This morning Greek media reported the arrival of 1,800 migrants, mainly from Middle East, in central Athens square. They were added to 100,000 people (refugees and migrants) who have crossed Mediterranean since start of 2015 according to UNHCR, “with record numbers now arriving every day in the Greek islands. Official figures show that as of 8 June a total of 103,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Europe: 54,000 in Italy, 48,000 in Greece, 91 on Malta and 920 in Spain.”
EU obviously faces a humanitarian problem and evidently turns a blind eye to it, as its latest political (non) decisions show. (TWTP articleSea of War and Death)
The problem contains several contradictions: – Human beings lose their lives while trying to escape their countries just to save their own and their children lives. – Civil and offensive wars, hunger, turmoil or evictions force people to abandon their residencies, fortunes, homes, jobs, families and homeland in order to survive. The oxymoron here is that a series of events beyond their power, force educated and working, respected and “normal”, until yesterday, people to be uprooted, then to become victims of traffickers and in the end to be treated as “interlopers” in European countries. – The majority of the problems that their countries face are western-made and EU plays a major role in these. Libya’s (not so) civil war Lethal attempt of USA for a regime change in Syria. – “Breeding and nurturing” by the West of islamic extremists in order to destabilize so-called enemies during the last decades. – The consequent empowerment of armed sectarians who turned into a threat even for their funders.
– The newfound (?) “exploitation” of ISIS as a threat requiring restrictions and intercepts and which attempts to generate fear and to boost xenophobia, racism and far right parties in Europe,
and last but not least: – The perpetual and never stopped crimes of evictions, settlements, imprisonments and inhuman treatment, to the limits of genocide, in Palestine.
A western person could and should imagine itself and its family threatened by all these dangers. And then, to put itself in the same conditions that all these younger or elder people, women, men and children face when they arrive into european countries. Dignity is a human right and it is not limited into one’s home or country’s borders and of course not in religion, race or ethnicity. The self-proclaimed advocates and the self-appointed “defenders” of human rights use double standards, depending on their political and dominating purposes. They invade lands to defend freedoms and they violate major rights inside these lands.
In the present situation, in which Europe does not heed labor force anymore, the victims of western wars address to the instigators of their problems for relief. And the West condemns them for a second time in misery, threats, loss of dignity, inhuman conditions or in the ever existing and present, marginalization – if they survive.
The next thing to wait is an augmenting demonization of migrants – beloved practice of western propaganda. They will all be considered as islamist terrorists and they will be placed in new Guantanamos.
Within a time of days, since the start of April, two countries have come very close to get rid of the long imposed sanctions by USA. First Iran and then Cuba have reached in a good point of amelioration of relationships with their foe and are close to an ending of the imposed sanctions. “Disfavor” and “punishment” have started 50 years ago in Cuba, during Cold War, and soon after the Islamic revolution of 1979, in Iran. In both cases, the sanctions followed the revolutions and the change of regimes, non capitalist policies, nationalization of oil (in Iran), of companies, services and country’s wealth. Also in both cases, before the revolutions, US had deeply involved in internal affairs and had secured conformity of the governments.
After revolutions they never stopped attempting the overturn of regimes – their endearing practice worldwide. Cases of US espionage in Cuba as well as attempts to organize dissident movements (according to the successful “arab spring” standards) reveal until recently. In Iran, as Juan Cole in Informed Comment reminds us: “It is worth pointing out that one of the reasons Obama has difficulty in his negotiations with Iran is that its leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, distrusts Washington because of its long history of intervention in Iran. The US along with its WWII allies invaded and occupied Iran in the 1940s; the allies overthrew the ruler, Reza Shah Pahlevi in 1941. In 1953 the CIA conducted a coup against popular Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh because he led the nationalization of Iranian oil.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the US allied with Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who had invaded Iran in a wanton act of naked aggression in 1980. When Saddam used chemical weapons against Iranian troops, the US ran interference for Baghdad at the UN Security Council, ensuring that Baathist Iraq was not sanctioned for its war crimes against Iran.
So maybe Obama needs a sidebar with Khamenei to reassure him that Washington is not trying to overthrow him, either.”
Timing, capitalism and profit
The question which arises after the recent developments is “why now?” Although the two “cases” are completely different, a first insufficient answer is the attempt of President Barack Obama to ensure his own and Democratic Party’s legacy during the last year of his presidency.
It is not a totally satisfying answer, even if Obama might actually be “an honest man”, as Cuban President Raoul Castro said. Apart from honest though, Obama still is the President of the almighty USA.
