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Libya: Ten Years After NATO’s Destruction

April 22, 2021

This event will take place in less than an hour. I am sorry to not have posted it sooner. That said, Horace Campbell’s book on the NATO led invasion of Libya is a masterpiece and he is worth listenting to… Am unfamiliar with the other speakers but having watched the other “African Initiative” events this Spring, I am confidence that they will also be “high qaulity”… Ten years ago, the Obama Administration, urged on by one Hillary Clinton, invaded Libya, overthrew the government, watche approvingly the torture and murder of Muammar Khadaffi and celebrated the implosion of one of Africa’s most stable countries into the jungle and horror show that it became.

Horace Campbell. Global NATO and The Catastrophic Failure In Libay. Monthly Review Press. 2013

Colorado Jews Call on the Biden Administration to Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA)

April 22, 2021
tags:

As a Jewish community, we have recently come out of the festival of Passover, whose
tradition tells our story of liberation from bondage under the Pharaoh in Egypt.  In the
Diaspora, we are using our rituals are more and more to acknowledge and celebrate
liberation from bondage or oppression of any kind in our contemporary world. Such is a
commitment of our faith; we cherish this special meaning every spring, and we should
reinforce our narrative by being consistent in our actions.

We are a group of progressive Jews urging the local Jewish community in Colorado to
support the United States reinstatement of the JCPOA Iran agreement by the Biden
administration in the U.S. Although Iran has not formally withdrawn from the agreement
it has begun to exceed a number of its restrictions.  It needs to fully return to
implementing the agreement as well.

We, members of Jewish Voice for Peace–Colorado and Coloradans for Diplomacy and
Peace, call on the United States to return to the agreement as signed in 2015.

Reinstating the deal would be a step towards the prevention of nuclear war breaking out
in the Middle East.  Not only would it be a step towards normalizing U.S. relations with
Iran, it would help to reduce tensions throughout the Middle East, including, in the long
run, reducing tensions between Iran and Israel.

The crippling sanctions against the Iranian people have no justification.  The sanctions,
along with the policy of maximum pressure, have failed to bring the government to its
knees, but have instead increased tensions.

Returning to the JCPOA would result in lifting crippling sanctions that are making life
unbearable for the average Iranian citizen. For the past two or three decades, sanctions
imposed against Iran by the U.S. have become gradually more devastating to its
economy and its population. The effects include bare supermarket shelves, understaffed
pharmacies and hospitals, medicine shortages, and fewer resources with which to
combat COVID-19.

We might call the sanctions a manifestation of a series of modern-day Pharaohs,
including the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. As Jews, we have
seen this before in our histories, and we continue to see it happen against members of
our communities, including to Iranians.

We want to further urge fellow Jews to call upon Israel to support the Iran deal, in the
interest of global peace and human rights, and our being unequivocally against (nuclear) war of any kind.  We oppose the emerging nuclear arms race heating up in the region, which includes not just Iran and Israel but Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other countries.  In this regard the JCPOA could be a modest but concrete step towards the establishment of a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone.

We urge local Jews to oppose sanctions and to return to the deal because a threat to
justice here in the U.S. is a threat to justice in Iran and in the region. The Trump
administration had fomented Islamophobia and racism against Middle Eastern peoples
in order to justify and support these deplorable sanctions while those in power gambled
with people’s lives.  We know now more than ever the impacts of white supremacy, anti-
Black racism, anti-South Asian/Arab/Muslim racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism–
attacks against all of our communities and especially against our communities of color
in Colorado.

We embrace the modest progress of the recent Vienna negotiations, and we urge the
Biden administration to become more involved, step up, and choose diplomacy over
war.  We cannot tolerate the U.S. dictating policy, control over the Middle East, the Arab
world, and the South West Asia and North Africa region.  A new more multilateral
approach based on a less militarist approach is needed, to prevent the danger of
nuclear war, to work for easing regional tensions.

For these reasons, we call upon everyone to support reinstatement of the deal.  The
struggle for liberation starts with us all.

Signed,

Saadia Behar

Neal Feldman

Ari Harms

Aaron Ney

Rob Prince

Evan Weissman

(Photo – Iranian Jews Celebrating the Sabbath)

An Open Letter to President Joseph Biden

April 19, 2021

An Open Letter to President Joseph Biden from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s Global Peace Collective

Dear President Biden:

The Iran Nuclear Deal – officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – ranks as the most important diplomatic achievement of the Obama administration. Donald Trump’s repudiation of the JCPOA was completely unwarranted and exceedingly dangerous. The JCPOA is critical for stabilizing the Middle East, forestalling a nuclear weapons race, and preventing what could be a catastrophic war.

Thus, it is vitally important that the United States return to the JCPOA quickly and completely. Fortunately, you have expressed the intention of doing so. Yet some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, stridently oppose the Iran Nuclear Deal. They foolishly imagine that, subjected to enough assaults, the government of Iran will collapse and be replaced by a regime more to their liking. In reality, Iran’s consistent response to assaults from abroad has been to accelerate its nuclear program.

Israel’s frequent attacks upon Iran, including last year’s assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and last week’s sabotage of the Natanz nuclear facility, are outrageous violations of international law and grave threats to world peace. They are obviously intended to undermine the possibility of resurrecting the JCPOA. This must not happen! Your administration should sanction our putative ally Israel for (among many other things) its blatant disregard of United States foreign policy and national interests.

The sanctions the United States imposes upon Iran have caused the Iranian people great hardship: inflation, unemployment, hunger, and death by epidemic. Despite substantial internal opposition, the government of Iran has expressed willingness to embrace all provisions of the JCPOA if these brutal sanctions are removed. Bear in mind that it was the USA and not Iran that rejected the JCPOA. Fairness and common sense imply that the United States should take the initiative in reviving the JCPOA by abolishing all sanctions without further delay.

Peace and justice advocates all over the world fervently hope that your administration has the courage and intelligence to do so.

On behalf of the Global Peace Collective,
Ron Forthofer
David Levin
Tom Mayer
Rob Prince
Filip Sokol

In response to Ethiopia’s Perilous Propaganda War, in Foreign Affairs (on-line) by Nic Cheeseman and Yohannes Woldermariam. (April 8, 2021).

April 19, 2021
Taste of Ethiopia – August, 2019 – Aurora, Colorado, USA

_______________________________________________________________

On April 8, 2021, Nic Cheeseman and Youhannes Woldermarian published a piece entitled “Ethiopia’s Perilous Propaganda War” in the “Snapshot” section of Foreign Affiars’ s on-line publication. As we (Alemayehu and Prince) noted in our response, “The writers try to appear to be impartial, but they are certainly promoting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) party line. They acknowledge some elements of the fake news spread by TPLF supporters, but their focus is mostly on the “unsubstantiated” war crimes and atrocities allegedly committed by Eritrean and Ethiopian armies..

