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Shunned by Trump, Mahmoud Abbas Looks to Biden to Revive a Long Dead “Peace Process”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/12/2020 - 1:44am in

No one seemed as excited about the election of Joe Biden being the next President of the United States as Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. When all hope seemed lost, where Abbas found himself desperate for political validation and funds, Biden arrived like a conquering knight on a white horse and swept the Palestinian leader away to safety.

Abbas was one of the first world leaders to congratulate the Democratic President-elect on his victory. While Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, delayed his congratulatory statement in the hope that Donald Trump would eventually be able to reverse the results, Abbas suffered no such illusions. Considering the humiliation that the Palestinian Authority experienced at the hands of the Trump Administration, Abbas had nothing to lose. For him, Biden, despite his long love affair with Israel, still represented a ray of hope.

But can the wheel of history be turned back? Despite the fact that the Biden Administration has made it clear that it will not be reversing any of the pro-Israel steps taken by the departing Trump Administration, Abbas remains confident that, at least, the ‘peace process’ can be restored.

This may seem to be an impossible dichotomy, for how can a ‘peace process’ deliver peace if all the components of a just peace have already been eradicated?

It is obvious that there can be no real peace if the US government insists on recognizing all of Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘eternal’ capital. There can be no peace if the US continues to fund illegal Jewish settlements, bankroll Israeli apartheid, deny the rights of Palestinian refugees, turn a blind eye to de facto annexation underway in Occupied Palestine and recognize the illegally-occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel, all of which is likely to remain the same, even under the Biden Administration.

The ‘peace process’ is unlikely to deliver any kind of a just, sustainable peace in the future, when it has already failed to do so in the past 30 years.

Yet, despite the ample lessons of the past, Abbas has decided, again, to gamble with the fate of his people and jeopardize their struggle for freedom and a just peace. Not only is Abbas building a campaign involving Arab countries, namely Jordan and Egypt, to revive the ‘peace process’, he is also walking back on all his promises and decisions to cancel the Oslo Accords, and end ‘security coordination’ with Israel. By doing so, Abbas has betrayed national unity talks between his party, Fatah, and Hamas.

Unity talks between rival Palestinian groups seemed to take a serious turn last July, when Palestine’s main political parties issued a joint statement declaring their intent to defeat Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’. The language used in that statement was reminiscent of the revolutionary discourse used by these groups during the First and Second Intifadas (uprisings), itself a message that Fatah was finally re-orienting itself around national priorities and away from the ‘moderate’ political discourse wrought by the US-sponsored ‘peace process’.

Even those who grew tired and cynical about the shenanigans of Abbas and Palestinian groups wondered if this time would be different; that Palestinians would finally agree on a set of principles through which they could express and channel their struggle for freedom.

Oddly, Trump’s four-year term in the White House was the best thing that happened to the Palestinian national struggle. His administration was a jarring and indisputable reminder that the US is not – and has never been – ‘an honest peace broker’ and that Palestinians cannot steer their political agenda to satisfy US-Israeli demands in order for them to obtain political validation and financial support.

By cutting off US funding of the Palestinian Authority in August 2018, followed by the shutting down of the Palestinian mission in Washington DC, Trump has liberated Palestinians from the throes of an impossible political equation. Without the proverbial American carrot, the Palestinian leadership has had the rare opportunity to rearrange the Palestinian home for the benefit of the Palestinian people.

Alas, those efforts were short-lived. After multiple meetings and video conferences between Fatah, Hamas and other delegations representing Palestinian groups, Abbas declared, on November 17, the resumption of ‘security coordination’ between his Authority and Israel. This was followed by the Israeli announcement on December 2 to release over a billion dollars of Palestinian funds that were unlawfully held by Israel as a form of political pressure.

This takes Palestinian unity back to square one. At this point, Abbas finds unity talks with his Palestinian rivals quite useless. Since Fatah dominates the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestine National Council (PNC), conceding any ground or sharing leadership with other Palestinian factions seems self-defeating. Now that Abbas is reassured that the Biden Administration will bequeath him, once again, with the title of ‘peace partner’, a US ally and a moderate, the Palestinian leader no longer finds it necessary to seek approval from the Palestinians. Since there can be no middle ground between catering to a US-Israeli agenda and elevating a Palestinian national agenda, the Palestinian leader opted for the former and, without hesitation, ditched the latter.

While it is true that Biden will neither satisfy any of the Palestinian people’s demands or reverse any of his predecessor’s missteps, Abbas can still benefit from what he sees as a seismic shift in US foreign policy – not in favor of the Palestinian cause but of Abbas personally, an unelected leader whose biggest accomplishment has been sustaining the US-imposed status quo and keeping the Palestinian people pacified for as long as possible.

Although the ‘peace process’ has been declared ‘dead’ on multiple occasions, Abbas is now desperately trying to revive it, not because he – or any rational Palestinian – believes that peace is at hand, but because of the existential relationship between the PA and this US-sponsored political scheme. While most Palestinians gained nothing from all of this, a few Palestinians accumulated massive wealth, power and prestige. For this clique, that alone is a cause worth fighting for.

Feature photo | Joseph Biden, left, talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 10, 2010. Tara Todras-Whitehill | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The post Shunned by Trump, Mahmoud Abbas Looks to Biden to Revive a Long Dead “Peace Process” appeared first on MintPress News.

Bolivia: New Gov’t Sets to Work Undoing Damage Left by US-Backed Añez Regime

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/12/2020 - 6:45am in

Only weeks after their landslide victory, the leftist Movement to Socialism (MAS) party is already enacting widespread changes to Bolivia in an attempt to undo the damage of one year of military rule. Last November, a U.S.-backed coup removed democratically-elected president Evo Morales from power, placing the far-right authoritarian politician Jeanine Añez in power.

Internally, the new government, headed by Luis Arce, is facing many pressing concerns, as the country tries to come to grips with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 9,000 Bolivians, making it one of the worst affected countries in the world per capita.

Arce, Morales’ economy minister until the coup, has made the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty his top priority. Under Morales stewardship (2006-2019), Bolivia saw its poverty rate reduced by 42% and extreme poverty cut by 60%. The government has already begun issuing what it calls “hunger bonuses” — cash sums to all adults who do not receive a salary. This is a desperately needed financial transfer, as many sectors, including tourism, have virtually collapsed thanks to the pandemic. As part of a wider economic program, Arce announced changes in public spending he hopes will “optimize expenses and reactivate public investment to generate jobs.”

Part of Arce’s work entails undoing the damage done by the Añez administration over the past year. The government is restarting public transportation projects canceled under Añez’s brief rule, such as a tramway project for the city of Cochabamba, and reopening its Ministry of Cultures, which Añez closed, labeling it an “absurd expense.” The Ministry of Cultures promoted indigenous Bolivian identity and will now be led by an indigenous Quechua Campesina (farm worker). Television and radio networks that were shut down under the previous administration have also been allowed to broadcast again. Late last month, Latin American news network TeleSUR began operating in Bolivia after one year of silence.|

Internationally, the changes have been perhaps more pronounced. Bolivia has rejoined a number of progressive Latin American alliances and organizations, including the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) — a left-wing trade and political bloc aimed at promoting Latin American unity. Former President Morales also traveled to Venezuela, observing the recent elections and embracing government officials there, also posing underneath a portrait of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Evo Morales Ayma (@evomoralesayma)

While Añez’s interior minister Arturo Murillo invited Israeli security forces to the country to help quell dissent and crush any resistance to their rule, the country’s new Minister for the Presidency, Maria Nela Prada, pointedly wears a Palestinian Keffiyeh (headscarf) on official business. Under Morales, Bolivia had become a champion of Palestinian rights on the world stage, even declaring Israel a “terrorist state” in 2014. Bolivia’s position was part of a continent-wide shift in relations; in 2005, not one country in South America officially recognized Palestine, but by 2018, all had changed their positions.

Añez was handpicked by the military after they intervened in the country’s 2019 presidential elections, claiming fraud and demanding Morales resign. Morales fled to Mexico, then Argentina, and faced spending the rest of his life in prison if he returned to his homeland.

Añez and Murillo pushed forward a radical privatization program, cracking down on opposition to their rule. Calling herself an “interim president,” she promised to immediately hold elections. However, she postponed them three times. Fearing permanent military rule, Bolivians organized a nationwide general strike that paralyzed the country and forced her to concede to elections in October. While Morales was banned from standing, Arce and the MAS won in a landslide, nearly doubling the vote total of their nearest challengers. Morales returned to a hero’s welcome last month, accompanied by MintPress’ Ollie Vargas.

