BARINAS, VENEZUELA — In the Venezuelan state of Barinas, the U.S.-backed opposition candidate for governor won an election on Sunday, January 9. Sergio Garrido – who has openly supported the fake “interim” presidency of Juan Guaidó, recognized only by the U.S. and 15 other world governments – defeated the Venezuelan government candidate, Jorge Arreaza, 55% to 41%. The Barinas gubernatorial election on January 9 was actually a rerun. Twenty-three states chose governors on November 21, 2021. Additionally, 335 mayors, 253 regional legislators, and 2,471 local councilors were elected. Overall, the elections were swept by the government. Nineteen of the 23 governorships were won by the Maduro government’s PSUV Party. Barinas, like other states, voted in November. But this election had particular symbolic importance as it took place in the home state of the late President Hugo Chávez, mentor to current President Nicolás Maduro and founder of the political movement that has dominated Venezuelan electoral politics since 1998. Rather than prompt the Western media to challenge Washington’s line that Venezuela is a dictatorship, or ask whether U.S. sanctions interfere in Venezuela’s elections, Garrido’s victory in Barinas had no impact on media coverage that constantly adopts the U.S. government’s perspective. An AP
SANA’A, YEMEN – As the Saudi war against Yemen enters 2022, Yemenis seem more determined than ever to hold victory ceremonies and forge ahead into another year of struggle against the Saudi onslaught – notwithstanding a new scorched-earth campaign launched by the oil-rich kingdom, dubbed Operation Happy Yemen Freedom. “As we did before, surely nothing will prevent us from achieving more victories during 2022, until the eventual liberation of all our homeland,” a fresh-faced teenager said during a sporting event at Althawra Sports City Stadium in Sana’a, where damaged stands could be seen, the result of a recent airstrike. At the start of each new year, public celebrations take place around the world. In Yemen however, the start of 2022 was different. On Wednesday, the Yemeni U-15 football team returned home from Saudi Arabia. Despite the nearly seven years of war that has disabled nearly all aspects of life in their country, including sports, the young boys were crowned the West Asian Football Federation Champions on December 13. The achievement sparked widespread jubilation among Yemenis not seen in many years. The victory had great symbolism, not only because the win in the regional football tournament was the first in
JOHANNESBURG – Vilakazi Street in Soweto is perhaps the most famous street in all of Johannesburg, maybe even in all of South Africa. The street is named after Dr. B.W. Vilakazi, who was a South African poet, novelist, and intellectual. He was the first Black South African to teach at the University of the Witwatersrand; though, because they did not allow Black lecturers at the time, he was employed as a language assistant. But that is not why Vilakazi Street is famous. At the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane is the home of Nelson Mandela, known today as the Mandela House. It serves as a sort of museum and memorial to Nelson Mandela. When I was there in 2014, I was given a tour by the very lady who worked for the Mandelas as a housekeeper. Also on Vilakazi Street is the home of the recently deceased Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is said to be the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize laureates resided, and these were no ordinary laureates even by Nobel Prize standards.
