Protests erupted north of Kabul on Monday after U.S. forces raided a local residence in search of a weapons cache—revealing that U.S. troops might not play as “limited” a role in Afghanistan as the Pentagon claims.
It’s been months since President Obama declared an official end to the combat mission in Afghanistan. At present, the U.S. mission is ostensibly limited to advising Afghan forces and counterterrorism strikes targeting the Taliban—at least, according to the military’s stated role. However, troops descending from a helicopter in the pre-dawn hours to raid the house of a local commander who has no connection to al-Qaeda—or even the Taliban—certainly muddies the definition of “adviser.”
In fact, Jan Ahmad, who was targeted in the raid, fought against the Taliban in the past and the Soviets before that. Charikar locals, who felt the matter should not have involved foreign forces, hastily closed shops and took to the streets in outrage, shouting, “Death to America!”
“The protesters burned a lot of tires to show their rage,” said local resident Mahmood Hamidy, according to the New York Times, “and that, if the issue is not taken seriously, they are ready for violence.”
Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesperson for General John Campbell, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the purpose of the raid was “to destroy a cache of munitions that could be used to conduct attacks against Afghans and coalition forces.” After a thorough search, the cache was blown up.
With hundreds of millions of dollars spent to disarm the numerous militias that lack ties to either al-Qaeda or the Taliban, the motivations of the U.S. military seem somewhat questionable. Elders and other former commanders suspected the raid was political retribution for Ahmad’s support of Abdullah Abdullah in the last presidential election.
A similar raid in March comprised of U.S. drones and troops cooperating with Afghan forces left three people dead—but not the person targeted, who suffered only minor injuries.
Questions further surround the U.S.’ role in Afghanistan—including yet another example in a seemingly endless supply of official statements that lack credibility.
Horace M. Kallen, the social philosopher best known in American intellectual history for his theory of cultural pluralism, adopted Zionism in 1903 as a secular mode of retaining Jewish identity, an alternative to the Jewish religious tradition which seemed to him to be incompatible with twentieth century America. He had come to Zionism primarily through the influence of two of his Harvard professors, literary historian Barrett Wendell, who interpreted the Hebraic spirit of prophetic social justice as the inspiration for the American founding fathers, and William James, whose philosophy of Pragmatism emphasized the reality of meanness.
Kallen extended Wendell’s identification of Hebraic tradition with American idealism; he defined Zionism, the movement to renationalize the Jewish people, as an opportunity to found a model democracy based on the same concepts of liberty and equality, which, for him, symbolized America. At the same time he applied James’s concept of pluralism to the ethnic group; among them the Jews, who were beginning to become prominent in the United States, and argued that preservation of differences constituted the true measure of equality the Declaration of Independence had set forth. Zionism, thus, was able to fulfill two functions for Kallen- it allowed him to retain his Jewish identity and to become, thereby, a better American.
In 1911 Kallen became an instructor of philosophy and psychology at the University of Wisconsin. When he moved to the Middle West, he left his familiar environment. Lonely, and somewhat out of place in Madison; he felt the need to assert his Jewish identity more strongly and stepped up his pace of Zionist involvement. Finding little understanding within the official Federation of American Zionists for an expression of his own, philosophically oriented, ideas on Zionism, and quite some antagonism for his demand that the Zionist organization concentrate its activities on obtaining statehood for the Jewish nation in line with the 1896 Basle Platform which had sought “a home in Palestine secured by public law,” Kallen decided to form an organizational instrument through which he could effectively channel his own Zionist activity. On August 18,1913, therefore, Kallen founded a secret Zionist society which he called The Parushim, the Hebrew word which means both “the Pharisees” and “separate”.
The Pharisees had flourished as a separate sect during the time of the second Jewish Temple, goading the Jewish Establishment into making the traditional “written law” more relevant to the times by adding to it the interpretations of the “oral law.” Kallen saw much the same role for his group of Parushim, whose purpose he defined as “advancement by deed and word of the cause of autonomous Jewish nationality in the interest of Hebraism.” As Kallen recalled, “The Parushim was a group much like the Peace Corps, young men and women who saw the Utopian opportunity that existed for the Jewish people in Palestine and who were willing to devote themselves to an ideal.”
The Parushim was a very unusual Zionist group, organized both as a secret fraternity and as a reform movement. Unlike other social groups at the time, both men and women were eligible; “there was ascertain definite interest on desegregation of the sexes.” Enrollment was by an oath of initiation, and there was a probationary period for up to three years, during which time the initiate was to give exclusive and specific service to the cause.” Kallen invited no one to become a member until the candidate had given specific assurances regarding devotion and resolution to the Zionist cause, and each initiate had to undergo a rigorous analysis of his qualifications, loyalty, and willingness to take orders from the Order’s Executive Council. The motto of the group was the response traditionally attributed to the Jewish people on receipt of the Ten Commandments-“Nasseh V’Nishmah”-“we will do and we will hear.”
A member swearing allegiance to the Parushim felt something of the spirit of commitment to a secret military fellowship. At the initiation ceremony the head of the Order informed him:
You are about to take a step which will bind you to a single cause for all your life. You will for one year be subject to an absolute duty whose call you will be impelled to heed at any time, in any place, and at any cost. And ever after, until our purpose shall be accomplished, you will be fellow of a brotherhood whose bond you will regard as greater than any other in your life-dearer than that of family, of school, of nation. By entering this brotherhood, you become a self-dedicated soldier in the army of Zion. Your obligation to Zion becomes your paramount obligation… It is the wish of your heart and of your own free will to join our fellowship, to share its duties, its tasks, and its necessary sacrifices.
The initiate responded by swearing:
Before this council, in the name of all that I hold dear and holy, I hereby vow myself, my life, my fortune, and my honor to the restoration of the Jewish nation, -to its restoration as a free and autonomous state, by its laws perfect in justice, by its life enriching and preserving the historic speech, the culture, and the ideals of the Jewish people.
To this end I dedicate myself in behalf of the Jews, my people, and in behalf of all mankind.
To this end I enroll myself in the fellowship of the Parushim. I pledge myself utterly to guard and to obey and to keep secret the laws and the labor of the fellowship, its existence and its aims. Amen.
It is clear both from the wording of these vows, which paralleled Kallen’s published phrases on Zionism, and from the handwriting on the original copy of this induction ceremony, that Kallen was its author. For him, the organization of the Parushim had many implications. It demonstrated his overriding commitment towards working for the realization of the Zionist ideal, and his need to create, if necessary, an educated militant group that would join him in the cause. It was indicative of his desire to stimulate Zionist activity beyond that of the official Zionist organization, which tended to devote its time to polemic and debate, rather than towards effecting substantial productive achievement. It showed Kallen’s trust in an elite Zionist cadre, a vanguard for the Zionist army that was to come. Most important, perhaps, it reflected his own need for a Zionist community with which he could feel comfortable, a substitute both for his own family, and for the Harvard fellowship of congenial minds that he had left behind when he moved to the Mid-West.
The kind of people Kallen considered worthy of invitation to the Parushim is indicated in a memorandum he prepared on “Signatories to the Zionist Pledge.” The list includes, among others, Alexander Dushkin, an authority on Jewish education; Dr. I. L. Kandel, an educator then with the Carnegie Foundation and Teacher’s College of Columbia University; Israel Thurman, a lawyer and “Harvard man,” who would be used to propagandize among young lawyers; and Nathan C. House, a “Columbia man” and high school teacher, who could work out plans for training Jewish high school boys “along the lines of Zionist sentiment coupled to physical development and Boy Scout discipline.”
It seems from the replies to Kallen’s invitations to join the Parushim that he had hit on the kind of organization that would meet thee needs of others besides himself. The few people he invited to join the Order, all well educated, all Zionist leaders in their own communities, answered enthusiastically. I. J. Biskind, a doctor in Cleveland, who during World War I was to go to Palestine as a medical missionary, responded:
In behalf of Zion, in behalf of Hebraism I will accept a membership of the Parushim- if elected-unconditionally and for life. I want to work, work, work and not sing ”Hatikvah.” I want to be a soldier of the ranks and do actual work. We have been sleeping too long; we have been dreaming and golden opportunities have slipped by us.
Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization, was another early member of the Parushim. She wrote Kallen, “If … I may state the difficulties we [Hadassah] are encountering in our educational work, and so secure instructive advice from the hidden source, it will cause an increase not only in the results but also in the strength and zeal of the workers.” Her reference to “the hidden source” was, no doubt, tongue in cheek, for she continued, “If ever I emerge from under the … routine work in which I am now enveloped, I am going to devote myself to the reading you have prescribed for such as I am, and attempt to make myself more effective than I have been.”
In 1913 Kallen, aware of the moribund condition of the Zionist organization, felt that the way in which he and the Parushim would-be most influential was through a program of education. His focus. was on “the play of ideas-it had to be more theoretical than practical, imaging a program or an action without doing it.” One of his first requests to Henrietta Szold, for instance, was that she provide literature for Zionist courses to be given in Temples and Sunday Schools, a request to which she readily acquiesced. Within a few months, however, Kallen was looking further afield, and by April1914 was writing to Max Nordau, a political Zionist who had been Herzl’s first and most loyal colleague and closest adviser, of his desire to internationalize his secret order.
. .. [l]t happens to be my turn to head the secret organization here in America, which is aiming to turn the Zionist movement in a political direction, from within.
Our order is called Parushim. It is the outcome of the prolonged association of a number of young men in “academic” life who observing the general trend of events in the Zionist movement decided that the higher ideals would fail unless a check were set … Members must alba of distinguished character and trained minds … Our present purposes one of quiet propaganda and education in the “political idea.” We aim to make the masses consciously “political.”
… It is our desire and plan to organize brotherhoods all over the world . . .. We hope if all goes well in a few years quietly to turn the Zionist movement back into its proper channels…. 
There is no written record of Nordau’s reply to Kallen, nor of his evaluation of a world-wide Zionist brotherhood, bent on secret activity and influence. Kallen recalls that Nordau “wouldn’t cotton to it. He didn’t think … a vow would be of any use.” The matter was shortly to become moot, however, for four months later war broke out in Europe, forcing the dislocation of the World Zionist headquarters from Berlin. From 1914 until1920, European Zionists lost their influence as the center of Zionist activity shifted first to the United States, then to England. Kallen’s plan for a secret world-wide Zionist society became one of the war’s casualties. But as the United States became more prominent on the Zionist stage, Kallen and his vision of Jewish renationalization were to receive an opportunity for expression wider in scope and more vast in influence than anything he had ever imagined.
