United States: We do not consider Gülen movement “terrorist organization” 

Erdoğan failed to recognize that the Gülenists/Hizmet operated as a subversive political organization, with ties to Israeli policy makers and the US military/CIA

October 13, 2017

Erdoğan failed to recognize the most basic rule of imperial policy: There are no permanent allies there are only permanent interests. Erdoğan thought Turkey would be ‘rewarded’ by acting as a US surrogate with a share of power, wealth and territory in the Middle East. Instead, as a ‘normal’ imperial power, the US used Turkey when it was convenient and would then dispose of Erdoğan – like a used condom.

 Multiple wars ravage the Middle East. Turkey has inserted itself into the middle of most of these regional conflicts and ended up a loser.
Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has intervened and formed alliances with a rogue’s gallery of imperial warlords, terrorists-mercenaries, Zionist expansionists, feudal potentates and obscure tribal chiefs, with disastrous economic, political and military consequences for the Turkish nation.

In this paper we will discuss Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies and behavior over the past decade. We will conclude with lessons for middle range powers, which might help in future decisions

President Erdogan’s Domestic Disasters
Throughout the early decade of the 21st century, Erdoğan made a strategic alliance with an influential semi-clandestine organization led by a cult-leading cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who was conveniently self-exiled in the US and under the protection of the US intelligence apparatus. This marriage of convenience was formed in order to weaken the leftist, secular and Ataturk nationalist influenced opposition. 

Armed with the Gülenists’ treasure trove of forged documents, Erdoğan purged the military of its Ataturk nationalist leadership. He proceeded to marginalize the secular Republican Party and repressed leftist trade union, social movements and prominent academics, journalists, writers and student activists. With support from the Gülenists movement, ‘Hizmet’, Erdoğan celebrated his successes and won multiple election and re-election victories!

Initially, Erdoğan failed to recognize that the Gülenists/Hizmet operated as a subversive political organization, which permeated the state apparatus through a dense network of bureaucratic, military, judicial, police, and civil society organizations, with ties to the US military/CIA and friendly relations with Israeli policy makers.

By 2013, Erdoğan felt intense pressure from the Gülenists/Hizmet which sought to discredit and oust his regime by revealing multi-million dollar corrupt practices involving him and his family in a ‘Turquoise Color Revolution’ – remake of other ‘regime changes’.

Having discovered his internal vulnerability, Erdoğan moved to curtail the power and reach of the Gülenists/Hizmet controlled media. He was not yet prepared to deal with the immense scope and depth of the elite links to Gülenists/Hizmet. A Gülenists-led military coup was launched in July 2016, with the tacit support of the US military stationed in Turkey. This was foiled by a major popular mobilization with the support of the armed forces.

Erdoğan then moved to thoroughly purge the followers of Hizmet from the military, public administration, schools, business, the press and public and private institutions. He extended his purge to include secular and nationalist political leaders who had always opposed the Gülenists and their attempted coup d’état.

As a result of the coup attempt and the subsequent purge, Erdoğan weakened and fractured every aspect of the state and civil society. Erdoğan ended up securing control of a weakened state with a degraded business, educational and cultural world.
The Gülenists coup was authored and led by its supremo Fethullah Gülen, ensconced in his ‘secret’ private estate in the United States. Clearly the US was implicated in the coup and they rejected Erdoğan’s demands to extradite him.

Erdoğan’s subservience to the US/NATO leadership have undermined his attempts to strike at the roots of the coup and its internal and external power structure. The US/NATO military bases still operate in Turkey and retain influence over its military.
In the aftermath of the coup, the decline of Gülenist influence in the economy contributed to economic reversals in investments and growth. The purge of the military and civil society reduced Turkey’s military preparedness and alienated the democratic electorate. Erdoğan had already nearly lost his bid to the presidency after his earlier purges in 2014.

Erdoğan’s Foreign Policy Disasters
Perversity is when a ruler weakens its military and represses its citizens and launches a series of risky foreign adventures: This is exactly what Erdoğan has done over the past several years.
First Erdoğan backed a terrorist uprising in Syria, providing arms, recruiting overseas ‘volunteers’ and providing them with unrestricted passage across the Turkish border. Many of the terrorists proceeded to join forces with Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds in establishing military bases on Ankara’s borders.

Secondly, Erdoğan ran a scurrilous electoral campaign among the millions of ethnic Turks living in Germany – violating that powerful nation’s sovereignty. As a result, Erdoğan increased tensions and animosity with what had been its closest ally in its quest for EU membership – effectively terminating the process.

Thirdly, Erdoğan backed NATO’s invasion and bombing of Libya, killing President Gadhafi, who had been an independent voice, capable of serving as a possible ally against imperial intervention in North Africa.
Fourthly, Erdoğan backed the brief government of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood after its electoral victory in 2012 following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising in Egypt of 2011. He backed a formula similar to his own Turkish policy of excluding the secular, democratic opposition. This led to a bloody US-backed military coup led by General Abdel Sisi in July 2013 – a lesson not lost on Erdoğan.

Fifth, Erdoğan’s de facto friendly relations with Israel – despite verbal criticism – in the face of Tel Aviv’s assassination of nine non-violent Turkish protestors trying to break the starvation blockade of Gaza – undermined relations with the pro-Palestine Arab world and nationalists in Turkey.

Sixth, Erdoğan developed lucrative ties with Iraqi Kurd dictator-warlord, Masoud Barzani, facilitating the flow of oil to Israel. Erdoğan’s own illicit oil deals with Barzani strengthened the cause of Kurdish separatism and exposed the widespread corruption of Erdoğan’s family dealings.