[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=cHNyM8BHDt0[/embed] VIENNA – World leaders have descended upon Austrian capital Vienna to participate in the ongoing nuclear deal being negotiated primarily between the United States and Iran. Today, MintPress spoke to Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran. Dr. Marandi is currently in Vienna as part of the Iranian delegation. While corporate media often portray Iran as a recalcitrant pariah and the United States as a long-suffering broker in the situation, Dr. Marandi notes that it was actually the Trump administration that unilaterally walked away from the agreement. Furthermore, President Barack Obama refused to live up to his promise to remove financial sanctions against Iran. “Obama, from the very beginning, was violating the deal, the most important element of the deal, because the banking sector sanctions are the most important part of the deal,” Marandi told Mnar Adley today. Relations between the two countries fell to a new low two years ago this month, after the Trump administration carried out a successful drone strike against General and statesman Qassem Soleimani. While then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Soleimani was on the verge of carrying out an attack
Assaults on the right to speak, and to think, are coming thick and fast. But the significance – and coordination – of all these developments is being largely missed. Those who try to open up a little space – in politics, academia, and journalism – to think critically about our society and how power is misused are the chief targets. Western establishments have grown increasingly concerned about the expansion of popular freedoms that arrived with social media a decade or so ago, which have allowed us to analyze and critique elite interests and strategies. This has posed a very obvious threat to the establishment’s continuing ability to propagandize us and has led to far more unpredictable and unstable social and political landscapes. Our increased ability to bypass corporate, billionaire-owned media has led to inevitable polarization. We have seen the emergence of three antagonistic tribes, based largely on the way each consumes media. Liberals and the traditional right tend to show little interest in the wealth of new critical information, regarding as authoritative only those outlets that belong to the corporate media. As a result, liberals and the traditional right tend to assume either that the system works relatively well or
LONDON – Star author J.K. Rowling has again made headlines, this time after comedian Jon Stewart took her to task for the antisemitic portrayal of goblins in her “Harry Potter” books and movies. Stewart joked that the goblins were indistinguishable from representations of Jews in the infamous conspiracy text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” “Yeah, they look like Jews, but what if the teeth were sharper?” he quipped. The clip went viral after it was picked up by a Newsweek article entitled “Jon Stewart Accuses J.K. Rowling of Antisemitism in ‘Harry Potter’.” Stewart is far from the first to notice that Rowling’s depiction of goblins as a race of greedy, money-obsessed, fundamentally untrustworthy hooked-nosed little subhumans who control the entire banking system is distinctly similar to racist depictions of Jews. In 2020, Saturday Night Live host Pete Davidson performed a monologue on the same topic. “Who controls the banks? Jews, obviously! Little, giant nosed Jew goblins! And I can say that, obviously, because, as you can see, I’m half goblin,” he said, referring to his Jewish father. “If this isn’t a ‘Jews run the banks’ reference, why do they all look exactly like Alan Dershowitz?!” he added.
JERUSALEM – As 2021 came to a close, Israel had raised the so-called “Iran Threat” issue to a whole new level. Upon his promotion in December to Commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Tomer Bar was asked by the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot (Ynet), “Are you able to attack Iran tomorrow?” His answer was “Yes!” He was then asked, “Will you be able to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities?” His reply: “There is no scenario where we act over there, and I don’t return and say ‘mission accomplished.’” In the summer of 2020, The Times of Israel reported that Israel had what it called a “Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate,” which focuses principally on “Israel’s fight against Iran.” The wording, “Israel’s fight against Iran,” is particularly apt: though more often than not it is described as “Iran’s fight against Israel,” it is, in fact, Israel that is a threat to Iran and not the other way around. Returning to the interview with the Israeli Air-Force commander, it is as though Israel cannot wait for the opportunity to attack, and indeed, the Ynet reporter who interviewed General Bar was eager. “Bar,” the story continues, “who will be tasked with carrying out a