On August 30, 1914, an “Extraordinary Conference of representatives of American Zionists” met in New York and organized a “Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs” with Louis D. Brandeis, the famous “People’s Attorney,” as its Chairman. Kallen had played an important part in persuading Brandeis to become a Zionist and to take an active role in Zionist affairs, by applying the reasoning of his cultural pluralist argument to the then prevalent contention that Zionist membership implied the unpatriotic condition of “dual loyalty.” Just prior to the August 30 conference, Kallen had presented Brandeis with his own plans for a Jewish State based on the same ideals of liberty and justice for all, which the American Declaration of Independence had enunciated.
Kallen then argued that a commitment to Zionism, instead of being detrimental to American loyalty, actually increased it, for Zionists and Americans shared the same values and traditions, and, therefore, were working towards the same ends. Brandeis, who late in life had felt a sudden emotional pull to the Jewish people, found that Kallen’s reasoning provided him with an intellectual rationale for Zionist activism. Thereafter he looked to Kallen as one of his mistrusted advisers, and used him as his right-hand man both in formulating ideas and proposals and in carrying out schemes of an intricate or delicate nature.
Soon after Brandeis assumed the active leadership of the Provisional Executive Committee Kallen invited him to become an honorary member of the Parushim. Brandeis accepted, and began to assign the Parushim to carry out special “missions” for him. In particular the Parushim were to serve as a school for leaders, and under Kallen’s direction its members initially became the leading activists of the reorganized American Zionist movement. Excerpts from several letters to and from Kallen in late 1914 show clearly that new energies were flowing through the Zionist movement; they show, also, the roles Kallen’s Parushim were assuming in leading the way.
1. To Stephen S. Wise; Prominent Reform Rabbi and leader in the Jewish Community:
September 25, 1914
Dear Mr. Wise,
. . . I hope you will bear in mind what I told you about the Order [the Parushim]. We want most of all disciplined and well-trained young men and young women who have vision as well as executive ability, and spirituality, as well as force. In New York there are a good many who might be trained for leadership under proper direction, and I feel that you could play a very powerful and ideal part in the making of such leaders .
. . . As for your feeling about the secrecy of the work, it is, after all, no more secret than any important work has to be … (A)n organization which has the aims which we have must be anonymous, must work silently, and through education and infection rather than through force and noise, and can gain results only insofar as its standards are made to live in the lives of the people to whom they’re brought. But no thing could be more suicidal than the announcement of such an object, so that the secrecy is inevitable. I hope that you will join with us and take your place in our executive committee together with Mr. Brandeis.
2. From Henry Hurwitz, President of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association:
October 5, 1914
Dear Harry [Kallen’s favorite nickname for “Horace”],
I got your letter the other day while I was in New York. I went chiefly to attend a meeting of the Provisional Committee. The meeting was rather routine. Chiefly on how to raise the fund. Coming very slow. Brandeis anxious to have done with it in order to have energies free for the bigger problems-also before general appeal for relief floods us. Brandeis put it up to [Judah] Magnes and [Stephen] Wise to raise money among their people [rich congregants].
So far, the mass meetings seem to be little successful, except the Boston meeting…. That was really an extraordinary night for Boston Jews. Surging mob at Symphony Hall when doors opened at 7.At 7:10 necessary to open Jordan Hall for overflow meeting. Still a couple of thousand turned away from both halls. … Brookline [established well-to-do Jews] came down as well as Roxbury and West End [Jewish immigrant communities], to hear and to join. Brandeis spoke over an hour, simply but with suppressed emotion; seemed to hook the subject and reluctant to leave it. Got great ovation both before and after speech. Tremendously different attitude towards Zionism in Boston now along all classes.
I saw Oscar Straus … on a Menorah matter. Incidentally, we talked Zionism. He declared himself strongly in favor of Jewish colonization in Palestine … but only under political guarantees of one or more powers…. He is greatly impressed with Brandeis as leader; expressed a desire to meet him and talk over the problems of Zionism with him…. Wise will arrange a meeting between them.
3. To Richard Gottheil, former President of the Federation of American Zionists:
Oct. 14, 1914
Dear Prof. Gottheil:
… My reports from New York are disquieting. I hear of a good deal of restlessness on the part of Federation [of American Zionist] officials, who think they are being displaced…. I hope that, insofar as possible, [Louis] Lipsky, [Shemaryahu] Levin al).d Co. will be given as much kouad [honor] as possible. I am told that they feel “snuffed out”; and I fear very much that they may develop obstructionist tactics which will disgust Mr. Brandeis, and perhaps lead him to cut himself off from the organization. I am particularly concerned about the movement of the I.A.C. [World Zionist Inner Actions Committee] toward the re-opening of offices in Berlin, and the meeting in Stockholm. The situation seems to me to be very delicate, and I hope that you, Wise, Miss Szold, Brandeis and Hurwitz can find some way of suppressing what I feel will be-knowing the character of the Federation [of American Zionists] as I do-very unwise action.
Finally, there is this matter, which seems to me now to be of prime importance. I do not find in any of the foreign periodicals any recognition of the significance of Brandeis’ leadership. I think that it is necessary to make this very clear by a statement of Brandeis’ position and importance in this country, written by a number of people, e.g., you, Wise, Oscar Straus. . and sent to such papers as the Jewish Chronicle of London, the Zionist, etc. The Chronicle is ominously silent about the activities in America, and I regard that as a dangerous thing. Will you kindly put this matter also to our group [Parushim]? We shall have to depend upon ourselves, I forsee almost exclusively, if we are to save Brandeis for the -great work of the movement, without being involved in much unnecessary quarreling and personalities.
4. From I.J. Biskind, a Cleveland surgeon:
Oct. 19, 1914
Dear Dr. Kallen,
Your letter received . . .
We have done all in our power to make the Brandeis meeting a success. Mr. Brandeis arrived here [Cleveland] at about noon. Several of our people and one of the Uptown Jews (as you call them) met him at the station. After a few introductions we turned him over to the Germans [“uptown” German Jews] who had a luncheon waiting for him. He spoke at the luncheon and made a very good impression. None of our people was present, as our uptown Jews did not want to have a Zionist luncheon. … Towards evening 30-40 of our people had Mr. Brandeis to a luncheon of our own, where he gave us a nice talk . . .
I think, that now is the time for us to start to round public opinion and influence it in our favor. People like Mr. Brandeis, youself and Dr. Gottheil should come out openly in the big newspapers and magazines and tell the world what we want and demand…
5. To Henrietta Szold: My dear Miss Szold:
October 28, 1914
I am glad to hear from you at last. I have been wondering what turn matters were taking in New York . . ..
I have been in communication with Maurice Browne of The Little Theater of Chicago. He has enthusiastically agreed to organize a company of Jewish players who will present nationalistic plays all over the country…. I have undertaken the writing of one play, but we need two more, one of which must be a comedy…. If you know of any mss. already in existence or of any persons who have real dramatic power, will you kindly put them into immediate communication with me . . ..
As for the status of the Provisional Committee, I do not despair. The chief good of its organization lies not in whether its authority is forthcoming from the [World Zionist] Central Actions Committee or not, but in the fact that it has placed Brandeis definitely at the head of the movement in this country and as a member of the movement, and that has brought out the enthusiasm and practical cooperation of the student bodies everywhere-in short, that it has injected into the movement a new spirit and a new personnel, and promises, I hope, to put an end forever to Ghetto methods and petty Ghetto ideas and personalities that has marked the history of the Federation.
6. To Stephen S. Wise:
Oct. 25, 1914
Dear Dr. Wise:
I am writing from Indianapolis. Last night I spoke in the local reformed synagogue here-naturally on Zionism. Today I am to meet a number of members of the congregation and to urge upon them a practical allegiance to the cause. I am told … that you are to occupy the same pulpit next Friday, and I am venturing to suggest that it would be very advantageous to the cause here if you also spoke on Zionism and urged practical allegiance. The community here, impressed me all in all as being unconscious Jews and rather materialistic, but they have their possibilities and if awakened, may become potent for much good….
7. To Henry Hurwitz:
Nov. 7th, 1914
Dear Henry: Madison,
… We have now the difficult problem of suggesting that the Jews as a whole are rather pro-Allies, but that there is a distinct anti-Russian feeling among them that must not be confused with a pro-German sentiment. . . It becomes necessary, therefore, to write to the daily and weekly press stating why and how it is natural for the Jews to be anti-Russian and still for the Allies. I have asked [Marvin] Lowenthal and [Alexander] Sachs [two members of the Parushim] to write to the Nation. Will you get a couple of your men to write to the Times and the Sun, and write yourself, if possible. Now that Turkey is in [World War I], it is very necessary … to consider the possible alternatives before us . . .. It is absolutely necessary that we should have a dossier containing plans for meeting each of [the]. . possible emergencies, and that practical steps be taken to safeguard our own interests as nearly as possible from all sides at once .
. .. When Brandeis will be in Chicago … we could then have a meeting of “פ” [Parushim] and consider the problems of national organization in this country and many other things. Brandeis writes that he feels this to be most important, and I am feeling pleased as Punch that he realizes its importance so soon.
8. To Alexander Sachs, a graduate student in economics at Columbia University:
Nov. 7, 1914
Dear Mr. Sachs:
I have yours of the 3rd inst. You will take note of these two things.
1. Let me know as fully as possible just what the situation is in the P.C. [Provisional Committee) office.
2. Please report on the progress you have made with the list of candidates for “פּ ” [Parushim] which you had sent for approval to the Executive Committee.
3. In order to show that the Jews are not unanimously against the allies, it has become necessary to publish letters stating the Jewish position from the Zionist point of view. This letter should cover the following points:
(a) That the Jews are engaged equally on all sides (b) That in the order of their treatment, their sympathies are as follows: England, France, Austria, Germany, Russia (c) That they have suffered terribly at the hands of Russia, and that they are naturally anti-Russian rather than pro-German (d) That their stake in the war is perhaps as great as that of Belgium, and that. . the great mass of them are suffering just as much (e) That the way out would lie in nationalization … (f) That. .. the attitude and feeling of the Jews independent entirely on the kind of treatment that.. . is being accorded to their helpless brethren in that region, so that their sympathies are divided between the love of England and France and the hatred of Russia.
