Tag Archives: Iran

Now West should sit on its backside, shut up, and listen to “the others”!

We were always told what to think; what is correct and what is wrong. By the white dudes living in or coming from Europe and North America. They knew everything. They were the most qualified.

When I write “white,” I don’t mean just their race or color of their skin. To me, “white” is their culture, where they belong. Yes, their identity.

We Russians, Cubans, Venezuelans, Chinese, Iranians, Turks are not really “white,” even if our color of the skin is. Not that we are dying to be white, really! We have our own way of living and thinking, and most of us are on the side of the oppressed, of the ‘wretched of the world,’ intuitively. For centuries, our nations have been plundered and attacked. Millions of our people vanished during invasions, genocides, like those in Africa and all other parts of the ‘non-white’ world.

We have always been studied; we have been analyzed, we have been described by those confident scribes and reporters coming mainly from the U.K. and North America. They know the best who we are and what type of political systems and culture we deserve and should aim at. These people know how to speak. Their accents are so, so perfect, so “scientific.” If they say something, it must be pure veracity, simply because they are qualified, as they have been ruling the world for centuries.

We, the Others, are expected to shut up and to listen, to learn who we really are, from the masters of the universe. Because in their eyes we are nobody, just a little bit more than animals. And animals do not speak; they only listen, take orders, and serve. They also get obediently slaughtered, when ‘it is needed.’

White rulers of the world have been expected to know about us, much more then we know about our own people and our countries.

God forbid one of us, ‘non-white’ individuals, would dare to pass publicly some judgment, especially a negative one, about Europe, North America, or Australia!

Well, first of all, nobody would listen to us because we are not expected — we are not allowed to judge the West. We are here to sit politely, submissively, to listen and to take notes.

Have you often seen a Chinese person appearing on a British or U.S. television show, offering Communist analyses of the West? Have you seen an Iranian socialist or Venezuelan Chavista criticizing British or Canadian capitalism? That would be unthinkable, wouldn’t it?

And honestly, look at the so-called independent or ‘progressive’ media outlets in the United States or Canada. The situation there is basically the same as inside the mainstream newspapers and television stations, with some rare, very rare exceptions.

Once again, white, mainly Anglo-Saxon men “know the best”: be it regarding the recent anti-racist protests in the United States, or the very origin of the COVID-19. Even if they know damn nothing, absolutely nothing, they are still considered to be the best informed, the most qualified “experts.” Just because they have suitable names, looks, and pronunciation. Just because they are white, groomed a certain way, and able to lie in acceptable manners.

*****

A few hours ago, I watched a recording, a dialogue between two ‘experts,’ which was uploaded online by an “independent” North American media. They were discussing COVID-19.

What was striking was the arrogance, and those “we know everything, and you know nothing” little sarcastic smiles. Two men were clearly demonstrating degenerate spite for the world. Both were white. Again, not just by their color of skin, but by their attitude; by their culture.

In some 40 minutes during which they spoke, there were no references to the tremendous victory of China over the pandemic. No mention of Vietnam or Cuba. It was them speaking. It was about them, about their world, and definitely not about the objective truth.

The same publication basically kicked me out; it stopped reprinting my essays, immediately after our opinions began to differ, on all important topics like the uprising in the United States, COVID-19, and China. When I stopped behaving like a white, I was out.

It was not my place or my right to speak about the West in this crucial historical moment. After all, I was just some Russia/Chinese other. This was the moment for the rulers of the world to shine. They and they alone were qualified to define the crises in their own society. Their publications closed their doors to the Others. Not all, but most of them certainly did.

The Others were sometimes allowed to criticize their own countries. They were once in a while permitted to trash their fellow non-white nations. But never, ever were they tolerated as the prominent critics of the ruling West; of the whites!

They are also not allowed to make any important intellectual judgments: in the West, Chinese people are not trusted to decide whether their country is Communist or not! Such decisions are made for them in Montreal and London, and if you dare to contradict Western Trotskyists or anarcho-syndicalists, you will be silenced, censored and prevented from publishing. It means nothing that China has one of the oldest and greatest cultures on Earth. Whether Iran is a socialist country is decided in Paris or New York, not in Teheran. What happened in the Soviet Union between the two world wars is not up to Russians to decide.

All great non-Western nations are expected to learn about themselves from some British, Swiss, Canadian deletants, whose only claim to fame is that they are whites and part of the West.

Once, a taxi driver in Teheran was complaining to me:

White Westerners come to my country for the first time. They know nothing about Iran. But, 5 minutes into the ride, they begin lecturing me about my own nation.

It goes without saying that white Westerners are always allowed to criticize the entire world. It matters nothing how much or how little they know about it. Mostly they know nothing, absolutely nothing, but so what? Often, they even manage to infiltrate important media outlets and universities in independent countries and teach revolutionaries about their own revolution. Ridiculous? Bizarre? Yes, it is, but it is happening!

*****

Now, as the West is collapsing, there are conspiracy theories flying all around the place. Ridiculous, moronic inventions and speculations are printed, day after day. Even some serious international media outlets based in the non-Western world have been falling into the trap. They are hiring entire armies of the mainstream British, Irish, and North American writers, just in order to impress their readers in the West, those who have not been used to being ‘lectured’ by the people of other colors and cultures.

The West, intellectually and morally confused and corrupt, has not been able to analyze, to think rationally. It is thoroughly brainwashed. That applies to both writers and the readers. It needs, it cannot live without “familiar faces,” without familiar lines of thought.

Despite its confusion, it insists on talking. It demands to be listened to.

It is unable to learn from the others. It only knows how to dictate; how to preach.

But what it says is nothing more than incomprehensible rubbish. It is just a racist, phantasmagoric, irrational drivel.

Western political talk, academic chatter, Hollywood mental hallucinogenic degeneracy, Disney brain damage since early childhood, mass media surreal narratives – these are all reducing our human race to nothing, to intellectual zero.

Chaos and pathological lack of logic are upholding the status quo. Under such conditions, no progressive ideology could survive. Therefore, this is the most suitable milieu for the white Western boys and their global dictatorship.

It is time to shut up most of the Western speakers, stop listening, and, if possible, to lock up some of the most deranged orators in a mental institution!

Easier said than done! But there is no other way.

*****

Frankly, I had enough of this situation. I am working all over the world, and I can compare. It is clear to me that most of the white Westerners lost their creative edge. Their thinkers, their writers, and filmmakers are mostly producing garbage. With some exceptions, the same can be said about their academia and investigative journalism.

A Russian, Chinese, Venezuelan journalist could see the collapse of Western societies with much greater clarity than the Westerners themselves. He or she would be, in general, much more qualified and educated, able to describe reality and to criticize objectively.

In the West, the level of ignorance is truly striking. Knowledge is not a requirement. Only pieces of papers, diplomas, and stamps supplied by the regime, are.

The world desperately needs to hear from The Others. As it needs The Others to get involved, to be themselves, to stop white Western boys from murdering millions and millions of innocent people in all corners of the world, as they have been doing for several centuries without interruption. As it needs the Others to erect new concepts, new ideologies, and new moral principles.

Colonialist, imperialist, racist concepts of North America and Europe are simply not good enough for the world.

In a panic, white Westerners are lately shouting (after Mr. Floyd was murdered by sadistic police, and rebellion erupted all over the world): “It is not about race!”

But notice one thing: it is them, telling us, again, telling the world what it is and what it is not! You would never hear such statements in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. There, people know perfectly well what it really is all about, whether it is about race or not!

I have just spent two weeks in the United States, analyzing the profound crises of U.S. society. I visited Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, New York, and Boston. I spoke to many people in all those places. What I witnessed was confusion and total ignorance about the rest of the world. The United States, a country which has been brutalizing our Planet for decades, is absolutely unable to see itself in the context of the entire world. People, including those from the media, are outrageously ignorant and provincial.

And they are selfish.

I asked many times: “Do black lives matter all over the world? Do they matter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and do they matter in West Papua?” I swear, I received no coherent answer.

Somebody has to tell them… Somebody has to force them to open their eyes.

A few years ago, I was invited to Southern California to show my documentary work from Africa (my feature documentary film Rwanda Gambit, about West-triggered genocides in both Rwanda and later in the Democratic Republic of Congo), where millions of black people are dying, in order for the vast majority of the U.S. whites to live in piggish opulence.

But before I was allowed to present, I was warned:

Remember, people here are sensitive… Do not show too much of brutal reality, as it could disturb them…

Hearing that, I almost left the event. Only my respect for the organizer made me stay.

Now I am convinced: it is time to force them to watch; to see rivers of blood, which their laziness, selfishness, and greed have triggered. It is time to force them to hear shouts of the agony of the others.

We can do it: “non-white” reporters from Russia, China, Latin America, and elsewhere. We have images and sounds! It is our people, our brothers and sisters in all parts of the world who are going through unimaginable suffering. And we will do it. And we are beginning doing it already. To hell with the sensitivities of the remote killers who are disguising themselves as fellow victims of capitalism, just because they have to pay student loans and mortgages, or work two jobs! They know absolutely nothing about true horrors and real misery. One day, soon, they will be forced to see and to comprehend.

Western Intellectual Incest

For centuries, Western intellectuals, media people, and propagandists were listening to each other, recycling thoughts of each other, “marrying” each other in a stale, incestuous way. Then they were pushing their discourses, often forcefully, down the throats of all Africans, Asians, in short, “the Others.”

They created a horrid narrative which is predominantly bombastic, self-righteous, false, even out-rightly deceitful.

For years and decades, I have been writing detailed books, giving examples from all corners of the Planet, uncovering this atrocious design. The most complete of them is called Exposing Lies of the Empire and counts with over 800 pages. The second installment is coming in 2021.

At some point, by operating within extremely narrow intellectual margins, white Western culture simply ran out of ideas and out of creativity. It became impotent, self-serving, and unable to offer anything progressive and optimistic to humanity.

But it kept lecturing the world, ‘educating’ or, more precisely, brainwashing all other races and nationalities.

The world has been conditioned the way that without the white Western seals of approval, nothing could move, or succeed, or be taken seriously.

But by now, Western, white culture totally collapsed. It abruptly stopped giving birth to great writers, filmmakers, or thinkers. Asia, Russia, and even parts of Africa like Nigeria and South Africa are now producing much better authors, while Iran, China, and Argentina are giving birth to doubtlessly superior filmmakers.

