On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this coming week, the national Parliament of Australia, the country of which Julian Assange is a citizen, will be sitting. Around the world, there is a huge popular outcry in support of Julian Assange. This includes other governments, and parliaments, including the government of Mexico, the Mexico City Council and the German Bundestag. They have all demanded of the British Government that it end its illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange and, of the United States' government, that it end its illegal attempts to extradite Julian Assange.
According to the United Nations, the "Special Military Operation" against Ukraine on 24 February 2022, for which Russia has been so vilified, has caused deaths on both sides totalling 7,387 civilians and 81,207 military. Even if we were to attribute to Russia the blame for every one of these 88,594 deaths, how does this compare with the United States' record?
Russian President Vladmir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan held a four-hour meeting on August 5 in Sochi which may change the course of the Middle East, and end the US occupation of Syria.
"Official Western institutions have never recognised Assange as a prisoner of conscience,why do you think that is?" Oksana asks Greg Barnes. After almost a decade in confinement, Julian Assange is still fighting against extradition requests to the United States, at cost to his physical and mental health, while also compromising WikiLeaks’ ability to continue its operations.
"Biden is like Trump without the Tweets." The British are known for their "permanent opportunism." "Boris Johnson is like a fifth wheel." US State Department falsely claimed it communicated with the French. China is attempting to make the China Sea into a kind of internal sea. Australia is losing sovereignty to America. US submarines would arrive ten years later than the French ones, so urgency cannot be the reason for breach of contract. (French Minister for Foreign Affairs).
Co-dependency is known to lead partners of people with grave emotional and mental problems into embarassing situations. These kinds of compromise are achieved through manipulation by flattery or pressure on approval-seeking and disapproval-avoiding spouses. Was this the situation for Scott Morrison, who, although Mr Biden could not remember Scott's name, a day or two before, was suddenly convinced by Biden and his team, to seriously snub France, whilst leaving parliament mostly in the dark, in a move that will cost us all even more money but also even more than money. Is China really such an unreasonable threat a world, when America has an order of magnitude more military bases than any other country? Do we really prefer to be completely remade in the image of Walmart, as we become just another new military base for the United States? Is this really just another 19th century trade-war, but with nuclear submarines instead of galleons? Jean-Yves Le Drian is the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. He was interviewed by lead journalist Laurent Delahousse on France2 News on 18 September 2021, on the subject of Australia's sudden breach of its submarine contract with France for a projected contract with the United States. Inside is a detailed translation of that interview, for any Australians who are interested. The original interview is at Journal 20h00 - Édition du samedi 18 septembre 2021 en streaming - Replay France 2 | France tv.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE: This evening the contract of the century has been broken and France has called its ambassadors home from the United States and Australia. What will be the outcome of this diplomatic crisis between allies? Answers this evening from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is our guest.
[Presentation of the other headlines]
LAURANT DELAHOUSSE: A crisis, an earthquake, a conspiracy between allies. It’s hard to work out what’s happening in this affair. The breaching of the contract of the century on submarines is giving rise to consequences that go well beyond economic matters. These highlight a rearrangement of geopolitical maps and it remains to be known where France and Europe will end up in all this.
Before we go to Jean-Yves Le Drian, first, the fact for today: Paris decided to call home its ambassadors in the United States and Australia. (Names journalists Thomas Cuny, Lucie Berbey, and [?Noah d’Intar – unclear] responsible for producing this background segment)
“Alone in the corridors of Sydney Airport, France’s ambassador to Australia leaves the country. Just like his counterpart in Washington. The two diplomats have been called back to Paris for consultation. An exceptional diplomatic decision. Taken by the President of the Republic and justified in this communication from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.”
Communication from the Quai d’Orsay, 17 September 2021: “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcement made on 15 September by Australia and the United States.”
A few hours earlier on the two continents, the French ambassadors spoke in unison of France’s indignation.
Translation from the French translation of the French Ambassador to the U.S.’s statement: “When we learned that the contract had been cancelled, this really made us angry.”
Jean-Pierre Thebault (French ambassador in Australia, statement in English translated into French): “I think it was a huge mistake. A nasty blow to our partnership. It was more than a contract. It was a partnership.”
The return of the ambassadors, France’s retort after the cancellation of Australia’s order for 12 French submarines to the value of 56 billion euros. Basically, Canberra has turned towards the United States and the United Kingdom. Since then there has been a continuing diplomatic crisis between France and these countries.
PASCAL BONIFACE : (Geopolitical expert – Director of the Institute of International and Strategic Diplomatic Relations (Directeur de l’Institut de Relations internationales et stratégiques (IRIS)) : “France, obviously, has been betrayed, as much by the Australians as by the United States, which are allies. And therefore, when there is a betrayal, one cannot accept it without reacting. Otherwise, one loses honour. And therefore it was completely legitimate, moral, and expected, that France should have a strong reaction, rather than be totally humiliated and not react in respect of that humiliation.”
Tonight, the U.S. State Department reacted to the French Government’s decision:
“We have been in close contact with our French allies. We understand their position and we are conscious of their intention to recall the Ambassador to Paris for consultation. France is an essential partner and our oldest ally.”
The emboldened text below is the only part that was verbally translated in the French news
Original U.S. communication appearing on screen :
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Attributed to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price: We have been in close contact with our French allies. We understand their position, and we are aware of their plans to recall Ambassador Etienne to Paris for consultations. France is a vital partner and our oldest ally, and we place the highest value on our relationship. The Transatlantic Alliance has fostered security, stability, and prosperity around the world for more than seven decades, and our commitment to those bonds and our work together is unwavering. We hope to continue our discussion on this issue at the senior level in coming days, including at UNGA next week, in line with our close bilateral partnership and commitment to cooperation on arrange of issues, including the Indo-Pacific.
Jean-Yves Le Drian and his American counterpart, Tony Blinken, will again find themselves in New York, at the seat of the United Nations. The Americans hope to continue the dialogue. [Reference to the last paragraph of the US communication above.]
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : And in an attempt to better understand the Minister for Foreign Affairs is with us. Good evening Jean-Yves Le Drian.
LE DRIAN (FRENCH FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER): Good evening.
LAUREN DELAHOUSSE : For many French people listening, to recall those ambassadors in response to such a humiliation, may not mean much.
LE DRIAN : It’s very symbolic. There have been lies, there has been duplicity, there has been a major breakdown in trust, there has been contempt. Therefore things are not good between us! Not good at all! It means there is a crisis, and at this moment, there is firstly a symbolic aspect – you recall your ambassadors in order to try to understand, but at the same time in order to show our countries which were once partners that we are really very angry, that there is really a crisis between us, and then, it is also, when the moment arrives, to reevaluate our position, in order to defend our interests both in Australia and in the United States.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Mr Drian, you know as I do, this evening, that this measure isn’t going to stop Joe Biden from sleeping. He is happy with the contract, which is now in his favor.
LE DRIAN : Yes, but the fact that for the first time in the history of the United States and France we have recalled our ambassador for consultation is a heavy political action, signifying the importance of the crisis which exists today between our two countries. Also with Australia.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Have Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron spoken together?
LE DRIAN : Not to my knowledge.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Has Mr Blinken spoken with you?
LE DRIAN : Today, no. Um, I heard your commentary, according to which there had been consultations with – between the Americans and ourselves – before the announcement. It isn’t true.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Meaning that you knew nothing.
LE DRIAN : - an hour before -
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : - nothing of these negotiations an hour beforehand. [… unclear]
LE DRIAN : That’s the reason I’m telling you that there has been duplicity, contempt, lying. It’s -
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : And perhaps -
LE DRIAN : - You can’t play with alliances like that! We are allies.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Mmm.
LE DRIAN : And therefore, when one has an ally, one does not treat them with brutality, with such unpredictability, a major partner which France is. So, there is really a crisis.
This also throws light perhaps on some kind of failure in our research services when one is not up to date …?
LE DRIAN : No. Yes. But really, in fact the agreement which was initiated by the United States an Australia was decided by a tiny little committee and I am not even sure that all the Australian and American ministers knew it.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Mr Biden’s method bears a strong resemblance to Mr Trump’s.
LE DRIAN : Without the tweets.
LAURANT DELAHOUSSE : Without the tweets.
LE DRIAN : But, with a quite infuriatingly pompous announcement. Truth be told, seeing the US President and the Australian Prime Minister in company with Boris Johnson, announcing with such solemn ceremony, this breach and these new commitments, provides so many reasons to question the strength of the alliance.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE: Are there no allies anymore on the American side? Is there a profound breakdown in trust?
LE DRIAN : There is a breakdown in trust.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : And you saw the same thing, well before. We remember 2013 and those French planes taking off. This is something that affected you deeply. It’s a new step after Afghanistan.
LE DRIAN : What’s for sure is that the United States are in the process of recentering their fundamental interests. They are in the process of going back on a particular commitment they had on the international level, and there is a real link between Afghanistan and what has just happened with the Australian contract, except that a true alliance – in a true alliance – people talk to each other. They don’t hide things. They answer our questions. One respects the other. One respects sovereignty. This was not the case. That is why there is a crisis.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : What we might have hoped for was, finally, a strong, intense, European reaction. I haven’t heard Mrs Merkel say anything today.
LE DRIAN: Yes, but -
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Aren’t you disappointed about that, in the circumstances? That, in the end, France finds herself alone, while power bypasses Europe?
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : I’m not sure that we are really so alone in this business, because of various conversations we have had in these last 48 hours, including -
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Perhaps she [Merkel] will speak -
LE DRIAN : But wait, it’s not over – (Smiling)
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE: It’s not over. (Grinning.) It’s not over. (Turning to audience.)
In fact, in a moment we are going to look at how geopolitics in that region are on the move. And we are going to talk about this. Why has America made this choice and why is there new vitality in the Anglo-Saxon axis, and especially why this Asia-Pacific region has become the priority? It’s not new for Washington, which no longer looks to the west, and Europe, but towards the East and China. To understand what is at stake, [..] Presents background piece.
[Picture of Australian Prime Minister Morrison with a rather stupid smile on his face.]