Añez, meanwhile, was attempting to go the other way, but was prevented from fleeing the country on a plane to Brazil. She complained that she was being “persecuted” for “thinking differently.” Others felt that she was being held to account for her crimes, which included overseeing two massacres of indigenous MAS supporters. Murillo, on the other hand, managed to fly to Panama and is now currently in the United States. Given the U.S.’ strong support for the coup, it is unlikely that he will be forced to return.

Perhaps a bigger problem for the U.S. than the fall of their client government, however, is the democratic election of a Marxist politician as head of state. In 1973, the U.S. organized the overthrow of the democratically-elected Marxist Salvador Allende in Chile. With such widespread support for Arce and his policies, doing the same again in Bolivia might prove far harder this time.

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera for MintPress News

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Bolivia: New Gov’t Sets to Work Undoing Damage Left by US-Backed Añez Regime appeared first on MintPress News.

John Kerry’s Think Tank Calls for War With Russia Over Climate Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/12/2020 - 4:35am in

Recently-appointed Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry has announced his intention of dealing with the pressing issue of global warming as a national security concern. “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” the 76-year-old former Secretary of State wrote. “I am proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis.”

The announcement drew praise from many professional climate activists and groups, perhaps assuming that Kerry was taking his lead from Bernie Sanders, who has for years been saying the same thing. Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, Varshini Prakash said his statement was an “encouraging move,” while 350.org’s Bill McKibben, predicted Kerry would be an excellent climate czar. Yet, as media critic Adam Johnson argued, Kerry’s proclamation should deeply concern progressive activists and will likely lead to expanding the already bloated military budget.

Kerry is a founding member of the Washington think tank, the American Security Project (ASP), whose board is a who’s who of retired generals, admirals and senators. The ASP also hailed the appointment of their man, explaining, in a little-read report, exactly what treating the climate as a national security threat entails. And it is nothing like what Sanders advocates.

For the ASP, climate change constitutes an “accelerant of instability” and a “threat multiplier” that will “affect the operating environment,” and notes that Kerry will have three priorities in his role as President Biden’s right-hand man. What were those three priorities? Making sure people in the Global South could eat and have access to safe drinking water? Reparations? Disaster relief or response teams? Cutting back on fossil fuel use? Indeed not. For the ASP, the primary objectives were:

  1. A huge rebuilding of the United States’ military bases,
  2. Countering China in the Pacific,
  3. Preparing for a war with Russia in the newly-melted Arctic.

The ASP notes that rising sea levels will neutralize or destroy dozens of American naval bases around the world, including the world’s largest such base in Norfolk, VA. The ASP recommends “prioritizing the measures that can protect readiness” of the military to strike at any time, also warning that rising sea levels will hurt the combat readiness of the Marine Expeditionary Force. Thus, a rebuilding of the U.S.’ worldwide network of military bases is in order.

US Military Kerry

Protesters opposed to US military bases voice opposition to a planned visit by Secretary of State John Kerry, July 27, 2016, in Manila. Bullit Marquez | AP

The report notes that the nations most immediately affected by climate change are South Pacific island chains like Vanuatu or the Marshall Islands, claiming that these countries are “strategically important in the contest between the U.S. and China.” It recommends that the U.S. must use all tools available to remain in control of those islands, claiming that China is “showering cash” on them, building seawalls, ports, and clean energy stations that are a threat to U.S. dominance of the region.

The ASP also notes that the Arctic is the fastest-warming area of the world, and envisions a pitched battle with Russia to control the area, which is increasingly open to maritime traffic thanks to melting arctic ice. “NATO faces a severe military challenge in the European Arctic area of operation,” it writes, advocating that, “the U.S. military should actively participate in Arctic joint exercises, and publicize U.S. military deployments to the region, with particular focus on the Russian border – perhaps by returning the U.S. Marine deployment to Norway.” “There is no time to waste,” it concludes, insisting that, “the region needs a concerted diplomatic, security, and economic push from the U.S. government.”

What will the designation of the climate crisis as a “national security threat” entail domestically? Last year, the ASP wrote that “Given that climate change will force more families to migrate, funding for border security should include improving facilities for holding and transporting migrants.” In other words, an expansion of the militarized border and network of detention centers, often condemned as “concentration camps.”

Michelle Flournoy, tipped by many for a top job in Biden’s team, also argued that the military as part of the solution to climate change, suggesting it could be turned into a force for environmentalism. Yet there is little chance of this happening. The Pentagon is the largest single polluter in the world, and the U.S. has historically insisted on exempting the military from any climate treaties. Just one B-52 bomber consumes as much fuel in an hour as an average car driver uses in seven years. As the Institute for Policy Studies wrote, “militarism and climate justice are fundamentally at odds” while “climate change and border militarization are inextricably linked.”

While many activists may have taken heart at Kerry’s tough words, it is doubtful whether occupying Norway or expanding the network of ICE camps was exactly what they had in mind when they said they wanted the government to act on climate change.

Feature photo | U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to troops at America’s only base in Africa, Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti, Djibouti, May 6, 2015. Andrew Harnik | Pool via AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post John Kerry’s Think Tank Calls for War With Russia Over Climate Change appeared first on MintPress News.

US Media, Pols Rage After Venezuelans Defy US Empire to Re-elect Socialists

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2020 - 4:15am in

President Nicolas Maduro and his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) are celebrating today, after a clear victory in yesterday’s National Assembly elections. The elections, boycotted by many major right-wing opposition groups, but still participated in by over 100 political parties, ended with the PSUV and its allies receiving an estimated 67.6% of the votes cast, meaning they will control a two-thirds supermajority of the 277-seat National Assembly, the only major body that was controlled by anti-government forces.

“We have recovered the national assembly with the majority vote of the Venezuelan people,” Maduro said in his victory speech. “It’s a great victory without a doubt for democracy,” he added, also announcing that the government had delivered the 3.3 million houses for the needy that it promised when it launched the Great Venezuelan Housing Mission program in 2011.

Self-declared opposition president Juan Guaidó, a former leader of the National Assembly himself, did not see the result in the same way, seemingly calling for another coup on Saturday. “The rejection of the regime and its fraud united us, now we must respond in the street. December 12 will mobilize us like the immense majority of us who want to choose their future,” he announced on social media. 

Yet even his backers in the Western press fear the result has neutralized him. The Guardian, for example, wrote that yesterday’s events “deal a further blow to Guaidó’s flagging crusade,” quoting bitterly anti-Maduro figure Phil Gunson, who said that “the coalition around Guaidó is really crumbling.”

Media Bias Venezuela

Corporate press cast a noticeably despondent tone in their coverage of the election

Turnout in the election — 31% — was considerably lower than the PSUV was hoping for, although perhaps understandable, given the continued boycott of much of the opposition (meaning the outcome was barely in doubt), the COVID-19 pandemic, the crippling U.S. sanctions — which included those imposed on opposition figures that defied U.S. instructions not to participate in the election. Nevertheless, pro-government figures will be disappointed with the figure.

What is not in doubt is the veracity of the election itself, which, according to TeleSUR, “is being monitored by 1,500 observers and 300 representatives from 34 countries worldwide,” including many former heads of states, including Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Jose Luís Zapatero of Spain. “Here in Venezuela nobody can doubt the electoral system,” said former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, who agreed with former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya’s assessment that the process was “transparent and peaceful.” Other official observers included MintPress contributors Professor Adrienne Pine and Dr. Margaret Flowers.

Despite this, the United States government had already decided that the process was a fiction. “Venezuela’s electoral fraud has already been committed,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “The results announced by the illegitimate Maduro regime will not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people. What’s happening today is a fraud and a sham, not an election.” Zelaya — who was overthrown in a coup supported Pompeo’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton — fired back, claiming that the U.S. had “no moral high ground” to criticize events in Venezuela. “They ought to be here as observers,” he added.

Corporate media, who reflexively take the U.S. government’s side on Venezuela, did their level best to undermine confidence in the process when reporting on it. “Maduro consolidates power in Venezuela, dominating election boycotted by opposition,” ran the Washington Post’s headline. “Venezuela’s Maduro tightens grip as opposition boycotts elections,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. Human Rights Watch’s Ken Roth, who supported the far-right coup in Bolivia last year that removed Maduro’s democratically-elected ally Evo Morales, also rejected the election as “a theater piece meant to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the government of Nicolas Maduro.”