You are directed to write such a letter and to submit it through me to the [Parushim] Council before offering it for publication. Many thanks for your personal appreciation, and please regard it as reciprocated.
9. To Stephen S. Wise:
November 18, 1914
.. . I have been wondering since Turkey has gone into the war whether we could not through Mr. Crane [former U.S. Senator, interested in the rights of small nations] and other Americans and Gentiles get options, or perhaps buy outright, all the… government land in Palestine. In this respect, Turkey’s need is distinctly our opportunity, and action at this moment may save us a great deal of embarrassment and difficulty later on. The thing, if it is done at all, will of course have to be done through Gentiles, and would involve a double transfer, as I am quite sure the Turks would not be willing to sell to the Jews. There are many other things that ought to be talked through; and I imagine that sooner or later our particular group [the Parushim] will need to meet and canvass the whole actual situation with its possibilities, and form plans to meet them all.
10. To Mrs. Maurice Leon, Richard Gottheil’s daughter:
Oct. 28th, 1914
Dear Miss [sic] Leon:
I have to acknowledge the receipt of the additional documents ….I shall have abstracts made of them and filed ….
. . . [D]o not despair. We have been badly off many times before, but we have always managed to come clear. What we need most is loyalty and discipline; and so long as we work together like true soldiers, I have no fear for the result-no matter what may stand in the way …
As these excerpts make clear, Kallen, though in Wisconsin, half a continent removed from New York, was, as head of the Parushim, in reality at the center of all Zionist activity. His Parushim wrote him faithfully of all that was going on; sometimes several people wrote him of the same event, giving him a unique multifaceted perspective. Kallen’s Wisconsin address was the terminal of a wide-spread communications system and, as the leader of an intimate inner circle, he sifted, channeled, and commented on his information in ways that he felt would produce the most effective results.
The image that emerges of the Parushim is that of a secret underground guerilla force determined to influence the course of events in a quiet, anonymous way. Indeed, the repetition of military terminology in these letters is striking. “We [must] work together like true soldiers,” Kallen wrote Mrs. Leon, and he deployed his Parushim like members of an army. Like any underground leader he demanded of his followers discipline, obedience, and whole-hearted devotion to the cause; the inefficient and slipshod Federation received only his scorn and approbation. Surprisingly, perhaps, the members of the Parushim, each of whom was a leader of the highest caliber in his own right, consented to Kallen’s demands. No doubt, the secret organization dramatized the potential for effective Zionist actions. Additionally, Kallen provided constant encouragement to flagging spirits, and held out the promise, through concrete action, of tangible Zionist accomplishment.
Kallen’s constant use of military terminology was no accident. Seeking, in the words of his mentor, William James, “a moral equivalent for war,” Kallen had found one in the possibilities for action within the Zionist movement, possibilities that had become viable by Brandeis’ assumption of leadership. As leader of the Parushim, Kallen was commanding his army in the ways he felt would do the most good. A good Pragmatist, he was putting his insights about Zionism to the test of experience.
The commitment to, and insistence on, a well-run organization colored all of Kallen’s directives to the Parushim. Even more important, however, were the plans he suggested and the actions he initiated. Letter writing campaigns, both here and abroad, a Zionist Theatre group, plans for purchase of land in Palestine, the insistence on political action contingency plans, schemes-for influence of foreign diplomats- Kallen was overflowing with ideas to hasten the achievement of the Zionist goal. These were not the schemes of a dreamer, however; always practical, Kallen outlined each plan in all its details, and assigned it to the most suitable person. As leader of the Parushim Kallen was the very model of the “Messianic pragmatist”; first he defined a goal in theory, and then he proceeded to suggest its means of implementation. His followers did carry out his directions-Henrietta Szold, for instance, procured the manuscript she requested-and the Zionist organization began to function more efficiently, to receive attention, and to attract more widespread support. In turn the members of the Parushim began to experience a sense of behind-the-scenes power and influence.
Kallen’s correspondents, it is clear, ascribed to him a special relationship with, and influence on, Brandeis. He had more intimate access to the new Chairman than they and, therefore, the opportunity for recognition as one of Brandeis’ principal advisers. Kallen, however, apparently did not wish to advance his own personal interests or career through Brandeis. The letters show his concern with protecting Brandeis and with providing for him an optimal climate in which to become a successful leader. Certainly Kallen wished to “instruct” Brandeis; perhaps, covertly, even to manipulate him. But Kallen’s preference was for the role of anonymous string-puller. He knew that Brandeis could accomplish for the Zionist cause things of which he and the Parushim only dreamed, and was content to channel all his insights and energies through Brandeis. This is one of the reasons that, to now, little has been known about the Parushim.
One of the more interesting projects that the Parushim considered was the establishment of a Parushim College which would give supplementary training in leadership for members of the Order, collect data and material to be used especially for propaganda, and provide for research into Zionist problems. Students would take courses in economics, psychology, philosophy, Jewish history, Zionism, Hebrew language and literature, and read certain prescribed books. Their activity would be both leadership training and a means to keep the Parushim interested and motivated towards Zionist activity.
A prototype for the Parushim College had been the School of Zionism run by Jesse Sampter, a colleague of Henrietta Szold and one of the first members of the Parushim. Various members of the Parushim taught courses in Jewish history, Zionism and Bible interpretation at the New York Young Women’s Hebrew Association and also conducted a “correspondence school” for groups and individuals unable to attend the formal classes. Miss Sampter, a writer and poetess, compiled an original syllabus (published in 1920 as Guide to Zionism) which was used extensively in education programs of groups like Hadassah.
Unlike the successful New York school, however, plans for the national college never went much beyond the outline stage. Particularly disappointed were Parushim members outside of New York, like David Shapiro, an agricultural student at the University of California, who felt isolated from mainstream Zionist activity. Shapiro’s note of regret to Kallen is of special interest, for it provides succinct description of the goals Kallen and his followers had: “If our Jewish State is to be founded on justice, elimination of crushing competition, and abolishment of human exploitation,” Shapiro wrote, “these principles should become a part and parcel of the consciousness of our men…. Discipline will work much better when the men are not only trained in the habit of obedience but also to be conscious of their work.”
Kallen’s inability to successfully organize the Parushim College is symptomatic of the problems he began to have with his organization by late 1915. Though he continued to receive reports from his followers, they were becoming less frequent and less detailed as the Zionist workers concentrated on projects of their own and scattered to other commitments. Henrietta Szold, for example, was the moving force, through the Hadassah women’s organization, which she had founded, behind a plan to send to Palestine a completely equipped medical ship and to recruit doctors and nurses for work in Palestine. Stephen Wise concentrated on developing his own “Free Synagogue,” and on cultivating a role as Jewish liaison with the Wilson administration.
Kallen’s leadership, particularly his neglect of Jewish tradition, irritated some members of the Parushim; they resented, instance, his calling meetings for the Jewish Sabbath. “Since I understand that ours is not a separatist Order in the sense that it does not exclude any Jew who has proved his complete devotion to the Zionist cause,” wrote Jesse Sampter, “it would be unkind, unfair• and unjust to call a meeting at this particular time [Friday evening].” Henrietta Szold concurred, “I entered into an engagement about thirty-five hundred years ago on Mount Sinai upon which the Jewish ages have put a certain interpretation. The rule of my life is to accept this interpretation and that prevents me from making my way [to the Parushim meeting].”
In addition, there developed a conflict between Brandeis’ moderate position in approaching non-Zionists and Kallen’s more radical stance. Brandeis, showing the same talents for organization that had earned him his reputation as a leading lawyer and reform leader, had begun by late 1915 to make contacts and judgments of his own. Interested in broadening support for the Zionist movement, Brandeis preferred to back away from confrontations, which might upset established Jewish communities and interests. Kallen, however, despite Brandeis’ disapproval, continued to define the policy of the Parushim as “militant and aggressive”; “we must constantly, with pen and tongue, attack that part of Reform Judaism which …attacks Zionism and the leaders of Zionism,” he directed new recruits.
When Kallen instructed economist Alexander Sachs, one of the original Parushim, to “counter-attack” speeches of two prominent Reform Rabbis, Sachs consulted Brandeis, who advised against it. Sachs began to feel that the separatism of the Parushim questioned the sovereignty of Brandeis, and declined to follow Kallen’s instructions. Further, he implied that his work for the New England Zionist Bureau super ceded his commitment to the Parushim, thus questioning his oath of discipline and obedience.
Brandeis confirmed his difficulty in working through the Parushim. By November 1915 he was writing to Kallen of his disappointment in the group’s performance. At the same time other Zionist factions scorned the Parushim. “I understand that [Louis]Lipsky and some others call the Group פרושי�? thinking that it is a term of opprobrium, in the sense of snobs, separatists or highbrows,” reported one of the Parushim, Alexander Dushkin, to Kallen.
Elisha Friedman, President of the Collegiate Zionist League, though loyal to Kallen’s leadership, was another member of the Parushim who began to question the group’s validity. Though acknowledging that members of his group were engaged in studying educational, industrial and economic conditions in Palestine, and that this would provide the basis for useful planning for the future, Friedman felt that the non-secret University Zionist Society (which Kallen had also helped to found) could just as effectively perform this research.
Kallen was unyielding in his demands for secrecy, and, despite these signs of unrest, stood firm. He replied to Friedman,
“The bond which unites its [Parushim] members is … of a delicate and psychological sort, very different from the kind of formal organization involved in the University Zionist Society . . . . The society naturally does not bind itself by a sort of pledge to an unquestioning leadership as the group does. In point of fact, it might become the task of the group .. . to join the society and to direct its activities. But some form of separateness it must maintain.”
And he reassured Dushkin, “I am delighted that Lipsky and others call the group ‘Parushim‘ in scorn. The thing for us to do now is to turn that scorn into astonished admiration by the highest degree possible of effectiveness.”
The correspondence with the Parushim, however, dropped off sharply after early 1916, though there are random letters dated1917 and 1918, confirming that the group continued to exist. Indeed, its greatest achievement was to come in 1918, when the Parushim helped to formulate the principles of the famous “Pittsburgh Program.” Yet there is no doubt that despite the fact that Kallen felt that the need for a close-knit “community” like the Parushim hadn’t diminished, the difficulty inherent in sustaining, long-distance, the loyalty and discipline of a group of intelligent individuals with minds and leadership qualities of their own, became too great an obstacle. As Kallen wrote shortly before his death,
It [the Parushim] never became as practical as perhaps it could have been and as I thought it might be .. : I was troubled by so much of the luftmenschlichkeit, the rhetoricism among Zionists . .. and I thought that a group organized as a “guided” democracy .. . might turn interest and action toward vital change. The expressions of this notion that I drafted were to be points of departure for rules of teaming up .. . . 