An unconcerned Australian Primeminister, at daggers drawn with Xi Jinping’s China. He has chosen his side and thrown himself into Joe Biden’s arms in a game of power, in that battle of influences that is playing out in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia is thousands of kilometers from the United States, but the two countries are united by their obsession with China. They can no longer bear that Peking (Bejing) wants to reign over this entire region. They have found their theatre, this submarine contract. For Australia, it’s a kind of all-risks insurance against Peking (Bejing), and too bad for the French.
THOMAS GOMART, DIRECTOR OF THE FRENCH INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (DIRECTEUR DE L’INSTITUT FRANCAIS DES RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES (IRI)) : “Australia, which has been the object of multiple pressures from China, has in a way completely switched over into the American camp. That means that this contract also translates into a highly probable form of integration of the Australian Navy into the US Marines, in response to the threat from China.”
An agreement between Washington and Canberra, at a moment when military tensions are more and more lively in the region. Latest episode: [Picture of rows of Chinese ships in the Pacific] This armada of 200 chinese ships that Peking (Beijing) calls fishing boats, in fact a maritime militia financed by China in order to challenge the countries in the region. A perfect illustration of this middle-ranking empire in a quest for supremacy.
ANTOINE BONDAZ : RESEARCHER – SPECIALIST ON CHINA. FOUNDATION FOR STRATEGIC RESEARCH (FONDATION POUR LA RECHERCHE STRATEGIQUE (FRS))
“This confrontation between Australia and China, brooding for years, culminated in 2020. (…) Peking [Bejing] imposed economic sanctions on Australia, with high taxes on wine, beef, barley, and coal. And it is also that economic war that is pushing the Australians to seek shelter under the American umbrella.”
LAURANT DELAHOUSSE : Before we return to geopolitics, what can we do next? What are you going to try to get, to negotiate for, with the Americans?
LE DRIAN : Firstly, there is the agreement we had with the Australians. It was an intergovernmental agreement that I signed myself in 2016 with Mr Morrison’s predecessor. This agreement contained previsions for a situation where one of the parties would want to leave it, since this is an agreement over 30 years.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : So, a violation -
LE DRIAN : So, there are arrangements that indicate, firstly, that the party wanting to break the agreement makes this known in writing, which we have not yet received. After that, 12 months of discussion are required, in order to arrive at a potential breaking of the agreement, if one of the parties wants to break it, at the end of 24 months. We are therefore going to act to ask for explanations from the Australians in order to know how they themselves expect to respect the agreement that they themselves signed. But, there is still another point that preoccupies me in this business.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : Mmm.
LE DRIAN : We were meant to deliver the first submarines by the beginning of the 2030s on a schedule that would take us to 2050. That’s been breached. It’s been breached, say the Australians, because China has militarized.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE. Mmm.
LE DRIAN : And it was precisely in order to ensure the sovereignty of Australia that we entered these contracts with the Australians. But, in short, they say the contracts being broken because of China – And what’s America offering, today? What does the agreement just announced contain? There is an agreement to carry out a study which will end up in a contract after 18 months. A contract for nuclear submarines. Which means they are putting back the delivery date for the new submarines to 2040! All this despite the urgent context of China’s rise?
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE: Therefore, you don’t understand.
LE DRIAN: I don’t understand. And maybe that’s Australia’s choice. And they have also chosen to be truly subordinate to the United States in the region - perhaps a form of giving up a part of their sovereignty. It’s their decision, but it gives rise to questions -
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : The political map is changing there and you are well aware of it. You know that’s been the long-term objective in the region, vis a vis China, since Barack Obama. What will France’s role and place be in that region? And Europe’s?
LE DRIAN : Keep in mind here the rise of a highly confrontational, militarily confrontational, United States-initiated Indo-Pacific strategy in the region.
LAURANT DELAHOUSSE : That’s not our position towards China?
LD DRIAN : It’s not our position. We know very well what China is doing.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : That’s not naïve? It’s the third […unclear]
LE DRIAN : Not at all, it’s not naïve. We know very well that China is rearming. We know very well what China’s behaviour is at the international level: How they are also trying in some way to make the South China Sea an internal sea, which they want to control completely. We know all that, and it must not be accepted. But we Europeans are in a situation where we only recently decided, three days ago, on our own Indo-Pacific strategy. We are in competition. We are in a situation of competition, sometimes violent competition. We are proposing an alternative model, but we are not operating within a rationale of systematic military confrontation – even if sometimes it is necessary to use military means.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : You have previously been known to use the word ‘innocence’, and sometimes even Europe’s ‘naivety’. Have we come to the end of that approach, on the diplomatic level, in the face of China, in the face of the United States, in the face of Turkey, in the face of Russia? Should we be changing gears, Minister?
LE DRIAN : I think that Europe is emerging from its innocence.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : But it seems urgent, Minister.
LE DRIAN : It seems urgent after Afghanistan and this business […] I think that Europe, if Europeans want to remain relevant, they must unite, and defend their own interests together, or their destinies will be totally different and we don’t want to got down that dark road.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : […] Two final questions: No santions, or no reactions, finally, vis a vis the role of the British in that deal? Finally, Boris Johnson has a smile on his face: I just got through Brexit. I’m with my Anglo-Saxon friends. I’ve regained my balance in the face of [… ? ]
LE DRIAN : No sanctions. I told you a moment ago that we recalled our ambassadors to see how we could reevaluate the situation. With Great Britain, it’s unnecessary. We are familiar with their permanent opportunism. So, there’s no point in recalling our ambassador to know this. Moreover, Great Britain, in this affair, is pretty much the fifth wheel.
LAURENT DELAHOUSSE : So, Boris Johnson is a fifth wheel. A few months from the election, your opponents will very quickly oppose you on many things. France’s decline, which is an important issue for the President of the republic, could be strongly represented?
LE DRIAN : The subject is respect, functioning alliances, clarity and truth. I think everyone can share this.
LAURANT DELAHOUSSE : No question of leaving NATO?
LE DRIAN : That’s not the issue. The President of the Republic has embarked on a review of NATO’s fundamentals. Regarding these fundamentals, the next summit will be in Madrid. The culmination of the new strategic concept will of course take into account what has just happened, but at the same time Europe must develop its own strategic compass. This will be under France’s responsibility, in the first half of 2022.
[Translation by Sheila Newman]
Over the past year, the Center for a Humane Economy worked closely with United States Representatives Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., to formulate legislation to ban the trade in kangaroo-sourced products into the United States. When the “Kangaroo Protection Act” was introduced into Congress on February 9, 2021, word spread quickly throughout Australia by way of the press (ABC, Leader, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald) and social media, for which we have many organizations to thank.
California already bans the trade in kangaroo products, and the Center is working to ensure that law is enforced. The effort to extend that ban to all parts of the United States can have a transformative effect and dry up one of the world’s most important markets for these products (principally, football boots). As we expected, the industries that profit from kangaroo killing understand the potential impact of this bill on their bottom line and have already started to aggressively fight back.
The Kangaroo Protection Act would:
· Make it illegal to bring any kangaroo body part into the United States for commercial purposes, with an intent to sell or introduce it into interstate commerce.
· Direct the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with other agencies, to issue regulations to carry out the Act and enforce its provisions.
· Allow citizens to bring actions in federal court to enforce the Act.
· Provide for criminal penalties of up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine for each violation of the Act, and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
· Allow forfeiture of any kangaroo or kangaroo products in the possession of violators.
By banning the importation of kangaroo products into the United States, we hope to stem the killing of more than two million of these iconic marsupials each year. But first we must show members of Congress that a global coalition of advocates, scientists and leading animal protection organizations in Australia supports the aims of this proposed legislation. We need your support.
If you haven’t seen it, our short film, produced by filmmakers Gavin Polone and Derek Ambrosi, tells a compelling story in just 60 seconds of how a kangaroo becomes a product for purchase in countries like the United States.
Our ask: Will you please sign the statement [see below] of support for H.R. 917, The Kangaroo Protection Act? We would be grateful for your partnership in this endeavor to create sweeping change. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Jennifer Skiff Mitchell Fox
Perth, Australia Director of Advocacy
Statement of Support example, which you can just send email containing the information,
Support for the United States Kangaroo Protection Act
We support the purpose of H.R. 917, the Kangaroo Protection Act, introduced by Representatives Salud Carbajal and Brian Fitzpatrick into the United States House of Representatives in February 2021. The Center for a Humane Economy / Animal Wellness Action has permission to publicize our support of the bill to members of Congress, on its websites and social media channels, and in campaign materials.
Signed by: _________________________________________________
Please complete and return (scanned or photographed) to Mitchell Fox [email protected] Or you can simply send us an email containing the information above.
This article can be printed on two sides of an A4 sheet from this file (but, please be warned, it costs a lot more to print it as colour rather than as black and white).
Dear Prime Minister Scott Morrison,
I am writing to you concerning the imprisonment, psychological and physical torture, in Britain, of an Australian citizen, Julian Assange, who has committed no crime. So far Julian Assange has endured more than eight and a half years of this, and if the United States' government has its way, this will continue for the rest of his life.
On 11 April 2019, shortly after Julian Assange was taken from the London Ecuadorian Embassy and placed under arrest, Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued a statement:
"I am confident, as the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly confirmed in July 2018, that Mr Assange will receive due process in the legal proceedings he faces in the United Kingdom." 
If you, Prime Minister, or Marise Payne, have been able to closely follow the legal proceedings to which Julian Assange has been subjected for over one year now, in Woolwich Crown Court, you will be aware of the following:
For breaching bail on 19 June 2012 to seek asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy, which he is entitled to do under Article 14 of United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 , he was sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment,  the absolute maximum sentence for this offence;
On 13 September 2019, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser further extended Julian Assange's imprisonment when she ruled that Julian Assange would not be released on 22 September because of the United States prosecution's extradition request, the case for which, it had evidently not been able to fully prepare in the seven and a half years that Julian Assange had been imprisoned for at that point in time;
On every day of the hearing, even before Judge Vanessa Baraitser had listened to any of the testimony or cross-examination, she came into court with her judgement for that day pre-written! 
From the first day of the trial (25 February 2020) Julian Assange was brought in handcuffed, and "confined at the back of the court behind a bulletproof glass screen … from which it is very difficult for him to see and hear the proceedings." 
Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser "refused repeated and persistent requests from the defence for Assange to be allowed to sit with his lawyers." 
