War with China: A Propaganda Delusion

A dangerous delusion has taken hold in US political and media circles regarding the prospect of a war with China. In order to avoid the calamitous outcome that would ensue from such a war, the public should be aware of the historic and technical facts that argue against such folly. The following discussion will provide this information and explain the perverse incentives motivating US business, political, military, and media elites in their efforts to present China as a hostile power that must be confronted militarily.

Historical Background

China emerged as a powerful modern state after a long period of suffering at the hands of exploitative foreign powers (1840-1945) followed by a bitter civil war (1937-1949), and a major war against the US in Korea (1950-1953). Adding to the challenges of repeated warfare was the internal political turmoil of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Only after the death of Mao in 1976 did China adopt a political system that enabled rapid modernization and economic growth, resulting in China’s emergence as a major world power.

Unlike the United States, which has not experienced the suffering of war on its own soil since 1865, the Chinese have a long history of episodic bloody conflict, external and internal, covering the last century, including border wars with Russia, India, and Vietnam. China is not a nation that backs down from war if its vital interests are threatened.

The large and rapidly growing Chinese economy, which is on course to surpass the GDP of the United States within the next 10 years, has enabled China to modernize its armed forces. China has a small but potent nuclear deterrent, a Navy with more ships than the US, and a large, well-equipped standing army double the size of that of the US. Although the US military has many high-tech advantages, such as stealth technology and naval aviation, the Chinese have developed offsetting advanced weapons systems, such as precision-guided ballistic missiles capable of sinking warships.


Chinese DF-26 “Carrier Killer” missiles – Est. unit Cost: $2 million

China views the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland as the most important unfinished business of the restoration of China to its historic position as the dominant power in Asia. US support of Taiwan, the break-away state established by the defeated faction in the Chinese Civil war, is a major point of contention between the two nations, and a possible cause of armed conflict. The other likely cause of conflict is territorial claims over the waters of the South China Sea, an area encompassing strategic waterways and rich with natural resources. Forcible attempts by the US to block Chinese unification with Taiwan or occupy islands claimed by China in the South China Sea would likely trigger a war. What would this war look like?

The Realities of War with China

Americans have grown accustomed to swift initial victory in warfare against weak adversaries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but the US has not fought a war with a peer power armed with equivalent weaponry since 1945. Thus, the US risks encountering serious unfavorable technical and operational surprises should it undertake a war with China. Although military planners make estimates of adversary capabilities in simulations and exercises, the test of combat is the final determinant of outcomes. No one in the US military knows if the Chinese missiles designed to sink US aircraft carriers can do so in a shooting war, and no one knows if the complex logistics infrastructure required by US high-tech weapons deployed in the Western Pacific can survive in a high-tempo combat environment. Why, then would US leaders contemplate such a war?


USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier – Est. cost: $13 Billion

There have been many historical instances of outdated military thinking leading to catastrophe. Perhaps the most terrible is that of WWI, a conflict that resulted in far more carnage than political and military leaders expected. On the eve of WWI, there was enthusiasm on all sides for what was expected to be a short and decisive war. The opposing generals has clever plans for swiftly defeating their adversaries. What they failed to understand was the radical transformation of the battlefield that advances in antipersonnel weaponry would cause. The devastating effects of massed artillery and machine gun fire would result in infantry casualties in the millions and a bloody, exhausting war of attrition that left deep scars in European politics and created the conditions for WWII.

What is known about a potential war with China is that the logistical constraints imposed by geography overwhelmingly favor the Chinese in a war fought off their coast against an adversary from other side of the Pacific. In such a war, the US would be heavily reliant on a small number of Western Pacific bases such as Guam and Okinawa. These bases are likely to be attacked and destroyed in the early days of hostilities, leaving US naval forces stranded with uncertain prospects of support from nervous Asian allies. Long-range stealth bombers flying from the US could inflict some damage on China, but the sortie rate (the number of strike missions flown) would be too low to be decisive.

The Chinese, on the other hand, could swarm Taiwan and the South China Sea with naval and aviation assets, absorbing heavy losses and still sweep US forces out of the theater. At that point, escalation to a nuclear exchange would be the only remaining military option for the US, but the relatively small Chinese nuclear force would still be capable of destroying dozens of US cities, an unacceptable outcome for any sane US President.

The general public is poorly informed regarding the characteristics of modern missile warfare. Despite decades of costly efforts to develop missile interceptors, the US has not been able to overcome the basic problem of missile defense. The defender must protect all vulnerable assets with costly systems that can intercept a high percentage of incoming missiles, but the attacker can make concentrated attacks selectively, using surprise, decoys, and overwhelming numbers, to score precise hits that damage or destroy targets. (This imbalance was demonstrated recently in successful missile attacks on Saudi petroleum facilities and US airbases in Iraq.) The US simply lacks the resources to put an impenetrable missile defense umbrella over every vulnerable ship, airbase, and supply depot in the Western Pacific, and the Chinese have a lot of missiles to throw against these targets.