But it is the West that is distributing awards to its own people and foreign traitors, pretending that it still has the mandate to judge, educate and inspire the world. Its awards, as well as its diplomas, are nothing more than seals of approval given to collaborators; rewards for servitude.

By now, white Western boys know very little. They are in absolute denial. They are ridiculously overrated. In fact, they are finished. They are empty, cynical, over-masturbated, and lazy. They demand all sorts of rights and privileges but know nothing about responsibilities, hard work, and enthusiasm.

White North America and Europe expect the rest of the world to be obedient, submissive, to work hard, supporting the West’s unreasonably high standards of living. This is true for their right-wing as well as for the so-called “progressives” (that is all there really is – as there is virtually no true internationalist Left remaining in the Western countries).

But even the pseudo “left,” which is pathetic, defunct, and actually in love with being obsolete, still dares to judge and scorn those great countries, in which the Communist Parties and internationalist governments are now proudly holding power!

The only reason for such grotesque arrogance is (yes, you are guessing right) the fact that the members of the pseudo-left are white, and they come from Western countries. Which is obviously good enough (for them) to aliment their grandiloquent complexes of superiority.

If it all feels perverse and incestuous, be assured that it actually is.

Of course, this monstrous arrangement of the world has to end soon, very soon. And it will! We will make certain that it will.

*****

For decades and centuries, white Western boys were judging us, the others. They were analyzing us, telling us what to do, how to think, and how to live.

This led to absolute disaster: to genocides, plunder, and slavery; to intellectual and environmental collapses.

The bottom line is: White West has actually absolutely no right to control the world. This fact is becoming more and more obvious.

It is not qualified to lead the world. There are much better political systems then the Western one, as there are much greater cultures.

The only reason why the West is still in control of the Planet is because of its violence, brutality, as well as deceptions.

Violence can be confronted. From now on, it will be. By Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela, and other brave countries.

Deceptions have to be challenged, too. We have our media outlets now. And we are using them.

We should not listen to lies anymore. They have been damaging our countries for decades and centuries.

We have to speak. We are obliged to speak! Louder and louder. About our nations, about the world, and the madness of the West.

Now, the West should be forced to listen to our voices.

Our people ought not to be suffering in silence anymore.

Frankly, in the white West, they know nothing or very little about us. While we know a lot, or should I say too much about the West. Actually, we were forced to know but mostly lies. The truth we discovered, but discovered on our own, and often the very hard way.

The oppressed world is waking up. Increasingly, it demands its own people to write and to speak. About our own countries, and also about the West.

We don’t care what the white West thinks about us. We don’t care anymore. More and more of us are spitting on their invitations and on encouragements to betray. We do not need their certificates and their degrees.

We don’t need their money: we have our own media outlets that are beginning to pay for hard and excellent work; in Russia, China, and elsewhere. We have our publishing houses and television stations. Our words are spread all over the internet and airwaves.

This is a new world and a big awakening.

Now we will tell them, straight to the face, about their failed fight against COVID-19 and their botched democracy. We will shame their imperialism, colonialism, empty consumerism, and endemic racism. And we will analyze their uprisings, their oppression, emotional emptiness, and braindead consumerism, using our own reporters, poets, and thinkers.

We will talk about socialism and Communism from our own perspectives, our own way, and whenever we want to! We don’t need their permission.

We don’t need West’s little sarcastic smiles. We are not “whites.” And even if the color of our skin may be, in some cases, pale, we are fighting determinately alongside the oppressed nations, against the sinister ‘club’ of those who have been murdering hundreds of millions of people, as well as all enthusiasm, kindness, and hope on this Planet.

Things are changing rapidly. The Others are rising. The big battle against modern-day slavery and colonialism is on.

Our message is clear: Imperialists, colonialists, settlers, and Western supremacists; shut up, stand back, and listen; we had to listen to you for centuries! Your narrative is empty. And you cannot fool us anymore. We will build our own new world soon: those billions who were nobody in yours will become everything in ours.

Now we are speaking, and for the first time in modern history, there is nothing you can do about it. You will simply have to get used to the sound of our voices!

• First published by UWIDATA

The post Now West should sit on its backside, shut up, and listen to “the others”! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

USA’s Militarization of Latin America

Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, the commander of 12th Air Force, wrote on 22 August: “I have seen an increasingly contested strategic space where Beijing and Moscow are aggressively investing time and resources in Latin America to support their authoritarian models of governance. The Air Force must reinforce the strength of our longstanding commitment to the Western Hemisphere. We lose ground when we are unable to commit to spending the time and resources to fly our aircraft south and train alongside our partners.”

Croft’s statement reflects the growing American hysteria against the presence of any extra-regional actors in the Latin American continent. For US policy-makers, Latin America is not an aggregation of sovereign nations but a large lump of subordinated states constituting “America’s backyard”. Consequently, this conceptualization of Latin America as a natural extension of the American empire has led to viewing the engagement of any South American country with China, Russia and Iran as a “threat” to peace and security.

On February 7, 2019, Admiral Craig S. Faller – the commander of the United States Southern Command – told the Congress that the Western Hemisphere is facing “a troubling array of challenges and threats”. These threats included alarmist assertions about the growing dominance of China, Russia and Iran and a general demonization of the socialist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua: “China has accelerated expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative at a pace that may one day overshadow its expansion in Southeast Asia and Africa. Russia supports multiple information outlets spreading its false narrative of world events and U.S. intentions. Iran has deepened its anti-U.S. Spanish language media coverage and has exported its state support for terrorism into our hemisphere. Russia and China also support the autocratic regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, which are counter to democracy and U.S. interests. We are monitoring the latest events in Venezuela and look forward to welcoming that country back into the hemisphere’s community of democracies.”

In response to the perceived threats posed by the China-Russia-Iran nexus, the Secretary of Defense has decided to conduct an assessment of the sufficiency of resources available to the U.S. Southern Command, the U.S. Northern Command, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out their respective missions in the Western Hemisphere. This assessment is required to include “a list of investments, programs, or partnerships in the Western Hemisphere by China, Iran, Russia, or other adversarial groups or countries that threaten the national security of the United States.”

In addition to warlike preparations, USA has also pursued a policy of increased militarization wherein it has tried to ensure “technological superiority” with regard to “anti-US actors”. In March, 2020, USA decided to send additional ships, aircraft and forces to South America and Central America in order to combat the influence of Russia and China. According to Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of Southern Command, “This really was born out of a recognition of the threats in the region,”. Along with the mobilization of the Southern Command, USA has substantially enlarged its security aid to Latin America: From $527,706,000 in 2019, US security aid to Latin America has increased by 10% to $581,270,000.

Chinese Footprint

The present-day US militarization of Latin America is rhetorically driven by an imperialist discourse framing the continent as a possession of the American empire which China, Russia and Iran are trying to appropriate. To take an example, R. Evan Ellis, a Latin America Research Professor at the US Army War College, told before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that China’s engagement with Latin America “threatens the position of the United States, our security and prosperity, and the democratic values, rights, institutions and laws on which we depend.” To substantiate his statements, Ellis enunciated various strategies through which China is undermining USA’s dominance:

  • “Trade with, loans to, investment in, and other forms of economic and other support to anti-US regimes, indirectly enabling their criminal activities and contributions to regional instability”.
  • “Through providing an alternative to commerce, loans and investment from the West, making governments of the region less inclined to support the US on political, commercial, or security issues, or to stand up for rule of law, democracy or human rights, particularly where it might offend the PRC;”

In both these points, one can observe the imperialistic high-handedness with which Ellis is declaiming his pro-US rhetoric. While Beijing’s efforts to engage with sovereign nations and construct an alternative to the global American empire are regarded as enabling “regional instability”, no questions are asked about USA’s expansionist quest to imperialize the entire world through militaristic tactics.

In order to vilify China and smear its non-aggressive foreign policy, hawkish security experts have framed the country’s diplomatic involvement with various Latin American nations as a type of authoritarian tactic. Using this line of reasoning, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) writes: “Beijing has now officially established its own version of soft power… which emanates from its undemocratic system and rests on its ability to shape the viewpoints of others through co-optation and persuasion.” Not having any empirical evidence to prove its unconvincing statements, NED talks vaguely about the “hypnotic effects” exercised by “Chinese-style warm welcome”: “The Chinese-style warm welcome, the carefully selected tours that include visits to sites with symbolic historical and cultural significance, and ad hoc friendly discourse delivered by the Chinese hosts can have hypnotic effects on their foreign guests.” This is an indication of the extent to which America hysteria against China can reach.

In the same way as NED, the Brookings Institution has also tried to slander China’s diplomatic initiatives in Latin America to preserve the coercive dominance of USA in the continent. As per the think tank, “it would be fair to assume that China’s growing economic power and ambitions of global leadership, coupled with its inherently closed and repressive model of political control, will hurt the region’s prospects for strengthening its liberal democratic systems and respect for human rights.” While saying this, the Brooking Institution conveniently forgets that it the US, with its Western-styled liberal democracy, that has hurt the region most in the form of coups, violence and overt brutality against social movements. Most recently, a US-backed coup in Bolivia has resulted in two massacres and massive repression of social movements.

The Iranian Connection

Like China, Iran, too, experiences American hostility towards its engagement with Latin American countries. Lieutenant Andrew Kramer of the U.S. Navy terms Iranian support for the “economically backward governments” of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela as efforts “to maintain pockets of instability and hostility close to U.S. borders.” Echoing this perspective, William Preston McLaughlin, a Colonel (Ret.) of U.S. Marine Corps and Magdalena Defort, an Intern Analyst at the Foundation of Defense of Democracies, argue that “Iran’s presence in Latin America is an imminent threat to peace and political stability in the Western Hemisphere because its forces interact with Latin America’s deeply rooted revolutionary ideology and various well-intentioned but flawed “liberation theology” social movements.” Here, both of the analysts are merely parroting the imperialist “Monroe Doctrine” that subverted the sovereignty of Latin American nations and tethered the people of the continent to the whims of the American empire. Through the Monroe Doctrine, USA relegated the entire Latin American continent to the status of the empire’s handmaiden and constantly used its military muscles to overpower any regional initiatives challenging the dynamics of subjugation. Now, when Iran is lending support to the anti-imperialist administrations of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, it has come under the radar of USA for ostensibly destroying peace and political stability in the Western Hemisphere. In August 2020, for instance, USA confiscated four Iranian fuel shipments that had been bound for Venezuela, making it clear that it would not tolerate anti-imperialist opposition in Latin America.

