Sunday, November 30, 2014

Netanyahu Has Lost It!

(Published on OpedNews on November 23)

Or else, he is cooly, calmly and deliberately seeking war.

Is this the result of a traumatic family history (his brother Yonatan was killed during the hostage rescue mission in Entebbe in 1976) following upon the traumatic Holocaust that killed six million Jews across Europe? Or does it perhaps have a more mundane explanation, inspired by Netanyahu's business training in the United States and long-term Neo-con allegeance?

One could surmise that in anticipation of a P plus 5 deal with Iran that would make it virtually impossible for Israel to take out that country's nuclear facilities, the Israeli Prime Minister has decided to 'take on the House' with his last remaining chips: As the international community, weighted toward a developing world pro-Palestinian majority, turns toward recognizing the occupied territories as a state (Palestinians have the distinct honor to be the longest-occupied people ever), Netanyahu wants a world of assorted 'goyim' to know who God's chosen people are, once and for all.

Today he annouced a new law that proclaims Israel as the National Homeland of the Jewish People. It reocgnizes Israel's Jewish character, institutionalizes Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation, and delists Arabic as an official language. The law states that 'only jewish people have national rights', though all citizens will still have equal legal rights and protections.

No one can say that Bibi's announcement is an olive branch.

More likely, it is slap in the face to Obama (and by extension Kerry), and a warning of things to come, in this period of flux between Thanksgiving, Christmas and the seating of the new, ever more pro-Israeli Congress Congress in January.

rom Barcelona to Berlin to Donetsk to Damascus

Note:  this blog was published on OpedNews on November 9th, and for some reason was not posted here at the time:

As the Catalans defy the central Spanish government to vote on a non-binding resolution to become an independent country, Germany continues to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall that enabled the two Germanies to be reunited, while shelling continues against the largely Russian-speaking population of Eastern Ukraine that recently voted itself independent from Kiev, and Syria and Iraq lose large swathes of terriroty to Islamist militants. 

At the same time as these violent events, twenty-five years after German reunification, there is a growing call among political activists for smaller political entities where it is hoped democracy can be more participatory.But you’d never know that from watching Fareed Zakaria’s GPS.

Today’s guests, Brent Snowcroft and the British Charles Powell, an advisor to Prime Minister Thatcher at the time, gave an extraordinary accounting of the most earth-shattering event of the last century, which they claim took Washington and London completely by surprise, to which they responded  by “trading carefully carefully in order not to destroy the hopeful signs it represented”.  These two high ranking officials are still pretending that Gorbachev didn’t give the OK to the East German govenment to dismantle the wall, essentially withdrawing its decades-long support for the most draconian of all the Eastern European regimes - or that the opening of the Hungarian border with Austria over the summer, through which thousands of vacationing East Germans fled to the West, did not portend the end of the Eastern European regimes! The British guest even pretended that it took Chancellor Kohl unawares (but if Kohl did say that, it could only have been in order to prevent the West from trying to interfere….).

In his last segment, Zakaria invited Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and a recognized authority on Syria, to present his Syrian ‘solution’ complete with a multi-colored map of Syria and Iraq.  According to Landis, neither ISIS nor Al Qaeda can be defeated, so the best solution is to leave Assad in power in the southern part of the country, which he controls, and which includes 65% of the population, (the Northeastern part of the country, together with Northwestern Iraq that ISIS conquered, being mainly desert).  Landis suggests that ISIS be left in control of this Sunni territory, which it calls the Islamic State of Al-Shams, the goal of the West being over time to put in a better leadership.

Here is the way OEN’s contact in Syria - a Sunni, by the way, characterizes the Assad regime:

“What about the notion of getting along in a secular society, with equality under the law, and freedom of religion? Syria was the only secular nation in the Middle East. The Ba’ath party created the secular Syrian state from 1970’s onwards.

Many political analysts say Syria was attacked and destroyed for the following reasons:

1. It was the only secular nation in Middle East.

2. It had a national policy of RESISTANCE to the occupation of Palestine, and is the only country other than Palestine to demand the end of the Israeli occupation (all other Arab countries deal with Israel openly and have no demands on the end of occupation).

3. Syria was discovered to have the largest natural gas field on earth, offshore, in June 2010. By March 2011 the attack and destroy plan began.

The goal of the Syrian Opposition: (Syrian National Coalition and Free Syrian Army) is:

1. To remove the current government of Syria.

2. To create a SUNNI only form of goverment under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, who are the founders and supporters of the SNC and FSA. (The same ideology in control of Turkey).

