News Release Archive - Imperialism

Facing Starvation and Sanctions, How Does Afghanistan Move Forward?

 via Wikimedia Commons

Jim Lobe’s “Out of sight, out of mind: Afghanistan vanishes from U.S. news” in Responsible Statecraft states: “New data shows stunning plunge in coverage, just as the humanitarian crisis — much of it caused by Washington sanctions — peaks.” See accuracy.org news release: “As Afghans Face Starvation, U.S. and UN Sanctions Tighten the Screws.”

ZAHER WAHAB, zwahab@lclark.edu
Professor emeritus at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education, Wahab was senior adviser to the education ministry from 2002 to 2006.

He states that the U.S. government’s goal in Afghanistan was “not progress or nation-building” but rather “ideological, geopolitical, hegemonic, imperial.”

“The 20-year occupation was run with massive corruption and cronyism” leading to a hollowed state which “allowed the president and his gang to betray the nation.” Former president Ashraf Ghani recently denied widespread reports that he fled the country with over $100 million.

Wahab outlines a plan to rescue Afghanistan by forming a “really inclusive and meritocratic government,” “open the banks, reactivate the healthcare system,” expel foreign fighters and a host of other steps.

He stated that the U.S. government must take steps including:

* “Engage and recognize the Afghan government
* “Unfreeze ALL Afghan assets.
* “End ALL sanctions.
* “Cease all political, economic, diplomatic, psychological, drone, and proxy warfare against Afghanistan.
* “Provide immediate massive humanitarian assistance.
* “Return all the assets stolen in different forms by Afghans, Afghan-Americans, Americans NGOs, others.”

Pentagon “Cover-up” in Kabul Drone Killing of Family Continues

No U.S. Troops Will Be Punished for Deadly Kabul Strike, Pentagon Chief Decides,” the New York Times reports this afternoon. “The military initially defended the August strike, which killed 10 civilians including seven children, in the days afterward, but ultimately called it a tragic mistake.”

The group BanKillerDrones.org responded: “Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, in declining to punish any military personnel for the August 29 drone slaughter of 10 members of the Ahmadi family in Kabul, Afghanistan, is continuing the Biden administration’s cover-up of who and what technology was indeed responsible for the attack, including, possibly, protecting the White House if the President was involved.”

“If the Pentagon wants to come clean about this horrific event,” said Nick Mottern, a co-coordinator of BanKillerDrones.org, “it will release documents and video tapes that show who was responsible for key decisions and what technological failings were responsible. If President Biden was involved in the decision, we must know that.”

The Air Force’s inspector general, Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, insisted that the strike has to be considered in the context of the moment, with American officials at a heightened state of alert after a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport three days earlier killed about 170 civilians and 13 U.S. troops. “The broader context the Pentagon should acknowledge was clarified by Daniel Hale, the drone whistleblower who disclosed that innocent Afghan civilians were killed in 90 percent of the U.S. drone attacks during a five month period,” said Kathy Kelly, also with BanKillerDrones. “U.S. attacks slaughtering civilians have been routine,” Kelly added. “The unusual aspect of the August 29th attack was that international media exposed the murder of civilians and the pernicious initial claim that this was a ‘righteous attack.’”

Daniel Hale, sentenced to 45 months in prison, is serving time at U.S. Penitentiary Marion. In his own words, the only thing that Daniel Hale did wrong is that he “stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life. I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretend things weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.”

“Austin’s announcement indicates that the slaughter in Kabul on August 29 was business as usual,” said Brian Terrell, also with the group. “The slaughter of the Ahmadi family is what happens when all the proper protocols are followed, and this was not a matter of botches by individuals who were properly doing their jobs that day, as Secretary Austin indicates, but of gross failures within the system, human and technological, that have been routinely accepted. If this happens when the system is working as it should, then it is not a problem that can be fixed short of shutting down the weaponized drone program altogether.”“It is also shocking that the U.S. government has still not enabled the Ahmadi family to come to the U.S. and guaranteed them reparations,” Mottern said. BanKillerDrones has called on the U.S. government to compensate the family $3 million for each family member killed, based on the $3 million that the U.S. gave to the family of Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian citizen killed in a mistaken U.S. drone attack in Pakistan in 2015.

BanKillerDrones.org is working to achieve an international treaty banning weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance.