In addition to portraying Iran as a threat to global peace, both the analysts also used a shrill, scaremongering rhetoric to over-exaggerate the strength of the country. According to the analysts, “Iran has used every agency within its borders to help extend Iranian tentacles into the political, cultural, economic, and military life of Latin America.” This bears striking resemblance to the traditional war-mongering US narrative that frames Hezbollah as a menace to justify the militarizary raising funds, seeking recruits, probing for our weaknesses and challenging our defenses,”. Through these discourses, USA seeks to unleash a new war against the anti-imperialist axis of Latin America which is standing up to militaristic predatoriness of the global hegemon.

Russian Presence

Besides Iran and China, Russia is another nation perceived as a “threat” to US security. General John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) noted in his Congressional testimony, “it has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian presence” in Latin America. In his command’s 2015 Posture Statement, Kelly added: “Periodically since 2008, Russia has pursued an increased presence in Latin America through propaganda, military arms and equipment sales, counterdrug agreements, and trade. Under President Putin, however, we have seen a clear return to Cold War tactics. As part of its global strategy, Russia is using power projection in an attempt to erode U.S. leadership and challenge U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.”

John Kelly’s representation of Russia as a military threat has been repeated by the Commander of US Southern Command, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd who said in his February 2018 Posture Statement to the US Senate Armed Services Committee that: “Russia’s increased role in our hemisphere is particularly concerning, given its intelligence and cyber capabilities, intent to upend international stability and order, and discredit democratic institutions…Left unchecked, Russian access and placement could eventually transition from a regional spoiler to a critical threat to the U.S. homeland.” With the help this narrative, USA has aggressively pushed forward the agenda of greater militarism in Latin America as it strives to maintain “technological superiority” in relation to Russia and expand its already large military expenditure.

On the top of depicting Russia as a military threat, US analysts have additionally portrayed the country’s support of socialist governments in Latin America as a danger to the economically empty liberal democracies of the West. According to IBI Consultants, a National Security consulting company specializing in Latin America, Russia’s growing presence in Latin America “is now an integral part of an alliance of state and nonstate actors that have shown their hostility toward the United States in their ideology, criminalized behavior, and anti-democratic nature.” Reiterating this point, on July 9, 2019, Admiral Faller declared before the Congress that “Russia seeks to sow disunity and distrust, propping up autocratic regimes in Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, which are counter to democracy and U.S. interests.” For Faller, those nations which don’t doggedly toe America’s imperialist line automatically become “threats” to democracy and if Russia shows solidarity with these anti-imperialist nations, it, too, classifies as a threat to US interests.

As USA continues to militarize Latin America, it is increasingly becoming clear that it wants to protect its old, imperial structures from being challenged by anyone. It has been explicitly acknowledged even by pro-US analysts such as Ellis that US military assistance in Latin America “potentially serves U.S. strategic interests by helping to inoculate receiving states against radical or anti-democratic [read “socialist”] solutions which find receptivity when populations lose faith in the ability of a democratic political system and a free market economy to effectively address the corruption, inequality, injustice, and other dysfunctionalities plaguing their country [Emphasis mine].” US military assistance, therefore, is not apolitical and is ideologically tarnished with the objectives of stabilizing free market economies-bourgeoisie democracies and subverting socialist countries.

The United States Intelligence Community’s assessment of threats to US national security had stated in 2019 that “anti-US autocrats [in the Western Hemisphere]will present continuing challenges to US interests, as US adversaries and strategic competitors seek greater influence in the region.” Here, “anti-US autocrats” refers to the socialist administrations of three Latin American countries: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. These three countries have been facing strong US belligerence for their anti-imperialist stance. US sanctions against Cuba have tightened during the pandemic; USA’s hybrid war against Venezuela has intensified as Trump has decided to use frozen funds to topple Nicolas Maduro and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) has strengthened its regime change operations against the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Due to the support lent by China, Russia and Iran to the socialist governments of Latin America, USA has decided to eradicate these extra-regional actors from its “own” backyard and re-proclaim a complete American dominance in the region. In times like these, the international community needs to oppose the militarism of USA against new regional alliances in Latin America.

Foiled in the Security Council: The United States, Extending Arms Embargoes and Iran

There are no official policing authorities as such when it comes to international relations.  Realists imagine a jungle of states, the preyed upon and the predators, a grim state of affairs moderated by alliances, agreements and understandings. But there is one body whose resolutions are recognised as having binding force: the Security Council, that most powerful of creatures in that jumble known as the United Nations.

To convince the permanent five on the Security Council to reach agreement is no easy feat.  There are the occasional humiliations in the failure to get resolutions passed, but whether it be the US, Russia, China, France or the UK, wise heads tend to prevail.  Best put forth resolutions with at least some chance of garnering support.  Rejection will be hard to take.

On August 14, a degree of humiliation was heaped upon the US delegation.  Washington seemed to have read the situation through fogged goggles, assuming that it would get the nine votes needed to extend arms restrictions on Iran due to expire in October under Resolution 2231.  Of the 15 members, only two – the United States and Dominican Republic – felt the need to vote for it.  Russia and China strongly opposed it; the rest were abstentions.  Previous warnings that any such quixotic effort was bound to fail had been ignored.

The body most shown up in all of this was the US State Department and, it followed, its indignant chief Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  “The UN Security Council failed today to hold Iran accountable,” he raged on Twitter.  “It enabled the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell deadly weapons and ignored the demands of countries in the Middle East.  America will continue to work to correct this mistake.”  He also called the position taken by Britain and France “unfortunate”, as it had only been the US view to “keep the same rules that have been in place since 2007.”

US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, took it personally, giving the impression that she saw it coming in the diplomatic tangle.  “The United States is sickened but not surprised by the outcome of today’s UNSC vote.  The Council’s failure to extend the Iran’s arm embargo is a devastating blow to the Council’s credibility.” She also promised that the US would “not abandon the region to Iranian terror and intimidation, and when we look for partners in that effort, we will look beyond the UN Security Council.”

The humiliation gave Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi much room to gloat.  “In the 75 years of United Nations history, America has never been so isolated,” he confidently asserted.  “Despite all the trips, pressure, and the hawking, the United States could only mobilize a small country [to vote] with them.”

There was much that sat oddly in this enterprise.  It showed a US effort strongly driven by the anti-Iranian Middle East coven of Arab Gulf states, along with Israel.  That said, the position amongst those states is not uniform either.  In the words of Mutlaq bin Majid Al-Qahtani, special envoy of the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs for Combating Terrorism and Mediation in Settlement of Disputes, “Iran is a neighbouring country with which we have good neighbourly relations, and it has a position that we value in the State of Qatar, the government and the people, especially during the unjust blockade on Qatar.”

Absurdly, Pompeo has promised to see how the US might rely on a provision in the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action it unilaterally left in 2018, which permits a “snapback”.  Triggering it would entail a return to the full complement of UN sanctions against Iran.  This novel take was also given an airing by Craft.  “Under Resolution 2231, the United States has every right to initiate snapback of provisions of previous Security Council resolutions.”

In April, Reuters noted the view of a European diplomat that it was “very difficult to present yourself as a compliance watcher of a resolution you decided to pull out of.  Either you’re in or either you’re out.”  Samuel M. Hickey from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also warned in May that invoking the snapback provision, especially by a non-party, “would not only underscore US isolation on the global stage, it might also undermine the effectiveness of the UNSC by creating a dispute over the validity of a UNSC resolution.”  Russia and China expressed similar readings: it was a bit rich to trigger provisions in an agreement so publicly repudiated.

Iran, in turn, huffed at the very idea of a snapback through its UN ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi.  “Imposition of any sanctions or restrictions on Iran by the Security Council will be met severely by Iran and our options are not limited.”

This entire act of gross miscalculation did its fair share of harm, though not in the sense understood by Pompeo and his officials.  It spoke to a clumsy unilateralism masquerading as credible support; to great power obstinacy misguided in attaining a goal.  It was not the UN Security Council that had failed, but the US that had failed it, an effort that many at the UN are reading as directed at torching the remnants of the Iran nuclear deal.  The assessment of the US effort by former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter was sharp and relevant.  “You got the Dominican Republic on board (how much did that cost the US taxpayer?)  Not a single other nation voted with you!  The shining city on the hill has been reduced to a glow, like the embers of a dying fire.”

How the Israel-UAE Deal puts the Bogus Peace Industry Back in Business

If there is one conclusion to draw from the agreement this week between Israel and the United Arab Emirates – with Israel temporarily “suspending” its threat to illegally annex parts of the West Bank, in return for “full normalisation” with the Gulf state – it is this: The peace industry is back in business.

But this time, unlike the interminable Oslo Accords signed a quarter of a century ago, there won’t even be the pretence that Palestinians are needed for “Middle East peace” to proceed. This is a process that takes place over their heads, a dialogue from which they are entirely absent.

This peace process is not between Palestinians and Israel, Washington’s client in the region. It is between Israel and oil-rich Arab states loyal to the US. It is a process that allows them to end the pretence that they are enemies of Israel. It means that they can stop feigning support for the Palestinian struggle for a state – even one on the last remnants of Palestinians’ homeland.

This is a peace process that effectively rubber-stamps the occupation and the many dozens of illegal Jewish settlements Israel has built to steal Palestinian land over many decades.

This is a peace process that moves the ostensible goal posts from permanently ending the occupation to simply postponing – for a little longer – Israel’s ambition to permanently annex those Palestinian lands it has already stolen.

In short, this is a peace process in which Arab states, led by the UAE, formally join Israel in waging war on Palestinians.

‘Outside-in’ strategy

In that sense, this is a continuation of the process begun by Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East adviser and son-in-law, in developing the so-called “deal of the century”.

From the start, Kushner turned to the Gulf – to which he and the rest of the US political and economic elite have long been personally close – and sought to craft what became known as the “outside-in” strategy.

That meant recruiting as many Arab regimes as possible, starting with the oil-rich Gulf states, to sign up to the Trump “peace plan” and use their weight – and money – to strong-arm Palestinians into surrendering to Israeli diktats.

A White House dedicated to the politics of the used-car lot was bound to imagine that economics could be used to bludgeon Palestinians into compliance. That was why Kushner held an economic conference in Bahrain early last summer, even before he had a peace plan to unveil.

