It’s Time To Wake Up!

Comment: we have become prisoners in our own homes and cities and are also our own prison warden. We are told we cannot practice our faith, cannot go to school, cannot go to work, cannot mingle with our friends, cannot play in the park with our friends, cannot see our family, and have to be suspicious that our good neighbours will snitch on us if we are seen to be visiting a family member who has returned after 4 months abroad who is alive and well. We are told that we are infectious when we are ‘asymptomatic’. We are told we are sick even if we are healthy. We are rendered afraid to pass by anyone without gripping the wall out of fear we might catch something. We are asked to no longer think critically. And we are told our kids can essentially kill their elderly loved ones. There is truly something wrong and we are letting it happen.

Wake up! If this is the ‘new normal’…. Keep it to yourselves! Apply it to yourselves. I want no part of it. I don’t ‘stand together apart’ with you. I am not ‘in this together’ with you.

It’s time to wake up!

Comment: Most have been fearful of an inevitable end that was not to come. Life does come to an end, and unfortunately it is not in our control when that end will occur, but it is part of life. So why are we made to fear it? Why are we letting our “leaders” (sic) rob us of our life, our religion or non-religion, our cultures, our family and friends, our livelihoods, our life? We need to wake up and shake off the fear. We need not to become human lab rats. We need to trust our air we breathe, our bodies that know better than foreign injected concoctions made to do absolutely nothing but become dependent upon them or worse, cause death by a truly horrible means.

Those who choose to stay asleep, it’s their choice, their right not to leave their “places of residence” that have effectively become their own prisons as they are themselves their own prison-guards. They want to believe that a “vaccine” will save them need to ask themselves that if this were the case, why is it every single year a flu shot is administered? If the majority or even half get the flu shot, would the flu not be eradicated by now? Clearly this is not the case so why are people getting it?

Common sense is all it takes. Critical thinking, even in the simplest of things needs to be employed.

The Truth About the Syrian Crisis. Former Senator Dick Black

By Senator Dick Black

“They grabbed a little boy by the hair. They took a knife and they slashed his head off. And then they paraded it.”

Comment: and we are to believe everyone that is in the crosshairs of the US is a terrorist, a person who kills/gases his own people, or “a monster”.

I’m [former] Senator Dick Black [Virginia State Senate] and I’m a retired colonel who served in uniform for thirty two years. I love my country. I flew two hundred and sixty nine combat missions in Vietnam as a Marine helicopter pilot and crash landed once after machine gun fire cut my flight controls. Afterwards, I made 70 combat patrols as a ground air controller for the 1st Marine Division. I was in intense, fierce combat during almost the entire time and I was wounded. My radio men were both killed beside me.

So with that background, let me say that I’m appalled by the indecency of American aggression towards Syria. Just the other day, Secretary of State Tony Blinken chastised his Chinese guest in Anchorage, Alaska, by saying that he thought that they failed to respect the rules based order, without which there would be much more violence in the world. But what is the the “rules based order” that we’re always touting? Seems that the rules are whatever the United States decides it wants at a given moment. By what right do we seize other nations ships on the high seas?

Now, the rule says that doing so is an act of war. We’re not at war. So the rules go on to say that if you’re not at war, then seizures of ships on the high seas are acts of piracy. Are these not acts of piracy when we seize these ships? What rules allow us to establish naval blockades on Syria, Iran and Venezuela? Are those not acts of war? What rules based order says that we can punish Germany for conducting a gas pipeline to Russia?

What rules in this rules based order allow us to dictate the trade of sovereign nations? The American march of conquest spans the globe. We’ve invaded sovereign nations like Serbia, Yemen and Syria, leaving them all in smoldering ruins. Does the rules based order not prohibit wars of aggression? Did we not prosecute Nazis at Nuremberg for just such actions? What rules make wars of aggression crimes for Nazis, but not for us? We’re told that we’re fighting a war on terror, but we’re not. 

We’re closely allied with terrorists like al-Qaida in an endless quest to destroy Arab civilizations throughout the Middle East. Few Americans can even name all of our wars Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Ukraine, none of them attacked us. We attacked all of them. Just look at the case of Syria. Remember what Syria once was. Before the war, Syria had a nicely balanced economy, produced most of its own industrial goods. Produced its fuel and agricultural products, had very little poverty and enjoyed thriving trade, and it was financially responsible. It enjoyed 40 years of peace with Israel.

And the Constitution drafted under President Assad guarantees equal rights for women. And importantly, it guarantees religious freedom in three different parts of the text. I read it. Syria is a model for other Arab states, especially ones like Saudi Arabia, which have no constitution at all. We call Syria’s president a dictator, but in twenty fourteen, he was overwhelmingly elected by the people of Syria, in a fair and free election. It was very heavily monitored. 

There were lots of observers, all agreed that it had been a true and valid election. So. Syria is a model of elective democracy, if you want to call it that, for the for the Arab world. But the Americans pretend that the election never happened, and yet many Syrians, who spent 15 hours in the blazing sun so that they could vote for President Assad, were targeted and killed by U.S. backed rebels who fired mortars into their midst and killed them.

