May 28-30 #NOWAR2020 VIRTUAL EVENTS

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#NoWar2020 is going online this May 28-30, 2020! Due to the cancellation of CANSEC and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we’re turning #NoWar2020, World BEYOND War’s 5th annual global conference, into a series of online sessions.

On Day 1 on May 28 at 12pm-2pm Eastern Time, Mary-Wynne Ashford will lead a virtual workshop on “Nonviolence Strategies – 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror, and War”. Click here to register for the workshop!

Day 2 on May 29 will include 2 online panel presentations. From 3pm-4:30pm Eastern Time, Te Ao PritchardSiana BanguraRichard Sanders, and Colin Stuart will speak about how to shut down a weapons expo. Then from 4:30pm-6pm Eastern Time, we’ll hear from Tamara LorinczBrent Patterson, and Simon Black about conversion from a war to peace economy. Click here to register for Day 2!

Day 3 on May 30 from 3pm-5pm Eastern Time will be a virtual anti-war activists open mic session. We’ll hear live music from the Ottawa Raging Grannies and Sandy Greenberg, along with reports from World BEYOND War chapter coordinators around the world. Come to listen and to share your music, poetry, activism, and more. Click here to register for the open mic session!

Then join us in-person next year from June 1-6, 2021 in Ottawa for #NoWar2021 to protest CANSEC 2021 and participate in World BEYOND War’s 6th annual global conference!

Source: https://nowar2021.worldbeyondwar.org/ 

Kent State Shootings

Anti-draft Action Day, Miami University, and the Rebellion that led to the Kent State Shootings.    …Logan Martinez

“May 4th is the 50th Anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University.  We are asking people here in Ohio and across the country join in 4 minutes of silence at noon on May 4th to remember Kent State, Jackson State, and all the victims of our unjust wars.” (Please share with the attachment. Thanks.)

April 15, 1970 was a nationwide anti-draft action day.  Here in Dayton there was a sit-in at the local draft board of about 35 people.  At Miami University in Oxford, OH there was an anti-draft peace rally.  At the end of the rally a student spoke “it was not enough to protest the war, people have to take action.” At that point, they marched over and occupied the Navy ROTC building.  Later the black students who were organizing for a black studies program and an increase in black enrollment joined the occupation.  Over 300 students were arrested making national news and rocking Ohio.

With the announcement of the invasion of Cambodia, protests occurred across the country with major protests at Ohio State and Ohio University.  The week before Kent State, over 1,000 students were arrested at Ohio State protesting the war and black students there were also demanding a black studies program.

During the spring of 1970, the Nixon administration orchestrated the overthrow of the Cambodian government, setting up a military dictatorship and paving the way for a US invasion.  After 11 years of war in Vietnam, the American people were growing weary of the cost in lives and money. Across the country student protests had increased both in numbers and militancy.

At Kent State there was a sharp confrontation between police and student protestors.  On Saturday night May 2nd an unknown arsonist burned the Army ROTC building to the ground. Governor Rhodes called out the National Guard and on May 4 they fired into unarmed protesters killing 4 and wounding 9. Across the US, campuses and communities erupted into massive protests against the war, the draft, and the shootings at Kent State. Hundreds of college campuses were shut down as students went on strike, the largest student strike in US history.

In Mississippi, two black students were killed the next week. Black and white students united in calling for black studies courses, more minority enrollment at colleges, and opposition to the war.

US Wars continue throughout the Middle East and Africa. Billions of dollars are being squandered in this quagmire.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the longest wars in our history. American foreign policy is aimed at making the world safe for US corporations.

May 4th is the 50th Anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University.  We are asking people here in Ohio and across the country join in 4 minutes of silence at noon on May 4th to remember Kent State, Jackson State, and all the victims of our unjust wars. People can make a peace poster to hold or place in front of their home or apartments. Creative art projects for peace are needed.  Please help spread the word on this important effort and join online in the many efforts to end our current wars. Join us on May 4th.

We need to build a massive peace movement to stand up to Trump and the WAR Machine.

For Jobs and Peace,

Logan Martinez

Green Party of Ohio—Dayton
937-260-2591 /  loganmartinez2u@yahoo.com

LETTER FROM PRESIDENT MADURO, March 29, 2020

LETTER FROM PRESIDENT MADURO

– Coat of Arms –
NICOLÁS MADURO MOROS
PRESIDENT OF THE
BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA

Caracas, 29th March 2020

To the Peoples of the World

In greeting you, with affection, I take the liberty of addressing you on the occasion of denouncing the severe events taking place against the peace and stability of Venezuela, at a time when the concern of the States and Governments should be focused on the protection of the life and health of their citizens, due to the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As it is publicly known, last March 26, the government of the United States announced a very serious action against a group of high officials of the Venezuelan State, including the Constitutional President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro.