Saudis next in line?

Sensing how this was playing out, the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas refused early on to engage with the Trump plan, and soon cut off all ties to Washington. It made no difference. This was a peace plan that did not need the Palestinian people to be involved in the haggling over their future.

The Trump plan, unveiled earlier in the year, offered Palestinians the promise of an eventual state on shards of the West Bank, after Israel had been allowed to annex swaths of their territory.

Now, Israel has put this move on temporary hold in return for normalisation with the UAE. Kushner says other states are expected to follow. Bahrain and Oman are likely to be close behind.

The agreement states: “The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates are confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible, and will work together to achieve this goal.”

The real coup would be Saudi Arabia, which is presumably waiting to see how the deal with the UAE is received. It is hard to imagine, however, that the UAE’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, took this step without first getting the green light from Riyadh.

By contrast, the previous Saudi ruler, King Abdullah, championed a regional peace agreement in 2002 that offered Israel full recognition by the Arab states in return for Israel conceding Palestinian statehood in the occupied territories.

That offer exposed the true colours of Israel and Washington. Israeli leaders ignored the Saudi plan, and, taking their cue from Tel Aviv, US leaders refused to seize the opportunity to advance the bold Saudi offer as the basis for a peace agreement.

Biden jumps on board

Under Trump, things have rapidly worsened for Palestinians. Millions of refugees have been starved of aid; the US embassy has been moved to Jerusalem; Israel’s illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights has been approved; and illegal settlements have continued to expand.

And yet, Israeli intransigence is paying off. The Gulf is ready to offer Israel normalisation not just without any meaningful concessions, but at the same time as the situation for Palestinians deteriorates significantly.

Trump has called the Israeli-UAE pact “a historic peace agreement between our two great friends”. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, described the UAE’s normalisation with Israel as “a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East”.

But anyone who imagines that this is simply a floundering, implausible last move by a lame-duck president – assuming Trump fails to win the presidential election in November – is likely to be in for a disappointment.

Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger, has also excitedly jumped on board. He described the agreement as “a welcome, brave, and badly needed act of statesmanship”, adding that the alternative – annexation – “would be a body blow to the cause of peace”.

Bitter victory

In one sense, this is a victory, even if a very bitter one, for the Palestinian leadership. They denounced the agreement. Palestinians’ belated refusal to engage with the Trump plan – after long colluding in a US-dictated Oslo peace process that was designed from the outset to negate their right to live in dignity in their homeland – has flushed the real US-Israeli agenda out into the open.

Even with the best interpretation of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians were never going to be allowed the semblance of a sovereign state, even on the remnants of their original homeland.

They were to have no control over their borders, their airspace, the electromagnetic spectrum, or their diplomatic relations with other states. And of course, they were most definitely not going to be allowed an army.

The peace process was always about keeping Israel in control of the entire space, with a segment of Palestinians allowed to live there as a caged, dependent people. They could either willingly agree to their subordination, or face further repression from Israel to crush their spirit.

Now, all of this is no longer being disguised, even if politicians and diplomats in Washington and the Gulf wish to mislead the rest of the world that this should still be called a “peace process”.

Signs that they may get away with this monumental deception were evident in the responses of major European capitals, which welcomed the agreement. Germany called it “an important contribution to peace in the region”, while Boris Johnson in the UK said it was “hugely good news”.

The message sent by Israel, the US and the UAE is that committing war crimes and violating international humanitarian law can pay handsome dividends over the long run.

A shared agenda

The gains in this deal for the UAE and the other Gulf states – assuming, as seems likely, that they follow suit – are simple. The Sunni Gulf has long wanted fuller integration into the US-Israeli security nexus in the Middle East.

The US, Israel and the Gulf states share a deep hostility towards Iran and its Shia coreligionist factions in the region – from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Yemen.

Israel opposes these Shia actors because they have proved most ready to resist it, as well as Washington’s imperial designs, centred on control over the region’s oil.

The Gulf, meanwhile, as the birthplace of Sunni Islam and the supposed guardian of its honour, has a separate interest in securing its sectarian hegemony in the region. Gulf states have been developing close, if semi-covert, ties to Israel in recent years while engaging more actively in wars across the region, either through proxies in Syria and Iraq or directly in Yemen.

They have been keen to go public with normalisation so that they can gain greater access to US-Israeli intelligence and improved military technology, which would naturally flow from increased levels of trust.

Imperial agenda

Aside from the bland, positive diplomatic wording, the agreement does not veil this goal: A new “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East” will be developed to “expand diplomatic, trade, and security cooperation”. The US, Israel and the UAE “share a similar outlook regarding the threats and opportunities in the region, as well as a shared commitment to promoting stability”.

Repackaging its role in this entirely self-interested deal, the UAE can also still present itself as the champion of the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution, delaying annexation to another day.

The advantages to the Gulf run deeper still, however. Washington’s imperial agenda inevitably feeds and needs enemies, especially in an oil-rich region such as the Middle East, to justify endless wars and endless profits for its “defence” industries.

The Gulf states want to be on the right side of that military-industrial divide as the US moves into choppier waters ahead, facing oil shortages, a deterioration in the global climate, and the rise of China as a superpower.

Diplomatic coup

Washington’s interests in the deal, and Trump’s, are similarly clear. Pushing ahead with annexation has proved much harder than the Trump administration expected. European and Arab capitals were adamantly opposed to a move that would deprive them of the two-state cover story that, for more than two decades, had allowed them to pretend they were committed to Middle East peace.

And it became ever harder for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to muster support from the Israeli public for annexation as the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changed priorities.

Months from a presidential election he is predicted to lose, Trump needed a diplomatic coup in the Middle East after promising so much and achieving so little with his much-trumpeted “deal of the century”. Now he has it.

This move will placate his large Christian evangelical electoral base, which is devoted to Israel and supports whatever it wants. Evangelical leaders lost no time in saying they were “elated” by the announcement.

It can also be spun, as his officials began vigorously doing from the outset, as an “historic peace agreement” – equivalent to the deals Israel signed previously with Egypt and Jordan. That can be used on the campaign trail to sell Trump to the wider electorate as one of the great US statesmen.

Sharpening the battle lines

But there are wider benefits for the bipartisan Washington foreign policy elite. They have long wished to cement ties between Israel and the Gulf states, having the US’ two most reliable regional allies publicly cooperating.

As the Gulf states have become more deeply and obviously enmeshed in wars across the Middle East – from Syria to Yemen – an agreement allying them to Israel helps Washington’s improbable narrative that they are really the good guys. It will sharpen the region’s battle lines and, it is hoped, convey greater legitimacy on these theocratic dictatorships.

The US hopes, too, that the agreement with the UAE – and other Gulf states later – will once again provide a plausible cover story as Israel entrenches its occupation, steals more Palestinian land and intensifies its repression of Palestinians.

It will allow Washington to revive its bogus claims of being an “honest broker”, seeking the best for Palestinians, even if their leaders are supposedly too dimwitted to understand what is good for them.

Pitting the Palestinian leadership against the Gulf – as well as other Arab states, such as Jordan and Egypt, that dare not antagonise their oil-rich neighbours – will further isolate Palestinians. They can now be presented more convincingly as entrenched opponents of peace, at best – or, if they resist, as terrorists.

Netanyahu bailed out

Lastly, Netanyahu, who is in deep trouble at home, hopes this agreement can dig him out of his hole. He is up against a wave of protests that have rallied large sections of Israeli society, including on the right. He faces an unprecedented corruption trial. His handling of the Covid-19 pandemic looks increasingly catastrophic. The Israeli economy is imploding.

In this context, his focus on West Bank annexation alienated much of the Israeli public, and even failed to satisfy sections of the settler community, who want all of the Palestinian territories, not just large parts. A deal with the UAE – and implicitly one with the rest of the Gulf – allows him to climb down from an unpopular annexation plan.

Netanyahu has long declared himself Mr. Security, the protector of Israel’s interests, and the only Israeli leader capable of making dramatic moves on the global stage. Here, he appears to have done both. It has even forced his political opponents to praise his achievement.

Netanyahu has managed to pull all this off while being able to argue that annexation is still “on the table”, placating his supporters among the settlers.

The agreement may yet set the stage for him to win a winter election he is widely reported to be preparing for.

No price to pay

The abandonment of annexation – temporarily or otherwise – will not, of course, interrupt Israel’s continuing capture of ever more Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, nor its relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Netanyahu has demonstrated to Israelis that he was right. Israel could violate international law, steal land, commit war crimes – and western and Arab states would stomach it all. Israel would have to pay no price for its behaviour.

Haaretz recalled on Friday that, when asked in 2018 whether concessions to Palestinians initiated in the Oslo Accords had gradually led to improvements in relations with the Arab world, Netanyahu responded that it was the “exact opposite”.

By first recruiting the West and Arab regimes to Israel’s side, he said, Israel would “become so strong” that it would force Palestinians to “understand that they have no choice but to compromise with us” – his term for absolute submission.

For Netanyahu, a strategic alliance with the Gulf – at the expense of Palestinians – has always been about more than just grabbing the occupied territories. It is central to his vision of an unreformed, maximalist, ethnic supremacist, Israeli state secure in the Middle East, serving as a regional hegemon alongside US global power.

Now, with this deal, Netanyahu believes he is in sight of the finishing line.

• First published in Middle East Eye

Who’s behind the Canadian Think Tank Pushing for Sanctions against China and Iran?

The “independent” think tank, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute recently called for China and Iran to be severely punished for allegedly covering up the original outbreak and failing to respond to COVID-19 in time.

This was done in ignorance of both Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump’s failure to listen to military intelligence warning of the dangers of COVID-19 in early January. This includes the failure to maintain a strong early warning system, his implementation of limited neo-liberal measures months too late, only due to intense pressure from the NDP, while refusing to implement a rent freeze, and having EI and CERB fail to cover one-third of Canada’s population.

So the question is, who is this think tank pushing for sanctions which could unnecessarily draw Canada into further disputes with China and Iran?

Founding years and Leading Figures in league with the Conservatives

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute was founded in 2010, claiming to be a “non-partisan Ottawa think tank.” However, its first report revealed that the board of directors were filled to the brim with past and present CEOs, CFOs and wealthy millionaires, including Rob Wildeboer, Chairman of Martin-rea International Inc. and Rick Peterson, the President of Peterson Capital. The Managing Director of MLI, Brian Crowley had close ties to the PM in 2010, Stephen Harper.

