Venezuela | Lebanon | USA

Lucas Koerner: Chavistas Take 17 of 23 States in Venezuelan Regional Elections as Opposition Cries Fraud (Venezuelanalysis)

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela won 54 percent of the total vote, marking a significant recovery since the ruling party’s landslide defeat in 2015 parliamentary elections when it garnered only 43.7 percent of the vote.

After Socialists Win 17 of 23 States, US Claims Venezuela Elections Not ‘Free and Fair’ (teleSUR)

David Hearst: Things that go bump in the night in Riyadh (Middle East Eye)

Saturday night was a busy one for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom’s 32-year old heir to the throne excelled himself. He surpassed the high levels of chaos and human misery he had already achieved as the defence minister who launched the air campaign on Yemen.
First up was the sudden resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri after just one year in office. Hariri made his announcement from Riyadh, which is a curious place to resign the premiership of Lebanon. His speech was hardline anti-Hezbollah and anti-Iran, setting a tone not heard from him in years.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that when he left Lebanon, Hariri had no intention of resigning, that he himself did not know that he would resign and that this resignation had been forced on him by the Saudis.

Adam Garrie: In Stunning Reversal, Saudi Arabia Orders Arrest Of Syrian Opposition Leaders (MPN News)

As part of the wide-scale political purges conducted by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Riyadh has ordered the arrest of Ahmed al-Jarba and Riad Hijab, two formerly Saudi backed proxies, vying to take control of Syria and establish a Takfiri state.
While Ahmed al-Jarba and Riad Hijab never had meaningful support in Syria, Saudi had consistently backed them and their colleagues in an effort to destabilize the secular Ba’athist Arab Republic.

Ajamu Baraka: Race, Repression and Russiagate: Defending Radical Black Self-Determination (CounterPunch)

It is absurd and an insult to argue that Russian propaganda efforts “deepen political and racial tensions in the United States,” as proposed by Julia Ioffe in a recent article in the Atlantic.
But the linking of the legitimate struggle of African/Black people in the United States against systemic oppression with “foreign” influences has been a recurrent feature of the ideological and military containment strategy of the U.S. state ever since the Soviet Union emerged as an international competitor to the four hundred-year-old colonial/capitalist Pan-European project.

Wilfred Burchett: Who Filled the Graves Of Huế? (CounterPunch)

Both Ken Burns and Anthony Bourdain have recently recycled the myth of National Liberation Front massacres in Huế during the Vietnam War. The real story, however, was quite different, as revealed at the time by one of the great correspondents of the era Wilfred Burchett…
The recent attempt to equate the Sơn Mỹ (Mỹ Lai) massacre and scores of other similar atrocities with the so-called “Vietcong massacre at Huế” is a vain attempt to cover up what have been genocidal methods by the United States in South Vietnam since the war started.

Gary Rivlin, Michael Hudson: Government by Goldman (Intercept)

Goldman Sachs had been a favorite cudgel for candidate Trump — the symbol of a government that favors Wall Street over its citizenry. Trump proclaimed that Hillary Clinton was in the firm’s pockets, as was Ted Cruz. It was Goldman Sachs that Trump singled out when he railed against a system rigged in favor of the global elite — one that “robbed our working class, stripped our country of wealth, and put money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.” …
With [Gary] Cohn’s appointment [as director of the president’s National Economic Council], Trump now had three Goldman Sachs alums in top positions inside his administration: Steve Bannon, who was a vice president at Goldman when he left the firm in 1990, as chief strategist, and Steve Mnuchin, who had spent 17 years at Goldman, as Treasury secretary. And there were more to come. A few weeks later, another Goldman partner, Dina Powell, joined the White House as a senior counselor for economic initiatives. Goldman was a longtime client of Jay Clayton, Trump’s choice to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission; Clayton had represented Goldman after the 2008 financial crisis, and his wife Gretchen worked there as a wealth management adviser. And there was the brief, colorful tenure of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director: Scaramucci had been a vice president at Goldman Sachs before leaving to co-found his own investment company…
Prior administrations often had one or two people from Goldman serving in top positions. George W. Bush at one point had three. At its peak, the Trump administration effectively had six. [Clinton had Robert Rubin, Obama had Gary Gensler, …]

Donna Brazile: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC (Politico)
George Ochenski: Hillary Clinton and the DNC: The Fish Rots From the Head (CounterPunch)

Citizens have been swamped by the tidal wave of corruption associated with or emanating from the Trump campaign and presidency, but late last week brought affirmation of a long-held belief that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee rigged the primary campaign against populist Bernie Sanders. The revelations emanated from none other than Donna Brazile, the woman who sat in as the DNC’s chair after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was deposed for exactly the corruption Brazile now exposes. As the old saying goes, “the fish rots from the head” — and there’s a tremendous stench coming from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign that undeniably smells of rot.