But the “teaming up” became impossible with a leader so geographically removed from the center of power, a leader so dependent upon the cooperation of his followers, both for news and for self-sustained activity.
Though Kallen felt some disappointment that his dream of a vanguard army for Zionism was not to be, he seemed never to have lost hope. In early 1918, shortly after the publication of the Balfour Declaration, Kallen called his Parushim together once again to confront the problem of how Palestine might be developed into a Jewish State, grounded on the principles of economic and social justice, which Kallen and his followers so highly valued. According to Kallen’s account in his 1921 Zionism and World Politics, the eight or nine men and women who participated in the discussion were of all shades of opinion and of all schools of economic thought. By common consent, however, “they determined to leave doctrine as nearly as possible to the doctrinaires” and to face the realistic problem of developing Palestine into a free Jewish commonwealth. On the basis of their discussions Kallen formulated “A Memorandum on the Principles of Organization of the Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine”; the core of this memorandum, somewhat refined, became the seven statements of the so-called “Pittsburgh Program.”
The Pittsburgh Program was a series of basic principles that the delegates to the 1918 Convention of the Zionist Organization of America adopted as their credo. It represented the crowning achievement by Kallen, and by the “Americanized” Zionists like Brandeis whom he had influenced, to express their faith and vision in reordering Palestine as a model democratic Jewish nationality. Like other of Kallen’s ideas, however, it was a formulation for the elite; the Zionist masses never really understood it and the American Yiddish press of the period ignored it.
Nevertheless its contents reflected well the kinds of emphases that Kallen and the Parushim envisioned for Palestine. Included in the Pittsburgh Program were provisions for political and civic equality for all of Palestine’s inhabitants, including women and Arabs; ownership and control of the land and national resources by “the whole people”; the use of “the cooperative principle” in all agricultural, industrial, commercial and financial undertakings; and a system of universal public education using Hebrew as the language of instruction.
These principles appear rather commonplace today, and, as a matter of fact, the State of Israel has incorporated most of them. In 1918, however, when the Parushim presented them, the majority of Zionists considered these proposals to be the expressions of a radical group. English Zionist theoretician Leon Simon, for example, wrote Kallen criticizing his principles for being “far off; . .. in relation to the present and the future the Program simply doesn’t face facts.”
The discrepancy lay primarily in Kallen’s assumption that the purpose of Zionism, and the goal of his Parushim, was to work for the immediate establishment of a Jewish Commonwealth rather than to concentrate efforts, as the European Zionists were doing, on the stimulation of a Diaspora Zionist consciousness. As he wrote to one of his Parushim, the General Secretary of the Associated Jewish Charities of Omaha, Nebraska, “The English declaration has made it important for us … to make every preparation to meet the responsibility of administration and development of Palestine that the end of the war will put upon us.”
The Pittsburgh Program seems to have been the last of the projects of the Parushim. By the end of World War I, its early members had scattered-several of them to Palestine-and the American Zionist organization had grown so large, mostly with the addition of the newly arrived immigrant masses, that a small elite cadre could no longer make much impact. Perhaps it was unrealistic from the start to expect a small group devoted to anonymous activity to exert much influence on a disorganized movement of many parts, movement growing rapidly, with new leaders and new problems. Certainly Kallen’s demand for separatism did not make it easy to bead member of the Parushim, once the initial drama wore off. As Kallen recalled in 1964, “The thing didn’t function very well. …What you could do with young Italy [in the days of the nationalist leader Mazzini] you couldn’t do with young Jewry, or old …. “
Yet, though the Parushim failed, its organization stands as an interesting chapter in early American Zionist history for what it attempted to do-for its ideals of disciplined leadership, for its plans for a just, perhaps Utopian state, for its implied criticism of the methods and priorities of the formal Zionist movement. Had it succeeded, the course of the development of American Zionism, and of the Palestinian Jewish community, might have been different. That it did not is a comment not only on the gap between Kallen’s ideals and those of the rest of the Zionist movement, but also on the readiness of the Zionist membership to accept the discipline implicit in assuming responsibility for nationhood. It was to take another generation, after the tragic events of the 1930’s and 1940’s in Europe, before that: American Jewish community was willing to face up to the challenge of helping to create a living embodiment of the Jewish nationality. By then Kallen and the other Parushim had long forgotten their secret organization; today the story of the Parushim remains a fascinating footnote in the annals of “what might have been.”
 Memorandum, in Kallen’s handwriting, concerning the organization of Parushim, in the Horace M. Kallen Collection at the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio (hereafter referred to as KC-AJA).
 Ibid; Kallen’s recollections are all from an interview with the author, July, 1972.
 Memorandum and Interview. Ibid.
 “Induction Ceremony into the Order of the Parushim,” with corrections and annotations in Kallen’s handwriting, and marked by him “Strictly Confidential,” KC•AJA.
 “Memorandum of Signatories to the Zionist Pledge, Sunday, April 4th, 1915,” KC-AJA.
 I. J. Biskind to Kallen, Oct. 4, 1913, KC-AJA.
 Henrietta Szold to Kallen, Nov. 9th, 1913, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Max Nordau, April 7th, 1914, Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem, File A119/50/8/8.
 H.M. Kallen, “The International Aspects of Zionism,” an unpublished memorandum with Kallen’s handwritten notation, “Copy submitted to Mr. Brandeis August 29th, 1914, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Brandeis, September 21st, 1914; Brandeis to Kallen, March 4th, 1915; Brandeis Papers, Zionist Archives, New York.
 Kallen to Stephen S. Wise, Sept. 15th, 1914. Stephen S. Wise Collection, AJA.
 Henry Hurwitz to Kallen, Oct. 5th, 1914. KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Richard Gottheil, Oct. 14th, 1914. KC-AJA.
 This Hebrew letter was often used as a heading on the reports of Parushim members.
 Biskind to Kallen, Oct. 19th, 1914, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Szold, Oct. 28th, 1914, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Wise, Oct. 25th, 1914, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Hurwitz, Nov. 7th, 1914. KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Alexander Sachs, Nov. 7th, 1914. KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Wise, Nov. 18th, 1914. Stephen S. Wise Collection, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Mrs. Maurice Leon, Oct. 28th, 1914, KC-AJA.
 “Tentative Outline of the פּ (Parushim) College,” Dec. 25th, 1915. KC-AJA.
 Jesse Sampter, “Report פּ , Zionist Work from Nov. 1914 to Jan. 1915,” KC-AJA.
 David Shapiro to Kallen, Nov. 22nd, 1915, KC-AJA.
 Sampter to Kallen, Dec. 26th, 1915; Szold to Henry Hurwitz, (Kallen’s chief link with the Parushim in New York,) Dec. 31st 1915, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Brandeis, Feb. 23rd, 1915, Brandeis Papers, Zionist Archives, New York; Brandeis to Kallen, Mar. 4th, 1915, KC-AJA: Report of Meeting of Parushim, Dec. 31st, 1915, KC-AJA.
 Alexander Sachs to Henry Hurwitz, Dec. 30, 1915, KC-AJA.
 Brandeis to Kallen, Nov. 29th, 1915, KC-AJA; Alexander Dushkin to Kallen, Feb. 8th, 1916, KC-AJA.
 Elisha Friedman to Kallen, Mar. 1st, 1916, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Friedman, Mar. 6th, 1916; Kallen to Dushkin, Feb 15, 1916, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to author, June 8, 1973, commenting on some of the findings of this article.
 Kallen, Zionism and World Politics (New York: 1921), p. 300; “A Memorandum on the Principles of Organization of the Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine,” KC-AJA.
 Kallen, Zionism, cites the Pittsburgh Program in its entirety, p. 301-302.
 Leon Simon to Kallen, Aug. 3rd, 1919, KC-AJA.
 Kallen to Jacques Bieur, Nov. 20th, 1917, KC-AJA.
 Kallen, Interview with Milton Konvitz and Dorothy Oko, 1964.
Dr. Sarah Schmidt is senior lecturer in modern Jewish history and Zionist history at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she also teaches an honors seminar, “The American Jew and the Israeli Jew: A Comparative Analysis.”
Fluoridation, Americans are told, is necessary for the prevention of tooth decay. We must drink it and we must give our children fluoridated water in order for everyone to have a healthy smile — or so we have been advised for the last 60 years.
A whopping 43 studies have linked fluoride ingestion with a reduction in IQ. A study out of the Harvard School of public Health concluded, “children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas.”
Even more independent studies have linked the associated health risks of fluoride to interfering with the endocrine system and increasing the risk of impaired brain function; two studies in the last few months, for example, have linked fluoridation to ADHD and underactive thyroid.
Dozens more studies show the ineffectiveness of fluoride ingestion in preventing dental caries; they actually show an increase in dental fluorosis instead of a reduction in decay.
Approximately 1.2 grams of sodium fluoride will kill an adult human being. That was the low estimate that Dominic Smith ingested when he died from an overdose of fluoridated water at Hooper Bay, Alaska on May 23, 1992. Approximately 200 mg will kill a small child.
Approximately 72% of all water supplies in the United States have fluoride dumped into them
Most fluoride additives used in the United States are produced from phosphorite rock. Phosphorite is mainly used for manufacturing phosphate fertilizer. Phosphorite is refluxed (heated) with sulfuric acid to produce a phosphoric acid-gypsum (calcium sulfate-CaSO4) slurry.
The heating process releases hydrogen fluoride (HF) and silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4) gases, which are captured by vacuum evaporators. These gases are then condensed to a water-based solution of approximately 23% FSA.
Approximately 95% of FSA used for water fluoridation comes from this process. The remaining 5% of FSA is produced in manufacturing hydrogen fluoride or from the use of hydrogen fluoride to etch silicates and glasses when manufacturing solar panels and electronics.
In other words, instead of fertilizer and electronic companies paying to dispose of their wasteful byproducts in a responsible manner, they are given your tax dollars and this once toxic waste is magically transformed into a benefit for your teeth.
