two-State solution. I prefer the one democratic state solution for all of its citizens but I know that is hard to achieve due to the Zionist nature of the Israeli state but that can be a long-term solution.
However, the best and most realistic solution now is the two-State solution, a Palestinian state on the whole of West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital, and this is consistent with international resolutions concerining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel's Biggest Crime Against Palestine Is Occupation Itself
The meeting between US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on February 15, in which the peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians was discussed, has generated surprise and outrage all over the world.
President Trump's statements about the creation of the Palestinian state then, was a metaphorical mark of his ambiguous and full of contradictions presidential campaign, an incognito as said the American historian Peter Kuznick: "Trump is a wildcard. Trump is full of contradictions that are obvious to everyone, but himself. No one knows what he will do -- probably including him" (seeinterview below, on US-Russia relations).
“I'm looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu, both leaders' first meeting since the new United States administration took office. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one."
Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning Palestinian journalist and former Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University, says in an exclusive interview that the meeting and Trump's statement reflect the usual American-Israeli search for a solution that favors the powerful. "It fits the saying 'might is right', not right is might," observers Kuttab.
In an article for Al-Jazeera on February 17, Daoud observed: "Apparently fearing the repercussions of Washington's withdrawal of both support for the two-state solution and recognition of the legitimate Palestinian leadership, the US sent CIA chief Mike Pompeo to President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, February 14. By sending the CIA chief rather than a political figure to visit President Abbas, the US is prioritising security issues - including joint security cooperation with Israelis - over the need to recognise Palestinian political and national aspirations."
The Palestinians live surrounded by the 5th largest army on the planet - that of Israel, historically supported by the great powers, and financed by the United States. Gaza has the largest population density on the planet: 1.8 million Palestinians live squeezed in 48 km wide by 4 km long, in some points reaching a maximum of 7 km; so the region comprise no less than 5 thousand inhabitants per km².
This makes for 360 km² of Gaza, which has only three exits (one south on the border with Egypt, and the other north and east on the border with Israel) the world's largest open air concentration camp: Israel has occupied it criminally, ignoring international law and international clamors.
The humanitarian crisis in besieged Gaza is critical, according to human rights organizations and the UN itself, which accounts for about 5 million Palestinians refugees today. Transformed into the largest ghetto in the world, the region is controlled by Israel in relation to everything in and out: food, medicines and hospital instruments, resources in general, doctors and journalists. The Palestinians, locked as pointed out above, only come and go if Israel allows, such a situation often supported by Egypt's control of its borders. Such a control causes permanent hunger in Gaza: Israel even imposes a "diet" on Palestinian society, determining how many daily calories to eat.
As wrote the Israeli author Benny Morris in his book Righteous Victims: "The Jewish state would not have arisen without the removal of 700,000 Palestinians, so it was necessary to expel them." There was no choice but to expel the population, cleaning the interior, surrounding areas and main roads. The villages from where our convoys and settlements were shot."
On February 10, President Trump had said in an interview with the paper Israel Hayom that ""they [settlements] don't help the process [óf peace]", so minimizing the crimes against humanity committed by the Zionist government. It became clear Mr. Trump's pro-Israel tendency in that same interview with the paper whose owner is Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish-American business man with strong ties to Netanyahu and the United States Republican Party: Mr. Adelson donated millions of dollars to the Republican-elected campaign, and one of the only donors invited to Trump's inauguration oath. A few days ago, on February 7 he had attended a dinner with his wife in the White House with the Trump family.
"I don't want to condemn Israel. Israel has had a long history of condemnation and difficulty. And I don't want to be condemning Israel. I understand Israel very well," said US President. Daoud Kuttab observes that one sided US policy pro-Zionism refuses to support international law, and refuses to allow Israel to be sanctioned. "The US is part of the problem since they fund Israel to the tune of three-four billion dollars a year, plus give Israel protection in the UN," he says referring to "the illegal settlement and then the restriction on movement, and the collective punishment in form of house demolitions", which are the biggest crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians.
On February 24, prominent hard-right Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, welcomed Trump's statement, saying: "The era of a Palestinian state is over. There already exists two states for the Palestinians: one in Gaza, a full blown state run by Hamas, and the other is Jordan, where 70 percent of the citizens are, indeed, Palestinians," Bennett told. "So, the discussion is whether we need a third Palestinian state smack in the heart of Israel, and the answer is no." When asked about the Israeli Supreme Court's 2005 ruling describing the West Bank as under "belligerent occupation", Bennett called it a "political decision" and cited the Bible as proof of Israel's right to the West Bank. "If you want to say that our land does not belong to us, I suggest you go change the Bible first."
At the same time, wrote The New York Times on February 15, a well-known paper by Zionsit positions as Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., NYT publisher, is himself a Zionist: "President Trump jettisoned two decades of diplomatic orthodoxy on Wednesday by declaring that the United States would no longer insist on the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians", in the report titled Trump, Meeting With Netanyahu, Backs Away From Palestinian State.
About the mainstream media coverage on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Daoud Kuttab says the public rarely sees the human side of Palestinians, while the Western media is always exagerating the human suffering of Israelis.
At the end of July 2014, when a new Israeli massacre on the Gazan Strip was going on, the Italian-Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal was dismissed from the MSNBC network for publicly criticizing the ample space to Israeli politicians, compared to the minimum provided to the Palestinians. "Maybe, about 30 seconds [for Palestinian voices on MSNBC show], while you have a 25-minute space on Bibi [Benjamin] Netanyahu, and half an hour for Naftali Bennett and many others."
In an interview with Democracy Now!, a few days after the resignation of MSNBC Jebral pointed out that, "in 2012 you had, on CNN alone, 45 Israeli officials interviewed versus 11 Palestinians. And when it comes to this conflict today in 2014, you have 17 Israeli politicians, official interviewed versus one Palestinian."
Below, the full interview with journalist Daoud Kuttab.
March 3, 2017 / Published on Telesur (Venezuela), and on Global Research (Canada)
Edu Montesanti: Dear Daoud Kuttab, thank you so very much for granting this interview. How do you see President Donald Trump's meeting with Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahy at the White House on February, 15, especially the following observations by the American presdident in the Press Conferemce: “I'm looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”?
Daoud Kuttab: I think that meeting and that statement reflect the usual American-Israeli attempts to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, simply by pushing both sides to work things out, a solution that favors the powerful. It fits the saying "might is right", not right is might.