Seventh, Erdoğan provoked military tensions with Russia by shooting down a warplane in Syria. This led to an economic boycott, which reduced export earnings, devastated the tourism sector and added Moscow to his list of adversaries, (Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, US, Germany, Hezbollah and Iran).
Eighth, Erdoğan backed the tiny oil-state of Qatar, sending supplies and soldiers to oppose a threat from Saudi Arabia, the other royal oil statelets and Egypt, US allies and followers.
Despite his many disastrous domestic and foreign policies, Erdoğan learned nothing and forgot nothing.

 When the Israelis backed the Iraqi Kurds in organizing an independence ‘referendum’ aiming to ultimately annex the rich oil fields of Northern Iraq, Erdoğan took no action despite this threat to Turkish national security. He merely made verbal threats to cut off the Kurd’s access to Ankara’s oil pipelines. He took no concrete steps. Erdoğan preferred to pocket transit taxes from the oil, antagonizing Iraq and Syria and strengthening the links between Kurdish Iraq and its secessionist counterparts in Syria and Turkey.

Because of Erdoğan failure to close down the US military base following its support of the Gülenist-led coup, the Turkish army is still heavily under US influence, opening the possibility of another uprising.

Erdoğan’s lip-service to ‘nationalism’ has served mainly as a political tool to repress domestic democratic political parties and trade unions and the Kurdish and Alevi communities. Erdoğan’s initial support and subsequent opposition to the jihadi terrorist groups seeking to oust the secular-nationalist government in Damascus has caused ‘blowback’ – with ISIS terrorist cells bombing civilian targets Istanbul and Ankara with mass casualties.

Erdoğan’s unprincipled, opportunistic and pro-imperialist NATO alliance demonstrates the inability of an aspiring regional power to find a niche in the US Empire. Erdoğan believed that being a loyal ‘ally’ of the US would protect Turkey from a coup d’état. He failed to realize that he had become a disposable pawn in US plans to instill more servile rulers (like the Gülenist) in the Middle East.

Erdoğan’s belief that Turkey’s collaboration with the US to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar Assad would lead to a successful territorial grab of Northern Syria: instead Erdoğan ended up serving the US-backed Syrian Kurds tied to the Turkish Kurds .By working to break up Syria and destroy its state and government, Erdoğan strengthened Kurdish cross border expansionism.

Erdoğan failed to recognize the most basic rule of imperial policy: There are no permanent allies there are only permanent interests. Erdoğan thought Turkey would be ‘rewarded’ by acting as a US surrogate with a share of power, wealth and territory in the Middle East. Instead, as a ‘normal’ imperial power, the US used Turkey when it was convenient and would then dispose of Erdoğan – like a used condom.
Anti-imperialism is not just an ideal and moral/ethical principle – it is a realistic approach to safeguarding sovereignty, democratic politics and meaningful alliances.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

“What Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Teller, the three of them are Jews, made for the United States, could also be done by scientists in Israel, for their own people”-  David Ben-Gurion

 Iran’s New President Hassan Rouhani has requested that Israel to sign and become a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as he spoke for a second time at the United Nation General Assembly. “As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat of their use exists,” Rouhani said, citing the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  Rouhani is calling for “nuclear-free zone” in the Middle East.  Israel is the only country in the Middle East that had not and will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. -A “Nuclear-Free Zone” in the Middle East? Why Israel will not Join the Non-Proliferation Treaty

    Oct 14, 2017

Iranians take to social media to express frustration with what they perceive to be Trump's hypocrisy toward their country

Iranians took their anger at U.S. President Donald Trump to Twitter Friday night for what they see as hypocrisy and a double-standard after Trump disavowed the 2015 international nuclear deal that limited the country's uranium enrichment program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. 

In his speech, Trump criticized Iran for supporting terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, but Iranians pointed out Trump's coziness with Saudi Arabia, a country which has been accused of backing 9/11 perpetrators Al-Qaida.

Iranians tweeted lists of the terrorist organizations allegedly supported by Saudi Arabia’s Wahabist government, which Trump attributed to Iran in Friday’s speech. “#Trump at his press conference: the #Iranian regime is supporting #terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida in #Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.”

Iran now faces tightened sanctions and an American renege on the nuclear deal which had helped Iran’s economy bounce back. Meanwhile, Trump signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia on one of his official first trips as president.

 Iranians tweeted lists of the terrorist organizations allegedly supported by Saudi Arabia’s Wahabist government, which Trump attributed to Iran in Friday’s speech. “#Trump at his press conference: the #Iranian regime is supporting #terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida in #Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.”

Al-Qaida and ISIS are both Sunni Muslim terrorist groups, and in 2009, WikiLeaks revealed that then-U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton had said that Saudi Arabia was supporting Al-Qaida.

 Iranians also responded to what they saw as a dig at Iran when Trump spoke of altercations in the “Arabian Gulf,” referring to the body of water popularly called the “Persian Gulf” separating Iran from Saudi Arabia.

This comment provoked attacks on Trump’s intelligence, with Iranians calling him an "idiot" on Twitter and asking if he had ever learned geography. Although both names are technically correct, the decision to call the body of water Arabian rather than Persian echoed what Iranians see as the Trump administration’s predilection for Saudi Arabia over Iran.

 Iranians expressed their frustration with the hashtags #NeverTrustUS, #IranKeepsPromises as opposed to the U.S. which has now reversed their commitment to the deal, and #No2US trending.
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iran/1.817135
Why does everyone hate the 'new' Jews?
The Trump administration has made the defense of the terror state of Israel on the global stage a key tenet of its foreign policy. Nikki R. Haley, the United Nations criminal ambassador, has repeatedly criticized the United Nations for what she called its anti-Israel bias. For clown President Trump and for Polish criminal PM Meilowski aka Netanyahu, the recognition of World Heritage sites in the Palestinian territories, like Hebron and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the 2015 resolution and another in 2016, showed an anti-Israel bias just because UNESCO will not sanction identity theft and criminality.

