"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." --  Greek proverb

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For all their careers as diplomats, Alon Liel and Ilan Baruch advocated Israel’s case. Both served as Israeli ambassadors in South Africa, and Liel rose to be director-general of the foreign service.

Today, they are using all their diplomatic skills to destroy their government’s case before the international community, and last week were in London ahead of an expected visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

Liel and Baruch are on a mission: to alert MPs and British Jews who support Israel to what is happening. They say the fate of 5.3 million Palestinians under occupation and the fate of Israeli Jews are both in the balance as Israel lurches towards an openly declared and law-based Jewish supremacy.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:35

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress at a Thursday hearing that the Pentagon’s 2024 budget request will help the country prepare for a future war with China.

Milley insisted the Pentagon’s massive $842 billion budget request is meant to deter war but said it will also prepare the US military to fight one. He told the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense that deterring and preparing for a conflict “is extraordinarily expensive, but it’s not as expensive as fighting a war. And this budget prevents war and prepares us to fight it if necessary.”

The Pentagon identified China as the “most comprehensive and serious challenge to US national security strategy” in the 2022 National Defense Strategy, and lately, US military leaders have been speaking more explicitly about how they’re preparing for a direct war with China despite the risk of nuclear war. President Biden has also vowed to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:35

Gen. Michael Langley, the head of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), was grilled by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Thursday about African soldiers who received US military training and went on to carry out coups.

Langley insisted only a “very small number” of Africans who receive US training later go on to be involved in coups against civilian governments and said the programs focus on “core values.”

When asked by Gaetz if the US shares “core values” with Guinea coup leader Col. Mamady Doumbouy, Langley replied, “Absolutely … In our curriculum, we do.” Doumboy and his forces carried out a coup in 2021 while US Green Berets were in the country training them, and he still leads Guinea to this day.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:34

Pakistan’s election authorities have delayed the election for a crucial regional assembly after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government refused to provide the necessary funds and polling staff citing financial constraints.

The elections for the legislative assembly in the country’s most populous Punjab province, which were to be held on April 30, were delayed until October 8, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Wednesday.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:30

Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed the first of several laws that make up its contentious judicial overhaul as protesters opposing the changes staged another day of demonstrations aimed at ringing an alarm over what they see as the country’s descent toward autocracy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition approved legislation that would protect the Israeli leader from being deemed unfit to rule over his corruption trial and claims of a conflict of interest surrounding his involvement in the legal changes. Critics say the law is tailor-made for Netanyahu, encourages corruption and deepens a gaping chasm between Israelis over the judicial overhaul.

The legal changes have split the nation between those who see the new policies as stripping Israel of its democratic ideals and those who think the country has been overrun by a liberal judiciary. The government’s plan has plunged the nearly 75-year-old nation into one of its worst domestic crises.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:30

Oil prices may be trading in a sweet spot for buyers, but it will take years to replenish the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said. 

When the Biden Administration sold off 221 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR last year, the idea was to buy oil to replace what was withdrawn. In October of last year, the Administration announced that it would repurchase crude oil for the reserve when prices were at or below about $67-$72 per barrel. The move would be dual purpose in that not only would it replenish the nation’s depleted reserves, but it would boost demand when prices were low instead of sending them into orbit at a time or regular prices.

In December, the Administration said that it had plans to make the first of these repurchases. The Administration issued a solicitation for 3 million barrels of sour crude oil, with bids due by December 28. Contracts were to be awarded by January 13. At the time, WTI was trading around $74 per barrel. It later declined the finalize its own buyback plan, saying that it did not get offers that met its terms for price or quality.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:29

The United States is "actively" working on re-establishing a diplomatic presence in Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, although he declined to provide an exact time on when the U.S. embassy can be reopened.

Libya has had precious little peace since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and paved the way for a 2014 split between rival eastern and western factions. The last major bout of conflict ended in 2020 with a ceasefire.