The idea of a US president agreeing to a one state solution, less than 20 years after President Clinton insisted on the PLO to amend their charter to remove the idea of a one state solution, shows how the Americans are not serious about genuine peace.
Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?
It would work if there was an agreement on the reference point but when you have the powerful side, Israel controling the areas, this means that an agreement will be dictated by the powerful. As the saying goes posession is two thirds of the law.
Also the third party here, the US is part of the problem since they fund israel to the tune of three-four billion dollars a year, plus give Israel protection in the UN. If the US was not so involved in defending the Israelis, it might be a different issue.
The passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member states "agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council" according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. As you observed in US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood:
"Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 "emphasising inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" Why nothing changes year by year, massacre after massacre?
Because of this one sided US policy that refuses to support international law and refuses to allow Israel to be sanctioned the same way, Russia was sanctioned for its occupation of Crimea.
What are the biggest crime commited by Israel agains Palestinians?
The biggest crime is the occupation itself, then comes the illegal settlement and then the restriction on movement and the collective punishment in form of house demolitions.
How do you evaluate the Western media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian confict?
The Western coverage is mixed. While the major issues are covered, the public rarely sees the human side of Palestinians while exagerating the human suffering of Israelis.
Professor Avi Shlaim observed days ago: "Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas." Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please, Daoud.
I agree about the problem of leadership, but this is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that the world, especially the Western world treats this conflict differently: the Iraqis were routed out of Kuwait by force when they occupied it, Russia is sanctioned for its occupation, and here the problem is not the Israelis but Palestinian incitement, or weak leadership.
This is not the main problem, the main problem is the occupation.
What could we expect from the Arab League and Arab leaders in general, from now on?
Not much. The Arab League and Arab leaders have and continue to give lip service to the Palestinian issue.
The only exception is the Jordanians, and especially when it comes to Jerusalem. Jordan's King Abdullah has worked hard in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque, and has spoken well in favor of Palestinian rights.
What is the solution to the conflict, Daoud?
The solution is for the World to treat Israel like any other agressor, and not give them a special treatment.
What are the principal obstacles to a fair agreement and solutions?
Absence of an agreed to reference point. The solution has to be either sharing the land, that is, two-state solution, or sharing the power, that is, genuine one state solution with equal rights to all and not the Israeli version of apartheid annexation.
An Arab American Leader Speaks Out on the Growing Oppression in the 'Cradle of Democracy'
In September of 2010, American federal agents in Chicago unjustifiably raided the Jefferson Park residence of Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of Arab American Action Network (AAAN), in a time that federal agents were executing search warrants in residences and offices of several people in Chicago and in Minneapolis. Some of many "Muslim hunts " everywhere since the 9/11 attacks
The FBI agents took away a computer, video tapes and a cell phone of the Muslim civil rights leader. "They took everything in my home that had the word Palestinian on it," Abudayyeh said. The federal investigation was focused on whether Abudayyeh and the others have funded foreign terrorist organizations. Abudayyeh has never been charged
According to the AAAN leader, son of Palestinians, the FBI then targeted him merely for having a pro-Palestinian view. "This is a massive escalation of the attacks on people that do Palestine support work in this country and anti-war work," said Abudayyeh at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, three months later as he refused to grant an interview for ABC. "We're not going to stop speaking out against the war. We're not going to stop speaking out against U.S. support of Israel's violations of the Palestinian people."
In this exclusive interview, Hatem Abudayyeh speaks out about President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration that bars citizens of Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and refugees from around the world for four months. He says: "Trump and the other racists and white supremacists in his government are extremely dangerous, not only to Arabs and Muslims, but also to immigrants in general, black people, workers, women, and all other marginalized and oppressed communities in the US. I believe that Trump wants to truly 'make American white again'."
He states that Arabs and Muslims want to live in peace and dignity, as many of them have been intimidating and a number of their organizations devoted to social services, youth programming, and cultural outreach have been shut down in the "craddle of democracy".
Nothing has changed in the United Police States of America since the oppression he suffered in 2010, in the name of an endless "War on Terror" which spreads fear, violence and hate in the country, and all over the world. "Post 9-11 policies have criminalized Arabs and Muslims to such an extent that we are living in constant fear of detention, deportation, surveillance, and general repression," he says. "Our community is facing massive, documented surveillance and repression."
But not only that, according to the Muslim activist: "He [Trump] criminalizes Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. to get support from the people here for imperialist goals in our countries abroad."
Nothing has changed in US "security policy" (a eufemism for institutionalised crimes) since the dark years of George W. Bush - but a world and the United States themselves much more insecure. That is all that totalitarian powers need to justify the lack of civil liberties and hard-line policies in general, in order to dominate and explore.
Below, the full interview with Hatem Abudayyeh.
February 27, 2017 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia) and Telesur (Venezuela)
Edu Montesanti: Hatem Abudayyeh, thank you so very much for granting this interview. Would you please tell us how does the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) work?
Hatem Abudayyeh: The AAAN was established in 1995 to provide support to the Arab community of Greater Chicago in the areas of community organizing, advocacy, social services, youth programming, and cultural outreach.
It is unique in that we are the only Arab organization in Illinois, and one of the very few in the entire U.S. that challenge structural and institutional racism and national oppression with a grass-roots, base-building organizing lens.
We provide leadership development for youth and immigrant women, and the most affected community members lead our campaigns for social justice and systemic change.
What does it mean being an Arab in the United States today, especially Muslim Arabs after 9/11/2001, and what has changed since President Donald Trump won the American election?
Arabs in the U.S. have faced national oppression and racism for many decades, since way before 9-11 and now Trump, but the challenges are much more acute now.
Post 9-11 policies have criminalized Arabs and Muslims to such an extent that we are living in constant fear of detention, deportation, surveillance, and general repression.
A number of our organizations have been shut down; prominent individuals like Rasmea Odeh have faced political indictments; and the court system, the media, the educational system, and others have made it very intimidating for Arabs and Muslims to live here in peace and dignity.
In his inauguration speech, President Donald Trump called for the “civilized world” to unite “against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” Later, President Trump confirmed Rep. Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA: Pompeo is a Tea Party Republican. Pompeo favors the reinstatement of “waterboarding, among other torture techniques”. He views Muslims as a threat to Christianity and Western civilization. He is identified as “a radical Christian extremist” who believes that the “global war on terrorism” (GWOT) constitutes a “war between Islam and Christianity”. Your view, please, Hatem.