Contact: Kathy Kelly, kathy.vcnv@gmail.com

Nick Mottern, nickmottern@gmail.com
Brian Terrell, brian1956Terrell@gmail.com

Why Won’t Biden — and Others — Admit Israel Has Nuclear Weapons?

America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes” by Peter Beinart in Wednesday’s New York Times states: “American politicians sometimes say an Iranian bomb would pose an ‘existential’ threat to Israel. That’s a dubious claim, given that Israel possesses a nuclear deterrent it can deploy on air, land and sea. But many Americans find the claim plausible because, according to recent polling conducted by Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, barely 50 percent know Israel has nuclear weapons. A higher percentage thinks Tehran has the bomb.”

SAM HUSSEINI, samhusseini@gmail.com, @samhusseini
An independent journalist now writing at Substack, Husseini has questioned numerous U.S. officials who have refused to acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. See “The Absurd U.S. Stance on Israel’s Nukes: A Video Sampling of Denial.” He notes that Archbishop Desmond Tutu had a piece shortly before Biden became president: “Joe Biden should end the U.S. pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons: The cover-up has to stop — and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.” Husseini is also senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Grant Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and has written extensively on U.S. policy on Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal including the piece “Challenging the secret ‘Israel Nuclear Weapons Gag Order’ WNP-136.”

Smith notes of the Beinart piece: “The key point is missed: If the U.S. acknowledges Israel’s nuclear weapons, it also acknowledges it has been supplying unlawful foreign aid to Israel since the mid-1970’s.” Grant estimates this totals nearly $300 billion.

Last year he wrote letters to several members of Congress who have voiced criticism of Israel, noting: “I believe your coalition has far more influence on the matter of foreign aid than it may realize. In 2016 and 2017 we sued the administration(s) over violations of the Arms Export Control Act, but did not prevail for lack of standing. Your coalition does not have such issues.”

See IPA news release: “Could Congress Cut off Funding to Israel by Acknowledging its Nuclear Weapons?

Biden Escalates Cuba Sanctions, Reneges on Campaign Promise

During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden said he would “go back” to the Barack Obama policy of engagement with Cuba, but late last week, rather than easing the additional sanctions Donald Trump put on Cuba, he added even more of his own.

Said Biden: “This is just the beginning — the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people.”

JAMES EARLY, early1947@aol.com
Early has visited Cuba many times over 45 years. He is the former Smithsonian Institution assistant secretary for education and public service and was director of its Cultural Heritage Policy Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. He is currently a board member at the Institute for Policy Studies — see his articles on Cuba and socialism on their website.

Early positively noted the recent statement from Black Lives Matter on Cuba.

He said today: “More sanctions is another step into deepening draconian Trump Cuba policy, another step into betrayal of Biden-Harris Cuba campaign policy, which attracted many progressive and democratic socialist votes in line with large public support to renew the progress of Barack Obama-Raul Castro full diplomatic relations. It’s a blatant unilateral dismissal of the overwhelming global UN vote to dismantle the embargo, further highlighting the U.S. as a ‘rogue state.’ Expansion of sanctions on individual governance figures does not give relief to the Cuban people and encourages the U.S. Cuban interventionist rightwing in South Florida who are pushing Biden-Harris further into 60 years of failed Cuba diplomacy.” Early argued that Biden’s actions indicated “that progressive voters should seek alternative candidates in 2022 and 2024 that will keep promises” to voters and supporters and back “policies to dismantle sanctions and the embargo and join the rest of the world in working out differences with Cuba through legal UN accords.”

Last month, 184 countries called for an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba, with only the U.S. and Israel voting in the negative.

Monday morning, the U.S. State Department released a statement with several other countries including Israel, Kosovo, Brazil, Colombia and Ukraine joining in condemning the Cuban government’s treatment of protesters. “They exercised universal freedoms of expression and assembly, rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” the statement read. In fact, the U.S. government is in constant transgression against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Is Biden Obscuring Root Causes of Migration?

CommonDreams reports: “Outrage as Biden Says Fate of Immigration Reform Is ‘For the Parliamentarian to Decide.’

AVIVA CHOMSKY, achomsky@salemstate.edu
    Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Her new book is Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration.