Reporting on these preceedings, on 22 October 2019, Craig Murray, who, until then, had been skeptical of claims that Julian Assange was being tortured, declared himself, "badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight." 
Craig Murray continued, "But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. … his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought." 
On 21 February 2020, during that single day, "Julian had twice been stripped naked and searched, eleven times been handcuffed, and five times been locked up in different holding cells. In addition to this, all of his court documents had been taken from him by the prison authorities, including privileged communications between his lawyers and himself, and he had been left with no ability to prepare to participate in [that day's] proceedings."  Julian Assange was subject to this sort of treatment for the duration of the trial.
"For months, he was denied [physical] exercise and held in solitary confinement [for 23 hours a day] … At first he was denied his reading glasses, left behind [on 25 February 2020 when he was arrested inside the Ecuadorian Embassy]. He was denied the legal documents with which to prepare his case, and access to the prison library and the use of a basic laptop."  
How is this 'due process'? How could this be procedurally fair to Julian Assange?
What I have written above describes only a fraction of the abuse and torture to which Julian Assange has been subjected, just since the court hearings began on 25 February last year. This follows seven years asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, whence he fled from injustice and in fear for his life. The constraints of asylum have been described as 'arbitrary confinement' by Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, after he visited Julian Assange in prison. 
In the last two decades alone, the United States, in a rampage of war-crimes leveraged on flagrant lies, has destroyed economies and caused the death of many hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine and elsewhere, apparently with impunity. In contrast, Julian Assange, who revealed many of these crimes to the world, and who himself has no history of violence, has been kept in solitary, stripped of his health, his clothing, his belongings, friends and family, and justice.
This is not 'due process' and certainly not procedurally fair. Unless this situation is rectified, Julian Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen, faces the prospect of being extradited to the United States, where he will face, in secret, a trial in the eastern district of Virginia, before a jury most likely to be made up from employees and the families of the U.S. intelligence agencies based in that area - in other words a rigged trial, hidden from public view.
Under such unfair trial conditions a guilty verdict is the expectation. Julian Assange stands to be sentenced for up to 175 years imprisonment in solitary confinement in the United States - a fate which he considers to be worse than the death penalty.
Like the many Australians who are well informed about Julian Assange, I consider this treatment of him by the British government an outrage. I would expect your government to act immediately to end this outrage:
If your government truly:
- cares for the welfare of each and every one of its citizens;
- believes in human rights;
- believes in the right to free speech;
- believes in the right of journalists to investigate matters of public concern and
- upholds the rule of law (Australian law, British law, International law and United States' law, including their constitutional right to free speech)
then I would expect of you the following:
To contact British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, advise him that an Australian citizen, Julian Assange, has been illegally imprisoned in Belmarsh prison and request that Julian Assange be released immediately, and assisted to return to Australia or to go to any place he chooses.
To communicate to Boris Johnson that if Mr Assange's detention were to continue, Australia would be raising the matter at the United Nations and, if neccessary, at the International Criminal Court.
 Although this statement can be found on Senator Marise Payne's web page through the link I have given above and on Facebook, I could not find this statement on what is currently Page 19 of the "Latest News" section of your web page, which currently contains news items dated from until 15 April 2019.
The above media statement continued: "We have made 19 offers of consular assistance to Mr Assange since 2019 that have gone unanswered. We will continue to offer consular support." As I have not seen the messages containing the offers of support that Senator Marise Payne said she made to Julian Assange, I cannot comment. I will endeavour to contact Julian Assange's support team for their response.
 "Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees" (1951) United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at https://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10
 The 50 weeks imprisonment to which Julian Assange was sentenced on Wednesday 1 May 2019 would have lasted until Wednesday 15 April 2020 (if the day on which Julian Assange was sentenced is included). Both the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the BBC also reported on 1 May 2019 that Julian Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment (see WikiLeaks' Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks' jail over bail breach at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-01/julian-assange-sentenced-in-london-over-bail-breach-wikileaks/11064356 and Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder jailed over bail breach at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48118908). See Sunday 22 September 2019, the day Julian Assange was supposed to be released, according to other cited reports is 'only' 24 weeks and 4 days from Wednesday 1 May 2019 - still an outrageous and wholly unjustifiable sentence. I have not been able to find an explanation for this apparent discrepency.
 "Beyond Words" (8/4/2020) by Craig Murray at https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/04/beyond-words/
 "Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1" (25/2/20) at https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-1/
 "Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2" (26/2/20) by Craig Murray at https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-2/
 "@njmelzer/state-responsibility-for-the-torture-of-julian-assange-40935ea5d7c3">State Responsibility for the Torture of Julian Assange" (16/12/2019) speech by Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, at the German Bundestag in Berlin, 27 November 2019 (English translation) at https://medium.com/@njmelzer/state-responsibility-for-the-torture-of-julian-assange-40935ea5d7c3
This household had a moment of great joy last night, to hear that Judge Vanessa Baraitser, presiding at the Magistrate's court, has disallowed Julian Assange's extradition on medical grounds. She found there was a high risk of his suiciding if confined in a US prison. However, she apparently threw out the grounds of public interest (protection of journalists); political persecution, and oppression. She also seems to have upheld the honouring of the UK treaty obligations to the United States, as the only public interest matter. For some of us, her decision on medical grounds, that Assange would probably suicide in US prison conditions, is equivalent to preventing the extradition of a prisoner to Nazi Germany, on grounds that they would probably not survive the concentration camps. The US prison system actually allows major corporations to benefit from slave labour of prisoners; it conducts secret trials; and it holds prisoners indefinitely without trial - as in Guantanamo Bay prison. The war crimes and international surveillance of governments and private individuals that Julian Assange exposed show the United States as a totally rogue state. It is not even a party to the International Criminal Court. Julian Assange's defense team called the UK treaty obligations with this rogue state into question. We need an international media and state denunciation of state alliances with the United States, but that would, ironically, require journalists to run the danger of being pursued by this rogue state, just as Julian Assange has been. One hopes that a defense of Julian Assange against the US appeal would benefit from a higher court looking again at the points of law disallowed by Judge Baraitser.
United Sates' Senator for the State of Hawai'i, Tulsi Gabbbard, who is an outspoken opponent of the United States' meddling in Syria and elsewhere, has announced that she will be a candidate in the 2020 Presidential election. Tusli Gabbard clearly stands head and shoulders above any other candidate in terms of her appeal, her stated resolve to confront the criminal United States military-industrial complex which poses a grave threat all of humanity in 2019, and her prospect of defeating the candidates who are in its pockets. Her candidacy represents as great a hope for humanity as was JFK's candidacy in 1960.
In the 6:37 minute embedded embedded Twitter video, Tulsi explains the reasons for which she is standing.
US corporate media is either pro-Republican or pro-Democrat and they are nearly always in violent disagreement, except on the subject of war. Both sides love war. Here is a rabid example, dated 19 September 2019, from Sean Hannity, of Fox news. (The video is only embedded here for the record. Most visitors probably won't choose to put themselves through all of Hannity's war-mongering tirade.) Surprisingly, the only mainstream US journalist who seems to be against war is also on Fox - Tucker Carlson.
In contrast to Hannity, Tucker Carlson, another Fox News presenter, is outspoken in his opposition to any new United States' war as well as to its current, ongoing wars. Unfortunately, Tucker Carlson still accepts, by omission and commission, some, if not all, of the narrative, used to justify those wars. One example is his unjust claim that socialism, and not the savage and illegal U.S. sanctions, is the cause of all the hardships faced by Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. In spite of these and other shortcomings, Tucker Carlson's weekday new service, which lasts about 45 minutes, in contrast to Sean Hannity's, is well worth a look.
The rest of humanity can breathe a sigh of relief, given that Trump has not yet fully taken up Sean Hannity's advice. In large part this is probably due to the fact that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and their allies in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, seem to have have shown themselves capable of standing up to the United States' bullying. Examples include when the IRGC on 19 June shot down the US drone which had violated Iran's air space and the more recent devastating military defeats inflicted on Suadi Arabian invaders by Yemen's Armed forces.
Shout Out for Peace and Climate Action - UN International Day of Peace
No Australian Support for U.S. wars
For an Independent and Peaceful Foreign Policy
Speakers on War and Climate; Iran; US bases and Independent foreign policy; West Papuan Independence; Human Rights in the Philippines; military spending, and more.
Embassy Protection Collective Will Refuse To Turn Over Embassy To US Puppet Government: Arrests Expected (23/19) by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers – Popular Resistance | VenezuelAnalysis
The next two days will be crucial for the protection of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC. The Embassy Protection Collective is prepared to stay at the embassy for the foreseeable future, for as long as it takes to protect the sovereignty of Venezuela from a coup led by the United States with its fraudulent puppet government that the entire world knows is a farce — unelected and illegal under Venezuelan and international law. We stand with the Venezuelan government and their legitimately-elected president, Nicolas Maduro.
If you can make it to Washington, DC in the next two days, contact us by completing this form. If you can’t come to DC, please mobilize on Thursday, April 25 at the Venezuelan embassy nearest you to say that the embassy is the property of the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro and that you will protect it from illegal takeovers if such were attempted. This is important because if the US is successful at taking the embassy in DC, other countries may follow suit.
Below is a list of only some signatures from international organisations and individuals endorsing the campaign No War on Venezuela. Full list on web page. Action plan for Melbourne organised by the Australian-Venezuelan Solidarity coalition on Saturday 23 February, 11am at Trades Hall.
40+ Cities Plan Activities During #23Feb
Weekend of International Actions
Spirit of Eureka condemns the Morrison government and the ALP Opposition’s compliant endorsement of the US intervention and preparations for a “regime change” in sovereign Venezuela. This points to the urgent need for an independent Australian foreign policy that upholds and promotes the sovereignty and independence of countries to determine their own destiny.
Less than four days after the US announced the removal of its diplomatic recognition of the elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and declared its support for Juan Guaido, a self-proclaimed and little-known Opposition politician as the new President of Venezuela, the Morrison government dutifully echoed US policy.
The toadying Australian government condemned the democratically elected government of President Maduro and called for his replacement by the un-elected and largely unknown Guaido.