As “peace” and conciliatory policies are not typical of US, a more realistic version could be the need to close any “unnecessary” open fronts worldwide despite pressures from neocon Republicans and jingoes of NRA. On the other hand, progressives within the country are demanding less aggressive policies, as longstanding wars have not only proved ineffective and costly but have also showed their wrongful and detrimental motivations.
Furthermore, the dominant principle in US (i.e. in capitalism) is profit. Sanctions burden American economy, not only that of the “punished” countries and don’t give earnings from sales of weaponry. So sanctions, especially long-standing ones, have political cost apart from economic and reach a crucial point, when it becomes necessary to lift them. American companies are going to seek profits from Cuba and it is Cuba’s responsibility to manage and control hawks’ involvement in national affairs (a danger that EU is close to suffer if they sign TTIP neglecting people’s objections).
There is also strong possibility that US will use normalization of relationships with Cuba as a means to succeed closer approach to other South American countries.
US has opened a huge front against Russia, under their own crafted pretext of Ukraine, and until their own and EU pressures pay back, they simply lose profits while they do not have the anticipated gains of their expansionism.
They also continue sanctions as well as attempts to overturn government in Venezuela* and, additionally, they have to “pay” the cost of past nourishing of fighters who became the core of ISIS.
Imperialism behind human rights
“Axis of evil” has shrunk significantly since Iraq became a conquered country, after Libya was destroyed and after Syria entered the US-crafted and non ending war. It is also going to further weaken as soon as a final deal will be signed with Iran. A large part of “destruction policies” could be attributed to the former Secretary of the State and new candidate for US presidency, Hilary Clinton. As far as it concerns the remaining North Korea, Japan could be the first frontier if necessary.
However, military threat is not the only reason which US invoke when it comes to sanctions. Human rights and their strictly American interpretation often form a pretext for imposing sanctions. Never mind if human rights are violated by numerous “allies” and within US.
It makes no difference if a society is functional despite whatever problems.
If a country doesn’t follow a certain model of life, if its government does not conform to Western standards, if strategic considerations or intelligence want them to “reform”, either a war or sanctions will be the consequences.
The internal administration and the sovereignty of any such country, surely threaten “democracy” and therefore, US have to take initiative. In case that propaganda by NGOs and press and attempts of erosion and/or overturning of government do not succeed, intelligence takes control and isolation follows.
Venezuela is a representative sample of this doctrine. That is why after several attempts of coups in collaboration with opposition have been made and failed, Obama issued an executive order on 9th March with which declared the country an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security”.*
On the eve of Summit of the Americas in Panama, where Castro and Obama met, People’s Summit of the Americas, issued a document, which was approved by more than 2,000 representatives and condemned what it called, “military aggression and threats by the United States and their strategic allies carried out through the establishment of military bases in the region” according to teleSUR information.
Aggressiveness and domination
The case of Russia does not follow above rule of “safeguarding” human rights. Russia has a record of human rights violations which didn’t bother in the slightest the “democratic” West. The manufactured rising in Ukraine ended with outrage and autonomy of pro-Russian Crimean regions and with a war induced by NATO.
If Russia had retracted, if Putin had succumbed without acting, a large part of population would have been led into EU’s and NATO’s “embrace” and no sanctions would have been imposed.
Alternatively, another way of isolating Russia would have been induced.
In the same time, propaganda would persuade the world that rising in Ukraine was spontaneous and that people’s future is in their hands.
In the meantime, the “compliant” EU loads an extra weight on the backs of its people by imposing sanctions and suffering the consequences.
Though world changes (even Tayyip Erdogan visited Iran), let’s not fool ourselves and let’s hope that neither Iranian and Cuban people nor their governments fool themselves by believing that the “war” has ended.
* South American countries back Venezuela and UNASUR, the Non-Alignement Movement, CELAC and the G77+China, condemned Obama’s Executive Order.
Children of Palestine have been the defenseless living target of Israeli army for a long time.
Since 2000, among the 8,896 Palestinian people killed by security forces were 1,900 children. During 2014, eleven Palestinian children lost their lives while, during the “busy” (because of the elections) first three months of 2015 “at least 30 children across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, sustained gunshot wounds when Israeli forces used live ammunition to quash protests”, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP). Oddly, military regulations “permit the use of live ammunition, only when a direct, mortal threat exists”. DCIP declared that “found no evidence that the children injured during 2015 posed such a threat to israeli troops or settlers.”
No doubt about it. No “need” to kill. But abductions, imprisonments and use of violence against such a great number of adult Palestinians is already reprehensible, furthermore against children. DCIP called UN member states to hold Israel accountable for crimes against Palestinian children.