3. To create a Sunni only enclave in Syria, which will drop all claims to the occupied lands, as well as the state of war with Israel, and begin a full relationship with Israel, never demanding the rights of Palestinians.

When you travel to most Arab countries, you never hear or perceive Anti-Israeli sentiments. The population has been taught to love Israel in order to get along, the Palestinians are a sad story, but not ‘our’ story, so they are left to hang-out-to-dry. I have never found any Arab country that puts the plight of Palestine before everything. You would think that Jordan should, since they are 98% Palestinian in ethnicity. But Jordan never takes a firm stand on Palestinian rights. Maybe they think it’s a hopeless fight. I can understand that feeling of defeat, but it is immoral, unethical and goes against all humanity to allow the only occupation on earth of over 5 million souls, and never raise the issue.

I am very proud of Syria’s commitment to RESISTANCE. Medea Benjamin’s Code Pink 4 Peace motto: “Occupation is Indefensible”, says it all.”

Just as the Sunni/Shi’a divide is never referred to as being as much ideological as religious, with the historically down-trodden Shi’a representing the left (think Iranian revolution), Syria under the Shi’a Alawite sect and the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party, is never acknowledged in the West as the only secular, left-oriented Arab state. 

Fareed’s third guest was the author of a book on the public’s lack of political knowledg in various countries, with the US coming in second only to Italy in terms of ignorance, but he referred to that ignorance only in terms of national policies.  If knowledge of foreign countries was not even part of such a survey, it’s no wonder Western talking heads are so far off the mark.

Mubarak/Wilson, Catalonia/Edinborough/Ukraine, Same Combat

The acquittal of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak who ruled with an iron fist for thirty years and was accused of ordering the shooting deaths of hundreds of protesters during the events that removed him from power reflects the same determination as the acquittal of a white police officer via a lesser judicial process than a trial in the uncontested shooting death of a black, unarmed teenager in Furguson Missouri. Corresponding to the growing worldwide revolt against the pax americana is an increase in the militarization of police forces, backed by justice systems that can be relied on to exonerate rulers while eliminating an increasingly redundant majority.

Judicial aberrations are only one of the ways in which the 1% protects itself. Grass roots initiatives such as the secessionist referenda in Catalonia, Scotland and Eastern Ukraine are defeated by hook or by crook. David Cameron’s last minute promises of greater autonomy swung just enough Scottish voters away from a yes vote for independence, but today when he delivered on that promise they realized they had been duped, while Calatonia’s non-binding 80% vote for independence resulted in a hardening of Madrid’s position. As for the referenda in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, they have been condemned by the West as part of a campaign against Russia, the so-called international community refusing to recognize only those referenda that interfere with its agenda.

Referenda are an example of participatory democracy, and nothing shows up liberal democracy’s fakery like a secessionist referendum. Confronted with the will of a significant number of citizens, the rules of liberal democracy allow governments to say: ‘Once you elect us, you must abide by our rules, one of which is that you cannot evade our rules by holding a referendum to sucede and form a different state with different rules.’ 

Secessionist movements will not be saved by a miraculous transformation of liberal democratic politics, but by a growing movement in favor of small political entities, in which direct democracy can effectively be practised. Grown too large and complicated to be effectively governed, the modern nation-state born with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 will eventually disintegrate under combined pressure from Occupy-type activists and minorities determined to secure their own space.  Meanwhile, the 1% will go to any lengths to remain in charge, even if it sometimes looks ridiculous: 

Less than a month after the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, taking its cue from Israel, Ukraine is building a wall on its border with Russia…..And in another copycat decision, its president Petro Poroshenko has invited American and German citizens to apply for top jobs in his cabinet. There was a time after World War II when Americans were forbidden to hold dual citiznships, but now Ukrainian-American candidates from among the tentacular Banderite diaspora will vie for seats in Kiev’s halls of power, whence to cover the atrocities committed by their brethren in its Neo-Nazi batallions (see George Eliason’s reports for details about them).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Twenty-Five Years after Fall of Berlin Wall