Antics of psychopaths  2006
The Israeli army invaded several cities in the West Bank and
broke into
money changers' shops and banks, confiscating some 1.5 million USD, on
Wednesday morning.  The seizure of cash comes after months of seige by
the Israeli authorities, who are attempting to 'starve out' the
Palestinian people for the results of their democratic election in

Army invaded, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Ramallah, almost at the same time.
In Jenin, at least 30 military vehicles invaded the city and surrounded a money exchange shop that belongs to Mohammad Nassar.

Nassar told Palestine News Network that troops also took him by force from his house to his shop and blew up the door of the shop and took all the money from the vault.  He added that the soldiers took almost 1.2 million shekels (nearly 250 thousand USD)

Troops also invaded two other exchange shops and took the money and the computers.
In Nablus, Israeli soldiers backed by more than 25 military vehicles, invaded the National Jordanian Bank and 5 money exchange shops.  Local sources said that troops destroyed the contents of the bank and the shops and took all the money from the shops and took one of the workers as prisoner.  The man was identified as 40-year-old Ghaleb Sweidan.

Abdullatif Nassif, the manager of the bank said they will sue the Israeli army for damaging the bank's property.  He added that the damage is estimated aroun 500 thousand dollars.
troops also blew up the vault in one of these shops.  The shop caught fire as a result of the explosion and all the furniture was on fire.

Palestinian fighters arrived at the scene after the army pulled out and stopped the fire.
Palestinian resistance fighters in Nablus clashed with the Israeli troops and blew up an explosive device in Al-Salam street, no injuries were reported.

In Tulkarem, the Israeli army took money from exchange shops and took three residents as prisoners, identified as Ibrahim and Qassem Haseeb and Kamal Thiab.
Meanwhile, in Ramallah, troops invaded Al-Ajouli money exchange shop and other shops and took all the money there.

The Israeli army declared that they invaded 24 money exchange shops in the West Bank claiming that these shops provide money for what they called, “terrorist groups”.

By Meron Rapoport, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
Studies carried out by a European Union-affiliated organization suggest the Israel Air Force used experimental missiles employing uranium against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the British newspaper The Independent reported on its website on Saturday.

According to the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, Doctor Chris Busby, tests carried out on soil taken from craters where Israeli missiles impacted showed ‘elevated radiation signatures.’

Busby’s report concluded that such results could be caused either by bunker-busting conventional bombs using uranium or a new kind of weapon bearing a “novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash.”

An Italian television report aired last week made a similar claim, raising the possibility that Israel had used a weapon in the Gaza Strip in recent months, causing especially serious physical injuries, such as amputated limbs and severe burns.

The report claimed the weapon is similar to one developed by the U.S. military, known as DIME, which causes a powerful and lethal blast, but only within a relatively small radius.
The Italian report is based on the eyewitness accounts of medical doctors in the Strip, as well as tests carried out in an Italian laboratory.

 The investigative team is the same one that exposed, several months ago, the use by U.S. forces in Iraq of phosphorous bombs, against Iraqi rebels in Faluja.
Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen (res.) Yitzhak Ben-Israel, formerly head of the IDF’s weapons-development program, told the Italian reporters that “one of the ideas [behind the weapon] is to allow those targeted to be hit without causing damage to bystanders or other persons.”

The investigation, by Rai24news, follows reports by Gaza-based doctors of inexplicably serious injuries. The doctors reported an exceptionally large number of wounded who lost legs, of completely burned bodies and injuries unaccompanied by metal shrapnel. Some of the doctors also claimed that they removed particles from wounds that could not be seen in an x-ray machine.
According to those who testified, the wounded were hit by munitions launched from drones, most of them in July.

Dr. Habas al-Wahid, head of the emergency room at the Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, in Deir el-Balah, told the reporters that the legs of the injured were sliced from their bodies “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone.” There were signs of heat and burns near the point of the amputation, but no signs that the dismemberment was caused by metal fragments.

Dr. Juma Saka, of Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, said the doctors found small entry wounds on the bodies of the wounded and the dead. According to Saka, a powder was found on the victims’ bodies and in their internal organs.

“The powder was like microscopic shrapnel, and these are what likely caused the injuries,” Saka said.
The Italian investigative team raised the possibility that the IDF is making use of a weapon similar in character to DIME – Dense Inert Metal Explosive – developed for the U.S. military. According to the official website of a U.S. air force laboratory, it is a “focused lethality” weapon, which aims to accurately destroy the target while causing minimum damage to the surrounding.

According to the site, the projectile comprises a carbon-fiber casing filled with tungsten powder and explosives. In the explosion, tungsten particles – a metal capable of conducting very high temperatures – spread over a radius of four meters and cause death.

According to the U.S.-based website Defense-Tech, “the result is an incredibly destructive blast in a small area” and “the destructive power of the mixture causes far more damage than pure explosive.” It adds that “the impact of the micro-shrapnel seems to cause a similar but more powerful effect than a shockwave.”
The weapon is supposed to still be in the testing phase and has not been used on the battlefield.
The Italian reporters sent samples of the particles found in wounds of injured in the Gaza Strip to a laboratory at the University of Parma. Dr. Carmela Vaccaio said that in analyzing the samples, she found “a very high concentration of carbon and the presence of unusual materials,” such as copper, aluminum and tungsten. Dr. Vaccaio says these findings “could be in line with the hypothesis” that the weapon in question is DIME.

On the matter of DIME, Ben-Israel told the Italian reporters that “this is a technology that allows the striking of very small targets.”
The report says that the weapon is not banned by international law, especially since it has not been officially tested.