This action consisted in the presentation of a formal accusation before the American judicial system, which is not only by illegal in itself, by also seeks to support a false accusation of drug trafficking and terrorism, with the sole objective of simulating the alleged judicialization of the Venezuelan authorities.

This American performance includes the unusual offer of an international reward to anyone who provides information about the President and the high Venezuelan officials, leading to a dangerous moment of tension in the continent. I therefore consider it necessary to make an account of the facts, which reveal the perverse plot behind the accusations of the Department of Justice.

Just one day before, on March 25, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounced before national and international public opinion the development in Colombian territory of a operation aimed at attempting against the life of President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro Moros, his family members and high State officials; as well as attacking civil and military objectives in our country, accusing Mr. Clíver Alcalá, a retired general of the Venezuelan armed forces, of being the military chief of that operation.

This denounce was made with all responsibility, after a control operation in the road to the north of Colombia, near the border with Venezuela, was announced on March 24, in which the police of that country captured a batch or war weapons in a civilian vehicle.

The investigations revealed that it was a sophisticated arsenal aimed at a group of former Venezuelan and Colombian military and paramilitary personnel who were training in camps located in Colombian territory.

On March 26, the aforementioned Clíver Alcalá, gave a statement to a Colombian media outlet -from his residence in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia- in which he confirmed his participation in the reported events, confessing to being the military leader of the operation and revealing that the weapons were purchased by order of Mr. Juan Guaidó, national deputy, who calls himself interim President of Venezuela and serves as Washington’s operator in the country. He also confirmed that the weapons were intended to carry out a military operation to assassinate senior members of the Venezuelan State and Government and to produce a coup d’état in Venezuela.

Mr. Alcalá clarified that the weapons were purchased through a contract signed by himself, Mr. Juan Guaidó, U.S. advisors and Mr. Juan José Rendón, political advisor to President Iván Duque, and carried out with the knowledge of Colombian government authorities.

In the face of this confession, the unusual response of the United States government has been the publication of the accusations mentioned at the beginning of this letter, with the extravagant inclusion of the name of Mr. Alcalá, as if he were part of the Venezuelan aucthorities and not a mercenary hired by the United States to carry out a terrorist operation against the Venezuelan government.

As a demonstration of this statement, I need no more proof than to mention the alleged capture of Mr. Alcalá by Colombian security forces and his immediate surrender to U.S. DEA authorities, in a curious act in which the prisoner, without handcuffs, was shaking hands with his captors, right in front of the stairs of the plane that would take him on a special VIP flight to the United States, which shows that in reality this whole set-up is about the rescue of someone they consider a U.S. agent.

It must be stressed that the unsuccessful armed operation was originally designed to be executed at the end of this month, while all of Venezuela is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, this is precisely the main battle that concerns humanity today.

A battle that our nation is successfully waging, having managed to stop the contagion curve, reinforcing health provisions and keeping the population in a massive quarantine, with a low number of positive cases and deaths.

For all these reasons, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela alerts our brothers and sisters of political organizations and social movements around the world about the reckless and criminal steps being taken by the administration of Donald Trump which, despite the frightening acceleration of the growth of COVID-19 affecting the American people, seems determined to deepen its policy of aggression against sovereign states in the region, and especially against the Venezuelan people.

During the pandemic, the U.S. government, instead of focusing on policies of global cooperation in health and prevention, has increased unilateral coercive measures, has rejected the requests from the international community to lift or make flexible the illegal sanctions that prevent Venezuela from accessing medicines, medical equipment and food.

At the same time, it has banned humanitarian flights from the United States to Venezuela to repatriate hundreds of Venezuelans trapped in the economic and health crisis in the northern country.

By denouncing these serious facts, Venezuela ratifies its unwavering will to maintain a relationship of respect and cooperation with all nations, especially in this unprecedented circumstance that forces responsible governments to work together and put aside their differences, as is the case with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under such serious circumstances, I request your invaluable support in the face of this unusual and arbitrary persecution, executed through a new version of that rancid McCarthyism unleashed after World War II. At that time, they willingly labeled their adversaries as Communists in order to persecute them; today they do so by means of the whimsical categories of terrorists or drug traffickers, without having any evidence whatsoever.

Condemning and neutralizing today these unjustifiable attacks against Venezuela will be very useful to prevent Washington from launching similar campaigns against other peoples and governments of the world tomorrow. We must all adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter, to prevent excessive unilateralism from leading to international chaos.