A week later, Foreign Affairs has not published our response, so we publish it here below on social media. We would encourage our readers to read the article, “Ethiopia’s Perilous Propaganda War” and send in their own response.

Dr. Demissie Alemayehu and Rob Prince

_______________________________________________________________

Letter to the editor:

In response to Ethiopia’s Perilous Propaganda War, by Nic Cheeseman and Yohannes Woldermariam. (April 8, 2021).

We read the article with great interest. The writers try to appear to be impartial, but they are certainly promoting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) party line. They acknowledge some elements of the fake news spread by TPLF supporters, but their focus is mostly on the “unsubstantiated” war crimes and atrocities allegedly committed by Eritrean and Ethiopian armies.

What are the main points missing from this article?

First, it glaringly downplays the massive disinformation campaign waged by the TPLF, and the active support the TPLF garnered from major media companies, US and EU/UK officials, and international organizations. In some respect, the article should have been retitled, “Washington’s Perilous Hybrid Warfare Against Ethiopia.”

In attacking the Northern Command base, undoubtedly encouraged by foreign powers, the TPLF engaged in an effort to overthrow the government of Abiy Ahmed, hoping that the attack would trigger a mass desertion of the Ethiopian military as well as provoking ethnic uprisings in the rest of the country and bring them back to power. What government would not defend its national integrity under this scenario?

Having failed in its treasonous effort to overthrow the Addis Ababa government, the TPLF then tried to win back diplomatically what it had lost on the battlefield, and called for negotiations with the support of the Biden Administration and the European Union. However, although the means has changed from open insurrection to the appearance of wanting a “peaceful settlement”, the goal is always the same, i.e., come back to power.

Lastly, the writers, in their attempt to serve as a mouthpiece for the TPLF, clearly missed an opportunity to address the catastrophic failure of the US policy in the Horn of Africa, where there is a genuine threat of Islamic fundamentalism from Somalia and Yemen, a looming crisis brewed by Egypt and Sudan, and a growing influence of other powers, such as China and Russia. Most importantly, the authors paid only lip service to the ethnic violence that is raging in the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions of Ethiopia, as a legacy of the ethnocentric agenda of the now defunct TPLF rule. The writers thus failed to underscore that it would be prudent for US policymakers to learn from past mistakes and formulate instead a pragmatic strategy that would promote democracy in the country, guarantee peace and stability in the region, and ensure the protection of the long-term interest of the US taxpayers.

Demissie Alemayehu, Ph.D., Department of Statistics, Columbia University

Robert Prince, Retired Lecturer, University of Denver, Korbel School of International Studies.

Open Remarks of Prince Asfa Wossen Asrate-Kassa – a member of the imperial house of Ethiopia -at the International Virtual Conference: The Ramifications of Western Reactions to the Current Crisis in Ethiopia. Saturday, April 17, 9 am – 1 pm EST

April 18, 2021

Le’ul Ras (Prince) Dr Asfa-Wossen Asserate (Amharic: አስፋ ወሰን ዓሥራተ), (born October 31, 1948, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), is a Ethiopian-German political analyst and consultant for African and Middle-Eastern Affairs and best-selling author. A member of the Ethiopian royalty, he is the great nephew of the last Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie

Remarks of Prince Asfa Woosen Asrate-Kassa

“Thank you for inviting me to be here today.

It’s a great honor to speak at this august forum and I dare say that it is the lack of Ethiopianness that has caused us all these problems in the past years and I sincerely hope you will go on preaching the virtues of “Ethiopianness” and that sooner or later we all Ethiopians will realize that wherever and whoever our fathers were, we all stem from the same womb called Ethiopia. ”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend this international virtual conference on why Western reactions to the current crisis in Ethiopia has been so harsh and unfair.

Allow me now to briefly outline some of the reasons why Ethiopia is indeed vulnerable to crises.
There are undoubtedly external and internal reasons for this vulnerability.

The internal factors leading to this fragile state of affairs can be probably found in our country’s recent history.

It could be said that ever since the 1960 coup d’etat against the imperial government, Ethiopia has been prone to some kind of crisis or the other, which, with a few years of peace in between, has been plaguing us for over sixty years.

The Imperial Administration, unfortunately did not read the signs that under the administration of General Menigstu and failed to transform the system of absolute monarchy into a constitutional one. After the demise of the imperial rule, Mengistu’s military dictatorship brought only misery to our people.

After the departure of Mengistu Haile Marian our hopes were very high that we had finally learned from our mistakes and that a true democratic state would be established in the future.

The vicious Dirge was succeeded by the racist Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), replacing the primacy of unity with an obsession for ethno-centricity and re-imagining Ethiopia as a collection of linguistic groups rather than individual citizens.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since 2018 we have a prime minister who has given us assurances that he wishes to reconcile and find common ground between unity and diversity and between the country’s past and its future.

Let us hope that this great promise will actually take place and will be fulfilled after the elections have taken place and that the present state of affairs which is totally unbearable, like the killings in Wallega, Beni Shangul, Northern Showa, and other regions of Ethiopia will never happen again.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Now let me say a few words about the external factors that have contributed immensely to the fact that Ethiopia has been a fragile state for quite some time.

Also here Ethiopia’s long history does play an important role and there are certain facts that we Ethiopians have to accept. For example that there are certain states that have always envied the sheer existence of Ethiopia as a nation-state for three millenia.

They never could accept that Christianity was introduced to Ethiopia many decades before it wsa accepted in the majority of European countries.

Above all the existence of European statehood since time immemorial was also was contrary to their non-held beliefs that nation-building was an art in which only Europeans exalted and Africans can only envisage the rule of tribal chiefdoms.

That is why they made tribalism a European weapon of colonialism.

They were well aware in those days when Africa was being colonized which tribe was at war against which one and they offered their support to one of them in the form of gifts and military armaments.

Ladies and Gentlemen, once the Europeans were carving up Africa here was Ethiopia chasing out the invader at the Battle of Adwa which did not make us dearer to western governments.

I would like to share a very important point in my life with the audience.

During my study at the University of Tubingin, I used to attend the classes of a very famous German political scientist who was a specialist on Africa. He loved Africa and I had the honor of being befriended with him in later years. He was indeed an admirer of our country and I’ll never forget what he used to tell me in those days.

I quote,

You, Ethiopians, should always be careful to forge alliances with the Western world. They make you feel comfortable in their embrace due to your geo-strategic structure, but I can assure you that they will never trust you, for they have never forgiven you for what you did to them after the Second World War.