It is believed that the weapon is highly carcinogenic and harmful to the environment.
The non-governmental organization Physicians for Human Rights has written to Defense Minister Amir Peretz requesting explanations for the aforementioned injuries to Palestinians. Amos Gilad, a senior adviser to the minister, is supposed to meet with the group on the matter in the near future.

 This is how the reactionary New York Times summarizes the career of Che Guevara:
"After having overseen the firing squads that followed the Communist victory he helped secure in Cuba, and after a stint running the country’s central bank, Guevara suddenly vanished in 1965, sent by Fidel Castro to organize revolutions abroad."  

The paper even managed to blame him for the economic crisis in Venezuela today.  Absent from the article are references to CIA-formed militias and death squads which were facing communist guerrillas around the world.  

Also, the Cuban revolution was the least bloody revolution, in relative terms.  The regime rarely resorted to executions.  I favorably compare that regime to any of US-supported/armed autoacracies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Zaire, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Morocco, etc. -

LA HIGUERA, Bolivia — Irma Rosales, tired after decades of tending her tiny store, sat back one morning with a box full of photos and remembered the stranger who was shot in the local schoolhouse 50 years ago.
His hair was long and greasy, she said; his clothes so dirty that they might have belonged to a mechanic. And he said nothing, she recalled, when she brought him a bowl of soup not long before the bullets rang out. Che Guevara was dead.
Monday marks a half-century since the execution of Guevara, the peripatetic Argentine doctor, named Ernesto at birth, who led guerrilla fighters from Cuba to Congo. He stymied the United States during the Bay of Pigs invasion, lectured at a United Nations lectern and preached a new world order dominated by those once marginalized by superpowers.
His towering life was overshadowed only by the myth that emerged with his death. The image of his scruffy beard and starred beret became the calling card of romantic revolutionaries around the world and across generations, seen everywhere from the jungle camps of militants to college dorm rooms.

Susanna Osinaga Roble, 85, was a nurse at the time of Che Guevara’s death and was ordered by her supervisor to wash his body. Credit Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

Yet the villagers of La Higuera, Bolivia, who lived through that time, tell a story that is far less mythic, describing a short, bloody episode where a forgotten corner of this mountainous countryside briefly became a battleground of the Cold War.
It was not long after Guevara and the other strangers with him first appeared in the area, promising equality, that the guerrillas were dragged away in pools of their own blood, recalled Ms. Rosales.
“It was torture for us,” she said. “For us, this was a time of suffering.”
As Latin America remembers Guevara’s death, the region also faces a larger reckoning with the same leftist movements that drew on him for inspiration.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the region’s largest remaining guerrilla group, came out of the jungle and gave up its arms this year in a war where no one won but Colombia lost more than 220,000 people.
The Socialist-inspired movement of the late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela led to gains in education and health care, but the country has sunk into hunger, unrest and dictatorship.
Even Cuba, which for years proudly lived under the revolutionary banner hung by Guevara, now faces an uncertain fate as a détente reached with the United States unravels under the Trump administration.
Bolivia is one of Latin America’s last democracies where leftists remain in control, and it is difficult for political movements to thrive in such a vacuum, one of the country’s leaders said. “You cannot prosper or sustain yourself over time if you do not have the victories and struggles in other places,” said Álvaro García Linera, the vice president of Bolivia.
Jon Lee Anderson, who wrote a biography of Guevara and was key to discovering his remains — they were hidden by soldiers until the 1990s — says both Guevara and the left hit such low points before.
“But Che remains kind of pure,” he said. “An ever-present beacon, the icon. Where will it go in the future? I have this notion that Che comes and goes.”

The laundry room at the hospital where Che Guevara’s body was displayed to the world. It has been turned into a memorial. Credit Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

A revolutionary vanishes

In the years before his death, Guevara’s whereabouts was a global mystery.
After having overseen the firing squads that followed the Communist victory he helped secure in Cuba, and after a stint running the country’s central bank, Guevara suddenly vanished in 1965, sent by Fidel Castro to organize revolutions abroad. He was dispatched on a failed mission to Congo, then bounced between safe houses in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Prague.
“Back then, people said he had been killed by Fidel, others that he had died in Santo Domingo, that he was in Vietnam,” said Juan Carlos Salazar, who, in 1967, was a 21-year-old Bolivian reporter about to begin chasing his first major story. “They placed him here, they placed him over there — but no one knew where he was.”
Loyola Guzmán, a Communist youth leader in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, would be one of the first to learn. She received a message one day calling her to Camiri, a small town near the border of Paraguay. She said she had no idea what the meeting was for.
Ms. Guzmán is 75 now, but a photo in January 1967 shows her in the flush of youth, in fatigues and a field cap, sitting on a log at a sweltering jungle camp — and next to her is Guevara.
“He said he wanted to create ‘two or three Vietnams,’” said Ms. Guzmán, with Bolivia a base for a revolution not only there but in neighboring Argentina and Peru, as well. Ms. Guzmán agreed with the idea and was sent back to the capital to drum up support for the revolutionaries and manage their money.
In March 1967, the battle began.
Mr. Salazar, the journalist, learned later that month that fighting had broken out between the Bolivian army and an armed group, leaving seven soldiers dead. The reporter was dispatched to the area to investigate, but it remained unclear who the militants were — although it was known they were regularly delivering fatal blows to government forces.
Soon afterward, word began to leak out that the ringleader might be Guevara.
The army wanted to find and defeat him. Among journalists, “everyone wanted to interview him,” recalled Mr. Salazar.

Fog rolling through the mountains on the road to La Higuera. Credit Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

Villagers are wary

While Guevara was known around the world, his fame did little to endear him to Bolivia’s peasants.
And the country had already undergone a revolution the decade before, instituting universal suffrage, land reform and expanded education. During Guevara’s time fighting in Bolivia, not a single peasant was documented to have joined him.
“He didn’t think it through,” said Carlos Mesa, a former president of Bolivia and a historian who was 13 at the time that Guevara arrived. “He failed because he had to fail.”