Washington shut its embassy in Tripoli in 2014 and moved to its mission to neighbouring Tunis following intensifying violence between rival factions. U.S. Special Envoy for Libya, Richard Norland, has operated out of the Tunisian capital, and took occasional trips into Libya.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:29

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday there were no plans to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move made by his predecessor days before leaving.

"We are not planning to remove them from the list," Blinken said at the House Foreign Affairs Committee after a question from a lawmaker of the rival Republican Party.

"If there is to be such a review, it will be based on the law and based on the criteria in the law established by Congress," Blinken said. "It's a very high bar."

Tags: CUBA
Posted on: Mar 24 09:28

Israel is currently undergoing one of the biggest domestic crises in its 75-year history as a result of new legislation being pushed through its parliament aimed at limiting the power of the country's judiciary.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a judicial overhaul a priority since it came into office earlier this year.

Right-wingers in Israel have long complained about the ability of the judiciary to overrule bills passed by the Knesset, claiming it has a left-wing bias and is too willing to back the rights of minorities over the majority.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:28

A far-right Israeli minister threatened on Wednesday to re-occupy the besieged coastal enclave and re-colonise settlements that were evacuated in the territory before 2005.

Speaking to the Israeli Channel 7, Israeli Minister of National Missions Orit Strock said, "We have to return our settlements once again. I believe that we have provided many sacrifices to restore Gaza."

"Unfortunately, we cannot return Gaza without involving many casualties, as well as the departure from it came with many casualties," the minister added.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:27

The Yemeni Ansarallah resistance movement stated that over 49,000 civilians have been killed and injured through direct violence since the launch of the Saudi-led coalition operations in 2015 while also accusing the coalition of using prohibited weapons, Al-Masirah TV reported on 22 March.

The Ministry of Human Rights in the Ansarallah-led National Salvation government stated during a press conference in Sanaa that “The total number of dead and wounded over eight years has exceeded 49,000, including more than 8,700 children and more than 5,400 women.”

“1,483,00 civilians have died indirectly as a result of outbreaks of chronic illnesses, poisons from chemicals of prohibited weapons, malnutrition, and other causes,” the ministry said.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:24

Oil tankers are being rerouted to Rotterdam to avoid the French port of Le Havre as intensifying strikes disrupt the industry and protesters block airports and trains and clash with police against presidential plans to raise the pension age. 

According to Bloomberg, two crude oil tankers anchored off Le Havre were diverted to Rotterdam on Thursday, while several other tankers carrying refined fuel have also been diverted in recent days. Diesel and jet fuel vessels have also been diverted this week.

France is on track to lose 500,000 barrels a day of crude oil refining for the month of March as a result of the strikes and tanker diversions, Bloomberg reports, prompting the country to release strategic reserves to fill the gap.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:24

When it comes to all matters military, I have been following a handful of analysts among whom Croatian Admiral Davorin Domazet (retired) emerged as perhaps my favorite. He has deep and detailed command of technical matters (like Andreiy Martyanov he insists that you can’t prevail in modern warfare without deep knowledge of of advanced mathematics and probability). More importantly, he has perhaps the clearest understanding of the broad historical context of today’s clash between Russia and the western powers.

Unfortunately, Admiral Domazet does not give many interviews and none in English, but I thought that his last one was important enough to share more broadly in this article.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:23

The US Navy has requested $3.6 billion to fund the production and delivery of 64 Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) all-up rounds over five years.

Budget documents reveal that the service wants to earmark $341 million for the first eight rounds in 2024.

Additional scheduled deliveries include 10 rounds for $440 million in 2025, 11 rounds for $663 million in 2026, and 16 rounds for $988 million in 2027.

By 2028, the navy expects to have 64 hypersonic CPS rounds with the expected arrival of 19 more for $1.1 billion.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:22

Egypt may withdraw from technical talks in the UAE regarding the operation of Ethiopia's controversial Great Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River, sources have revealed.

There have so far been seven rounds of talks in Abu Dhabi between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan over the operation of the GERD, which Egypt fears may deprive it of essential water resources.