Brothers and sisters of the world, you can be absolutely sure that Venezuela will stand firm in its fight for peace and that, under any circumstances, it will prevail. No imperialist aggression, however ferocious it may be, will divert us from the sovereign and independent path that we have forged for 200 years, nor will it distance us from the sacred obligation to preserve the life and health of our people in the face of the frightening global pandemic of COVID-19.

I take this opportunity to express my solidarity and that of the people of Venezuela to all the peoples who today also suffer serious consequences from the effects of the pandemic. If we are obliged to draw any lesson from all this difficult experience, it is precisely that only together we can move forward. The political and economic models that advocate selfishness and individualism have demonstrated their total failure to face this situation. Let us firmly advance towards a new World with justice and social equality, in which the happiness and fullness of the human being is the center of our actions.

I appreciate the solidarity that you have permanently expressed towards my country and my people, denouncing the criminal blockade to which we and many other nations are subjected. I take this opportunity to reiterate my respect and affection, and to invite you to continue united, plowing a future of hope and dignity.

– Seal of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela –

Nicolás Maduro Moros

***

U.S. Peace Council • P.O. Box 3105, New Haven, CT 06515 • (203) 387-0370 • USPC@USPeaceCouncil.org
https://uspeacecouncil.orghttps://facebook.com/USPeaceCouncil/

The Great Pandemic Awakening

The Great Pandemic Awakening:

How the Coronavirus Epidemic Should Reorder National Priorities

Haig Hovaness

GPAX Secretary

 

Historians may record the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 as a turning point in the ordering of priorities of the world’s nations. The stark reality of a global epidemic that sickens millions and kills tens of thousands may jolt the people of all nations into awakening to the difference between real and imaginary threats to their safety. This may lead to a long-overdue retreat from militarism and xenophobia, social maladies that have caused the squandering of vast resources better applied to legitimate human needs.

 

Ever since the invention of nuclear weapons at the end of WWII, large-scale warfare between advanced nations has been a political impossibility. The response to any large conventional attack would entail the use of devastating nuclear weapons in an exchange that could culminate in a global catastrophe. No regime could survive, politically or physically, such an outcome. Nevertheless, most large nations have persisted in building up enormously costly military establishments in anticipation of a fantasy of large-scale conventional warfare. This fantasy presumes that combatants would limit their hostilities to bloody conventional warfare and never resort to their most powerful weaponry. Post WWII History has repeatedly proven that nuclear-armed nations will not fight large conventional wars, but the irrational preparations for such fighting persist.

 

Although nuclear weapons have rendered large-scale conventional war infeasible, they have also become the object of irrational expenditure. Ill-founded theories of nuclear war strategy have resulted in grossly excessive spending on weapons that can never be used. The pernicious phenomenon of an arms race, once limited to competitive accumulation of guns, tanks, planes, and ships has taken hold in the development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. Perversely, the more nuclear weapons are designed and deployed, the less secure the world becomes. Not content with devising ever more deadly and accurate offensive nuclear weapons, major nations are expending huge sums on developing and deploying missile defense systems, a futile undertaking that continues because of an irrational belief that enough spending can overcome intractable technical problems.

 

How much spending for military fantasies are we talking about in in the United States?

The current annual allocation in the US government budget for all defense-related expenditures is over one trillion dollars. This is over half of the discretionary budget. The cost of a single F35 jet fighter ($110 million) could buy 2,200 hospital ventilators, desperately needed in the Coronavirus pandemic. By comparison, the US government’s discretionary spending on Federal health institutions for the same period amounted to about $90 billion, a tenth of what is spent for “national security.” In short, the US is spending 10 times more to defend against imaginary threats than it is to contend with real threats to public safety.

 

Consider the clear and present danger of COVID-19. There is nothing imaginary or speculative about the mounting toll of this pandemic virus. Apart from the terrible spread of infections and fatalities, the economic damage inflicted on the world is staggering, leading some economists to predict a worldwide depression. Current projections anticipate over 100,000 fatalities in the US resulting from COVID-19. This is more than all US deaths caused by military action since WWII. Yet because of grossly misallocated resources, many of these pandemic victims will die needlessly. They will have perished because a nation obsessed by fantasies of endless warfare did not address the real dangers facing the country. There will be more pandemics after COVID-19 because evolution of viruses never stops, and it is just a matter of time before the next wave comes. Even if all viruses are defeated by medical science, the global danger of climate change is worsening inexorably and posing an even more challenging test of rational allocation of national resources.