Trump and the other racists and white supremacists in his government are extremely dangerous, not only to Arabs and Muslims, but also to immigrants in general, Black people, workers, women, and all other marginalized and oppressed communities in the U.S.
There is not much of a difference between Republicans and Democrats in this country, especially when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and even most domestic and economic policy, but Trump is clearly different.
He is clearly pandering to the worst racism in U.S. society, has put avowed white supremacists in his government, and is attacking immigrants, Black people, and workers with every executive order that he signs.
The specific attack against Arabs and Muslims serves a very specific cause, a cause that has been served by every president since 9-11; i.e., to justify U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East -- invasion, occupation, support for the destabilization of Syria, the threats against Iran and Lebanon, etc.--the government here needs to put a local face on the "enemy" abroad.
He criminalizes Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. to get support from the people here for imperialist goals in our countries abroad. Yes, Trump and Pompeo are ultra-right radical racists, but this is just a continuation of imperialist policy, albeit maybe more devastating.
How do you see Trump's executive order on immigration that bars citizens of Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and refugees from around the world for four months?
I believe that Trump wants to truly "make American white again." The #MuslimBan and previous executive order implementation memos have the express intent of banning immigrants of color from coming here, and kicking out others who are already here--mostly Mexicans and Central Americans.
The AAAN does not believe that these policies are only affecting Arabs and Muslims. In fact, the people who are and will bear the brunt are Latinos, who constitute the largest population of undocumented immigrants in this country.
The vast majority of them work and pay taxes and try to support their families here, but Trump wants to deport them all. He is claiming that they have "broken the law," but the only thing broken is our immigration system, which has a massive backlog of applications for people trying to become permanent residents.
They have been here for years and years, and have mostly been forced here because of neo-liberal economic policies like NAFTA and CAFTA, but now they are being threatened daily with deportations.
Trump is a racist autocrat who is using executive actions to try to make the country look more like what his supporters want it to, i.e. the white European politically dominated society of the 30s, 40s, and 50s in the U.S.
How will it affect the American society and the world in the coming years?
These #MuslimBan and anti-immigrant policies in general are already affecting American society, causing massive apprehension and intimidation, but also massive resistance.
We have not seen the kinds of daily, consistent protests like those triggered by Trump and his racism since the civil rights era, and it is clear that they will not slow down. At the same time that immigrants are under attack, Black people and their Black Liberation Movement are as well, as evidenced by the Trump plan to rescind Obama's policy of phasing out private prisons, and the Trump administration's propaganda attacks on the Movement for Black Lives and its demands that law enforcement in this country stop its racial profiling and killing of Black people.
The other current danger that we see today is white supremacist crimes against people in communities of color. Because Trump has normalized racism against Black people, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, and so many others, white supremacists have perpetrated racist hate crimes against all of these communities.
From a massacre in a Black church and armed white racists protesting against mosques to an Indian American shot because he looked Arab and Latinos being assaulted by white mobs, Trump's America looks very much like "Bull" Connor's America in Alabama in the 50s and 60s.
But like the civil rights movement in Alabama and throughout the U.S., people today will not allow themselves to be victims. They will defend themselves, they will resist, and they will fight back.
And Trump's policies will be stopped by the masses, like the #MuslimBan was. The federal court that froze the ban stated clearly that it had caused "chaos," meaning our resistance, mass protests, and shutting down of airports had as much to do with the court decision as the unconstitutionality of the ban.
You once denounced F.B.I. repression against activists, and you was victim of an F.B.I. raid in 2010. Does it still happen? Do you and your community feel vicitm of any surveiiance and repression?
Our community is facing massive, documented surveillance and repression. There are thousands of FBI informants in our communities, staking out mosques, community centers, and small businesses.
A federal program started by Obama's administration, called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), gives massive amounts of money to communities to target young Arabs and Muslims, and considers our community to be extreme, but not the white supremacists who have perpetrated more terrorist attacks than anyone else in this country over the years.
Most specifically, we believe that surveillance and political repression affects Palestinians and their supporters the most, from students advocating for Palestinian rights and the Midwest 23 to community based Palestinian organizations and the aforementioned Rasmea Odeh.
Political criticism of Israeli occupation and colonization is becoming the norm in this country, and the U.S. government, because of its unequivocal support of Israel, needs to repress Palestine support organizing to continue to ensure that Israel remains its watchdog in the Arab World.
And now the ultra-right government of Trump is in place at the same time as the ultra-right government of Netanyahu rules Israel, so we should expect the repression to get worse.
"Those who die for life cannot be called dead", was used to sing Venezuelan Alí Primera, Hugo Chávez's preferred songwriter. Few words depict Meena's life like these ones.
As we miss Meena for long 30 years, it is important to understand that Meena's resistance was not only for the so noble and hard Afghan cause - surely not. Meena gave her life away for her people, and for ideals. So precious ones. Her matchless grace, passion and bravery are examples for all mankind - and much more than examples: her life and blood are for every hungry in every corner of the world, for every child who cries, for every sick and raped everywhere.
In Latin America we have a long history of resistance against foreign powers, and against local cowardly as puppets of the Empire as those the Afghan people have been facing since the 19th century. Common fights, common losses, common dreams, common victories.
Meena's life and blood cry out today among Afghan stones for her invaded and stolen homeland, as much as for every humankind she loved so much. Meena and Alí Primera; Afghans and Hugo Chávez' "sons" today: common ideals of freedom, justice and peace as we miss Meena for so long 30 years. Meena died so young to live for ever.
If Meena could cry out among us in Latin America today, I would dare to invite her to cry out these words by Alí Primera being sure she would love to do so, and that she would repeat them to the Afghan people she loved so deeply, as well to the whole world:
Mother, how I adore you / because I love my people / and you've taught me / to fight for them / You've taught me / to share my bread / to share my love / to share my dreams / I want now / to share my arms / the same ones / I embrace you / I want to hug my people / Mother, let me fight / You've taught me not to kill the butterflies / not to cut the roses / that in your garden you cultivated / I learned, little by little, to love others / For the humble, mother, let me fight / I hope you understand / that the struggle for men and women is not done for charity / Mama, let me fight...
For Meena, all our love. All she wants is, surely, us to follow her victorious paths today. An example and inspiration for all mankind.