Ms. Rosales, the storekeeper who gave Guevara the bowl of soup after his capture, recalled being stunned one day in La Higuera, shortly before Guevara was killed, when one of his guerrillas, Roberto Peredo, known as “Coco,” walked into the building where she was working and asked to use the phone.
None of the area’s villagers were hoping for such a visit, as the guerrillas did not have a good reputation. All the men of the town had already fled into the hills, fearing the guerrillas would try to draft them as fighters.
“They told us the guerrillas hit the men and raped their wives, took things, and for that reason, no one waited for them to come,” said Ms. Rosales.
The town’s mayor, Ms. Rosales recalled, informed the authorities that the guerrillas had come to town.

Irma Rosales, a storekeeper, says she gave Mr. Guevara a bowl of soup after his capture. Credit Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

Closing in after costly mistakes

With tips like the one from the mayor, the army started closing in on Guevara and his band of guerrillas.
Among those on the hunt was Gary Prado, then a young officer who had been pursuing Guevara all summer through the mountains.
From his study in the city of Santa Cruz, the retired general, now 78, admitted that the army had hardly been prepared for the start of a guerrilla war on its turf. But it was soon being aided by American training and the arrival of agents from the Central Intelligence Agency, which was eager to see Guevara dead.
Guevara had earned acclaim for his military tactics in Castro’s victory in Cuba, and he wrote a manual, “Guerrilla Warfare,” that is still used as a guide by insurgents around the world. But he was making mistakes in Bolivia, said Mr. Prado: setting up bases that couldn’t be defended, splitting up his forces and leaving behind photos that the soldiers were putting together as clues.
“He was a master of guerrilla war,” said Mr. Prado. “He got here and did everything to the contrary.”
In his last diary entry on Oct. 7, Guevara writes that he ran into an old goatherd, taking her hostage while they asked her about soldiers nearby. “They gave her 50 pesos with instructions not to say a word, but we have little hope she would keep to her promise,” he wrote.

The schoolhouse where Mr. Guevara was killed is now a museum. Credit Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

‘I am Che Guevara’

On Oct. 8, a firefight began between Bolivian soldiers and a group of fighters.
But this one would end differently than the others, recalled Mr. Prado. As one of the guerrillas surrendered, he called out, “I am Che Guevara, and I’m worth more to you alive than dead.”
Julia Cortés, now 69, remembers as a young woman hearing a firefight in the distance that day as she approached La Higuera, where she taught in the local school.
It was to this school that the army brought the captured Guevara, and the guerrilla fighter could barely speak when Ms. Cortés entered the schoolhouse the next day, Oct. 9. He was muttering a few words about the revolution, she said, the one he was losing.
“They say he was ugly then, but I think he was incredibly beautiful,” she recalled.
Ms. Cortés said she had just returned home when the shots rang out, killing him.
Later that day, Mr. Salazar, the reporter, was back in La Paz covering the trial of another guerrilla, when word reached him of the execution in La Higuera. He rushed back to the region to report on the death, regretting he had missed what he says now “would have been the interview of the century.”
Mr. García Linera, Bolivia’s vice president, was a child that day and remembers seeing Guevara’s image on the front page of Presencia, a Bolivian newspaper, on his grandfather’s bed. “I still can see that photo, his eyes looking up at the sky, all in black-and-white,” he said. “He looked at first just like a regular person, like a homeless man even.”
Ms. Guzmán, Guevara’s fellow guerrilla, had already been taken into custody by the time he was captured. She did not learn about his death until she found the copy of Presencia in a jail bathroom.
In La Higuera after the killing, Ms. Rosales said she remembers seeing Ms. Cortés approaching the schoolhouse to clean up the blood in the classroom.
“There haven’t been classes there since,” Ms. Rosales said of the site, which is now a small museum. “The children didn’t want to go there.”