Brian Crowley was the founding President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a conservative, free-market think tank incorporated in 1995. AIMS received the majority of its funding from “several anonymous donors” (millionaires and billionaires who don’t want their donations publicly known) and pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck Frosst. They were at the forefront of the battle against public health care in Canada for years, until it merged with the Fraser Institute in November 2019.

Sourcewatch revealed that as of 2010, Crowley was also a member of the influential right-wing Civitas Society, founded by Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan, campaign manager for and advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In 2006, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty appointed Crowley as the 2006-2007 Clifford Clark Visiting Economist of the department. Four months later, Crowley began to develop the MLI while giving policy advice to the Harper government. In 2009, Minister Flaherty hosted a private fundraising dinner at Toronto’s Albany Club for the MLI. In a letter, he urged Bay Street elites to come and support the fledging right-wing think tank stating that he was “giving it my personal backing”. Soon afterwards, the Aurea Foundation, funded by Peter Munk, gave $100,000 to assist in starting up the think-tank, as revealed on page 13 of their 2010 annual report.

Rob Wildeboer, the chairman of the MLI Board of Directors until 2018 and current member of its Advisory Council, is a wealthy evangelical and the chief backer of the ECP Centre. The ECP centre “attacks human rights commissions as instruments of Christian persecution,” explained Donald Gutstein. The ECP believes that “the very notion of legally protected individual rights is an unthinkable heresy, a repudiation of God’s sovereign law,” according to The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada.

Within the first year of existence, the Institute’s notable corporate funders included: CTV, Labatt Breweries, TD Bank Financial Group, Merck, BMO Financial Group – Corporate, RBC Financial Group and Pfizer International, which continued their tradition of supporting think-tanks run by Crowley.

Foundations supporting the Institute at the start were funded by a who’s who of Canadian oligarchs and elites: The John Dobson Foundation, Aurea Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Lotte & John Hecht Foundation, Donner Canadian Foundation and Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

The Institute soon began publishing a series of papers by Janet Ajzenstat, which served to glorify the genocidal colonialist leaders of Canada, called “Canada’s founding ideas”. It claimed to “paint the picture of Founders far more steeped in a concern with liberty, than academic and popular tradition suggests”. By minimizing the genocide committed against Indigenous nations, it provided credence to Harper’s contempt for Indigenous Nations during his first four years as Prime Minister.

Within a year of its founding, the think tank soon pushed a “non-partisan” politically valuable policy paper, written by Scott Newark in 2011, which alleged that Statistics Canada was systematically undercounting crime statistics.

Unsurprisingly, Newark was also connected to the conservatives. During the period of 2006 to 2008, Stockwell Day was the public safety minister under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. During that time Newark worked as a special advisor to Day. Newark then went on to work as project manager overseeing a $300,000-plus contract from his former ministry.

This policy paper provided important cover for the Harper government’s “tough-on-crime” policies. The pro-corporate welfare Harper government was facing elections, only a few months later, which they ended up winning.

In this year, the MLI gained new donors such as Google Inc., Johnson & Johnson, the company exposed for failing to pull its products despite knowing they caused cancer, and John Irving, the Canadian oil baron.

The MLI took credit for: the Harper government’s refusal to expand the Canadian Pension Plan and their decision to cap the Canada Health Transfer, worsening healthcare in Canada and taking finances away from the CPP, in favour of giving money to private sector pensions.

The MLI begins its pro-military putsch

The Institute began its pro-militarism putsch this year, pushing for more military spending and supporting an interventionist foreign policy, under the guise of “debating whether Canada should make war or keep the peace.” In this same year, under the Harper government, the a short summary needed here Canadian military was actively involved in the NATO and AFRICOM led coup against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The coup ended in Gaddafi’s death and the collapse of the Libyan state, which led to open slave markets, and warring warlords within the next five years.

In 2013, the Institute began to push nationalistic anti-China trade policies, urging the Canadian government to block investment from Chinese state-connected businesses in Canada’s mineral and energy resources. They also cast any business done by these businesses with “official enemies of the Canadian stateTM” such as Venezuela, Iran and Syria as a decision which “should concern the Canadian economic and security community.”

Even after the utter disaster in Libya, the MLI continued to push for the same pro-war policies, limiting discussions around the military to how the Canadian government could more efficiently purchase new instruments of death (updated military equipment).

In 2015, the Institute complained about the inability of the Canadian military to procure updated military equipment, while totally ignoring how the tens of billions which is poured into the Canadian military could be used to better the lives of ordinary Canadians.

In 2016, Munk Senior Fellow Shuvaloy Majumdar, a former senior aide in the Stephen Harper government, joined the MLI. He began a campaign of calling for increased sanctions against Iran that year. It had been only one year after the JCPOA was signed, which ended some of the economy crushing sanctions leveled by the EU and America against Iran. After Trump violated the JCPOA, and repeatedly instituted sanctions against Iran beginning in 2018, Human Rights Watch reported that the sanctions had a devastating effect on the health of ordinary Iranians.

Majumdar also followed the Washington consensus of supporting the jihadist Syrian rebels, who are still fighting to overthrow the secular Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, describing them as “moderate rebels” in a Huffington Post op-ed.

In 2017, even the most imperialist nations looked to have their militaries leave Iraq, the country which the US invaded on the fictitious claim of Saddam Hussein possessing WMDs. The MLI urged Trudeau to stay in Iraq and touted the benefits of the mission. In the present day, there are still 500 Canadian troops in the country, with missions continuing to the present day.

During the same year, the Institute urged the Trudeau government to join with the US to deploy its military in the South China Sea and Pacific region, to “protect the region from China.”

In 2018, the MLI continued its calls for reducing trade with China, and focused on persuading the Trudeau government to avoid choosing Huawei to develop Canada’s 5G networks. The main reason pushed was that Huawei would be forced to hand over data that flows through its networks to the Chinese government, ignoring that major American and Canadian telecommunications companies are regularly forced to hand over data to their respective governments. As a result of this pressure campaign, Nokia and Ericcson were chosen to develop Canada’s 5G networks. Both networks are both forced to retain all data for six months, which is accessible to the Finnish and Swedish police forces.

In January 2019, the MLI called for the Canadian government to invest billions in military arms and planes, to allow its imperialist foreign policy to continue interrupted. Bianca Mugyenyi brilliantly explained why this call for more funds to the military, which already receives $22 billion a year in funding as of 2019, is absolutely out of touch with the needs of ordinary Canadians, in an op-ed which appeared on The Canada Files two days ago.

The MLI also made Nathan Law, co-founder of the separatist Demosistō party and “pro-democracy” movement leader, a MLI fellow during that same year. In doing this, they supported the American push to re-colonize Hong Kong, in which the US gave millions to activist groups and “grassroots organizations” each year, while turning a blind eye to the millions more given to these groups by nationalist HK billionaire Jimmy Lai. They ignored Demosistō’s close relationship with the National Endowment for Democracy’s National Democratic Institute, and the former NED Acting Director Allen Weinstein’s 1991 admission that, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

On September 12, 2019, the organization held a special panel on “Russian disinformation”, specifically scheduled on Black Ribbon Day, which falsely equates Communism to be an equivalent evil to Nazism. The panel featured Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who actively supports Canadian-Ukrainian groups which glorify Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, former Liberal Party leader Bob Rae, and others.

In December 2019, the Institute published a media release describing Chinese President Xi Jinping as the “top Canadian policy-maker of the year.” It featured an image of Xi Jinping as a spider standing over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is wrapped up in a cocoon.

It goes on to push a xenophobic narrative of an “evil China” which has “significant influence” over Canadian policy, citing a study by Australian scholar Clive Hamilton. The release even criticizes the Canadian government for the rare cases where it declined to stoke unnecessary conflict with the Chinese government.

According to Corporate Mapping, as of 2019, the MLI is funded by massive oil corporations, mining corporations, the Charles Koch Foundation and the same foundations funded by Canadian oligarchs, which backed it from the start. It is also a member of the Atlas Network. A paragraph from Corporate Mapping explains that “Atlas provides an opportunity for the fossil fuel industry to fund organizations aligned with their interests.”

When a group is funded by imperialists, its policy direction and proposals will follow the interests of its funders: those of rampant imperialism across the world.

So, it is of little surprise that the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a right-wing think tank led by Christian nationalists and Conservative Party connected insiders, would push the most useful narrative for the Conservatives.

That narrative being that only China and Iran should be punished for the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, in total ignorance of the failure of PM Trudeau’s failure to properly respond to military intelligence warning of the COVID pandemic back in January and resistance to measures necessary to fight the pandemic.

Canadians should not take this ludicrous claim seriously, and should instead roundly condemn the MLI, consigning it to the dustbin of history.

Foreign Troops: What is too Close for Comfort?

Tensions in the skies. RT presented a news story of the United States intercepting a fleet of Russian bombers off the Alaskan coast. Four Russian Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by Su-35 and MiG-31 fighters jets, flew from Siberia toward Alaska where they were shadowed by US F-22 fighters. The US and NORAD admitted that the Russian planes stayed in international airspace and did not enter American sovereign airspace.

Siberia and Alaska are close. At its narrowest point the Bering Strait separates Russia and the US by only 88.5 km (55 mi), so it wouldn’t take long upon leaving one coastline to approach the other country’s coastline.

As for the tensions, they were attributed to the Russian bombers and fighter jets being “too close for comfort.”

Siberia and Alaska are very close, but the South China Sea is quite distant from the continental US and US Pacific territories. Nonetheless, the US sends its warships into the South China Sea — this to the consternation of China.

If China were to send its warships through the Straits of Florida would the US reaction be muted?

The provocations have their impetus in former president Barack Obama’s Pivot to Asia, which has been an abysmal failure, as it has failed to prevent the rise of China.

Another failed US foreign policy objective was to prevent the Democratic Republic of Korea from becoming a nuclear state. US belligerence toward the government in the north of the Korean peninsula has not been effective in causing the North Koreans to cower. While US president Donald Trump has taken steps to engage North Korea, it has been mixed with hyperbolic threats and bombast.

The US, with South Korea, practices decapitation exercises targeting the leadership of the nearby DPRK — a country that is also distant from the continental US.

The examples of the US being too close for the comfort of other nations are myriad.