US-Russia Tense Relations: A New Cold War under the Risk of Nuclear Attacks
Several experts all over the world state that the global scenario today is more troubling than at any point in the Cold War. This is what the renowned American Historian Peter Kuznick believes. too, who also points out that the risk of nuclear confrontation are the most serious in decades, comparable to the highly tense years 1953 and 1949.
The world is living under the uncertainty of what will accompany President-elect Donald Trump upon his arrival at the White House, especially with regard to US relations with Russia. Professor Dr. Peter Kuznick talks about the escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow and what can be expected from the President-elect. The head of the Institute for Nuclear Studies at the American University in Washington points to positive matters in Trump's election for US-Russia relations, but warns: "Some of the people who have advised and will advise Trump are Russophobes."
The historian refutes the widespread idea in the West that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to recreate the Russian empire. "The U.S. media and political leaders have been demonizing Putin". He also comments US foreign policy all over the world according to international law: "The United States made a mockery of international law throughout the Cold War and continues to do so today".
Below, the full interview with one of the most respected historians in the world.
January 17, 2017 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia)
Edu Montesanti: How do you evaluate the Barack Obama administration's policy toward Russia, both about Russian borders and especially about what can be considered the epicenter of the new Cold War, that is, Syria?
Peter Kuznick: Obama's foreign policy has been very much of a mixed bag. He has resisted the hawks in a number of areas and done some positive things such as the Iran nuclear deal. But his policy toward Russia has been narrowminded and wrongheaded.
He and other policymakers think they can treat Russia the way the elder Bush and Bill Clinton did in the 1990s. It took them a while to realize that Vladimir Putin is not Boris Yeltsin.
Yeltsin was willing to acquiesce in almost anything the U.S. wanted to do, including the dangerous expansion of NATO, even though top U.S. officials promised Gorbachev that they would not expand NATO one thumb's width to the east. NATO has now expanded to 12 more nations, the final two under Obama.
Is the world living a new Cold War between the US/allies and Russia, with "proxy wars"? Annie Machon, a former intelligence officer for MI5, observed two years ago: "Unfortunately, I have to agree with Gorbachev - we are indeed facing a new Cold War, and this time it is of America's making". She added: "This is being fabricated by the USA, as that country always needs an Emmanuel Goldstein figure to justify its military-industrial complex (...). The first front line in this new Cold War is the internet." Your view, please, Professor Kuznick.
Yes, there is a new Cold War and the situation is very dangerous.It has been driven in large part by Obama, Clinton, Gates, and Kerry. In some ways it is more dangerous than the old Cold War. At least then the two sides respected and understood each other. They knew that there were certain red lines that they avoided crossing. This time the two sides are disdainful of each other and the rules are in flux.
We've been in a new Cold War for years now. Perhaps it started in 2003 with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Perhaps it started in 2008 with Bush's announcement that he wanted to expand NATO to Georgia and Ukraine. Libya was a major blow.
It got worse in 2014 with the coup in Kiev, followed by the annexation of Crimea and the civil war in the Donbass. Then the U.S. and Europeans imposed sanctions and began planning for a troop buildup in the Baltics. On top of that the U.S. deployed its missile defense systems to Poland and Romania.
The Russians have responded with their Iksander system. Plus the Russian bombing in Syria in 2015 caught the West off guard. Russia has been modernizing its military and dramatically improving its capabilites. it is not the same force that looked so inept in 2008.
So the danger is not just of a new Cold War but of a new hot war. Clinton's proposed no-fly zone over Syria would have been extremely dangerous. Gen. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would have provoked a war between the U.S. and both Syria and Russia.
There are three major fronts -- anyone of which could explode at any time.
The Ukrainian/Crimean situation seems to be a frozen conflict of late. Kiev refuses to implement the Minsk agreement. Sakashvilli recently resigned as governor of Odessa, citing the rampant corruption in the Porshenko administration. Others are equally frustrated with the deepseated corruption. And there is no motion toward decentralizing power and granting more autonomy to the Donbass region as required under the Minsk agreement. But that conflict is more frozen than volatile.
The other two are more dangerous. First comes Syria where Hillary Clinton and others have been calling for a no-fly zone. Obama has limited direct U.S. military involvement, but the U.S. has been intensely involved indirectly, supplying arms and assistance to groups that refuse to separate themselves from the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Many of those arms end up in Al Qaeda or ISIS hands. Russia has renewed its assault on Aleppo.
American leaders like Samantha Power accuse them of "barbarism." This sounds hypocritical when the U.S. is taking similar actions in Mosul. Gen. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that a no-fly zone would mean war with both Russia and Syria. Both the U.S. and Russia are flying over Syria and conducting bombing campaigns. That poses the risk of a military confrontation.
The situation there looked more promising for a while when Kerry and Lavrov came up with plans for a joint bombing campaign on September 9--a deal that many in the U.S. opposed, including Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. The whole thing blew up when U.S. forces "accidentally" bombed and killed dozens of Syrian army troops. A Russian ceasefire calmed the situation for a brief while, but now it is heating up again.
The other is in the Baltics and Poland, where NATO has been putting troops, tanks, and other military equipment on Russia's border. Russia has responded by putting its S-400 anti-missile system and its Iksander nuclear capable missile system into Kaliningrad, a small enclave between Poland and Lithuania.
How do you evaluate Trump's victory regarding terrorism specifically in Syria, and for the normalization of US-Russian relations?
Trump is a wildcard. No one knows what he will do -- probably including him. He is not very well informed when it comes to world affairs.
He has said some wise things about Russia and NATO. He indicates that he will seek friendlier relations with Russia, which would be a good thing. Anything right now that can reduce the rise of war between our countries is extremely welcome.
We should be working together in Syria. Without U.S.-Russian collaboration, there is no hope for a settlement. That will involve keeping Assad in power for the time being, but I think he will ultimately have to go. He has behaved in a brutal and repressive fashion and will not be able to bring the opposition back into the political process. I think Putin understands this. But this is no other alternative to Putin in the short run. Trump and Putin say they can work with each other. Let's give it a try.
During the campaign, most of my Russian colleagues supported Trump. I gave several addresses at universities and conferences in Moscow and on other forums in which I supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. This was not a popular view in Russia, although the majority of students at MGIMO, who were planning to be future diplomats, agreed with me.
That was not the case among students and professors at Moscow State University. But I warned them that it was better to stick with the devil you knew than take a chance on the devil you don't know, especially when that devil was as rash and unpredictable as Donald Trump.