The shameful fawning by the Australian government to US imperialist plotting in the affairs of sovereign Venezuela was mirrored in an ALP public statement signed by Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition and Penny Wong, Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister. The ALP statement recognises the un-elected Juan Guaido as the new President of Venezuela, withdrawing diplomatic recognition of Maduro.
In effect the two main parliamentary parties obediently threw their support behind the US intervention and preparations for an illegal and undemocratic regime change.
This is in spite of the UN National Assembly confirming its continuing recognition of Maduro as the democratically elected President of Venezuela.
There is ample evidence indicating US imperialism has been planning a “regime change” in sovereign Venezuela since Venezuela’s oil industry was nationalised in the early 2000s. Many years of severe economic sanctions imposed by the US aimed at crippling the Venezuelan economy have taken their toll on the lives and living conditions of the people, particularly the poor.
On January 24, 2019, John Bolton, US National Security Advisor told Fox Business “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
In their wholehearted endorsement of US intervention in Venezuela both the Morrison government and the ALP Opposition are acting as puppet agents of US imperialism andits oil monopolies.
The recent oil sanctions imposed on Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm by the US aim to force Maduro to hand over power to US backed Guaido.
Trump and Pence have repeatedly stated that “all options are on the table”, refusing to rule out military intervention, whilst the figure of 5,000 US troops to Columbia is being canvassed by Mike Pence and the US military.
Political and economic interventions by the US in Venezuela have deepened the hardships for people in that country creating political and economic instability and thus the context for direct foreign military intervention by the US to impose its “regime change”. It’s a very dangerous situation for the people of Venezuela and the region that can lead to a prolonged bloody civil war in Venezuela and in the region.
The Australian government’s and the Opposition’s obedience and support for the US political and economic interventions and preparations for an illegal “regime change”, implicate Australia in any future violence, civil war and suffering in Venezuela.
Spirit of Eureka has fervently opposed US imperialist invasions, destruction and suffering imposed on the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries subjected to its foreign interventions, coups and “regime changes”. We do not wish this to be repeated and imposed on the people of Venezuela.
We in Australia have also had a taste of US engineered semi-coup in the 1975 removal of a progressive Whitlam government which was taking tentative steps towards independence from US and Britain.
We call on the Australian government and the Labor Opposition to:
‐ reverse their support for the un-elected puppet Guaido as the new President of Venezuela
‐ recognise the Maduro government as the legitimately elected government of Venezuela with Nicolas Maduro as its legitimate President
‐ condemn US interference and intervention in Venezuela’s sovereignty
‐ call for an end to US economic sanctions
‐ support self-determination of the Venezuelan people without any foreign interference
We call for an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy upholding the sovereignty, independence and self-determination of all people and countries.
The next Meeting of IPAN in Victoria will be on 20 February, Level 4 Trades Hall at 5.30 pm. This meeting will commence earlier due to a small overlap with a meeting on Venezuela on the same night, at 7pm in the Trades Hall, at which the Venezuelan Consul will be speaking. IPAN meeting will be at 5.30pm – 7pm to enable people interested to learn more about the situation in Venezuela to attend.
Just when you thought all your co-citizens were asleep at the wheel on Australian Government support for America's latest regime change initiative, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has issued a response. IPAN reminds us that this is not our decision, nor the USA's to make, but is a decision for the Venezuelan people. IPAN has made several recommendations, including that Australian needs to develop an independent foreign policy.
IPAN made the immediate points that:
Venezuelans have the right to decide who governs them
US sanctions on Venezuela are not endorsed by the UN
UN diplomacy needed immediately for non-military resolution to the crisis
Urgent need for an independent Australian foreign policy
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has reported that it is deeply concerned with the Morrison government and ALP Opposition’s support for the United States call to remove the current rule of the Maduro government and the installing of the interim president Guaido in Venezuela. This is not our decision, nor the USA’s to make, but is a decision for the Venezuelan people.
“The position of the Australian government and opposition flies in the face of lessons from the recent, and not so recent, US led wars that Australia has supported and engaged in”. stated Ms Annette Brownlie, IPAN Chairperson.
What is required is an urgent diplomatic solution facilitated by the UN – not military intervention nor US sanctions that have not been endorsed by the UN.
“This situation also points to the urgent need for an independent Australian foreign policy that upholds and promotes the sovereignty and independence of our country and all other countries”, stated Ms Brownlie.
IPAN considers support for military or economic intervention would be counterproductive to resolving the crisis being experienced by the Venezuelan people.
Former UN special rapporteur to Venezuela, Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term last year has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.
Mr de Zayas has argued that,
“The key to the solution of the crisis is dialogue and mediation… There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état and nothing more corrosive to the rule of law and to international stability when foreign governments meddle in the internal affairs of other states.”
“Only the Venezuelans have a right to decide, not the United States, not the United Kingdom … We do not want a repetition of the Pinochet putsch in 1973. What is urgent is to help the Venezuelan people through international solidarity – genuine humanitarian aid and a lifting of the financial blockade so that Venezuela
can buy and sell like any other country in the world – the problems can be solved with good faith and common sense”.
The next Meeting of IPAN in Victoria will be on 20 February, Level 4 Trades Hall at 5.30 pm. This meeting will commence earlier due to a small overlap with a meeting on Venezuela on the same night, at 7pm in the Trades Hall, at which the Venezuelan Consul will be speaking. IPAN meeting will be at 5.30pm – 7pm to enable people interested to learn more about the situation in Venezuela to attend.
National Conference in Darwin
The next conference of IPAN is planned for Darwin.
1973 saw many oil producing countries become independent and nationalise their oil. Some succeeded and others, like Australia, were brought to heal. Ever since 1973, the US and Europe have been trying to reverse these nationalisations. Venezuela is a case in point.
In a gesture befitting Lewis Carol's Queen of Hearts, the United States has suddenly abandoned all pretences of lawful procedure and common sense by officially declaring that opposition leader, Juan Guaidó is the real president of Venezuela, not Nicolás Maduro Moros, who was actually elected President by Venezuelans.
To put things in perspective: Getting rid of President Maduro because the 2015 parliamentary election placed his own party in the minority would be like making President Trump step down because the Democrats are now in the majority in Congress - to paraphrase Venezuela's diplomat to Russia.[Article by Sheila Newman with James Sinnamon]
It is also baffling to see French President Macron call for Maduro to step down when his own country is convulsing with Gilets jaunes (Yellow Vest) protests, who all call for Macron to step down. Don't politicians have any sense of irony?
Interesting also to see Turkish President Erdogan stick up for Maduro by saying nothing can be resolved democratically without an election.
Meanwhile South America: Columbia, Brazil, Chile, are also baying for Maduro to step down, as you would expect of US lackies.
Why should Maduro step down?
Why should Maduro step down? Why is no-one talking about how US trade sanctions have impoverished Venezuela? The reason for these sanctions is that the US wants control over Venezuelan oil, which means that it must destroy the socialist government that nationalised oil. Will they go so far as to invade and bomb Venezuela like the did other oil-producers whose leaders they condemned, like Iraq, Libya, and Syria?
With the help of much money poured into Venezuela by the US Government agencies the United States government have succeeded in doing to Venezuela what they did to Ukraine in 2014 when Victoria Nuland promised the Maidan protesters face-to-face $5 billion to assist in "building democracy".
A propos of the US interference on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine (and Georgia and the Middle East), there is symmetrical justice in Russia's plans to build a military base in Venezuela, although these may also have caused a panic in the US leading to this overt coup-attempt.
In Latin America, only Cuba, Bolivia and Mexico have defended Maduro. Mexican president, Lopez Obrador, said that Mexico has returned to the non-intervention policy Mexico practiced from the 1960s — when it resisted U.S. pressure to condemn or isolate Cuba — until 2000, when the conservative National Action Party began to adopt a more activist, U.S.-allied stance in foreign affairs. Russia, China, India and South Africa buy oil from Venezuela and are generally sympathetic or have a policy of non-interventionism.
The EU has called for new elections, but without condemning the United States meddling in Venezuela. This further reinforces the narrative or the claim that the democratically elected President Maduro is illegitimate. If new elections were called, in the current geopolitical circumstances, this would result in the ousting of President Maduro in an election rigged with many millions of United States dollars and with thousands of clandestine US intelligence agency operatives. The elections would also be conducted under the guns of the US Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps in the Central American Carribean and neighboring countries on the South American continent.
This has all happened before ...
This has all happened before, but unofficially and more covertly: In 2002, a group marched on the Presidential palace demanding Hugo Chávez’s resignation, which the President refused. He was arrested and imprisoned. Pedro Carmona, President of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, which receives funding from the US National Endowment for Democracy (a right-wing regime-change NGO that calls economic liberalism 'democracy'), was installed as Venezuelan President on the 11th of April 2002. On the 12th of April, the US President’s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, endorsed the Carmona government. But, on the 13th of April the Presidential guard and the army arrested Carmona. Next the opposition collected signatures from 20 per cent of the electorate required under Chávez’s constitution to initiate a referendum to sack the president, but Chávez won the referendum.
... and with the same excuses
The oil countershock of 1979 culminated in currency devaluation by one third and a change to a the Social Christians (SC) government, which remained in power until 1983, when Democratic Action (DA) or Acción Democrática, (AD) in Spanish, was returned under Jaime Lusinchi. Despite promises to diversify the economy and deliver on housing, public health and education, the situation continued to deteriorate. That is, the kind of government that the US wants to install, one that will privatise Venezuelan oil, failed to develop and diversify the economy, leaving it almost exclusively oil-dependent, with most of its population in poverty.
Hugo Chavez and Maduro were later both accused of causing this same problem of lack of economic diversification.In 2019, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were using it again as an excuse to rattle sabres and unilaterally denounce President Maduro and, bizarrely, recognise Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela.
Back to our history: Under Jaime Lusinchi and Acción Democrática, (AD), the Venezuelan economy was simply being mined by foreign interests, with no consideration for the self-determination of its population. In 1988 another DA president, Carlos Andrés Pérez, introduced an austerity regime, removing subsidies on gasoline as well as on a number of important consumables, culminating in hunger riots in Caracas, with a death toll of thousands.
Two attempted military coups took place against a background of continued repression in 1992 and Hugo Chávez led one of them. President Pérez later went to prison for 28 months with the government limping along under another recycled leader, Caldera, whose foreign policy was very USA friendly. In 1995, 103 per cent inflation hit the Venezuelan middle class. In 1997 doctors, university professors, and national telephone company workers went on strike. In December 1998 Hugo Chávez won the Presidency.