First of all, you always gave them a tough time since you joined the United Nations in 1945 and demanded the immediate decolonization of the African continent at every session. Then you went and brought a man who they saw as a terrorist named Nelson Mandela and brought him, with an Ethiopian passport to your country, trained him and sent him back to South Africa so that he should help overthrow the White Minority Government.”

“That was not enough for you. You joined the Non-Aligned Movement, making yourself popular with the Western countries who thought you were untrustworthy. Finally, you gathered all the African countries together to found the Organization of African Unity which became another headache to Western governments. But let me tell you, that most of all, you Ethiopians will never be forgiven for being the beacon light of all Black people of this world who see you as their primary source, to teach them that they should see themselves as equals to their fellow white human beings.”

As I was warned by my teacher the way our Western friends have treated us these past couple of months has not come to me as a big surprise.

As long as we can’t adopt a system of trust, credibility and inclusivity in our country, I can assure you there is little the West can do to dismantle the Ethiopia which we cherish.

Should we, however, allow ethnic hatred and disunity to become the order of the day, the very survival of Ethiopian nationhood will definitely be at stake.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let us not depend on external factors to change our present predicaments and let us raise ourselves to the duty of opening a new era for our people with a new constitution where ethnicity will no longer play a vital role as a fundamental principle of state organization.

The future political development of our country will depend on the trust of the population in an honest and efficient government and the economic success of our state.

May the Almighty help us to create a truly new, democratic federation where justice will reign supreme and where all the 120 different ethnic groups that live in Ethiopia will indeed live in peaceful coexistence, under the motto “Unity in diversity and diversity in unity.”

Thank you very much.

International Virtual Conference: The Ramifications of Western Reactions to the Current Crisis in Ethiopia. Saturday, April 17, 9 am – 1 pm EST

April 14, 2021

The Missing Blogs: The Ghost Ship of Lonnrotinkatu: The Catabolism of the World Peace Council – Part 2

April 13, 2021

(Note: The second two parts of this series, first written in 1992 and published on this blog somewhere around 2008-9 have disappeared, somehow were purged. Other than the fact that I did not remove them, I have no idea who, how or why they were eliminated). Well, I do have an idea but that is all it is and as I will probably never be able to prove it, why waste time even speculating.

What I find interesting is that anyone/organization would eliminate an article about events that happened more than thirty years ago to an organization going through its death throws then, nothing more than a footnote on the Cold War, the last Cold War, that is

So… I am reposting.)

Following the Money Trail at the World Peace Council

Part II of Rob Prince’s behind-the-scenes look at the World Peace Council’s dealings in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s dissolution. See also Part I, May 1992 and Part III, August 2011

Rob Prince – 1992-11-01

It is highly unlikely that when he visited Helsinki from Moscow in September of 1991, Oleg Kharkhardin, a Soviet Peace Committee (SPC) representative, did so to pick mushrooms.

If he arrived in the Finnish capital at a fine time weatherwise, it was a curious one politically. The Soviet Union had entered a transition period, just after the August 20 abortive coup attempt. Its demise would would follow only 2 few months later.

Shortly before, at about the time that Kharkhardin re-emerged into a position of power; the SPC had somehow engineered granting the WPC a sizeable “one time financial gift” of unknown proportions-but believed to be at least $2 million (see Part One in the May-June issue, pg. 16).

Kharkhardin tried to slip in and out of Helsinki, if not secretly, at least quietly. He’d come to replace his long-time nemesis and SPC bureaucratic competitor; Vladimir Oryol, in the latter’s post as Soviet Secretary to the WPC. This goal quickly achieved, he tried to assess the WPC’s financial position for the coming period in consultation with WPC Executive-Secretary Ray Stewart of New Zealand.

AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION?
The state of the WPC which Kharkhardin discovered in Helsinki can only be described as bleak. If not for the “one-time” gift, placed into a fund managed by a small and still unknown group of confidants dose to both Kharkhardin and Ray Stewart, the WPC would simply collapse.

Apart from the interest payments the fund produced, the WPC had virtually no income. Hardly any of its supposedly 145 “member organizations” had paid their dues and the total paid subscriptions of the WPC’s two publications was less than 50 and not likely to increase. The WPC staff, cut from nearly 60 in the late 1980s to 4 or 5 now, would probably be shrunk down to Stewart himself.

Furthermore, the WPC’s President, Evangelos Maheras from Greece, was becoming increasingly irritated by the way the Helsinki office, and the organization as a whole, was being run. He resented being kept ignorant of the organization’s finances, a situation which made him look more like a figure-head than an active president.

Admitting that many of the WPC’s “member organizations” existed only on paper, he seemed increasingly uncomfortable with his figurehead role.

“I have not a full knowledge of our economic situation” he wrote. He continued with what in any organization—other than the WPC—would have been a rather extraordinary revelation:

“I have read in the Liaison Office’s report (i.e. Stewart’s) that there is a fund deposited in the Bank, the interest from which provides an income for the WPC. I don’t know how this fund was created, how it functions and how long it will exist.” (WPC Executive Committee Minutes, Resolutions, Reports. Berlin, 8-9 February, 1992. Appendix 13.)

If the current financial situation continues, Mahares concluded, the WPC will probably have to close shop in Helsinki, a move that, from what I can tell, will not produce a wave of national mourning in the Finnish capital.

THE MAGIC PARTICIPANTS LIST

Despite the infusion of Soviet fluids just prior to the USSR’s collapse, the WPC appears to be on its last leg, although it could indefinitely continue in a state of suspension. Inertia, habit, psychological dependency, lack of direction, fear of the unknown in the post-Cold War era, and that last dose of Moscow Gold (see Part One) will keep it hobbling along.

The attendance of the February Berlin WPC Executive Committee suggests an organization with some international potential, at least on paper. Looking good on paper has always been most important to the WPC.

It might not have built any peace campaigns of substance for nearly 20 years, but the WPC had some interesting participant lists. It wasn’t that difficult to give away free tickets and hotel rooms to people who were mostly just curious to see what the WPC was about. In fact the list was an end in itself, an absolutely vital element in WPC bureaucratic survival. The key was how well the list played in Moscow at the International Department of the Central Committee. Here insulated bureaucrats tried in vain to evaluate a peace movement they had never seen or experienced, based upon lists of participants-and on the good word of Oleg Kharkhardin or Romesh Chandra, who made the rounds there.

An interesting “list of participants” reinforced the widening gap between reality and the fantasy that the world’s peoples “stood by” the WPC, which in turn stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Leonid Brezhnev and the USSR. That little bit of political schmaltz was the grease needed to open the hard currency spigot to enable the money to flow into the WPC’s Helsinki bank accounts.