Trump may sound better on U.S.- Russian relations, but he was worse on other things, including his nuclear policies, which were frightening. Clinton was bad; Trump is potentially disastrous. I'm holding my breath. Some of the people he has appointed to Cabinet and advisory positions are extremely hawkish.
Some of the people who have been and will be advising him are Russophobes. They still see Russia as the enemy and are trying to convince Trump to reverse himself on Russia. Almost the entire Republican and Democratic foreign policy establishments feel this way. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are leading the charge. Hillary Clinton is not far behind. Will Trump stay resolute in the face of so much pressure? No one knows.
Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security advisor. has been more reasonable. Trump, you must remember, is full of contraditory ideas and impulses. He wants to work with Russia against terrorism. Good. But he has also called the Iran nuclear deal a terrible agreement that he wants to change. Russia was instrumental in bringing that into effect. Putin also knows how important Iran has been in Iran and Syria. So Trump will have to reverse himself on Iran or face a confrontation with Russia.
Unfortunately, Trump's inner circle and potential appointees are united on one thing--they all want a tougher policy toward Iran. So that is very troubling. What does Trump do there? Putin also understands the importance of dealing with global warming.
Trump is a climate denier, which makes him a science-denying ignoramus. But the consequences of that position can also be disastrous. So the situation is compilcated.
What do you think of the Kremlin's position on Washington?
The U.S. media and political leaders have been demonizing Putin. This is counterproductive. It gets us nowhere. They have been stoking fears of a Russian invasion of the Baltics. There is no evidence to support this. Putin doesn't want to recreate the Russian empire.
During the Soviet period, Russia maintained friendly governments as a buffer zone between itself and the West, particularly Germany, which it feared after being invaded twice by Germany in a 25 year period. But Eastern Europe wasn't an asset for Russia. In fact, it was a drag on the Russian economy. That plus a bloated military budget caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin doesn't need or want a new empire. He just wants Russia to be taken seriously as a major power and consulted on decisions affecting its fate.
During the Yeltsin years, the U.S. and the Western Europeans got used to riding roughshod over Russia. Yeltsin gave in on almost everything they wanted from imposing shock therapy on the Russia economy, which allowed the West and Russia's new gangster capitalists to basically ransack it, to expanding NATO, which eventually reached Russia's border.
When NATO and the EU overreached, Putin said enough is enough. The West needs to start recognizing that there are limits as to how far they can go in imposing their views on the world. Russia and China are making that clear. Trump seems to understand better than Bush and Obama did. But we have to wait to see if his actions are true to his words.
According to international law, how do you see US foreign policy, which imposes American economic interests first everywhere, using miitary force?
The United States made a mockery of international law throughout the Cold War and continues to do so today. It is almost comical to hear American officials complain of Russian interference in the U.S. elections when the U.S. has been interfering in elections all over the world for 70 years. It is almost comical to hear the U.S. complaining about Russia hacking emails and committing cyber theft when the Edward Snowden exposed the extent of U.S. cyber operations that reached into every country on the planet.
It is almost comical to hear the U.S. take umbrage over the Russian incorporation of Crimea or intervention into Ukraine, when the United States has been invading country after country and has its Special Forces operating in some 135 nations. Trump has said some very troubling things along these lines. He has embraced the use of torture. He expressed his desire to maintain the prison at Guantanamo. He has threatened to not only kill terrorists but also to kill their family members. These would all be violations of international law.
How do you evauate Washington's view having Russia as his enemy number 1, an increasing threat to its national secutiry? The New York Times wrote on November 17, 2016: "(...) The new administration should confront fast-evolving threats involving Iran, North Korea, Syria and Russia, among others, and how it should manage relations with allies in Europe and Asia".
Trump says he wants to get along with Russia and thinks he can. The New York Times, Washington Post, and the foreign policy elites, both neoconservative and neoliberal, are pushing for confrontation.
Mitt Romney said four years ago that Russia was the United States' number one enemy. And he's supposed to be the adult in the room.
Do you think that Presidnt-elect Trump will not give in to the intense pressure around him, to confront Russia? Let's remember that President-elect Trump said during his campaign: "We have been disrespected, mocked and ripped off for many, many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher." Mr. Trump also criticized President Obama for pulling troops out too soon from Iraq. Doesn't his discourse evidences a deep contradiction?
Edu, the main point is that Trump is full of contradictions that are obvious to everyone but himself. No one has any idea which Donald Trump will actually win out. He is trying to placate both his base, who want no part of war and empire, and the establishment figures who demand the U.S. remain the world's sole superpower and hegemon.
There is strong potential for an alliance of the progressive left and the libertarian right--the Bernie supporters and the Paul supporters -- to defeat the hawkish policies of the establishment aimed at maintaining the American empire.
Trump and Putin have both decried the notion of American exceptionalism, but then Trump contradicts himself with the nonsense about making America great again. Who knows what that means?
Do you think the world, or at least the West really needs NATO and the UE army?
I agree with Trump that NATO has outlived its usefulness. In fact, the world would have been better off if Truman had never created it in the first place. Khrushchev and Kennedy were moving toward ending the Cold War and dismantling the military alliances in 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated.
Gorbachev again proposed such measures in 1989. Unfortunately, George H.W. Bush squandered that opportunity as Reagan had squandered the chance to eliminate nuclear weapons in 1986.
At a minimum, NATO needs to reverse its recent military expansion and drop plans to send thousands of NATO troops to the Baltics.
Is the world under the risk of a nuclear attack?
The risk of nuclear warfare is very serious. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set its Doomsday Clock at 3 minutes to midnight. The most dangerous it's ever been was 2 minutes to midnight. The reality is that tensions between the U.S. and Russia are the worst they've been in 54 years.
What Kennedy and Khrushchev learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis is that once a crisis develops, it quickly spins out of control. Despite the fact that both of them were trying desperately to avoid a nuclear war in 1962, they realized that they had lost control. It wasn't brilliant statesmanship that saved us, it was pure dumb luck. They moved after that to eliminate any conflict that might cause another crisis. That was Khrushchev's initiative and Kennedy eventually responded.
There are now several situations that could spin out of control. If that happens, they could escalate without anyone wanting them to. Who backs down? Who accepts defeat? Putin? Trump? We need to defuse all the crises before they get to that point.