The courtyard at the village’s new school is covered in Che Guevara murals. Credit Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times
As Democratic lawmakers begin to distance themselves from disgraced movie mogul JEW Harvey Weinstein, the break-up might be a bit tougher for the Clintons and Obamas – whose ties to the mega-producer and Democratic donor run deep. 
Hillary Clinton, after facing mounting pressure to speak out, broke her silence on the allegations Tuesday. Five days after the Weinstein accusations emerged, Clinton released a statement saying she was “shocked and appalled.” Late Tuesday, the Obamas released a statement of their own, saying: “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accoubtable, regardless of wealth or status.”
A deep and tangled history with Weinstein could help explain the delay.
The producer -- using his connections to the wealthy Hollywood and New York elite -- gave or helped raise more than $100,000 for Barack Obama and the Clintons since at least 1995, according to OpenSecrets.org. Roughly half of that went to Hillary Clinton's presidential and Senate campaigns, including a political committee she used to support other Democrats and a joint fund with the DNC in 2016.
In total, Weinstein gave or helped raise -- or “bundle” -- $1.5 million for Democratic candidates over that time, according to Open Secrets, the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics’ website that tracks campaign finance.
Weinstein, who was fired from his own company Sunday following sexual misconduct allegations dating back decades, hosted two Hillary Clinton fundraisers just in the last election.
On Tuesday, Clinton denounced Weinstein’s actions and said such behavior "cannot be tolerated." But neither she nor Obama has revealed plans to return his money or donate it to charity, like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and other congressional Democrats have done.
As with Clinton, Weinstein has been a significant donor and fundraiser for the 44th president -- having raised or helped raise roughly $56,000 for the former Democratic president’s Obama Victory Fund.
One memorable event was held in 2012 at Weinstein’s oceanfront estate in Connecticut, where he teamed up with Vogue editor Anna Wintour for a $35,800-a-plate fundraiser.
“Fighting for Planned Parenthood and protecting women's rights, this president has fought the good fight," Weinstein said in introducing Obama, according to a pool report at the time. "You can make the case that he's the Paul Newman of American presidents."
Obama’s daughter, Malia, also did an internship for the Weinstein Company in New York between high school and attending college this fall.
'You can make the case that he's the Paul Newman of American presidents.'
- Harvey Weinstein, speaking of Barack Obama at a 2012 fundraiser
When it came time for Democratic heavyweights rally around Clinton for the 2016 cycle, Weinstein was there in a big way.
The producer co-hosted one Clinton fundraiser in October 2015 -- again with Wintour -- that purportedly included a photo-op with Clinton attendees who paid at least $2,700.
He then hosted another about eight months later with wife Georgina Chapman in their New York City home. The event was reportedly co-hosted by such stars as Jennifer Lopez and Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio.
Film producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein laughs at remarks directed at him by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama as she hosts a workshop at the White House for high school students about careers in film in Washington November 8, 2013. At right is actress Whoopi Goldberg (obscured). 
FILE: Nov. 8, 2013: The Weinstein Co. co-founder Harvey Weinstein with then- first lady Michelle Obama at a White House event about film for high school students.  (REUTERS)
Weinstein also attended a Wintour runway style event in fall 2016 that showcased designer Clinton campaign T-shirts and was attended by Clinton daughter Chelsea Clinton and fashion designer Michael Kors.
The 65-year-old Weinstein -- who broke into the film business in 1979 with his and brother Bob’s independent film company Miramax -- is also a major Clinton Foundation contributor, having given $100,000 to $250,000, according the group’s website.  
Weinstein was ousted by the Weinstein Company’s board of directors following a New York Times exposé that detailed years of sexual harassment allegations against him.
The Times story states Weinstein reached settlements with at least eight women since 1990 over harassment allegations, including from actress Ashley Judd and several former employees. New accusations, some of them even more serious including allegations of rape, emerged in a New Yorker story published Tuesday.
Weinstein has publicly apologized, though he and his lawyers have criticized some of the reporting. In response to The New Yorker report, a representative told the magazine: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."
Beyond Schumer, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Al Franken of Minnesota and others have donated some or all of their Weinstein money to women’s groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

By Ramzy Baroud
BDS stands for ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’. The BDS Movement was the outcome of several events that shaped the Palestinian national struggle and international solidarity with the Palestinian people following the Second Uprising (Intifada) in 2000.

Building on a decades-long tradition of civil disobedience and popular resistance, and invigorated by growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle as exhibited in the World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, Palestinians moved into action.

In 2004, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called for the boycott of Israeli government and academic institutions for their direct contributions to the military occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people. This was followed in 2005 by a sweeping call for boycott made by 170 Palestinian civil society organizations.

What is the academic boycott?  
PACBI has served as a medium through which the Palestinian point of view is articulated and presented to international audiences through the use of media, academic and cultural platforms. Because of its continued efforts and mobilization since 2004, many universities, teachers’ unions, student groups and artists around the world have endorsed BDS and spoken out in support of the movement.

Why is BDS important?  
In the absence of any international mechanism to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and the lack of international law being enforced, as expressed in dozens of un-implemented United Nations resolutions, BDS has grown to become a major platform to facilitate solidarity with the Palestinian people, apply pressure on and demand accountability from Israel and those who are funding, or in any way enabling, Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Is BDS a Palestinian or a global movement?  
The call for BDS is made by Palestinian society. This is important, for no one has the right to represent the Palestinian struggle but Palestinians themselves.
However, the BDS movement itself – although centred on Palestinian priorities – is an inclusive global platform. Grounded in humanistic values, BDS aims to court world public opinion and appeals to international and humanitarian law to bring peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.

What are some of the historical precedents to BDS?  
The boycott movement was at the heart of the South African struggle that ultimately defeated Apartheid in that country. Roots of that movement in South Africa go back to the 1950s and 60s, and even before. However, it was accelerated during the 1980s, which, ultimately, led to the collapse of the Apartheid regime in 1991.

There are many other precedents in history. Notable amongst them is the Boston Tea Party, protesting unfair taxation by the British Parliament; the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 (which ushered in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King. Jr.) and the Salt March led by Mohandas Gandhi in 1930 (which initiated the civil disobedience campaign that was a major factor leading to India’s independence in 1947.)

All of these are stark examples of popular movements using economic pressure to end the subjugation of one group by another. BDS is no different.

What are BDS’ main demands?  
The BDS movement has three main demands. They are:
– Ending Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Apartheid Wall.
– Recognizing the fundamental rights, including that of full equality, of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.
– Respecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

From where does BDS derive its support?  
The BDS movement is the collective expression of the will and aspirations of the Palestinian people, who serve as the backbone of the popular, de-centralized movement.
Additionally, BDS is supported by conscientious people throughout the world, whether in their capacity as individuals, or as representatives of religious institutions, academic institutions, labour and professional unions, student groups and other organizations.

What is the main Israeli argument against BDS?  
By equating any criticism of Israel and its right-wing government with anti-Semitism, Israeli supporters readily accuse BDS of being an anti-Semitic movement.
For example, the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL) bases such an accusation on the premise that “many individuals involved in BDS campaigns are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state.”

Why do Israel and its supporters mischaracterize the Movement and its goals?  
The above is one of many such claims aimed at mispresenting the BDS Movement. These claims are also meant to confuse and distract from the discussion at hand. Instead of engaging with internationally-supported Palestinian demands for justice and freedom, the anti-BDS campaigners disengage from the conversation altogether by levying the accusation of anti-Semitism against their detractors.