 

We must awaken from a nightmare of imaginary military threats and horrific war plans to the grim reality of our neglected protections from the true global dangers of disease, climate disruption, poverty, and xenophobia. Such an awakening will be an ample recompense for the suffering endured by the world’s people in the Coronovirus pandemic of 2020.

 

The Green Party of the US has consistently advocated the redirection of US national resources away from excessive military spending and toward social needs. Citizens who wish to restore sanity to the allocation of our government’s resources and reorder national priorities to serve the common good should vote for Green Party candidates for local and national office. The Green Party is the party of peace and social justice. It is the party that is ready to serve an American public awakened to our true national priorities.

 

 

 

 

Propaganda Inversion: How American War Propaganda Has Undermined Foreign Policy

By Haig Hovaness

In the early 20th century, the development of mass communications propaganda enhanced the ability of governments to secure public support for waging war. In America, WWI was “sold” to the public by a carefully planned public relations campaign directed by early pioneers of opinion manipulation, such as Edward Bernays. In 1928 Bernays published a definitive book, “Propaganda,” on the new science of influencing the public. In this book, he declares the purpose of this science bluntly:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.

 Soon thereafter European dictators, like Hitler and Mussolini, used the tools of propaganda to rise to power and launch a terrible war. What the early students of propaganda did not foresee was that a time would come when the mechanisms of propaganda would no longer be subservient to the national objectives of powerful leaders but would become a dominant influence on the conduct of nations. This inversion of policy and propaganda is a fundamental reason why America’s “War on Terror” has become detached from rational policy objectives and serves as a kind of theater of cruelty for the amusement of the public, much like the bloody spectacles of the ancient Roman arena. In short, propaganda, which was invented as a tool to serve powerful leaders now dictates the actions of the leaders. Americans have become trapped in a world in which the propaganda of inciting irrational fear and hostility has become self-perpetuating, leading to an endless public spectacle called a war.

The German military theorist Clausewitz called war “a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.” By this he meant that after exhausting the resources of diplomacy nations may turn to war, but war should serve a nation’s interests. Today’s American War on Terror defies logical connection to any sound national interests. America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are widely considered disastrous failures, and our military interventions in Libya, Syria and several other troubled nations have spread chaos and anarchy. These military adventures do, however, entertain the public. The evidence for this entertainment mechanism is the repeating patterns of the propaganda spectacles that are presented. Here are some examples:

Humiliating the captives – Guantanamo

In ancient Rome the parading of defeated captives was a part of the marches of triumph that celebrated victorious military campaigns. The triumphal procession would include caged or shackled captives, whose humiliation excited and pleased the Roman crowds. The US imprisoned suspected terrorists at Guantanamo, a military base in Cuba, presumed to be outside the legal jurisdiction of US Courts. Pictures of the shackled kneeling prisoners were widely publicized, as were descriptions of the harsh conditions of confinement and interrogation at Guantanamo. This pleased a public hungry for revenge after the shock of the 9/11 attacks. The crucial distinction between the practice of the Romans and the US in the display of captives is that the Romans did so after securing strategic triumphs like the conquest of Gaul. There has been no equivalent triumph in the open-ended US global War on Terror. It is widely believed that the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo and other sites has helped recruit Islamist militants worldwide. Even as a legal stratagem for punishing accused terrorists, Guantanamo has been a failure, since the maltreatment of the prisoners renders their prosecution untenable, leaving many of these prisoners in a legal limbo, possibly for the remainder of their lives.

Guantanamo Prisoners

 Although President Obama campaigned on a promise to close the Guantanamo prison, he was unable to persuade Congress to do this. I believe the only credible explanation for this recalcitrance was the desire to maintain the public propaganda benefit of ritual humiliation of (suspected) terrorists: propaganda driving irrational policy.

Brandishing the weaponry – Shock, Awe, and MOAB

 A U.S. aircraft dropped a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, also known as a MOAB or ‘mother of all bombs’, on an area in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on April 13, 2017. The MOAB is a ten-ton bomb, the largest conventional weapon in the US arsenal. The dropping of this bomb had no effect whatever on the strategic situation of the US military intervention in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year. America lacks the military resources to fully suppress the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan which controls about two-thirds of the population and continues to inflict defeats on the US-backed Afghan government. The bomb did have significant propaganda value, however, because the images and videos of the effects of this weapon were widely reported.

America’s Biggest Conventional Bomb

The great danger of reliance on super weapon propaganda is that leaders may come to believe it. The use of super weapons to bolster public morale in a losing war was notable in WWII Germany. The German V1 cruise missile and V2 ballistic missile were revolutionary pilotless bombs that Hitler mistakenly believed would win the war. President Trump has boasted that he could win the war in Afghanistan by killing millions of Afghans, presumably with indiscriminate use of advanced American weaponry. Our super-weapons pose a greater threat to us than to our enemies: propaganda driving irrational policy.