Russia is one country indignant at America provocations near its borders. Back during the Ronald Reagan administration, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received a promise that NATO would not advance “one inch to the East.” The US reneged on its promise and has expanded ever closer to Russia, placing missiles and basing soldiers nearby.

Presently, in Syria the US is not just nearby; it is physically ensconced on the sovereign territory of Syria. There the uninvited and unwelcome US troops are helping to plunder Syrian oil.

US troops are also unwelcome in Iraq, which told the US troops to leave the country. Trump responded by threatening to impose sanctions against Iraq. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and resistance to the US troop presence has caused the evacuation of some US bases in Iraq.

Following 9-11, the US invaded Afghanistan when it failed to turn over the accused mastermind Osama bin Laden. The Taliban said they would consider surrendering bin Laden to the US if the US provided evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. However, the US refused to provide evidence, and subsequently the US finds itself militarily mired in Afghanistan approaching 20 years onward, and at a cost approaching $1 trillion dollars.

From Asia to Africa. The US meddling in the backyards of other countries is spread far and wide. No matter that Africa is another continent across the Atlantic from the US. US forces are involved in the fighting in Somalia, Kenya, Niger, and other African countries.

From Africa to South America. Trump has deployed US warships to the waters near Venezuela. Then, in early May of this year, there was a bizarre attempt to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela and capture president Nicolás Maduro. The coup attempt ended in utter ignominy for the would-be coupists, which included two former US special forces soldiers. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, a self-confessed and proud liar, stated, “There was no US government direct involvement in this operation.” [italics added] Makes one wonder exactly what the indirect US government involvement was.

Later in May, Trump warned Iran and Venezuela to not engage in trade with each other. Nonetheless, both countries, already under US sanctions, ignored the threats and Iran dispatched five tankers loaded with gasoline to help Venezuela. Despite the thousands of kilometers that Iran is from the US, it still has to contend with the presence of US warships in the Persian Gulf.

In Closing

Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

Given the fact that the US reacts aggressively to the presence of foreign militaries that it considers too close for comfort, how ought one view the juxtaposition of the US military to countries that do not appreciate the presence of the US military?

Foreign Troops: What is too Close for Comfort?

Tensions in the skies. RT presented a news story of the United States intercepting a fleet of Russian bombers off the Alaskan coast. Four Russian Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by Su-35 and MiG-31 fighters jets, flew from Siberia toward Alaska where they were shadowed by US F-22 fighters. The US and NORAD admitted that the Russian planes stayed in international airspace and did not enter American sovereign airspace.

Siberia and Alaska are close. At its narrowest point the Bering Strait separates Russia and the US by only 88.5 km (55 mi), so it wouldn’t take long upon leaving one coastline to approach the other country’s coastline.

As for the tensions, they were attributed to the Russian bombers and fighter jets being “too close for comfort.”

Siberia and Alaska are very close, but the South China Sea is quite distant from the continental US and US Pacific territories. Nonetheless, the US sends its warships into the South China Sea — this to the consternation of China.

If China were to send its warships through the Straits of Florida would the US reaction be muted?

The provocations have their impetus in former president Barack Obama’s Pivot to Asia, which has been an abysmal failure, as it has failed to prevent the rise of China.

Another failed US foreign policy objective was to prevent the Democratic Republic of Korea from becoming a nuclear state. US belligerence toward the government in the north of the Korean peninsula has not been effective in causing the North Koreans to cower. While US president Donald Trump has taken steps to engage North Korea, it has been mixed with hyperbolic threats and bombast.

The US, with South Korea, practices decapitation exercises targeting the leadership of the nearby DPRK — a country that is also distant from the continental US.

The examples of the US being too close for the comfort of other nations are myriad.

Russia is one country indignant at America provocations near its borders. Back during the Ronald Reagan administration, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received a promise that NATO would not advance “one inch to the East.” The US reneged on its promise and has expanded ever closer to Russia, placing missiles and basing soldiers nearby.

Presently, in Syria the US is not just nearby; it is physically ensconced on the sovereign territory of Syria. There the uninvited and unwelcome US troops are helping to plunder Syrian oil.

US troops are also unwelcome in Iraq, which told the US troops to leave the country. Trump responded by threatening to impose sanctions against Iraq. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and resistance to the US troop presence has caused the evacuation of some US bases in Iraq.

Following 9-11, the US invaded Afghanistan when it failed to turn over the accused mastermind Osama bin Laden. The Taliban said they would consider surrendering bin Laden to the US if the US provided evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. However, the US refused to provide evidence, and subsequently the US finds itself militarily mired in Afghanistan approaching 20 years onward, and at a cost approaching $1 trillion dollars.

From Asia to Africa. The US meddling in the backyards of other countries is spread far and wide. No matter that Africa is another continent across the Atlantic from the US. US forces are involved in the fighting in Somalia, Kenya, Niger, and other African countries.

From Africa to South America. Trump has deployed US warships to the waters near Venezuela. Then, in early May of this year, there was a bizarre attempt to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela and capture president Nicolás Maduro. The coup attempt ended in utter ignominy for the would-be coupists, which included two former US special forces soldiers. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, a self-confessed and proud liar, stated, “There was no US government direct involvement in this operation.” [italics added] Makes one wonder exactly what the indirect US government involvement was.

Later in May, Trump warned Iran and Venezuela to not engage in trade with each other. Nonetheless, both countries, already under US sanctions, ignored the threats and Iran dispatched five tankers loaded with gasoline to help Venezuela. Despite the thousands of kilometers that Iran is from the US, it still has to contend with the presence of US warships in the Persian Gulf.

In Closing

Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

Given the fact that the US reacts aggressively to the presence of foreign militaries that it considers too close for comfort, how ought one view the juxtaposition of the US military to countries that do not appreciate the presence of the US military?

Jakarta: Force and Fraud at Home and Abroad. What’s Next?

I’m guessing that “Jakarta Is Coming” or “Plan Jakarta” won’t elicit immediate recognition from most of you and until very recently that was also true for me. But before defining it, here’s a bit of necessary background:

In 1965-66, the United States engineered a systematic mass murder in Indonesia that killed more than one million civilians and an additional one million were herded into concentration camps. I’ve been following this case for years but reliable information has been hard to come by. Recently, thanks to determined scholars and courageous Indonesian activists, previously classified documents have become available in Washington, DC. The entire sordid tale is exposed in Vincent Bevins just released book, The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murders That Shaped Our World.  (Public Affairs, 2020).

Bevins details how democracy in Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world at 270 million, was snuffed out when the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), a totally legal, non-violent, mass-based party of the poor was decimated. The C.I.A. provided money, training, propaganda tools and arms to elements within the Indonesian military and most importantly, supplied “kill lists” of PKI members, ranging from the higher echelons of the party to local cadres in the smallest rural villages. The lists also included anyone thought to have the slightest leftist inklings and U.S. managers of Indonesian rubber plantations added the names of suspect union organizers. Those on the list were checked off as they were captured, tortured and killed.

President Sukarno, a highly vocal anti-imperialist who had led the struggle against the Dutch colonialists and founded the non-aligned movement, was deposed and replaced with the vicious right-wing dictator Maj. Gen. Suharto who had been an ally of the Japanese fascists in the Second World War. Previous reforms were rescinded, the capitalist model of development was fully adopted and foreign investors descended on Indonesia like vultures.

Inside the beltway liberals in the U.S. were either silent or, as James Reston, the NYT’s leading op-ed writer (an archetypical liberal) quipped, “This is a gleam of light in Asia.” Although claiming its actions were about preventing the spread of the “Red Menace,” Washington was solely motivated by the need to violently liquidate the “threat of a good example,” to offer a harsh lesson to anyone who might challenge the new U.S. world order by trying to obtain control of their country’s resources and use them for the general welfare.

Bevins tells us that “Jakarta” became a code word for “anti-communist mass murder and the state-organized extermination of civilians who opposed the construction of authoritarian regimes loyal to the United States.” Indeed, a compelling case can be made that “Indonesia 1965” was the crucial victory for Washington during the so-called Cold War. And whereas easily accessible material is available on U.S. covert operations to overthrow democratic regimes in places like Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954) and Chile (1973), the Indonesian case remains virtually unknown in the United States. I want to believe that Americans would not only be horrified to learn about it but willing to reconsider some of their deepest beliefs about American exceptionalism.

I’ve highlighted Bevin’s new book because it appears at a serendipitous moment. In the rush of current events we don’t always pause to connect some important dots, in this case the indivisible string of dots between American domestic and foreign policy. That is, the same class warfare practiced by highly class-conscious U.S. elites and their junior partners in Indonesia in 1965 is now playing out in response to Racism 2020 and COVID-19, albeit with different methods.

Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and someone for whom I have enormous respect, observes that “The mentality that crushes a brother’s neck — as in the case of George Floyd — is the same mentality that sends black, brown, poor and low-income workers of all colors into the lethal path of the COVID-19 pandemic without needed protections, health care and economic resources.” Barber doesn’t say so and I don’t know if he believes it, but it’s my sense that the same mentality and dynamic of predatory capitalism that rips off the labor and land of those around the empire also operates here.

Domestically, the U.S. oligarchy has never hesitated to deploy deadly force, periodic severe repression against perceived internal threats and to rely on mass incarceration but the clear preference is for what Noam Chomsky terms “fraud and deception.” Why? Because they’re more efficient and sustain the necessary illusion that we live in a self-governing, albeit sometimes flawed democracy. This method results in citizens policing themselves but only after absorbing a lifetime of capitalist ideology. In short, in a society like the United States, “control of thought is more important.”1

Workers and peasants in Indonesia and elsewhere throughout the American empire harbor no illusions about who rules. Based on first-hand experience, they know their masters demand absolute obedience under penalty of torture and death. People have internalized the expectation that even demands for mild reforms will be met with state terrorism. They’ve learned to keep their thoughts to themselves.

