Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy. “Politics is mostly about people — and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to foreign policy,” explains Foreign Policy in its introduction. With the U.S. presidential election looming, the magazine offers “to peel back the curtain on this rarefied part of the Establishment” to better inform American voters about “the advisers who will determine the country’s course in the world” in the event that they elect Mitt Romney. The FP 50, it says, are “all GOP partisans” from the different “ideological traditions” — namely, realism, neoconservatism, and “even” isolationism — that are “currently fighting for the soul of their party’s foreign policy.” A cursory look at the list, however, shows that a far more influential ideological tradition — Zionism — holds sway over the Republican Party.
Although only about 20% of American Jews supported the GOP in 2008, the FP 50 features as many as 20 Jewish partisans of Israel, including Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (#2), Brookings Institution senior fellow Robert Kagan (#4), and casino mogul and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson (#9) who make its top 10 most powerful Republicans on foreign policy. Also at number 8 is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the stridently pro-Israel chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose maternal grandfather was a “pillar” of Cuba’s Jewish community who helped found several synagogues there. More importantly, several of the most passionate Israel partisans are close advisors to the Romney team, including Kagan, Dan Senor (#13), Dov Zakheim (#27), Eliot Cohen (#29), and Elliott Abrams (#35).
Moreover, the careers of many of the non-Jewish individuals on Foreign Policy’s list have been inextricably linked to their staunch support of the Jewish state. Topping the FP 50 is Senator John McCain who not only continues the family tradition of covering up Israel’s deliberate June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty but invariably leads the call — in unison with Senator Joe Lieberman — for U.S. intervention in countries surrounding the Jewish state. At number 26 is Senator Mark Kirk, “the Israel lobby’s favorite senator” whose office this year served as a conduit for an Israeli initiative to redefine Palestinian refugees out of existence. And coming in in 46th place is John Hagee, the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, which, as FP points out, “has done more than just about any other organization to make Israel a defining foreign-policy issue for evangelical Christians in the United States.”
Indeed, out of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy, Congressman Ron Paul — who, along with his son, Senator Rand Paul, is ranked #25 — appears to be one of the very few who could be relied upon to put U.S. interests ahead of Israel’s. Yet Foreign Policy, a division of the pro-Israel Washington Post, never explicitly refers to the decisive — and potentially catastrophic — influence Tel Aviv would have over a Romney administration. However, those familiar with the operations of the Israel lobby know that, as the magazine puts it, “the relentless lobbying and insider machinations of surprisingly few people can often end up defining the foreign policy of entire administrations.”
- The Obnoxious Foreign Policy Ideas in Romney’s Convention Speech (theamericanconservative.com)
- Romney says Israel, US ‘bound together,’ in Jerusalem speech (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Administrators at the University of Montreal (UdeM), the most prestigious French-speaking University in North America, have been forced to cancel dozens of classes for the rest of the week for fear of fresh protests.
The university issued a notice in Tuesday evening, saying that it had suspended classes in the departments that have been targeted by striking students since Monday, the CBC reported.
“They were the classes that we saw in the last two days [in which] the students were giving us trouble,” said Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for the university administration.
The classes were supposed to resume this week after the winter semester was suspended following massive months-long protests across Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec against proposed tuition fee hikes.
Over Monday and Tuesday, the police stormed the university and arrested more than 30 protesters. The protest erupted following the passage of a new controversial bill, which outlawed obstructing classes and all non-pre-approved gatherings of more than 50.
Students in Quebec have been protesting university tuition hikes since February 2011. The protests later turned into a larger movement, dubbed the “maple revolution,” which, analysts say, reveals deeper social unrest.
The developments come ahead of next week’s provincial elections, which will decide whether Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest’s ruling Liberal Party, which insists on a plan to increase tuition fees by 82 percent, could be reelected.
The latest opinion survey shows that the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, is heading for a victory in the September 4 polls.
The PQ has promised to hold a referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada if 850,000 Quebecers sign a related petition.
- Quebec police arrest 19 protesting students as classes resume (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Canadian students arrested after clashing with police (PHOTOS) (rt.com)
South African workers arrested after a shooting at a platinum mine have been charged with killing 34 of their colleagues, despite confirmation that police committed the murders. The officers, who did not deny using guns, face no charges.
The Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, in the country’s North West province, made headlines on August 16, when protesters, who demanded their wages be raised to over $1,000 a month, clashed with police. The crackdown claimed the lives of 36 people – miners and two policemen, and left 78 injured.
All of the 270 arrested miners, including the six hospitalized, were previously said to be charged with attempted murder or public violence. But state prosecutor Nigel Carpenter increased the charges against them.
The miners are to be tried under the “common purpose” doctrine, which implies that all participants in a criminal activity can be charged for its consequences.