Despite President Joe Biden having claimed earlier this year that “diplomacy is back” and that he would end the war in Yemen, revive the Iran Nuclear Deal and settle several other issues, in reality his Middle East foreign policy has been just as detrimental to the region as was that of his predecessor. “This war has to end…we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales,” Biden said in early February during his first address to the U.S. public on his administration’s foreign policy approach. It was a speech that saw him showered with the praise of his supporters, yet we are now in late December and the war has only intensified, with UN experts estimating that the total death toll by the end of the year will be 377,000. To make things even worse, as Saudi Arabia’s bombs target urban centers in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, including the country’s primary airport and a maternity hospital, the U.S. just approved another $650 million weapons sale to Riyadh. Instead of withdrawing their support for the Saudis’ “offensive actions” and ending weapons sales, the Biden administration has done the exact opposite – and took no
The Grayzone — Leaked documents have revealed a state-sponsored influence operation designed to undermine critics of the British government’s coronavirus policies by astroturfing a prominent founder of the BreadTube clique of “anti-fascist” YouTube influencers. The project aims to conduct psychological profiling on British citizens dissenting against policies such as mandatory vaccination and lockdowns, then leverage the data to establish a YouTube channel that portrays these critics as dangerous “superspreaders” of “disinformation.” Designed “to curb the influence of pseudoscience material online, with specific emphasis on Coronavirus-related ‘anti-vaxxing’ sentiment,” the operation is run by the UK’s Royal Institution, and dubbed “Challenging Pseudoscience.” Its top patron is Charles, the Prince of Wales, next in line to the British throne, who recently hit out at supposed “conspiracy theories” surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. The organization received a substantial cash injection in 2020 from the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund earmarked for video production. Leaked files obtained by The Grayzone indicate that the Royal Institution has enlisted the services of Valent Projects, a “social change” communications firm founded by a public relations operative previously involved in the UK Foreign Office’s campaign for violent regime change in Syria. Valent has also been sponsored by the US Agency for
SANTIAGO, CHILE – If its media is any indication, Israel is freaking out over the election results in Chile. “Anti-Zionist Gabriel Boric’s presidential win leaves Chile’s Jews worried,” ran The Jerusalem Post’s headline, going on to explain that the 35-year-old president-elect called Israel a “murderous state” and has the firm backing of the country’s Palestinian community. Only in the final section of the article did it allude to the fact that Boric’s far-right opponent, Jose Antonio Kast, was the son of a Nazi war criminal who escaped justice by fleeing to South America. The Times of Israel had a similar reaction to the news. “Chile’s new president is bitter Israel critic, whose win has many local Jews worried,” its headline read. It, too, glossed over Kast’s background, describing him merely as a “right-wing, pro-Israel politician” whose father was only “likely” a Nazi. In reality, as The Times of Israel itself had reported only weeks previously, the elder Kast voluntarily joined the Nazi Party and was a senior lieutenant in Hitler’s war machine. Haaretz was at least more open about who Kast was. However, it treated Boric’s opposition to Israeli Apartheid as similarly problematic, seemingly equating supporting Palestine to perpetrating the
Haaretz’s investigative report – ‘Classified Docs Reveal Massacres of Palestinians in ’48 – and What Israeli Leaders Knew’ – is a must-read. It should be particularly read by any person who considers himself a ‘Zionist’ and also by people who, for whatever reason, support Israel, anywhere in the world. “In the village of Al-Dawayima (…), troops of the 8th Brigade massacred about 100 people,” Haaretz reported, though the number of the Palestinian victims later grew to 120. One of the soldiers who witnessed that horrific event testified before a government committee in November 1948: “There was no battle and no resistance. The first conquerors killed 80 to 100 Arab men, women and children. The children were killed by smashing their skulls with sticks. There wasn’t a house without people killed in it.” The Haaretz report of nearly 5,000 words was filled with such painful details, stories of Palestinian elders who could not flee the Zionist invasion and ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine (1947-48), who were lined up against various walls and massacred; of an older woman being shot point-blank with four bullets; of other elders who were crammed inside a home and shelled by a tank and hand grenades; of
NABLUS, OCCUPIED WEST BANK — On December 10, Jamil Abu Ayyash, 31, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers during anti-settlement demonstrations in Beita, a village south of Nablus in the Occupied West Bank. Abu Ayyash succumbed to his injuries. Three days later, the Israeli army fatally shot Jamil al-Kayyal, also 31, in the head during an early-morning raid in Nablus. And the beginning of December was marked by two other killings within two days of each other. On December 4, Israeli Border Police shot and killed Mohammed Shawkat Salameh, 23, after he stabbed an Israeli man at Damascus Gate. And on December 6, Israeli security guards fatally shot 16-year-old Mohammad Nidal Younis after he rammed his car into the Kafriat military checkpoint in the West Bank. The latest string of killings by Israeli forces follows the same predictable pattern of Israeli state violence against Palestinians, but with one significant distinction. Israel’s violence is intensifying, as 2021 is proving to be the deadliest for Palestinians since 2014. Israeli forces escalating violence In its latest Protection of Civilians report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 70 Palestinians have been killed