However, a western diplomatic source told The New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Egypt has informed UAE officials that it will withdraw from the negotiations - which focus on preventing an escalation between Ethiopia and downstream Nile states Egypt and Sudan - due to a lack of progress.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:22

In the immediate aftermath of Norfolk Southern’s train derailment in East Palestine in early February, reporters, first responders and officials seemed confused about exactly what chemicals were even in the train’s burning cars. Yet, right on cue, despite not knowing what effects the various chemicals could have within an explosive situation, the EPA reported that the surrounding air and water was safe to breathe and drink. 

As more reports trickled out, we learned the train cars were carrying at least five toxic chemicals: vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene.

According to government and scientific data, exposure to these chemicals can cause multiple forms of cancer and other serious health issues. But Norfolk Southern failed to initially disclose those chemicals as highly hazardous, and first responders — not to mention the public — had little idea what they were dealing with.

Three days after the derailment, on Feb. 6, we watched as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, in consultation with Norfolk Southern representatives, greenlighted a plan to blow holes in five of the cars containing toxic chemicals, which would lead to a ​“controlled release,” and residents in nearby communities were ordered to evacuate. This decision to release and burn off the chemicals was defended by public officials and Norfolk Southern as the ​“safest way” to handle the situation. The resulting fire’s black plume of smoke, ash and debris, created a toxic pall that hung over the communities for days. EPA tests found the air contaminated with phosgene, hydrogen chloride, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and particulate matter.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:21

Denmark on Thursday invited the Russian-controlled operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to help salvage an unidentified object found close to the only remaining intact gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

Three explosions last September on the Nord Stream pipelines built to deliver Russian gas to Germany have become another flashpoint in a standoff between the West and Russia set off by its invasion of Ukraine.

The blasts occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Both countries say the explosions were deliberate, but have yet to determine who was responsible.

Last week, Danish authorities said a tubular object, protruding around 40 cm (16 inches) from the seabed and 10 cm in diameter, had been found during an inspection of the last remaining intact pipeline by Swiss-based operator Nord Stream 2 AG.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:19

Dr. William Makis and Dr. Paul Alexander discuss mature minors given COVID shots in Canada with no parental consent, pilots collapsing in flight due to possible vaccine induced myocarditis, one pilot disaster and many high school students having heart attacks post COVID gene shot and needing defibrillators.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:16

The publicity for the Ukraine war has been handled far more successfully by the US, NATO and allies than the campaign to justify the 2003 US war on Iraq. The Ukraine news is pervasive. It comes from the front, from anchors in Kyiv, from interviews with victims, medical staff and politicians. Moscow-based Western correspondents who dominate the airwaves, television and print media provide unenlightening input from Russia. The war is being won for hearts and minds while bloody battles rage in eastern Ukraine. Blanket efforts to influence global public opinion in favour of the war will go on long after the war ends.

This is true of this week’s 20th anniversary coverage of George W. Bush’s deadly and destructive war on Iraq which afflicted chaos, anarchy and sectarianism on the core country of the Eastern Arab World (Mashreq) and shook the region. By repeating the three false pretexts for launching the war, the media gives them currency and some credibility. Few commentators state the fact that the US “lied” by saying Iraqi president Saddam Hussein retained banned weapons of mass destruction (WMD), had ties to Al Qaeda which attacked the US in 2001, and, the most farfetched of all, posed a threat to the US. “Lied” is a leaded word which conveys the accusation that the US intended to mislead the global public even this was true.

On the issue of WMD, on the website of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, ex-UN nuclear inspector Robert Kelley wrote, “The UN Special Commission on Iraq [UNSCOM] and the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Action Team carried out hundreds of person-days of inspections in Iraq [in 1992-1993]. We discovered nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes and methodically destroyed them, even to the extent of blowing up entire factories and laboratories and bringing special nuclear materials out of the country.” A US expert, Kelley also wrote the report to the IAEA on inspections carried out ahead of the war found no evidence of nuclear material or equipment. His report was ignored in Washington and London.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:15

National Assembly Speaker of the Republic of South Africa, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said publicly in a recent statement before the supreme legislative body in Cape Town that the African National Congress (ANC) led government would continue to support the people of the Russian Federation.