Aidan O’Brien: Ever Hear of a Place Called Azawad? How About Timbuktu? (CounterPunch)

It may not be the heart of Africa but it is the key to Africa. Forget about “Niger” and think of Azawad. Think of the bigger and older picture: a region that encompasses northern Mali, southern Algeria, southern Libya, western Niger and northern Burkina Faso.
It’s here – Azawad – where the four US Green Berets were recently killed. And it’s here where the French Foreign Legion has positioned itself in the latest scramble for Africa. The cover story is the “War on Terror”. But don’t be fooled: “white guy rule” has returned to the Sahara.
Timbuktu is the capital of Azawad. The Tuareg are it’s people. And the “white guy” the invader. Located in the center of the Sahara – all roads pass through Azawad. It’s the bridge between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. And so it’s a geopolitical prize that’s attracting every born again Western thug.

Hannah Beech: U.S. Stood By as Indonesia Killed a Half-Million People, Papers Show (New York Times)

It was an anti-Communist blood bath of at least half a million Indonesians. And American officials watched it happen without raising any public objections, at times even applauding the forces behind the killing, according to newly declassified State Department files that show diplomats meticulously documenting the purge in 1965-66.

Vincent Bevings: What the United States Did in Indonesia (Atlantic)

As the documents show, U.S. officials knew most of his victims were entirely innocent. U.S. embassy officials even received updates on the executions and offered help to suppress media coverage…
[A] major problem with framing the events of 1965 is that it’s often claimed the United States simply “stood by,” as the bloodbath occurred, which is incorrect. “It’s easy for American commentators to fall into that approach, but the U.S. was part and parcel of the operation, strategizing with the Indonesian army and encouraging them to go after the PKI.” …
In 1965, when General Suharto blamed the military purge on a PKI coup plot, the CIA supplied communications equipment to help him spread his false reports before moving into power and overseeing the industrial-scale slaughter, as previously released government documents showed…
It has long been known that the United States provided Suharto with active support: In 1990, a U.S. embassy staff member admitted he handed over a list of communists to the Indonesian military as the terror was underway. “It really was a big help to the army,” Robert J. Martens, a former member of the embassy’s political section, told The Washington Post. “They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad.”
Much of the American press at the time did not take a radically different view. In a June 1966 column in The New York Times, entitled “A Gleam of Light in Asia,” James Reston wrote that “The savage transformation of Indonesia from a pro-Chinese policy under Sukarno to a defiantly anti-communist policy under General Suharto is the most important of these [hopeful] developments. Washington is being careful not to claim any credit … but this does not mean Washington had nothing to do with it.”

Bethan McKernan: Five children who got longer sentences for throwing stones than Israeli soldier who shot incapacitated Palestinian dead (Independent)

Syria | Honduras | Nelson Mandela

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: ‘Syria is not a revolution any more – this is civil war’ (Guardian)

Rivalry between rebels and Islamists has replaced the uprising’s lofty ideals, leaving veteran commanders despairing.

Chris Looney: Al-Qaeda’s Governance Strategy in Raqqa (Syria Comment)

Since ISIS came to power in May, its abuse of Raqqa’s citizens has been well documented. It has begun to enforce its extreme interpretation of Islam upon the city’s residents, forcing women to “cover their beauty,” banning tobacco products, and brutally repressing dissident voices.
On the surface, this violence appears to be indiscriminate and irrational. Yet, it is also organized and tactical. For a group that has never before fully controlled a large city, the transition from insurgent to administrator has hardly been smooth. Still, ISIS has managed to develop a robust, systemic strategy of governance for Raqqa that links the city to sister strongholds in Iraq. Through the control of goods and services, ISIS has made the city’s residents dependent on it. As intricate as it is oppressive, this strategy is serving ISIS well; ISIS has consolidated its authority in Raqqa as it expands its reach over much of eastern Syria and Iraq.

Richard Sisk: Hagel Says America’s Syria Policy in Turmoil (

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that infighting among rebel factions in Syria left the U.S. in doubt on how to continue support for rebels in the ongoing civil war that has killed more than 120,000 and sent millions of refugees into neighboring countries.
“It’s not an easy choice between the good guys and the bad guys here,” Hagel said at a Pentagon briefing. “This is a problem — what has occurred here — a big problem,” Hagel said.

Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al Saud: Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone (New York Times)

Saudi Arabia has been friends with our Western partners for decades; for some, like the United Kingdom where I serve as ambassador, for almost a century. These are strategic alliances that benefit us both. Recently, these relationships have been tested — principally because of differences over Iran and Syria.
We believe that many of the West’s policies on both Iran and Syria risk the stability and security of the Middle East. This is a dangerous gamble, about which we cannot remain silent, and will not stand idly by.

Paul Sperry: Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup (New York Post)
Amy Goodman, Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry-Picked” Intelligence on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (Democracy Now)

Amy Goodman, Juan González and Nermeen Shaikh at Democracy Now had a whole series of interviews and stories on Nelson Mandela:
Piero Gleijeses: The Secret History of How Cuba Helped End Apartheid in South Africa (Democracy Now)
Ronnie Kasrils: The Anti-Apartheid Underground: Ronnie Kasrils on Meeting Nelson Mandela in an ANC Safe House in 1962 (Democracy Now)
Ronnie Kasrils: From Marxism to Neoliberalism. Ronnie Kasrils on How Mandela & ANC Shifted Economic Views (Democracy Now)
Andrew Cockburn: “One of Our Greatest Coups”: The CIA & the Capture of Nelson Mandela (Democracy Now)
Lisa Graves: ALEC’s “Institutional Corruption,” From Backing Apartheid to Assault on Clean Energy, Public Sector (Democracy Now)

Mark Weisbrot: Why the world should care about Honduras’ recent election (Guardian)

Hondurans are revolting against the US-backed outcome. There are too many reports of rampant vote-buying, fraud and violence.

Alberto Arce: Honduras candidate makes case for election fraud (Associated Press)

The opposition presidential candidate in last week’s elections in Honduras is citing allegedly altered tally sheets, ballots cast by dead or absent people, and inadequate monitoring of polling stations in her bid to have a recount of a vote she calls fraudulent.

Giorgio Trucchi: Resultados das eleições em Honduras foram alterados, diz observador da União Europeia (Opera mundi) / The Results of the Elections in Honduras were Changed, Says European Union Observer (Upside Down World)

Leo Gabriel, Austrian journalist and member of the EU-EOM, stated that the vast majority of the members of the mission were in strong disagreement with the preliminary report. According to him, the disagreements about what happened on November 24th provoked a heated internal debate. Nonetheless, political calculations and business interests prevailed and [the EU-EOM] preferred to close their eyes and ignore the obvious changes made to the results and the violation of the Honduran people’s will as expressed at the ballot box.

EFE: UE desautoriza a observador que dice elecciones en Honduras fueron tramposas (ABC)
APA: Honduras: Kritik am Bericht der EU-Mission (Standard)
Honduras Election Monitoring Report (Alliance for Global Justice)

A delegation of 55 North Americans, including numerous lawyers, academics, and a sitting judge has issued a report challenging claims that the Honduras election was “peaceful” and “transparent.” The 28-page report documents vote buying, voter intimidation, bias in voting table officers, violence and threats of violence occurring on and before election day, November 24, 2013.

Kim Willsher: French soldier wears Nazi slogan on uniform in Central African Republic (Guardian)

French military chiefs have launched an investigation to after a soldier serving in the Central African Republic was pictured wearing a Nazi slogan on his uniform.
The man, reportedly from an elite parachute regiment, was photographed in fatigues carrying his rifle. On the right sleeve of his uniform was sewn a round patch carrying the number 32 on a French flag and the words “Meine Ehre heisst Treue” (“my honour is loyalty”). The motto was used by Nazi Waffen-SS soldiers during the second world war and is banned in a number of countries including Germany and Austria…
The controversy follows a similar row in November, when a French soldier in Mali was photographed wearing a scarf printed with a death mask. In 2008, three French soldiers from another parachute regiment, also based in south-west France, were photographed making a Hitler salute while wrapped in a Nazi flag bearing a swastika.

Portugal | Mali | Bradley Manning | Israel/Palestine | Ṣabrā and Šātīlā | Iran

Mark Bergfeld: Portugal: “I Prefer the Horses in My Lasagne to the Donkeys in the Government” (MRzine)

Franklin C. Spinney: Africa and AFRICOM. Neo-Imperialism and the Arrogance of Ignorance (CounterPunch)

Although recent reports have tended to focus on the French effort to kick Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) out of Mali — an effort that may now be devolving into a far more complex guerrilla war, that French operation is just one operation in what may be shaping up to be a 21st Century version of the 19th Century Scramble for the resources of Africa.