Hugo Chávez, the 45th President of Venezuela, died on 5 March 2013 at the age of 58. His death triggered a presidential election which was constitutionally required to be called within 30 days. Nicolás Maduro served as interim president following Chávez's death until 14 April, because the Vice President did not want to take charge of the country as Chávez had nominated Nicolas Maduro as a successor.
Juan Guaidó's Popular Will Party (Voluntad Popular)
The Popular Will party came out of the Popular Will Movement, which was formed in 2009 by the usual suspects, including Democratic Action, the right-wing US business-backed party that had privatised oil.
The Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) is a coalition of parties, notably Democratic Action, which formed in 2010 in opposition to Hugo Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela.
Popular Will is supporting Juan Guaidó's Presidential Coup attempt.
Venezuela is situated at the very north of the South American continent on the southern shore of the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela is less than 2,000 kilometres south of the southern most tip of the United States, from which, since 1945, many wars against humanity have been launched since 1945. The sum total of deaths from these wars is in the millions.
Throughout Central America, the Carribbean and the South American continent are scattered a large number of United States' military bases from which further wars against Venezuela and other sovereign Latin American countries can be launched. Clearly any national government which wishes to govern in the interests of its people and not according to the dictates of the Unite States' elites, risks attracting US intervention to transform it into a client state, with a liberal economic economy, entailing debt and privatisations.
Venezuela, Chavez, Maduro & Latin-American oil on the world stage
This part of the article is adapted from Sheila Newman, “Venezuela, Chavez & Latin-American oil on the world stage”, Chapter 10 in Sheila Newman (Ed.) The Final Energy Crisis, Second Edition, Pluto Press,2008.
“In 1998, or 168 years after independence, a tiny wealthy elite was separated by a vast chasm from the rest of the people, of whom one quarter were unemployed. This seems disgusting when you realize that Venezuela was then the second biggest [oil] exporter in the world and had received around 300 billion dollars in oil sales – or the equivalent of 20 Marshall Plans - over the preceding 25 years. It was in this context that Hugo Chávez and his social plan won the elections of 6 December 1998 with 56.24% of the votes.”  (Nicolas Lehoucq, Paris Institute for International Studies).
President Hugo Chávez, was a social revolutionary with a giant budget. In 2006 the EIA ranked Venezuela ninth in World Oil producers and sixth in World Oil Exporters.  For many of his countrymen, Chávez was seen as a towering figure of hope for rescue from a nightmare which began in 1498. But his Anglo critics portrayed him as an ogre treading clumsily over political alliances and destroying Venezuela’s oil-assets.
Clearly Venezuela was pursuing a different political paradigm from that of the North American-led Anglophone countries. The Chávez government endorsed a Christian socialist philosophy directly opposite to the Protestant capitalist one of a wealthy elite divinely elected on earth. In the Chávez philosophy, Christ was the first socialist, sharing wealth among the poor; a rich man might only enter heaven by giving away his possessions to the poor; a good leader should give everything to his country.
One political explanation for this difference is that Latin America ‘missed out’ on the progress model which dominates North America because, colonized by medieval Catholics, it was isolated from the development of Protestantism.
Sociologist, Max Weber, theorized in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1906) that Calvinism was the midwife of capitalism, delivering to the world the concepts of the ‘work ethic’ and of election to earthly prosperity as a reflection of God’s grace.
The work of Australian engineer and social analyst, Sharon Beder, supports a contrary view that the work ethic plus the progress model are driving the world over a cliff and this is pretty much Chávez’s expressed view. Chávez also apparently shares a similar perspective to Al Gore’s on global warming, but that is where the similarities end.
From the 15th C the indigenous long-term stable clan and tribal populations of Chávez’s people were ravaged by invasion, immigration, disease, dispossession and slavery. The original peoples nearly died out, then, completely disorganized, ballooned in circumstances where child labour was the only source of additional income for low-wage landless people. What is now called Venezuela contained a stable population estimated at around 400,000 Amerindians in 1498. (In 2018 the population was over 28 million.) In the early 16th C King Charles Martel V granted Welsers German banking firm rights to exploit the people and resources of Venezuela in payment of a debt. The colony returned to the Spanish Crown within 20 years and hereditary land grants were made to conquistadores for a time, but later declared illegal. Meanwhile the Amerindians fought back until smallpox overwhelmed most of them in 1580. Not until 1821 did Simón Bolívar win the long indigenous struggle for independence.
In 1921 the discovery of oil permitted agricultural and industrial development. At the start of the Second World War Venezuela’s oil production was only exceeded by that of the United States. Much of the oil concession development involved attracted US, British, and Dutch companies. There was a period of dictatorship from 1948-1958, when Venezuela again became a democracy. It founded OPEC in 1960.
The historic inequities of colonial land distribution guaranteed a large population of impoverished rural labourers. As oil prices waxed and waned, productive agricultural holdings were neglected and waves of poor people left the country regions to look for work in the city, creating the slum of Caracas. Between 1959 and 1964 the government redistributed rural land to 150,000 families but many resold the land to speculators, it is said, because they had little education about farming and no ready market for their product. Other wealth redistribution and educative policies were carried out but these programs failed to establish themselves against a background of depressed commodity prices and political schism. Although the Democratic Action Party (DA) had played an important role in Venezuela’s first democratic period (1945-1948), in the early 1960s it was aligned with the USA, although many Venezuelans were sympathetic to the Castro regime in Cuba, which was charged with supplying arms to guerrillas in 1963. The DA government became increasingly repressive in the context of continued political unrest. In 1968 the Social Christians (SC) won government and remained in power until 1973.
In the wave of nationalizations following the first oil-shock, despite its US sympathies, the DA Government created the State-run oil and natural gas company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA) in 1975-1976. PdVSA is Venezuela’s largest employer and provides 80 per cent of export earnings but, reflecting later trends to privatization, government revenue declined from 70.6 per cent in 1981 to 38 per cent in 2000.
The oil countershock of 1979 culminated in currency devaluation by one third and a change to an SC government, which remained in power until 1983, when AD was returned under Jaime Lusinchi. Despite promises to diversify the economy and deliver on housing, public health and education, the situation continued to deteriorate.
Hugo Chavez and Maduro were later both accused of causing this same problem of lack of economic diversification. In 2019, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were using it again as an excuse to rattle sabres and unilaterally denounce President Maduro and, bizarrely, recognise Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela.
In 1988 another AD president, Carlos Andrés Pérez, introduced an austerity regime, removing subsidies on gasoline as well as on a number of important consumables, culminating in hunger riots in Caracas, with a death toll of thousands.
Two attempted military coups took place against a background of continued repression in 1992 and Hugo Chávez led one of them. President Pérez later went to prison for 28 months with the government limping along under another recycled leader, Caldera, whose foreign policy was very USA friendly. In 1995, 103 per cent inflation hit the Venezuelan middle class. In 1997 doctors, university professors, and national telephone company workers went on strike. In December 1998 Hugo Chávez won the Presidency.
On 30 December 1999 Venezuela’s 26th constitution was approved by 71 per cent of votes. The Senate was replaced by a single chamber National Assembly, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela came into being, named after the National hero. Presidential terms increased from five to six years and limitations on presidents serving a second consecutive term were lifted, but it became possible for the public to sack a president through a publicly initiated referendum. Privatisation of the oil industry, social security, health care and other major state-owned sectors was outlawed.
According to the EIA, “Nearly one-half of PdVSA’s employees walked off the job on December 2, 2002 in protest against the rule of President Chávez.” But another report says that they were prevented from working in a ‘bosses lock-out’ where “a small group of managers, directors, supervisors and technicians organised the sabotage of production and brought the industry almost to a halt,” and Georgetown politics Professor commented that “The opposition (…) has also been extremely irresponsible in trying to demand [Chávez’s] resignation rather than trying to seek an electoral solution.” If we assume that PdVSA management was responsible for the declining returns to the State by PdVSA over the decades, then the view that this was a ‘lock-out’ to preserve an undemocratic status-quo by discrediting the Chávez Government, seems persuasive. Chávez had provoked US insecurity about oil supply by criticizing the Free Trade of the Americas Act (FTAA) and US foreign policy. The Chávez government had sacked some directors of PdVSA who were in political disagreement with the Venezuelan executive. These people then led calls for a general strike along with a variety of opposition parties and the Fedcamaras (Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce), who are supported by the US National Endowment for Democracy. A group marched on the Presidential palace demanding Chávez’s resignation, which the President refused. He was arrested and imprisoned. Pedro Carmona, President of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, which receives funding from the US National Endowment for Democracy, was installed as Venezuelan President on the 11th of April. On the 12th of April, the US President’s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, endorsed the Carmona government. But, on the 13th of April the Presidential guard and the army arrested Carmona. Next the opposition collected signatures from 20 per cent of the electorate required under Chávez’s constitution to initiate a referendum to sack the president, but Chávez won the referendum.
The distribution of PdVSA income had been increasingly diverted to private concerns, with returns to the State falling from 70.6 per cent in 1981 to 38.6 per cent in 2000. Despite permanent damage to production from sabotage in the industrial disputes of December 2002, Chávez’s intervention had raised PdVSA returns to the state from 38.6 per cent to 50 per cent by 2004.
Venezuela had for some time been a food importer, due to the country’s very poor system of land management, which Chávez tried to rectify in a major scheme. He seemed to be seeking regional self-sufficiency, with protection for local production. He was opposed to overconsumption, openly warning about oil depletion. He was highly critical of US human rights abuses, at home and abroad, and opposed free-marketism.
Obviously Chávez’s regime threatened many established interests in a seething international struggle for resource hegemony. The economy was still in recession and maintenance and consolidation of the section of the population which supported Chávez would require that he carry out his promises. Chávez’s friendship with Castro was a source of survival skills. So was his policy of strengthening regional Hispanic alliances.
There were a number of likely candidates, including Mexico, which had begun to import food from the US under the American ‘free trade’ agreement. Brazil, however, sensibly seeking independence from petroleum, was apparently counselled to drop its independence policies in exchange for leniency on international debt.