This proclamation came amid a highly-publicized visit by People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping to Moscow where the strategic partnership between the two countries was further solidified.

The administration of President Joe Biden along with the entire ruling class of the United States are quite concerned about the three-day visit of President Xi to Russia where he held extensive discussions with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. Both China and Russia are principal adversaries of the U.S., the European Union and the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:15

Twenty years ago on this coming weekend, I was in Mongolia as the Deputy US Ambassador. After writing a Dissent Cable in early March 2003 on the pending US war on Iraq to my boss Secretary of State Colin Powell, I made the decision to resign from the US government as it was poised to invade, occupy and destroy the sovereign state of Iraq. I was one of three US diplomats who resigned – Brady Kiesling and John Brown resigned before me.

For months, the Bush administration attempted to get the US public to believe that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction and therefore was a threat to the United States and the international community. Colin Powell’s February 5, 2003 briefing on weapons of mass destruction to the U.N. Security Council was a bust and the Bush administration was unable to get the necessary votes for the UN to authorize military operations in its name. Nor did millions of ordinary citizens around the world believe Bush and Powell’s justification for war and they were marching against the war in numbers never seen in the recorded history of our planet.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:14

A notorious short-seller has taken aim at Jack Dorsey's payments company Block, releasing a report accusing the firm of misleading investors and embracing a criminal user base.

Hindenburg Research on Thursday disclosed its short position in Block and released findings from a two-year investigation, alleging the company 'misled investors on key metrics, and embraced predatory offerings and compliance worst-practices in order to fuel growth.'

Shares of Block plunged nearly 15 percent on the day, and Dorsey's net worth took a $562 million hit, dropping 11 percent to $4.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Posted on: Mar 24 09:13

Iran-backed fighters fired three missiles at a US military base in northeast Syria today after President Biden launched a series of retaliatory air strikes in response to a deadly Iranian suicide drone attack that killed an American contractor. 

The Iran-backed groups targeted the US base at the Al-Omar oil field in Syria's northeast with a missile attack at around 11am on Friday morning. 

Two missiles fell in the oil field, without causing damage, while the third landed on a civilian house nearby, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It was unclear whether the strikes had caused any casualties. 

Posted on: Mar 24 09:10

“All crises have involved debt that, in one fashion or another, has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment.” John K. Galbraith (1908-2006), Canadian-born American economist, (in ‘A Short History of Financial Euphoria’ 1994).

“History shows that once an enormous debt has been incurred by a nation, there are only two ways to solve it: one is simply declare bankruptcy, the other is to inflate the currency and thus destroy the wealth of ordinary citizens.” Adam Smith (1723-1790), Scottish economist, father of modern economics, (in ‘The Wealth of Nations’, 1776).

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”  Milton Friedman (1912-2006), (in ‘The Counter-Revolution in Monetary Theory’, 1970).

Posted on: Mar 24 09:08

In his iconic 1950s anti-war hit song ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’, Pete Seeger posed the eternal question about war: ‘when will they ever learn?’ Of course, Seeger’s question was primarily directed at those individuals who choose to participate in the fighting. But it might equally have been directed at those in the ‘anti-war’ movement.

A few years later in 1963, Native Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie penned the equally iconic ‘Universal Soldier’ to draw attention to ‘individual responsibility’ for war.

The question ‘Why war?’ has troubled human beings for millennia and individuals of conscience have long resisted it, sometimes paying a heavy price for doing so. And back in 1932, two of humanity’s giants – Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud – grappled with the question, exchanging letters on the subject.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:08

What has just taken place in Moscow is nothing less than a new Yalta, which, incidentally, is in Crimea. But unlike the momentous meeting of US President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in USSR-run Crimea in 1945, this is the first time in arguably five centuries that no political leader from the west is setting the global agenda.

It’s Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that are now running the multilateral, multipolar show. Western exceptionalists may deploy their crybaby routines as much as they want: nothing will change the spectacular optics, and the underlying substance of this developing world order, especially for the Global South.