We also have a very dangerous situation between India and Pakistan. Recent scientific studies by Professors Robock, Toon, Stenchikov, and others show that even a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan in which 100 small Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons were used could cause partial nuclear winter resulting in the death of up to 2 billion people.
There are currently 15,300 nuclear weapons in the world. 95 percent or so are controlled by the U.S. and Russia. Most are 8 to 80 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. What would happen if there was a relatively small nuclear exchange? We know that if the cities burned, they would produce so much smoke that the sun's rays would be blocked and termperatures would drop below freezing for years. Humans and large animals would die off as agriculture collapsed. All life on the planet would be threatened.
The nuclear winter theory that scientists had developed in the 1980s came under heavy assault and was widely ridiculed. But the latest studies show that scientists were only wrong in that they underestimated the extent of the damage that would be caused. It is actually worse than we thought in the 1980s. The threshold for ending life on our planet is lower.
While there are far fewer nuclear weapons now than the 70,000 that once existed, there are far more than enough to cause nuclear winter. So that is the challenge for our species. We must avoid conflicts and wars that could lead to nuclear war.
Does Trump understand this? I hope so for all of our stakes.
Ex-CIA Agent, a Whistleblower on US "Deeply Flawed Domocracy"
John Kiriakou, First Amendment Award Prize-Winning author and a former CIA agent who spent two years in prison for blowing the whistle about the Intelligence Agency torture program against prisoners, who granted an interview for us last June speaking about his life, CIA tortures and the 9/11 attacks (roll the window), grants another exclusive interview.
This time, he speaks of US tense relationship with Russia, the Civil War in Syria, global terror, US presidential elections' 2016, and of what he calls "a deeply flawed democracy" in his country.
Below, the interview with John Kiriakou on US domestic and foreign policy.
9.19.2016 / Published on Pravda Report (Russia)
Edu Montesanti: How do you evaluate accusations that Russia is behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers, which leaked Hillary Clinton's e-mails to WikiLeaks?
John Kiriakou: I have been consistently disappointed by accusations that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee. It's an election year. It's easy to make accusations. But absolutely no proof has been offered.
If it was true that the Russians had hacked into the DNC for the purpose of influencing the presidential election, this would be a serious international incident. Show the proof. Otherwise, the accusations are just meaningless words.
Edu Montesanti: What about many US politicians, echoed by the mainstream media, trying to generate a permanent state of tension with Russia? Don't you think the Kremlin has been decisively efficient in combating ISIS, as well as sincerely willing to be a US ally in Syria to stabilize the region? Wouldn't these facts be sufficient for Washington to be a Russian allied in the Middle East, or at least to try it?
John Kiriakou: I believe that the US has no meaningful policy in Syria. The Russian military was invited into Syria by the internationally-recognized government. Russians have every right to be in Syria.
The Russian military has been effective in fighting Syria. This is no less true just because the US has different interests in Syria.
Edu Montesanti: Why accusing exactly the Kremlin? Do you think Washington is trying to promote a new Cold War with Russia?
John Kiriakou: I don't think Washington is trying to promote a new Cold War with Russia. Instead, this is a normal election year for us. The Democrats need a "whipping boy," and Russia is an easy foil. After all, Putin doesn't get to vote.
Edu Montesanti: Does President Bashar al-Assad pose a threat to US security? Why does the White House target Damascus?
John Kiriakou: I do not believe Assad poses any threat to the United States. He has never been a threat in the past. The US made a decision in 2009 to oppose Assad and to support a "moderate opposition." In fact, no such opposition exists, and Washington is stuck with a failed policy.
Edu Montesanti: Bahsar al-Assad was a US ally in combating terrorism before the current civil war, started in 2013. What are US real interests in Syria, then? And how the CIA takes its part on this "mistake" in Syria mentioned by you, as the Agency accused President Assad of attacking with chemical weapons, what is absolutely false (the "moderate" rebels, supported by Washington, has done that according to United Nations reports, and US government memorandum)?
John Kiriakou: The U.S., frankly, has very few national interests in Syria, other than counterterrorism and regional stability. The basis of the failure of U.S. policy in Syria is the fact that there IS no real policy.
As things stand now, a group supported by the CIA is fighting a group supported by the Defense Department. That's a recipe for failure.
Edu Montesanti: Please explain which group is supported by the CIA, which is supported by the Defense Department, John, and precise why it happens.
John Kiriakou: I don't have any firsthand knowledge of what group the CIA supports versus the Defense Department, but the American press has reported that the CIA supports the Jabhat al-Nusra. Many people believe that this group has ties to al-Qaeda and, for that reason, the US Defense Department supports Kurdish forces. The Kurds of Iraq and Syria have proven to be reliable allies of the United States. The al-Nasra Front has not. The CIA's argument that the situation calls for unusual battlefield alliances is short-sighted and wrong-headed. Multi-lateral diplomacy, including the Russians, the Syrians, and the Americans is the only way to stop the fighting.
Edu Montesanti: Do you think the use of force is really efficient to defeat terrorism? How could ISIS be effectively defeated?
John Kiriakou: Use of force must be a component of any fight against terrorism. To defeat ISIS, though, it requires a combination of force, diplomacy, partnership with regional and international powers, and a cessation of arms sales to the region.
Edu Montesanti: Do you really think the US have been sincere in the so-called "War on Terror"?
John Kiriakou: I think the people responsible for the "War on Terror" BELIEVE that they have been doing the right thing. They have largely been wrong.
Edu Montesanti: After 15 years of US "mistakes" in the Middle East, violating international laws and even the US Constitution declaring preemptive "wars" against States which haven't attacked the country, or better said, invasions which, based on crimes of war, have cost millions of innocent lives, John, don't you think the people responsible for this endless "fight" which just spread more terrorists all over the world, are either excessively incompetent or acting motivated for imperialist and even their own interests?
John Kiriakou: I feel that the U.S. leaders responsible for miring the country in wars of choice since the September 11 attacks should be called to account for their actions. Iraq, for example, was a war of choice.
A war of choice is, by its definition, a war of aggression. If George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and others had been from any other country, they might have found themselves on the dock at the Hague.
Edu Montesanti: The FBI could not find the 13 devices used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, to send classified information from a personal e-mail server while she was US Secretary of State. Questioned by the FBI if she had been told by the people that worked for her to handle information appropriately, Mrs. Clinton said she doesn't recall - 39 instances of "don't recall", according to the FBI report. Your opinion, John.