Chávez actively sought more diversification in petroleum trading, initiating a ‘South-South diplomacy’ with sidelined and emerging polities in controversial and political oil-trade accords with Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, India, China and Russia. An agreement in October 2004 meant that Russian oil sales to the US were actually honoured by Venezuelan oil and Venezuelan sales to Europe were supplied by Russian oil. The Chávez government paid off $538m of Argentinian debt and agreed to provide contracts worth $500 m to Argentina.
In a fascinating avoidance of petrodollars, Chávez supplied 80,000 barrels of oil to Cuba a day, at a friendly price, with 20 per cent of payment in the form of the supply of 150,000 Cuban doctors to Venezuelan health.
Most importantly, Chávez hoped to create a Latin American petroleum company, “Petrosur”, which would unite the public companies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Equator and Venezuela.
Mostly anglo-analysts intimated that anglo-oil companies would not touch Venezuela because of Chávez, and that the bitumus deposits of the Orinoco would not get developed, through lack of experts. But this began to look like sour grapes as plenty of the non-anglo oil companies – Russian LUKoil, China’s CNPC, Indian ONGC and Brazil’s Petrobas – did not seem to be put off.
Chávez did not neglect regional diplomacy among the underworld of arms trade and revolutionary militia. And, after an attempted putsch in 2002, Chávez relied on Cuban Intelligence for personal protection. Not surprisingly the US Government disapproved.
On December 4, 2006, Chávez won his third six year term as president. In 2007 a referendum to make Chávez president for life was democratically defeated by 51 per cent.
In the light of Venezuelan social and economic performance in the decades preceding Chávez it would have been hard for him to do worse than his predecessors and he seemed to be doing considerably better. Land redistribution is the basis of revolution and of social equity. Venezuela signed an accord to give effective rights to its indigenous peoples. Chávez allocated public and then private land to the landless in a program accompanied by massive agricultural education.  This was bound to upset the small elite of land-owners and speculators.
The Chávez government had better green credentials than any other petroleum producer. With an active commitment to mitigate the impacts of climate change and peak oil, it initiated new public transport, instituted organic farming as an important part of secondary school education, and facilitated a huge organic farm in the centre of Caracas. It also planned massive reforestation with the collection of 30 tonnes of seeds, and the planting of 100 million plants. 
The overwhelming positive signs of Chávez's example seemed to be what we needed for the 21st century.
In about 2010, the United States added to its traditional political harassment economic sanctions against Venezuela. The 2016 low oil-price agreement between Saudi Arabia and the United States then caused a huge reduction in Venezuela’s oil income. This massively depressed GDP and made it very hard for people to buy food and necessities.
In March 2013 Hugo Chavez died of cancer. He had nominated his successor as Maduro. Maduro ran for election and was elected President.
Unfortunately the United States stepped up its sanctions, making it even harder for Venezuela to operate. In the name of fighting communism and pretending it was motivated by humanitarian concerns, President Trump and Vice-President Pence spoke of regime-change overtly for the first time. Bizarrely, they ‘recognised’ the opposition leader as the true president, despite massive protests from Venezuelans.
 Various documents named beneath, many of which have also referred to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s speech at the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, on 15 September 2005.
 Lehoucq. (Translated here by S.M. Newman.)
 (All hydrocarbon liquids) http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/topworldtables1_2.htm
 For instance, the Economist unreasonably ignores the poverty of Venezuelan people under the old management of oil in a one-sided interpretation of events in “Oil's Dark Secret,” Aug 11 2006, Economist Intelligence Unit - Executive Briefing, http://www.economist.com/business/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=7270301
 In The Pan-American Dream, US conservative writer, Lawrence Harrison, attempts to explain the differences in economy, government, human rights and standard of living in American Hispanic societies according to Weberian theory.
 Articles by Sharon Beder on the Work Ethic. http://homepage.mac.com/herinst/sbeder/home.html#work.
 UNICEF estimated that 9.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Venezuela were working in the year 2000. Government of Venezuela, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS): Standard Tables for Venezuela and Annex I: Indicators for Monitoring Progress at End-Decade, UNICEF, 2000, www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/venezuela/venezuela.htm and http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/EDind/exdanx1.pdf.
Doepke hypothesised that fertility falls where policies, such as education subsidies and restrictions on child labour affect the opportunity cost of education. The populations of South Korea and Brazil had begun to grow rapidly around the same time, but South Korea had an effective public education system, and strongly enforced child-labour restrictions, whereas Brazil had a weak public education system and poorly enforced anti-child-labour laws. Doepke, M., Growth and Fertility in the Long Run, Mimeo, University of Chicago, 2000. available in reduced form in Doepke, M. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth", Journal of Economic Growth, 9(3), 347-383, September 2004.
 Seth DeLong, “Venezuela's Agrarian Land Reform: More like Lincoln than Lenin”, COHA, February 25th 2005, http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/963
 Ibid and Lehoucq, Nicolas, “La redéfinition du rôle géopolitique Vénézuelien,” Institut d'étude des Relations Internationales Paris, www.memoireonline.com/11/06/287/m_redefinition-role-geopolitique-venezuelien0.html (accessed 21/9/2007) and Doizy, Arnaud, “La politique étrangère des Etats-Unis au Venezuela, la période Chavez (1999- 2007)” Université Panthéon-Assas paris II, http://www.memoireonline.com/06/07/491/m_politique-etrangere-etats-unis-venezuela-periode-chavez2.html (Accessed 22/9/07)
 “Nearly one-half of PdVSA’s employees walked off the job on December 2, 2002 in protest against the rule of President Chavez.” EIA Reports : www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Venezuela/Oil.html Some other anti-Chávez sources: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/09/13/venezuelan_oil_expats_resurfacing/ Some comments on US stance:
Professor of Politics, Georgetown University, Arturo Valenzuela commented on the PBS Jim Lehrer Newshour, “Troubled Nation”, December 17, 2002, “…Unfortunately, the radicals on both sides are maintaining this conflict. The opposition, for example, in my view, has also been extremely irresponsible in trying to demand his resignation rather than trying to seek an electoral solution. In fact, the constitution as I said earlier does make it possible for to Chávez be submitted to a referendum in August of next year. It seems unreasonable not to focus on that. Chávez has said he would accept that as a possible outcome. The problem is that the opposition wants him out now. Chávez says I don't want to leave and the situation is getting worse day by day.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/latin_america/july-dec02/venezuela_12-17.htm
 Martin, Jorge, “Venezuela: Opposition "strike" or bosses lock out? An eyewitness account,” www.marxist.com/Latinam/venezuela_eyewitness0103.html. Some other sources: www.thirdworldtraveler.com/South_America/Venez_Coup_Countercoup.html
 Doizy, Arnaud, « La politique étrangère des Etats-Unis au Venezuela, la période Chavez (1999- 2007)» Université Panthéon-Assas paris II, www.memoireonline.com/06/07/491/m_politique-etrangere-etats-unis-venezuela-periode-chavez2.html
 Lehoucq, op.cit.
 It relies on uncompressed gas but also, unfortunately, on bio-fuels which will lead to tragic soil and forest destruction. Nicolas Lehoucq writes that Brasil had achieved a ‘quasi-independence from petroleum’ in the 1990s and has even developed cars which the driver can select to function by a simple switch from gasoline to non-liquefied gas to ethanol. “But this innovatory system was threatened by the World Bank. President Lula was attempting to obtain a partial cancellation of Brazil’s debt and the World Bank attempted to negotiate a deal whereby Brazil would cease its petroleum indendence program.” Lehoucq remarks that the World Bank is US dominated and wonders if the US uses petroleum as a means of control of third world countries. Lehoucq, op.cit.
 Lehoucq, op.cit.
 Lehoucq, op.cit.
 Cohen, D., “Venezuela -- Aló Presidente!”, ASPO USA publication, 29 August 2007 http://www.aspo-usa.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=202&Itemid=91]
 Lehoucq, op.cit.
 “Hugo Chavez's annus horribilis,” M&C, Americas news, Dec 14, 2007.
 A fact strangely overlooked in many studies of the French Revolution, where analysis of methods undertaken for the redistribution of land, affords a remarkable perspective.
 As with Australia’s terra nullius, no treaty had ever been undertaken with the indigenous people. Source: The Forest Peoples’ Program, “Protecting and encouraging customary use of biological resources: The Upper Caura, Venezuela,” www.forestpeoples.org/documents/conservation/Ven10c_jan04_ch6_eng.pdf
 Seth DeLong, “Venezuela's Agrarian Land Reform: More like Lincoln than Lenin,”
February 25th 2005, COHA, https://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/963
 Derek Wall, “Viva Venezuela verde!” http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/derek_wall/2007/04/viva_verde_venezuela.html and Eva Golinger, “Venezuela’s Green Agenda: Chavez Should Be Named The ‘Environmental President’”, February 27th 2007, Venezuelanalysis.com venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2244 (Accessed 22 Sept 2007)
Except for his unfortunate argument over abortion with Sonia Ossorio (pictured right), President of the New York City Chapter of the National Organisation for Women (NOW), I found myself in almost complete agreement with Tucker Carlson in his 24 July episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight (38 minutes in length). This episode includes debate and discussion of a number of important developments and issues in United States politics - border control, abortion and the ongoing attempts by the establishment, supported by the Democrats, 'leftists' and even much of the Republican Party, to oust President Trump. Carlson interviewed and debated Jeff Weaver a spokesperson for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist in the Democratic Party. Also, early in this episode, Tucker Carlson (pictured left) argued strongly and in great detail why he was opposed to war against Iran.
Sonia and the NOW support the right of women to control their own fertility, including the right to abortion. Unfortunately, Tucker Carlson is emotively opposed to the "killing of unborn children" and argued quite fiercely against Sonia Ossorio. In spite of his shouting over her and even cutting her off at the end, it seemed to me that Sonia Ossorio won the short debate.
As President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa (pictured above) was a Godsend for the Ecuadorian people, for Latin American independence and for WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. By serving justice and truth instead of Washington, Correa earned Washington's hatred and determination to destroy him.