The damage to the US from defeat in a war with China would be far-reaching. Apart from the military casualties and material losses, the economic impact of disrupting trade and communications in Asia would be enormous, probably triggering a global recession. The diplomatic impact would likely be the destruction of long-standing US alliances with other Asian powers, including India, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philipines, and the Southeast Asian nations

The US Military has conducted many simulations of an armed conflict with China involving Taiwan and the South China Sea, and China wins (at a heavy cost) in most of these exercises, mainly because of geographical and logistical advantages. If war with China is a losing proposition from an analytical perspective, what sustains the delusion?

Cui Bono

The Latin expression “Cui Bono” (To whom is it a benefit?) is the name of a method that has been used since ancient times to analyze motives behind political actions. Consider who benefits from sustaining the propaganda delusion of war with China:

Defense Contractors benefit from the incessant arms purchases associated with preparations for war. Because the Chinese can afford to steadily modernize their armed forces, the US defense industry can successfully market new weapons to counter actual and perceived advantages in Chinese weaponry. The US defense industry has enormous political influence because of large campaign donations and support for institutions and academics promoting bellicose foreign policies.

Military Professionals benefit from improved opportunities for command and promotion in growing organizations, such as the newly established Space Force. More surface ships and aircraft squadrons require more officers and commanders. New high-tech weapons projects require military managers who can look forward to high-salaried jobs with defense contractors after taking early retirement.

Politicians benefit from Xenophobia and war fever, particularly if there is a racist component involved. In WWII, the US had no compunction in putting Japanese Americans into internment camps, while German Americans were left unmolested. By depicting the Chinese as totalitarian Communists bent on world domination, politicians can easily whip up war fever among a large segment of the electorate. President Trump has already begun building up anti-Chinese sentiment by referring to COVID-19 as the “China Virus.”

Media Corporations benefit by generating Internet clicks and TV ratings from an audience excited by wars and rumors of wars. Danger and violence sell, and tensions threatening a major war are a sure winner for elevating viewership. The concentration of US media power in a handful of major corporations makes it easier for governments and arms makers to influence “news” coverage in a bellicose manner. Government-friendly US media companies now routinely employ ex-military and former intelligence agency personnel as commentators on foreign affairs, thus strengthening what is effectively a pro-war propaganda collaboration with the national security establishment.

The above players are engaged in an alliance of convenience to promote a war that cannot be waged successfully. Nevertheless, by keeping the danger of this delusional war before the public, they succeed in selling costly weapons, advancing military careers, winning elections, and earning media profits.

Conclusion

The rational arguments against the US engaging in a war with China are overwhelming, and it is only the power of the US political/media propaganda apparatus that has given this idea public credibility. Perverse incentives motivate arms makers, politicians, the military, and media leaders to sustain this delusion and run the risk of the accidental or intentional outbreak of a war which would have ruinous consequences for the US. Citizens should act to persuade their leaders to stop the drum beat of war before a propaganda delusion turns into a military disaster.

Haig Hovaness
GPAX Secretary
September 3, 2020

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,

PEOPLE’S MOBILIZATION UNITES FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

| , NEWSLETTER

The People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet is two weeks away. The “People’s Mobe” will be held from September 20 to 23 in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly.

Members of the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective started organizing the People’s Mobe in May. Organizers sought to bring the issue of US violations of international law, such as when the State Department violated the Vienna Convention by raiding the Venezuelan Embassy on May 16, to the UN General Assembly and began to plan around September 21, the International Day of Peace. Organizers wrote:

At a time when all of the world leaders gather, we will say we’ve had enough of the US War Machine.

We demand the US be held accountable for its destructive acts. It’s time for the US government to obey the United Nations Charter by stopping regime change operations, ending the use of unilateral coercive measures (aka sanctions) and ceasing military attacks.

We demand the US sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty, rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and Paris climate treaty, disband NATO and close bases and outposts around the world.

We demand an immediate transition to a peace economy that uses our resources to meet human needs and protect the planet.

The People’s Mobe begins with the Climate Strike on Friday, September 20, an international day of action on the climate crisis, and ends with a solidarity evening uniting countries and popular movements around opposition to US intervention and respect for international laws that uphold sovereignty, human rights and protection of the planet.

The weekend will also focus on decolonization joining a protest for the liberation of Puerto Rico and black resistance to racism and militarism in the “Americas.”

Schedule of Events for the People’s Mobilization Against the US War Machine

Friday, September 20 – People’s Climate Strike. Starts at Foley Square at noon, then a march to Battery Park for a rally at 3:00 pm. We’ll bring messages connecting militarism and the climate crisis.

Saturday, September 21 – Puerto Rico Independence Rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN. It’s time to decolonize Puerto Rico! Time TBA.