    She just wrote the piece “Migration Is Not the Crisis: What Washington Could Really Do in Central America” for TomDispatch: “Earlier this month, a Honduran court found David Castillo, a U.S.-trained former Army intelligence officer and the head of an internationally financed hydroelectric company, guilty of the 2016 murder of celebrated Indigenous activist Berta Cáceres. His company was building a dam that threatened the traditional lands and water sources of the Indigenous Lenca people. For years, Cáceres and her organization, the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, had led the struggle to halt that project. It turned out, however, that Cáceres’s international recognition — she won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 — couldn’t protect her from becoming one of the dozens of Latin American Indigenous and environmental activists killed annually.

    “Yet when President Joe Biden came into office with an ambitious ‘Plan for Security and Prosperity in Central America,’ he wasn’t talking about changing policies that promoted big development projects against the will of local inhabitants. Rather, he was focused on a very different goal: stopping migration. His plan, he claimed, would address its ‘root causes.’ Vice President Kamala Harris was even blunter when she visited Guatemala, instructing potential migrants: ‘Do not come.'”As it happens, more military and private development aid of the sort Biden’s plan calls for (and Harris boasted about) won’t either stop migration or help Central America. It’s destined, however, to spark yet more crimes like Cáceres’s murder. There are other things the United States could do that would aid Central America. The first might simply be to stop talking about trying to end migration. …

    “It’s true that Central America is indeed plagued by poverty, violence, and corruption, but if Biden were willing to look at the root causes of his root causes, he might notice that his aren’t the solutions to such problems, but their source. …

    “We could undo the harmful provisions of the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yes, Central American governments beholden to Washington did sign on to it, but that doesn’t mean that the agreement benefited the majority of the inhabitants in the region. In reality, what CAFTA did was throw open Central American markets to U.S. agricultural exports, in the process undermining the livelihoods of small farmers there. …”

Propaganda Campaign Against Cuba

JAMES EARLY, early1947@aol.com
Early has visited Cuba many times over 45 years. He is the former Smithsonian Institution assistant secretary for education and public service and was director of its Cultural Heritage Policy Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

He said today: “The widely propagated U.S. media reports and images in support of public demonstrations in Cuba and criticism of the Cuban government have invited proposals to punish the Cuban government by continuing and expanding draconian Trump administration policies. This would lead to further deterioration of the already suffering national economy, heighten frustrations of Cubans across the ideological and political spectrum, and plummet the material quality of life for all Cubans caused mainly by the global pandemic and U.S. economic warfare called the ‘Cuban Embargo’ by the U.S. government, and ‘Blockade’ by Cubans. …

Early called for scrutiny of “blame pronounced in U.S. mainstream media and the threadbare standard propaganda of Democratic and Republican Party administrations” against Cuba.

He stressed that there has been more open, internal criticism within Cuba: “Contrary to President Biden’s uninformed or intentional mischaracterization of recent protests in Cuba that the Cuban government is denying the needs of its citizens to ‘enrich themselves,’ Cuban President Diaz Canal Bermudez has proactively convened government officials and Cuban citizens to assert national sovereignty and assume responsibility for informing the nation of the causes of their economic predicament, including inefficiencies in government economic plans, and explained proposals for resolving the crisis and public conflicts without external intervention. …

“We urgently call upon all U.S. citizens to demand that the Biden-Harris administration implement its campaign promise to drop Trump Cuba policy, which he said has ‘inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights,’ to restart normal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States crafted by former presidents Barak Obama and Raul Castro, and take immediate steps to dismantle the inhumane and illegal embargo economic warfare against the Cuban people and the Cuban government.”

See in-depth pieces and interviews with Early on The Real News, including on Cuba.

Last month, UN News reported: “A total of 184 countries … voted in favour of a resolution to demand the end of the U.S. economic blockade on Cuba, for the 29th year in a row, with the United States and Israel voting against.”

Haiti, Cuba and U.S. Interference

KIM IVES, kives15@gmail.com, @kimives13
    Ives is the English language editor for Haiti Liberté and has recently been interviewed on “Anti-Empire Project” and “Democracy Now!” and other programs following the assassination of Jovenel Moïse.

    The New York Times states: “Haitian Officials Say U.S.-Based Suspect in President’s Killing Was Seeking Power.”