Media was also not above simply printing demonstrably fake news, either. Local opposition outlets insisted that turnout was below 20%, a canard reprinted in major Western sources. One-upping them, Geoff Ramsay of the pro-coup Washington Office on Latin America, perhaps Western media’s most quoted “expert” on Venezuela, claimed that turnout was only 15%. Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Patricia Laya went furthest of all, insisting that participation stood at only 10%. A similar phenomenon of attempting to wish something into being by lowballing turnout occurred in the 2018 elections, also boycotted by much of the opposition.

Concern over low participation rates appeared not to extend to U.S. ally and NATO member Romania, however, the Eastern European state also held elections yesterday, finishing with a turnout of 30%. Unlike with Venezuela, there was no outcry from the White House, nor any condemnation from corporate media, suggesting that the response had more to do with who was winning the elections, rather than what turnout figures say about the quality of democracy.

Ultimately, however, while turnout was relatively low, the ruling socialist party has gained a supermajority in the one body the opposition-controlled, handing them a clear victory and the U.S. government a defeat. Added to the return of democracy to Bolivia in October and a leftist election victory in Guyana earlier this year, 2020 has not been a good year for Washington in Latin America.

Correction | This article originally stated that the elections were overseen by 4,500 international election observers. In fact, it was reportedly overseen by 1,500 election observers. The original figure was based on a social media post by one of the election observers and has since been corrected.

Feature photo | Government supporters chant for parliamentary candidates representing the Great Patriotic Pole party at a closing campaign rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 3, 2020. Ariana Cubillos | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post US Media, Pols Rage After Venezuelans Defy US Empire to Re-elect Socialists appeared first on MintPress News.

From Myth to Reality: Zionist Archeologists Are Using the Bible to Rewrite History

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 4:23am in

One of the many gems that exist in the city of London is a unique bookstore by the name of Jarndyce Booksellers. Jarndyce specializes in first editions, rare books, and wonderful collectors’ editions of the complete works of Shakespeare, Dickens, and countless others. Also displayed in the store are enormous antique illustrated copies of the Bible. These mammoth books are beautifully adorned with illustrations that bring Biblical characters and stories to life.

I remember sitting as a child, leafing through an old, illustrated copy of a Bible that was part of my father’s book collection. It too had wonderful illustrations, and I would sit there and look at the pictures of the great men and women, and experience the great moments that are described in the Bible. The angel who stopped Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his son; Moses coming down from Mount Sinai; the young David slaying the giant Goliath, and so many more. They all came alive in front of my very eyes and it was as clear to me as a child as it is today and to so many others, that those stories describe real historic events.

These lovely renditions were intended to create the impression that the Bible tells stories that are historically true. They lead readers and even those who do not read but hear the stories and look at the illustrations, to believe that these were real people and real events that took place.

Israel Silwan Feature photo

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the opening of an “ancient road” that cuts into the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

It is easy enough to point to an ancient city in Palestine, say Bethlehem or Jerusalem or some corner of the desert near Bi’r Saba, and claim that a particular Biblical event took place there. This literal reading of the Bible, and particularly of the Old Testament, has given and continues to give Zionism enormous impetus.

Zionists rely on millions of people across the world who have been misled to believe that there is historical truth to the Bible, who think that today’s Israel is the true and rightful successor of Biblical Israel and who allow Zionists to claim the Bible as their actual history book.

 

Mythology religion and history

The Greeks and the Nordic people replaced their ancient indigenous mythologies with Christianity, retaining their mythology as a part of their cultural history. In India, ancient mythology is very much alive and ancient gods are still worshiped in temples throughout the country, yet that is never confused with India’s actual history. Vishnu is never confused with Ashoka or Buddha with Akbar. Each has its respective place within the rich Indian culture.

Neither the people of Greece, the Nordic people, or even those who practice various faiths in India regard their mythology as history. You will not find Greek archeologists digging to find the home of Zeus. There are no signs that the Nordic people are searching for the ancient city where Odin and Thor resided, and even in India, where the ancient gods are very much part of life, there is no expectation that the city of Shiva will be dug up by archeologists.

This is because the separation between myth and religion and history is clear, except in the case of Zionism. Zionists, both Christian and Jewish, firmly hold to their demand that the Bible is history. Archeologists working in the name of Zionists have been digging up Palestine for two centuries, often ignoring or even destroying valuable artifacts that do not serve their purpose.

This is because Zionist archeologists are motivated not by scientific curiosity, but by a political agenda. They ignore the wealth of history and archeology that exist in Palestine and search for proof of their own theories.

 

Destruction of monuments

The need to validate Zionist claims that connect current day Israel with the ancient Hebrews and the glorified mythology as it is presented in parts of the Old Testament often comes at the expense of important historical sites and monuments. In fact, is not uncommon to see invaluable historical sites destroyed by design at the hands of Zionist institutions.

The Mamilla Cemetery is one such example. It is an ancient Muslim burial ground and holy site in the center of Jerusalem believed to date back to the seventh century. Numerous saints of the Sufi faith and thousands of officials, scholars, notables, and Jerusalem families have been buried in the cemetery over the past 1,000 years.

Companions of the Prophet Muhammad were said to be buried there, but since the Zionist conquest of West Jerusalem, the cemetery has fallen into disrepair, with ancient tombstones destroyed and desecrated. Over the last decade, a significant portion of the cemetery has been razed and human remains have been desecrated so that the Simon Wiesenthal Center can build a facility, shamelessly called the Museum of Tolerance.

Mamilla Cemetery 1951

The Mamilla Cemetery, shown here in a 1951 aerial photo, sat undistributed for centuries until the Israeli government paved the way for the construction of the Museum of Tolerance atop its historic ruins

Since 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Cemetery have worked to halt the construction of the new facility and preserve what remains of the ancient site. To this end, petitions have been filed with various UN bodies, including UNESCO, to protect the sacred site.

The “Museum of Tolerance,” as it is called, has resulted in the disinterment of hundreds of graves, and the whereabouts of the countless human remains that have been disposed of are unknown. Recognized as one of the most prominent Muslim cemeteries in the world, where seventy thousand warriors of Saladin’s armies are interred, is now all but gone.

Bab al-Rahmeh is yet another famous Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem. It extends from Lions Gate to the end of the wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque near the Umayyad palaces in the south. The Israeli government is in the process of confiscating parts of the cemetery to implement a settlement project. Plans include creating, “paths of biblical gardens,” once again erasing historical sites in order to build monuments to commemorate a history that never was.

Another classic example of the destruction of real history for the sake of mythology is the opening of the so-called “Temple’s Baptism station” on the historic land of the Umayyad palaces in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple in question is the Jewish Temple and the Umayyad palaces on which it is to be built date back nearly 1,400 years, built in the early stage of the Islamic period, and used to house the Islamic Caliphs and institutions that managed the affairs of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

Monuments in disrepair

Zionist authorities have not only destroyed precious historical sites in search of mythical ones, they have also allowed invaluable historical sites to fall into disrepair. There are countless such sites throughout Palestine, such as the mosque of Dhaher Al-Umar in Tabariya, which now stands alone, in ruins, a solitary witness to the glorious Arab past of the city.

Daher al-Umar was a Palestinian leader who ruled most of Palestine and shaped its history throughout the entire 18th century. Not only has his memory been erased, but the monuments that carry his name and still exist now lay in ruins.

The mythology of the Old Testament was turned into history through a successful attempt to make the stories and the figures in these stories, mythical as they may have been, into actual historical events and figures. At the same time, the real history of Palestine, a glorious history of culture and religion, politics, commerce, and unmatched art and architecture, has all but been lost so that Zionists can claim that they are the true successors of Joshua and King David.

There is no harm in enjoying the wonderful illustrations that adorn the Bible, the likes of which one finds at Jarndyce Bookseller. In fact, I intend to continue to visit that store whenever I can and enjoy those wonderful renditions of Old and the New Testament stories. However, we must be careful not to confuse those stories and the illustrations with the actual history of Palestine.

Author’s note | Readers in search of an accurate history of Palestine can check out Nur Maslaha’s book, “Palestine, A Four Thousand Year History.

Feature photo | An Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist walks through what Israeli authorities say is a 2,000-year-old drainage tunnel leading to Jerusalem’s Old City. Dan Balilty | AP

Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post From Myth to Reality: Zionist Archeologists Are Using the Bible to Rewrite History appeared first on MintPress News.