Map: Conflicts in Africa (Le monde diplomatique)

Marjorie Cohn: The Uncommon Courage of Bradley Manning (MRzine)

Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: What killed Arafat Jaradat? (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Amira Hass: After Palestinian dies in Shin Bet hands, time to question the interrogators (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
For years, Palestinian detainees and prisoners have complained about sleep deprivation, painful and prolonged handcuffing, humiliation, beatings and medical neglect. By international standards, this is torture.
Jodi Rudoren, Khaled Abu Aker: Palestinians Dispute Israel’s Findings on a Prisoner’s Death (New York Times)
Amira Hass: שופט קופי־פייסט / A copy-and-paste verdict for every Palestinian (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

On Jan. 14, a military judge heard nine appeals of administrative detention orders issued to Palestinian residents of the West Bank. In each case, the judge revoked the appeals, providing the same decision – word for word. …
The IDF Spokesman’s Office commented, “Judge Moshe Tirosh is a veteran jurist who has served in the reserves as a judge on the military court of appeals for many years. Every decision made by him includes a full and detailed discussion of every order, whatever it may be. …” …
The military courts are a conveyor belt that convicts every Palestinian in advance, because every Palestinian, in advance, opposes the military regime that has been imposed on him and that has given rise to the military court system. But administrative detention guarantees this military system a particularly easy time. A person is arrested without knowing what the suspicions against him are. The prosecution does not have to bother preparing an indictment, bringing in witnesses and evidence, or dealing with the defense’s questions.

Gideon Levy: 800 אלף / Eight hundred thousand (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

The same society that was so upset by the fate of a single prisoner, Gilad Shalit, does not even begin to grasp the depth of distress the Palestinians feel over the thousands of their people who are in prison. Eight hundred thousand. That is the number of Palestinian residents arrested and imprisoned in Israeli jails since the beginning of the occupation, according to The New York Times. Almost a million people.

Reuters: Israel mistreats Palestinian children in custody, UNICEF reports (Haaretz)
Alistair Dawber: Israel’s Palestinian-only buses prompt apartheid comparisons (Independent)
Chaim Levinson: ממחר: קווי אוטובוס נפרדים לפועלים פלסטינים ולמתנחלים | Israel introduces ‘Palestinian only’ bus lines, following complaints from Jewish settlers (Haaretz)

Starting on Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs. … Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

Roi Mandel: Sharon in 1983: Israel could be accused of genocide (Yedioth Ahronoth)
Ofer Aderet: אחרי סברה ושתילה: שרון חשש שיואשם ברצח עם / Ariel Sharon feared genocide charges over Israel’s role in Sabra and Shatila (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

Sharon read out to the cabinet the 1950 statute against genocide, and warned that in his interpretation they could all be considered accomplices to the massacre, according to the letter of the law. To illustrate this, he elaborated on the roles of accomplices.
“We all urged this, we all enabled it, by asking them (the Phalangist Christian militias) to enter the camps. We were present, we lit up the area and we evacuated casualties. It is common knowledge that we were in the area to keep the opposition away, and we did not isolate it from other areas. We kept forces in the area to ensure the mission was carried out, and in case they ran into trouble and needed help getting out.”

Setz Anziska: A Preventable Massacre (New York Times)

Contrary to Prime Minister Begin’s earlier assurances, Defense Minister Sharon said the occupation of West Beirut was justified because there were “2,000 to 3,000 terrorists who remained there.” Mr. Draper (U.S. envoy Morris Draper) disputed this claim; having coordinated the August evacuation, he knew the number was minuscule. Mr. Draper said he was horrified to hear that Mr. Sharon was considering allowing the Phalange militia into West Beirut. Even the I.D.F. chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, acknowledged to the Americans that he feared “a relentless slaughter.” …
Mr. Draper warned that critics would say, “Sure, the I.D.F. is going to stay in West Beirut and they will let the Lebanese go and kill the Palestinians in the camps.”
Mr. Sharon replied: “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism.”
Mr. Draper responded: “We are not interested in saving any of these people.”

Ofer Aderet: ‘Israel misled U.S. diplomats during Sabra and Shatila massacre’ (Haaretz)

Another Israeli official who feared a massacre was Deputy Prime Minister David Levy. On September 16, during a cabinet meeting at which the ministers learned that the Phalange had been allowed into the camps, he said, “I know what the meaning of revenge is for them, what kind of slaughter. Then no one will believe we went in to create order there, and we will bear the blame.” …
After Draper argued that Israel will be blamed for letting the Lebanese kill the Palestinians in the camps, Sharon replied, “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism…If you don’t want the Lebanese to kill them, we will kill them.”