But now there is no more Soviet Union; there are no more insulated Moscow bureaucrats from the Central Committee’s International Department to bribe, cajole, or influence. Now the WPC participant lists are just a list of people from different countries who have been under the false impression that they were the international peace movement. Generally speaking they represent narrow forces close to dying communist parties or countries that no longer exist.

Let’s put to rest the ideological rationale to which some WPC advocates still cling: its potential as an international peace organization with broad contacts in the Third World, which supposedly constitute its “unique character.” Certainly the idea of international peace cooperation that entails strengthening the ties between peace movements in advanced industrialized countries and those of Asia, Africa and Latin America deserved serious consideration.

Over the years, Third World countries and social movements did join the WPC—mostly as one of a number of avenues to reach Moscow. The essence of the WPC ‘s role was as a kind of brokerage house for the movements wanting ties with the USSR. The USSR funnelled these movements through the WPC, making WPC events colorful affairs, if nothing else. Unfortunately, it created an illusion that was not matched by reality. Little tangible peace work resulted beyond the usual statements of solidarity.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

Many things and people might have changed in the world, but Oleg Kharkhardin isn’t likely to be one of them. Those familiar with the World Peace Council know that Kharkhardin was no stranger to Helsinki’s Lönnrotinkatu 25-the WPC’s headquarters. In the post-USSR period the Soviet Peace Committee has become the International Federation of Peace and Reconciliation (IFPC) and Oleg Kharkhardin has become the organization’s “first vice-president”

The IFPC claims that 35 organizations are affiliated to it, but only one is known for certain—the WPC. IFPC is housed at the same Moscow address —36 Prospect Mira—as the SPC, and it is staffed by the same staff. Although permitted to function in the post-USSR era, according to informed sources —the former Soviet Peace Fund (now the Russian Peace Fund) has been consider-ably slashed.

KICKING A NOT-YET DEAD HORSE

This horse isn’t quite dead yet. These people remain entrenched and in power in the new IFPC—an indication of how cleverly some former Soviet bureaucrats have been able to ride the waves of change. Their agencies more or less survive, with their bureaucratic power intact, merely changing vocabulary and political masks at critical intervals.

Recently in an interview in The Nation, noted Soviet expert Stephen Cohen made some telling remarks which help explain the political survival of the world’s Oleg Kharkhardins. Cohen commented on the degree to which the “old elites” of the former Soviet Union retain considerable power in the new situation. They have, in fact, consolidated their hold on much property and wealth and no new elite, no new class forces have yet emerged to challenge the authority of the apparatchiks. (See The Nation, March 2, 1992, pgs 260-261).

It turns out that such questions are of more than academic interest. The Yeltsin government in Russia would like to know more about this situation as well. Shortly after coming to power at the end of 1991, the Russian government sent a team of investigators to Finland to probe the CPSU-SPC-WPC connection. Specifically it was interested in the transfer of fluids from the former CPSU to the West through the WPC just prior to and after the abortive coup that attempted to restore the CPSU old guard to power in August, 1991.

Unfortunately they returned to Moscow empty-handed. Relevant Finnish banks, claiming to respect the confidentiality of their clients, refused to discuss the WPC’s Finnish financial dealings with the Russian investigators. The secret fund, which supports the lion’s share of the WPC budget—as well as decades of the organization’s questionable financial dealings- remains shrouded in mystery.

The documents in the archives of the International Department of the former CPSU—as well as the ample records of the relevant Finnish banks—have yet to yield their secrets on this score. It remains for some enterprising team of Finish and Russian research journalists to pursue the matter.

ONE FINAL NOTE


After receiving so much adverse publicity in the 1988-1990 period, the WPC leadership was interested in leaving Helsinki for a safer and more obscure haven from which to conduct its operations. There were speculations and many open suggestions that the organization would soon leave the Finnish capital. It would relocate in Athens, under the protective wing of the Greek Communist Party, which seemed somewhat interested.

According to informed sources, that move did not take place, nor is it likely to. The reason is quite simple. The Greek laws on banking confidentiality are different from those in Finland. The Greek banks could not assure the WPC the kind of confidentiality that it has enjoyed since the late 1960s when it first moved to Helsinki. Better to retain a low profile in Finland and keep its bank records secret rather than risk financial exposure—the WPC’s version of a fate worse than death.

Rob Prince served as U.S. representative to the Secretariat of the World Peace Council from late 1985 through mid – 1990. He now lives in Denver, Colorado.

The Missing Blogs: The Ghost Ship of Lonnrotinkatu: The Catabolism of the World Peace Council – Part 1

April 12, 2021
Me with a stuffed salmon, gift from my late Finnish friend and then neighbor, Kari Kima. Kaivoksela, Finland. June, 1990. The bottle on the foreground is of a sweet Finnish berry wine. Not particularly found of sweet wine – too much Manischewitz in my youth (it still sells for $4.99) – but I do miss Finnish berry wine.

(Note: The first two parts of this series, first written in 1992 and published on this blog somewhere around 2008-9 have disappeared, somehow were purged. Other than the fact that I did not remove them, I have no idea who, how or why they were eliminated). Well, I do have an idea but that is all it is and as I will probably never be able to prove it, why waste time even speculating.

What I find interesting is that anyone/organization would eliminate an article about events that happened more than thirty years ago to an organization going through its death throws then, nothing more than a footnote on the Cold War, the last Cold War, that is

So… I am reposting.)

The Ghost Ship of Lonnrotinkatu

The Catabolism of the World Peace Council – Part 1
Also see Part II, December 1992 and Part III, August 2011.

By Rob Prince | 1992-05-01 12:00:00

About two years ago, in February, 1990, in Moscow, on my way home to Helsinki, having just attended the last World Peace Council (WPC) Congress, I ran into a Dutch acquaintance with whom I discussed the organization’s future prospects. My prognosis was pessimistic. I likened the WPC to a deceased person whose hair and nails continued to grow although the brain had ceased functioning.

I expected my friend to take issue with me and was surprised when he didn’t. “You’re right, it’s like a corpse left frozen in the morgue,” he began, then after pausing added, “all the same they’re not ready to bury it.” Although spoken in the traditional coded language common in WPC circles, the remark was obvious enough. “They” was the Soviet Peace Committee who were not prepared to stop funding. As someone who worked in the WPC’s Lönnrotinkatu Street Secretariat in Helsinki for four years, I wondered about that.

Since rebuilding the WPC as a viable peace organization was not one of the Soviet Peace Committee’s motives—they had tried that and failed miserably in the late 1980s—there must have been other factors at play. But what?