Killing the Supervillains – Bin Laden, Al Baghdadi, and Soleimani

In Orwell’s prescient dystopian novel, “1984,” a key tool of state propaganda is focusing public rage on an archvillain who is responsible for all the evils of the nation’s enemy. In the novel, there is a daily assembly in which members of the public witness a video depiction of Emmanuel Goldstein, the leader of the enemy state.  For two minutes, the audience is whipped into a frenzy of hatred that sustains their war fervor. In America’s War on Terror, a succession of supervillains has served a powerful propaganda purpose: Bin-Laden, Al-Baghdadi, and most recently Soleimani have been killed to symbolically defeat an ill-defined adversary power (terrorism). Yet the endless war continues.

The Two Minutes of Hate in the Film Version of Orwell’s 1984

From a strategic perspective, the killings of Bin-Laden and Al-Baghdadi, founders of Al Qaeda and ISIS, were irrelevant because these leaders had fled into hiding and no longer commanded significant forces. Killing Soleimani, the Iranian general aiding anti-American forces in the Mideast, was a strategic disaster because it brought the US and Iran to the brink of a full-scale war and persuaded the Iraqi parliament to request the departure of the remaining US troops in Iraq. Nonetheless, Trump is milking the propaganda value of the Soleimani assassination at political rallies, irrespective of the negative consequences for the US position in the Mideast: propaganda driving irrational policy.

The failures of US foreign policy in the global War on Terror have become so conspicuous that there is growing organized criticism of this reign of misrule. Recently the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft was formed by support from wealthy activists from opposite ends of the political spectrum (Charles Koch and George Soros). The first paragraph of the institute’s charter addresses the problem succinctly:

The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of U.S. interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind. Political leaders have increasingly deployed the military in a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate manner, normalizing war and treating armed dominance as an end in itself.

 I assert that a main reason why military conflict has become an end in itself is that the propaganda associated with the War on Terror is out of control and is now dictating irrational and counterproductive actions. War propaganda, once a servant of American politicians, has now become a master. Taming this monstrous former servant will be a crucial challenge for American democracy.

Direct from Bolivia: Popular Resistance Mounts Against the Coup

Interview with a Political Activist in El Alto

[Note: The following interview with a Bolivian activist in El Alto, whose name is being withheld for obvious security reasons, was conducted by The Organizer editorial board member Alan Benjamin on Sunday, November 17. The interview is reprinted from the November-December 2019 issue of The Organizer.]

Question: What is the situation in Bolivia in the aftermath of the coup? How is the resistance to the coup being organized?

Answer: After the conspiracy of the police, the military, and the right-wing leaders that led to the November 10 resignation of Evo Morales and placed the coup-plotters in the governmental palace, their first measure was to burn the Whipala, the flag that represents the Quechua-Aymara peoples and that is recognized as one of the nation’s two flags in the 2009 Political Constitution of the State.

The burning of the Whipala means the return to the heinous racism and discrimination by the traditional right wing. This action by the coup government, together with the self-proclamation by supposed “president” Jeanine Añez, has triggered the mobilization of scores of popular sectors, neighborhood councils, and youth from the city of El Alto, the main bastion of the struggles of October 2003 and 2005 that succeeded in ousting then-president Gustavo Sanchez de Lozada, known as the “Gringo Goni.” Workers and youth at that time had mobilized against Goni’s Hydrocarbons Law with protests that were met with large-scale repression, resulting in 60 deaths.

Abolivia1

Since Monday, November 11, massive marches of people have descended every day from the city of El Alto to the seat of government in La Paz. Hundreds of police, military and armored cars have sealed off the Plaza Murillo (where the government palace is located), repressing the population with tear gas and arresting people who were not even participating in the mobilizations. People have been apprehended just for carrying a Whipala.

Likewise, the peasants and neighbors of the poorest areas around the southern zone of La Paz have been repressed savagely. Two people have been killed, as the local authorities have had to acknowledge.

Relatives of the killed activists have reported in the social media how the military are breaking into people’s homes and beating the activists and their families indiscriminately.

The media are silent, but the social networks are flooded with videos and images that show the savagery that has been unleashed against the population.

abolivia2

The most recent repression occurred on Friday, November 15, when peasants from the Cochabamba region were heading towards the center of that city in a peaceful march, but were intercepted at the Huayllani Bridge, in the Sacaba region, by the military and police forces, which fired lethal weapons at the unarmed population.