If the fact that fluoride lowers your IQ, is linked to ADHD, is an endocrine disrupter, is poisonous, is a hazardous bi-product of phosphate fertilizer production, and is being given to you without your consent, doesn’t get you riled up, then maybe the fact that the most highly regarded group of scientists in the world in assessing the effectiveness public health policies putting out a study showing that fluoridating the water supply “does not reduce cavities to a statistically significant degree in permanent teeth,” will help to change your mind.
“From the review, we’re unable to determine whether water fluoridation has an impact on caries levels in adults,” says study co-author Anne-Marie Glenny, a health science researcher at Manchester University in the United Kingdom.
According to Newsweek, the authors also found only two studies since 1975 that looked at the effectiveness of reducing cavities in baby teeth, and found fluoridation to have no statistically significant impact here, either.
“Frankly, this is pretty shocking,” says Thomas Zoeller, a scientist at UMass-Amherst uninvolved in the work. “This study does not support the use of fluoride in drinking water.” Trevor Sheldon concurred. Sheldon is the dean of the Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom who led the advisory board that conducted a systematic review of water fluoridation in 2000, that came to similar conclusions as the Cochrane review. The lack of good evidence of effectiveness has shocked him. “I had assumed because of everything I’d heard that water fluoridation reduces cavities but I was completely amazed by the lack of evidence,” he says. “My prior view was completely reversed.”
There is no evidence supporting the purported benefits of fluoridating the water supply, but its use continues
This study is yet another blow to the unethical and immoral process of forcing individuals to consume a deadly product against their will.
The fact that fluoridation is still happening with the mounds of evidence against speaks to the incompetent nature of the state and the special interests lining their pockets in order to dump their toxic waste into the US water supply.
Even more upsetting, is the fact that when you tell people about the negative effects of consuming fluoride you are somehow labeled a conspiracy theorist; as if the mountain of evidence backing up your claims is non-existent.
Many people have no idea that their toothpaste has a poison warning!
They’ve ignored the Harvard study and the many like it, they’ve ignored the thousands of dental professionals who’ve come out against it, and they have ignored the unethical significance associated with mass medication without consent. Will the government and the naysayers finally come to their senses and stop ignoring this problem now that the Cochrane Collaboration, which is widely regarded as the gold standard of scientific rigor in assessing effectiveness of public health policies has confirmed that it’s pointless? We remain optimistic.
It has taken Africa just over a decade to conclude that the International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 2002 by the Rome Statute, is simply unfit for purpose. That certainly is the conclusion of the South African government following the recent African Union summit in Johannesburg. The institution African countries signed up for post 1998, a court that promised to pursue injustice without fear or favor, is not the one they see before them today. They were sold a false bill of goods. The ICC’s claims to international jurisdiction and judicial independence are institutionally flawed and the Court’s reputation has been irretrievably damaged by its racism, blatant double-standards, hypocrisy, corruption and serious judicial irregularities.
While the ICC presents itself as the world’s court this is simply not the case. Its members represent just over one quarter of the world’s population: China, Russia, the United States, India, Pakistan and Indonesia are just some of the many countries that have remained outside of the Court’s jurisdiction.
A court is also only as credible as its independence. Far from being an independent and impartial court, the ICC’s own statute grants special “prosecutorial” rights of referral and deferral to the Security Council – by default its five permanent members (three of which are not even ICC members). Political interference in the legal process was thus made part of the Court’s founding terms of reference. The Court is also inextricably tied to the European Union which provides over 60 percent of its funding. The expression “He who pays the piper calls the tune” could not be more appropriate. The fact that the big five ICC funders are Africa’s former colonial masters also sits uneasily with a continent suspicious of recolonization by questionable legal diktat. The EU is additionally guilty of blatant political and economic blackmail in tying aid for developing countries to ICC membership.
Africa is also correct when it points out that the ICC is self-evidently a racist court, in that it treats one race of people differently to all others. Instead of impartially enforcing the Rome Statute, the Europeans have chosen to focus the Court exclusively on Africa. African heads of state have spoken of “race hunting.” Despite having received almost 9,000 formal complaints about alleged war crimes in at least 139 countries, the ICC has chosen to indict 36 black Africans in eight African countries. In so doing the ICC has ignored all European or Western human rights abuses in conflicts such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq or human rights abuses by Western client states. While the ICC’s key first two cases were African “self-referrals” it is now clear that the African governments were made “an offer they could not refuse”: refer yourself and we will only indict your rebels – if not we will indict both government and rebels.
The ICC has emerged very much as a European-funded and directed instrument of European foreign policy. Broader western hypocrisy is all too evident. The United States has forcefully pointed out that the ICC is a kangaroo court, a travesty of justice open to political influence and that no American citizen will ever come before it. Washington is nonetheless very happy, for its own political reasons, to demand that black Africans appear before it.
Double standards and politics aside, the ICC has shown itself to be irretrievably dysfunctional. The court’s proceedings thus far have often been questionable where not simply farcical. Its judges – some of whom have never been lawyers, let alone judges – are the result of grubbily corrupt vote-trading amongst member states. Far from securing the best legal minds in the world this produces mediocrity. At least one elected “judge” had neither law degree nor legal experience but her country had contributed handsomely to the ICC budget. The Court has produced witnesses who recanted their testimony the moment they got into the witness box, admitting that they were coached by non-governmental organizations as to what false statements to make. Dozens of other “witnesses” have similarly disavowed their “evidence.” Most recently the ICC prosecutor had to admit that one of its own star witnesses in its case against Kenyan Vice-President Ruto was “a thoroughly unreliable and incredible” witness.
And then there has also been the ICC prosecutor who was not only seemingly unaware of the legal concept of presumption of innocence but also threatened to criminalize third-parties who might argue a presumption of innocence on the part of those indicted – and as yet unconvicted – by the Court. A clearer case of Alice in Wonderland justice, along the lines of “sentence first, verdict afterwards,” is difficult to find. There has been prosecutorial misconduct, not least of which hiding exculpatory evidence, which should have ended any fair trial because they would have compromised the integrity of any legal process. The ICC’s first trial proceeded erratically because of crass prosecutorial misbehavior and judicial decisions to add new charges half-way through proceedings, a move that was subsequently overturned. Simply put, the Court and the prosecutor have been making things up as they go along.
The ICC claims to be “economical” and to bring “swift justice,” yet it has consumed more than a billion Euros in its 13-year existence and has only secured two questionable convictions. The ICC claims to be victim-centered yet Human Rights Watch has publicly criticized the ICC’s ambivalence towards victim communities. The ICC claims to be fighting impunity, yet it has granted de jure immunity to the United States and afforded de facto immunity and impunity to NATO member states and several serial abusers of human rights who happen to be friends of the European Union and United States.
Far from bringing peace to Africa, the ICC’s double-standards and autistic legal blundering has derailed delicate peace processes across the continent – thereby prolonging devastating civil wars. The court is responsible for the death, injury and displacement of many thousands of Africans. The ICC’s involvement in Uganda, for example, destroyed peace talks in that country, intensifying the conflict which then spread into three neighboring countries.”
The reality is that the ICC is an inept, corrupt, political court that does not have Africa’s welfare at heart, only the furtherance of Western, and especially European, foreign policy and its own bureaucratic imperative – to exist, to employ more Europeans and North Americans and where possible to continue to increase its budget – all at the expense of African lives. Three cheers for South Africa pointing out that the Emperor is naked.
Dr. David Hoile is the author of Justice Denied: The Reality of the International Criminal Court, a 610-page study of the International Criminal Court published by the Africa Research Centre. The book is available to read or download at www.africaresearchcentre.org. The author can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Emails of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton published by the State Department expose that the Qatari Royal family made efforts to befriend the American politician through former British PM Tony Blair’s spouse, Cherie Blair.
Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, a wife of the former emir of Qatar and mother of the ruling emir, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al-Thani, established contact with Clinton via Cherie Blair.
The Blair and Clinton families have been political and personal friends since the 1990s.
“Sheika Moser (Sheikha Mozah) has approached me privately saying they are keen to get their relationship with the USA onto a more positive footing and she was hoping for a ‘women to women’ one to one private meeting with you,” Cherie Blair wrote to Clinton in May 2009. “I am sure the conversation would not be confined to these issues but would be about the U.S./Qatar relationship generally,” Blair wrote, mentioning joint philanthropic interests among issues Clinton and Mozah could talk about.
Blair did her best to persuade Hillary Clinton to get acquainted with “someone who has real influence in Qatar,” the newly-released documents show.
“I could make time to meet in DC during the weeks of June 8th and 15th. Would that work?” Clinton gave in on May 26, promising to rearrange her schedule to “fit her time.”
Yet Sheikha Mozah was unable to meet with Clinton on suggested dates in June 2009 “due to prior commitments” and proposed to meet “immediately after Ramadan/Eid week of September 27, 2009.”
Altogether, on Tuesday the State Department released over 1,900 of Clinton’s emails (3,000 pages). Within this bulk of information, there are 19 emails that have to do with Clinton/ Mozah getting acquainted with each other.
The royal Al-Thanis family of Qatar is known for its fabulous wealth gathered on the back of the petroleum and liquefied natural gas trade. Over the last decades, Qatar rulers spent billions on increasing its influence in Western capitals. The Al-Thanis invested particularly heavily in London, the Guardian claims.
The scale of the Qatar royal family’s investment in the British capital remains largely unknown. Al-Thanis own Harrods, the Olympic village and Shard completely, along with certain property in Hyde Park. A quarter of Sainsbury’s, large share of Barclays and 8 percent of the London Stock Exchange all belong to them, as well as the US embassy building in Grosvenor Square.
Earlier this year it emerged that the Clinton Foundation allegedly received multiple foreign donations during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
A newly-released book accused the Clinton Foundation, run by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, her husband Bill Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea, of accepting quid pro quo donations from foreign sources while Hillary was secretary of state.
It was revealed that governments that had received frequent criticism from the State Department for repressive policies – countries like Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – had donated to the Clinton Foundation and gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons.
In late May, the FIFA corruption scandal also cast its shadow over the Clintons, as it emerged that the Clinton Foundation received at least $50,000 and as much as $100,000 from the football governing body.
“I don’t think there’s anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people in countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up,” Hillary Clinton told NBC News in May.
The Guardian reports that the Blair family has done some favors for Qatar’s rulers, too.