    Ives states that many in Haiti assess that the assassination is linked to wealthy families in Haiti. Ives notes: “Moïse’s government had issued an arrest warrant for Reginald Boulos, perhaps the most prominent member of this sector, and was on the verge of seizing his facilities in Haiti. On top of that, the entire bourgeoisie was panicked” because of the “growing organization of armed groups in Haiti’s impoverished shantytowns. Their leader, former police officer Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier last week declared a ‘revolution’ against the bourgeoisie, saying that the people were preparing to raid their grocery stores, banks, and car dealerships.” See “Suspected Assassins of Haitian President Moïse Trained by US, Linked to Pro-Coup Oligarchy” by Dan Cohen, which quotes Ives. Ives also notes that Boulos hired a D.C. lobbyist two days before the assasination of Moïse.

    Ives also notes: “There had been dozens of protests against Jovenel Moïse over the past months, but they hardly made a blip on the mainstream media’s radar. Contrast that coverage to the hullabaloo being made about one protest in Cuba and you get an idea of how dismissive and downplaying the U.S. scribe press is toward protest against a Washington ally.”

The BBC states: “Cuba protests: Thousands rally against government as economy struggles.”

JAMES EARLY, earlytempos@gmail.com
    Early has visited Cuba many times over 45 years. He is the former Smithsonian Institution assistant secretary for education and public service and was director of its Cultural Heritage Policy Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

    He said today: “First we have to face the material reality inside Cuba — a decades-long U.S. bipartisan economic sanctions war which was intensified by Trump and continued by Biden-Harris. Cuba is especially vulnerable to this because of its dependence on limited natural resources and its own self-critical attempts to rectify its economic policy. The U.S. government economic war, despite U.S. corporate projects desirous of normal economic relations with Cuba, was designed to undermine the economy and compel the people to rise up against their elected officials. And they are elected, though their system is different from others.

    “And prior president Raúl Castro had called for more self-reflection and self-criticism to consolidate the county’s achievements over the past 60 years, and to rectify its errors and failures independent of the U.S. blockade. So, we’re seeing these protests in the U.S. media significantly orchestrated via Cuban dissidents inside and outside Cuba openly funded by the U.S. State Department. What we’re not seeing is that the current president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has said that the Communist Party and the Cuban government are obligated to improve their performance in collaboration with a proactive critical citizenry. Despite the economic woes suffered by all Cubans, there is a refreshing, open critical debate mostly to improve the existing inefficiencies of the economic and political system in Cuba. ….

    “This even includes people calling for a return to corporate capitalism. What’s needed is that the Cuban people have that open debate about their own internal development. They can’t have that with the U.S. government waging an economic war or talking about some sort of interventionist humanitarian salvation. Such claims from the Biden administration are ridiculous given their backing of the brutal Colombian government or the apartheid Israeli government’s constant attacks on the Palestinians.”

    People in the U.S. should “demand that the U.S. government abandon the economic blockade and allow Cuban citizens and their government to address and resolve their own internal disputes within the frameworks and protocols established by the community of nations that overwhelmingly vote against the U. S. blockade.”

    See from UN on June 23: “UN General Assembly calls for U.S. to end Cuba embargo for 29th consecutive year.”

    See in-depth pieces and interviews with Early from The Real News with Early, including on Cuba.

Image source: Wikipedia

Haiti and the Disaster Foreign Manipulation Has Wrought

The Miami Herald reports in “Haiti President Jovenel Moïse assassinated in middle-of-the-night attack at his home“: “The assailants apparently claimed to be agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to videos taken by people in the area of the president’s home. Moïse, 53, lived in Pelerin 5, a neighborhood just above the hills in the capital.

“On the videos, someone with an American accent is heard yelling in English over a megaphone, ‘DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.'”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “These reports are absolutely false.”

See Wednesday Institute for Public Accuracy news release on Haiti. Also see Twitter list on Haiti.

AMY WILENTZ, awilentz@uci.edu@amywilentz
Wilentz is author of numerous books on Haiti including The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier and Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti. She can talk about the history of Haiti and how U.S. interventions have “inspired enmity and disgust” among the Haitian people.

See Twitter thread on U.S. interventions in Haiti.