“This is under common law, where people are charged with common purpose in a situation where there are suspects with guns or any weapons and they confront or attack the police and a shooting takes place, and there are fatalities,”Frank Lesenyego, spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, said.
The lawyers representing the Marikana strikers are expected to challenge the charges. A prior application for bail was rejected, and the hearing was delayed till September 6. Until then, the miners will remain in custody in three area police stations.
At the same time, the policemen involved in the deadly clashes at the Marikana mine will undergo a Commission of Inquiry investigation separately.
That is despite police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s confirmation a few days after the tragedy that the 34 people were killed by police. However, police officers insist that they opened fire to defend themselves against a wave of strikers armed with machetes, who allegedly charged barricades. Prior to gunshots, the police used tear gas and water cannons.
However, leaked findings of victims’ autopsies were published by the South African Star newspaper, and showed that the miners were shot in the back while running away.
The post-mortem results suggested that the strikers posed no danger to law enforcement at the time of the shooting.
An official spokesman refused to confirm or deny the accusations on what’s already being dubbed the Marikana Massacre – the most violent episode in South Africa’s history since the 1994 end of apartheid.
- South Africa’s Unfinished Revolution and the Massacre at Marikana (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Shocking autopsy: South African police ‘shot fleeing protesters in the back’ (rt.com)
We’ve written at length about the case of Troy Anderson, a prisoner with mental illness who has spent more than ten years in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary. This past April, a Federal District Court in Denver heard a case brought on Anderson behalf by students at the University of Denver Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic. As we wrote, “it was his untreated mental illness that first landed him at CSP, Anderson contends, and now the same symptoms are keeping him there indefinitely. Without proper treatment, he is unable to convince corrections officials that he’s fit for the general prison population. This catch-22, his lawyers say, condemns him to an effective life sentence under conditions that are increasingly being denounced as a form of torture—particularly when applied to mentally ill prisoners.” The suit claimed that Anderson’s treatment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment and its guarantee of due process. Among other things, his lawyers pointed out that it has been more than a decade since Anderson had “felt the sun on his back.”
Westword‘s Alan Prendergast, who has also followed the case closely, reported earlier this week on the judge’s ruling in the case:
In what amounts to a landmark decision, a federal judge has ruled that the conditions of solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary constitute “a paradigm of inhumane treatment” and must change — notably, so that inmates locked down in their cells 23 hours a day can have at least three hours a week of natural light, fresh air and outdoor exercise. “The Eighth Amendment does not mandate comfortable prisons, but it does forbid inhumane conditions,” U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson wrote in an order issued last Friday.
CSP has an interior courtyard that could be modified to permit outdoor exercise for inmates, Jackson notes. But since it opened in 1993, the state supermax has permitted its high-security inmates only to exercise in an odd-shaped room on each tier equipped with a chin-up bar; small holes allow some fresh air from outside to reach the room. Calling CSP “out of step with the rest of the nation” — even the notorious federal supermax in Florence allows its inmates outdoor recreation in individual cages — Jackson declared that prison officials must provide its charges with “meaningful exposure” to natural light and air.
Jackson’s ruling came in the case of Troy Anderson, 42, a mentally ill inmate serving an 83-year sentence stemming from two shootouts with police. He’s one of ten inmates who have been at CSP for ten years or more with hardly any exposure to the outdoors (except during transport to court) during that time. His lawsuit, filed with the aid of student lawyers from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, challenged several aspects of life at CSP, from mental health treatment to the policies that have kept him from progressing to a less restrictive prison, as unconstitutional…
On other issues, the judge ordered a fresh look at Anderson’s medication issues and mental health treatment. He adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward new policies that are supposed to address other inmate concerns about how inmates receive bad behavior reports, known as “negative chrons,” that can prolong their stay in solitary confinement without a clear appeal process.
At Anderson’s trial, other inmates testified about suicidal thoughts brought on by the severe isolation and being deprived of any exposure to the outdoors. “I go to bed crying sometimes because I feel I have no hope of being outside of that cell any more,” one said.
A copy of the judge’s order can be found here: Troy Anderson v. Colorado DOC
Russia criticized unilateral US and European Union sanctions against Damascus, as it voiced skepticism about forming buffer zones in Syria.
Saying they worsen the plight of the Syrian people, Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, called for exerting efforts in a bid to improve the humanitarian situation for the Syrians.
Churkin said he agreed with UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres, who warned the Security Council against the so-called “safe zones.”
“He (Guterres) made it very clear he thought that history showed that they cannot be relied on as an effective tool for protecting civilians – that we must work together in order to help alleviate and improve the humanitarian situation for the entire population of Syria,” Churkin told the council.