In the United States, the abysmally low level of working class consciousness permits our rulers a much wider latitude of options to insure, in Bertrand Russell’s phrase, “the habit of submission.” We, “the ignorant masses,” participate in formal mechanisms like political parties and voting but these only ratify decisions made by our “betters. The option of radically changing society will neither appear on the ballot nor even be imagined in the public mind. Put another way, “Democracy is permissible as long as the control of business is off-limits to popular deliberation or changes; i.e., so long as it isn’t democracy.”2

How does all this relate to our present situation? I don’t have definitive answers, but I will suggest that the critical questions before us include: Has the official response to COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd and the pandemics of racism, greed, poverty, imperialism, inequality, ecocide and exploitation finally sundered the aforementioned “habit of submission?” Does a sizable, multicultural swath of our citizens now view the political and economic system as illegitimate? Do enough people now grasp that the two parties and their corporate sponsors have nothing to offer? Do enough people understand that those on top not only want more from us but want everything? Is the multiplying convergence of aggrieved people sufficient to move from righteous insurrection in the streets to a revolutionary project that can totally reconstruct our society? If not, how can we move more of our fellow citizens in that direction? Are we prepared for the inevitable future efforts to co-opt dissenters? Finally, if fascism is capitalism with the gloves off, is it hyperbolic to suggest that the capitalist state and its enablers will entertain Jakarta-like options in the near future?

  1. Noam Chomsky, “Force and Opinion,” Z Magazine, July-August, 1991.
  2. Robert W. McChesney, “Noam Chomsky on the Struggle Against Neoliberalism,” Monthly Review, April 1, 1999.

Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?

On May 6th, President Trump vetoed a war powers bill specifying that he must ask Congress for authorization to use military force against Iran. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign of deadly sanctions and threats of war against Iran has seen no let-up, even as the U.S., Iran and the whole world desperately need to set aside our conflicts to face down the common danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So what is it about Iran that makes it such a target of hostility for Trump and the neocons? There are many repressive regimes in the world, and many of them are close U.S. allies, so this policy is clearly not based on an objective assessment that Iran is more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other monarchies in the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration claims that its “maximum pressure” sanctions and threats of war against Iran are based on the danger that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. But after decades of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and despite the U.S.’s politicization of the IAEA, the Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

If Iran ever did any preliminary research on nuclear weapons, it was probably during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, when the U.S. and its allies helped Iraq to make and use chemical weapons that killed up to 100,000 Iranians. A 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, the IAEA’s 2015 “Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues” and decades of IAEA inspections have examined and resolved every scrap of false evidence of a nuclear weapons program presented or fabricated by the CIA and its allies.

If, despite all the evidence, U.S. policymakers still fear that Iran could develop nuclear weapons, then adhering to the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), keeping Iran inside the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and ensuring ongoing access by IAEA inspectors would provide greater security than abandoning the deal.

As with Bush’s false WMD claims about Iraq in 2003, Trump’s real goal is not nuclear non-proliferation but regime change. After 40 years of failed sanctions and hostility, Trump and a cabal of U.S. warhawks still cling to the vain hope that a tanking economy and widespread suffering in Iran will lead to a popular uprising or make it vulnerable to another U.S.-backed coup or invasion.

United Against a Nuclear Iran and the Counter Extremism Project

One of the key organizations promoting and pushing hostility towards Iran is a shadowy group called United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI). Founded in 2008, it was expanded and reorganized in 2014 under the umbrella of the Counter Extremism Project United (CEPU) to broaden its attacks on Iran and divert U.S. policymakers’ attention away from the role of Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other U.S. allies in spreading violence, extremism and chaos in the greater Middle East.

UANI acts as a private enforcer of U.S. sanctions by keeping a “business registry” of hundreds of companies all over the world—from Adidas to Zurich Financial Services—that trade with or are considering trading with Iran. UANI hounds these companies by naming and shaming them, issuing reports for the media, and urging the Office of Foreign Assets Control to impose fines and sanctions. It also keeps a checklist of companies that have signed a declaration certifying they do not conduct business in or with Iran.

Proving how little they care about the Iranian people, UANI even targets pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical-device corporations—including Bayer, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Abbott Laboratories—that have been granted special U.S. humanitarian aid licenses.

Where does UANI get its funds? 

UANI was founded by three former U.S. officials, Dennis Ross, Richard Holbrooke and Mark Wallace. In 2013, it still had a modest budget of $1.7 million, nearly 80% coming from two Jewish-American billionaires with strong ties to Israel and the Republican Party: $843,000 from precious metals investor Thomas Kaplan and $500,000 from casino owner Sheldon Adelson. Wallace and other UANI staff have also worked for Kaplan’s investment firms, and he remains a key funder and advocate for UANI and its affiliated groups.

In 2014, UANI split into two entities: the original UANI and the Green Light Project, which does business as the Counter Extremism Project. Both entities are under the umbrella of and funded by a third, Counter Extremism Project United (CEPU). This permits the organization to brand its fundraising as being for the Counter Extremism Project, even though it still regrants a third of its funds to UANI.

CEO Mark Wallace, Executive Director David Ibsen and other staff work for all three groups in their shared offices in Grand Central Tower in New York. In 2018, Wallace drew a combined salary of $750,000 from all three entities, while Ibsen’s combined salary was $512,126.

In recent years, the revenues for the umbrella group, CEPU, have mushroomed, reaching $22 million in 2017. CEPU is secretive about the sources of this money. But investigative journalist Eli Clifton, who started looking into UANI in 2014 when it was sued for defamation by a Greek ship owner it accused of violating sanctions on Iran, has found evidence suggesting financial ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

That is certainly what hacked emails between CEPU staff, an Emirati official and a Saudi lobbyist imply. In September 2014, CEPU’s president Frances Townsend emailed the UAE Ambassador to the U.S. to solicit the UAE’s support and propose that it host and fund a CEPU forum in Abu Dhabi.

Four months later, Townsend emailed again to thank him, writing, “And many thanks for your and Richard Mintz’ (UAE lobbyist) ongoing support of the CEP effort!” UANI fundraiser Thomas Kaplan has formed a close relationship with Emirati ruler Bin Zayed, and visited the UAE at least 24 times. In 2019, he gushed to an interviewer that the UAE and its despotic rulers “are my closest partners in more parts of my life than anyone else other than my wife.”

Another email from Saudi lobbyist and former Senator Norm Coleman to the Emirati Ambassador about CEPU’s tax status implied that the Saudis and Emiratis were both involved in its funding, which would mean that CEPU may be violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to register as a Saudi or Emirati agent in the U.S.

Ben Freeman of the Center for International Policy has documented the dangerously unaccountable and covert expansion of the influence of foreign governments and military-industrial interests over U.S. foreign policy in recent years, in which registered lobbyists are only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to foreign influence. Eli Clifton calls UANI, “a fantastic case study and maybe a microcosm of the ways in which American foreign policy is actually influenced and implemented.”

CEPU and UANI’s staff and advisory boards are stocked with Republicans, neoconservatives and war hawks, many of whom earn lavish salaries and consulting fees. In the two years before President Trump appointed John Bolton as his National Security Advisor, CEPU paid Bolton $240,000 in consulting fees. Bolton, who openly advocates war with Iran, was instrumental in getting the Trump administration to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

UANI also enlists Democrats to try to give the group broader, bipartisan credibility. The chair of UANI’s board is former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, who was known as the most pro-Zionist member of the Senate. A more moderate Democrat on UANI’s board is former New Mexico governor and UN ambassador Bill Richardson.

Norman Roule, a CIA veteran who was the National Intelligence Manager for Iran throughout the Obama administration was paid $366,000 in consulting fees by CEPU in 2018. Soon after the brutal Saudi assassination of journalist Jamal Khassoghi, Roule and UANI fundraiser Thomas Kaplan met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, and Roule then played a leading role in articles and on the talk-show circuit whitewashing Bin Salman’s repression and talking up his superficial “reforms” of Saudi society.

More recently, amid a growing outcry from Congress, the UN and the European Union to ease U.S. sanctions on Iran during the pandemic, UANI chairman Joe Lieberman, CEPU president Frances Townsend and CEO Mark Wallace signed a letter to Trump that falsely claimed, “U.S. sanctions neither prevent nor target the supply of food, medicine or medical devices to Iran,” and begged him not to relax his murderous sanctions because of COVID-19. This was too much for Norman Roule, who tossed out his UANI script and told the Nation, “the international community should do everything it can to enable the Iranian people to obtain access to medical supplies and equipment.”

Two Israeli shell companies to whom CEPU and UANI have paid millions of dollars in “consulting fees” raise even more troubling questions. CEPU has paid over $500,000 to Darlink, located near Tel Aviv, while UANI paid at least $1.5 million to Grove Business Consulting in Hod Hasharon, about 10% of its revenues from 2016 to 2018. Neither firm seems to really exist, but Grove’s address on UANI’s IRS filings appears in the Panama Papers as that of Dr. Gideon Ginossar, an officer of an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands that defaulted on its creditors in 2010.

Selling a Corrupted Picture to U.S. Policymakers

UANI’s parent group, Counter Extremism Project United, presents itself as dedicated to countering all forms of extremism. But in practice, it is predictably selective in its targets, demonizing Iran and its allies while turning a blind eye to other countries with more credible links to extremism and terrorism.

UANI supports accusations by Trump and U.S. war hawks that Iran is “the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” based mainly on its support for the Lebanese Shiite political party Hezbollah, whose militia defends southern Lebanon against Israel and fights in Syria as an ally of the government.

But Iran placed UANI on its own list of terrorist groups in 2019 after Mark Wallace and UANI hosted a meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York that was mainly attended by supporters of the Mujahedin-e-Kalqh (MEK). The MEK is a group that the U.S. government itself listed as a terrorist organization until 2012 and which is still committed to the violent overthrow of the government in Iran – preferably by persuading the U.S. and its allies to do it for them. UANI tried to distance itself from the meeting after the fact, but the published program listed UANI as the event organizer.

On the other hand, there are two countries where CEPU and UANI seem strangely unable to find any links to extremism or terrorism at all, and they are the very countries that appear to be funding their operations, lavish salaries and shadowy “consulting fees”: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Many Americans are still demanding a public investigation into Saudi Arabia’s role in the crimes of September 11th. In a court case against Saudi Arabia brought by 9/11 victims’ families, the FBI recently revealed that a Saudi Embassy official, Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, provided crucial support to two of the hijackers. Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the families whose father was killed on September 11th, told Yahoo News, “(This) demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”

The global spread of the Wahhabi version of Islam that unleashed and fueled Al Qaeda, ISIS and other violent Muslim extremist groups has been driven primarily by Saudi Arabia, which has built and funded Wahhabi schools and mosques all over the world. That includes the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles that the two 9/11 hijackers attended.