The result of this police-military operation was nine deaths and hundreds of wounded and arrested. The media have sought to present this as an “armed confrontation” between the military and the demonstrators — but the fact is that not a single police officer, not a single soldier, was killed.

The media have ignored the statement by Cochabamba public defender Nelson Cox, who declared: “Visiting the hospitals, we have not found a single wounded policeman or soldier. There can be no talk of confrontation when what occurred was an action by the military and police that harmed the lives of the civilians who were mobilizing peacefully.” (statement posted on the website of  Chasqui Clandestina)

On the following day, Saturday, November 16, a widely attended Cabildo [a town-hall meeting, or popular assembly – Tr. note] took place in the city of El Alto. Neighbors, workers, and young people gathered behind the Whipala with a black emblem attached to it, to signify the people’s outrage over the repression by the military and police forces which, so far, has taken the lives of 23 people, with hundreds of people seriously wounded and/or arrested.

All 14 districts that make up the city of El Alto were represented at the Cabildo. Peasant representatives from the 20 provinces of the department of La Paz were also present, as were rural teacher delegations from Alto Beni (which is the eastern sector of Bolivia), among other sectors.

The leaders of the Federation of Neighborhood Councils (FEJUVE) of El Alto were disavowed on the grounds that they are corrupt and do not represent the interests of the people of El Alto. As a consequence a new leadership of the FEJUVE has been formed.

Among its main decisions, the Cabildo called for the resignation of self-proclaimed president Jeanine Añez and the immediate release of all detainees nationwide. It also declared an indefinite strike with the blockade of 1,000 street corners.

As the workers and people were gathered in the Cabildo in El Alto, the so-called president issued Supreme Decree 4078, which authorizes the armed forces and police to “restore internal order” without having to be held accountable for their criminal actions. This is nothing but a license to kill.

As we speak [Sunday, November 17] popular sectors, carrying out the decisions of the Cabildo, are currently taking up their positions at the designated blockade points. We don’t yet have information about what is happening with the blockades. We are certainly not going to get reports from the national media, which has been assigned the task of turning a blind eye to the savage repression and making the anger of the population at the measures of the so-called president Jeanine Añez invisible.

Bolivia Evo and Mineworker Leader

Evo and leader of the National Mine Workers Federation (FSTMB)

Question: What has been the policy of the Bolivian Workers Central — the historic COB confederation — in relation to the recent coup, and, more recently, to the resistance? Have there been discussions within the COB and/or its affiliates regarding the November 10 COB statement, which we in the United States found shocking, calling for Evo’s resignation “for the sake of the health of the nation”?

Answer: On November 10, as you point out, the main leader of the COB, Juan Carlos Guarachi, called for the resignation of Evo Morales in the name of “preserving the peace in the country.” A similar statement was issued by Orlando Gutierrez, leader of the National Mineworkers Federation (FSTMB), the backbone of the COB. This marked a right-wing break by the COB and its main affiliate with the government of Evo Morales.

In the aftermath of the resignation of Morales and in response to the ongoing popular mobilizations, the COB issued a resolution dated November 12 stating that the powers-that-be had 48 hours to come up with a “constitutional solution,” otherwise they would declare an indefinite general strike.

But what kind of “constitutional solution” can be reached when you have a self-appointed president, supported by the armed forces, who has trampled upon the Constitution? She cannot even muster a sufficient quorum in the Congress to have herself declared a rightful president. The COB has remained silent until now, even though the 48-hour deadline has come and gone.

Having said that, there is growing dissension in the union ranks.

Prior to the coup, mineworkers in the State sector — in Huanuni, Vinto, Coro Coro, and Colquir — denounced the fact that behind the “Citizen Mobilizations” lurked the old right-wing parties.

Recently, on November 12, the most combative union of the FSTMB — the mine workers’ union in Huanuni — adopted a resolution denouncing all those who have lent a hand to the right wing, highlighting the leader of Santa Cruz Civic Committee billionaire Luis Fernando Camacho as a racist. The resolution affirms that, “the struggle has begun” and that “a state of emergency has been declared in Huanuni” — but to date the union has not called for mobilization.

Question: Any further comments?

Answer: At this moment, the main demand of the mobilized sectors of the population — a demand with which I concur fully — is the resignation of Jeanine Añez, who symbolizes the return of the gorilla and racist right wing. If the COB and FSTMB were to join the mobilizations, this would mark a real show of strength by the workers’ and people’s organizations against the perpetrators of the coup.