Yemen: Trump is Showering Saudi Arabia with Last-Minute Gifts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 01/12/2020 - 3:57am in

SANA’A -YEMEN — While the administration of Donald Trump readies its exit from the White House and the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s use of American diplomatic cover and weapons alike has taken on a fevered pace as the Kingdom deepens the tragedy it has afflicted upon Yemen, where millions of forgotten people are struggling against a cold winter, starvation, epidemics, and the worst blockade in the modern era.

Since November 3, 2020, when the fifty-ninth quadrennial presidential election began followed by the widespread controversy, lawsuits, and recounts across several states, the oil-riched Kingdom has waged a scorched-earth campaign against the Yemeni districts of Marib and Al-Jawf, as well as border areas in Sana’a, Sadaa, Hajjah, Amran, and Hodeida.

On Friday, Saudi warplanes struck populated neighborhoods in Sana’a with at least 20 airstrikes One person was killed and dozens were injured and a number of purebred Arabian horses were killed in strikes that hit a military college near Suq Al-Rwada. Seven airstrikes hit government buildings located near water pumps.

Thousands of tons of western weapons, particularly from the United States, were also dropped on multiple directorates across the provinces of Sadaa, Marib, and al-Jawf as well as districts and provinces across the country.

The unjustified escalation, which came on the back of a brief period of hope that briefly preceded the U.S. pre-election, was not only a last-minute gift to Saudi Arabia from the Trump administration before he leaves the White House in January, but also served to prevent the advance of the Yemeni army supported by Ansar Allah (Houthis) and tribal fighters in the oil-rich province of Marib.

On the Yemen-Saudi border, an intense Saudi bombing campaign aims to force the remaining residents in the area to flee. Saudi Arabia seeks to establish buffer zones on the border inside Yemeni territory in anticipation of any developments made by the incoming U.S. administration after Riyadh failed to achieve that goal through indirect negotiations with Sana’a, sources told MintPress.

 

Yemen strikes back

In retaliation for Saudi escalation, the Yemeni army, and Ansar Allah targeted Saudi Arabia’s vital oil sector, striking an oil facility in the Kingdom’s Red Sea city of Jeddah. The facility was targeted by the high precision Quds-2 winged missile, a new generation of locally-made winged missiles that recently entered service after successful tests. In the wake attack, videos circulated on social media show a column of smoke rising from burning flames at the facility as sirens of emergency vehicles can be heard in the background.

The move just days before news was leaked that the British government secretly sent British soldiers to protect Saudi oil facilities in the wake of a similar attack in 2009 and occurred the day after the kingdom hosted a virtual summit of G20 nations.

The spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said in a statement in the wake of the attack that the Saudi oil facility was targeted in response to ongoing Saudi military operations and blockade. He warned foreign companies operating in Saudi Arabia “to avoid vital installations” which could be involved in ongoing operations.

The strike was meant to send a signal to both Saudi Arabia and Israel, according to officials in Sana’a. The strike against the Aramco facility, located more than 390 miles from Yemen’s border, underscores Yemen’s increasing ability to hit targets deeper inside Saudi Arabia with cruise and ballistic missiles, as well as drones. A high-ranking source in Sana’a told MintPress that “the consequences of any insane recklessness by Saudi Arabia, Israel, or the current U.S. administration in the lost time of Trump’s term will be dire to Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and the interests of their allies in the region.” When pressed, he gave no additional details.

“An explosion took place as a result of a terrorist attack by a projectile, causing a fire in a fuel tank at the petroleum products distribution terminal in the north of Jeddah,” the Saudi energy ministry said in a statement. On Tuesday, Abdullah al-Ghamdi, the manager of the North Jeddah Bulk Plant, told reporters during a tour of the facility that one of the 13 tanks used for diesel oil, gasoline, and jet fuel at the facility had been damaged and was out of service, adding “ the attack had been “similar to what happened at Khurais and Abqaiq.”

As the kingdom’s policy since 2015, when its war began, Saudi Arabia sold the attack to the world as targeting international interests. The Kingdom went further and accused Ansar Allah of attacking an oil tanker in the Red Sea. A Maltese-flagged oil tanker managed by Greece was damaged due to an explosion near Shuqaiq in southwestern Saudi Arabia but Ansar Allah has not yet claimed responsibility for the incident. Prior to that, the Saudi-led coalition claimed on Tuesday that it had removed and destroyed five naval mines in the southern Red Sea.

On Sunday, 15 Saudi troops, including officers, were killed or injured in another retaliatory attack, this one marketing the Saudi-led coalition’s Tadawain Camp in Ma’rib, 20 kilometers east Sana’a, according to Brigadier Yahya Saree, the spokesman of the Yemeni Army. Saree said in a statement on Sunday that missile forces hit the Joint Operations Room of a coalition camp in Marib, killing eight Saudi troops and injuring seven. He added that Yemeni forces are observing enemy movements, and will target them wherever they are. In the wake of Saree’s announcement, Saudi state media announced that Saudi troops were killed in battle with no mention of where or when they were killed.

For his part, Muhammad Abd al-Salam, a spokesman for Ansar Allah, said that Saudi wailing following every painful retaliation is what is required. He added, “the international community has to pressure Saudi Arabia to stop the aggression and [the] blockade because the Yemeni people deserve to voice their suffering too.”

Yemen suffers from the world’s worst humanitarian sparked by five years of Saudi bombing and blockade. The humanitarian crisis has worsened this year as international donations have dried up and the Trump administration has suspended aid to the north of Yemen where most of the country’s population lives. The U.N. The Secretary-General warned last week that Yemen faces the worst famine in decades, saying that the country is in imminent danger and that without immediate action, millions of lives may be lost.

 

Trump’s parting gift

As the Trump administration gets ready to depart the White House, the Saudi-led Coalition is scrambling to get the last-moment boon by pushing the U.S. to designate Yemen’s most powerful resistance force, Ansar Allah, as a terrorist organization in a move that would not harm the “Houthis,” but would punish millions of innocent Yemenis already suffering from widespread malnutrition, starvation, and disease. ِ

According to media reports, the Trump administration is preparing to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization before leaving office in January. U.S. policy in Yemen has been a disgrace for the past five years, drawing ire on U.S. soil and from abroad, and few Yemenis were surprised that the Trump administration would enact such a policy on its way out the door after having already suspended aid to 80% of the population residing in the north of the country.

Designating Ansar Allah as a terrorist organization will make an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis even worse and impede the work of the many NGOs providing lifesaving assistance in the country. Almost certainly, the unexpected designation would prevent the critical delivery of food, medical supplies, and other items necessary to combat both COVID-19 and famine, according to international organizations.

“The lives of millions of vulnerable children in Yemen are already at risk—this policy will only deepen their suffering by further restricting humanitarian access to vulnerable communities. Recent evidence continues to point to a worsening malnutrition crisis for children,” said Janti Soeripto, the president and CEO of Save the Children. “Even if a humanitarian exemption is permitted, this designation will likely make reaching children and families more difficult and could also heighten security risks for our staff and hinder the fragile peace process.”

The designation will not only make it more difficult to reach a negotiated settlement to end the war but will put the whole region, particularly in the Red Sea, on the edge. For their part, Ansar Allah will not remain idle by while, as a number of Ansar Allah decision-makers told MintPress, “they see their relatives dying of starvation at a time when others, those who made the country to the worst place on the earth, are blessed with oil and freedom of navigation at sea.” That message, it seems, was delivered to Jeddah on the back of Ansar Allah’s newly minted Quds-2.

Feature photo | A Saudi man holds the daily Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper fronted by a picture of President Donald Trump, at a coffee shop in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 29, 2020. Amr Nabil | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

The post Yemen: Trump is Showering Saudi Arabia with Last-Minute Gifts appeared first on MintPress News.

Malawi is Just the Beginning: How Israel Changed the Political Narrative of an Entire Continent

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/11/2020 - 4:32am in

In June 2020, Malawi’s opposition leader, Lazarus Chakwera, defeated Peter Mutharika in a rerun presidential election. With last year’s poll results annulled due to fraud or irregularity, Chakwera, a theologian, pastor, and former president of the Pentecostal denomination group known as the Malawi Assemblies of God, secured over 58% of the votes in this year’s race. “I do feel like Lazarus, I’ve come back from the dead, it’s been a long journey and we feel vindicated in a way,” he told the BBC shortly after being sworn in.

