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US — Venezuela: The Empire Strikes Back (and Loses)

By James Petras | 08.09.2010

Introduction

US policy toward Venezuela has taken many tactical turns, but the objective has been the same: to oust President Chavez, reverse the nationalization of big businesses, abolish the mass community and worker based councils and revert the country into a client-state.

Washington funded and politically backed a military coup in 2002, a bosses’ lockout in 2002-03, a referendum and numerous media, political and NGO efforts to undermine the regime. Up to now all of the White House efforts have been a failure – Chavez has repeatedly won free elections, retained the loyalty of the military and the backing of the vast majority of the urban and rural poor, the bulk of the working class and the public sector middle class.

Washington has not given up nor reconciled itself to coming to terms with the elected government of President Chavez. Instead with each defeat of its internal collaborators, the White House has increasingly turned toward an ‘outsider’ strategy, building up a powerful ‘cordon militaire’, surrounding Venezuela with a large-scale military presence spanning Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean. The Obama White House backed a military coup in Honduras, ousting the democratically elected government of President Zelaya (in June 2009), a Chavez ally, and replacing it with a puppet regime supportive of Washington’s anti-Chavez military policies. The Pentagon secured seven military bases in eastern Colombia (in 2009) facing the Venezuelan frontier, thanks to its client ruler, Alvaro Uribe, the notorious narco-paramilitary President. In mid 2010 Washington secured an unprecedented agreement with the approval of right wing President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, to station 7000 US combat troops, over 200 helicopters, and dozens of ships pointing toward Venezuela, under the pretext of pursuing narco-traffickers. Currently the US is negotiating with the rightist regime of President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama, the possibility of re-establishing a military base in the former Canal Zone. Together with the Fourth Fleet patrolling off shore, 20,000 troops in Haiti, and an airbase in Aruba, Washington has encircled Venezuela from the West and North, establishing jumping off positions for a direct intervention if the favorable internal circumstances arise.

The White House’s militarization of its policy toward Latin America, and Venezuela in particular, is part of its global policy of armed confrontation and interventions. Most notably the Obama regime has widened the scope and extent of operations of clandestine death squads now operating in 70 countries on four continents, increased the US combat presence in Afghanistan by over 30,000 troops plus over 100,000 contract mercenaries operating cross border into Pakistan and Iran, and provided material and logistical assistance to Iranian armed terrorists. Obama has escalated provocative military exercises off the coast of North Korea and in the China Sea, evoking protests from Beijing. Equally revealing, the Obama regime has increased the military budget to over a trillion dollars, despite the economic crises, the monstrous deficit and the calls for austerity cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

In other words, Washington’s military posture toward Latin America and especially toward the democratic socialist government of President Chavez is part and parcel of a general military response to any country or movements which refuse to submit to US domination. The question arises – why does the White House rely on the military option? Why militarize foreign policy to gain favorable outcomes in the face of decided opposition? The answer, in part, is that the US has lost most of the economic leverage, which it previously exercised, to secure the ousting or submission of adversary governments. Most Asian and Latin American economies have secured a degree of autonomy. Others do not depend on US-influenced international financial organizations (the IMF, World Bank); they secure commercial loans. Most have diversified their trading and investment partners and deepened regional ties. In some countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru, China has replaced the US as their principal trading partner. Most countries no longer look to US “aid” to stimulate growth, they seek joint ventures with multi-national corporations, frequently based outside of North America. To the extent that economic arm twisting is no longer an effective tool to secure compliance, Washington has resorted more and more to the military option. To the extent that the US financial elite have hollowed out the US industrial sector, Washington has been unable to rebuild its international economic levers.

Major diplomatic failures, resulting from its incapacity to adapt to basic shifts in global power, have also prompted Washington to shift from political negotiations and compromise toward military intervention and confrontation. US policymakers are still frozen in the time warp of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the heyday of client rulers and economic plunder, when Washington secured global support, privatized enterprises, exploited public debt financings and was relatively unchallenged in the world market. By the end of the1990’s, the rise of Asian capitalism, mass anti-neo-liberal uprisings, the ascendancy of center-left regimes in Latin America, the repeated financial crises and stock market crashes in the US and the EU and the increase in commodity prices led to a realignment of global power. Washington’s efforts to pursue policies attuned to the previous decades conflicted with the new realities of diversified markets, newly emerging powers and relatively independent political regimes linked to new mass constituencies.

Washington’s diplomatic proposals to isolate Cuba and Venezuela were rejected by all of the Latin American countries. The effort to revive free trade agreements, which privileged US exporters, were rejected. Unwilling to recognize the limits of imperial diplomatic power and moderate its proposals, the Obama regime turned increasingly toward the military option.

Washington’s struggle to re-assert imperial power, via interventionary politics fared no better than its diplomatic initiatives. The US-backed coups in Venezuela (2002) and Bolivia (2008) were defeated by mass popular mobilizations and the loyalty of the military to the incumbent regimes. Likewise in Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil, post-neo-liberal regimes, backed by industrial, mining and agro-export elites and popular classes were able to beat back traditional pro-US neo-liberal elites rooted in the politics of the 1990’s and earlier. The politics of destabilization failed to dislodge the new governments’ pursuing relatively independent foreign policies and refusing to return to the old order of US supremacy.

Where Washington has regained political terrain with the election of rightist political regimes – it has been through its ability to exploit the ‘exhaustion’ of center-left politics (Chile), political fraud and militarization (Honduras and Mexico), decline of the national popular left (Costa Rica, Panama and Peru) and the consolidation of a highly militarized police state (Colombia). These electoral victories, especially in Colombia, have convinced Washington that the military option, combined with deep intervention and exploitation of open electoral processes, is the way to reverse the left turn in Latin America – especially in Venezuela.

US Policy to Venezuela: Combining Military and Electoral Tactics

US efforts to overthrow President Chavez’s democratic government borrow many of the tactics applied against previous democratic adversaries. These include border incursions by Colombian paramilitary and military forces similar to cross border attacks by the US sponsored “contras” against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua during the 1980’s. The attempt to encircle and isolate Venezuela is similar to Washington’s policy over the past half century against Cuba. The funneling of funds to opposition groups, parties, media and NGO’s via US agencies and “dummy” foundations is a repeat of the tactics applied to destabilize the democratic government of Salvador Allende of Chile 1970-73, Evo Morales in Bolivia 2006-2010 and numerous other governments in the region.

Washington’s multiple track policy, in its current phase, is directed at escalating a war of nerves, by constantly raising security threats. The military provocations, in part, are a ‘testing’ of Venezuela’s security preparations, probing for weaknesses in its ground, air and maritime defenses. These provocations also are part of a strategy of attrition, to force the Chavez government to put its defense forces on “alert” and mobilize the population and then to temporarily reduce the pressure until the next provocation. The purpose is to discredit the government’s constant reference to threats, in order to weaken vigilance and when circumstances allow making an opportune strike.

Washington’s external military build-up is designed to intimidate Caribbean and Central American countries who may be looking toward closer economic relations with Venezuela. The show of force is also designed to encourage the internal opposition toward more aggressive actions. At the same time the confrontational posture is directed at the “weak links” or “moderate” sectors of the Chavista government who are nervous and anxious for “reconciliation” even at the price of unprincipled concessions to the opposition and the new Colombia regime of President Santos. The increasing military presence is designed to slow the internal radicalization process and to preclude Venezuela’s growing ties with Middle Eastern and other regimes, adverse to US hegemony. Washington is betting that a military build-up and psychological warfare linking Venezuela with revolutionary insurgents like the Colombian guerrilla will result in Chavez’s allies and friends in Latin America putting distance toward him. Equally important Washington’s unsubstantiated accusations that Venezuela is harboring FARC guerilla encampments, is meant to pressure Chavez to lessen his support to all social movements in the region, including the landless Rural Workers of Brazil as well as non- violent human rights groups and trade unions in Colombia. Washington wants a military “polarization”: US or Chavez. It rejects the political polarization existing today which pits Washington against MERCOSUR, the organization of economic integration involving Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay with Venezuela in line for membership or ALBA (economic integration involving Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and several Caribbean states.