Unable, and worse, unwilling to change the fundamental political bankruptcy of the organization without giving up their tight control, the SPC found themselves in something of a mess.

First of all by the mid-1980s the Soviet Peace Committee had, for the most part, already concluded that the WPC was a politically expendable and spent force. Especially after 1986 when Soviet foreign policy under Gorbachev began to change, the SPC (and other former Eastern European peace committees) had built up an impressive series of bilateral international contacts in which the WPC not only played no role, but was a liability. It cannot be accidental that during his seven years in power, not only did Gorbachev not meet with WPC President Romesh Chandra, but that Chandra was purposely excluded from many of the main Moscow international fora.

Secondly, the WPC had absorbed untold millions of dollars of Soviet hard currency over the years, and if you’ll pardon my English, pissed it away. A close investigation of the WPC financial record would have revealed at the very least, colossal waste as Romesh Chandra had fine tuned the art of spending Soviet hard currency ever faster and with fewer results. The lion’s share of it went to enormous junket “peace congresses” at one or another Eastern “palaces of culture,” or to ostentatious WPC visits to the United Nations in New York, Geneva or Vienna, producing an endless stream of appeals, declarations and the like but few more tangible results.

By the late 1900s the World Peace Council was one of a number of Moscow-created political cesspools waiting to be discovered. Any long-term review of the finances could have had serious repercussions for the people involved, especially in the USSR where people had given generously of their money for what they thought to be a cause for peace.

At a time when, for the first time in years, Soviet public organizations such as the SPC were coming under close public scrutiny, and when already, hard currency transfers to the West were more closely monitored by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s international department, the situation in the WPC spelled trouble for the Soviet Peace Committee-especially those involved in WPC events.

Despite this, the SPC did not want the WPC to die completely. Undeterred by the organization’s political and economic nationalization if not irrelevance, the SPC slashed expenses and staff, but opted to keep the ghostship of Lönnrotinkatu barely alive for future use. Even in its weakest state, it could be a valuable gateway to the West.

At the February, 1990 Athens session, the SPC brought on as a new Executive Secretary, a Chandra ally from New Zealand’s tiny Marxist-Leninist party, Ray Stewart. Chandra had originally brought him to Helsinki to bolster his effort against the reform element within the Secretariat. Stewart’s charge has essentially boiled down to keeping the near-shadow organization afloat at the lowest possible cost.

Whatever might be said of him, Chandra gave life and verve to the WPC circus, at least bringing the world the rhetoric of international peace (minus the content). That life died in Athens when Chandra was forced out of the daily running of the organization, being kicked upstairs and made WPC honorary president for life with full pay and benefits.

The catabolic processes that followed have left the WPC a shadow of its former self. What appears to be the only makeup left on this corpse is a bimonthly Peace News Bulletin put out by former WPC Secretary member from the Federal Republic of Germany, Tobias Thomas.

A number of remaining Communist Parties-the French, Greek and Japanese-seemed willing to go along with all this and to squeeze what was left from WPC contacts on the condition that they not have to share any of the financial burdens of maintaining the organization. On this point they were adamant. While the Japanese have been involved, it has been rather cautiously. When the Greek CP split down the middle (about a year ago), the WPC’s base was further weakened. That leaves the French Communists who seem committed to sticking it out until the bitter end, and then some.

Meanwhile, the peace and left movement of the host country, Finland, pretty much lost interest in WPC affairs, as did most serious peace movements the world round.

It was not unreasonable to conclude that with the August, 1991 coup attempt, the banning of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the freezing of its accounts and foreign holdings, the WPC would do the only proper thing under the circumstances and simply sink into the mire of history. No so. Defying gravity, it continues to limp along and will do so for some time in the future. Its survival has been assured by don’t hold your breath -the former Soviet Peace Committee.

An internal WPC document the summary of the minutes of the WPC’s Standing Committee Meeting in Brazzaville, Congo from July 15-17, 1991 was the basis of a fascinating article written by Tapio Kari in the November 1, 1991 Viikolehti, the weekend edition of Kansan Uutiset, the newspaper of the Finnish Communist Party and the third largest newspaper in the country.

THE SECRET GARDEN

As it has been for much of its history, even now after the collapse of the USSR, WPC finances remain shrouded in mystery. A last ditch attempt to open them up, a resolution introduced at the Athens Congress for an external audit, was defeated. Even those of us who worked there for some time have far from a complete picture of how finances functioned. According to the Kansan Uutiset article the WPC now largely survives as a recipient of interest from a mysterious fund established sometime in the Spring of 1991 by a one-time large donation from the then Soviet Peace Committee to the WPC. The annual interest amounts to some 765,000 Finnish Marks (approximately $180,000 Canadian).

Interviewed by Kari in late October 1991, in classic WPC form, WPC Executive Director Ray Stewart was less than thrilled to address the subject. But he did admit that (!) the SPC gift to the WPC amounted to “around” 10,000,000 Finnish Marks (close to $2.2 million Canadian).(2) The gift making up the fund came “mostly” from the former Socialist countries.

The WPC report from the Brazzaville meeting added some details the gift was given to the WPC in May, 1991; only “ten member organizations” out of over 140 which the WPC once boasted have paid their dues for 1991. Without the Soviet gift, the WPC would have simply collapsed, the office closed down.

More interesting was the fate of the 10 million mark contribution. A yet-to be-identified fund was established. Quoting from the WPC Brazzaville Standing Committee (July 15, 1991) Meeting Minutes, “At the same time in May (when the Soviet financial gift was given) an independent fund was established, the interest from which will be given to the WPC (at the discretion of the trustees) and will provide the basis for the continuing work of the Liaison Office (formerly called the Secretariat): liaison, networking, information activities. (The capital of this fund is not available to the WPC.)”

Little is known about the fund or its trustees, fueling more speculation. The fund is not registered either in Finland, where the WPC is based, or in Russia or another part of the former USSR. The number or names of the trustees remains unknown except for one—Stewart himself. I would hope that no one in North America associated with the WPC would be foolish enough to get caught in this maze by lending their name as one of “the trustees.”

HUGE FINANCIAL TRANSFERS TO THE WEST

The timing of this transfer which is very possibly more than 10 million Finnish marks is also interesting. It came when many Soviet organizations, institutions tied to the dying CPSU, had been transferring money to the West in anticipation of a possible collapse of the USSR. Finnish sources suggest as much as 50-60 billion rubles were thus converted to hard currency and transferred to a plethora of accounts largely in Western European banks.

It is impossible that such massive transfers of funds could have been done without the participation of powerful ruling interests in the former USSR. That this was taking place before the August 1991 coup raises all kinds of questions of who participated in what and why.