CHRIS BERNADEL, cbernadel@protonmail.com@Blacks4Peace
Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace; both of his parents are Haitian immigrants. See the group’s statement from Wednesday: “Will the Biden administration and other political players use this moment as the pretext for military intervention, as was done in 1915? Will interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph attempt to consolidate power under the pretext of the current state of siege? Will the Core Group find a new willing puppet, more pliable than Moïse, to bring ‘stability?'”

EMMANUELA DOUYON, [in Haiti] emmanuela.douyon@gmail.com@emmadouyon
Douyon testified in March before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on what Biden administration policy on Haiti should be. She said today: “Since last June, with the collective of activists, NOU PAP DOMI (We Will Not Sleep), I have been actively denouncing the increase in violence in Haiti and urging the authorities to act accordingly. A friend and fellow activist, Netty Duclaire, was killed less than a week ago along with 18 other Haitian citizens. I am mourning and now comes this terrible news.

“Never would I have imagined that the head of the country would be assassinated. If he can be assassinated in his home, who is safe in this country? Whose life matters in this country? How are we supposed to keep going and keep burying our loved ones?

“We, young activists, Petrochallengers, tried to warn the international community with the hashtag #freeHaiti but it was to no avail. We are not receiving the kind of support we need whether it’s from the UN or other countries and organizations. This partly explains why the situation keeps getting worse and we can’t see the impact of all the aid received, not to mention that because of corruption there is at least one notable case of mismanagement of aid money: the Petrocaribe scandal.

“I am shocked by the news of the assassination of former president Jovenel Moïse. This shows the extent to which violence reigns in Haiti. Justice must be served. We, the Haitian people, must stop the current political crisis and end the vicious cycle of violence.”

Haiti: Assassination

Al Jazeera reports: “Haiti’s President [Jovenel] Moïse was assassinated by unidentified gunmen at his home, says the PM. Moïse had been ruling Haiti by decree after delaying elections, sparking protests that he illegally stayed past his term. The country is also facing growing poverty and gang violence.”

BRIAN CONCANNON, beconcannon@gmail.com@HaitiJustice

A longtime Haiti specialist, Concannon wrote the piece “Is the White House greenlighting Haiti’s descent into dictatorship?” for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He said today that much of Haitian civil society had concluded that Moïse’s presidency was not legitimate.

CHRIS BERNADEL, cbernadel@protonmail.com

Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace; both of his parents are Haitian immigrants. See the group’s statement, issued Tuesday, which quotes Bernadel: “Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Increasing Human Rights Violence in Haiti and the Continued U.S./OAS/UN Support for Unconstitutional Actions by Haiti’s Illegitimate Government.”

JAKE JOHNSTON, johnston@cepr.net@jakobjohnston
Just back in the U.S. from Haiti, Johnston is senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He had just written the piece “Biden Continues Trump’s Policy in Haiti Despite Bipartisan Congressional Pushback” published on Tuesday.

Biden Exalts Human Rights While Pushing More Weapons for Israel as New PM Bombs Gaza

Biden is widely quoted in U.S. media regarding his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “How could I be the president of the United States of America,” Biden said, “and not speak out against the violation of human rights?” A USA Today piece is headlined: “Biden warns Putin on human rights and cybersecurity in Geneva. U.S. moral clarity is back.”

The New York Times reports: “Israeli Aircraft Bomb Gaza Just Days Into New Government.”

Commondreams reports: “Just hours after far-right marchers chanted ‘Death to Arabs!’ during a demonstration in the streets of Jerusalem, Israeli war planes bombarded the occupied Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning in the first series of airstrikes launched by the new government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former IDF officer who once boasted that he has ‘killed a lot of Arabs.’ … The Israeli military characterized the latest airstrikes as retaliation for ‘incendiary balloons’ released into Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

Axios is reporting: “Israel to ask U.S. for $1 billion in emergency military aid.”

HASSAN EL-TAYYAB, hassan@fcnl.org@HassanElTayyab
El-Tayyab is legislative manager for Middle East policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, which recently put out the statement: “FCNL Joins 100 National Organizations Calling on Biden to Halt Weapons Sales to Israel.”

He said: “Moving ahead with these transfers will be seen as an endorsement of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Gaza and encourage more acts of violence against Palestinian civilians. The administration’s efforts should instead be focused on delivering humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, helping with reconstruction efforts in Gaza, using U.S. leverage with Israel to end its occupation and blockade, and supporting human rights and justice for Israelis and Palestinians.”