Prologue: In 2004 I wrote Brazil and Lula: Year Zero (Edifurb: Blumenau, Sao Paolo 2005), in which I presented my analysis of the Lula-Workers Party (PT) regime in Brazil undergoing a Grand Transformation with the first stage represented by the PT’s incorporation into a government apparatus led by of bankers and exporters (the agro-mineral elite).
Two years earlier, my colleague, Henry Veltmeyer, and I had published Cardoso’s Brazil: A Land for Sale (Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham MD 2003) where we described how President Cardoso had sold off the major public resources, banks, petroleum and iron resources to foreign capital for rock bottom prices. The 2002 election of President Lula DaSilva of the Workers’ Party did not reverse Cardoso’s sell-out. Indeed, Lula accepted his predecessor’s neo-liberal policies – embellished them – and set about forging an alliance between the Workers’ Party and the economic elites, replacing Cardoso’s Party! For the next few years, we were attacked by the Left academic and pundit world for having dared to advance such a critique on their ‘worker president’! The consequences of what we had described as the PT’s pact with the Right are clear to everyone today: Brazil is enmeshed in swindles, scandals and coups.
“The nature of the multitude is to arrive rapidly and depart swiftly”.
For more than a decade, left-wing parties, accompanied by working class trade unions and landless rural social movements, dominated Brazil, the largest country in Latin America. Their political leaders were repeatedly elected; their trade union and rural social officials secured concessions from the state; the political process followed legal procedures adjudicating its agenda with the opposition business, banking and professional parties.
We were told the days of coups and revolutions were passed. Electoral processes, honest vote counts and mutual recognition of political legitimacy precluded any violent, dismissal and ouster of the established Left political leadership.
The Rise and Fall of the Political Left
The dominance of the Left is now only a memory! Its parties are in full retreat. Its leaders are scorned, insulted and prosecuted by their former political allies. The business allies of the past are now at their throats. Those politicians, who secured government positions in return for loyalty and votes, have fled clamoring for ‘impeachment’ and claiming deceit… while seeking new sources of patronage and plunder.
The great left political leaders, who had once bragged of 53 million voters, who were hailed in the international press for their command of a huge mass base while accommodating the interest of modern trade and business, are now condemned by the capitalist media as the cause of the current economic calamity.
The popular heroes of yesterday, who shared wealth and status with their rivals in the business elite, are now ostracized and facing show-trials for corruption.
The Trade Union and Rural Workers’ Leaders
Veteran trade union and rural leaders came to the Presidential Palace to celebrate the electoral successes of the ‘worker president’.
Once blushing with flattery, these mass leaders are now dismayed that the fiesta has ended and the music has stopped, while the workers and peasants are ordered to pay for the broken dishes and start the cleanup…
The mass popular organizations are now without allies in Congress; their voices are shut out of the bourgeois media; the domestic economy has been abandoned by the market; and the masses are in the streets clamoring for retribution against the politicians betrayal. Now trade union and peasant leaders appeal for resistance and a return to class struggle; but their followers are in retreat!
Toward an Understanding of a Historical Defeat
The rise and fall of the Left is a historical reversal, which requires a systematic analysis of a disastrous strategy. The left’s defeat cannot simply be dismissed as a betrayal by treacherous allies, corrupt party officials or plots concocted by billionaires and the US Embassy, leading up to a coup via a clearly phony impeachment process. The real question to ask is: Why did the Left allow such treachery and betrayal, culminating in a legislative ‘coup d’état’, to develop unopposed leading to reversal and rout of the Left? How could a huge multi-million-person voting machine, a vast and experienced trade union apparatus and a militant rural social movement fall defeated without even a struggle?
The Strategy of the Left
The Left parties deliberately adopted a short-term strategy of accommodation with the right, in part to avoid long-term, large-scale strategic confrontations with the defeated economic elite. For their part, the parties of the Right and their US advisors patiently chose to accept the Left’s compromises and offers of cooperation, in order to prepare for a strategic offensive when the Left’s mass of support had declined.
The Left parties embraced poorly thought-out ’short-cuts’ to governance. They occupied government posts while cutting cozy deals with all the major power brokers of the Right.
The Left signed ‘austerity’ agreements with the IMF to restrain budgets and accept debt obligations. Members of notorious rightwing and opportunistic political parties were brought into the cabinet, assigned strategic congressional leadership positions and placed on senior presidential advisory panels in exchange for their votes to approve loans, credits and regional development projects.
The Left negotiated deals with business elites, offering them generous subsidies and high profits, while restraining workers’ demands for structural changes. They viewed this accommodation as an exchange for economic growth, wage increases and trade union recognition as a legitimate power sharer.
The Left dismissed the grassroots demands for social transformation and they opposed any popular campaign to prosecute the financial elites for money laundering and white-collar crimes. Instead, they favored incremental increases in wages, poverty funds, pensions and consumer credit.
The Left ignored the reality that such arrangements with the business elites were only a temporary truce rather than a permanent, strategic alliance.
The trade unions followed the lead of the Left political leadership. They directed their mass organizations to accept negotiations based on periodic wage increases, more funds for trade union education and subsidies for new union building complexes. The trade union leaders discouraged strikes, repressed demands for public ownership and prevented any investigation into mining, banking and agro-business corruption, tax evasions and bribery. Even the well-documented wave of assassinations of landless worker activists and the naked land grabs of ‘protected’ Indian territories went unpunished.
The business elite realized they faced a potential radical mass movement, which was under the control of an elected ‘Left’ government. They were ‘delighted’ that this Left government was so willing to accommodate capitalist demands. They cautiously decided that short-term rewards and well-placed bribes would help prepare the ground for their restoration to power and reversal of the left’s concessions.