Correa was succeeded as president by Lenin Moreno, who Correa mistakenly believed to be an ally, but who has every appearance of being a Washington asset. The first thing that Moreno did was to make a deal with Washington, block Correa from being able to again stand for the presidency and turn on Julian Assange. Moreno wants to revoke the asylum granted to Assange and has prevented Assange from continuing his journalistic activity from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In other words, Moreno has conspired with Washington and the UK to effectively imprison Assange in the embassy.
Now Moreno has taken another step that highlights his character as a blackguard. Correa, realizing that he and his family were in danger, moved to Belgium. An Ecuadorian court has now ordered the Belgians to detain Correa and extradite him to Ecuador on a fabricated kidnapping charge.
Correa thinks that Belgium will not comply with an absurd charge for which no evidence is presented and that the charge is intended to smear his name. If I were Correa, I would not be so sure. Look at the ease with which Washington was able to use its vassals—Sweden and the UK—to effectively nullify the political asylum that Ecuador gave Assange. Belgium is also Washington's vassal and will experience threats and bribes—whatever it takes—to deliver Correa into Moreno's hands, which is to say into Washington's hands. If I were Correa, I would get myself over to the Russian embassy and request asylum from Putin.
Here is a news report from RT: https://www.rt.com/news/431653-correa-ecuador-arrest-order/
PressTV presenter discusses with his two guests how Syria has, after more than 7 years, triumphed over tens of thousands of terrorist invasders, who were armed and paid for by the United Sytated, IIsrael, Saudi Arabia and their allies.
Recently Donald Trump accused Germany of being dangerously dependent on fuel imported from Russia. The Russian foreign minister has responded to this sally by pointing out that Germany is still occupied militarily by the United States Army. As for importing fuel from Russia, Germany has done so for over 50 years, reliably, without interruption due to political differences. Trump wants to sell fracked fuel from the US to Germany and other parts of Europe. Inside is a video with the Russian foreign minister's comment.
This little-known documentary contains rare and compelling footage of Greek villages and Greek partisans during World War 2. It also interviews male and female partisans who survived a series of international betrayals. In 1940 Mussolini attacked Greece from its colony of Albania. The attack was repulsed and the Greeks conquered one third of Albania in their counter attacks. At the time, Greece was Britain's only ally against Nazi Germany in Europe. (France Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Luxumbourg had all been conquered.) Four years later, Britain savagely turned on the same heroic Greeks who had resisted the Italians and subsequently fought against their Nazi German-allied occupiers. It was only possible for the British to succeed because the communist ELAS-Partisans trusted the Greek Communist Party (KKE).
After they landed in October 1944, the British pretended to arrest former Greek collaborators and saved them from furious Greek crowds in Athens. The former collaborators were 'imprisoned' in a hotel overlooking the central Athens. During one of the protests by Athenians against the British, the 'arrested' former collaborators opened fire on the Athenian crowds, killing many.
This provoked a ferocious fightback against the British by the ELAS-Partisans. So fierce was their fight that the British were forced to get reinforcements from the Italian front and from Belgium, where they were fighting the German Ardennes offensive. However, the communist Greek KKE, under Stalin's orders, then agreed to completely disarm and return to their homes in the suburbs of Athens and elsewhere. This was under the pretext of recognising the British puppet forces as the legitimate national Greek army.
In the suburbs of Athens many former ELAS fighters became victims of gangs of former collaborators. Many ELAS fighters were imprisoned by the British and their puppets.
In 1946 those ELAS fighters who had fled to the mountains, and many more, who had escaped from Greece, restarted the civil war against the Greek dictatorship. From 1946-1948 the ELAS partisans (who had changed their name to the Democratic Army). With heroism and brilliant leadership, they outfought superior numbers of government forces, with many from the government forces defecting to the Democratic Army. However, the Greek Government started to overcome the Democratic Army, now with the aid of United States military 'advisors' and the CIA, and from the same source, the provision of war planes capable of dropping napalm, a fearsome new weapon of the time. The Democratic Army was further hamstrung by instructions from the KKE leadership to engage in conventional warfare rather than guerilla warfare, thus enabling the government to more effectively use its numerical and logistic superiority against the Democratic Army partisans. The fighting ended in 1949, when the last of the Democratic Army partisans fled across the border into Albania. From Albania, many were granted 'exile' in the Soviet Union.
"All military personnel, from low ranking GI’s to the top generals and admirals, have an obligation to disobey illegal orders. Orders to carry out acts of war against a sovereign nation that is not threatening the U.S. are illegal orders." Jerry Condon, Veterans for Peace. This leading veterans’ organization is warning that a U.S. attack on Syria could lead to a nuclear war. Russian military forces in Syria will undoubtedly be among the targets of U.S. missiles. Russia has said it will shoot down U.S. missiles, and attack the “platforms from which they are fired,” i.e. U.S. ships.
US Veterans call for military personnel to disobey illegal orders to make war on sovereign powers.
“Why the rush to war?” asked Gerry Condon, president of Veterans For Peace. “Why is the mass media cheerleading for war instead of asking hard questions? Why are Democratic and Republican politicians trying to out-do one another with calls for ever more massive attacks on Syria?
“There is no proof yet of a Syrian government gas attack, only a video made by a fundamentalist rebel group that wants more U.S. intervention. Even if the reports are true, a military response will only lead to more death and destruction, and dangerous escalations.
“We are talking about a direct confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers,” said Gerry Condon. “Why would the U.S. risk nuclear war over dubious chemical weapons claims?
“Veterans have longer memories than the press and the politicians,” said Condon. “We remember how we were lied into the Iraq War with false reports of ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ U.S. wars throughout the Middle East have caused millions of deaths and destroyed entire societies. Our soldiers and their families have also paid an extremely high price.”
“Veterans, GI’s and their families will not accept another war based on lies,” said Gerry Condon. “We will be protesting in the streets, in the suites, at media outlets and at military bases.
All military personnel, from low ranking GI’s to the top generals and admirals, have an obligation to disobey illegal orders. Orders to carry out acts of war against a sovereign nation that is not threatening the U.S. are illegal orders.
“We swore an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said Gerry Condon, president of Veterans For Peace. “Right now those enemies are those who would rush our country recklessly into another devastating war.”
After having returned back home to Berkeley last week, I assumed that I was finally finished with writing about Mexico City -- but apparently not.
One of the top images from there that still keeps popping into my brain, one that I apparently brought back home in my luggage, is a flashback to Mexico City's glorious main cathedral -- and that image still haunts me. From floor to ceiling, it seemed like the whole place was garishly covered with gold. Gold. Gold everywhere you looked. So now I feel compelled to write about that.
All that wealth in just one single church. Enough gold to keep me and all of my friends in riches for the rest of our lives.
But the wealth in just this one cathedral represents only a minuscule fraction of the fabulous tons and tons of gold that Spain extracted from Latin America a few centuries ago -- so much gold. Scrooge McDuck woulda gone nuts.
But what actually happened to all that gold? Did it make Spain rich? Sure, for a while. Spain used to be the richest nation on earth. But then wars were declared and squabbling began and this and that happened -- and then suddenly all that wealth was gone, just gone. https://www.amazon.com/Visions-Lost-Future-World-Stillwater/dp/1532803850/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Which reminds me of the vast wealth of another nation -- ours. America also used to be the richest nation on earth. Not any more. First Franklin Roosevelt died and the Dulles brothers and Richard Nixon schemed their evil schemes to steal what they could from the New Deal. https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Chessboard-Dulles-Americas-Government/dp/0062276174
And what ever happened to all that gold in Fort Knox -- let alone all that gold in the Social Security slush fund. And then 9-11 happened, the most evil scheme of them all -- and eleven trillion dollars in "war" blood-money suddenly began disappearing down this or that rat hole too. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/16/donald-trump-v-the-spooks/
And now America, like Spain, is no longer the richest nation in the world. What the freak happened? This and that. http://www.mintpressnews.com/genocide-in-yemen-media-complicit-in-us-saudi-war-crimes/224106/
Mexico City still has its grand gold-encrusted cathedral to remind us tourists of what the power and glory of the old Spanish empire used to look like. But we Americans don't even have something like that left to remind us -- except perhaps the glaring monument of our gigantic national debt.
Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.
And while you're at it, please buy my books! http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2016/04/our-top-best-seller-right-now-is-bring.html
Republished from Jane Stillwater's blog at http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2017/01/all-that-wealth.html
American boots on the ground. We hear this all too often throughout the world and now the war ravaged country of Yemen is the latest victim of US military troops. But why Yemen and why now and what are these troops trying to accomplish in a country that is facing a brutal war against it by Saudi Arabia, a war that Washington has given the green light to.
See also: Ansarullah Furious at US Military Build-up in Yemen (8/5/16) | FARS News Agency
Academy Award© - winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the most important and fascinating true story of the 21st century. Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene. Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.
This article was previously published (24/8/15) on Russia Insider.
When George W Bush first declared the 'War on Terror' it seemed like just another of his 'mis-speaks' – surely he must have meant 'War on Terrorism'? But we didn't really bother because we knew it was neither, but just a label for wars of convenience on someone else's Terra.
A tough sell for the US to claim it's serious
about fighting terrorism in Syria when it
actually refuses to oppose Al Qaeda 1
(The footnote URL previously linked to the
wrong page. Apologies - Ed)
As these wars of opportunism fought by the United States to expand its interests and control pass their fourteenth year however, their supposed target has now grown to fit Bush's description, as legions of stereo-typical 'terrorists' rampage across America's foreign battlefields.
Perhaps it should be no surprise to find that this morphosis in the enemy has been accompanied by a change in how it is portrayed by the prosecutors of the war on terror and their client media.
Just as they pretended to be fighting terrorism in all those years when they were fighting for control of Iraq's oil fields, now they are pretending to fight against 'violent extremism' and 'radicalisation' at home, while justifying their ongoing campaign abroad as 'self-defence' – the 'Islamist death-cult' must be prevented from spreading beyond the boundaries of the chosen battlefields, and coming home to bite its trainers. (That campaign of course is little altered, though now rapidly expanding in scale to threaten the whole region, including Russia)
But there's another reason for this 'rebranding of the enemy' to sell it to the Western public – the countries who have to actually fight and die at the hands of this terrorist enemy are calling it by its real name, so the West can no longer use it without admitting that they share a common foe.