Original attribution: https://socialistorganizer.org/2019/11/18/direct-from-bolivia-popular-resistance-mounts-against-the-coup/

STOP USA’s Global Gangster Terrorism

For decades the U.S. government and its European allies have been illegally using unilateral economic sanctions (“Unilateral Coercive Measures”) as a weapon of war and mass destruction to topple governments that do not submit to the U.S. and European states’ domination of their country. The main objective of these unilateral sanctions is to destroy those small countries’ economies and bring their people to their knees through mass starvation so they will be left with no choice but to revolt against their own government.

This criminal, anti-human policy of targeting defenseless populations, which is in clear violation of United Nations Charter and international law, has now become the new weapon of choice for these powerful states since they are faced with strong opposition from the majority their own population to the endless wars of occupation that they are already involved in. Through these illegal sanctions, these powerful states hope they can achieve their imperialistic goal of “regime change” and domination in a silent, calculated manner without arousing the wrath of their own and international public opinion.

According to some UN reports, there are currently over 33 countries (15 percent of all countries of the world) and dozens of non-state entities that are targeted by these illegal sanctions. Among them are Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and many others, whose population are suffering from hunger, lack of medicine, homelessness and disruption of their educational system and other vital social services. Prior to the invasion of Iraq in 1991, fifteen years of U.S. economic sanctions led to the death of half a million Iraqi children. In Venezuela today, over 40,000 people have died as a result of illegal sanctions and the number is rising daily.

In response to these blatant criminal acts, which are nothing but crime against humanity, the Group of 77 countries + China is submitting a resolution to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which, among other measures:

1. Urges the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that are not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations, that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or the Charter of the United Nations …;

2. Calls upon the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries …;

To read the full text of the draft resolution click here

This proposed resolution is currently being discussed at the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly and the Second Committee will be taking the final vote on it on November 14. We consider it our paramount responsibility to mobilize massive support for the passage of this resolution by the UN General Assembly. To this end, we have drafted a public letter of support for the resolution to be signed by a massive number of organizations and individuals in the U.S. and around the world to be delivered to the voting session of the UN Second Committee on November 14. We urge all defenders of peace and justice to sign this letter. We need to collect a large number of signatures in a short period to time. We request that you act urgently.

* To add the name of your organization, please CLICK HERE.

* To add your name as an individual, please CLICK HERE.

READ THE LETTER:

To the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee)
of the United Nations General Assembly

Dear Committee Members,

We, civil society organizations and advocates for peace and justice, write to express our support for the resolution introduced by the Group of 77 + China [Agenda Item 17 (a)] that:

1. Urges the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that are not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations, that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or the Charter of the United Nations …;

2. Calls upon the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries …; (to read the full text of the draft resolution click here)

We recognize that unilateral coercive measures are being used to wage economic war and as tools for regime change efforts by the United States and its junior partners in violation of the United Nations Charter. These measures have devastating impacts on the countries that are targeted.

For example, Cuba, a country that has been under an economic blockade for over 60 years, reported this year that the blockade has cost their economy close to $1 trillion since its inception when devaluation of the US dollar compared to gold prices is taken into account. Recent reports find unilateral coercive measures have contributed to 4,000 deaths in North Korea over the past year and over 40,000 deaths in Venezuela in 2017 and 2018.

The US has imposed unilateral coercive measures against Iran since the revolution in 1979, and now adds secondary measures against states that do business with Iran. Zimbabwe has been targeted by unilateral coercive measures since 2002. In both these countries, and all countries targeted by unilateral coercive measures, the results are hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicines.

Economic warfare by the United States and its allies is increasing in both intensity and the number of countries that are impacted. This economic war harms those who are most vulnerable and who bear no responsibility for relations between countries.

We urge the United Nations General Assembly to support the proposed resolution cited above and to take all steps within its authority to end the use of unilateral coercive measures by any state, or a group of allied states, against another.

* To add the name of your organization, please CLICK HERE.

* To add your name as an individual, please CLICK HERE.

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Our mailing address is:
info@notrumpmilitaryparade.us.

 

Such is the daily life for many Palestinians

Image by Kevin Snyman from Pixabay

He and I decided to go into the old city of Jerusalem yesterday.  Because Yasser and his cousin, Lama, were both at work we went via the bus system.  From Al-Ram, where Yasser and Lama live, there is no route to Jerusalem without having to pass through the Israeli military checkpoint located near the Qalandiya refugee camp, a well-known center of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation.

The distance between Al-Ram and Jerusalem is about 6 miles.  Our journey took us nearly 2 hours.  What we experienced is common for Palestinian people without cars.  And on that day there were no additional delays imposed by the Israeli military at the checkpoints— just the “usual” waiting in long lines.