Just how the Soviet Peace Committee, WPC, or like organizations were involved, or what role they played in these transfers is not clear at present. Perhaps it was the possibility of using the WPC as future conduits for money being transferred West from Moscow by the CPSU to keep it out of Boris Yeltsin’s hands that was behind “not burying the body”—as my acquaintance put it, several years ago.

Stewart rejects such allegations, insisting that the gin was “old money” i.e. money earmarked for the WPC in the past, that had been in WPC accounts for at least nine months and that the sudden swelling of the WPC’s budget has nothing to do with the USSR’s breakdown or black market money traffic from Eastern Europe to the West.

But why then the continued secrecy even as the organization enters an advanced stage of necrotization? What is there left to hide?

One thing is certain, whatever the WPC is doing, active peace work hardly enters into the picture. The Cold War is over, the WPC has long been a spent force. The one tangible contribution the WPC might still make is to finally open its records before it closes its doors permanently.

Rob Prince served as U.S. representative to the Secretariat of the World Peace Council from late 1985 through mid – 1990. He now lives in Denver, Colorado.

The Plot Thickens: Two blog entries on the collapse of the World Peace Council (in Helsinki Finland) somehow purged

April 11, 2021
Finnish Peace Activists – Helsinki – Spring, 1990

This is interesting… The only thing I can say for sure is I didn’t do it!

This morning, noting that people are reading an old blog entry I wrote about the World Peace Council where I served as U.S Secretary (as the job was called) from late 1985 through mid 1990, I noticed that the first two parts of the series (“The Ghost Ship of Lennrotinkatu – Parts 1 and Parts 2) have been eliminated.

That’s odd.

I have looked at the articles from time to time when I notice people are reading them – I can tell the number of people reading a particular blog entry, a common feature in most blog “platforms” – and to the best of my ability I seem to remember the articles were there a year or two ago…

But now… pfffff, “all gone” although whose mysterious hand is behind it all, I do not know and will not waste any time looking into the matter except to wonder who it might have been – that thirty years after the events described in these articles was threatening enough so to have them purged.

Part III of the series has survived though and for whatever reason, these few days a fair number of people are reading it. Here is a link to it should you be interested.

I do have copies of the two “missing links” and I will repost them – unedited – in the next few days when I have time.

Ethiopian Community USA: Defending Ethiopia’s Integrity in the face of yet another U.S. orchestrated “humanitarian intervention” – A Segment on National Public Radio – Houston, Washington DC, NYC

April 6, 2021
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) – Ethiopia’s near completed development jewel that Washington has been trying to sabotage

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For some time now, since the Addis campaign to put down he Tigray military uprising – a failed attempt to overthrow the legitimate, elected, Ethiopian government, the U.S.has been weaponizing the human rights issues in Ethiopia in a manner that is both cynical and dangerous, following a pattern similar to the destabilization patterns Washington has employed elsehwere… a first step for more aggressive actions? On the “menu” for future steps -if the pattern is implemented – expect sanctions, vilification of the leadership, distorted reporting on human rights abuses, no flyzones, military intervention of one kind or another – “di gantse arbet” (the whole works!)

There is a link to an NPR interview I did with Dr. Demissie Alemayehu of Columbia University NPR program called COVID, Race and Democracy – an hour current events program produced by Ann Garrison.

A part of the program – a 16 minute segment – addressed the emerging crisis in Ethiopia with brief statements from the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, an interview with Tigray representatives at a Los Angeles rally – that calls for the U.S. to institute sanctions against Ethiopia, a second interview with the larger, more mainstream Ethiopia Community at a demonstration in San Francisco supporting the Ethiopian government’s crushing of the Tigray Rebellion that tried to overthrow the Addis Ababa government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

This is followed by the segment in which I interview Dr. Demissie Alemayehu of Columbia University debunking the new media blitzkrieg against the the Ethiopian government for putting down a failed insurrection meant to overthrow the legitimate government of Ethiopia and sweep the Tigray Popular Liberation Front back in power. The TPLF ruled Ethiopia with an iron hand for 28 years, were repressive and a la Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarek of Egypt basically robbed their country blind to the tune of $30 billion (according to a Forbes article) which it socked away among its supporters worldwide.

The interview played on three public radio stations throughout the country yesterday (April 5, 2021 )at KPFT – Houston, WBAI – NYC  and WPFW- Washington DC

The U.S. War In Syria – Where is the U.S. peace movement? Why has it – in large measure – swallowed the mainstream narrative kool aid? “Erasing people through disinformation – the humanitarian interventionalism of fools”

April 4, 2021

So… another left debate over Syria?

What is going on here? I don’t know, can only speculate.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of the war – or more accurately – foreign intervention in Syria a number of self righteous and continually misdirected leftists and peace activists issued a factional statement, an open letter entitled “Erasing people through disinformation – the anti-Imperialism of fools,”

Long-winded, and signed by “prominent” people all over the world, including from Europe, the MENA countries and North America, it tries to do what these elements have been doing for the past decade: defening U.S. imperialist, let me repeat that word, imperialist intervention in Syria, to deny what is essentially a war made bought and paid for in Washington DC, fought by proxies, both nations as well as their paid mercenaries – mostly cannon fodder from throughout the Third World, the Middle East Africa etc. There is so much disinformation in that letter, that kind of pompous, American exceptionalist racist rot that has infected the U.S. peace movement and left for decades, if not longer… and here it is full blown for those who want to read it – in an open letter.

The letter, “Erasing people through disinformation: Syria and the “anti-imperialism” of fools” – nice, catchy title, is well written making me think that I might have an idea who had a hand in drafting it. No matter. For as well written as it is, that is how off base it is. Its content might make Susan Rice and Samantha Powers smile, but other than that when one gets to the heart of it all, it is stale, by now overused weak arguments that defends all that wrong with U.S.foreign policy and its unending military interventions, sanctions, targeted assassinations.

This letter is a piece of political propaganda, no more, no less that tries to justify what is unjustifiable: U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Those signing it cannot even admit that in Syria – despite the presence of U.S. troops in the eastern third of the country who are stealing Syrian oil, burning down Syrian wheat fields and strangling the country with sanctions, a vicious form of warfare reminiscent of the Nazi siege of Leningrad.

U.S. Imperialism has been thwarted in Syria, nothing less. It is a cause of celebration for progressives and anti-Imperialists the world over… not this kind of whining. The crafters and signers of this open letter cannot as the saying goes “see the forest through the trees”. They utterly fail to understand the defeat that U.S. Imperialism has suffered in Syria nor its profound significance for how the balance of power is shifting in the region as the U.S. grip weakens and the more democratic, anti-imperialist forces gain strength, slowly surely and perceptibly.