John Kiriakou: To tell you the truth, after having been through a major court case of my own, there were many facts that I simply couldn't recall.
It is far, far better to tell the FBI that you don't recall than it is to say something that is wrong, change your answer later, and be charged with perjury or making a false statement.
Edu Montesanti: How do you see the mainstream media's coverage of the current presidential campaign?
John Kiriakou: The mainstream media has given Donald Trump literally billions of dollars worth of free coverage, all the while ignoring legitimate third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. It is a conspiracy of the two-party system.
Edu Montesanti: What must be changed in US electoral system totally controlled by big companies money, in which third party candidates cannot equally participate in the campaigns and even in the votings?
John Kiriakou: We must have comprehensive election reform, including public financing, immediately. It is the only way to get corporations out of our elections.
Edu Montesanti: The list of donors to the Clinton campaign includes many of the most powerful media institutions in the country - among the donors: Comcast (which owns NBC, and its cable sister channels, such as MSNBC); James Murdoch of News Corporation (owner of Fox News and its sister stations, among many other media holdings); Time Warner (CNN, HBO, scores of other channels); Bloomberg; Reuters; Viacom; Howard Stringer (of CBS News); AOL (owner of Huffington Post); Google; Twitter; The Washington Post Company; George Stephanopoulos (host of ABC News' flagship Sunday show); PBS; PRI; the Hearst Corporation and others (source: Truth Out.org). Before this fact, John, how do you evaluate Hillary Clinton supporters claims that the mainstream media is persecuting the Democratic candidate?
John Kiriakou: Hillary Clinton's problems are of her own making. The American people simply do not trust her.. No amount of campaign contributions from media institutions can change that.
Edu Montesanti: Given the current scenario, John, comment please your prospect to the future.
John Kiriakou: The American people are in an unfortunate position of choosing between two deeply flawed candidates. Hillary Clinton is seen as untrustworthy and possibly as a criminal because of the email scandal. Donald Trump is unhinged, polarizing, and angry.
Americans will elect the lesser of two evils. At this point it looks like that will be Hillary Clinton.
Edu Montesanti: Your words make me understand you do not agree on the myth that the US have the best democracy in the world...
John Kiriakou: We have a deeply flawed democracy. Some people would argue that because we are a republic that we do not have a true democracy at all. Just look at the election of 2000. That was certainly not democracy.
Edu Montesanti: Why exactly is Mrs. Clinton lesser evil than Mr. Trump? The Republican candidate, though the nazi hysteria against Muslims and immigrants, heralds he would dialogue with other powers, especially with Russia as the Democratic nominee's speeches evidence she is a warmonger who would deepen the aggressive foreign policy of coups, invasions and wars. As Secretary of State, she led US invasion of Lybia, and when her husband Bill Clinton was President, she supported him to attack Yugoslavia. Domestically, Mrs. Clinton is supported by big companies in general, which clearly hate Mr. Trump as the biased mainstream media, totally pro-Mrs. Clinton...
John Kiriakou: To me they are both terrible candidates, and for many of the reasons you cite. I am personally supporting Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President. He's the only candidate I trust.
Edu Montesanti: Long ago, Americans have no choice as Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. The nation does not believe in both parties anymore, for so long. What should American citizens do, how should they act to change this situation if there is anything to do being subjected by a corrupted media, dirty politics, and a general dumbing down via educational system, John?
John Kiriakou: Third parties are a real choice in America. We must stop looking at third parties as "wasted votes." To me, a wasted vote is a vote for somebody you don't believe in. Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil.
Global Terrorism: Causes, Consequences and Solutions
The Finish Professor of International Relations and Director of Research at the University of Bath (UK), Timo Kivimäki, granted this interview speaking of global terrorism: the causes, consequences and possible ways of combating it.
Professor Kivimäki has been a frequent consultant to several governments, as well as to several UN and EU organizations on conflict and terrorism. He is the author of The Long Peace of East Asia (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), and Can Peace Research Make Peace. Lessons in Academic Diplomacy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012, nominated for the prestigious Best Book Prize by the Conflict Research Society in year 2014).
Timo Kivimäki's recent articles on peace and conflict topics were published in the Chinese Journal of International Relations, Pacific Focus, the Pacific Review, International Relations of the Asia Pacific, Journal of Peace Research, Asian Security and the Middle East Policy.
June, 4, 2016 / Publicado em Global Research (Canada) and on Pravda Report (Russia)
Edu Montesanti: Professor Timo Kivimäki, you have been a frequent consultant to the Finnish, Danish, Dutch, Russian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Swedish governments, as well as to several UN and EU organizations on conflict and terrorism. Please, Professor Kivimäki, speak a little of these consultations.
Timo Kivimäki: Actually, not only these: I have helped altogether 11 governments with conflict related problems. But the ones you mention I have helped more than others. I have helped Finland and Denmark (and marginally Sweden, too) to design their strategy of development cooperation so that it would be more conflict sensitive, i.e. that it helped prevent rather than fuel conflicts.
For Finnish, Danish and Russian foreign ministries I have offered some help for their foreign policy argumentation, by offering reviews on how different arguments relate to existing research findings. I have also tried to help these three government with initiative they have had to launch peaceful dialogue processes.
I trained the Moldovan government negotiation team to their peace negotiations with Transnistrian separatists and I have also trained some Indonesian and Myanmar conflicting parties for peace negotiation. Furthremore, I have helped one of the defence ministers of Thailand to understand some of the complications of the conflict in Southern Thailand.
All in all I have realized that many goverments are very eager to promote peace despite their public unwillingness to show any signs of willingness to make compromises. Governments tend to try to avoid signals that could be interpreted as weakness and this is why it is sometimes important for academics to take the initiative and help governments in something they cannot do without showing signs of weakness.
In the article First Do No Harm: Do Air Raids Protect Civilians? [Middle East Policy 22, no. 4 (2015): 55–64] you revealed that protection wars, that is, wars that are justified by referring to the cosmopolitan motive of protection of "global civilians", kill more civilians than any other type of warfare. Would you please detail this?
There is a growing cosmopolitan, universalist sense of solidarity in the world now and this solidarity of citizens urges leaders to "do something" when the media reveals unfairness and violence against civilians, regardless where these civilians are. This in general is very good and offers opportunities to build a less violent and more just global order.