The Left rural social movements retained their radical socialist rhetoric and mass membership, but their leadership followed the Left parties in government.
In exchange for subsidies to set-up and expand community-based rural organizations and training schools for farmworkers, the social movements mobilized their mass activists to ‘turn-out the vote’ for the Left parties’ President and Congress people.
The rural movement leaders justified their accommodation with the Left- business alliance describing the Left regime as a ‘field of contention’, where they could press for radical changes. After more than a dozen years of successful mass struggle, the radical rural movement chose to ally with the Left party apparatus! Only when the ‘Left President’ was impeached did the rural workers’ leader call for the return to class struggle!
The Left’s Short Term Gains and Long Term Losses
The political leaders on the left, as well as trade union and rural movement leaders, all believed they had a winning strategy. They claimed their mostly superficial ‘gains’ were ‘evidence’ of their success. These included:
(1) Their governance for over four administrations where they increased or maintained the left’s voting majority.
(2) ‘Pragmatic’ political alliances with parties across the spectrum – won through various forms of bribery – as a formula for winning Congressional approval for major development contracts.
(3) Their funding of opposition allies, which attracted ‘respectability’ and enriched both Left politicians and their electoral campaigns.
(4) The decrease in social tension achieved by recruiting business opponents and gaining support among sectors of the capitalist class.
The Left political leaders’ strategy of accommodation depended on the economic success of the mineral-oil-agriculture export elites. This ignored the business sector’s fundamental policy of cutting social and productive investments whenever markets, profits and economic opportunities declined.
When the Left regime’s public subsidies for the export industry declined following the collapse of the global commodity market, the entire capitalist elite coalesced into a virulent Rightwing opposition.
When the previous political accommodation with capital, held together by corruption and questionable subsidies became the target, the Right launched their strategic offensive.
The fact that business, banking, media and agro-mineral elites were able to join forces so quickly and launch their attack on the Left shows how they had flourished for a decade during the commodity boom.
The entire façade of a ‘broad progressive coalition’ disappeared: The trade union and rural movement structures, linked to the Left political leaders, were incapable of mobilizing their mass base and countering the insurgent Right. For over ten years, the Left regime had cut all its political deals in Congress, in the corridors of elite power, while ignoring ‘class struggle’.
This was a ‘Left’ regime, wholly dependent on market conditions and business allies. It was unable to defend any strategic ground when the Right regained its power base.
The Left regime had retained an intact and fully functioning right administrative and judicial apparatus, composed of courts and judges, the prosecutors and investigators all aligned with the Right opposition. They were ready to undermine the regime’s congressional majority by opening ‘corruption’ investigations targeting the Left. Meanwhile, the business elite managed to intensify the consequences of the economic recession and insist that ‘recovery’ meant austerity against the poor.
The Right purchased its street crowds and mobilized its party allies, including the center, the fascists, the neo-militarists, the agro-business elite and the imperial and local financial press. From Sao Paulo to New York to London they were poised to forcibly oust the elected Left President from power and jail its leaders.
The Left believed in the myth of democratic capitalism. They had faith that their negotiations with the business elites would increase social welfare. They operated on a platform of gradual accommodation of class interests leading to multi-class alliances and strategic conciliation between business and labor.
The historical lesson has proven otherwise – again. Business and the capitalist elite make clear, tactical short-term agreements in order to prepare a strategic counter-offensive. Their patient long-term strategy was to mobilize their class allies and overturn the electoral process – at the ripe moment.
The Left parties depended on achieving a series of ’strategic understandings with the capitalist class’ where both would benefit at a time of peak global demand for Brazil’s commodities, instead of expanding their popular mandate by transforming the economy and domestic market.
The Left behaved as if favorable world market conditions would last forever. They lost their chance to use their 53 million-voter strength and radically change the organization and ownership of Brazil’s strategic economic sectors!
In this way, the Left imitated the Right, choosing to share its power bases through accommodation with their business-partners. These were amateurs at the bourgeois power game, who found themselves entrapped in corruption and crisis! How shocking!
It was so much easier for the Left politicians to get campaign funding through the usual practice of business payola than to campaign from door to door, factory to factory, village to village, fighting repression, elite media boycotts and armed vigilantes.
In the end, their ‘power base’ dissolved and their capitalist ‘partners’ and political ‘allies’ abandoned them: the Left President was impeached.
Victorious capital and empire neatly ended this charade of ‘market democracy’. The retreating Left parties begged for a reprieve via parliamentary vote and ended with a decisive defeat… bleating their last whimper as the door slammed shut…
Capitalists have never and will never recognize weak popular opposition. The capitalist political elite will always choose power and wealth over social democracy. The Left, in retreat, isolated and expelled from the corridors of power, now face retribution from the most corrupt and treacherous of their ‘former allies’.
They usher in a lost generation.
A foreign military is unlikely to launch a ground operation in Syria due to the Russian Airspace Forces there, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in commenting on the readiness Turkey has expressed to send troops to Syria “if necessary.”
“I do not think that anyone will decide to play dangerous games and carry out any provocations due to the fact that there are Russian Aerospace Forces stationed [in Syria],” Lavrov said when asked about the possibility of a Turkish or Saudi Arabian incursion.
The Foreign Minister stressed that “it’s necessary to educate, those who are trying to advocate” a military invasion because it “would be a direct aggression,” according to Sputnik.
“But I don’t think that they have any justification, at least some excuse [for a military invasion], because the ceasefire [in Syria] is strengthening after all,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Al-Jazeera that Ankara is ready to send ground troops to Syria “if it becomes necessary… to provide for our own security.”
Lavrov said that a third party had tried to manipulate the US into shielding terrorists from the Al-Nusra Front group in Syria.