Just a few days before the elections of 17th March, the report of UN Human Rights Commission about war crimes of summer 2014 in Gaza Strip -when 2,220 Palestinians were killed, of whom 1,492 were civilians (551 children, 299 women)- was postponed for June, in order to facilitate consideration of newly- surfaced evidence. Assume it was not because John Kerry had earlier criticized UN Human Rights Council for “obsession” with human rights and against Israel, something that “undermines the credibility of the entire organization.”(?) Even if tortures of prisoners and inhumane and dangerous conditions of detainment have been reported and stigmatized lots of times by numerous Media, organizations and Palestinian Authority, conservative Israeli Media and the government challenge data and reports which show, among others, increased rates of cancer among Palestinian who are detained near nuclear facilities.
Repeated violations of human rights, war crimes, occupation and apartheid are common knowledge but on the other hand, it is also common practice of israeli authorities to distort and to misinterpret the facts. Palestinians officially joined International Crime Court on 1st April at a signing ceremony in The Hague attended by diplomats and officials from more than 100 countries. They are expected to pursue charges against Israel for violations of international laws and of course, for war crimes immediately after their admission.
Owned tax revenues in exchange of charges for war crimes
Seeking to avoid the process, in a clearly misleading move, Netanyahu decided the release of tax money that had been illegally seized by israeli authorities since last January. The returned amount will not include tax money of March, but only of January and February. Netanyahu’s office stated that the transfer of the tax revenues to PA “was exclusively based on humanitarian grounds and on Israeli interests”. Although IMEMC News site published at the end of March information taken from Jerusalem Post, according to which the PA will not pursue formal charges “in exchange of the return of taxes”, Palestinian Foreign minister’s statements during the ceremony at the ICC that “the membership brings the world and Palestine closer to ending a long era of impunity and injustice” leave little margin for doubts. Haaretz reported later, that Palestinians deny “halting war crimes charges in exchange for tax revenues” and characterized the report of JP a “spin put out by Prime Minister’s office”. (Israel is not a signatory to the ICC and does not recognize the court’s authority.)
Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti said that, as an official member of ICC, Palestine, “for the first time since 67 years after the establishment of Israel in the historic land of Palestine, there will be a tool, and a means to hold Israel accountable. Israel’s government, its generals and soldiers who continuously commit war crimes against the Palestinians, and Arab nations, must be brought to justice.”
There is no sign of differentiation of israeli policies against Palestinians -quite the opposite. It is understood that Netanyahu’s government is expected to continue demolitions of Palestinian homes, settlements, the occupation and violations of international -humanitarian and other- laws. In the meantime, although they enjoy the full support of US republicans/ conservatives, their policies cannot afford the intensification of distrust by officials and disdain by citizens in USA.
Impact around the world
The impact of the continuing drama of Palestinian people and the atrocities against them differs in the countries all over the world but remains directly connected to their governments’ policies and their dependence to US conservative cycles. After the summer 2014 bombings, El Savador, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have withdrawn their ambassadors in protest while Bolivia has filed a case with the United Nations against Israel’s “crimes against humanity”, with President Evo Morales saying on July 30 “we are declaring [Israel] a terrorist state”, reported teleSUR.
On the opposite side, Australia praised “freedom” and “liberty” in “sister country” Israel – the same country where “the Arab-Palestinian citizens should be decapitated if they betray the country”, according to former foreign minister and a partner of the new government, Avigdor Lieberman’s statement before the elections. Furthermore, Abbot’s government decided last summer not to refer to Occupied Territories as “occupied”.
The Japanese government announced at the first days of April that they will grant the amount of $ 5 million to the World Food Program in support of the poorest Palestinian families who suffer from food insecurity.
On 2nd April, EU and the Netherlands announced a contribution of about $34.2 million (€31.6 million) to the Palestinian Authority’s payment of its civil servants’ March salaries and pensions, as a first part of 2015 contribution. EU representative called for a “regular” and “systematic” transfer of Palestinian tax revenues. Inside EU, several countries’ parliaments have conducted non-binding votes in favor of recognition and Sweden was one of the first countries to recognize Palestine in October 2014. The member of Syriza and of the European parliament Sofia Sakorafa stated that “There is a fixed commitment of the Greek government to recognize Palestine as a state […] I estimate that very soon the Greek government will also raise the issue.” Similarly have expressed 138 countries within the UN.
A possible result of the continuing Palestinian suffering could very well verify the article of Yousef Munayyer in New York Times after the elections, “Netanyahu’s Win Is Good for Palestine”.
Denial of peace, occupations, violations of human rights, crimes, tortures, killings, demolitions and settlements will turn the states (apart from the entire international public opinion) against Israel.