Now, after 10 years of war, I think it’s important to recognize after 10 years of war, not a single rebel leader has ever emerged as a popular figure. The West, loves the terrorists that the people of Syria despise.

You know, we’re taught to hate President Assad because he cracked down on rioters in 2011 and they say that he gassed his people, but that’s not true because we decided to attack Syria 10 years before all of that.

In 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered the Pentagon to draft plans to overthrow seven countries in the Middle East, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off with Iran. Not one of them had harmed the United States. In twenty six or in two thousand six, the US embassy in Damascus drew up detailed plans to destabilize and overthrow Syria. 

Those were widely disseminated to the Pentagon, to various unified command. They went to NATO. They went widely across the world, the specific plans to destroy, stabilize and overthrow Syria. And that was long before any demonstrations had ever occurred in Syria. And yet we claim them as the reason that we oppose President Assad. In March of 2011, the United States, U.K. and France attacked and overthrew Libya. They brutally executed Colonel Gaddafi. The US then turned over control of a Libyan airfield to the Turks who used it to transport advanced weapons that had been plundered from Libya and send them eventually to supply the terrorists that were organizing in Syria.

In 2011, also during the Arab Spring, the highly secretive Central Intelligence Agency Special Activities Center sent paramilitary teams into the sovereign territory of Syria to identify, train, equip and lead terrorist to overthrow the Syrian government. In twenty thirteen, Barack Obama formalized, formalized this long-standing support for anti Syrian terrorists by secretly authorizing CIA program Timber Sycamore under program Timber Sycamore, the CIA Special Operations Division, trained, armed and paid thousands of terrorists to fight …. those armies totally under our control.

And in one case, a group in Aleppo. We had paid over a thousand of their people salaries, giving them arms, giving them training. And it wasn’t until they kidnaped a small Palestinian boy who was being treated in a hospital. They kidnapped him. They took him to the central square in Aleppo. And in order to terrorize the people into not fleeing Aleppo, which was being cordoned off by Syrian troops, they took him to the center in a pickup truck.

They grabbed a little boy by the hair. They took a knife and they slashed his head off. And then they paraded it. They held it up and waved it in front of the crowd as a warning. Don’t escape from Aleppo. We paid the salaries of every man who held that boy’s head aloft, we gave them their weapons, they gave them we gave them their truck, we gave them everything that they needed. And it was only after that very gruesome incident that we decided, well, that’s an embarrassment. We better not pay them. We have been paying terrorists like this throughout the war.

NATO and the United States have maintained an intense propaganda campaign against Syria from the outset. Sarin gas attacks that killed civilians were blamed on President Assad. But not one reporter ever asked why Assad would use gas against children, but not against armies of terrorists bearing down on the capital of Damascus. The reason is obvious, there is no answer for that. And the journalists are smart enough to know that if they ask that question, their career in journalism is finished.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted in twenty eighteen that the US had no evidence that Assad had ever used sarin gas. Two courageous Turkish members of parliament were quickly accused of treason after they revealed an indictment, a criminal indictment, that showed how an al-Qaida cell had infiltrated two point two kilos of sarin gas across the border from Turkey for use in Syria, most likely going to Damascus for the initial attack. That was the red line attack that almost sent American troops into Syria.

So why do we attack Syria? Well, there are a number of reasons, part of it ties in with Israeli foreign policy. But the US also seeks to capture oil and gas routes serving South Asian to pipeline access as Saudi has an intense desire to impose harsh Wahhabi Islam on the religiously harmonious areas. The Turks cast a greedy eye on the industrial city of Aleppo. The Turks also want to capture the oil and the agricultural produce of the nation that is produced in northern Syria.

So there are many people who have these desires and and there are many reasons behind the war. Certainly, the American arms dealers profited immensely from the lucrative deals like the six hundred BMP-71 anti-tank missiles that the Central Intelligence Agency rushed to al-Qaida in 2014 to prepare them to attack across the Turkish border. It was only with those CIA provided anti-tank weapons that the al-Qaida terrorists were able to break through the Syrian armor and the Syrian lines and seize the beautiful town of Kessab and behead the Christians who were there and all of the churches and then smash ancient tombstones with  sledgehammers. 

That was done thanks to the CIA. Al-Qaida never could have broken the Syrian lines without those anti-tank missiles. Many of these terrorist groups have sworn to behead the Christians and the Alawites and to make sex slaves of their wives and daughters. One jihadist famously drove his American- made Humvee into battle with a naked slave girl, slashed, lashed to his windshield. And he knew that the soldiers would hesitate to shoot at his Humvee as long as there was an innocent girl lashed to the windshield.

And then that’s why he used it. That’s why he put this poor girl up there and drove her first into battle as a shield. In twenty fifteen, U.S. troops illegally invaded northern Syria and unlawfully seized Syria’s oil. We authorized an American oil company to build a refinery for one hundred and fifty million dollars and to drill for more oil on sovereign Syrian land. Before the war, Syria never needed oil or natural gas because it was so self-sufficient, it exported a little bit, but it was not a big oil producing country.