Nima Shirazi: The Talented Mr. Takeyh (MRzine)

Canada | Mali | Syria | Palestine/Israel | USA

May sent this article:
Martin Lukacs: Canada’s First Nations protest heralds a new alliance (Guardian)

Philippe Leymarie: Mali, a country divided / Au Mali, les belligérants s’impatientent (Monde diplomatique)
Alexander Mezyaev: Military Intervention in Mali: Special Operation to Recolonize Africa (Global Research)
Tony Cartalucci: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue” (Global Research)
Philippe Noudjenoume: Françafrique : Lettre ouverte au président François Hollande (Pambazuka)
Bernard Schmid: Doppelte Mission in Mali (Telepolis)

Harriet Sherwood: Russia condemns Israeli air strike on Syria (Guardian)
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: Syrian rebels sidetracked by scramble for spoils of war (Guardian)
Wilhelm Langthaler: On vice-president Sharaa’s proposal for a political solution (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Israeli settlements symbolise the acute lack of justice experienced by the Palestinian people (UN Commissioner on Human Rights)
Cleansing the Jordan Valley (Haaretz)
Ken Klippenstein, Norman Finkelstein: The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights (CounterPunch)
Laila el-Haddad: What’s Really Going On at Rafah? (al-Shabaka)

The Rafah Crossing remains the sole passage in and out of Gaza for all its residents. At the present time, its operation and usage remains under the control of Egypt and managed by Israeli guidelines. And as last month’s incident demonstrates, the situation remains unstable and the Crossing itself unreliable. Unlike airports or traditional border crossings, it is still liable to be completely shut down at a moment’s notice, stranding both Palestinians, and their economy. So far, Egyptian policies on the crossing have not departed from those of years past. It remains to be seen whether the Mursi government’s meetings with Hamas can or will bring change.

Saree Makdisi: If Not Two States, Then One (New York Times)
Ali Abunimah: Mahmoud Abbas’ real “accomplishment” was not the UN vote on Palestine (AlJazeera)
Ramzy Baroud: The Palestinian Prisoners’ Intifada (CounterPunch)
Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: An infiltration thwarted, a Palestinian youth left to die (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
David Horowitz: A different Israel after January 22 (Times of Israel)

The elections [in Israel] will almost certainly yield a leadership that firmly rejects Palestinian statehood and adamantly champions settlement expansion — not so much because the electorate is swinging heavily to the right, but because the right has already swung heavily to the far right

Zeev Sternhell: הנחש משיל את עורו / Likud casts off its skin (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google News)

[C]ontrary to the Labor Party leader’s opinion, the average Israeli knows that the future of society will be decided in the territories. He also knows that the Likud intends to annex the territories without granting citizenship to its residents. Once that was a marginal, semi-subversive opinion – today it’s the viewpoint of the official leadership. Only Netanyahu, for fear of the Americans, is still playing the two-states game. Therefore, anyone who gives his vote to the right today is voting … in favor of an apartheid state in the full sense of the word.
The right has already decided that municipal autonomy is sufficient for the Palestinians: Self-rule and the right to self-determination are reserved for the Jews. In other words, the members of the Chosen People are entitled not only to the right to be their own masters, but to rule over the Palestinians as well. Such chutzpah … is unparalleled in today’s world. Suddenly in the post-colonial world comes a country that without batting an eyelash appropriates the right to enslave another nation, and calls itself an enlightened country that is fulfilling the Jewish people’s desire for freedom. … That’s how the Israelis are eliminating their country’s right to exist, with their own hands.
Annexing the territories is already creating a situation that no Western society can tolerate, because there is not a single country in the West that does not guarantee the equality of all the people living within its borders.

Gideon Levy: לאומנות השמאל / The racism of leftist nationalism (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google News)

The left-center bloc is no less racist and nationalist than the right. But unlike the right, it is racist and nationalist without emotion. …
Defense Minister Ehud Barak was the first to foster leftist nationalism when he said: “We are here and they are there.” That is, we also hate Arabs, but our solution is better. We’ll build a wall and let them rot behind it. We’ll give them a state and let them wallow in it. The main thing is for them to get out of our sight. … Tzipi Livni says correct things about the two-state solution, but she preaches from nationalist motives. She wants a state without (many) Arabs, a Jewish state, which she defines as a nationalist state. Israel for the Jews. Just like France for the French and Germany for the Germans. In French and German this sounds terrible; only in Hebrew does it pass muster. Not a word about morality and human rights for all.
Labor Party chief Shelly Yacimovich, meanwhile, makes firm and correct statements about social justice and discrimination, but she only wants justice for Jews.