I wasn’t there, but I foresaw it’s happening in a book entitled ‘Une autre Europe, un autre Monde’, begun in 1983 and rejected by every major publisher in Paris between 1985 and 1989, as I revised it to keep pace with events. In early 1989 a small academic publisher in Lyon run by a professor of cybernetics accepted it because it took a systems approach to what was, at the time, a divided Europe. I was in a taxi from the Gare de Lyon to my home in Montmartre, carrying the first copies of the book fresh off the presses when the driver’s radio announced the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Before climbing the stairs to my fifth floor apartment, I bought a bottle of champagne at the corner bistro and called up to a German-Italian couple from the courtyard to come and celebrate.  As we toasted the news, I declared confidently that Germanay would be reunited within a year. My neighbors thought I was way off the mark, but it happened eleven months later, as Mikhail Gorbatchev reminded us yesterday in a speech during the twenty-fifth anniversar festivities in Berlin.
In that speech - of which I’ve only heard excerpts on RT, the Russia Today English language news channel - he affirmed that the Soviet government - which he led at the time - had been ahead of the East German government led by Erich Honecker.  
Indeed it was: My first inkling that Europe would in fact be reunited came in the spring of 1989 when Gorbatchev was seen giving a most perfunctory fraternal kiss to his East German counterpart. Of course I had no way of knowing that during his visit to East Berlin the Soviet leader had told Honecker, the most rigid of Eastern European leaders, to get with the times and allow the wall to come down.
During that incredible summer of 1989, the Hungarian government, that had always seen itself as a bridge between Western Europe and the Soviet Union, quietly ceased demanding visas from East Germans vacationing on Lake Balaton and began dismantling its border fence with neutral Austria, the real no man’s land between Eastern and Western Europe.  As the news made its way through the grapevine, thousands of East Germans vacationing on Lake Balaton (known as the Hungarian Sea) took their suitcases and fled the coup. From there the reunification of Europe was unstoppable. In August, Poland got a non-Com-munist, Catholic, prime Minister, with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa eventually becoming president and after the Berlin Wall fell, Czechoslovakia saw the start of the Velvet Revolution that culminated in long-time dissident writer Vaclav Havel becoming President. I watched his inauguration at the Charles University in Prague on French television.  During his speech he said, with the usual twinkle in his eye, that his mother was happy that her son the dunce had finally made it.
It’s truly disheartening to contrast the euphoria of that fall with what is happening in Europe today.  One is tempted to see in the European Union’s economic crisis, the rise of Fascist parties and the crude attempts to bring Ukraine into its fold a third repeat of Europe’s modern history, in which it seems unable to resist descending into violence every twenty-five or thirty years or so: 1870, the Franco-Prussian War that resulted in the unification of Germany; 1914-1918: World War I; 1939-1945: World War II.
If you think Europe has enjoyed almost sixty years of peace since then, you’re overlooking NATO’s war against Serbia over Kosovo that took place in the 1990’s. Actually, many political observers refer to that war as a precursor to the pro-European coup in Ukraine that has been followed by fighting in the pro-Russian eastern part of that country.
Try to catch Gorbatchev on RT or, then take the time to listen to a speech made by Vladimir Putin at a European Security Conference in Munich in 2007 by clicking on this link sent by my friend and colleague Jeff J. Brown in Beijing.  You’ll see McCain and Liberman sitting with bored expressions in the front row, while Angela Merkel looks at the Russian President with undisguised admiration. 
I’m not implying that the German Chancellor has a crush on Putin, but rather, that they share a common commitment to peace and solidarity, the foundational principles that set Communism apart from ‘The West’. The Western media thas consistently affirmed that the enunciation of those principles is mere propaganda, that Communist leaders cannot be trusted no matter what they say, and they extend that opprobrium to Putin who is guilty of being a former Communist apparatchik. I’ve often affirmed that Putin did not throw the solidarity baby out with the Communist bathwarer and comments by The Saker ( emphatically confirm that he is a social democrat.)

Never before has a world been so greatly in need of a leader who seeks peace and solidarity rather than full spectrum dominance.  The question is will Obama-as-lame-duck will enable Putin’s worldview to become the driving force behind the international community.

See Putin Run

Wow!  I can't belive it's been more than two weeks since I last posted here: I've been in hospital with a life-threatening emergency, met by fancy no-holes surgery.

My colleague in Beijng, Jeff J.Brown, sent me a link to a speech Putin made to a security conference held in Munich in 2007.  For once the translation is very good, and easy to read.  You can see Senators McCain, Lieberman and a third unknown American sitting in the front row, as well as Angela Merkel who appears mesmerized.

I invite you to listen to this speech - about half an hour long - and share it with as many people as you can!