It is also well documented that Saudi Arabia has been the largest funder and arms supplier for the Al Qaeda-led forces that have destroyed Syria since 2011, including CIA-brokered shipments of thousands of tons of weapons from Benghazi in Libya and at least eight countries in Eastern Europe. The UAE also supplied arms funding to Al Qaeda-allied rebels in Syria between 2012 and 2016, and the Saudi and UAE roles have now been reversed in Libya, where the UAE is the main supplier of thousands of tons of weapons to General Haftar’s rebel forces. In Yemen, both the Saudis and Emiratis have committed war crimes. The Saudi and Emirati air forces have bombed schools, clinics, weddings and school buses, while the Emiratis tortured detainees in 18 secret prisons in Yemen.

But United Against a Nuclear Iran and Counter Extremism Project have redacted all of this from the one-sided worldview they offer to U.S. policymakers and the American corporate media. While they demonize Iran, Qatar, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as extremists and terrorists, they depict Saudi Arabia and the UAE exclusively as victims of terrorism and allies in U.S.-led “counterterrorism” campaigns, never as sponsors of extremism and terrorism or perpetrators of war crimes.

The message of these groups dedicated to “countering extremism” is clear and none too subtle: Saudi Arabia and the UAE are always U.S. allies and victims of extremism, never a problem or a source of danger, violence or chaos. The country we should all be worrying about is – you guessed it – Iran. You couldn’t pay for propaganda like this! But on the other hand, if you’re Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates and you have greedy, corrupt Americans knocking on your door eager to sell their loyalty, maybe you can.

Venezuela And Iran Show Solidarity Can Overcome US Empire

Commemorating 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths

The official milestone of 100,000 dead in the United States from COVID-19 is near. This figure is certainly an undercount as thousands of deaths from COVID-19 are not being recorded. Before our weekly news analysis, we pause to commemorate those deaths.

The US, with 4 percent of the world’s population, has 28 percent of the COVID19 deaths, disproportionately impacting black and brown people. Why is the US doing so poorly? President Trump surely deserves a great deal of blame. He continues to make major errors and critical mistakes were made in the first few months when Trump said on January 22: “It’s just one person coming in from China. We have it totally under control” and, on February 26: “When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days will be down to zero.” The Trump Death Clock reports 58,614 deaths could have been prevented if the US had acted more quickly.

But the problems are deeper than Trump. The US healthcare system is the most expensive in the world yet it is out of reach for tens of millions of people. The nation has never adequately invested in public health and does not have a community-based healthcare system that would have allowed immediate tracking of the virus. No state has met the requirements for reopening its economy, yet many are doing so. The nation has not put in place the testing and tracing needed to monitor and eliminate the virus.

This weekend, images of people at beaches and in malls without taking safety precautions compound the errors. In the next month, the impact of this recklessness will be widespread illness and death. We see nothing in US public policy coming from either party that will prevent that likely reality. Rather than fixing obvious errors in policy, the bipartisans are compounding them. We need to keep pushing for more. Our next General Strike call is May 28 at 7 pm EST. Our speaker is Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson and People’s Strike. Register at bit.ly/MayDayMeeting.

Iranian oil tanker, Fortune, arrives in Venezuelan waters and is escorted by  the Venezuelan navy (photo from TELSUR)

A Victory For Sovereignty, Independence, And Peace

This week, Venezuela and Iran faced up to threats made by the United States and defied the illegal US sanctions by sending five oil tankers from Iran to Venezuela. The US’ long term unilateral coercive measures have prevented the two countries with the largest oil reserves from selling their oil. This economic terrorism has caused tens of thousands of deaths in each country. Despite this economic warfare and constant threats of military attack, the two nations joined together in solidarity and broke through the US blockade to deliver much-needed oil and supplies to Venezuela.

This was a victory for sovereignty, independence, and peace. It was an act of dignity for both countries to take this successful stand against the United States. They have shown the world that illegal US economic sanctions, which impact 39 countries and one-third of the world’s population, can be defeated. They set an example that other nations can refuse the US’ unlawful demands. Acting together, the world can end the abusive unilateral coercive measures, end dollar domination, and create a multi-polar world where nations large and small have sovereignty and independence from hegemony.

US navy ships in the Caribbean (photo from Military.com)

US Threats And Show Of Force Dissipate

Last week, President Trump told a conservative audience that the US has Venezuela surrounded. Earlier this year, Trump ordered a US armada to the Caribbean to target Venezuela, including destroyers, littoral combat ships, Poseidon maritime planes, AWAC surveillance aircraft, and on-ground special forces units. This is the largest US military presence in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama.

Anonymous White House officials told Reuters the US has been “looking at measures that can be taken” to stop the “unwelcome”  impending delivery. The Washington Post quoted an unnamed high-level Trump official saying the administration “would not abide” Iran’s support of Maduro and “The president has made clear the United States will not tolerate continued meddling by supporters of an illegitimate regime.”

These threats are occurring just weeks after the failed May 3-4 mercenary invasion of Venezuela organized and led by ex-US special forces troops. The Bay of Pigs-like attempt to enter Venezuela by sea with 80 mercenaries was stopped by the Venezuelan government with the assistance of fishermen in the civilian militia. Two former US special forces and some Venezuelan military defectors are under arrest. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has promised to use all means at the disposal of the United States to free the US citizens.

This week, US courts allowed the seizure of Venezuela’s largest foreign asset, CITGO, worth an estimated $8 billion. A federal judge approved the sale of the  CITGO refineries after the US Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling. Foreign Minister Arreaza denounced the sale as an act of piracy and said, “There are 12 children waiting for a bone marrow transplant” that was going to be paid for by CITGO profits.  On May 14, Venezuela filed suit in a London commercial court that seeks to force the UK Central Bank to return an estimated US $1 billion worth of Venezuelan gold. Venezuela plans to use the gold to buy food, medicines, and healthcare equipment to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic reports Reuters.

The ultimate corporate media source, the Wall Street Journal, urged military action to halt the Iranian tankers, warning of the “risk to U.S. interests in doing nothing.” They claimed “President Trump has the legal power to declare an emergency and interdict the tankers.”  It warned the US needs to be prepared to respond to Iran in the Persian Gulf if they do so.

Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity published a memorandum to the President warning that taking action would result in serious blowback from the world against the US. Further, such an action would be illegal and an act of war that would have unpredictable consequences, not just in Latin America but in the Middle East where there are many US targets. They urged the administration to stop “saber-rattling” as “huffing and puffing hasn’t blown Maduro’s house down.”

The five supertankers – Fortune, Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel – carrying around 1.5 million barrels of fuel have to pass the belligerent US armada. Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said, “They will be escorted by Bolivarian National Armed Forces boats and planes to welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi accused the US of threatening piracy and vowed a decisive response.”  Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami warned the United States “Iran will not tolerate obstacles [to its oil ships]. Both the United States and other countries know that we will not hesitate. If the obstacles continue or increase, Iran’s response will be forceful.”

Both Iran and Venezuela warned the United Nations that any action by the United States to stop the oil tankers would be illegal. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif wrote UN Secretary Antonio Guterres. Venezuela’s UN ambassador, Samuel Moncada, alerted the agency to the “threat of imminent use of military force by the United States.” The letter warned: “Ships with British, Dutch, French and American flags are bordering the coasts of our country, with a hostile and aggressive attitude . . . threatening the imposition illegal of a naval blockade.” He urged the UN Security Council to take immediate action to end the “warmongering and criminal policies,” of the US, which threaten the peace, security, and stability of the region.

Earlier in the week, the US blocked the Security Council resolution denouncing the attempted mercenary invasion of Venezuela. Ambassador Moncada thanked the countries that stood up for international law in the Security Council. Maduro said, “We have had a great victory in the UN Security Council” by exposing the US to criticism from the world.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro shake hands at Wyndham Concorde hotel in Magarita, Venezeula, on September 16, 2016 (from Reuters)

The First Iranian Supertanker Enters Venezuelan Waters

While the world waited for military conflict, on Saturday night after 7 pm local time, the first supertanker entered Venezuelan waters and is currently being escorted by the Bolivarian Republics’ military to port. The US did not intercept the tanker. Hopefully, this will continue for the remaining four tankers and the US will end the economic war against Iran, Venezuela, and other countries.

The arrival of these tankers from Iran marks a historic milestone as it is the first time that the Middle Eastern country exported fuel to Latin America. This is one example of many of US sanctions bringing nations together in solidarity against the United States. The US is caught in a paradox — the more it exercises force, the more power it loses as nations unite against US domination.

Venezuela’s strategic ties to Iran date back almost two decades, when President Hugo Chávez, the founder of its socialist state, struck a flurry of economic and financial deals with the president of Iran. The two nation’s were co-founders of OPEC in 1960. In 2008, Venezuela shipped gasoline to Iran when US sanctions were crippling its industry. Maduro has continued to build bilateral relations with Iran resulting in economic and other trade deals as well as through OPEC and the Non-Aligned Movement.

On Friday night, a group of Venezuelan youths raised the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran in front of the mountain barracks where Commander Hugo Chavez rests as a token of appreciation for the shipment of fuels. People in both Venezuela and Iran celebrated the victory over the US blockade.

Now is the time to build on that success to grow the movement against the US’ illegal coercive measures. The Sanctions Kill coalition is holding a series of webinars to educate and organize toward that goal. The first was on May 9 and featured representatives from six countries. Speakers included Ana Silvia Rodriguez Abascal, Charge des Affaires of the Cuban Mission to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Francisco O Campbell, Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and Carlos J. Ron Martinez, Venezuelan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The next webinar will be on Sunday, May 31 at 1:00 pm EST and will feature representatives from Gaza, Venezuela, and other nations. It is taking place during an international week of action against imperialism from May 25 to 31.

The Non-Aligned Movement, a decades-old coalition of 120 nations representing 55 percent of the world’s population, has become reactivated. They met in Azerbaijan in October 2019 and in Venezuela in August 2019.  Both meetings denounced US sanctions and US military threats around the world. Nations are starting to provide assistance to sanctioned countries. In April, Britain, France and Germany used a new trade mechanism that bypasses US sanctions called Instex to send medical aid to Iran. These are positive signs.

While the victory of Iran and Venezuela is significant, it does not end the US economic war against the two countries. The US is persistent in its foreign policy goals and both countries need to be prepared for US escalation as a result of the Iranian supertankers going to Venezuela. Both countries cherish their independence and sovereignty. They will not give in. And they are building international solidarity. We in the US must demand that our government cease its hostilities and become a cooperative member of that global community.