If within the next 100 years the international security system moves from state-based communities to one global community, this could be very good. Historically wheneven securty governance is moved to greater communities – from familities to clans, from clans to sedentary societies, from small societies to city states, from city states to nation states – a lot of violence disappears. So the growing solidarit is potentially a good thing.
However, today, solidarity is not followed by an effort to allow common security agency: those nations that have been keen on punishing Saddams and Talibans and imposing they interpretation of global norms have not been keen on strengthening the UN, the so far only truly global organization that could represent the world in the imposition of compliance with global humanitarian norms.
On the contrary, those powers that are imposing norms on other countries have been reluctant to commit to the strengthening of global norms together with all countries, and instead of working through the UN, they have formed ad hoc coalitions of the willing. In the imposition of justice and fairness these countries have become actors while others, especially developing countries and Muslim countries, have become the objects of the discipline of coalitions of the willing.
This has caused resentment and the military operations to intervene in violence in the Middle East have escalated the violence that has existed there, and protection has turned against the ones it has intended to protect. If we look at those countries where our protection has operated we can see that more than half of world's conflict fatalities are produced there.
How do you see United States invasions of Afghanistan in 2001, and of Iraq in 2003, from a legal point of view?
I think that from the legal point of view they have been slightly different types of operations as Iraq has been explicitly outside the UN mandate. At the same time the continued military operations there has been very unpopular in both places and it has resulted in a lot of suffering. From the point of protection of civilians both operation has been a disaster.
Washington and its allies has hardened the speech and policies toward terrorism, harming human rights and diminishing civil liberties. The Barack Obama regime has dramatically increased the drone strikes. Has the "War on Terror" helped secure the United States and its allies from terrorism?
The war against terrorist organization has been a cathalyst of terror simply because of the fact that conflict and terror is always interaction, not just action of one side. While the reason for our violent countering of terrorists has been the horrific actions of the terrorists, it is clear that the reason for the terrorists violence has been our violence. The logic of escalation in the war against terrorist organizaiton has always been interactive, and only through interactive, dialogical peace action could this spiral of escalation be ended.
I think the problem has been that there has never really been a war of terror, there has only been a war on terrorists. This is very different, as a war on terror would be focusing on the targeting of civilians trying to prevent that, while the war on terrorists has aimed at killing as many terrorists as possible even if this means a lot of collateral damage, i.e. loss of civilian life.
A war on terror would not be able to use means that border terroristic, as it is against terror, while war on terrorists has often used means that might be effective against terrorists but increase terror. Focusing on principles rather than demonizing enemies would be important in this situation to de-escalate tension, and that would also mean that we should not point our fingers at the United States or its allies, but instead we should blame bad strategies for the violence we see around us.
We should try to negotiate ways to limit these violent strategies rather than demonicing each other, since the logical conclusion from a view attributes violence to a demonizes "other" is the motive to destroy this "other". Destruction and demonization of our enemies is not a way to peace.
What are the real roots of terror, Professor Kivimäki, and what would efficient policies should be envisaged to terrorism?
I think we should not think of terror as something that has roots that simply cause terror. Terror is an immoral tactic that people use, even though they should not, for their political goals. If we look at terror that abuses Islam as its platform, it seems clear that at the roots of this type of terror is the perception that there are no peaceful options to bring about chance.
More than ten years ago I studied the origins of terrorist individuals and organizations statistically and also by commissioning and conducting a lot of interviews among people suspected or convicted of acts of terror. Then I was working for the Danish and Finnish foreign ministries. It turned out that most of the terrorist individuals came from countries where any mobilization for a peaceful change is completely impossible. Saudi Arabia was the birth place of 15 of the 19 operative perpetrators of the 9/11 attack, while at the time Algeria was the main source of terrorist individuals in the European list of terrorist individuals.
Due to the fact that any organization was impossible in these countries and in Hosni Mubarak's Egypt many of these desperate people moved to failed states where they could mobilize resistance. Afghanistan became the hub of terrorist organization despite the fact that not many terrorists originated from there.
In these failed states individuals who were prepared for violence to advance their goals could not find a common agenda in their resistance of their own governments as they came from different countries, and consequently the fact that many of authoritarian regimes of these countries were supported by the USA and some of its European allies became the target of their new common focus.
This I think is the origin of the current type of terrorism, but once the process of fight against the West and the West's fight against these terrorists had began it started getting new forms. Some margins of immigrant communities found resonance to their frustration of their own marginalization in the radical anti-Western rhetoric of these original Islamist groups, and new types of terror started emerging.
The massive Western military operations that undermined the sovereign rights of many Muslim countries, and caused a lot of fatalities gave rise to the expansion of anti-Western Third World Muslim radicalism. The logic of escalation, deepening and spreading of hatred on both sides took over and new forms of terrorism emerged.
What is common to all these processes was that hate and destruction gives rise to hate and distruction and the only way forward would be dialectical focusing on our common interest in the prevention of violence. The mutual focus on the destruction of one's enemy only fuels violence.
Syria has drawn the world attention, and has divided the mainstream and the alternative media. How do you see the roots of the Syrian civil war, and how do you evaluate the United States and Russia intervention in that country, the first oppositionist to the President Bashar al-Assad, the second one supportive to the Syrian government?
I think it is sad that we have wasted the peaceful diplomatic opportunities that existed in 2011. This is also what I wrote about in my article First Do No Harm that you mentioned. I do not see any positive opportunities for solutions in the supporting of the capacity to kill on either side of the conflict: the US military support to very shady violent groups Syria and the Russian support to a rotten violent regime are both just ways to expand the magnitude of violence in Syria.
I think the only way forward is inclusive negotiation between all conflicting parties, including the ISIS.
Would you please comment about the limits between resistance and terror?
I think resistance is activity defined by the goal of the action while terror should be defined as a specific tactic. Resistance is activity against a rule that is perceived as illegitimate, and it can be violent of non-violence, terrorist or non-terrorist depending on the methods resistance uses.
Terrorism, again, is tactics in which a person or a group tries to infuence decision-makers by using the lives of innocent civilians as a barganining chip. I think it is useful to create, with the concept of terror, a distinction between violent tactices that target innocent civilians and other types of violence. Without the concept it would not be possible to define the norm against the targeting of civilians.
However, there is a problem even with the correct definition of terror, let alone the politically manipulated definitions. The main problem I see with the correct definition of terror is the ”either-or” nature of the concept. If someone intentionally targets civilians as a conflict strategy that someone is a terrorist