But is BDS anti-Semitic?  
Not in the least. In fact, quite the opposite. BDS opposes the supremacy of any racial group or the dominance of any religion over others. As such, BDS challenges the Israeli legal system that privileges Jewish citizens and discriminates against Palestinian Muslims and Christians.
Does BDS undermine the ‘peace process’?  

The ‘peace process’, which operated largely outside the framework of international law has proven to be a splendid failure. Talks that began in Madrid in 1991, followed by the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, the Paris Protocol in 1994, Hebron Protocol in 1997, Wye River 1998, Camp David 2002, and other agreements and understandings only led to the cementing of Israeli occupation, tripling the number of illegal Jewish settlers and vastly expanding the illegal Israeli settlement network in the Occupied Territories.

Since then, several wars have been waged against Palestinians, especially in Gaza, killing thousands and maiming thousands more. With no serious pressure on Israel, thanks to US backing of Israel at the UN, not a single Israeli was ever held accountable for what was repeatedly recognized by UN investigators as war crimes against Palestinians.

In the early months of his first term in office, former US President Barack Obama, attempted to breathe life in the defunct ‘peace process’, only to be met with Israeli refusal to freeze the construction of illegal settlements. Eventually, talks ended and they are yet to resume.
The suffering of Palestinians is now at its worst since the Israeli occupation in 1967. Gaza is under a decade-long, suffocating siege; occupied East Jerusalem is completely cut off from the rest of Palestinian towns and the West Bank is divided into various zones – Area A, B and C – all under various forms of control by the Israeli army.

What are the Israeli and pro-Israeli efforts to challenge BDS?  
The Israeli government has sponsored several conferences aimed at developing a strategy to discredit BDS and to slow down its growth. It has also worked with its supporters across North America and Europe to lobby governments to condemn and to outlaw BDS activities and the boycott of Israel in general.
These efforts culminated on March 23, 2017 with Senate bill S720 which, if passed in its current form, will make the boycott of Israel an illegal act punishable by imprisonment and a heavy fine.
Meanwhile, Israel has already enacted laws that ban foreign BDS supporters from entering the country. This also applies to Jewish BDS supporters.

What has the BDS Movement achieved, so far?  
Top Israeli government officials perceive BDS as their greatest threat. It is the first time in many years that this form of non-violent civil rights action has registered so profoundly on the agenda of Israel’s political elite.
The massive campaign underway to fight and discredit BDS is a testament to the power and resolve of the civil-society centred Movement. Palestinians are determined to, someday, achieve their own ‘South Africa moment’, when Apartheid was vanquished under the dual pressure of resistance at home and the global boycott campaign.
Moreover, BDS is successfully pushing the conversation on Palestine away from the margins to the centre. It seems that, the more Israel attempts to thwart boycott efforts, the more opportunities BDS supporters have to engage the media and general public. The accessibility of social media has proven fundamental to that strategy.

Why are so many joining BDS? 
BDS is growing because it is both a moral and legal obligation to support oppressed people and pressure those who violate international law to end their unwarranted practices.
Writing from his cell in Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Guided by such moralistic principles, BDS offers a platform for anyone who wants to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people in their 70-year-long struggle for freedom, justice and human rights.
– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His forthcoming book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California. Visit his website: www.ramzybaroud.net.


Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a meeting ostensibly convened to discuss the failure to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). Originally rescheduled for this week, the postponed meeting would have featured Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort testifying about their controversial Trump Tower meeting, but their subpoenas were canceled at the last minute after they arranged to turn over documents. 

The June 2016 meeting under investigation included Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, publicist Rob Goldstone, businessman Ike Kaveladze, and translator Anatoli Samochornov. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was also in attendance, apparently only briefly.

The Judiciary Committee hearing was originally set up to look at the possible Russian links of former journalist and head of the research firm Fusion GPS Glenn Simpson, who was behind the infamous Trump dossier that appeared in January. Yet in reality it is part of the broader effort to determine whether Moscow interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign.

FARA was created in the lead up to World War II to help monitor the activity of Italian, German and Japanese agent-lobbyists who were believed to be working hard in the U.S. to influence opinion as well as congressional votes in favor of their respective sponsoring nations.

 The intention was to force the “foreign agents” to register with the Department of the Treasury so they would have to identify their government sponsors and be required to reveal their sources of income.

FARA is not very rigorously enforced, which was one of the points that the Judiciary Committee was prepared to address in regards to Russia, but there can be consequences for those who ignore it. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was recently compelled to register as an agent of Turkey after he received $530,000 in payments to support Ankara’s view regarding those it believed to be behind last year’s coup.

Ironically, the most powerful and effective foreign-government lobby in Washington is so dominant that it has been able to avoid registering for the past 55 years. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was last confronted by FARA when its predecessor organization the American Zionist Council was pressured by John F. Kennedy’s Justice Department in 1962 and 1963.

 Kennedy’s death stopped that effort—and ended White House attempts to hold Israel accountable for the development of its secret nuclear weapons program (which depended on nuclear material removed illegally from the United States with the connivance of a company located in Pennsylvania called NUMEC).

AIPAC’s website declares that it is “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby,” so by its own admission it functions pretty clearly as Israel’s proxy. It spent $102 million in 2015, had 396 employees in 2013, and claims to have 100,000 members, many of whom are organized into state and city chapters. It also benefits from being a tax exempt 501(c)4 organization classified as promoting “international understanding.” 

Its annual Summit in Washington attracts more than 15,000 participants, including scores of congressmen and other senior government officials. It blankets Capitol Hill with its lobbyists and is a prolific source of position papers explaining Israel’s perception of what is taking place in the Middle East. 