Although Tony Blair stepped down from his post as PM in 2007, his influence remains in place. In 2012 he brokered a $50-billion commodities deal between Glencore and Xstrata, which brought him $1 million.
Later the same year the former Labor leader assisted the Qataris in getting a share in a £1-billion-valued group owning such prestigious hotel as Berkeley, Claridge’s and Connaught, the Guardian claims.
In this regard, the Faith Foundation mirrors the Clinton Foundation, set up by the former US President Bill Clinton after leaving his post in 2001.
From 2009 up to 2013, the year the Ukrainian crisis erupted, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, which is headquartered in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, a new report claims.
The Clinton Foundation’s donor list includes some 200,000 names, among them foreign financial institutions and Wall Street-based financial organizations, international energy conglomerates and governments, the government of Qatar included, which allegedly has given between $1 million and $5 million in donations to the Clintons.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has continued to stonewall requests by the Department of Justice’s inspector general for records pertaining to multiple investigations by the internal watchdog.
The FBI has contended since 2010 that the IG’s office lacks the legal authority to see documents related to certain matters, including grand juries, Title III electronic surveillances and Fair Credit Reporting Act information.
FBI officials also claim they don’t have to share documents related to two investigations of alleged whistleblower retaliation, or those pertaining to an IG review of the FBI’s use of telephonic metadata collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, according to the Project on Government Oversight.
The IG said in a report “delaying or denying access to agency documents imperils an IG’s independence and impedes our ability to provide the effective and independent oversight that saves taxpayers money and improves the operations of the federal government.”
“Actions that limit, condition, or delay access have profoundly negative consequences for our work: they make us less effective, encourage other agencies to take similar actions in the future, and erode the morale of the dedicated professionals that make up our staffs,” the report stated.
And it might become even more difficult for the inspector general to get information from the FBI. The 2016 Justice Department budget proposal does not include the section that now forces the Bureau to cooperate with requests from the IG.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said such a move “could lead the FBI to believe that its conduct has been sanctioned and could cause other department components to conclude that it is acceptable to ignore the Appropriations Act and clear requirements of the IG Act and raise legal objections to the OIG’s access to certain records necessary to perform our important oversight function.”
To Learn More:
Watchdog Barks for Access to FBI Records (by Michael Smallberg, Project on Government Oversight)
Justice Watchdog Continues to Clash with FBI Over Access to Documents (by Charles Clark, Government Executive )
180 Day Report to Congress on the Impact of Section 218 of the Department of Justice Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Department of Justice Inspector General) (pdf)
Justice Dept. Report Details Clashes between FBI and Organized Crime Drug Task Force (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )
Trade unionists are demanding a full inquiry into ‘very troubling allegations’ of police spying on activists and blacklisted workers.
Home Secretary Theresa May has already set up an inquiry headed by Lord Justice Pitchford into allegations of police surveillance operations against activists, but its full remit is not yet known.
The inquiry has come about in response to allegations by police whistleblower Peter Francis, formerly of the Special Demonstration Squad, that during his four years working as an infiltrator of political groups he spied on member of five unions, including the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
“Trade unions are the largest democratic, mass-membership organizations in the UK,” FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack told the Guardian.
“Trade unionists have legitimate concerns about police operations that may have undermined our decisions, interfered with industrial relations and led to the victimization of our elected officials.”
Wrack said an inquiry into allegations of police spying on causes such as environmentalism, the Stephen Lawrence murder case and trade unionism was “long overdue.”
Another group affected are those blacklisted by employers. Blacklist Support Group (BSG) secretary Dave Smith made an official submission to Pitchford last week regarding allegations of “collusion” between police and businesses.
“Trade unions are a perfectly legal part of civil society,” he told the Guardian.
“Why are we being infiltrated by undercover police units and why is the state sharing intelligence with big business?
“It is only because we were prepared to kick up a stink that the evidence about police collusion has slowly come to light.”
In March it was reported police spying had also been extended to Labour MPs. Francis revealed 10 Labour MPs were tailed and spied upon by British police. Those affected demanded the release of secret files kept on them.
The surveillance was carried out as recently as the 1990s when the politicians had been democratically elected to parliament.
Among the MPs targeted were prominent left-wingers and serving ministers Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Dennis Skinner. The late Tony Benn, a lifelong socialist and anti-war campaigner, was also tailed by British police.
The highest-ranking MP to have been surveilled was Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman. Speaking to Penning, she said: “I would like you to assure me that you, the government, will let me see a full copy of my file.
“I was campaigning for the rights of women, for the rights of workers and the right to demonstrate — none of that was against the law, none of that was undermining our democracy.”
Milwaukee, WI — Wisconsin governor Scott Walker may be the darling of mainstream Republicans for next year’s presidential election, but “less taxation, less government” is an illusion under his current tenure. Milwaukee residents will soon be forced to pay an extra 15% tax surcharge that will go toward public financing of a new sports arena, under a plan put together by this champion of limited government.
The 15% surcharge will apply to Milwaukee County residents who are behind on their property taxes or court fines. Walker’s sports arena plan calls for the state to take over the collection of Milwaukee County’s old debt and use it to help pay for half the cost of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
This blatant example of extortion and public-private cronyism is troubling to Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan Jr.:
“To think we would put the squeeze on someone because they didn’t pay a parking ticket and their only crime is being poor and unable to pay it, and then taking that money and giving it to people who are extremely wealthy, doesn’t sit well with me.”
Wisconsin state, unlike county government, has the power to garnish wages and intercept other income such as tax refunds. Citizens will be powerless to stop the state from taking their money so their government can go into partnership with sports moguls on a fancy new spectacle. The cost to Wisconsin taxpayers—whether or not they care about the arena—will be $400 million after accounting for interest.
Government’s interest in using major televised sports as a public distraction is no secret, hearkening to the Roman days of bread and circus. In May, we reported how NFL teams are paid millions of dollars by the U.S. Department of Defense for nationalistic propaganda. The appeals to emotion in furtherance of patriotism serve two purposes—entrenching corporatism and stifling dissent of military hegemony.
Back in Wisconsin, Walker and his team are salivating at the prospect of taking over debt collection in Milwaukee. Nearly $77 million is owed to the county courts, most of it older than five years. The surcharge would mean an extra burden of $11.5 million on citizens, and would cover 4.6% of the public’s obligation toward Walker’s sports arena.
While Governor Walker and his team withhold details of the plan under the guise of “finalizing legislative language,” they are drumming up support among lawmakers and telling Republican senators to avoid making critical comments.
They’re working hard to suppress public dialog while PR experts couch the plan in Orwellian terms.
“There is a cost to collecting debt. The cost is now borne by the county. The benefit of this program is that the burden falls on the people who can afford to pay this debt,” said bureaucrat Teig Whaley-Smith.
Another spokesperson, Laurel Patrick, said the 15% surcharge is standard procedure, so why should anyone care? “Unpaid debts impact others who do pay their bills, fines, etc. on time, and are now paying more than they otherwise would need to for those government services and programs.”
The likelihood that this tax increase will be mentioned as Walker and other presidential hopefuls parade about next year, wrapped in the flag and false concern for the people, is little to none. We can expect the usual bread and the usual circus.
Just ten years ago, Ghana had the most reliable electricity supply in all of Africa and the highest percentage of households connected to the grid in all of Africa – including South Africa. The Volta River Authority, the power producer and distributor was, in my very considerable experience, the best run and most efficient public utility in all of Africa. Indeed it was truly world class, and Ghana was proud of it.
Obviously the sight of truly successful public owned and run enterprise was too much of a threat to the neo-liberal ideologues of the IMF and World Bank. When Ghana needed some temporary financial assistance (against a generally healthy background) the IMF insisted that VRA be broken up. Right wing neoliberal dogma was applied to the Ghanaian electricity market. Electricity was separated between production and distribution, and private sector Independent Power Producers introduced.
The result is disaster. There are more power cuts in Ghana than ever in its entire history as an independent state. Today Ghana is actually, at this moment, producing just 900 MW of electricity – half what it could produce ten years ago. This is not the fault of the NDC or the NPP. It is the fault of the IMF.
Those private sector Independent Power Producers actually provide less than 20% of electricity generation into the grid – yet scoop up over 60% of the revenues! The electricity bills of Ghana’s people go to provide profits to fat cat foreign corporations and of course the western banks who finance them.
Indeed in thirty years close experience the net result of all IMF activity in Africa is to channel economic resources to westerners – and not to ordinary western people, but to the wealthiest corporations and especially to western bankers.
Not content with the devastation they have already caused, the IMF and the USA are now insisting on the privatisation of ECG, the state utility body which provides electricity to the consumer and bills them. The rationale is that a privatised ECG will be more efficient and ruthless in collecting revenue from the poor and from hospitals, clinics, schools and other state institutions.
Doubtless it will be. It will of course be more efficient in channelling still more profits to very rich businessmen and bankers. I suspect that is the real point. That privatised utilities bring better service and cheaper prices to the consumer has been conclusively and forever disproven in the UK. What it does bring is huge profits to the rich and misery to the poor. To unleash this on Ghana is acutely morally reprehensible.
Ghana has a political culture in which the two main parties, NDC and NPP, heatedly blame each other for their country’s problems. But if they only can see it, in truth the electricity sector has been ruined by their common enemy – the IMF and World Bank. I pray that one day the country will escape the grip of these bloodsucking institutions.
Derry, Northern Ireland.
“Cameron went completely off script at that point and he said ‘Look, the last administration couldn’t deliver an inquiry in your husband’s case and neither can we.’” Asked why by Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch, Mr.David Cameron, according to Ms. Winter, replied: “Because there are people all around this place who won’t let it happen.” She recalled him twirling his hand in the air at “people all around this place.” “This place” was 10, Downing Street. The occasion was a meeting in October 2011 between the prime minister and members of the family of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, murdered by the Loyalist paramilitary outfit the UDA in 1989, with, as a series of media probes has established and the British government no longer denies – the active involvement of a secret British army unit and of the “security service”, MI5.