“God spoke to my heart,” Chakwera said on another occasion, describing his political ambition as a divine calling. ‘I am not pulling you out of ministry. Instead, I am extending your ministry. I want you to get into politics.” The General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of Malawi, Rev. Francis Mkandawire, expressed joy for Chakwera’s electoral victory. “We are indeed grateful to God, however, it demands of us, as evangelicals in the nation, to earnestly pray for him and get more involved in the public and marketplace as the salt and light. Pray for us.”

Five months after his inauguration, Chakwera’s Foreign Minister, Eisenhower Mkaka, announced the opening of Malawi’s embassy in Jerusalem by the summer of 2021. It will become the first African diplomatic mission to operate in occupied Palestine since the 1950s. In response to the decision, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said, “Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the State of Israel, will be a bridge of peace for the whole world, and I call on more countries to follow in Malawi’s path and move their embassies to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

For decades the African continent has served as a battleground of influence between Israeli lobbyists and supporters of Palestinian rights. With the election of Lazarus Chakwera, they can count on Malawi as being not only a trusted ally in isolation but a beacon of influence in sub-Saharan Africa. History attests, however, that this has not always been the case.

Palestinian George Floyd

A protester in Turkey holds a sign with photos of George Floyd, left, and an Israeli soldier kneeling a Palestinian boy, June 4, 2020. After the killing of George Floyd, pictures of Israeli authorities kneeling on the necks of Palestinians began appearing on social media. Emrah Gurel | AP

 

History of Africa-Israeli relations

Relations between African countries and Israel date back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. As this period saw a wave of independence movements sweeping across the continent, Tel Aviv waged a campaign to lure the aspiring and newly independent nations to its side. Using economic assistance as bait, the campaign achieved relative success. By 1967, more than 25 sub-Saharan African countries had established some form of diplomatic relations with Israel. However, rifts began to occur during the 1967 Israeli-Arab war and the subsequent occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel.

In an unprecedented move, Zambia and then Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), two countries which previously were known to have very cozy relations with Tel Aviv, voted against a UN resolution sponsored by a bevy of Latin American countries in support of Israel. The October Israeli-Arab War proved to be the final straw between African countries and Israel. In line with a resolution of an emergency session of the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U) Council of Ministers, more than 40 African countries broke diplomatic ties with Israel. This watershed moment, much to the chagrin of Israel and its supporters, also saw increased support for the Palestinian cause by African Nations at the UN.

 

Israeli diplomatic offensive

Following the severance of diplomatic relations in the aftermaths of the October Israeli-Arab war, Israel launched a diplomatic offensive to win back favor with sub-Saharan African countries. The strategy employed carrot and sticks. In effect, African leaders who showed signs of warming up to Tel Aviv were rewarded with economic and military aid, agriculture and youth support programs, and other incentives. On the other hand, African nations that maintained support for the Palestinian cause faced threats of coups and rebel groups backed by the Israeli government.

The late Ugandan President, Milton Obote, accused Israel of having played a key role in the 1971 coup against him by General Idi Amin. Just a few years prior to the coup, Amin had attended a paratrooper course in Israel and he maintained close relations with Tel Aviv during his tenure as Chief of Staff for Uganda’s army.

Obote had steadily fallen out of favor with Israel as he strengthened ties with African-Arab countries such as Egypt and Sudan. Israeli viewed such positions as threats to its agenda on the continent. The Ugandan president’s reluctance to allow Israel to channel military aid to the Anya-Nya anti-government rebels in southern Sudan further strained relations. As expected, Israel denied providing military aid to the rebel group. After the coup which removed Obote from office, Amin’s first international trip was to Israel. Soon thereafter, he promised to reverse Uganda’s pro-Palestine position at both the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) and the UN.

Israel-Africa relations

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomes Malawian counterpart Eisenhower Mkaka, November 3, 2020. Photo | Israeli GPO

Israel went on to provide intelligence and military support to Ethiopian strongman Haile Mariam Mengistu in his war with Eritrean pro-independence fighters who were also seen as being too close to Arab states. Despite these geopolitical investments, Tel Aviv’s positioning on the African continent produced lukewarm results and, by the 1980s, only a handful of African countries had restored full diplomatic relations with Israel. Many more continued voting against their occupation of Palestine at the UN.

 

Enter Pentecostalism

The 1990s gifted Israeli with an unexpected ally, the newly emergent Pentecostal movement. Influenced by U.S evangelicals, the Pentecostals would also adopt hardline views on the Palestinian cause. The Pentecostal wave, which had been sweeping across Africa for the past two decades, reached a crescendo in the early 1990s for a number of reasons.

Researchers such as Malawian writer Mkotama Katenga-Kaunda, have attributed this phenomenon to the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) which many sub-Saharan countries were implementing at the behest of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The implementation of the SAPs left many African economies in tatters. Graduates were unable to find jobs and unemployment spiked exponentially, significant funding to social sectors such as health and education were cut, and crime and political violence increased. This environment provided a fertile ground for the burgeoning prosperity gospel.

Millions of citizens across Africa who had lost all hope in their governments found refuge in Pentecostal churches that promised instant solutions for issues ranging from unemployment and sickness to finding suitable spouses. As millions flocked to these churches, the influence and political clout of the charismatic preachers also increased.

Israel-Africa relations

A Nigerian evangelical preacher receives worshippers at a religious retreat in Nazareth, northern Israel, in June 23, 2019. Ammar Awad | Reuters

In November 1991, Frederick Chiluba, a trade unionist, self-proclaimed pastor, and devotee of U.S. Tele-Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, was elected President of Zambia. Within a month of his election, he declared Zambia to be a Christian nation. A largely symbolic decision, it served no purpose other than pandering to his Pentecostal base, which had played a key role in ushering him into office.

In another unorthodox decision, Chiluba created a Religious Affairs desk at the state house. Such decisions exemplified just how much Pentecostalism was muscling its way into Zambian politics. The phenomenon was also taking place in other parts of the African continent.

In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo was elected president of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the epicenter of the continent’s Pentecostal movement. While there is no doubt that numerous social and economic factors contributed to Obasanjo’s election, Pentecostal organizations such as the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria played a key role in mobilizing support for Obasanjo, a Christian from southern Nigeria. This period marked the beginning of what the U.S based Nigerian scholar, Ebenezer Obadare refers to as the ”Pentecostalization” of governance.

As the newly emergent ‘theocratic elite’ wormed its ways into presidential palaces across Africa, fundamental changes also occurred in the political discourse. A key point was the 360-degree turnaround on Afro-Palestine relations.

The African Pentecostal movement’s views on Israel and Palestine are largely based on the views of their peers across the Atlantic ocean—U.S evangelicals. The basis of their position is that Israel is God’s chosen nation and the return of Jesus Christ, that fulfillment of prophecy, will occur on occupied Palestinian land. They also refer back to the old testament to push the claim that Palestinian land belongs to the Jews, a view which Pentecostal members have also been indoctrinated with. According to this concept, it is a “sin” for one to criticize or condemn any act committed by the state of Israel.


An evangelical Christian worshipper reacts during a religious retreat in Nazareth, northern Israel, in June 23, 2019. Ammar Awad | Reuters

Long before assuming a more prominent political role, Pentecostals had mobilized support for Israel through a number of initiatives including taking members on tours of Israel as part of a so-called “religious diplomacy.” As the movement enjoyed numerical growth and gained more political influence, they started to push pro-Israel propaganda within the corridors of powers.

In 1993, largely due to Pentecostal lobbying, President Chiluba restored diplomatic relations between Zambia and Israel. Rapprochement came after ties had been severed by his predecessor, Kenneth Kaunda, twenty years earlier. Pentecostal religious elites have also used their influence to neutralize any criticism of Israel and its human rights violation by portraying such criticism as an attack on the Christian faith. While most African governments have, to a large extent, maintained their position and voting bloc at the UN regarding Palestine, politicians and officials are much more timid when it comes to condemning the Israeli occupation and the abuse of Palestinian rights.

The Palestinian cause was pivotal on the agenda of many African political parties in the 1970s and 80s. Over the last three decades, however, it has been pushed to the fringes of political discourse save for a handful of countries. In South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) and trade unions such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA) have maintained their unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian people. This, despite fierce opposition from Pentecostal organizations, right-wing opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), and organizations such as the South Africa Friends of Israel (SAFISA).

Pentecostal organizations, in collaboration with right-wing political and civil organizations, have, in the last couple of years, organized in different parts of Africa what they call, Jerusalem Prayer Breakfasts. These poorly disguised religious events are, in fact, political forums held for the sole purpose of mobilizing support for Israel and ending African support for the Palestinian cause. The 2019 breakfast in Uganda’s capital of Kampala was attended by several business leaders, diplomats, pro-Israel legislators, and other senior government officials, including the country’s first lady, Janet Museveni.

Israel-Africa relations

Malawi’s newly elected President Lazarus Chakwera greets supporters after being sworn in in Lilongwe, Malawi, June 28 2020. Thoko Chikondi | AP

Numerous pro-Israel politicians and political parties have emerged across Africa as a result of Jerusalem Prayer Breakfasts and similar events. One prime example is the United Progress People (UPP) Party of Zambia, which is led by a former Member of Parliament, Saviour Chishimba. He describes himself as a “devout Christian and staunch pro-Israel politician.” Chishimba’s party’s logo is an Israeli flag, three doves, and the blue star of David.

In an interview with an Israeli newspaper during a visit to Jerusalem, Chishimba described Kaunda’s decision to cut ties with Israel as “the worst atrocity” and blamed the decision for the country’s economic woes. He added that “Israel is a blessed nation and this is why we should be closer to it so the blessings that God pours out on Israel will be spilling to us.”

The UPP is just one example of the many quasi-political organizations that have been established with the help of Pentecostal organizations for the sole purpose of pro-Israeli advocacy and suppressing African support for the self-determination of Palestine.

The deafening silence by African governments and political movements on maneuvers by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to annex Palestinian territories is not by chance. It is a reflection of how fast and deep the tentacles of this pro-Israeli, religious-political alliance are spreading on the continent. South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), African National Congress, NUMSA, COSATU, and Zambia’s Socialist Party issued statements condemning the U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem two years ago.

We are very disappointed at African countries which had celebrated the declaration of Jerusalem as the official capital city of Israel by the USA,” said Julius Malema, leader of the EFF. “That is the highest form of betrayal because us as Africans should know that colonialism and imperialism have no place in humanity. It’s a violation of human rights to go and occupy the land of Palestinians. We don’t support that.”

Despite voices like Malema, far too many political party leaders in Africa have purposefully decided to feign blind to Israel’s illegal actions. Hence, the question remains. How long will it take before even those handful of progressive voices are silenced?

Israel-Africa relations

A Palestinian man hides his head from Israeli tear gas while holding a photo of Nelson Mandela during a protest Nabi Saleh. Nasser Nasser | AP

 

Way forward

Basking in Malawi’s promise of opening an embassy in Jerusalem, there is little doubt that Israel will continue its efforts to gain more allies in Africa, thus diffusing the continent’s historic support for Palestine. Just how Malawi’s overture will, according to its Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka, “contribute towards the country’s food security strategy and accelerated and sustained socioeconomic development of the people,” remains to be seen.

Albeit not having a single chair on the UN security council, Africa’s 54 countries still remain a critical voice and voting block at the international body. A number of African countries are also active members of the Boycott, Disinvest and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Consequently, African progressives and human rights activists do not have the luxury of standing on the sidelines and watching Zionists sympathizers sway the continent’s principled position regarding Palestine.

There is an urgent need for progressive African organizations to unite in highlighting the plight of Palestinians and why African support is essential to the cause. It is also necessary for these organizations to expose the shallow viewpoint perpetuated by pro-Israeli supporters that aim to portray the Israeli occupation as a conflict between Christians and Muslims. It is important to remind Africans that as a people who experienced centuries of oppression, we have a noble duty to expose and fight oppression wherever it rears its ugly head, irrespective of the color, creed or religious affiliation of the victims. In the words of Nelson Mandela,

We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the Freedom of Palestinians.’’

Feature photo | An African migrant boy holds an Israeli flag during a demonstration against the deportation of African migrants, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Oded Balilty | AP

Clinton Nzala is a Political Strategist and Analyst based in Quito, Ecuador. He works for Pan-Latin American news outlet, teleSUR. He has worked with various political and social movements across Africa as a mobilizer and organizer.

The post Malawi is Just the Beginning: How Israel Changed the Political Narrative of an Entire Continent appeared first on MintPress News.

Successful Not-for-Profit Oxford COVID Vaccine Threatens Big Pharma Profit Logic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/11/2020 - 5:17am in

The world is abuzz today after a team of medical researchers from Oxford University in the United Kingdom announced that advanced trials of their experimental coronavirus vaccine were a roaring success, with the vaccine possibly being rolled out before Christmas. Testing was done on 24,000 volunteers in the U.K, Brazil, and South Africa, with an average effectiveness of over 70%. However, when the vaccine was administered as a half dose, then patients were later given a full one, effectiveness increased to 90%. Encouragingly, there were no serious side effects registered among any of the volunteers, none of whom had to go to the hospital as a result of being immunized. The U.K. government has already ordered 100 million doses.

Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the experiment, was delighted, stating that,

These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 percent effective, and if this dosing regimen is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply. Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”

Even better news is that the Oxford team developed the breakthrough vaccine with the explicit intention of supplying it around the world on a not-for-profit basis, meaning that the poorest nations on the planet will not have to worry about being shut out of a cure due to lack of funds. This was certainly not the case with other solutions developed by the likes of Moderna or Pfizer. Indeed, the world’s richest countries had already bought up the majority of their COVID-19 vaccines, whose secrets were being closely guarded, rather than shared widely to help the rest of humanity.

Large scale manufacturing of the vaccine has already begun in ten countries, according to a press release from the University of Oxford. “Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” said

Pascal Soriot of AstraZeneca, a bioresearch company that partnered with the 924-year-old educational institution on development and testing. “Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”

 

Good for people, bad for profits

Today’s good news will doubtless challenge corporate pharma’s profit margins (Moderna’s share price has more than quintupled since the beginning of the year), but it also challenges corporate pharma’s logic and justification for high drug prices in the first place.

The pharmaceutical industry argues that research and development are extremely expensive, that market competition and profit breed innovation, and is the only way to ensure new drugs are developed. Yet examples like the Oxford and the four separate Cuban vaccines in development suggest that this logic is faulty, at best.

“This should really encourage some rethinking of biomedical research, as should the Moderna vaccine,” Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research told MintPress today.

There was this absurd view that somehow we could only get good drug development with the lure of a patent monopoly. The Moderna case is noteworthy because, basically the government paid the full cost of developing the drug upfront. We did also give them patent monopolies, but since the government already paid for the research, this was a handout to the company.”

In reality, a huge amount of medical research is actually paid for by the taxpayer, as Baker has already shown, only becoming the intellectual property of private corporations once it is profitable.

 

More advantages

Apart from their willingness to share it with the world freely, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has other benefits over its competitors. Firstly, they aim to make and sell it for $3-4 per shot, rather than the $20 Pfizer charges, or the $25 for Moderna’s offering. Oxford and AstraZeneca have committed to selling the vaccine to developing countries at cost price. And unlike the costlier Pfizer vaccine, it does not have to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit but can be kept in an ordinary refrigerator, making its storage and distribution straightforward everywhere. Further trials of the vaccine involving 60,000 people in the United States, Kenya, Japan, and India are ongoing.

Oxford Covid Vaccine

A vial of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford John Cairns | Oxford University via AP

The vaccine is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus and that has been genetically engineered so that it cannot grow in humans. “What we’ve always tried to do with a vaccine is fool the immune system into thinking that there’s a dangerous infection there that it needs to respond to — but doing it in a very safe way,” explained Professor Pollard. “So we get the immune response and we get the immune memory … waiting and ready if the pathogen itself is then encountered.”

 

An inglorious history

Many will be relieved that an alternative offering to the ones on offer from Pfizer and Moderna has been green-lighted, although suspicion of vaccines remains high, with only 58% of Americans stating that they would be willing to receive a free, FDA-approved shot when the time comes. This, despite the fact that well over 12.5 million Americans have already tested positive for COVID-19, and over 262,000 deaths have been recorded.

Part of the problem is doubtless due to companies like Pfizer’s inglorious history. In 2011, for example, the company finally agreed to pay compensation to families of 11 Nigerian children who were killed in a meningitis trial where the pharmaceutical giant did not gain their parents’ consent to use experimental drugs on them. Two years later, Pfizer was forced to pay half a billion dollars in fines over a false and misleading marketing campaign and $55 million to victims who claimed it did not warn them about the risks involved in taking its acid reflux drug Protonix. And last year, 44 states came together to file a civil lawsuit in a federal court against the giant, accusing it of “one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States.”

AstraZeneca, the British/Swedish multinational partnering with Oxford University, is far from blameless itself, however. Over the years it has been convicted of falsely advertising its products, releasing, overcharging Medicare and private insurance companies, and of carrying out shockingly sexist employment practices.

While investors have forgiven the company for these transgressions, it appears that they are more shocked by the news of a not-for-profit COVID vaccine. Today, the company’s share price slid by two percent following the announcement of the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Baker suggested that the story of the Oxford vaccine should serve as an example of how a more efficiently and sanely organized healthcare system could look like, telling MintPress that,

The Oxford vaccine is even more striking, since the point was to pay researchers, but not to rely on patent monopolies to generate large profits. We ended up with a cheaper, better vaccine, in the sense that it is much easier to store and distribute. It would be great if we could take away some lessons from the experience of vaccine development in this crisis and get away from the antiquated patent monopoly mechanism for financing research.”

Yet with both major parties vigorously opposing Medicare-for-All, even through a worldwide pandemic, it is unlikely that this will cause a major rethink in elite circles, at least. Nevertheless, in a year that has given the world so little to smile about, this new breakthrough is undoubtedly good news.

Feature photo | A researcher in a laboratory at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. John Cairns | University of Oxford via AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Successful Not-for-Profit Oxford COVID Vaccine Threatens Big Pharma Profit Logic appeared first on MintPress News.

How Joe Biden Plans to Make The American Empire Great Again

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/11/2020 - 8:47am in

Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray.

He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America’s reputation. While Donald Trump called to make America Great Again, Biden seeks to Make the American Empire Great Again.

Among the president-elect’s pledges is to end the so-called forever wars – the decades-long imperial projects in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under the Bush administration.

Yet Biden – a fervent supporter of those wars – will task ending them to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic party and ideologues of permanent war.

Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden’s thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war going back to the Clinton administration.

In the Trump era, they’ve cashed in, founding Westexec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.

Flournoy is Biden’s leading pick for secretary of defense and Blinken is expected to be national security advisor.

 

Biden’s foxes guard the henhouse

Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.

Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military’s doctrine of permanent war – what it called “full spectrum dominance.”

Flournoy called for “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.”

As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD’s, Flournoy remarked that “In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary’s [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States.”

Tony Blinken was a top advisor to then-Senate foreign relations committee chair Joe Biden, who played a key role in shoring up support among the Democrat-controlled Senate for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled “Progressive Internationalism” that called for a “smarter and better” style of permanent war. The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that  “Democrats will maintain the world’s most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world.”

With Bush winning a second term, Flournoy advocated for more troop deployments from the sidelines.

In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to “increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.”

In 2007, she leveraged her Pentagon experience and contacts to found what would become one of the premier Washington think tanks advocating endless war across the globe: the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

CNAS is funded by the U.S. government, arms manufacturers, oil giants, Silicon Valley tech giants, billionaire-funded foundations, and big banks.

Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the “brains” of the Pentagon.

She was keenly aware that the public was wary of more quagmires. In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, she crafted a new concept of warfare that would expand the permanent war state while giving the appearance of a drawdown.

Flournoy wrote that “unmanned systems hold great promise” – a reference to the CIA’s drone assassination program.

This was the Obama-era military doctrine of hybrid war. It called for the U.S. to be able to simultaneously wage war on numerous fronts through secret warfare, clandestine weapons transfers to proxies, drone strikes, and cyber-attacks – all buttressed with propaganda campaigns targeting the American public through the internet and corporate news media.

 

Architects of America’s Hybrid wars

Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama’s disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan. As U.S. soldiers returned in body bags and insurgent attacks and suicide bombings increased some 65% from 2009 and 2010, she deceived the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming that the U.S. was beginning to turn the tide against the Taliban.

Even with her lie that the U.S. and Afghan government were starting to beat the Taliban back, Flournoy assured the senate that the U.S. would have to remain in Afghanistan long into the future.

Ten years later – as the Afghan death toll passed 150,000 – Flournoy continued to argue against a U.S. withdrawal.

That’s the person Joe Biden has tasked with ending the forever war in Afghanistan. But in Biden’s own words, he’ll “bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan” implying some number of American troops will remain, and the forever war will be just that. Michele Flournoy explained that even if a political settlement were reached, the U.S. would maintain a presence.

In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya.

Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program  – was deposed and sodomized with a bayonet.

Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and corporate media were in lockstep as they waged an extensive propaganda campaign to deceive the U.S. public that Gadaffi’s soldiers were on a Viagra-fueled rape and murder spree that demanded a U.S. intervention.

All of this was based on a report from Al Jazeera – the media outlet owned by the Qatari monarchy that was arming extremist militias to overthrow the government.

Yet an investigation by the United Nations called the rape claims “hysteria.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no credible evidence of even a single rape.

Even after Libya was descended into strife and the deception of Gadaffi’s forces committing rape was debunked, Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war.

Tony Blinken, then Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya. He became Obama’s point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called “moderate rebels” that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn’t anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.

Despite Blinken’s promises that it would be a short affair, the war on Syria is now in its ninth year. An estimated half a million people have been killed as a result and the country is facing famine,

Largely thanks to the policy of using “wheat to apply pressure” – a recommendation of Flournoy and Blinken’s CNAS think tank.

 
When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin. Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted.

While jihadist mercenaries armed with U..S-supplied weapons took over large swaths of Syria, Tony Blinken played a central role in a coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw a pro-Russia government overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated color revolution with neo-fascist elements agitating on the ground.

At the time, he was ambivalent about sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, instead opting for economic pressure.

Since then, fascist militias have been incorporated into Ukraine’s armed forces. And Tony Blinken urged Trump to send them deadly weapons – something Obama had declined to do.

Trump obliged.

 

The Third Offset

While the U.S. fuelled wars in Syria and Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a major shift called the Third Offset strategy – a reference to the cold war era strategies the U.S. used to maintain its military supremacy over the Soviet Union.

The Third Offset strategy shifted the focus from counterinsurgency and the war on terror to great power competition against China and Russia, seeking to ensure that the U.S. could win a war against China in Asia. It called for a technological revolution in warfighting capabilities, development of futuristic and autonomous weapons, swarms of undersea and airborne drones, hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, machine-enhanced soldiers, and artificial intelligence making unimaginably complex battlefield decisions at speeds incomprehensible to the human mind. All of this would be predicated on the Pentagon deepening its relationship with Silicon Valley giants that it birthed decades before: Google and Facebook.

The author of the Third Offset, former undersecretary of defense Robert Work, is a partner of Flournoy and Blinken’s at WestExec Advisors. And Flournoy has been a leading proponent of this dangerous new escalation.

In June, Flournoy published a lengthy commentary laying out her strategy called “Sharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration”.

She warned that the United States is losing its military technological advantage and reversing that must be the Pentagon’s priority. Without it, Flournoy warned that the U.S. might not be able to defeat China in Asia.

While Flournoy has called for ramping up U.S. military presence and exercises with allied forces in the region, she went so far as to call for the U.S. to increase its destructive capabilities so much that it could launch a blitzkrieg style-attack that would wipe out the entire Chinese navy and all civilian merchant ships in the South China Sea. Not only a blatant war crime but a direct attack on a nuclear power that would spell the third world war.

At the same time, Biden has announced he’ll take an even more aggressive and confrontational stance against Russia, a position Flournoy shares.

As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast.

 

The end of forever wars?

So Biden will end the forever wars, but not really end them. Secret wars that the public doesn’t even know the U.S. is involved in – those are here to stay.

In fact, leaving teams of special forces in place throughout the Middle East is part and parcel of the Pentagon’s shift away from counterinsurgency and towards great power competition.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains that “Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities” and the U.S. will “consolidate gains in Iraq and Afghanistan while moving to a more resource-sustainable approach.”

As for the catastrophic war on Yemen, Biden has said he’ll end U.S. support, but in 2019, Michele Flournoy argued against ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Biden pledged he will rejoin the Iran deal as a starting point for new negotiations. However, Trump’s withdrawal from the deal discredited the Iranian reformists who seek engagement with the west and empowered the principlists who see the JCPOA as a deal with the devil.

In Latin America, Biden will revive the so-called anti-corruption campaigns that were used as a cover to oust the popular social democrat Brazilian president Lula da Silva.

His Venezuela policy will be almost identical to Trump’s – sanctions and regime change.

In Central America, Biden has proposed a 4 billion dollar package to support corrupt right-wing governments and neoliberal privatization projects that create even more destabilization and send vulnerable masses fleeing north to the United States.

Behind their rhetoric, Biden, Flournoy, and Blinken will seek nothing less than global supremacy, escalating a new and even more dangerous arms race that risks the destruction of humanity. That’s what Joe Biden calls “decency” and “normalcy.”

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera for MintPress News

Dan Cohen is a journalist and filmmaker. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. Dan is a correspondent at RT America and tweets at @DanCohen3000.

The post How Joe Biden Plans to Make The American Empire Great Again appeared first on MintPress News.

Predictive Programming? Israeli Publishers Have Been Writing About a COVID-Like Pandemic for Years

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/11/2020 - 7:46am in

Life imitates art is a phrase we often hear when certain events are seemingly foretold in a painting, a song, or any number of the creative disciplines people engage in. Books, in particular, are a generous source of such lore. Sometimes, the separation between the work of art’s making and the foreshadowed event is eerily short, leading to speculation that more than simple creative genius was behind its production.

Drawing too close a link between an artist’s inspiration and a future event mirrored in their work is a risky proposition, but sometimes the events depicted on the page or the screen parallel real life so closely, that questions of predictive programming arise ­– a concept many in academia dismiss as the ravings of “conspiracy theorists” in a familiar pattern of discrediting narratives that challenge authority.

Alan Watt, the man credited with postulating the notion of predictive programming, describes it as “a subtle form of psychological conditioning provided by the media to acquaint the public with planned societal changes to be implemented by our leaders. If and when these changes are put through, the public will already be familiarized with them and will accept them as natural progressions, thus lessening possible public resistance and commotion.”

While scorned by sycophants of power and gatekeepers, predictive programming is not an especially farfetched idea. Anyone who has ever put together an advertising campaign knows that conditioning public opinion is the name of the game and after nearly one century of television and a world awash in screens that relentlessly try to influence consumer behavior, predictive programming is just a small step beyond that.

 

Netflix and Pill

Most people become uncomfortable with the thought of “planned societal changes” imposed from up on high by an earthly hierarchy of powerful overlords but have little resistance to ascribing such broad shifts in society to providential deities or invisible forces from another realm.

Our failure to recognize that we are the creators of our own societies has been fomented by consumer-driven capitalist enterprises controlled by a relative handful of plutocrats, who invest heavily in molding human imagination by supplanting authentic expressions of community and culture with their logos, taglines, and catchy jingles.

Of course, the mechanisms of social control have grown by leaps and bounds since the advent of the Internet and big data, which allows for unprecedented levels of societal targeting, down to its individual members. Never has this been more apparent than in the situation we all find ourselves at present during this curious pandemic crisis, where the synchronized actions on the part of organs of the establishment, such as government, the press, and academia, have imposed a standardized vision of reality and decreed rules for social interaction on a largely docile society, which accepted the draconian shift without much resistance at all.

Many will recall the 1995 movie “Outbreak”, which marked the start of a slew of Hollywood and international productions of films with plotlines revolving around a killer virus. Most of these movies had large marketing budgets that ran intense advertising campaigns. The essence of movies like “Pandemic,” “Contagion,” “28 Days Later,” and dozens more in this genre, reached millions if not billions of people around the world through trailers and other means of dissemination.

Outbreak Putin Yellow Covid suit

Life imitating art? A still from the 1995 film “Outbreak,” left, and Vladimir Putin donning Hoffman-esque fashion

In 2019, a Netflix series called “Explained” aired “The Next Pandemic;” an episode in the documentary-style show that warns us about a looming pandemic featuring none other than Bill Gates as one of the “experts” walking viewers through the deliberately frightening setup, which begins with apocalyptic scenarios of humanity’s end and Gate’s opinion on which scenario is more likely.

Unsurprisingly, the former Microsoft CEO identifies zoonotic diseases as the main threat to the world. An astonishing prediction by a man with no real background in biology or science, whose words have nonetheless been anointed by corporate media as gospel. Almost every point highlighted in the episode mirrors our present reality and the narrative about its source.

Wet markets, shutdowns, and the role of technology are all predictively examined as real possibilities just as news of the novel coronavirus was about to explode on the world scene. An incredible coincidence, to say the least. Or, is there more to this story?

Are we witnessing life imitating art or is art being used to steer life in a particular direction, that certain interests want society to go in? A book published almost twenty-five years ago might hold the answer.

 

Fact or Fiction

The title of the book is “2020” and it was published in 1994 by an Israeli editorial house called Keter Press, which literally translates to “Crown” or “Corona” Press. An inauspicious start for those who dismiss any speculation into predictive programming as tin-foil hat material, but all this could simply be a coincidence at this point.

The novel was originally written as a film script in 1987 by an Israeli psychiatrist and daughter of one of the Jewish state’s most well-known playwrights. Hamutal Shabtai was only in her early twenties when she ostensibly wrote the story, which predicts the state of the world today as a result of the counter virus measures with uncanny accuracy and foretells of a society ravaged by a virus, which ushers in a “global health dictatorship”

The book was only published in Hebrew and never translated into English, but the 600-page tome details the burgeoning surveillance state that is currently being rolled out under the guise of Covid-19. The author describes a world where society is divided between an at-risk and healthy population, where the former are kept in quarantine.

Touching another person is fatal and everyone’s movements are closely monitored and all public spaces are equipped with “biometric doors,” that use a color-coded system very similar to that implemented in Amazon warehouses, that indicate who should be placed in isolation. The novel also mentions a worldwide “health treaty,” which will determine social mobility and human interaction laws for all countries.

Another Israeli author-produced another incredible feat of apparent clairvoyance in a book published only five years ago titled “Moratorium,” which describes a virus from bats that comes out of Asia and decimates humanity. Regardless of your thoughts on predictive programming, such pinpoint accuracy begs a deeper look.

 

A Strange History

Perhaps more interesting than the stunning details related in the novel “2020,” the history of the publishing house itself reveals some odd connections that are worth examining. Keter Press began as an Israeli-government program called The Israel Program for Scientific Translations in 1959 and was dedicated to translating and publishing scientific and technical manuscripts from Russian into English for the National Science Foundation in the United States, which is the technical counterpart of the National Institutes of Health.

In the 1960s, the Israeli-government-owned publisher branched out into English-speaking markets with two subsidiary companies until it was sold off in the latter half of the decade to an investment firm, which in turn sold it again to another investment firm that gave the publishing house its current name. Considered the “most prominent” publisher of contemporary Hebrew literature in Israel today, as well as encyclopedia Judaica, Keter Publishing Ltd. merged with the other largest publisher in Israel after it was acquired by Modan Publishing House in 2016.

In 1987, the same year 2020 was written as a movie script, Keter became a public company. Two years later British tycoon and spymaster Robert Maxwell – father of Ghislaine Maxwell ­– acquired control of the publishing house after Maxwell Communication Corporation bought Macmillian, which then owned Keter. The publishing house was passed on to an Israeli investment concern called Arledan after Maxwell’s death in 1991, which owned it until 2016.

Robert Maxwell’s links to Israeli intelligence has been well documented by Whitney Webb for MintPress News in her series on Jeffrey Epstein, who ran a sex-trafficking blackmail operation with his daughter, Ghislaine. Maxwell’s ties to a publishing company with such extensive ties to the Israeli government, which was providing what were most likely very sensitive materials from Russian scientists to the American NSF at the height of the Cold War, is enough to cast doubt on the true origins of the 2020 novel.

 

A Call To Art

The movie “They Live” is popularly seen as a film that ‘exposes’ our present reality through a fictional premise that is really nothing new. The struggle for power is as old as mankind and those who strive for it are constantly scheming to maintain their position over the rest of us. Insomuch as it projects a dystopian world under the oppressive thumb of a monstrous elite, “They Live” also falls under the definition of predictive programming despite the protagonist’s hero journey, so ubiquitous in American cinema.

As we stand on the precipice of a fate even worse than the skeletal cyborgs depicted in the movie, the rollout of massive surveillance technologies and a deputized scientific establishment who wish to confine us to a hospital bed in our own homes is a wake-up call to real artists and creators who have the courage and the vision to produce art that doesn’t so blatantly serve the agendas of power.

Feature photo | A technician mans a booth at a new coronavirus lab at Ben-Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Nov. 9, 2020. Ohad Zwigenberg Pool via AP

Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.

The post Predictive Programming? Israeli Publishers Have Been Writing About a COVID-Like Pandemic for Years appeared first on MintPress News.

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