“During the negotiations, our US partners actually tried to draw the borders of this ‘zone of silence’ to include a significant portion of positions occupied by Al-Nusra [Front]. We managed to exclude this as absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
“This indicates that someone wants to use the Americans. I do not believe that it is in their interest to shield Al-Nusra [Front],” the FM stressed.
Lavrov pointed to evidence linking the Turkish government with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, which were excluded from the Syrian ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and the US in February.
Turkey is believed to be trading oil and artifacts with the jihadists, allowing them to cross the border freely and supplying them with arms.
Ankara has been pushing for the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, which it views among its prime geopolitical rivals. According to Lavrov, the nature of Ankara’s relations with Washington is different from Moscow’s cooperation with Assad’s government in Syria.
“Assad is not our ally, by the way. Yes, we support him in the fight against terrorism and preserving the state of Syria. But he is not an ally in the sense that Turkey is the ally of the United States,” Lavrov told Sputnik.
The Russian FM blamed Ankara for pressuring the EU to accept the idea of “safe zones” to host refugees on the Turkish-Syrian border, despite the idea being rejected by the US.
“They are still talking about safety zones. Unfortunately, the European Union is also starting to take the concept of security zones as a given under blackmail from Turkey,” he said.
“At least, when [US President Barack] Obama was in Hannover, [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel said at a press conference that ‘we support the idea of security zones,’ which Obama immediately publicly disowned, but it sounded symptomatic,” the FM said.
The minister also returned to the topic of Russia’s Su-24 jet that was downed on an anti-terrorist mission in Syria by the Turkish Air Force in November of last year.
“Our assessment is absolutely clear: the Turkish leadership has committed a crime and an error,” he said in describing the tragedy that President Putin has called “a stab in the back” and led to Moscow imposing a series of sanctions on Ankara.
Lavrov was confident that similar incidents were “no longer possible because all measures have been taken to avoid any accidents, and the Turks are aware of this.”
‘Ankara shows imperialistic behavior’
Moscow has noticed “neo-Ottoman” tendencies in Turkey’s international stances, and not just when it comes to the situation in Syria, Lavrov said, referring to the country’s historical predecessor, the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey is behind all of the talk about “safe zones” and a “Plan B” for Syria, which reveals its “expansionist aspirations,” Lavrov noted, adding that Ankara still maintains a military presence in Iraq despite the express wishes of the Iraqi government, which never authorized Turkish forces to enter and has repeatedly demanded that they leave.
Turkey appears motivated to “extend its influence and expand its territory,” he explained. As an example, Lavrov noted that Turkey had violated Greek airspace 1,800 times last year, while NATO remained tight-lipped.
“This kind of explicitly expansionist behavior, can’t lead to anything good,” the Russian FM stressed.
The United States has signed a military cooperation agreement with Senegal that allows “the permanent presence” of American troops in the West African country.
Sources familiar with the subject said the deal, which was clinched on Monday, would give US forces access to many areas in Senegal, such as airports and military installations, allegedly to respond to security or health needs.
The agreement allows for “the permanent presence of American soldiers in Senegal” and aims to “face up to the common difficulties in security” in the region, Senegal’s Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye said during the signing ceremony alongside the US Ambassador to Dakar James Zumwalt.
Zumwalt, for his turn, said, “We believe that this agreement will help the US military and the Senegalese military reinforce our cooperation together to deal with threats to our common interests.”
“This agreement is about access, is about coming when there is an urgent desire and when both sides agree,” he added.
Some 40 American soldiers are currently deployed in Senegal, according to the US Africa Command. The US mission in Dakar said that number would not rise under the deal.
Washington has increased its troops in Africa in recent years under the cover of humanitarian aid or fighting terrorist groups; however, many political analysts believe the US military is actually expanding its presence all over the continent.
Reports say the US Army has in recent years developed a remarkably extensive network of over 60 outposts and access points in at least 34 African countries — more than 60 percent of the nations on the continent.
It’s not often that government officials admit to failure in the face of popular resistance. When they do, it’s an occasion for celebration.
Draft registration was reinstated in 1980, supposedly to prepare for possible deployment of US troops in Afghanistan on the side of the Islamic fundamentalist warlords and “mujahideen” who were then fighting against the USSR. The US government put me in prison for refusing to agree to fight on the side of the people who would later become the Taliban and Al Qaeda! It’s no wonder that people of my generation, or later generations, have no faith in the ability of the US government to decide for us in which wars, or on which (if any) side, we should fight.
Today in U.S. News & World Report, Steven Nelson has the most significant piece of reporting about draft registration and the Selective Service System in decades, asking questions that journalists, politicians, and the public should have been asking years ago.
It’s been obvious — to anyone who wanted to look — that resistance forced the government to abandon the attempt to enforce draft registration in failure in the 1980s, after show trials of a handful of the “most vocal” nonregistrants. But this is the first time that responsible Selective Service officials and former officials have confirmed this on the record.
The article is worth reading in full, but I’ve posted some key excerpts below, followed by my analysis and comments:
Gender-Neutral Draft Registration Would Create Millions of Female Felons
by Steven Nelson, U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 2016
A key congressional committee voted last week to require young women to register for potentially compulsory military service, but the gender-equalizing reform threatens to make felons out of women who refused to participate.
Though prosecutions currently appear unlikely, men jailed for not registering with the Selective Service System and some former authorities who participated in the cases are concerned about criminalizing a large swath of the population.
“It will inevitably lead to massive resistance, whether visible in the streets or women just blowing it off the way men have,” says Edward Hasbrouck, prosecuted for not registering in the 1980s. “Congress is smoking crack if they think women can be forced to register.”
Hasbrouck served more than four months in prison after catching the eye of an ambitious federal prosecutor, Robert Mueller, who went on to be FBI director. He originally received a suspended sentence, but recalls an unamused judge sending him to prison in late 1984 [actually 1983] for doing peace activism to satisfy court-ordered community service….
The government was “faced with far more people who had initially refused to register in the start-up period than they had ever imagined — it was beyond their worst nightmare. They were self-deluded in the way people today who think they can just wave their wand and women will sign up for the draft are self-deluded,” Hasbrouck says….
In all, 20 men were prosecuted in the 1980s for not registering, a diverse and geographically scattered group including ideological advocates of individual rights and members of the historical peace churches.
The last indictment came in 1986 when Terry Kuelper of Arkansas was slapped with the felony charge. He agreed to register before trial and the charge was dismissed. Court proceedings ended when Gillam Kerley of Wisconsin was released from a three-year prison sentence after four months, with the case ending in 1988….
Former Selective Service associate director Edward Frankle … developed a process for … enforcement of the registration law…. “We did what we had to to keep at least some level of credibility in the system,” he says. “You couldn’t just totally ignore it — how could you do that and still with a straight face say, ‘Yeah that’s the requirement’?”
In the late ’80s the Justice Department discontinued prosecutions. Dick Flahavan, a spokesman for the Selective Service who was with the agency at the time, recalls the Justice Department “decided that since there was no draft … there are limited resources and the FBI’s time would be better spent chasing white collar crime than some Mennonite kid through Pennsylvania.”
“We said, ‘Fine, we understand,’ and that’s why it ended in ’88,” he says. “The agency did agree to what the Justice Department proposed, a suspension of prosecutions [during peace time]. Since they did the prosecutions we didn’t have much leverage anyways.”…
Flahavan says the Selective Service had hoped for a much stronger approach from federal prosecutors, but was rebuffed.
“What we would have preferred was every year in all 95 judicial districts there be a prosecution to keep the heat on and the publicity going,” he says. “But they couldn’t sustain that.”
If someone registered just before trial, the prosecution would be dropped, Flahavan notes, making the pursuit of resisters “really a losing proposition for the feds” and often “a big waste of time.”
Wilfred Ebel, acting director of the Selective Service System in 1987, when further waves of prosecutions were being considered, says he can’t recall the precise discussions that led to abandonment of new cases. Former Attorneys General Ed Meese, who left the department in 1988, and successor Dick Thornburgh did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Mueller….
Though hard numbers are elusive, Hasbrouck says with confidence “compliance with the address update requirement is and has been since 1980 essentially zero.”
A central insight of both Gandhian and anarchist political theory is that governments have power only to the extent that people are willing to carry out or comply with their orders. But few of the people pontificating lately about whether extending draft registration to women is “desirable” (from one or another perspective) have stopped to ask whether it is possible. So far as I know, no historian or scholar has made a study of draft registration since 1980. (If I’ve missed something, please send me a link or citation, or post it in the comments.) There’s been no GAO audit of the accuracy of the Selective Service database of registrants and their current addresses since 1982.
Despite the refusal of the Justice Department to prosecute nonregistrants, the Selective Service System continues to refer names of possible nonregistrants identified by automated data-matching to the Justice Department “for possible prosecution”. According to the latest Selective Service System Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2015 (page 16), “If a man fails to register or fails to provide evidence that he is exempt from the registration requirement after receiving Selective Service reminder and/or compliance mailing, his name is referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for possible investigation and prosecution for his failure to register… During FY 2015, 146,997 names and addresses of suspected violators were provided to the DOJ.” None of these nonregistrants were investigated or prosecuted, nor have any of the other millions of suspected draft registration resisters whose names have been referred by the SSS to the DOJ in the last thirty years.
If resistance rendered draft registration of men unenforceable, why would anyone think that young women will be more willing to sign up to kill or be killed on command than young men have been?
Resistance to any attempt to extend draft registration to women is inevitable, but people tend to (wrongly) discount the practical or political significance of silent resistance, despite its effectiveness. That’s a major reason why the ongoing resistance to draft registration by young men has been so little noticed or understood.
Much of the active political life of subordinate groups has been ignored because it takes place at a level we rarely recognize as political. To emphasize the enormity of what has been, by and large, disregarded, I want to distinguish between the open, declared forms of resistance, which attract most attention, and the disguised, low-profile undeclared resistance….
For many of the least privileged minorities and marginalized poor, open political action will hardly capture the bulk of political action…. The luxury of relatively safe, open political opposition is rare… So long as we confine our conception of the political to activity that is openly declared we are driven to conclude that subordinate groups essentially lack a political life…. To do so is to miss the immense terrain that lies between quiescence and [open] revolt and that, for better or worse, is the political environment of subject classes….
Each of the forms of disguised resistance… is the silent partner of a loud form of public resistance.
And Scott said this in Two Cheers for Anarchism (Princeton University Press, 2012, Chapter 1):
Desertion is quite different from an open mutiny that directly challenges military commanders. It makes no public claims, it issues no manifestos, it is exit rather than voice. And yet, once the extent of desertion becomes known, it constrains the ambitions of commanders, who know they may not be able to count on their conscripts…. Quiet, anonymous,… lawbreaking and disobedience may well be the historically preferred mode of political action for… subaltern classes, for whom open defiance is too dangerous.
To make this happen, Congress and the public need to hear from young women who don’t plan to register for the draft. Otherwise they won’t think about the prospect of resistance by women to draft registration, or take it seriously. I’ll be happy to publish or link to “I Won’t Go” or “We Won’t Go” statements, anonymously or with names as the authors wish. If there are other things I can do to help young women prepare to resist draft registration, or to support their resistance, or to support the ongoing resistance by young men, please let me know.
In a bizarre effort to paper over the historical truth regarding Hitler and the Haavara Agreement, Professor Rainer Schulze of Essex University wrote an article totally lacking intellectual integrity. Schulze’s piece in the Independent, ‘Hitler and Zionism: Why the Haavara Agreement does not mean the Nazis were Zionists’, demonstrates that fear of Zionists and their extensive power extends beyond the Labour party. It is deeply entrenched within the British psyche and institutionally embedded in academia.
Schulze article leads him to the conclusion that: “any claim that Nazis and Zionists ever shared a common goal is not only cynical and disingenuous, but a distortion of clearly established historical fact.” The German/British professor’s failure to apply elementary academic analytical skills to the issue results in faulty scholarship.
Schulze accepts that the Havaara Agreement provided that “Jewish emigrants from Germany had to hand over their possessions before they departed, and the proceeds from the sale of such possessions were used by a company specifically set up for this purpose in Tel Aviv to purchase German goods for sale in Palestine.”
But Schulze continues, “The Haavara Agreement does not mean the Nazis were ever Zionists. Instead, it is testament to the fact that Nazi policy towards the Jews was not clear-cut from the beginning, but evolved greatly over the years.” Schulze clearly doesn’t understand what Zionism was and who the Zionists were at the time of the Agreement.
Schulze defines Zionism as; “a movement based on the right of self-determination.” This definition of Zionism is profoundly anachronistic and it is wrong.
Zionism was primarily and fundamentally the belief that Jews should return to Zion. Zionism was a Jewish ‘homecoming project.’*
Zionists Jews were divided amongst themselves what the ‘homecoming’ might mean. Some believed that Zionism should aim to create a spiritual centre, others believed in Bi Nationalism. Many engaged in a pragmatic political struggle to erect a racially oriented Jews Only State.
Crucially, Hitler like Churchill** and many others, saw in Zionism an opportunity for Europe to rid itself of some problematic Jewish elements. Whether Schulze likes it or not, Zionism was a successful project because from its onset, it formed a symbiotic relationship between Zionist Jews and the Jew haters who wanted the Jews out of Europe. Zionism promised a national home for the Jews and at the same time offered to ‘take the Jews away.’
In 1933 Hitler was a Zionist. Like Zionists (both Jews and their detractors) he wanted the Jews out of Europe. Palestine was his preferred solution. At a later stage, probably around 1936, Hitler changed his mind about Zionism. He realised that the Zionist project was celebrated at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people. Professor Schulze can discuss this transition with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
One would expect an academic scholar specialising in Modern Jewish History to grasp that Zionism as well as the State of Israel are sustained by Jew hatred. If ‘anti Semitism’ disappears, Israel and Zionism become obsolete concepts. Understanding this, Israel and Zionism have consistently contributed to the rise of anti Semitism. When there is no anti Semitism to point at, Jewish institutions simply invent it, as they are presently doing in the Labour party.
Enough Schulze bashing for one day. To his credit, Professor Schulze is not entirely dishonest. Like other contemporary German historians, Schulze is very careful with his wording regarding the German oppressive mechanisms and practicality.
Towards the end of his Independent article, Schulze writes about the 1939 German Polish Campaign: “they (the Nazis) were looking for dumping grounds for Jews and other “undesirables.” These people were at best treated as ‘assets’ to exploit or, later, a stock of slave labour, and at worst simply expected to die of disease and starvation.”
Did Schulze miss something? He did. He forgot to mention the gas chambers. Was this unintentional? I don’t think so. I have noticed that more German mainstream historians are unwilling to commit to the gas chamber homicidal narrative. Let’s see how long it will be before Schulze is kicked out of Essex University for heresy of the one and only universal Western religion.
*Home coming” from a Jewish perspective only. The author of this article doesn’t agree in any way that Palestine is home for the Jews.
**”Zionism offers the third sphere to the political conceptions of the Jewish race. In violent contrast to international communism, it presents to the Jew a national idea of a commanding character. It has fallen to the British Government, as the result of the conquest of Palestine, to have the opportunity and the responsibility of securing for the Jewish race all over the world a home and centre of national life.” (A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People, Winston S. Churchill 1920)
Finally, it has become clear what the world has been set to expect from the NATO summit to be held in Warsaw on July 8-9. Summing things up, it is clear that the Alliance is moving to the east. It plans to create a Black Sea «allied fleet». It should be done quickly – the standing force should be formed by July.
The idea has been put forward by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis who probably wants to leave a historic legacy. The «allied fleet» is to comprise the warships from Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States. At present, non-Black Sea NATO vessels visit the Black Sea only during exercises. The ships from Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia may join the force on permanent basis.
The 1936 Montreux Convention regulates the transit of naval warships. The document restricts outside navies’ access to the Turkish Straits and the Black Sea to 21 straight days per warship, and a maximum aggregate tonnage of 45,000 tons, with any one vessel no heavier than 15,000 tons.
Non-Black Sea states must also give Turkey a 15-day notice before sending warships through the straits.
International law is not strictly observed nowadays, so this problem could be solved. But what mission the new NATO standing force in the Black Sea is destined for?
A bit more than a couple of years ago Washington and Brussels had plans to make Sevastopol a NATO naval base. For many centuries the city has served as an outpost to protect the peninsula. After Crimea was reunited with Russia, Sevastopol became a fortified area with integrated command and control, intelligence and reconnaissance, anti-air, anti-surface ship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia was a great frustration for NATO planners. Now they start to mull retaliatory measures. The «allied fleet» is an element of broader strategic plans. A few ships cannot tip the balance of forces in the Black Sea. Neither US, nor Romanian surface ships, nor the Ukrainian frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy escorted by rubber boats, or German conventional submarines pose any threat to Sevastopol. But it may change in the future. The Montreux convention can be changed (or violated), public opinion can be influenced and democratic parliaments can be convinced to approve allocations for creating a really strong maritime force in the Black Sea with Odessa as its home base. The port could be upgraded to host a large naval force.
Then the situation will be escalated to the days of the Cold War. The status of Ukraine led by Petro Poroshenko will change, if the president still remains in power and the Hetman Sahaydachniy still keeps afloat. Poroshenko is happy. He is impatiently waiting for the July NATO summit. The event can ultimately do away with whatever is left of «détente», «reset» etc. and bring the world back to the days of uncompromised mutual assured destruction.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Daesh militants must immediately be pushed back from an area in Syria near the Turkish border.
“Daesh should be cleared from the Manbij region southwards at once and we are doing the necessary work for that,” he said in comments broadcast on NTV Wednesday.
He was referring to a northern Syrian town that has been used as a logistical route by the Takfiri group.
It was not immediately clear whether Cavusoglu’s remarks meant a possible Turkish military operation inside Syria.
Earlier, security sources said Turkey’s military shelled an area of northern Syria after rockets allegedly hit the Turkish border town of Kilis.
Nobody was wounded in the morning attack on the town as the rockets hit empty land, the sources said.
Kilis, just across the border from an area controlled by the militants, has been regularly hit by rocket fire.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov voiced concerns over the conduct of Turkish military actions on the ground and its push for so-called safe zones inside Syria.
“What makes Russia and many others worried is that Turkey is still firing at Syrian territory; and there are still those who demand the establishment of some sort of safe zone in Syria, also the non-stop voices calling for ground action in Syria.
“We believe they are the ones who place their hopes for solving the Syrian crisis on force instead of through political solutions. We believe this will have disastrous outcomes; therefore, these pleas should shop,” Lavrov said in Moscow.
Lavrov stressed that Russia insists the border between Syria and Turkey should be closed to cut off supplies for terrorists in Syria.
He expressed hope to see solutions from the UN regarding the matter in the new report on the situation soon to be released by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“We very much hope that the United Nations Secretariat’s report will find solutions on those facts regarding how terrorist organizations use the Syrian-Turkish border as supply channel,” he said.
“We stress that those channels that deliver weapons and personnel supplies to terrorists must be shut down,” Lavrov said after meeting with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
“Therefore, Russia believes the critical thing here is to close the Syrian-Turkish border since that is where these activities are rampant.”
A Jewish rights organization has taken three local councils to court, alleging discrimination over the public authorities’ decision to boycott Israeli goods produced in illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.
A solicitor for JHRQ, Robert Festenstein, said: “We would like to see the motions quashed. I don’t understand why they would pass it in the first place.
“I mean, they wouldn’t pass a motion saying something derogatory about women, so why would they do that about Jews?”
Andrew Sharland, a lawyer representing Leicester’s council, which approved the boycott back in 2014, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”
“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.
A number of councils across the country began boycotting Israeli goods around 2009 in response to Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
Earlier this year, the government issued guidance to public authorities saying such boycotts are “inappropriate” unless formal legal sanctions or embargoes have been put in place by central government.
The Cabinet Office warned that boycotts could “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”
The campaign group War on Want has decried the JHRW legal challenge as “shameful.”
War on Want senior campaigner Ryvka Barnard said: “It’s shameful that local councils are being attacked for ensuring their policies are in line with international and UK law.
“The illegal settlements are a part of the systematic abuses of international law and human rights committed by Israel against the Palestinians.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has also criticized the government’s guidance on boycotts as an “attack on local democracy.”
Three US Republican lawmakers are pushing the American aerospace giant, Boeing, to refrain from getting into any deal with Iran.
In a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, the Illinois Republican congressmen asked the company no to business with Tehran for any supply of planes and other services.
Congressmen Peter Roskam, Bob Dold and Randy Hultgren referred to a last July nuclear agreement between Iran and the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1) that removed anti-Iran sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program, saying in their letter that any Iran deal with Boeing would be legal but “not right,” according to Fox News.
“This is not about doing what is legal – it is about doing what is right,” the letter said.
The Republican lawmakers reiterated US allegations of Iranian support for terror, telling Boeing that Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) can turn the planes into combat aircraft.
“We urge you not to be complicit in the likely conversion of Boeing aircraft to IRGC warplanes,” said the lawmakers.
Congressman Roskam, chairman of the US House Committee on Ways and Means Oversight, has been particularly vocal in his anti-Iran position, previously pushing for Europe’s multinational plane-maker Airbus to scuttle its $25 billion deal to sell 118 planes to Iran.
Roskam on Friday introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would prohibit the US Department of Defense from awarding contracts to any entity that does business with Iran.
This is while Boeing is not alone in its interest in Iranian ventures. General Electric Co., among others, is also reportedly exploring business opportunities in Iran.
“Should any agreements be reached at some future point, they would be contingent on the approval of the US government,” Boeing said in a statement in April.
Last month, Iranian officials said Boeing had proposed to sell new models of its 737, 777 and 787 aircraft to Iran and promised after-sales support.
In late January, Iran’s Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan said the country was planning to purchase over 100 planes from Boeing.
The official noted that Iran’s order list from the American company included 737s for domestic flights and two-aisle 777s for long-haul routes.
Iranian officials have already emphasized that the country will need to buy 500 commercial jets of various models for various short-, medium- and long-distance routes.
The US has given Israel categorical assurances that it will not deliver F-35 stealth multirole fighter jets to Arab states to beef up their aerial power, a report says.
According to the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, Washington had confirmed to Tel Aviv that this type of aircraft “will be exclusively allocated for Israel in the Middle East.”
The newspaper further said Israeli authorities are wary of the fact the sale of F-35 military aircraft to Arab countries would chip away at the “technological superiority of Israel in the region.”