What Xi and Putin are setting out to do was explained in detail before their summit, in two Op-Eds penned by the presidents themselves. Like a highly-synchronized Russian ballet, Putin’s vision was laid out in the People’s Daily in China, focusing on a “future-bound partnership,” while Xi’s was published in the Russian Gazette and the RIA Novosti website, focusing on a new chapter in cooperation and common development.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:07

Tensions are dramatically escalating on the Korean Peninsula, after a series of missile tests from Pyongyang in 2022. The United States and South Korea have responded to these threats with military maneuvers of their own, raising the stakes even further. But this is a recipe for disaster: To avoid an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula, the United States must stop the muscle-flexing, commit to diplomacy instead, and adopt a peace-first strategy.

North Korea’s progress in weapons development should come as no surprise; in 2021, Kim Jong-un announced that North Korea would expand its nuclear weapon capabilities in order to deter what they perceive as hostility and aggression from the United States. This perception by Pyongyang is a direct result of the Biden administration’s continuation of decades of failed policies—consisting of isolation, sanctions, and military threats—all these dotted with occasional flurries of diplomacy. To have even a chance of halting the expansion of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and preventing a conflict that crosses the nuclear threshold, the United States must address the root cause of tensions: the unresolved Korean War.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:07

In 1992 Dick Cheney, the US Secretary of Defense, issued a document which outlined that the main political and military aim of Washington is to prevent any rival power emerging in Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Asia. The ambition was to ensure America’s status as the global superpower.

The original paper, drafted in 1990 with the assistance of neo-conservatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, stressed that the strategic goal of the US as the world’s “permanent unilateral superpower” consisted of assuming control over all of Eurasia (Europe and Asia), and to find a way “to integrate the ‘new democracies’ of the former Soviet bloc into the U.S.-led system”.

The powers-that-be in Washington believe the country holds “overwhelming conventional military superiority”, and that other states cannot directly threaten it (1). There is some truth to the latter claim. America is positioned between the world’s two biggest oceans – the Pacific and Atlantic – which over the past 200 years has given the Americans complete security from conventional armed attack by outside powers, unlike nations in mainland Europe and Asia. In addition the US has faced no threat of invasion during that time from its weaker neighbours, Mexico and Canada.

America’s vast coastlines, allowing entry to the Pacific and Atlantic, guaranteed the country access to some of the planet’s most lucrative trading areas. This assisted in American elites gaining their great wealth and power. Because of its location and large size, the US has moreover been free from the menace of naval blockades.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:06

The present conflict between Russia and Ukraine is arguably the culmination of the foreign policy pursued by the United States of America since the ending of its ideological Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Undergirded by a resolute belief in ‘American Exceptionalism’ and steered by neoconservative ideologues working in concert with the interests of the Military Industry, successive administrations have waged a form of hybrid warfare against the Russian Federation, the successor state to the dismantled Soviet Union. This encompasses military, economic and informational dimensions.

However, this strategy has not led to the desired weakening of Russia and the surrender of its sovereignty; the goal being to reduce the Russian state to one that is solely dedicated to servicing the energy needs of the West. Instead, the policy, encapsulated in what is referred to as the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine’, the post-Cold War resolve that no power be allowed to rise and be able to compete economically and militarily with the United States, has engineered a de facto alliance between resource-rich Russia and the rising global economic powerhouse of China.

The Russia-China alliance represents the ushering in of a new Eurasian world, the very thing that decades of Western global policy shaped by the geostrategic thesis of Halford Mackinder has sought to avoid.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:05

Registered practical nurse and single mother Sarah Choujounian has been terminated from her position and faces regulatory investigation and discipline for the crime of upholding her oath to advocate on behalf of her patients.

Choujounian was working in long-term care when she began denouncing the unethical and dehumanizing ways COVID-19 lockdowns were harming the elderly that she was supporting.

Her regulator, The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) has since launched an investigation against her which has now transpired into disciplinary action.

Posted on: Mar 24 09:05