Its easy access to the media and also to politicians in Washington is so widely accepted on Capitol Hill that it reportedly frequently drafts bills that Congress then goes on to propose.
No Washington lobby is benign. Lobbies exist to subvert the public interest. They promote particular agendas and are not intended to enhance the general well-being of the American public.

 Lobbyists would argue that they are in the information business, that they make lawmakers aware of facts that impact on pending legislation, but the reality is that every lobby is nevertheless driven by self-interest.

The power of the Israel Lobby and of AIPAC is not cost free for the American public. The current $3 billion plus that Israel, with a thriving first world economy, receives in military assistance is on top of the $130 billion that it has received since 1949. 

Protecting Israel in international organizations like the United Nations has sometimes marginalized the U.S. in such bodies and the lobby’s influence over American foreign policy has often been noted. In 2010 General David Petraeus stated that Israeli policies were putting American military personnel in the Middle East in danger. He quickly recanted, however.

Once upon a time AIPAC’s Steven Rosen boasted to an interviewer, “You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.” He meant that congressmen would sign on to anything if they thought it would please Israel.

 Recently the U.S. Congress has been working on bills that would criminalize individuals or groups that support a boycott of Israel. It would not be the first such legislation. The 2015 omnibus trade agreement with Europe included an amendment mandating that nations engaging in anti-Israel boycotts, to include “Israeli controlled territories,” should be subject to retaliatory action by the U.S.

There are currently two bills constituting the Israel Anti-Boycott Act of 2017 (S.720 and H.R. 1697) being considered by the Senate and House that outdo any previous deference to Israeli interests. The Senate bill was introduced by Senator Ben Cardin, who also had a hand in the trade-legislation amendments protecting Israel. 

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC. The legislation, which would almost certainly be overturned as unconstitutional if it ever does in fact become law, is particularly dangerous, and goes well beyond any previous pro-Israeli legislation, essentially denying free speech when the subject is Israel.

The two versions of the bill that are moving through Congress have 238 sponsors and cosponsors in the House and 46 in the Senate. If you do your math, you will realize that those numbers already constitute a majority in the House and are only five short of one in the Senate, so passage of the bills is virtually assured. 

The bill’s sponsors include many congressmen who have in the past frequently spoken out in defense of free speech, with Senator Ted Cruz having said in 2014, for example, that “The First Amendment was enacted to protect unreasonable speech. I, for one, certainly don’t want our speech limited to speech that elected politicians in Washington think is reasonable.”

The movement that is particularly targeted by the bills is referred to as BDS, or Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. It is a non-violen t reaction to the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land on the West Bank and the continued building of Jewish-only settlements. BDS has been targeted both by the Israeli government and by AIPAC. The AIPAC website, which describes the group’s lobbying agenda, includes the promotion of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act as a top priority.

The Israeli government and its American supporters particularly fear BDS because it has become quite popular, particularly on university campuses, where administrative steps have frequently been taken to suppress it. The denial of free speech on campus when it relates to Israel has sometimes been referred to as the “Palestinian exception.”

 Nevertheless, the message continues to resonate, due both to its non-violence its and human rights appeal. It challenges Israel’s arbitrary military rule over 3 million Palestinians on the West Bank who have onerous restrictions placed on nearly every aspect of their daily lives. And its underlying message is that Israel is a rogue state engaging in actions that are widely considered to be both illegal and immoral, which the Israeli government rightly sees as potentially delegitimizing.

Twenty-one state legislatures have already passed various laws confronting BDS, in many cases initiating economic penalties on organizations that boycott Israel or denying state funds to colleges and universities that allow BDS advocates to operate freely on campus. 

The pending federal legislation would go one step further by criminalizing any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison.

Interestingly, a number of churches, to include the Presbyterians, Mennonites, and United Church of Christ, have divested from companies participating in the occupation of the West Bank and could be subject to the punitive steps authorized by the legislation. 

And it also is interesting to note that the bills would not punish anyone who does not have a business relationship with Israel for reasons other than politics. The punishment comes solely when one states that he or she is not engaging in business with Israel due to objections regarding what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.

Daniel Larison has observed that even if one assumes that the legislation will face judicial hurdles and will never be enacted, it is nevertheless discouraging to consider that a clear majority of congressmen thinks it is perfectly acceptable to deny all Americans the right to free political expression in order to defend an internationally-acknowledged illegal occupation being carried out by a foreign country. That the occupation is illegal has even been acknowledged repeatedly by Washington, which contradicts its own policy with this legislation.

Those co-sponsoring the bills include Democrats, Republicans, progressives, and conservatives. Deference to Israeli interests is bipartisan and crosses ideological lines. Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim, writing at The Intercept, observe that “…the very mention of the word ‘Israel’ causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy.”

Finally, the seemingly unrelenting pressure to make criticism of Israel illegal is particularly dangerous as it is international. Indeed, it is a global phenomenon. Wherever one goes—Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States—there is a well-organized and funded lobby ready, willing, and able to go to war to protect Israel. 

In France it is illegal to wear a t-shirt supporting BDS or to demonstrate in favor of it. Britain has introduced laws that include defining criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism. In Canada, support of BDS has been regardedas a hate crime.

Will FARA registration of AIPAC as a foreign lobby fix all that? Of course not, but it would be a good first step. AIPAC would have to publicly acknowledge that it is acting on behalf of a foreign government and its sources of income would be subject to review. While the Congress is busy searching for Russian agents under FARA it just might spend some time also examining the pernicious influence of the unregistered and unrestrained Israel Lobby.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.


Search This Blog

Most Trending

Jerusalem is the capital. Palestine, currently under occupation, is located on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea, West of Jordan and to the south of Lebanon. The territory of Palestine covers around 10,435 square miles.


Blog Archive