And of course, in their self-righteousness, the letter’s signers accuse those who stand clearly against U.S. intervention and hybrid warfare against the Syrian government and people in all its forms of exactly what the authors are guilty of – factionalism and sectarianism. From fifty years of experience with this particular brand of white privilege and entitlement, let me add that few are those who have been factional, more divisive than the liberal imperialists, from the Clintons to the Samantha Powers’ to Human Rights Watch, to a tradition continued ad nauseum.

To his credit, in a well thought out response written in Middle East Eye, Joseph Massad takes a whole bunch of these humanitarian interventionalists to task: they continue to call for regime change in Syria, and to defend that which is indefensible – the U.S war against Syria. Through what is little more than cynical mental gymnastics they put reality on its head – defending the whores of war as the victims and attacking the victims – the Syrian government and its people – as the perpetrators of war and violence.

In Massad’s response, which overall is thoughtful and from my vantage point spot on, Massad criticizes some of the American signers, including Noam Chomsky. Chomsky deserves some criticism but I think there is too much focus on him and not enough on some of those who have praised the color revolutions, of the foundations and ngo’s that have become integral elements in U.S war-making strategy and plans for decades now. These elements have a habit of singing the praises of social movements that sweep tyrants and authoriatarians from power without in any major way even slightly tinkering with social systems, the instituional framework that promotes dictatorshiop, corruptions, repression. Like political musical chairs – leaders change but the systems on which they are based, remain unchanged producing all the change necessary to maintain the status quo…. as a bearded German philosopher once up it.

Although it varies some among them, many of the signers are the same one who accuse the Chinese of genocide in Xinjiang Province, who would like to see Hong Kong “liberated” from China, who fail to call the fascist coup in Ukraine for what it was (ie, a fascist led coup), and who now are calling for sanctions against Ethiopia for crushing the last attempt of the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front to overthrow the legitimate government in Addis Ababa.

Concerning the open letter itself…

The tone is strident, self righteous, in a certain way down right racist, especially as it concerns their condescending attack on the Syrian government’s effort to oppose a U.S. plan to partition Syria and to use arm train and finance some of the most reactionary and openly fascist elements on the world scene today. They fail to recognize that when the Syrian army liberated Aleppo, supported by Hezbollah fighters, Iranian advisers and Russian air power – that this was a “peoples’ victory’ and a defeat, nothing less, for U.S. Imperialism.

Frankly, their open letter is an indication of just how much so many liberal and soft-left elements have swallowed the Kool Aid on Syria and have come to defend what is nothing more than an imperialist offensive to shatter the Middle East region a la Iraq, Libya etc, to partition, either de jure or de facto, those centralized governments that might have been able, at least to a degree, withstand the U.S. structural adjustment offensive, the impact of sanctions, drones and mercenaries – the U.S. military’s economic, military and financial response to what remains of its Vietnam War syndrome.

There is no moderate Syrian opposition and yet the signers continue to fabricate or imagine one. Perhaps there was early on in the early days of 2011, but whatever there was of that was quickly coopted and swallowed by the more fascist like elements involved with the active support of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and to a certain degree Israel – that is to say U.S. Imperialism’s long leaned on catspaw in the Middle East.

The idea that Washington is somehow uninvolved or hardly involved in attempts to overthrow the legitimately elected Assad government of Syria – which enjoys broad support – certainly in its war against partition and foreign intervention – is utter and complete nonsense. The Syria invasion – and it is an invasion – is made bought and paid for in Washington DC. It is a war that Washington launched through the use of proxies and that it lost as it has lost in Afghanistan. The political goals of Washington’s plan are several fold and included:

  1. To punish Syria for not permitting a gas pipe line that the Obama Administration hoped would avoid the Suez Canal
  2. To strengthen Israel’s geo-strategic position by undermining a centralized state that is one of Tel Aviv’s adversaries in a futile effort to maintain a regional balance of power in which Israel (along with a few other Arab allies) can dictate regional policies both for itself and for Washington
  3. To prove one again – as it did in Libya – that the United States could “lead from behind” – ie, go to war to overthrow a government by using foreign proxies and hired mercenaries so that Washington can claim “plausible deniability” – as former U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford did cynically and disingenuously in an interview with Aaron Mate on Push Back – the Gray Zone.
  4. Many of these same signer – the American ones with which I am familiar in particular are the bards of the colored revolutions, or should we say, colored counter-revolutions, social movements that overthrow tyrants with no plans for radical social change, resulting in new realities where all the change necessary to maintain the status quo is the rule. Celebrating change that in the end is no change at all.
  5. To prevent any country – in the current situation – Iran – from emerging as a regional player that would shift the balance of power in the Middle East a few notches away from Washington and its closest proxies – Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, etc.

There are probably other geo-political reasons as well. What is utter nonsense, a lie is that there is anything humanitarian about the U.S.-NATO sponsored interventions – in Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc.

Frankly my interests are elsewhere – building a broad-based peace movement as was done in opposition to the U.S. led 2003 invasion of Iraq, for Syria. Perhaps such a national movement exists and those of us deep in the heartland of the country are simply unaware of it. A national movement to get the U.S. out of Syria, to have the Syrian people and not paid takfiri mercenaries manipulated by Turkey, Saudi or whomever, decide the country’s fate.

Such a national movement is overdue. I’d join in a second and let these liberal imperialists just stew in their own juices. Frankly they are not worth either the time or energy with to argue with very much…

Syrian Woman Greeting Syrian Army Troops Liberating an area of Idlib Province from Turkish-Jihadist rule.

The U.S. War In Syria – Where is the U.S. peace movement? Why has it – in large measure – swallowed the mainstream narrative cool aid? – 1. An Interview with Aaron Mate – of Push Back, the Gray Zone. KGNU Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues. March 30, 2021

March 31, 2021

The U.S. orchestrated war against Syria with the goal of overthrowing the Syrian government and partitioning the country, is now ten years old. The United States and its side has, by all measures, lost that war, failed in its goals, and yet the United States military continues to occupy one-third of the country, to steal Syrian oil, to destroy Syrian wheat fields and the maintain some of the harshest sanctions against the Damascus government that any country has ever endured, a kind of version of the Nazi seige of Leningrad in slow motion.

When the United States invaded Iraq – there was a major peace movement both in the USA and worldwide against that invasion and Washington’s plans to partition, de facto, the country. Yet no such movement, or hardly, was triggered by the U.S. led and orchestrated invasions of Libya and Syria in which, while Washington directed “from backstage” were still America’s wars fought by proxies. Hiding behind the thin veneer of “humanitarian intervention” Washington has been able to neutralize and pacify its domestic opposition in large measure.