This has come into sharp focus in recent weeks with the launching by Russia of a bold initiative – putting together a group of states to fight the terrorist groups in Syria. It is a bold initiative because two of those states have been the main supporters of the Syrian insurgency, and must be convinced that it is in their own interests to change direction, as well as to abandon their quest to overthrow the Syrian government.
But Russia's initiative is no gambit, as it begins with one unyielding condition – that President Assad is going nowhere until stability is restored, when new free elections can decide if he will remain Syrians' choice of president.
The Russian joint counter-terrorism plan has another feature which distinguishes it from all the plans past and current of the self-declared 'international community' to 'fight terror' or to 'degrade and destroy Da'esh' – it is what it says, and doesn't conceal some hidden agenda.
And as far as Russia and Syria are concerned, this means fighting ALL the armed groups who are terrorising the inhabitants of villages and cities in Syria, regardless of their affiliation or alleged justification for taking up arms against the Syrian Arab Army.
Apart from calling the US coalition's bluff - that it is only protecting Syria and the world from Da'esh, this plan obviously directly targets groups that the US is not targeting, like 'Syria's Al Qaeda' – Jabhat al Nusra, or actually supporting, like the mythical 'Free Syrian Army' or its new 'Division 30'.
As far as the Syrian army and the people they are defending are concerned such labels are irrelevant and offensive – they simply want to see the end of this foreign-backed insurgency with the death or disarming of all its fighters.
Recently we heard from a friend who has returned to his home in Aleppo, and who has particularly acute observations to make of how it feels to be under constant threat of attack from terrorists, as they daily fire their home made gas-cylinder missiles to kill and terrorise residents of the government-secured section of the city.
Aleppo has also been suffering from a water shortage, as the insurgent groups have control of the supply from the Euphrates and only allow it to reach the rest of Aleppo via the Queiq river, into which they have dumped dead bodies and sewage. He describes how he feels:
"Those capable of dumping bread and clean water into a contaminated river to prevent half the city from eating the bread or having clean drinking water are committing heinous crimes against humanity.
I am not sure if it is a "war crime" as such but they are the real "infidels" if there is any real meaning for this word that they bandy about so liberally.
They are not "freedom fighters" or "moderates" that NATO and their allies are supporting so vociferously. We are suffering from lack of water, we go thirsty while they are intentionally squandering it.
I watch, heavy hearted, as the elderly and children patiently wait in endless queues in the searing heat to fill their assorted containers. I see them having to lug these heavy containers through the narrow alleyways, struggling under the weight as the precious water splashes into the dust beneath their feet.
I feel nothing but rage when I see these thugs and criminals on the other side of the city pouring thousands of litres of clean, fresh water into the disease infested river under the noses of the thirsty Syrians they are claiming to liberate.
They are the terrorists, they are the monsters in this story and they are committing daily mass crimes against the citizens of Aleppo, but this is never mentioned by the western media.
This is Aleppo, the real Aleppo, not the western media fantasy, this is our sleeping, waking, perpetual nightmare of life under terrorist occupation."
So what does the 'Coalition against ISIS' have to say about these terrorists targeting Syrians and their soldiers? It says: 'do what you like but don't target us'. And as Australia stands ready to expand its air force deployment over the border from Iraq following a US request, the danger to Australian forces from pursuit at the International Criminal Court seems to be the main consideration. For our friend in Aleppo such insufferable conceit would make Australia's likely contribution to Syria's suffering indistinguishable from all the rest.
for the children of Yemen
80 percent of people in the Arab world's poorest country are in danger of starving to death under a US-backed and US-enabled blockade and bombing campaign.
Have the CNN, BBC, NBC, Fox, Sky, etc told you about that?
Obviously news that doesn't directly touch on Russia. However, obviously an enormously important one – this is the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world right now – but it's getting barely any attention because the US is contributing to it in a major way. (The Saudi campaign in Yemen wouldn't be possible without American diplomatic, intelligence and logistics backing.)
Another interesting (albeit in the light of 20 million lives in danger far less key) angle is that despite repeatedly causing such tragedies (260,000 people died in 2010-12 Somalia famine after a sustained US-Ethiopian military intervention there made an even greater mess of that country and up to a million who died in the 1990s due to sanctions on Iraq passed after the US destroyed chunks of the country's civilian infrastructure) the US still thinks it can take the moral high ground against Russia.
Preposterous! Even if Russia actually did everything the US accuses it of (and it doesn't) it would be far, far cleaner than the US, which is the world's premier killer today.
Twenty million people in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, are at risk of dying from hunger or thirst. That's 80 percent of the country's population, which according to UN agencies badly needs emergency supplies of food and water, along with fuel and medicine.
This almost unimaginable crisis sounds like something out of a disaster movie. But the cause isn't an earthquake or a tsunami.
The main reason for all this suffering is months of merciless bombardment and blockade led by the richest Arab countries – Saudi Arabia and its neighboring petro-princedoms – and backed by the United States. Washington's providing the attackers with technical assistance, intelligence, and top-shelf armaments.
The countries bombing Yemen are targeting a rebel group they claim is a proxy for Iran. The evidence for that is very thin.
In fact, the conflict in Yemen is rooted in internal disputes. Try to stay with me...
In 2011, a nationwide uprising akin to those in Tunisia and Egypt deposed the country's autocratic leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. There was no democratic election before his successor, the Saudi- and U.S.-backed Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, took over – he ran unopposed. And there was no relief from the terrible poverty, unemployment, and government corruption that brought about the popular revolt.
So a few months ago, a reformist movement and militia called the Houthis – which had launched a handful of rebellions against Saleh in the past – took advantage of widespread discontent to conquer the capital, Sanaa. Hadi fled into exile, and the Saudis started bombing shortly thereafter.
Since then, local militias in central and southern Yemen have fiercely resisted the Houthis and army units still loyal to Saleh, who is now allied with his former foes. Meanwhile, a local franchise of al-Qaeda is fighting everybody.
In short, it's terribly complicated, and the bombs aren't helping.
The Yemenis caught in this crossfire were already thirsty and hungry before the war – unlike their Saudi neighbors, they don't have a lucrative oil supply. Now, with Yemen's borders closed, its airports shut down, and Arab navies enforcing an embargo at sea, the situation is breathtaking in its desperation.
Saudi Arabia and its friends, including the United States, support Hadi. Yet they have no discernible plan for winning beyond reducing Yemen to rubble and besieging civilians in the hope of securing the Houthis' surrender.
The Obama administration probably doesn't believe the Saudis' nonsense about the Houthis and Iran, but it's shown no interest in stopping the war.
In fact, the United States has even announced a full suspension of aid to Yemen for a year, undercutting its occasional murmurs of humanitarian concern. By endorsing this Saudi-led shooting match, Washington may hope to calm the Saudis' nerves about the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, which Saudi Arabia opposes.
Is that what it's come to, soothing a bully's nerves just because it pumps a lot of oil?
Instead, the Obama administration should withdraw its support for the bombing, lift the blockade, and broker a power-sharing agreement between Yemen's competing factions. For the people of Yemen, it's beyond urgent.
See also: Major Media Keep Propagandizing for Hillary Clinton (4/5/15) by Eric Zuesse.
Hillary Clinton bursts out into
laughter after her fellow inter-
viewee says, "then we ought
to take [Iran] out" - Feb 2012
Hillary Clinton is not a liberal - no more than Bill Clinton was a liberal - these people have absolutely no moral compass or political principles. They are opportunists of the worst kind - they are virtual psychopaths who will do anything and say anything in order to obtain power. Hillary Clinton was a "goldwater girl" back in 1964 - she was a right-wing Republican. But when she found it more convenient to pretend to be a liberal in order to obtain power, then she pretended to be a liberal. But make no mistake - the Clintons have NO principles at all. 1
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In this video Hilary Clinton admits that the US government created and funded Al-Qaeda in order to fight the Soviet Union, and she even considers that as a good thing. But she claims that the Americans are fighting Al-Qaeda nowadays.
Well, if you really fighting Al-Qaeda, then who are the scum and terrorists you used in order to topple the government of Gaddafi in Libya?...
The American media describes "Aldel Hakim Belhaj" as an x-terrorist or as an x-jihadist. How funny and hypocritical!
Al-Qaeda didn't leave the US government bed ... Let us review the history and see that Al-Qaeda acts served only the US foreign policy ... Al-Qaeda terrorists are multipurpose fighters who are being used efficiently by the US government ...
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#fnHc1" id="fnHc1">1.#txtHc1"> ↑ This comment, about the video by Steven Yourke embedded immediately below, was published '3 months ago', as of 19 May 2015. The length of the video is 1:30:16.
The US State Department has been criticized for its move to deny a visa to an Iraqi Christian nun planning to reveal ISIL atrocities to Congress.
Sister Diana Momeka was part of an Iraqi delegation that was scheduled to testify before the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee later this month.
Momeka has been a frank supporter for the Christians who have been killed and deported by the ISIL 1 terrorist group.
Other members of the delegation received visas to the US to speak in Washington about the persecution of minorities of the region.
The US consulate in the Iraqi semi-autonomous region of Erbil, Kurdistan rejected her visitor visa application earlier this week.
According to the US State Department, the Christian nun was "not able to demonstrate that [her] intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa."
The nun was the only Christian in the group that was set to head to the US on an invitation from American NGOs.
The criticism came from Nina Shea of the conservative Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom in an op-ed in National Review Online.
"She told me in a phone conversation that, to her face, consular officer Christopher Patch told her she was denied because she is an 'IDP' or Internally Displaced Person. 'That really hurt.' Essentially, the State Department was calling her a deceiver," Nina Shea said in the op-ed.
ISIL destroyed Sister Diana's home forcing her and 50,000 others to flee back in August.
Shea explained that State Department officials concluded from the nun's application process and interview to obtain a visa that Sister Diana "could be falsely asserting that she intends to visit Washington when secretly she could be intending to stay. That would constitute illegal immigration, and that, of course, is strictly forbidden. Once here, she could also be at risk for claiming political asylum, and the US seems determined to deny ISIS's (ISIL) Christian victims that status."
Sister Diana, who is from an Iraqi town of 50,000 mostly Christian residents, was forced to leave her home by ISIL in August.
Since then, she has received refugee status and has been an outspoken critic of ISIL and other terrorist groups creating mayhem in Iraq and elsewhere.