Winter had accompanied the family to London. They had travelled at the invitation of the Northern Ireland Office, believing/hoping that Cameron was to tell them face-to-face that he had given the go-ahead for the public inquiry into the killing promised by Tony Blair a decade previously. SDLP MP Mark Durkan says that Blair gave him “an unambiguous commitment” to a public inquiry during talks at Weston Park in July 2001. The question which immediately arises is: who around Downing Street would have had the clout to forbid a prime minister from following a particular course? Senior civil servants? Hardly. Sir Humphrey doesn’t deliver instructions but rather offers advice. But MI5 fits the bill. It is difficult to think of any other group which does. If this be the truth of it, Cameron was telling Ms. Finucane that an organisation which both were aware had played a key role in the murder of her husband was refusing to contemplate a public inquiry into the crime and that he had no choice but to comply. (John Ware’s 2002 BBC investigation had exposed MI5’s role in facilitating certainly scores and possibly as many as 200 sectarian murders of Catholics.)
MI5’s ability to dictate the terms on which its activities might be examined had been on open display at the Bloody Sunday inquiry in May 2003. At one point MI5 officer “Julian” – he gave evidence anonymously, by video-link from an unidentified location – referred to a device called an “Alvis.” Barry McDonald QC, for a number of the families, asked: “What is an Alvis?” Inquiry counsel Alan Roxburgh intervened: “Before the witness answers that question… I understand that (MI5’s) position may be that they are content that it should be indicated that Alvis was a means of communication, but not to provide further details… I will be corrected if I am wrong by Mr Sales.” Philip Sales QC, for MI5: “That is correct, sir.” Inquiry chairman Lord Saville: “What Mr Roxburgh says is right?” Sales: “What Mr Roxburgh says is right, yes.” Saville: “I think you will have to leave that there, Mr McDonald. I am sorry.” And there it was left. Sales was to intervene on around a dozen occasions to indicate what questions MI5 would like disallowed. Each time, the agency’s requirement was met, without discussion.
One MI5 witness told the inquiry that he had been advised in advance by one of Saville’s own lawyers what questions he might reasonably refuse to answer when giving evidence. Although lawyers for the families expressed astonishment, the matter was not pursued.
Astonishment might have been the appropriate response, too, to the bizarre (or so it would seem in any other context) government intervention in 2010 in the case of Binyam Mohammed. He had alleged MI5 involvement in severe ill-treatment which he had suffered while held in a CIA “black site”. In a draft judgment, the third most senior judge in England and Wales, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, was sharply critical of MI5’s actions both in relation to Mohammed’s treatment and then in the course of the court proceedings. Gordon Brown’s government responded by writing privately to Neuberger telling him that the judgment as it stood would be “exceptionally damaging” to MI5 and suggesting that he change it. The notion of judicial independence had been discarded.
We can but guess who it was who advised Brown to butt in on a judge between the end of the court proceeding and delivery of the judgment. In any other circumstances, the concept of contempt of court might have come into play. Since 2005, MI5 has had “primacy” in policing in the North on issues of “national security.” Determination of what issues or incidents touch on national security is exclusively reserved to MI5. In his reports to the policing board, the chief constable of the PSNI is permitted to refer to matters of national security only with specific prior permission from MI5.
An entirely unaccountable organisation which has been shown to have consorted with terrorists and to have indulged in perjury and politically-motivated murder has apparently unchallengeable control of the most sensitive aspect of policing in the North. It is puzzling that this isn’t a matter of constant controversy.
Eamonn McCann is an Irish journalist and political activist. He can be reached at Eamonderry@aol.com
Do not take the Latin American revolutions for granted.
They inspired the entire Planet. They brought hope to every corner of our scarred Earth. But now they are themselves in need of our support.
If left alone, they would thrive for decades and centuries. But the Empire is once again on the offensive. It is shaking with fury. It is ready to invade, to smash, burn to ashes all the hopes, all that which had been achieved.
Don’t believe in the “common wisdom” which proclaims that the rulers of the world simply “closed their eyes” more than a decade ago; that George W. Bush was “too busy” ravishing the Middle East, therefore “allowing” most of the Latin American countries to “sneak away” from the iron grip of the Empire.
Such “analyses” are as patronizing as they are false. The Empire never sleeps! What Latin America now has was built on its daring, its sweat, its genius and its blood – it fought against the Empire, courageously, for decades, losing its best sons and daughters. It fought for freedom, for justice and socialism.
The Empire was not “looking the other way”. It was looking straight south, in fury, but for some time it was too confused, too astounded, too shocked at what it was witnessing. Its “slaves” had risen and taken power back into their own hands. They showed to the entire world what freedom really is.
For some time, the Empire was paralyzed by rage and unable to act.
The Empire’s undeniable property, Latin America, inhabited by “un-people” born only in order to supply cheap labor and raw materials to the rich part of the world, was suddenly, proudly and publicly, breaking its shackles, declaring itself free, demanding respect. Its natural resources were now used to feed its own people, to build social housing, create public transportation systems, construct hospitals, schools and public parks.
But after the first wave of panic, the Empire began to do what it does the best – it began the killings.
It attempted to overthrow Venezuelan government in 2002, but it failed. The Venezuelan people rose, and so did the Venezuelan military, defending then President Hugo Chavez. The Empire tried again and again, and it is trying until now. Trying and failing!
“We are at war”, I was told by one of the editors of Caracas-based television network, TeleSUR, for which I made several documentary films. “We are literally working under the barrel of cannon”.
Ms. Tamara Pearson, an Australian revolutionary journalist and activist, who recently moved from Venezuela to Ecuador, explained the difficult situation in Venezuela, a country that is under constant attack from both the US, and the local comprador elites:
“People are suffering a lot. Basic food prices are high, much medicine is unavailable, and various services aren’t working. On one level, people are used to this – the business owners would cause shortages and blame the government before each of the many elections. But usually it’s less intense and lasts just a few months. But this has been going on and getting worse, since Chavez died – over two years now. There is no doubt that the US, and more so, Venezuelan and Colombian elites and business owners are a huge or even the main factor…”
All of revolutionary Latin America is “screaming”.
As I described in two of my recent books, “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”, the Empire is using similar destabilization strategy against all countries that are resisting its deadly embrace.
Its propaganda is mighty and omnipresent. CNN and FOX TV are beamed into almost all major hotels and airports of Latin America, even in some revolutionary countries like Ecuador. Almost all major newspapers of the continent, including those in Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, are controlled by the right wing business elites. Almost all of the foreign news coverage comes from European and North American sources, making the Latin American public totally confused about Islam, China, Russia, South Africa, Iran, even about their own neighbors.
The local elites continue to serve foreign interests, their loyalties firmly with North America and Europe.
Every left wing Latin American government has been facing bizarre protests and subversion actions conducted by the elites. Destabilization tactics have been clearly designed in far away capitals. They were mass-produced and therefore almost identical to those the West has been using against China, Russia, South Africa, and other “rebellious” nations.
Propaganda, disinformation and spreading of confusion have been some of the mightiest tools of the fascist right wing.
“Economic uncertainty” is an extremely powerful weapon. It was used first in Chile, in the 1973 coup against socialist President Salvador Allende. Pro-Western Chilean elites and businessmen created food shortages, and then blamed it on the socialist government, using El Mercurio and other daily newspapers as their propaganda tools.
Peter Koenig, former World Bank economist and now prominent dissident and critic of the world neoliberal regime, wrote for this essay:
Today Madame Bachelet, the socialist President of Chile has a hard time fighting against the Mercurio inspired Chilean oligarchs. They will not let go. Recently they invited the World Bank to assess the school reform package proposed by Bachelet, basically to return universities to the public sector. Of course, the ‘upper class’ of Chileans knew that the World Bank would come up with nothing less than predicting an economic disaster if the reform is approved. As a result, Bachelet made concessions – which on the other hand are not accepted by professors and teachers. It’s the first step towards chaos – and chaos is what the empire attempts to implant in every country where they strive for ‘regime change’.
But one of the “dirtiest” of their weapons is the accusation of corruption. Corrupt pro-Western politicians and individuals who misused tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars of the peoples money and destroyed the economies of their countries by taking unserviceable loans that kept disappearing into their deep pockets, are now pointing their soiled fingers at relatively clean governments, in countries like Chile and Argentina. Everything in “Southern Cone” and in Brazil is now under scrutiny.
Peter Koenig (who co-authored a book “The World Order and Revolution!: Essays from the Resistance” with leading Canadian international lawyer Christopher Black and me) shows how important it is, for the Empire, destabilization of Brazil, one of the key members of BRICS:
Brazil being a member of the BRICS is particularly in the crosshairs of the empire – as the BRICS have to be destabilized, divided – they are becoming an economic threat to Washington. Brazil is key for the non-Asian part of the BRICS. A fall of Brazil would be a major blow to the cohesion of the BRICS.
There are totally different standards for pro-Western fascist politicians and for those from the Left. The Left can get away with nothing, while the Right has been getting away literally with mass murder and with the disappearance of tens of billions of dollars.
It is, of course, the common strategy in all the client states of the West. For instance, one of the most corrupt countries on earth, Indonesia, tolerates absolute sleaze and graft from former generals, but when progressive socialist Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, became the President, he was smeared and removed in a short time, on “corruption” charges.
After centuries of the Monroe Doctrine, after mass murder committed in “Latin” America first by Europeans and then by North Americans and their rich local butlers, it will take long decades to fully eradicate the corruption, because corruption comes with the moral collapse of the colonial powers and the local elites. Financial greed is only its byproduct.
The great pre-colonial cultures of what are now Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia did not have corruption. Corruption was injected by Western colonialism.
And now, corruption under left wing, revolutionary governments still exists, since it is difficult to root out all the rats at once, but it is incomparably smaller than under the previous fascist right wing cliques!
The rich in Latin America are heartless, servile (to the Empire) and greedy in the extreme. Latin America has still the most unequal distribution of wealth on earth. True, it is much richer (and even its poor are richer, with some exceptions of Central America, Peru or Paraguay) than Africa or even in Southeast Asia, but this cannot be used as an excuse.
Even the most progressive socialist governments now in power would ever dare to touch, to slap the private enterprises too hard. From this angle, China with its central planning and controlled economy is much more socialist than Ecuador or Bolivia.
A few days ago, as I was flying from Ecuador to Peru, I read that the number of multimillionaires in Latin America was actually increasing, and so is the social gap between the rich and the rest of the societies. The article was using some anecdotal evidence, saying that, for instance, in Chile alone, now, more Porsche sports cars are sold than in the entirety of Latin America few years ago. As if confirming it, I noticed a Porsche auto dealership next to my hotel in Asuncion, the capital of the second poorest country in South America. I asked for numbers, but the Porsche manager refused to supply them, still proudly claiming that his company was “doing very well”.