Amy Goodman, Marcy Wheeler: Obama’s Cheney? “Assassination Czar” John Brennan Brings Legacy of Drone War and Torture to CIA Nod (Democracy Now)
Amy Goodman, Baher Azmy: 4 Years After Vow to Close Gitmo, Why Has Obama Signed NDAA Bill Barring Transfer of Its Prisoners? (Democracy Now)

Andre Vltchek: The Irrational, Racist Fear of China (CounterPunch)

South Africa | Philippines | USA | Syria | Palestine | Mali | Afghanistan | Wikileaks

Julie Hyland: South Africa: ANC orders security clampdown against miners’ revolt (WSWS)

More than 40,000 workers are now on strike, forcing three leading platinum and gold producers to halt their operations. …
The Marikana massacre was the worst act of police brutality since the days of apartheid. Some 270 miners arrested during the assault were then charged with complicity in the deaths of their 34 colleagues under the notorious apartheid-era “common purpose law”.
Although the charges have been dropped for now, the latest operation has underscored that the interests of the same multinational and South African firms that profited under apartheid remain intact. The Regulation of Gatherings Act now being enforced by the ANC was notoriously employed by the apartheid government. …
[T]he ANC and its partners in the NUM and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) have as little legitimacy as the white minority regime the ANC replaced 18 years before.
Comprising a thin layer of wealthy and corrupt black officials, they have been the sole beneficiaries of the post-apartheid policy of “black economic empowerment”.

Richard Javad Heydarian: Philippines on frontline of US-China rivalry (Asia Times)

… Manila is turning back on almost two decades of relative strategic independence, beginning with the Philippine Senate’s refusal in 1991 to extend the US’s lease at Subic Bay naval base, a military presence nationalistic lawmakers then assailed as a vestige of colonialism and affront to national sovereignty.
Fast forward to the present, Manila is now actively, if not desperately, courting US military support vis-a-vis China.

Amy Goodman: “Effective Evil” or Progressives’ Best Hope? Glen Ford vs. Michael Eric Dyson on Obama Presidency (Democracy Now)

GLEN FORD: … [W]e at Black Agenda Report have for some time been saying that Obama is not the lesser of evils, but the more effective evil. And we base that on his record and also on his rhetoric at the convention. So, we would prefer to talk about what history-making events have gone down under his presidency.
He’s, first of all, created a model for austerity, a veritable model, with his deficit reduction commission. He’s introduced preventive detention, a law for preventive detention. He’s expanded the theaters of war in drone wars, and he’s made an unremitting assault on international law. And I think that possibly the biggest impact, his presidency—and I’m not talking about his—all this light and airy stuff from the convention, but actual deeds—I think probably what will go down as his biggest contribution to history is a kind of merging of the banks and the state, with $16 trillion being infused into these banks, into Wall Street, under his watch, and the line between Wall Street and the federal government virtually disappearing.

Alison Weir: The Democrats’ Jerusalem Arithmetic (CounterPunch)

Corey Oakley: The left, imperialism and the Syrian revolution (Socialist Alternative)
Antonin Amado, Marc de Miramon: Syria’s propaganda war / Syrie, champ de bataille médiatique ‍(Monde diplomatique)
Karin Leukefeld: Jetzt dominieren Last-Minute-Revolutionäre (Neues Deutschland)

Der syrische Oppositionelle Haytham Manna sieht ursprüngliche Ziele der Erhebung in Gefahr

Naima El Moussaoui: Abschied von einer Zwei-Staaten-Lösung (Qantara)

Sari Nusseibeh, prominenter palästinensischer Philosoph und Präsident der Al-Quds Universität in Jerusalem, hält eine Zwei-Staaten-Lösung nicht mehr für realistisch. In seinem neuen Buch “Ein Staat für Palästina?” favorisiert er stattdessen einen binationalen Staat oder eine Konföderation zweier Staaten.

Jacques Delcroze: The Malian model falls apart / Effondrement du rêve démocratique au Mali (Monde diplomatique)

Christian Parenti: Ideology and Electricity: The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan (Nation) / Wer war Nadschibullah? (Monde diplomatique)

Mark Weisbrot: Assange case: Sweden’s shame in violating human rights (AlJazeera)

Mali | Egypt | Assange-Nasrallah | Iran | Britain

Firoze Manji, Amy Goodman: Tuareg Rebels in Mali Declare Independence: Part of an African Awakening for Self-Determination? (Democracy Now)
Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality: U.S. Hands Off Mali! (MRzine)

Harriet Sherwood: Egypt cancels Israeli gas contract (Guardian)
Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel: Egypt gas chief: Government not involved in decision to cut off supply to Israel / ראש הרשות המצרית לגז ודלק: הממשלה לא ידעה על ביטול ההסכם עם ישראל (Haaretz)

Julian Assange: Nasrallah (RT)

Seymour M. Hersh: Our Men in Iran? (New Yorker)

National Archives (Guardian)

Ian Cobain, Owen Bowcott, Richard Norton-Taylor: Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes Review finds thousands of papers detailing shameful acts were culled, while others were kept secret illegally | Owen Bowcott: Colonial Office files detail ‘eliminations’ to choke Malayan insurgency Documents transferred to National Archives lay bare how communist groups were targeted in long jungle war | Richard Norton-Taylor: Diego Garcia archives shed light on fate of deported Chagos islanders Foreign Office told its officials in 1970 to describe islanders as ‘contract labourers’ engaged to work on coconut plantations | Alan Travis: Thatcher government toyed with evacuating Liverpool after 1981 riots National Archives files reveal ministerial warning to PM not to spend money on deprived city, saying decline was largely self-inflicted | Richard Norton-Taylor: MI5 spied on Charlie Chaplin after FBI asked for help to banish him from US British agency concluded that actor – described by US counterparts as ‘parlour Bolshevik’ – was no security risk

Egypt | Syria | Mali | China | Australia | Israel

Anna-Maria Steiner, Wilhelm Langthaler: Sinful Islamists? (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Interview with Mohamed Wakid on the current stage of the Tahrir movement, the role of the military as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and the United States’ line.

Rami Khrais: Islamism: The Phobia of Arab Elites (al-Akhbar)

Alain Gresh: Deadlock over Syria / Onde de choc syrienne / Der syrische Knoten (Monde diplomatique)

Philippe Leymarie: The Sahel falls apart / Kiel Sahelo fariĝis eksplodejo / Comment le Sahel est devenu une poudrière / Aufstand der Tuareg (Monde diplomatique)

The military coup which ousted Mali’s president Amadou Toumani Touré in late March has only added to the confusion across the Sahara-Sahel region, caught between Tuareg rebellions and acts of terrorism by North Africa’s al-Qaida franchise.

Heiko Khoo: Finance, private business and the Wenzhou model (
Tom Bramble: Australian imperialism and the rise of China (International Viewpoint)

Gideon Levy: Israelis can be angry with Günter Grass, but they must listen to him / לכעוס על גראס, ולהקשיב (Haaretz)
AP: Günter Grass: In banning me, Israel’s Interior Minister resembles German Stasi chief (Haaretz)
A short list of Israel’s past unwelcome guests / גראס לא לבד: מסורבי הכניסה הבולטים בשנים האחרונות (Haaretz)
Barak Ravid: Israeli official: 40% of names on Shin Bet fly-in blacklist were not activists / הרשימות השחורות נופחו לפני המטס, וכללו גם אזרחים תמימים ודיפלומטים (Haaretz)

Security service had no evidence that 470 of the 1,200 people whom Israel labeled as ‘pro-Palestinian activists’ intended to do anything illegal, source says; French diplomat and his wife among those whose tickets to Israel were canceled.

Israel should greet pro-Palestinian activists with flowers / קבלו אותם בפרחים (Haaretz)

יש משהו סמלי בסמיכות העתים בין המשא ומתן של שש המדינות עם איראן, שנפתח אתמול באיסטנבול, לבין מבצע גירושם של פעילי שלום שמתכננים להגיע היום לנמל התעופה בן-גוריון, בדרכם לגדה המערבית; איראן מונעת את כניסתם של פקחי הסוכנות הבינלאומית לאנרגיה אטומית (סבב”א) למתקני הגרעין שלה, כדי לדווח על הנעשה בהם. ישראל החליטה למנוע את כניסתם של פעילי זכויות אדם לשטחים הכבושים, כדי לדווח על מצב זכויות האדם באזור. ישראל נוקטת צעדים קיצוניים למניעת הטסתם של הפעילים, עד כדי איומים על חברות תעופה. כוחות הביטחון נערכים לגירוש אלה מהם שיגיעו למסוף הנוסעים.
There’s something symbolic about the fact that the six-nation talks with Iran and the operation to deport peace activists landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport are happening around the same time. Iran has prevented the International Atomic Energy Agency from entering its nuclear facilities to report on what’s going on there, and Israel is preventing human rights activists from entering the occupied territories to check up on human rights.

Syria | USA | Mali | Germany-Israel | Marxism

Steven Lee Myers: U.S. Joins Effort to Equip and Pay Rebels in Syria (New York Times)
Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses (Human Rights Watch)
Andreas Zumach, Norman Paech: Soll die Staatengemeinschaft humanitär intervenieren? (WOZ)

Robert W. McChesney, John Nichols: The Bull Market (Monthly Review)

William Moseley: Mali’s coup must be widely condemned (AlJazeera)
William Moseley: Massive corruption does not justify Malian coup (AlJazeera)

This poem by Günter Grass was published on the same day in German, Italian and Spanish, and later an English translation came out.
Günter Grass: Was gesagt werden muss (Süddeutsche) / Lo que hay que decir (El País) / Quello che deve essere detto (La repubblica) / What Must Be Said (Guardian)
The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Emmanuel Nahshon, said in an official statement about this poem: “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder.”
Tom Segev: Günter Grass’ poem is more pathetic than anti-Semitic / לא אנטישמי, פתטי (Haaretz)

One of the parties to the debate in Israel is former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who shares Grass’ view that Iran should not be bombed. Dagan broke the security official’s proverbial vow of silence and hasn’t stopped talking. He should be closely listened to because few people know more about Iran than he does. …
אחד האנשים הנוטלים חלק בוויכוח המתנהל בישראל הוא מאיר דגן, ראש המוסד לשעבר. הוא שותף לדעתו של גראס שאין להפציץ את איראן. גם דגן “שבר שתיקה” ומאז אינו מפסיק לדבר. יש עניין רב להקשיב לו ולכאורה גם סיבות טובות להסכים אתו, שכן ספק אם יש בעולם מישהו היודע על איראן יותר ממנו.
[Grass] was right to assume that after his anti-Israeli comments he will be accused of anti-Semitism. Grass, it seems, feels compelled to address unwarranted accusations. Either way, you can relax, Mr. Grass. You’ve written a rather pathetic poem, but you’re not anti-Semitic. You’re not even anti-Israel; in any event, not more than Dagan is.
הוא הניח, בצדק, שבעקבות דבריו נגד המדיניות הגרעינית של ישראל יואשם באנטישמיות. קשה להשתחרר מהרושם שיש לו צורך נפשי להתמודד עם השמצות שאינן מגיעות לו. כך או כך – הירגע, מר גראס: כתבת שיר פתטי למדי, אבל אתה לא אנטישמי. אפילו לא “אנטי-ישראלי”. על כל פנים, לא יותר מראש המוסד לשעבר מאיר דגן.

Syria | Mali | Nigeria | Uganda | Britain | Palestine | Israel-Iran

As‘ad Abukhalil: Opposition to the Syrian Opposition: Against the Syrian National Council (Jadaliyya)

The Syrian people have every right to protest, peacefully and violently, against the brutal regime. But let us be clear; the Syrian regime has no right to stay in power, and this was true even before it began using violence to quell the uprising. And let us be clear; the Syrian regime is incapable of reforming itself.
It is rather foolish to wait for a group to ascend to power before criticizing it. There was no mystery as to the intentions and agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafis or even the Khomeini movement, before their taking the reigns of power. Similarly, the adversaries of the Ba’ath Party began opposing it long before the former began conspiring to seize power by force. Today, it is imperative that an opposition to the Syrian National Council (SNC) begins (and to the power behind it and underneath it) before they get a chance to rule Syria. This North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-supported movement does not really differ from the NATO-supported movement that served as a tool of NATO in Libya.

Vijay Prashad: Counterterrorism’s blindness: Mali and the US (Pambazuka)
Teju Cole: The White Savior Industrial Complex (Atlantic)
Max Fisher: The Soft Bigotry of Kony 2012 (Atlantic)

Tariq Ali: Born Again! George Galloway Stuns Labor, Shakes Up Britain (CounterPunch)

Akiva Eldar: Israel Defense Ministry plan earmarks 10 percent of West Bank for settlement expansion / מאות אלפי דונמים בשטחי הגדה המערבית מופו להרחבת התנחלויות (Haaretz)
Christoph Sydow: Israel will Siedlungsbau massiv ausweiten (Spiegel)
Ben White: Plan for Negev mass expulsions moves forward (Electronic Intifada)
Uri Avnery: The New Mandela (CounterPunch)
Mark Perry: Israel’s Secret Staging Ground (Foreign Policy)

U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?

Israel sucht Kampfbasis in Aserbaidschan (Spiegel)

Alexander Cockburn: You Really Think the Killers of Trayvon Martin and Those 16 Afghan Villagers Will Ever Do Time? (CounterPunch)