Saturday, September 21 – Race, Militarism and Black Resistance in the “America’s” from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Green Worker Cooperative, 1231 Lafayette Ave in the Bronx.

Sunday, September 22 – People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet Rally and March, Herald Square near 34th St.and 6th Ave., 2:00 pm. Featuring Cornel West, Roger Waters, members of the Embassy Protection Collective, Chairman Omali Yeshitela, music by Ben Grosscup plus many solidarity, climate crisis, and resistance groups. More special guests to be announced.

Monday, September 23 – Solidarity evening with UN representatives from countries targeted by US sanctions and intervention. “A Path to International Peace: Realizing the Vision of the United Nations Charter.” Location: Community Church of New York 40 East 35th St., New York City, 10016. Hear from UN representatives and social movements. The Peace Memorial Prize will be awarded and David Rovics will perform. Time:  6:30 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). You must register in advance. Register at http://bit.ly/RSVPapathtopeace. The event is free but we will accept donations to help cover the costs.

People’s Mobilization Shows Interconnections At Historical Moment

The People’s Mobe is connecting the issues of militarism, climate crisis, racism, and decolonization. We cannot achieve economic, racial and environmental justice or peace without forming a united people’s force that demands international law be obeyed by the greatest violator of laws, the United States.

We face multiple crisis issues that are reaching their breaking points. We are in a climate emergency as fires, hurricanes, flooding, and drought are becoming common experiences, destroying communities and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. Even if the US government ignores climate science, people understand it and realize these conditions are worsening. As a result, the Global Climate Strike from September 20-27 was called. Popular Resistance will participate in the Strike in NYC; other peace activists are joining the Shut-Down DC Climate Strike.  We urge peace activists throughout the country to support the Climate Strike and demonstrate the connection between militarism and climate.

The role of the US military in climate change is massive as oil is essential for the war machine. There is no such thing as a Green War. We cannot confront climate change without confronting US militarism.

Even though the US military produces more climate pollution than 140 countries combined, the US-made sure the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change from 1997, the first international accord to limit global warming emissions, excluded fossil fuel emissions by the military. Even the Paris Agreement, which Trump withdrew from, still enabled the US to avoid reporting Pentagon emissions.

As a result, the greatest fossil fuel polluter on the planet is excluded despite the fact that the US  military accounts for 25% of the total US consumption of oil, which is itself 25% of the total world consumption. US military fossil fuel pollution is equivalent to 25 million additional cars on US roads. The US Air Force is the single largest consumer of jet fuel in the world.

The US and allies learned in World War II that controlling the oil supply and cutting off Germany’s access to oil was essential to defeating Hitler. Since then, domination of oil reserves has been a central goal of US policy to ensure its role as the global superpower. Even with the rapid increase in US fossil fuel production, denying China access to oil from Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and other sources is critical to remaining the world’s dominant power. The US and its war machine drive the rise in greenhouse gases.

The ties between war and racism have been evident throughout US history since the “Indian Wars” of Manifest Destiny and the theft of one-fifth of Mexico during the US war with Mexico, which gave the US control of much of North America. As the US expanded its empire beyond the continent, the US fought wars against people of color all over the world and today is rapidly militarizing Africa.

As happens with empires, the empire turns against its own people to take as much as it can from its poor and working classes for the wealthiest. Not only has this resulted in an immense wealth divide and widespread povertyhomelessness and inadequate education for many people in the US, but it has also led to militarized police forces that use weapons and techniques of war against the people in the United States. The prime targets of domestic militarized police are communities of color, which have been left destitute from neglect and the funneling of wealth upwards in a racially-biased manner.

Part of being the largest empire in world history not only includes an empire of bases and dollar domination of trade and the global economy, but also the US remains a colonizer nation. While decolonization created scores of independent nations from 1945-1960, the United States did not decolonize. As a result states like Hawaii, which was an independent nation throughout most of its history, did not become independent and territories like Puerto Rico, which had broken from Spanish colonization only to be captured as a US colony, remain.

Uniting To End Empire and Militarization, and put People and Planet First

The Peoples Mobilization comes at a time when all of these fronts of struggle are coming together. Climate activists realize that ending wars for oil, closing bases and making serious cuts to military funding are essential for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and financing a global Green New Deal. Anti-war activists recognize that keeping fossil fuels in the ground is essential for stopping endless wars.

It is time to stop the US war machine and for the US government to stop its global gangsterism. The US must obey international law and be held accountable for illegal and destructive acts. The Non-Aligned Movement countries made a commitment to do what they can this past July. Now, we need a global popular movement that pushes to make peace, justice, and a livable future a reality.

If you agree, sign onto the Global Appeal for Peace. We plan to deliver it to the United Nations while they are in session. Beyond that, we will continue to build a global solidarity movement to Stop The US War Machine and Save the Planet.

The Green Party denounces business deals and trade policies through which multinational corporations profit from the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest.