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Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions at Ten Years

Reflections on a Movement on the Rise

Rich Wiles, editor, Generation Palestine (London: Pluto Press, 2013), 256 pages, $24, paperback.

When in March 2012, Barack Obama paused briefly from approving orders for drone killings of Pakistani and Yemeni villagers, in order to reassure the attendees at the annual gala of the AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) that, “when there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them,” the real target of his declaration was elsewhere: the myriad grassroots organizers across the world who have made the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns unignorable. Their mounting influence has provoked efforts to declare them anti-Semitic or illegal from London to Long Beach. In fact, the series of victories across the University of California system has so annoyed its managers that they have hauled in the Caesar of domestic repression, Janet Napolitano, to deal with campus activists. Obama’s declaration of support for Israeli colonialism had a simple message to those many activists: back down, because Washington will not.… | more |

Genocidal Cynicism (Part 2)

TO give some idea of the potential of the USSR in its efforts to maintain parity with the United States in this sphere, suffice it to note that when its disintegration came about in 1991, there were 81 nuclear warheads in Byelorussia, 1,400 in Kazakhstan, and approximately 5,000 in Ukraine, which were passed on to the Russian Federation, the only state capable of sustaining their immense cost in order to maintain its independence.

By virtue of the START and SORT treaties related to the reduction of offensive weapons between the two major nuclear powers, the number of those warheads was reduced to several thousand.

In 2010 a new treaty of this type was signed between the two powers.

Since then the greatest efforts have been dedicated to improving the direction, reach, precision of nuclear missiles and their deception of the enemy defense. Vast sums are invested in the military sphere.

Very few people in the world, except for a handful of thinkers and scientists, have realized and are warning that the explosion of 100 strategic nuclear weapons would be enough to end human existence on the planet. The vast majority would have an end as inexorable as it would be horrific, as a consequence of the nuclear winter which would be generated.

The number of countries which possess nuclear weapons at this moment has risen to eight. Five of them are members of the Security Council: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China. India and Pakistan acquired the nature of countries possessing nuclear weapons in 1974 and 1998, respectively. The seven countries mentioned acknowledge that nature.

On the other hand, Israel has never acknowledged its nature as a nuclear country. Nevertheless, it is calculated that it possesses 200 to 500 weapons of this type, without that being acknowledged at a time when the world is concerned about the extremely grave problems that would be provoked by the outbreak of a war in the region where a large part of the energy which moves the planet’s industry and agriculture is produced.

It is thanks to the possession of weapons of mass destruction that Israel has been able to fulfill its role as the instrument of imperialism and colonialism in that region of the Middle East.

It is not about the legitimate right of the Israeli people to live and work in peace and freedom; it is precisely about the right of the other peoples in the region to freedom and peace.

While Israel was rapidly creating a nuclear arsenal, it attacked and destroyed, in 1981, the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak. It did exactly the same to the Syrian reactor in Dayr az-Zawr in 2007, an action of which world opinion was strangely not informed. The United Nations and the IAEA were fully aware of what had occurred. Such actions had the support of the United States and the Atlantic Alliance.

There is nothing at all strange about Israel’s highest authorities now announcing their intention to do the same to Iran. This country, immensely rich in oil and gas, had been the victim of the conspiracies of Britain and the United States, whose oil companies were plundering its resources. Its armed forces were equipped with the most modern armaments from the United States’ military industry.

Shah Reza Pahlevi also aspired to acquiring nuclear weapons. Nobody attacked his research centers. The Israeli war was against the Muslim Arabs. It was not against those of Iran, because they had become a NATO bulwark pointing at the heart of the USSR.

Under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, the masses of that nation, profoundly religious and defying the power of those weapons, removed the Shah from the throne and disarmed one of the best equipped armies in the world without firing a shot.

Given its fighting capacity, number of inhabitants and the country’s extension, an aggression against Iran would bear no resemblance to Israel’s military adventures in Iraq and Syria. A bloody war would invariably be unleashed. There should be absolutely no doubt about that.

Israel has a large number of nuclear weapons with the capacity to reach any point in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. I ask myself: Does the IAEA have the moral right to sanction and asphyxiate a country if it attempts to do in its own defense what Israel did in the heart of the Middle East?

What I really think is that no country in the world should possess nuclear weapons, and that this energy should be placed at the service of the human species. Without that spirit of cooperation, humanity is inexorably advancing toward its own destruction. Among Israeli citizens themselves, doubtless a hardworking and intelligent people, many will not be in agreement with this crazy and absurd politics which is also taking them to total disaster.

What is being said today in the world about the economic situation?

The international news agencies report that U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, presented divergent commercial agendas […] highlighting the growing tensions between the two largest economies in the world.

Obama used an address – Reuters affirms – to threaten punitive economic steps against China unless it started ‘playing by the rules…’

These rules are evidently the interests of the United States.

Obama faces a tough 2012 re-election battle, in which Republican opponents accuse him of not being tough enough on China,” the agency states.

News published on Thursday and Friday reflected the realities which we are experiencing much better.

AP, the best informed U.S. news agency communicated, “Iran’s supreme leader warned Israel and the U.S. that Tehran’s response will be tough should its arch-enemies choose a military strike against Iran…”

The German news agency reported that China had stated that, as always, it believed that dialogue and cooperation were the only form of active rapprochement to solve the problem.

Russia was equally opposed to the punitive measures against Iran.

Germany rejected the military option but was in favor of strong sanctions against Iran.

The United Kingdom and France advocated strong and energetic sanctions.

The Russian Federation assured that it would do everything possible to avert a military operation against Iran and criticized the IAEA report.

‘A military operation against Iran could lead to very grave consequences and Russia will have to invest all its efforts in appeasing spirits,'” stated Konstantin Kosachov, head of the Duma’s Foreign Committee,” and, according to EFE, “He criticized ‘affirmations by the United States, France and Israel as to the possible use of force and the fact that the launch of a military operation against Iran is constantly closer.’

Edward Spannaus, editor of the U.S. EIR magazine, stated that an attack on Iran would end in World War III.

After traveling to Israel a few days ago, the United States Defense Secretary himself acknowledged that he could not obtain a commitment from the Israeli government to consult with the United States prior to an attack on Iran. Things have reached this extreme.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs crudely revealed the empire’s dark intentions:

Israel and the U.S. will embark on ‘the largest and most significant joint exercise in the allies’ history,’ said Andrew Shapiro, U.S. assistant secretary for political-military affairs, on Saturday.

…in the […] Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Shapiro spoke about the 5,000 US and Israeli forces who will participate in the exercise to simulate Israel’s ballistic missile defense system.

‘Israeli technology is proving critical to improving our Homeland Security and protecting our troops,’ he added…

Shapiro emphasized the Obama administration’s support for Israel, despite comments by a senior U.S. official on Friday, who expressed concern that Israel would not warn the U.S. before taking military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

‘Our security relationship with Israel is broader, deeper and more intense than ever before.’

‘We support Israel because it is in our national interests to do so […] It is the very strength of Israel’s military which deters potential aggressors and helps foster peace and stability.’

Today, November 13, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, told the BBC network that the possibility of a military intervention in Iran was not only not off the table, but is a real option which is growing on account of Iran’s behavior.

She insisted that the U.S. administration is reaching the conclusion that it will become necessary to end the current Iranian regime in order to avoid it creating a nuclear arsenal. “I am convinced that regime change is going to be our only option here,” Rice acknowledged.

Not one more word is necessary.

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Fidel Castro Ruz

November 13, 2011

8:17 p.m.

The Will of Steel (part 1)


(Part One)

Two days ago on Friday October 14th, Granma and Juventud Rebelde, the Communist Party and Youth League newspapers, published a brave and energetic message from Rene Gonzalez, Hero of the Republic, to the people of Cuba, after the odious and unfair 13-year punishment had finished, separately, like the other four heroes who are serving longer sentences in prisons that are hundreds of miles away from each other. Not for one instant did the unshakeable steadfastness of each one of them falter, even when they were repeatedly thrown into punishment cells, veritable sepulchres, without any space to move, just as “Yankee justice” decreed, with no crime or any kind of evidence. If there was anything in which such “justice” didn’t make a mistake, it was in the selection of the type of men it was punishing. Rene was additionally prohibited from returning to his Homeland to be with his family and his people for three years. He will have to remain in the territory of the country that had imposed such unfair punishment on him.

For everyone, and especially for those of us who have lived through critical years in the history of our Homeland, Rene’s words profoundly sized it up.

“The fact that I am now out of prison – he stated – only means that one avenue of abuse to which I was subjected has been closed, […] we still have four brothers whom we have to rescue and whom we need with us with their families, to be among you giving the best of themselves…”

“For me, this is only a trench, a new place in which I am going to continue fighting for justice so that the Five of us can return together to you.”

“…to all the people who have accompanied us over the years, who have been thousands, and through whom we have been able, little by little, to break through this information blockade, to break through the wall of silence that the corporate media have built around the case, I extend to you, on behalf of the Five, my most profound gratitude, my commitment to continue representing you as you deserve, which is definitely what we Five are doing, because we are not only Five, we are a whole people who have resisted for 50 years, and it is thanks to that that we are still resisting, […] and will never fail you and will always rise to the heights that you deserve.”  Rene’s sincere, steadfast and energetic words, the unmistakable tone of voice of a fighter who has withstood 13 infinite years of brutal and unfair punishment without faltering for one second, are really impressive.

Imperial tyranny will not be able to sustain its gross lies about the injustice committed against the Five Cuban Anti-terrorist Heroes. It doesn’t matter how treacherously the information media in its control does its best to present them as agents and spies that placed United States security at risk. The President of the National Assembly and the prestigious lawyer Jose Pertierra have been in charge of pulverizing the gross Yankee lies about the heroic Cuban anti-terrorists.

The memory of the victorious battle our people waged for the return of the boy Elian Gonzalez to his family and homeland crossed my mind. In the face of the monstrous behaviour of the Cuban counter-revolutionary mafia of Miami and its contempt of the country’s authorities, the very president of the United States at that time, Bill Clinton, was forced to send security forces in order to impose American law and order on the fascist groups who were being contemptuous and setting symbols and flags of that country on fire, headed by the “ferocious she-wolf” Ileana Ros, among others, who today is nothing less than the Chairperson of the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and dictates rules on that country’s foreign policy.

Rene Gonzalez’ message to the people of Cuba, at his own initiative and bravely taking on any risk, reinforces our profound conviction that the  position of the U.S. government in terms of the Five Cuban heroes is by now unsustainable, just as its justification of the criminal economic blockade against our homeland and the punitive measures it applies on foreign enterprises that do business with our country.

Such a policy, brutal and unusual, has been transformed by the powerful empire into an international norm, despite the practically unanimous opinion of all the members of the United Nations, with the exception of the U.S. and Israel.

Facts irrefutably show that in the globalized world of today, under the aegis of the Yankee empire, no security guarantee exists for any other country. In the UN one can repeat time and time again the unanimous rejection of the economic blockade on Cuba, or any other measure such as the right of the Palestinian people to their constitution as a state, but unless such a right, or any other, fits in with the empire’s interests, it has  no validity whatsoever.

Without it being a deliberate purpose of the Revolution, our country has become an example of what a small state can achieve if it steadfastly sustains a policy of principles even when scientific and technological advances, its patents and the distribution of the planet’s wealth is in the hands of the most developed and richest nations, that in times past were the colonial powers, disseminators of looting and poverty in our countries.

In its long struggle against the empire, our country’s combatants have been at the point of being the target for nuclear weapons at the service of that power: the first time in October of 1962; and the second time in mid-1988. On neither of these two occasions did our Homeland succumb to Yankee blackmail: in 1962, it permitted no inspection of any sort on its territory, and in 1988, after the battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the advance of 50,000 Cuban and Angolan soldiers over the South African forces equipped by the West and provided with nuclear missiles, they decided to negotiate the independence of Namibia and the end of Apartheid.

The peoples of the Third World recognize and are thankful for the unselfish solidarity of Cuba in areas that are so important such as health and education.

Who can believe the strange lie about Cuba supporting terrorism?

Such a dull and stupid fib on the part of the powerful country which, only 90 miles away from its shores, not only applied against it a criminal blockade but also perpetrated the most grotesque acts of terrorism. The fires set in educational, recreational and business centres; the live phosphorus in the sugar cane plantations; the use of explosives in factories; the pirate attacks against port facilities and fishing and cargo vessels; the organizing of counter-revolutionary gangs; infiltrations by agents and providing weapons to mercenary gangs began in 1959, after the First Agrarian Reform Law, leaving a trail of death and destruction in our Homeland. The bombing of our air force bases and the landing of mercenary troops at the Bay of Pigs, escorted by American aircraft carriers and warships cost innumerable victims when our revolutionary process was barely starting. Can the United States deny these facts? Assassination plans on the leaders of the Revolution organized by U.S. intelligence services were innumerable; in fact their gross actions didn’t limit themselves to that. Viruses and bacteria were introduced into our country to sabotage the production of plants and animals; even worse, diseases that didn’t even exist in this hemisphere were introduced into Cuba against the population. Haemorrhagic dengue affected hundreds of thousands of persons and around 150 of them, mainly children, died.  That disease still creates havoc in this hemisphere.

The tale of what the United States has committed against our people would be endless.

To be continued tomorrow.

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Fidel Castro Ruz

October 16, 2011

9:05 p.m.

The Opinion of an Expert

If I were to be asked who best knows about Israeli thinking, I would answer that without question it is Jeffrey Goldberg. He is an indefatigable journalist, capable of having dozens of meetings to ascertain how some Israeli leader or intellectual may think.

He is not neutral, of course; he is pro-Israel, without question. When one of them does not agree with the policy of that country that too is not done halfway.

For my aim, it is important to know the thinking that guides the main political and military leaders of that State. (more…)

Israel will not attack first

The ex-CIA officers Phil Giraldi and Larry Johnson; W. Patrick Lang from U.S. Military Intelligence and the U.S. Army Special Forces; Ray McGovern, from Naval Intelligence and the CIA; and other former senior officers with many years of service, are right to warn Obama that the Israeli prime minister has plans for a surprise attack with the idea of forcing the United States into the war on Iran.… | more |

Impossible joy

I promised that I would be the “happiest man in the world if I was wrong” but, unfortunately, my happiness was short-lived.

The World Cup has still not ended. There are six days left to go before the final.

What an exceptional opportunity the yanki empire and the fascist state of Israel might miss for keeping the minds of the vast majority of the inhabitants of the planet off their basic problems! (more…)

How I wish I was wrong

WHEN these lines are published tomorrow, Friday, in Granma newspaper, the 26th of July, a date on which we always recall with pride the honor of having resisted the onslaughts of the empire, will still be in the distance, despite it being only 32 days away.

Those who determine every step of the worst enemy of humanity – United States imperialism, a mixture of ignoble material interests, disdain and underestimation for other people inhabiting the planet – have calculated everything with mathematical precision.

In the Reflection of June 16 I wrote: “Diabolical news is filtering little by little between games and games in the World Cup, in a way that nobody is paying much attention to it.” (more…)