The FARC Factor

Obama and now ex-President Uribe accused Venezuela of offering sanctuary for Colombian guerillas (FARC and ELN). In reality this is a ploy to pressure President Chavez to denounce or at a minimum demand that the FARC give up their armed struggle on terms dictated by the US and Colombian regime.

Contrary to President Uribe and the State Department’s boasts that the FARC is a declining, isolated and defeated fragment of the past, as a result of their successful counter-insurgency campaigns, a recent detailed field study by a Colombian researcher La guerra contra las FARC y la guerra de las FARC demonstrates that in the last 2 years the guerrillas have consolidated their influence over one-third of the country, and that the regime in Bogota controls only half the country. After suffering major defeats in 2008, the FARC and ELN have steadily advanced throughout 2009-2010 inflicting over 1300 military casualties last year and probably near double this year. (La Jornada 8/6/2010). The resurgence and advance of the FARC has crucial importance as far as Washington’s military campaign again Venezuela. It also affects the position of its “strategic ally” – Santos regime. First it demonstrates that despite $6 billion plus in US military aid to Colombia, its counter-insurgency campaign to “exterminate” the FARC has failed. Secondly, the FARC’s offensive opens a “second front” in Colombia, weakening any effort to launch an invasion of Venezuela using Colombia as a “springboard”. Thirdly, faced with a growing internal class war, the new President Santos is more likely to seek to lessen tensions with Venezuela, hoping to relocate troops from the frontier of its neighbor toward the growing guerilla insurgency. In a sense, despite Chavez misgivings about the guerrillas and outspoken calls for ending the guerrilla struggle, the resurgence of the armed movements are likely a prime factor in lessening the prospects of a US directed intervention.

Conclusion

Washington’s multi-track policy directed at destabilizing the Venezuelan government has by and large been counter-productive, suffering major failures and few successes.

The hard line toward Venezuela has failed to “line up” any support in the major countries of Latin America, with the exception of Colombia. It has isolated Washington not Caracas. The military threats may have radicalized the socio-economic measures adopted by Chavez not moderated them. The threats and accusations emanating from Colombia have strengthened internal cohesion in Venezuela, except among the hard-core opposition groups. They have also led to Venezuela’s upgrading its intelligence, police and military operations. The Colombian provocations have led to a break in relations and an 80% decline in the multi-billion dollar cross border trade, bankrupting numerous Colombian firms, as Venezuela substitutes Brazilian and Argentine industrial and agrarian imports. The effects of the policies of tension and the “war of attrition” are hard to measure, especially in terms of their impact on the forthcoming crucial legislative elections on September 26, 2010. No doubt, Venezuela’s failure to regulate and control the multi-million flow of US funds to its Venezuelan collaborators has made a significant impact on their organizational capability. No doubt the economic downturn has had some effect in limiting public spending on new social programs. Likewise, the incompetence and corruption of several top Chavista officials, especially in public food distribution, housing and public safety will have an electoral impact.

It is likely that these “internal” factors are much more influential in shaping the alignment of Venezuela’s electoral outcome, than the aggressive confrontational politics adopted by Washington. Nevertheless, if the pro-US opposition substantially increases its legislative presence in the September 26 elections – beyond one-third of the Congress people – they will attempt to block social changes and economic stimulus policies. The US will intensify its efforts to pressure Venezuela to divert resources to security issues in order to undermine social-economic expenditures which sustain the support of the lower 60% of the Venezuelan population.