There are reports that Washington is mulling the sale of fifth-generation F-35 aircraft to Qatar and Kuwait. US military officials have already announced that they will maintain a quality gap in favor of Israel in such a case.
The Hebrew-language newspaper Yisrael Hume reported recently that the Israeli Air Force is due to receive the first the first batch of F-35 fighter jets at the end of the current year.
It will receive a further seven warplanes next year. An airbase is going to be constructed in Israel’s southern desert region of Negev for the new aircraft.
US military aid to Israel negotiations stalled: Report
Officials, meanwhile, say negotiations meant to enshrine US military aid for Israel over the next decade have snagged on disputes about the size, scope and fine print of a new multibillion-dollar package.
Israel is trying to garner $10 billion more than the current 10-year package, and billions more than the US administration is currently offering through guaranteed funding for missile projects.
US President Barack Obama, however, wants the funds to be spent entirely on US-made weapons, and not spent even partly on Israeli arms, several US and Israeli officials told Reuters.
Under the current agreement signed in 2007 and due to expire in 2018, Israel has received a total sum of about $30 billion or an average of $3 billion per annum from the US.
The current deal allows Israel to spend 26.3 percent of US funds on its own military industries. Washington is seeking to phase out this provision, and ensure that all of the money is spent on US-built munitions.
Tel Aviv says such a measure would give a devastating blow to its arms firms, which make some $800 million a year.
The United States also wants to put an end to a provision which allows Israel to spend around $400 million in annual funds on military fuels.
Israel has long been a major recipient of US aid, most in the form of military assistance.
Tel Aviv also wants the US administration to support missile defense projects that have so far relied on ad hoc assistance by the U.S. Congress.
The Obama administration has reportedly balked at Israel’s request to stipulate a separate funding track in the military deal for missile projects.
In recent years, US legislators have given up to $600 million to Israel in the form of annual discretionary funds for missile systems. The figure is four-fold the $150 million requested by the Obama administration.
In a report by Palestinian prisoners’ institutions, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners Affairs’ Commission, the organizations released the relevant statistics and overall report on Palestinian prisoners in April 2016. The following figures were compiled and released by these three organizations.
567 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli occupation forces during April 2016, bringing the number of those arrested since the beginning of the popular uprising in October 2015 to 5334 Palestinians. The highest number of arrests were in Jerusalem, where 213 were arrested including 60 minors; al-Khalil, where 120 were arrested; followed by 43 in Ramallah, 40 in Nablus, 38 in Bethlehem, 35 in Qalqilya, 23 in Jenin, 12 in Tulkarem, 9 in Tubas, five in Salfit and four in Jericho; in the Gaza Strip, 25 were arrested, including 20 fishers who were subjected to firing and attacks in the sea, two who passed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, and three near the “border” of Gaza.
Among the arrestees were 123 children and 24 women and girls (including 3 minor girls). 69 Palestinian women and girls are imprisoned in Israeli jails, including 15 minor girls; the total number of children in Israeli jails remains over 400. There are over 750 Palestinians held in administrative detention and 700 sick and ill prisoners. 133 administrative detention orders were issued in April, including 97 renewals of ongoing administrative detention orders.
Invasions and Inspection Policy in Prisons
The Israel Prison Service used special units in raid and search operations launched by the prison administration on a regular basis as a means of collective punishment by the Israel Prison Service from arrest until release. The prison administration fabricates pretexts to launch these attacks, in which prisoners are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.
These special units suddenly invade or launch inspections, so as to prevent prisoners from preparing themselves or taking precautionary measures, usually in the early morning hours and sometimes in the hours after midnight; sometimes these fall in the middle of the day, including during prayer times or during iftar in Ramadan. The aim of these raids is to harass and abuse detainees; these special units use provocative actions against prisoners, including dragging prisoners from the rooms, yelling in their faces, verbally abusing them, and confiscating personal documents and family photos, creating provocations which are then used to justify attacks on prisoners.
In the month of April, the incident of the storming of section 14 in Nafha prison went beyond a typical invasion/inspection process with beating of prisoners. This incident occurred after guards refused to allow Akram Siyam and Muharreb Da’is to use the bathroom, which led to an altercation between the guards and the prisoners, during which armed units broke into the section, beat prisoners, sprayed pepper spray and tear gas, removed prisoners from the section, then returned Da’is to the section and invaded again to take him back. Prisoners refused to hand him back and a large force returned with dogs, forced all the prisoners from the room, and attacked them with batons. This caused numerous injuries, including to the ill prisoner Yousry al-Masri, who has cancer and was beaten with a baton on his neck and in his liver area.
The prison administration closed all sections of the prison, and imposed sanctions on section 14, including removal of electrical appliances, denial of family visits, and isolation from other prisoners.
17 prisoners are isolated under the pretext of “threat to state security,” without evidence to indicate this threat. They are held in solitary confinement cells for 23 hours a day except for one hour of recreation when they are with guards only. Solitary confinement is harmful to mental and physical health. The prison service issues isolation orders which can be extended every six months on the decision of the military court, based on a secret file not revealed to prisoners or their lawyers.
Among the isolated prisoners are Noureddine Amer, 34, from Qalqilya, isolated since 21 September 2013, imprisoned since 2 February 2002, and serving a 55 year sentence. He is held in a 3.5 m x 1.5 m room, in Eshel prison, which contines a toilet and a metal door with a slot for introducing food, and has a closed window. He is allowed out for recreation alone for one hour per day.
He has been held in isolation in multiple prisons: Ramon, Ashkelon, Megiddo, Shatta, Gilboa and Ayalon. He is transfered by “Bosta”; transfers take many hours. Prisoners transfered by “Bosta” are prevented from looking through the window and their hands and feet are shackled. During these transfers, Amer is accompanied by special forces who often engage in provocations and subsequent attacks. In July 2015, he was beaten by five military guards; his nose was bleeding and he was in pain but was not given treatment. His belongings were scattered, and they told him to gather them again while he was handcuffed.