And yet Washing is responsible for – and continues to be responsible for – some of the worst war crime of modern history and turn their war cynically into a “crusade for democracy and human rights”. Make no mistake – if the war is fought by proxies – takfiri mercenaries from all over the world, trained, armed, funded by the likes of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel – the Syrian War – now ten years old – is stamped “Made in USA”.

KGNU Hemispheres Middle East Dialogues interviews Aaron Mate, world class progressive journalist on the U.S. war in Syria.

(Note – there were some technical problems at the outset and so the first minutes are a bit choppy, but the interview proceeds smoothly after that. RJP)

Ethiopia Facing Sanctions from U.S. Congress

March 25, 2021
Processing coffee beans in Ethiopia, where coffee originated

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Concerning the allegations, they follow what is, unfortunately, a well worn pattern of the U.S. approach to hybrid warfare. It begins with the vilification of a country’s leadership, allegations – either unsubstantiated or down right false (as was the case of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction) based on “secret reports,” followed by sanctions. In most of the cases, geo-political goals are sugarcoated (and hidden) by siren calls of human rights violations. Different forms of subversion intensify. War, that is actual military action, can and often does follow.

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In the next few days it is more than likely that the U.S. Congress will begin the process of imposings sanctions against Ethiopia. The exact number of countries that Washington has sanctioned is difficult to determine, 30? 40?, whatever almost certainly, Ethiopia is next on the list and this for two reasons. First that supposedly it has committed war crimes and ethnic cleansing in its policing action against rebellious Tigray Province. Secondly for its insistence of continuing to proceed with the country’s primo development program: the completion and filling of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The momentum towards sanctions against Ethiopia comes in the wake of a U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Maryland)(1) visit to Addis Ababa. Coons is a close associate of President Biden. Although Coons’ visit to Ethiopia was billed beforehand as “a factfinding mission” it was nothing of the sort. Instead Coons issued what amounted to an ultimatum demanding that Coons demanded that 1.Ethiopia stops filling the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July and postpone its completion and 2. that the Ethiopian government reconcile with the Tigray Popular Liberation Front.

Ethiopia categorically rejected what amounted to both of Washington’s demands. Given the Ethiopian response, sanctions legislation to be drawn up by Congress will almost certainly follow on the heels of Coons’ “imperial” visit.

Allegations of the Ethiopian government’s ethnic cleansing in Tigray Province are based on an internal U.S. government report which, while released to the NY Times, was not made public nor in any way shared with the Ethiopian government to respond to. Perhaps there is a report, perhaps not, but it strikes a chord as in the past unsubstantiated “secret documents” have been used in the build of sanctions’ regimes against Iraq, Libya, Syria, Russia, and China to name a few.

Read more…

An Arboreal Auschwitz: 3 million trees in Palestinian Territories destroyed by Israel in 12 years. An Interview with Rami Barhoush, of the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature. Sunday, March 21, 2021.

March 22, 2021

The Interview

Watch The Video: Plant A Tree for Palestine for $7

“We saw how the Israeli occupation forces were systematically working at destroying the livelihood of the Palestinians on their own land.” According to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, more than 3 million trees, mostly olive and citrus trees, were uprooted by Israeli forces between 2000 and 2012.

Rami Barhoush

Israel Uprooted and destroyed 3 million trees – olive and fruit bearing treed between the years 2000 and 2012. In twelve shot years 3 million trees bulldozed or otherwise destroyed in the West Bank, Palestine, including many in the area of Beit Ummar, the informal sister city of our small Colorado group.

Think of what it must have taken – the organization, the work force involved to destroy 3 million trees in 12 year – that is 250,000 trees a year, 685 a day. Olive trees that take three years to produce their fruit, orange trees for which the region is also know three to five years. What a cruel procedure, part of a broader plan to make life for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza unliveable, so that they will leave.

And the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature is in the process of replacing them all – and has replaced 2 million of them already.

Anyone, like myself, who went to Hebrew School in the 1950s and probably there after remembers how we children were encouraged to give a dollar to plant a tree in Israel… and I did so on a number of occasions and was, at the time proud of the fact. I don’t know how that money was used – vaguely remember some investigative article claiming that it did not go for trees.

Later when I came to understand the reality of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, like many others, I felt – and still feel – ripped off by that scam.

That said, now a person can contribute $7 to the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature that will go towards planting a tree in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, kind of balancing out the bad vibes.

To donate to this project (which I will do shortly) go to this link

Ethiopia to NY Times: Show us the proof of ethnic cleansing. NY Times to Ethiopia: Silence. Washington moves to the next step in its hybrid warfare: preparing sanctions.

March 22, 2021
Building the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) key to development in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa

This article was written while U.S. Senator Chris Coons was in Addis Ababa “negotiating” with the Ethiopian government. I feared Coons was there not on a fact finding mission but to diktat demands. Unfortunately that is exactly what happened. Initial results of the meeing are coming in.

  • The pressure on Ethiopia has intensified. In Addis Senator Coons demanded thatEthiopia stops filling the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July and postpone its completion and that the Ethiopian government reconcile with the Tigray Popular Liberation Front.
  • Ethiopia has categorically rejected both ideas.
  • The Senate and the house have drafted resolutions to put pressure and sanction Ethiopia.

The United States has moved from creating a false narrative (Addis ethnic cleansing of the Tigray region, vilifying the Ethiopian leadership, to preparing sanctions, following “the play book” for ratcheting up hybrid warfare.

Writing about this just prior to Senator Coons’ meeting, I wrote:

U.S. President Joe Biden has send U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Maryland), a close associate, to Ethiopia on a fact-finding mission. He is there now. A fact finding mission – if it does in fact amount to that – is badly needed. An objective analysis of what is happening on the ground in Ethiopia could dispel some of the fog surrounding events there.

Of course, the success of such a diplomatic mission depends on with whom Senator Coons meets. Unfortunately his trip is already compromised by the Administration’s partisan position.

A week ago, before a House of Representative sub committee U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the first time said acts of “ethnic cleansing” had been committed in Western Tigray, implying that the Addis Ababa government headed up by Abiy Ahmed was responsible.

Further, according to CNN, Sen. Chris Coons “will convey President Biden’s grave concerns about the humanitarian crisis and human rights abuses in the Tigray region and the risk of broader instability in the Horn of Africa,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Thursday.

Such comments sound more like a bold face accusation than the pressing need for an inquiry. It makes one wonder if Coons visit will be little more than an exercise in political diktat, a threat than a genuine fact finding mission. Time will tell and given the speed with which U.S.-Ethiopian relations are currently deteriorating, it shouldn’t take long to be able to understand what the Coons’ visit to Ethiopia is all about

Read more…