We left Yasser’s at around 9:00 am and were walking down the hill to the bus stop located on the town’s main street when a man in a car stopped and asked us where we were heading.  We told him, he beckoned us to get in, we did, and he drove us to the bus stop, only a short distance away.  A small bus was waiting, and once we learned it was heading to Qalandiya checkpoint, the first leg of our journey, we got on.

The buses that take passengers to the checkpoint are yellow mini-vans that hold up to 7 people. Like the majority of vehicles in the smaller towns in the West Bank, they tend to be battered—dusty inside and out, worn shocks, the upholstery clean but stained.  Sometimes there are seatbelts, sometimes none are apparent or are broken or ripped.  I never saw anyone wear one.

The driver (who was maybe in his 40’s) didn’t interact with his passengers, except to collect the bus fare and return any change to a hand at the front that passed it back to the paying passenger.  Because I had a good view of the driver in the rear view mirror, I could see his face—I thought his dark eyes and face looked worn and tired, maybe bored, too, with deep creases across his forehead and along the sides of his cheeks and mouth.  The exception was when a small child got on at one of the stops. His face brightened, his eyes lit up, and a small smile formed at the corners of his mouth.  As everywhere, children here offer a spark of life—perhaps it’s even such momentary joy a child’s presence brings that helps keep total despair at bay.

For some unknown reason, the driver didn’t drop He and me off until we were about a ¼ mile past the checkpoint.  He asked a man in one of the many shops on the street for directions. With the help of his Arabic phrase book, He managed to ask “How do we to get to Qalandiya checkpoint?”, and with hand gestures waving and pointing, the man directed us.

We turned back and headed down the shop-lined road, crowded with cars, vans, buses and pedestrians. But for one bright splash of a rose bougainvillea, it was dusty and bleak—stone rubble and trash on both sides of the road, a cement-block building with a demolished second floor, exposed rusted spines of steel holding the carcass together.  We soon saw many other people heading in a particular way, so we followed.

At first we walked on the right side of the road, directly towards the gates where cars pass, but we heard a sharp whistle to get our attention, and a female soldier waved at us to move to the left side of the area.  We climbed over and around temporary cement blocks and barriers and met another soldier—a young man, dark-skinned, small in stature, with a smile that softened the effect of his being fully equipped with weapons used to threaten, wound or kill.  He gave us additional directions to the pedestrian Qalandiya checkpoint.

Later I remembered that not so long ago (September 2019) at this same checkpoint, a young Muslim woman had similarly seemed confused about where to go to reach the bus section. Apparently she did not turn back when warned, and so the private security guards hired by Israel chased her, shot her several times and then left her bleeding—medics of the Palestinian Red Crescent were prevented from getting to her to provide first aid. She later died in an Israeli hospital in East Jerusalem. Israel claimed she was carrying a knife.

We continued on to an official looking one-story white building with two Israeli flags flying from the flat roof—the location of the Qalandiya checkpoint that demarcates a boundary between the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  With many others, mostly young or old and seemingly poorer Palestinians, we walked up the steps and into the front entrance.  We then needed to pass through a winding and walled, single-person-width passageway into a large room that branched into three separate smaller rooms.  We stayed in the middle room designated for people going to Jerusalem.

An elderly couple with a battered piece of luggage and large black plastic bags looked around, clearly uneasy, and uncertain about where to go. The woman in traditional Muslim dress with a hijab (headscarf that covers the head and neck) and brown, unadorned thob (a long, full robe-like dress) took the lead and walked around examining the rooms and signs. After a brief and quiet discussion with her husband, the couple moved to the room on the right.

The next step in passing through the checkpoint was to go through a floor-to-ceiling metal turnstile big enough for one person at a time that allowed only a certain number of people to pass through before it stopped turning. As we exited, we were directed to another turnstile (similar to those for getting onto a train in a subway) where we were required to show our passport to an armed guard.  Palestinians were required to show their ID card.

We moved through yet another floor-to-ceiling turnstile before we were required to put our backpacks, jewelry and other metal items onto an airport-type conveyor belt that moved through a machine checking for dangerous items stowed in the bags.  And we, too, had to walk through a metal-detecting device so the Israeli guards could be ensured that we posed no security threat.

From that point, we were allowed to exit the building and go to the bus station, a large dirt-packed parking area with white coach-sized buses for passengers wanting to travel to the East Jerusalem bus station.  Two full buses later, we were able to get onto a bus with vacant seats. And at 11:00 we arrived at the East Jerusalem bus station, 2 hours after leaving Yasser’s.

Such is the daily life for many Palestinians.

Sending this with love and with the commitment to work for the freedom and human rights of the Palestinian people,