He suffers from several diseases worsened by the environment of isolation, including shortness of breath, high cholesterol, joint problems, severe headaches, and stomach ulcers. He sustained a fracture in his hand eight years ago in Gilboa prison and did not receive treatment, and continues to suffer today from the injury to his hand.
He has been denied all forms of communication with his family since his isolation. His mother is elderly, suffers from cancer and had a stroke; he has learned this news only through visits from his lawyers. Three of his brothers are also imprisoned; Nidal Amer is sentenced to life imprisonment, Abdul Salam Amer to 20 years, and Aysar Amer is held in administrative detention since February 2016.
Systematic policy of torture and abuse during the detention of children
Children are exposed to systematic torture, humiliation and cruel treatment from the first moment of arrest, characterized by methods of detention, whether through late-night home invasions, detention by special units or by undercover soldiers who seek to appear “like Arabs” on the street. In addition to degrading treatment of children during their arrest and transfer, they are shackled hand and foot and blindfolded while taken to detention or interrogation centers where they are directly exposed to ill-treatment. This comes either through beatings using hands and feet, cursing and yelling at them in order to provoke fear, or through solitary confinement and harsh conditions to psychologically pressure them,
Among the cases of minor prisoners is that of Mohammed Amarna, 17, from Ya’bad near Jenin, who was arrested on 2 March 2016 from his home. During a legal visit inside the prison, his lawyer confirmed that Amarna had been beaten, insulted and mistreated during transfer to a detention center where he was blindfolded and his hands cuffed behind his back. He was held for hours outside, slapped by a soldier in the face repeatedly as well as by an interrogator.
157 Palestinians detained in connection with activities on social media
The Israeli government formed in recent months the so-called “Cyber Unit” to step up its prosecutions of Palestinians on social media, especially Facebook.
From October 2015 to April 2016, there have been 157 cases of arrests based on expression and opinion posted on Facebook. A number of people have been indicted for “incitement,” while others have been ordered to administrative detention.
The majority of arrests have taken place in Jerusalem as part of the targeting of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Many of the statements express sympathy or solidarity with Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupation forces, or include publishing the photos of martyrs or prisoners.
The suppression of freedom of speech, opinion and expression on social media is not limited to cases of arrest, but has also included terminating the employment of accused Palestinians from institutions in Jerusalem or 1948 occupied Palestine, or forcibly expelling them from their city of residence, especially Jerusalem.
Battle of the empty stomachs
During the month of April, Palestinian prisoners engaged in a number of individual and collective hunger strikes for multiple reason. Sami Janazrah, 43, from al-Khalil, has continued his hunger strike since 3 March, and Fuad Assi, 30, and Adib Mafarjah, 29, both from Ramallah, continue their hunger strikes since 3 April. All are striking against their administrative detention without charge or trial.
Shukri al-Khawaja, 48, from Ramallah, engaged in a strike for a number of days against his continued isolation; dozens of prisoners in several prisons launched solidarity strikes with him. Abdullah Mughrabi, 24, from Jerusalem, also struck for a number of days against isolation.
Mahmoud Suwayta, 40, from al-Khalil, went on hunger strike for over a week against the denial of visits from his son for over two years; Iyad Fawajrah of Bethlehem also engaged in a hunger strike for family visits.
Mansour Moqtada, 48, from Salfit, is engaged in a partial hunger strike as a result of complicated and difficult health conditions, demanding improved medical treatment. Muhannad al-Izzat of Bethelehm engaged in a 9-day hunger strike, also for medical treatment.
Two re-arrested former prisoners, Abdel-Rahim Sawayfeh and Mohammed Daoud, engaged in hunger strikes against their re-arrests.
In addition, thousands of prisoners collectively engaged in a protest, returning food in rejection of the attacks on prisoners in Nafha prison.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says Israel should continue construction of illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.
Asked in an interview with the British paper Daily Mail whether there should be a pause in settlement construction in the occupied territories, Trump responded: “No, I don’t think there should be a pause.”
Trump said the settlement construction must “keep going” and “keep moving forward,” because Palestinians fired “thousands of missiles” at Israel.
There are “thousands of missiles being launched into Israel,” he said. “Who would put up with that? Who would stand for it?’
“Look: Missiles were launched into Israel, and Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?”
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem). All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
Pointing to the stalled “peace” talks, which Palestinian negotiators say will not happen without a halt in new construction, Trump said, “With all of that being said, I would love to see if peace could be negotiated.”
“A lot of people say that’s not a deal that’s possible. But I mean lasting peace, not a peace that lasts for two weeks and they start launching missiles again. So we’ll see what happens.”
Asked about his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump called him “a very good guy” for whom he had made a campaign ad in 2013.
“I don’t know him that well, but I think I’d have a very good relationship with him,” the billionaire GOP front-runner said.
“I think that President [Barack] Obama has been extremely bad to Israel,” he said.
The Obama administration demanded in 2009 that Israel freeze new settlement construction in an effort to get the two sides to the negotiating table.
Trump’s remarks came ahead of Tuesday’s Indiana primary and his pitch for pro-Israeli voters.
Trump had said last year he would like to initially remain “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as president, a position that he believes would allow him a better opportunity to be seen as a peace broker.
He has repeatedly expressed his affection for Israel and support for Netanyahu and his policies.
In Indiana’s primary on Tuesday, Trump emerged as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee with 53.2 percent support, followed by Cruz with 36.7 percent and John Kasich with only 7.6 percent.
The victory in Indiana has almost secured the GOP nomination for the New York businessman.