Up to now, White House policy based on greater militarization and virtually no new economic initiatives has been a failure. It has encouraged the larger Latin American countries to increase regional integration, as witnessed by new custom and tariff agreements taken at the MERCOSUR meeting in early August of this year. It has not led to any diminuation of hostilities between the US and the ALBA countries. It has not increased US influence. Instead Latin America has moved toward a new regional political organization UNASUR (which excludes the US), downgrading the Organization of American States which the US uses to push its agenda. Ironically, the only bright lights, favoring US influence, comes from internal, electoral processes. Rightist candidate Jose Serra is running a strong race in the upcoming Brazilian Presidential elections. In Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia the pro-US right is regrouping and hoping to return to power.

What Washington fails to understand is that across the political spectrum from the left to the center-right, political leaders are appalled and opposed to the US push and promotion of the military option as the centerpiece of policy. Practically all political leaders have unpleasant memories of exile and persecution from the previous cycle of US backed military regimes. The self-proclaimed extra-territorial reach of the US military, operating out of its seven bases in Colombia, has widened the breach between the centrist and center-left democratic regimes and the Obama White House. In other words, Latin America perceives US military aggression toward Venezuela as a “first step” southward toward their countries. That, and the drive for greater political independence and more diversified markets, have weakened Washington’s diplomatic and political attempts to isolate Venezuela.

Colombia’s new President Santos, made out of the same rightist mold as his predecessor Alvaro Uribe, faces a difficult choice – continuing as an instrument of US military confrontation and destabilization of Venezuela at the cost of several billion dollars in trade losses and isolation from the rest of Latin America or lessening border tensions and incursions, dropping the provocative rhetoric and normalizing relations with Venezuela. If the latter takes place, the US will lose its last best instrument for its external strategy of “tensions” and psych warfare. Washington will be left with two options: a unilateral direct military intervention or funding of political warfare through its domestic collaborators.

In the meantime President Chavez and his supporters would do well to concentrate on pulling the economy out of recession, tackling state corruption and monumental inefficiency and empowering the community and factory-based councils to play a greater role in everything from increasing productivity to public safety. Ultimately Venezuela’s long term security from the long and pervasive reach of the US Empire depends on the strength of the organized mass organizations sustaining the Chavez government.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Corruption, Militarism | 1 Comment

Nagasaki mayor slams nuclear powers

Press TV – August 9, 2010

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue has criticized the nuclear weapons states, saying they have not shown a sincere commitment to nuclear disarmament.

He made the remarks in the 2010 Nagasaki Peace Declaration, which he delivered on Monday at a ceremony held to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city on August 9, 1945.

Mayor Taue appealed to the world to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons and said that people have the “responsibility to realize a world without the fear of nuclear weapons,” the Kyodo News International reported.

“We call upon the leaders of the nuclear weapons states never to trample on humanity’s efforts for a world without nuclear weapons,” Taue told the six thousand people gathered at the Nagasaki Peace Park to remember the victims of the attack and to honor the hibakusha (atomic bombing survivors).

“The lack of sincere commitment from the nuclear weapons states toward nuclear disarmament could provoke antipathy and lead to the emergence of more new nuclear weapons states, increasing the threat of nuclear proliferation around the world,” he added.

Taue said Nagasaki strongly supports the Nuclear Weapons Convention, a new international treaty for a complete ban on nuclear weapons.

He criticized the nuclear powers for rejecting a proposal presented at this year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that would have established a schedule for nuclear disarmament.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said, “Nagasaki and Hiroshima have long worked together to tell the world of the catastrophes caused by the atomic bombings, and to appeal for the weapons’ abolishment. The government of Japan, a nation that has endured two atomic bombings, manifested its position as a non-nuclear country by stating the Three Non-Nuclear Principles as national policy. However, this year, 65 years after the atomic bombings, the Japanese government has revealed the existence of a ‘secret nuclear pact.’ We harbor profound distrust of the government’s past responses that have turned the Three Non-Nuclear Principles into a mere formality. Moreover, the government has recently been promoting negotiations on a nuclear agreement with India, a non-NPT member country with nuclear weapons. This means that a nation that has suffered atomic bombings itself is now severely weakening the NPT regime, which is beyond intolerable.

“The first thing the Japanese government should do is to enact the Three Non-Nuclear Principles into law in order to restore the trust of the Japanese people. Also, the government should seek the denuclearization of Japan, South Korea and North Korea in a bid to realize security that does not rely upon a nuclear umbrella. We urge the Japanese government to propose a concept of a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and to demonstrate to the international community its own leadership as the government of a nation bombed by atomic weapons.”

He added, “I would like to remind everyone around the world that it is we ourselves who have the power to decide which path we should take, ‘a world with nuclear weapons’ filled with distrust and threat, or ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ based on trust and cooperation. For our children, we have responsibility for creating a future without the fear of nuclear weapons. Even though on our own each of us might be small and weak, by joining together we can become a force to make governments act and to create a new history. Let us convey our intention fully and clearly to our governments.”

In conclusion, he stated, “We offer our sincere condolences on the deaths of the atomic bomb victims, and pledge to continue our utmost efforts together with the city of Hiroshima, until the day when nuclear weapons no longer exist on the Earth.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Militarism | 1 Comment

NY Times full-page ad demonstrates who is pushing for war against Iran

Also, the organizers say they’re actuated by fears of climate change, but why the Netanyahu quote and the emphasis on missiles?

And the NYTimes is still on message, Global Warming, Peak Oil and the War on Terror all seem to merge to support Zionism:

Letters to the International Herald Tribune – How to Fight Climate Change – NYTimes.com
The only way to effectively address climate change is for our leaders to make it an issue of national security: Emphasize the link between consumption of fossil fuels, especially foreign oil, and the rise of international terrorism. Once that link is clearly established, people will be willing to make an effort: The home-front will contribute to fighting against terrorism, which threatens every one of us. People will understand that there is no way to put a value on the lives of any of the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks, and that any effort is worth making to prevent recurrence of such a tragedy.

Update:

The Israel Lobby’s War on America’s Middle East Oil Dependence

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | October 26, 2012

See also:

US Jewish leaders push Obama to act on Iran

Jerusalem Post, September 10, 2009

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 13 Comments

Vanunu released from solitary, still confined in Israel

August 8, 2010

The Guardian reports:

Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistleblower who spent 18 years in jail for exposing Israel’s nuclear capabilities was released today after completing a further three-month sentence.

Vanunu, 56, a former technician at a secret nuclear plant near the desert town of Dimona, was convicted after handing over details of Israel’s nuclear arsenal to a British newspaper in 1986.

The revelations led to the belief that Israel held a sizeable nuclear arsenal – a claim Israel has neither confirmed nor denied under its policy of “ambiguity”.

Vanunu served much of his 18-year sentence in solitary confinement.

His latest three-month sentence came after the Moroccan-born whistleblower was convicted of holding unauthorised meetings with foreigners – banned under the conditions of his release – including journalists and his Norwegian girlfriend in 2007…

Vanunu’s movements have been subject to strict conditions, including a ban on leaving Israel…

Speaking before his sentence in May and in English – Vanunu refuses to speak Hebrew in public – he said:

“Everyone knows that Israel has nuclear weapons but no one is talking about it. The world doesn’t want nuclear weapons – not in Israel, not in the Middle East and not anywhere in the world.”

###

Eileen Fleming adds:

In 1995, from Ashkelon Prison, Mordechai Vanunu noted:

“A radioactive cloud consumed rubbed out Hiroshima…A live nuclear test sentenced you. A nuclear laboratory…children women trees animals in and under a nuclear mushroom…burning… burned…flattened to ground radioactive ash-Hiroshima…Nuclear weapons gamblers win against you…Hollywood doesn’t know you – you are not a Jewish Holocaust.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Militarism | Leave a comment

Palestinian lawmaker attacked by settlers

Ma’an - August 8, 2010

HEBRON: A Palestinian lawmaker said he was attacked by settlers as he accompanied farmers trying to access their land near Hebron on Saturday.

Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi said after the attack, Israeli soldiers used force to prevent the group accessing farmland in Al-Buwiera and Al-Baq’a villages.

An Israeli military spokesman said Barghouthi was in a closed military zone when soldiers asked him to leave, but denied reports that force was used.

Barghouthi held Israeli authorities fully responsible for the farmers’ lands, which are at risk of drought since Israel’s Civil Administration destroyed what it described as an illegal water irrigation network in Al-Baq’a on Monday.

The parliamentarian noted that settlers from an illegal outpost near the Kiryat Arba settlement had rebuilt homes demolished by the army last week.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Leave a comment

Gaza: An Open Letter to Chick Corea

Tadamon | August 9th, 2010

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, August 2010

We are a group of students from Gaza, and our only fault is being Palestinians. For that, Mr. Corea, we are imprisoned with our families and loved ones in what major Human Rights Organizations call the largest open air prison in modern history. The state you are planning to entertain, committed a process of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people in 1948. And now it is engaged in, what the Israeli academic Ilan Pappe calls, “slow motion genocide” against the 1.5 million population of Gaza.

We are writing to you from under the hermetic siege imposed on us. We are punished just because we belong to this land and hold its identity. Israel committed, what Prof. Richard Goldstone called “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” knowing very well that it would be immune from accountability. You must be aware that all aspects of our life are affected by the siege, which in itself is a gross violation of international humanitarian law.

We love music. But, we are deprived from it. The sound of Israeli-US made F16s, F15s, F35s, Surveillance planes, White Phosphorous bombs, naval gunboats and Merkava tanks do not allow us to listen to music any more. In Gaza, we are forbidden from experiencing the meaning of humanity, from being in love and expressing it in art, dance, music, and all its magnificent other forms that we long to live and experience.

Dear Mr. Corea, we are deafened by the sounds of crying children around us. Some have lost their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers in the last genocidal war the Apartheid state of Israel launched against Palestinians in Gaza, and others have lost a part of their bodies. But, we can assure you that all of them have lost something they never had… a childhood!

Dear Mr. Corea, if you decide to play in Israel, please remember us, remember the screaming, crying children of Palestine, the voices of the 434 children killed during the 22-day attacks that sometimes linger in the silence of our dark nights. Remember those who cannot read, study and attend school and university as a result of Israel’s medieval siege. Remember those farmers who are shot by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers as they harvest their crops on their land. Do you know that most of the people in your audience will have served or are serving in the Israeli army?

Mr. Corea, we call upon your free soul that has been adding magnificent art for decades into this disenchanted world of ours, to join those courageous people of conscience like Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, the Pixies, Carlos Santana and Devendra Banhart in boycotting Israel until it complies with international law, and until justice and accountability are reached just as the global BDS movement made way for the collapse of apartheid in South Africa.

Anti-Apartheid heroes Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils have all described Israel’s control and 60 year collective punishment of the Palestinians as: Apartheid – a brutal, colonial system based on racial discrimination. We ask you now to stand on the right side of history, to respond to our call from the Gaza ghetto to not turn your back on us.

Mr. Corea, if you will play in Israel, then we will be a short distance away from where you are playing. Perhaps the sound of the deadly silent, cautious nights of ours will send your tunes over to besieged Gaza. But, your beautiful tunes will break our wrenching hearts and not sway our souls.

Besieged Gaza,
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel “PSCABI”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | Leave a comment

Jordan Valley demolitions continue

Ma’an – 09/08/2010

TUBAS — Israel’s Civil Administration began razing housing units Monday in the Ein Hilwa area of the northern Jordan Valley, campaign officials said.

Save the Jordan Valley campaign coordinator Fathi Ikhdeirat said Israeli authorities, accompanied by border guards, began tearing down structures and handing down stop-work orders to residents.