So what do they – the “elites” – really want? They have money, plenty of money. They have luxury cars, estates in their own countries, and condominiums abroad. What more?
As in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia or Kenya, and all over the West, they want power. They want to feel unique. They want to be admired.
The Socialist governments allow them to stay rich. But they force them to share their wealth and above all, they shame them. They are also trying to minimize the gap – through education, free medical care and countless social projects.
That is, of course, unacceptable to the elites. They want it all, as they always had it. And to have it all, they are ready to murder, to side with the darkest foreign interests, even to commit treason.
Increasingly, the interests of the local elites are very closely linked to foreign interests – those of the Empire and those of the private sector.
As I was told in Ecuador, by Ms. Paola Pabón, Assembly Member representing Pichincha area:
Behind the involvement of the US, are some ex-bankers such as Isaiah brothers, who lost power here, escaped courts and went to live in the United States, but there are also huge economic powers such as Chevron. It means that there are not only political interests of the US, but also private, economic ones.
Predominantly, the local elites are using their countries as milking cows, with very little or zero interest in the well being of their people.
That is why their protests against Latin American revolutions are thoroughly hypocritical. They are not fighting for improvements in their countries, but for their own, selfish personal interests. Those shouts and the pathetic hunger strikes of the “opposition” in Venezuela may appear patriotic, but only thanks to propaganda abilities to the Western mass media.
The elites would do anything to make all revolutions, all over Latin America, fail and collapse. They are even spending their own money to make it happen.
They know that if they manage to remove progressive forces from power, they could rule once again, totally unopposed, as their counterparts do in all other client states of the West – in the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.
The temptation is tremendous. Most of the elites in Latin America still remember well, how it feels, how it tastes – to control their countries unopposed, and with full support from the West.
Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer and revolutionary thinker, once told me: “I keep repeating to all those new leaders of Latin America: “Comrades, do not play with poor people’s hopes! Hope is all they have.”
It appears that hope has finally been takes seriously, in Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and elsewhere.
It was also taken seriously in Honduras, but hope was crushed by the US-orchestrated coup. In Paraguay, under a semi-progressive priest who preached liberation theology, hope was taken semi-seriously, but even that was too much in the country that had been ruled, for decades, by fascist cliques. In 2012, a constitutional coup followed by an appalling massacre of predominantly indigenous people, and fascism returned.
After these two setbacks, Latin America shook, but kept moving forward. Hugo Chavez died, or was murdered by the North, depending which theory you subscribe to. His demise was a tremendous blow to the entire continent, but still, the continent kept moving. “Here, nobody surrenders!” Chavez shouted, dying, but proud.
“President Correa of Ecuador is one of very few leaders of the “original project””, said Paola Pabón. “Lula in Brazil will not be able to stand for reelection, anymore, mainly due to corruption scandals. Mujica is not in power, anymore, and Cristina Fernandez will be retiring. Evo Morales does not have regional influence, and even Maduro does not have… For this reason, Ecuador is so important, strategically. If ‘they’ hit us, if there is a successful coup, it would be tremendous victory for them, to destroy a President with regional importance; who speaks for the region… and also, because Ecuador is one country where the government actually functions well.”
Walter Bustos, who used to work for this government, is alarmed by developments in Ecuador and the entirety of Latin America. Both he and Paula Pabón realize how fragile the Latin American revolutions are. While driving with me to an indigenous area of Riobamba, Walter lamented:
In case there is a military coup in Ecuador, the difference between here and Venezuela would be enormous: while in Venezuela, Chavez incorporated the military into his revolution, in case of citizens revolution in Ecuador, we have no security; we cannot count on support of the military in case there is some armed, political or economic attack against us.
Hugo Chavez was not only a great revolutionary, but also a tremendous strategist. He knew that any great revolution has to be fought, won, and then defended. Winning the battle is never enough. One has to consolidate forces, and uphold the victory. Chavez was first thinker, and then soldier.
Correa, Morales, Fernandez go forward, brave, proud but unprotected. Under their governments, the lives of ordinary people improve tremendously. That is what matters to them. They are decent and honest beings, unwilling to dirty themselves with intrigues, speculations and conspiracy theories.
But their great success will not gain them any recognition from the Empire, or from their own elites. The success of socialism is the worst nightmare for rulers of the world and their local butlers.
This is how President Salvador Allende died in 1973. He dismissed all rumors, and then all warnings that the coup was coming. “I am not going to arrest people just because of some suspicion that they may do something”, he used to say. After the coup took place, he died proudly, a true hero, committing suicide by marching towards the helicopter gunships and fighter jets that were bombarding the Presidential Palace of La Moneda. But he was not the only victim. As a result of the coup, thousands of Chilean people died, and tens of thousands were savagely tortured and raped. Chile did not die, but went into a horrific coma, from which it only recently manages to recover.
Henry Kissinger summarized the moral corruption/collapse of his country’s regime when he uttered his memorable phrase:
I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.
Despite his great intentions, President Salvador Allende failed his people. He underestimated the bestiality of the Empire, and the result were millions of broken lives.
Since then, the Empire’s selfishness and brutality only evolved. The more successful leaders like Correa become, the more real is the danger of a coup – of a devastating, deadly attack from the North, and subversion from within.
The fragility of Latin American revolutions is obvious. The elites cannot be trusted. They showed on many occasions how far they are willing to go, committing treason, collaborating with the West against their own nations: in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, to name just a few cases.
Appeasing both the elites and the Empire, while fighting for social justice and true independence, is impossible. The elites want to have full control of their countries, while the Empire demands full submission. No compromise could be reached. The history speaks clearly about that. And the Empire demonstrated on countless occasions that Latin American democracy would be respected only if the people vote the way that suits Washington.
Latin America has to learn how to defend itself, for the sake of its people.
Its closer and closer cooperation with China and Russia is essential. A coherent regional defense agreement should follow.
The next few years will be crucial. The revolutions have to be institutionalized; they cannot depend only on charisma of its leaders.
Constant sabotages and coup attempts, like those in Venezuela, should not be tolerated. They lead to chaos and to uncertainty. They break countries economically and socially.
It is clear what the Empire and its servants are doing: they are trying to push Latin American revolutionary countries against the wall, as they pushed, in the past, North Korea. They are trying to make them “react”, so they could say: “You see, this is true socialism, this defensive, hermitic and paranoid system.”
The path will not be easy. It will be dangerous and long.
Latin America can only survive through international cooperation and solidarity. It would also have to fight legally, at home and abroad. Those who are committing treason and those who are interrupting development of the country should face justice.
The left wing governments that are ruling South American countries won democratic elections: much more democratic than those in Europe and the United States. If the individuals and groups act against the expressed will of their own people, they should be taken to courts.
If a powerful country tortures other countries and shows total spite for their people, it should face an international legal system. The United States demonstrated, countless times, that it considers itself well above the law. It even forced several government in Latin America and elsewhere, to give its military personnel immunity. One of these countries is Paraguay, historically flooded with CIA, DEA and FBI agents.
In order to legally restrain the Empire, huge international pressure would have to be built. Like in the case of Managua, which legally sued the US for many acts of terror committed against Nicaragua. The Empire will most likely refuse to accept any guilty verdict. But the pressure has to be on!
All this would be meaningless without dedicated, constant coverage of the events by independent or opposition media, be they huge new state-funded networks like RT, TeleSur, CCTV or Press TV, of progressive independent media like Counterpunch, VNN, or ICH. It is essential that Latin Americans demand information from these sources, instead of consuming the toxic lies spread through CNN en Español, FOX, EFE and other right wing Western sources.
The battle for the Latin American people and for their freedom is on. Do not get fooled, it has been on for quite some time, and it is very tough fight.
Latin America is one of the fronts of the integrated fight for the survival of our Planet.
People who admire this part of the world, all those who have been inspired by Latin American revolutions, should participate in the struggle.
The best sons and daughters of this continent are now fighting in their own, quixotic way, as they always did: frontally, with exposed heart, totally unprotected. But their fight is just, and they are in this battle in order to defend the people.
Their opponents are rich, deceitful and brutal. But they are also selfish and they fight only for their own interests. They are not loved by their nations. If they lose, Latin America will win!
Those countries defending themselves against the Empire should unite, before it’s too late. Now as Latin America is rising from its knees, it becomes clear who are its foes and who are real friends, real brothers and sisters!
This scarred but stunning continent of courageous poets, of dreamers and revolutionaries should not be allowed to fall. In Caracas, Quito and La Paz, they are fighting for entire humanity.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.
The State Department has informed the House Committee on Benghazi that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to turn over all of her records related to Benghazi and Libya. That’s according to a statement today from Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina.
The news contradicts claims from the Clinton camp which said all relevant emails had, in fact, been handed over.
“This confirms doubts about the completeness of Clinton’s self-selected public record and raises serious questions about her decision to erase her personal server—especially before it could be analyzed by an independent, neutral third party arbiter,” said Gowdy in a statement.
The New York Times was first to reveal that Clinton made controversial use of a private server while she was serving as secretary of state. When the unusual arrangement was discovered, Clinton said she sifted through all the emails from her private server and turned over all of the relevant ones to the State Department. She acknowledged destroying tens of thousands of other emails that she says were private in nature, and she acknowledged wiping her server clean.
Earlier this month, prior to testifying behind closed doors, Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal turned over additional email exchanges between himself and Clinton. The exchanges had not been previously produced to the Committee despite multiple requests and a subpoena. Additionally, the material was not produced as required by law in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, including one I made in 2012.
“This has implications far beyond Libya, Benghazi and our committee’s work. This conclusively shows her email arrangement with herself, which was then vetted by her own lawyers, has resulted in an incomplete public record,” said Gowdy today.
Clinton’s critics say the email exchanges with Blumenthal show that she was receiving and soliciting unvetted intelligence about Libya from Blumenthal, a source with a financial business interest in the country.
Clinton had previously stated that the messages from Blumenthal were unsolicited.
While the State Department says Clinton did not turn over all relevant emails, the agency did give the Committee a new set of Clinton emails that were responsive to subpoena but were not previously provided. The Committee did not disclose the content of the emails.
Clinton has insisted she did nothing wrong and that she complied with the letter and spirit of record retention laws. She says she previously gave the State Department all relevant emails, and that she did not destroy any materials except those which were entirely private in nature.