But what was important is that it provided all of the fuel, all of the gasoline, all of the heating fuel for the power plants and so forth and in Syria. But now. The legacy of the nation has been stolen by the United States, leaving Syrians to freeze to death in the winter as we steal their fuel. The same region, northern Syria is the breadbasket of the country. It grew enough wheat to feed the entire nation to export a little bit.

But this, too, has been stolen. We gave it to the Kurds who are shipping Syrian wheat to Turkish merchants while Syrian peasants starve. To tighten the noose on Syria, Secretary Mike Pompeo bragged about cutting Syria off from sources of currency and blockading oil tankers arriving from Iran. He’s right. We’ve caused immense death, disease and suffering for poor Syrians. Americans are routinely reminded that sanctions don’t affect the common people, only the leaders. Rubbish, that’s a total lie.

Sanctions do nothing but attack the innocent, the poor, the helpless. They are the most cruel and barbaric type of warfare that we can wage. We steal food, fuel and medicine from the poor. We blockade supplies for rebuilding so that Syrian man must fight for a living or starve. If we ended the blockade, they could work rebuilding the country. Syrians are tired of war, we’ve imposed 10 years of war on them. They want to rebuild. The young man, the time that fighting wars was was exotic is over, they want to go home, they want to build families, they want to rebuild their homes and their businesses. But the United States blockades all materials necessary for rebuilding. So that young Syrian man must fight for a living or starve. As it is, the only work is fighting, which will go on as long as we continue funding it. The world must reject … ten years against the Syrians. But we’ve oppressed the Iraqi people for 30 years, we’ve dropped over a quarter of a million bombs on Iraq.

And we bombed them even while we sit in military base camps occupying the country. This madness must stop. I thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today.

Call for a Moratorium on COVID Jabs in North America

An Open Letter Seeking an End to Medical Experiments on Human Subjects That Violate the Nuremberg Principles, Experiments That Have the Potential “To Wipe Out Large Parts of the Human Population”

By Anthony Hall

Comment: such an important read. If these so-called leaders, these people who claim they “care about the people” don’t respond or even pay a scintilla of attention to this, they do not deserve to be in their positions of leadership.

To Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta,

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and

Joe Biden, President of the United States

In responding to the dangers of the COVID concoctions currently being injected into the blood streams of the general public, vaccine designer Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche warned that humanity may be on the brink of “a global catastrophe without equal.”

As Dr. Bossche sees it, the experimental injections are threatening to decimate humanity. According to the vaccinologist, the injections are quite possibly turning “a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction.” A “wild monster” is in the making. Concludes the scientist, “It is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the consequences of the extensive and erroneous human intervention in this pandemic are not going to wipe out large parts of the human population.” See this.

Dr. Bossche is a principled and highly qualified whistleblower. He is well known and respected inside his industry as a man that has devoted the best part of his successful career to designing, testing and making vaccines. Dr. Bossche’s CV points to his involvement in many well-known agencies including Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization sponsored by Bill Gates. Such a notorious association inevitable raises a host of suspicions. In the current context, however, Dr. Vanden Bossche’s professional background serves to support the conclusion that he is breaking ranks to ring an alarm bell of major importance to the entire global population.

Given the character of his credentials, achievements, and professional associations, there is absolutely no way for media spin doctors and their partners in government to dismiss Dr. Bossche.  They cannot easily discredit this whistleblower with cheap epitaphs such as “anti-VAXXER” or the all-purpose smear, “conspiracy theorist.” In fact Dr. Bossche makes fun of those who employ such small-minded tactics. He condemns those who have reduced the media discourse on COVID into something he compares with stock market pontificating… Read the full article here


The image below should be viewed by all who still believe this is a real health crisis and not planned. If you still believe in the ‘killer virus’, I don’t even know what to say.

And then there’s Fauci:

Israel’s Arrest of Palestinian Children Picking Vegetables Sparks Outrage

Comment: Very brave of these soldiers arresting children aged between 8 and 13. No doubt they will be tried in military court, sentenced to ‘x’ amount of years, put into solitary confinement. A reality the Palestinians face daily, no matter gender or age. Alas, this is not the first time and no matter the ‘outrage’, it will sure continue. A total failure of the “Never Again” policy. I guess it’s ‘never again’ to this lot only. Support the BDS movement and help bring this apartheid, racist, squatter invasion and occupation to an end. LONG LIVE PALESTINE!

The video, filmed by a field researcher with Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, was recorded in the Masafer Yatta area of the southern Hebron hills, which is home to dozens of clusters of Palestinian villages and enclaves, as well as several illegal Israeli settlements and outposts.

“I got a call in the early afternoon saying that there were settlers chasing a group of young Palestinian boys near the at-Tuwani village, and that I should go there as fast as I could,” Nasr Nawajaa, a local activist and B’Tselem field researcher told Middle East Eye.

“When I arrived, there were dozens of armed and masked Israeli soldiers pulling the children towards a group of military Jeeps. And I immediately picked up my camera and started filming,” Nawajaa said.

In the video filmed by Nawajaa and published by B’Tselem, dozens of Israeli soldiers in combat gear can be seen grabbing the terrified children and pushing them towards the military vehicles.

Several Palestinian bystanders can be seen attempting to intervene, but to no avail. At one point, an older Palestinian boy can be seen trying to rescue one of the minors, at which point he is grabbed by another soldier and dragged along with the group.

“The children were screaming and crying, pleading with the soldiers to call their parents and wait until their family arrived before taking them away,” Nawajaa told MEE.

He said the soldiers were “extremely aggressive” with the children, who were between eight and 13 years of age.

“The soldiers were treating the children like some hardened criminals, as if they had committed some huge crime,” Nawajaa said, adding that the soldiers “took the children by force.”

According to Nawajaa, the children were detained and taken to the nearby Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, where they were held inside the military vehicles and interrogated for several hours, before being released to their families in the evening.

“These are just harmless children, what kind of threat could they possibly pose to justify this treatment?” Nawajaa asked.

‘They were just picking vegetables’

The circumstances of the boys’ arrest has drawn widespread condemnation, as it came to light that the children were out picking wild vegetables and herbs when they were detained.

According to Nawajaa, the boys were picking a wild vegetable called “akoub”, which blooms in the spring time in Palestine.

“Many of the families in Masafer Yatta live in poor socio-economic conditions,” Nawajaa told MEE. “‘Akoub can be sold at a good price in the Palestinian market, so many families and their children go out to pick the wild vegetable during this time of year in order to make some money to support themselves.”

Nawajaa noted that while Israel had previously outlawed the picking of akoub, that law was repealed last year, making it legal to pick 5kgs per person in the area where the boys were.

“There was no legal justification for their arrest,” Nawajaa said.

(The video can be viewed here)

The five boys, who are all cousins, were picking and collecting the akoub on the outskirts of Havat Maon, an Israeli settlement south of Hebron.

Settlers from Havat Maon then allegedly started harassing and chasing the boys out of the area.

“This is something the settlers do when they see Palestinians close to the settlement,” Mohammad Abu Hmeid, the father of two of the boys told MEE. “Sometimes they even fire live ammunition at the Palestinian shepherds grazing sheep in the area if they get too close to the settlement.”

“I’m just relieved that the boys managed to escape the settlers. God knows what would have happened to them if they didn’t,” the father said.

Abu Hmeid said his sons Jaber, 13, and Saqer, 10, and their three cousins, fled from settlers. They abandoned their buckets, barrels, and akoub, leaving it behind and heading towards their grandfather’s house near at-Tuwani.

It was there that the group of armed Israeli soldiers caught up with the boys, and began arresting them.

According to Abu Hmeid’s testimony, which echoed that of Nawajaa’s, it was the settlers who allegedly called the Israeli soldiers and ordered them to arrest the boys.

“The settlers accused the boys of trying to steal some of their birds, and destroying some of their property,” Abu Hmeid said, adding that the settlers were “making up stories just to get the boys arrested and intimidate them.”

“All they were doing was picking akoub, and that is not a crime,” Abu Hmeid said, adding that the soldiers confiscated the boys’ buckets and barrels, and their plant harvest. “They didn’t pose a threat to anyone. They weren’t doing anything wrong.”

Interrogation, threats and coercion

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians live under Israeli military law, and when arrested they are charged and tried in military courts that have a conviction rate of over 99 percent against Palestinians.

In comparison, Israeli settlers living in the West Bank in contravention of international law are subject to Israeli civilian law, and never come into contact with the military courts.

While Israeli military and civilian law stipulates the minimum age of criminal responsibility as 12 years old, rights group Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) says that Israeli forces routinely detain Palestinian children younger than this.

According to the group, Israel detains around 700 Palestinian children a year. There are currently 168 child “security” detainees in Israeli prison, and as of 2020, there were 27 children being held in solitary confinement.

DCIP has highlighted that Israel ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which stipulates that children “should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort, must not be unlawfully or arbitrarily detained, and must not be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

According to DCIP, Israel regularly and arbitrarily detains Palestinian children, subjects them to long periods of interrogation without the presence of a parent, legal guardian, or lawyer. Children are often coerced into signing false confessions, in documents written in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children do not understand.

“From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. Three out of four experience physical violence during arrest or interrogation,” DCIP said.

The process of arrest and detention described by DCIP is similar to what happened to the five boys in the Hebron hills, according to testimony from both Nawajaa and Abu Hmeid, who claim the boys were threatened by the Israeli soldiers during their interrogation in an attempt to coerce them into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

“When the boys were finally released, they were in complete shock,” Abu Hmeid said. “It was only after we took them home and they calmed down a bit that they started to tell us what happened.”

“My sons told us that the soldiers kept the five of them crammed up in the Jeep for the whole time they were detained, and continued to threaten and harass them,” Abu Hmeid said.

At one point, the soldiers allegedly told the boys that their families had been arrested, and that if they didn’t confess to trying to steal from the settlers or to damaging their property, the soldiers would “beat them up.”

“They did everything they could to scare the boys and get them to confess,” Abu Hmeid said, “but the boys kept insisting that they were innocent and didn’t do anything.”

He added that the two oldest boys in the group, including his son Jaber, were summoned for another interrogation with Israeli forces on Sunday.

Abu Hmeid told MEE that while none of the boys were physically tortured during the interrogation, the mental toll that the ordeal has had on the children “has done more than enough damage.”

“They are so scared and terrified, and I don’t know what to do to comfort them,” Abu Hmeid said. “As a Palestinian father, this is one of your worst nightmares. With the Israeli occupation, we can’t even protect our own children.”

Guantanamo Bay is America’s enduring shame

By Dr Ramzy Baroud

Comment: how can a nation that treats human beings with such disdain, like garbage rotting away outta sight claim other countries are “killing their own people”, “committing genocide against” a minority group that isn’t, and claim to be bastians of human rights and lest we forget democracy, when their own deplorable behaviour and actions are known to be the exact opposite? Why does Cuba not kick these American occupiers of their land out?

On 12 February, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by a reporter whether the new Joe Biden administration intends to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay Prison by the end of the US president’s first term in office. Her non-committal answer was, “That’s certainly our goal and our intention.”

Psaki may have sounded reassuring that the untold suffering experienced by hundreds of men in this American gulag — many of whom were surely innocent — would finally be coming to an end. However, considering the history of Guantanamo and the trail of broken promises by the Barack Obama administration, the latest “goal and intention” is hardly encouraging.

Compare the new language with that of Obama’s impassioned diatribes about humanity, justice and American values, which he utilised whenever he spoke of Guantanamo. “Gitmo has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law,” Obama said in a speech at the National Defence University in May 2013.

Enamoured with his every word, Obama’s audience applauded enthusiastically, but when he delivered that particular speech, he was serving his second term in office. He had already had ample time and opportunity to shut down the prison which operates with no international monitoring and entirely outside the realms of international and US laws.

Obama is likely to be remembered for his words, not his actions. Not only did he fail to shut down the prison which was erected by his predecessor, George W. Bush, in 2002, but the Guantanamo industry also continued to thrive during his time in the White House. For example, in his speech, Obama made reference to the high cost of “a hundred and fifty million dollars each year to imprison 166 people.” According to the New Yorker in 2016, Guantanamo’s budget had grown to “$445 million” while Obama was in office.

Yet, as the budget grew by leaps and bounds, the number of Guantanamo prisoners dwindled. There are now just 40 prisoners in the massive edifice of metal, concrete and barbed wire built within a US naval base at the eastern tip of Cuba on land ‘leased‘ by the US in 1903.

It is easy to conclude that the US government keeps the prison open only to avoid international accountability and, arguably, to extract information by torture, an act that is inconsistent with American law. But this cannot be right. The wars against Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal under international law, but that didn’t stop the US and its allies from savagely invading, humiliating and torturing entire populations with no regard whatsoever to legal or moral arguments.

Moreover, Guantanamo is merely one of many American-run prisons and detention centres operating around the world according to the most ruthless tactics and no rule book. The tragedy of Abu Ghraib, a US military detention centre in Baghdad, only became famous when direct evidence of the degrading and incredibly violent conduct that was taking place within its walls was produced and publicised. Furthermore, many US officials and members of Congress at the time used the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004 as an opportunity to whitewash and rebrand American crimes elsewhere and to present the misconduct within the prison as if it was an isolated incident involving “a few bad apples”.

This argument was made by George W Bush. It was more or less the same logic utilised by Obama when he championed the closure of Guantanamo. Indeed, both presidents insisted that neither Abu Ghraib nor Guantanamo should be made out to represent what America is really all about.

“Is this who we are?” asked Obama passionately as he made the case for the closure of Guantanamo, speaking as if he was a human rights advocate rather than the Commander-in-Chief with the authority to shut down the entire facility immediately. The truth is that the Abu Ghraib tortures were not “a few bad apples” and Guantanamo is, indeed, a microcosm of exactly what the US is, or has become.

From Bagram in Afghanistan, to Abu Ghraib in Iraq, to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, to the many “floating prisons” — news of which was leaked by US media in 2014 — the US government continues to make a mockery of international and humanitarian laws. Many American officials who genuinely advocate the closure of Guantanamo refuse to acknowledge that the prison is a symbol of their country’s intransigence, and refuse to accept that, like any other country in the world, it is accountable to international law.

This lack of accountability has exceeded the US government’s insistence on “acting alone” and launching wars without international mandates. One US administration after another has also made it clear that, under no circumstances, would they allow American citizens accused of war crimes to be investigated, let alone stand trial, before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The message here is that even America’s “few bad apples” can potentially walk free, regardless of the heinousness of their crimes.

Just months after the Trump administration imposed punitive sanctions on ICC judges for having the audacity to look into possible investigations of US crimes in Afghanistan, it freed the convicted criminals who carried out horrific crimes in Iraq. On 22 December, Trump pardoned four American mercenaries from the private military company Blackwater. These convicted murderers were involved in the killing of 14 civilians, including two children, in Baghdad in 2007.

What became known as the “Nisour Square massacre” was another example of whitewashing, as government officials and mainstream media insisted that the massacre was an isolated episode, even while expressing outrage at the unlawful killing. The fact that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly civilians, were killed as a result of the US invasion seems irrelevant in America’s skewed logic as it pursues its never-ending “war on terror”.

Whether Biden fulfils his promise to shut down Guantanamo or not, little will change if the US remains committed in its contempt for international law and to its undeserved view of itself as a country that exists above the universal rights of everyone else.

That said, Guantanamo on its own is a crime against humanity and there can never be any rational explanation or justification for holding hundreds of people indefinitely, without trial, without due process, without international observers and without ever seeing their families and loved ones. The explanation often offered by the pro-Guantanamo pundits is that the prison inmates are dangerous men. If that was indeed the case, why were these supposed criminals not allowed to have their day in court?

According to a report by Amnesty International published in May last year, of the 779 men who were taken to the prison, “only seven have been convicted”. Worse, five of them were convicted “as a result of pre-trial agreements under which they pleaded guilty, in return for the possibility of release from the base.” According to the rights group, such a trial by military commission “did not meet fair trial standards”.

In other words, Guantanamo is — and has always been — a fraudulent operation with no real inclination to hold criminals and terrorists to account and prevent further crimes. Guantanamo is an industry, and a lucrative one. In many ways, it is similar to the American prison military complex, ironically dubbed the “criminal justice system”. Referring to the unjust “justice system”, Human Rights Watch derided the US for having “the largest reported prison population in the world”.

“The (US) criminal justice system — from policing and prosecution, through to punishment — is plagued with injustices like racial disparities, excessively harsh sentencing and drug and immigration policies that improperly emphasise criminalisation,” stated HRW on its website.

The above can also be considered an answer to Obama’s rhetorical question, “Is this who we are?” Yes sir, Mr President, this is precisely who you are.

While offering the world’s most miserable detention conditions to hundreds of potentially innocent men, Guantanamo also offers career opportunities, military perks and honours, and a seemingly endless budget for a small army to guard only a few shackled, gaunt-looking men in a foreign land.

Even if Biden is able to overcome pressure from the military, the CIA and Congress and succeeds in shutting Guantanamo down, justice will still be absent, not only because of the numerous lives that are forever shattered, but also because America still refuses to learn from its mistakes. Guantanamo Bay Prison is indeed America’s enduring shame.

The Cuban Revolution’s Commitment and Contribution to Worldwide Public Health Care

By Franklin Frederick

Comment: Never underestimate the goodness and kindness of those who had everything taken away from them but their humanity. Those who don’t have much are truly free! They are the ones who embody humanity. Theirs is a strength that cannot be taken away. Viva Cuba!

They have discovered smart weapons. We have discovered something more important: people think and feel.’ – Fidel Castro

The (COVID-19 planned) pandemic has revealed the failure of most Western capitalist countries in their public health policies.

Decades of neoliberal austerity, of cuts in health and education programs induced by restructuring programs by the IMF and the World Bank, are now showing their results in alarming numbers of contagion and deaths spreading throughout Latin America, Europe and the U.S.

In the West, Cuba has set an example of efficiency and shown that another way is possible in the fight against the pandemic. The numbers speak for themselves; we only need to compare Cuba with other countries or even big cities with similar populations to get a very clear picture of the difference in results.

With a population of about 11,350,000 people, Cuba has had – as of February 21 – 45,361 cumulative cases of COVID-19 with 300 deaths.

The Greater New York City area, with a population of about 18,800,00, has a cumulative total of 700,815 cases with 28,888 deaths. Switzerland, with a smaller population than Cuba, about 8,600,000 people, has 550,224 cumulative cases of COVID-19 with 9,226 deaths. How to explain that a country that has far fewer resources than a city like New York or a country like Switzerland can be so much more efficient in its fight against the pandemic?

The answer is simple: the Cuban Revolution of 1959 focused the few resources available in the country on building a health care system that would serve the needs of the people first, and not the interests of the various sectors of privatized medicine, such as medical insurance plans, big pharmaceutical companies and the expensive ‘high-tech’ medicine of which the developed countries are so proud.

Public Health History 

After the Revolution, almost half of the Cuban doctors left the country, greatly limiting the new government’s ability to meet the health needs of its population. The revolutionary government decision was to invest in the training of new health professionals – in people – and to expand access to medical care to the rural population and especially to black Cubans, who had hitherto been left out. In this way, Cuba was able to increase the number of nurses from 2,500 in 1958 to 4,300 a decade later. Through its massive vaccination campaigns, Cuba eliminated polio in 1962, malaria in 1967, neonatal tetanus in 1972, diphtheria in 1979, congenital rubella syndrome in 1989, post-cause meningitis in 1993, rubella in 1995, and tuberculous meningitis in 1997.

Today, Cuba’s infant mortality rate is lower than that of the United States and less than half that of the black population in the United States. By 1983, just over two decades after the Revolution, life expectancy in Cuba had increased to 73.8 years, when in the previous period it had been only 58.8 years.

While many public health experts often attribute the chronic shortage of health care in Latin America to lack of resources, the Cuban Revolution has shown that when limited resources are distributed equitably and with an emphasis on people and prevention, public health outcomes previously unimaginable can be achieved. Neoliberalism, imposed by force in many Southern countries, and chosen by Northern economic elites as the preferred policy in their own countries, led to a path opposite to the Cuban one. And the COVID-19 pandemic is showing very clearly which path was the right one.

In the rich countries of the North, neoliberal austerity has for decades caused successive reductions in health budgets, with cuts especially in the number of qualified personnel available. Cuba, by contrast, has invested in the training of an ever-increasing number of health professionals. When the pandemic arrived, it was clear that Cuba already had the necessary personnel and resource allocation capacity to face such a situation. In the wealthy countries of the North, by contrast, the lack of personnel and public infrastructure was compounded by an inability to take the right measures when these conflicted with established private interests.

Consequently, for the first time, Cuba was asked to bring its aid to some rich and developed Northern countries, such as Italy.

Cuban doctors and other health professionals also took their aid to Andorra and to France’s ultra-marine Caribbean departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe. One cannot imagine a greater demonstration of the bankruptcy of the neoliberal model.

The Cuban Revolution, from its very beginning and despite all the material difficulties faced by the new government, did everything possible to help other countries. In 1963, only four years after the Revolution, still struggling with enormous internal problems, Cuba sent its first medical aid mission to Algeria, a nation devastated after decades of a bloody war of independence against France. In 1966, with the help of 200,000 doses of polio vaccine donated by the Soviet Union, Cuba and its medical personnel, in collaboration with the government of Congo, coordinated the vaccination of more than 61,000 children in what was the first mass vaccination campaign in Africa. To date, Cuba has sent some 124,000 health professionals to provide medical care in more than 154 countries.

Besides this impressive aid brought by its own medical personnel to various parts of the world, another important contribution of Cuba is the training of health professionals, mainly from poor countries, at its Escuela Latino Americana de Medicina (ELAM – Latin American School of Medicine). Founded in 1999, ELAM trains students according to the Cuban model of Medicina General Integral (MGI – General Integral Medicine), focusing mainly on public health and primary care, with a holistic approach to understanding health, including disciplines such as biology, sociology, and politics. ELAM’s foreign students have all expenses paid by the Cuban state, except for airfare. By 2020, ELAM had graduated 30,000 new doctors from over 100 countries, mainly from Africa but including from the poorest areas of the United States. Many of these students would have no chance of studying medicine in their home countries, and upon their return provide an invaluable and sometimes previously unavailable service to their fellow citizens, including, now, care related to the pandemic. According to ELAM, there are about 52,000 health professionals from Cuba working in 92 countries, which means that Cuba has more doctors working abroad than all the health professional contributions of the G-8 countries combined.

Owing to their commitment to the health of people, especially the poorest and most disadvantaged, and not to a privatized health system in which profit determines where and how to allocate resources, Cuban doctors are frequent targets of attacks from the far right in the countries where they work. In Brazil, following the coup d’état against elected president Dilma Rousseff and the illegal ascension to power of Jair Bolsonaro, Cuban doctors had to leave the country. The same occurred in Bolivia after the coup against President Evo Morales and in Honduras after the coup against President Zelaya. In all these cases, it was the poor who suffered the most, for Cuban medical professionals were the only ones providing care previously unavailable to them. In 1979 Cuba sent a medical mission to Grenada, and by 1982 this country saw a 25% reduction in its infant mortality rate, thanks mainly to the work done by Cuban professionals. But the United States invaded Grenada in 1983, and the Cuban health workers were expelled.

Regarding the pandemic of COVID-19, however, the example that perhaps best reveals the disastrous consequences that the combined effect of sending away the Cuban doctors and imposed structural readjustments can cause in a country is the case of Ecuador. Following the election of President Lenin Moreno in 2017, the Cuban health professionals working in this country with the support of the previous President Rafael Correa had to leave, and the International Monetary Fund recommended a 36% cut in the health budget, a measure adopted by President Moreno. These two actions left the country with virtually no health care system, hence no defense in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the city of Guayaquil alone, Ecuador’s largest, with about 2,700 million inhabitants, had an estimated 7,600 deaths due to the pandemic, a number more than 25 times higher than that of all of Cuba.

The medical brigades and ELAM have so far been Cuba’s two greatest contributions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. But another extremely important one is on the way: the Sovereign II vaccine, produced by the Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana. Cuba hopes to immunize its entire population with its own vaccine later this year. Once again, Cuba’s socialist approach to vaccine production differs radically from that adopted by the world’s capitalist nations. The result of Cuba’s international experience, accumulated through its many missions conducted in various parts of the world, the Cuban vaccine is a hope for the poor nations since, again, Cuba’s international solidarity can be counted on. According to an article by W. T. Whitney, Jr:

“100 million doses of Sovereign II are being prepared, enough to immunize all 11 million Cubans, beginning in March or April. The 70 million remaining doses will go to Vietnam, Iran, Pakistan, India, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. Sovereign II ‘will be the vaccine of ALBA’ explained Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, referring to the solidarity alliance established in 2004 by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro.”

The article’s author added:

“‘Cuba’s strategy in commercializing the vaccine represents a combination of what’s good for humankind and the impact on world health. We are not a multinational where a financial objective comes first,’ says Vicente Vérez Bencomo, director of Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute. Income generated by vaccine sales abroad will pay for health care, education, and pensions in Cuba, just as is the case with exports of medical services and medicines.”

In contrast to the Cuban approach, the author further wrote:

“According to in November 2020, ‘If Moderna’s [vaccine] can get FDA approval and can make enough doses, its top line could be nearly $35 billion higher … than … in the last 12 months.” Another report suggests that, ‘The companies (Pfizer and Moderna) stand to earn billions of dollars in profits from their COVID vaccines this year [and] there will be more profits in later years.’ The companies ‘claim the rights to vast amounts of intellectual property’.

“With corporations in charge, distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is skewed. As of January 27, ‘some 66.83 million doses have been sent out, of which 93 percent were supplied to only 15 countries.’ In Latin America, only Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile have secured purchase contracts adequate for immunizing entire populations. The companies’ contracts with African nations allow for immunization of only 30 percent of Africans in 2021. Meaningful immunization has yet to begin there.

“The wealth divide determines distribution. Epidemiologists at Duke University report that, ‘While high-income countries represent only 16% of the world’s population, they currently hold 60% of the vaccines for COVID-19 that have been purchased so far.’ Cuban journalist Randy Alonso reports that only ‘27 percent of the total population of low and middle-income countries can be vaccinated this year’.”

Since its revolution, Cuba has been under uninterrupted attack by the Empire and its accomplices.

Economic sanctions and blockades make its population suffer and harm considerably Cuba’s capacity to keep doing the international work. Even so, this small nation, always so stubborn and generous continues to be a source of hope for the world. Above all, Cuba points the way forward, with great firmness, detachment, courage, and an inexhaustible joy.

Palestinian Youth with Hemophilia Tortured in Israeli Prison

Comment: The “only democracy in the middle east” and “most moral army in the world” is at it again. Did the torture, bloodletting, organ harvesting, terrorism and terrorising of people of all ages, the deception and treachery ever cease?

Despite being hemophilic, Qassem Baghdadi, 20, was tortured in Israeli prisons.

A Palestinian youth who suffers from hemophilia was tortured during interrogation at the infamous Israeli detention center in West Jerusalem, known as the Russian Compound, today said the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

Qassem Baghdadi, 20, from Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, told PPS that while he was held at the Russian compound for two days, he was beaten on the limbs and suffered bleeding in the knees.

Baghdadi was detained for 21 days, most of which he spent at Ofer military and detention camp near Ramallah.

During this time, he was transferred three times to hospitals in Israel following a deterioration in his health.

An Israeli military court ordered to release Baghdadi last night on a 2100 Israeli shekel ($640) bail and was immediately taken to hospital in Ramallah.

This article first appeared on Palestine Chronicle

How Democratic is China?

By Here Comes China

Comment: A must read… with an open mind.

Like America, China is a republic and, like America, says it is democratic, but how democratic is China? A glance at history is always a good starting point

The People are supreme, the state is secondary and the Ruler is the least important: only those who please the people can rule. Mencius[1]

In Roman politics, citizens lost control of politicians after they elected them. It’s one of the system’s greatest weaknesses and it is no wonder that, like our Roman forebears, we regard government as our biggest problem[2]: we cannot compel them to keep their promises.

Imagine that, instead of hiring eloquent amateurs, we hired professionals–sociologists, statisticians, political scientists, economists–and told them to create solutions to our problems identified by publicly conducted surveys. Then they should support state and local governments to implement policy solutions, track public satisfaction with them for a few years and discard failed policies. California would probably try Canadian medicare and if their medical bills fell fifty percent and Californians showed a three year gain in healthy life expectancy, we’d elect a thousand volunteers and send them–all expenses paid–to Washington so they could audit the results and pass legislation.

That’s what China does and it’s why their democracy resembles Proctor & Gamble more than Pericles of Athens.

How Democratic is China–Really?

Read the full article here… You will not be disappointed!