He described the move as an attempt “to clear the area of its indigenous people and include it into Israel” and also called on international human rights groups to intervene to bring the demolitions to a halt.

A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The Jordan Valley has been a target for demolitions by Israel’s Civil Administration, with several structures in villages across the area being torn down.

On Sunday, dozens of Palestinians as well as foreign activists rebuilt areas in the nearby Al-Farisiya village that were recently bulldozed by Israel’s Civil Administration.

Over the past 10 days, several shacks, homes and agricultural structures were torn down in the village by the administration, which has complete planning and building control over Area C. Last Thursday, the Civil Administration returned to the valley to demolish 23 structures rebuilt by residents and farmers.

Meanwhile, in the nearby Bardala village, locals said the Civil Administration distributed several stop-work orders to residents in late July.

The orders, known locally as “demolition orders,” demand that homeowners appear before a magistrates court to defend allegations. Because legal action at the court rarely succeeds, the stop-work orders essentially constitute a demolition order.

According to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz in July, the Civil Administration has received government orders to increase enforcement against Palestinian construction in Area C, according to a deposition by an administration official to the High Court.

The deposition, by the head of the administration’s infrastructure authority, Colonel Zvika Cohen, came in response to a petition by Regavim – a group seeking the destruction of illegal Palestinian construction at six West Bank sites, citing a security threat, the daily reported.

A recent UN report said 86 structures in the Jordan Valley were demolished two weeks ago, and 17 others were demolished in other areas of the West Bank the week after.

“The spate of demolitions raises concerns over whether Israeli authorities could further escalate demolitions throughout Area C,” a UN report said, noting more than 3,000 demolition orders handed down by Israeli officials to locals were still outstanding.

“Currently, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits to maintain, repair or construct homes, animal shelters or necessary infrastructure in Area C,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest report on Area C.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

US, EU states fail to isolate Iran

Press TV – August 9, 2010

As the US and its European allies are trying to increase unilateral sanctions against Iran, other major states show bold resistance to the punitive measures.

“China, Russia, India and Turkey move into the lucrative void left by US and EU sanctions that aim to halt Iran’s nuclear program,” the Los Angeles Times wrote on Sunday.

On June 9, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s military and financial sectors over allegations that Tehran is following a military nuclear program.

In recent weeks, the US, the European Union, Australia, and Canada have added unilateral measures to the UNSC sanctions, targeting the energy rich country’s oil and gas industry. But China, Russia, India and Turkey rejected the unilateral US and EU sanctions aimed at Iran’s energy sector.

The countries “are making it very clear they are not going to go along with the new American and European efforts to ratchet up pressure on Iran,” Ben Rhode, an analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told the Times. China’s move to expand its business Iran “has been amazing,” said a senior European official on condition of anonymity, the American newspaper said.

Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrehkar Shirazi announced last week that China is investing 40 billion dollars in Iran’s oil and gas industry.

The unilateral sanctions also gave China and Russia an opportunity to sell more gasoline to Iran.

“These countries have long-term interests in the region,” Bloomberg quoted Gary Sick, a member of the US National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, as saying on Monday. China wants “to maintain relations with Iran for the sake of maintaining some access to the oil,” Sick said.

“Looking at the political situation, I’m not sure if Europe and the US were 100 percent sure about the possible responses from places like Russia and China,” said Alexander Poegl, an analyst at JBC Energy in Vienna. “Iran will find partners supplying them gasoline,” he added.

Last week China defended its economic ties with Iran after a senior US official called on Beijing to adopt the UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.

“China’s trade with Iran is a normal business exchange, which will not harm the interests of other countries and the international community,” China Daily quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying on Thursday.

“Sanctions will not hinder us in our joint cooperation,” Sergei Shmatko, Russia’s energy minister, said last month in Moscow after signing an agreement for a long-term energy partnership with his Iranian counterpart.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | 2 Comments

   

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