BALHAF, SHABWA, YEMEN – Al-Shabwani, a resident from Ateq city in Shabwa province who requested that only his nickname be used, told MintPress News that he was detained for months and tortured in a secret prison inside Balhaf. Since 2016, when the UAE first entered Yemen’s most productive oil and gas areas in Shabwa, Abu Dhabi has carved out Balhaf as its personal fiefdom and turned the former gas facility into a military camp and secret prison. “Balhaf should be a lifeline for us in this difficult time, not a military camp and secret prison,” al-Shabwani said. “It’s time to kick the UAE forces and their mercenaries out.” Shabwa province is located in the center of Yemen’s southern coastline and, out of all the country’s provinces, served as a beacon of hope to all Yemenis for a better life, given its wealth of natural gas and geographical location. Today, the major gas and oil facilities in the province instead represent the theft of an entire people’s future. A case in point is Balhaf, a Yemeni industrial port town and the largest investment project in the country, thanks to its export of liquefied natural gas. For six years, the UAE has
HOMESH, OCCUPIED PALESTINE – The issue of illegal Jewish settlements is in the news again, this time owing to a recent attack by Palestinian fighters who opened fire on a car carrying Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank. One of the settlers was killed and two were injured as their car was traveling near what Israeli sources call an “illegal settlement” named Homesh, an outpost erected and maintained without Israeli government or military permission. The settlers were traveling home to another settlement, Shavei Shomron. Settlers in the region are militant fanatics known to be particularly violent, and have on numerous occasions attacked Palestinians who live in neighboring villages. International law According to Amnesty International, “Israel’s policy of settling its civilians in occupied Palestinian territory and displacing the local population contravenes fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.” As listed on Amnesty’s website, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. The Geneva Convention also prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory.” Israel circumvents this by claiming that it is not an
JERUSALEM – The latest drama in Israeli politics comes in the form of a split between the country’s extreme Right and radical Right over what constitutes “settler violence.” As Israeli lawmaker Ofer Cassif said to me during an interview I conducted with him in Jerusalem, the vast majority of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, represents extreme right-wing Zionists. About half of those make up the Israeli government and the other half are in the opposition, awaiting the moment they can seize power. The Struggles of Ofer Cassif, an Anti-Zionist in Israel’s Knesset Recently a new storm brewed after Israel’s Interior Security Minister Omer Barlev of the Labor Party met with the U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. In a tweet he posted after the meeting, Barlev said that the senior U.S. official was “interested, among other things, in the settler violence.” פגשתי היום את תת מזכירת המדינה של ארה”ב, הגברת ויקטוריה נולנד. תת מזכירת המדינה התעניינה, בין היתר, באלימות מתנחלים וכיצד ניתן להפחית את המתח באזור ולחזק את הרשות הפלסטינית. pic.twitter.com/M1XNdqHtZ2 — עמר בר-לב (@omerbarlev) December 13, 2021 Background Barlev is the son of former IDF Chief of Staff General Haim Barlev, himself the son
[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=NI_-8gGTy28[/embed] The High Court in London has upheld the U.S. government’s appeal to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a key step towards his rendition to the United States. The Australian publisher faces up to 175 years in prison once he sets foot on American soil. Whether he ever makes it to the United States is still in question. His legal team has indicated they will challenge the ruling, which will inevitably draw out court proceedings and prolong his stay inside Belmarsh Prison. Also of note is the 50-year-old’s health. This weekend, it was revealed that he had suffered a stroke in October as a result of the stress of the trial. Two individuals who have been closely monitoring the Assange trial are Pablo Navarette and John McEvoy. Pablo is a British-Chilean filmmaker and the founder of Alborada magazine, an outlet concentrating on Latin American politics. John is an investigative journalist whose work documents the impact of the British national security state on public life. In November, the pair published an article entitled ‘“A Lot of Mistakes”: The Guardian and Julian Assange,’ which can be read on MintPress News. Today, they discussed the role that The Guardian, and the
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — Last week, Israel bowed to American pressure and scrapped the controversial Atarot settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Qalandiya just north of Jerusalem. But on the heels of that decision, the state advanced another Jewish settlement in Palestinian neighborhoods along Jerusalem’s southern tip, even as the residents there are grappling with a severe housing shortage. The plan is to develop a new neighborhood called Givat HaShaked on land extending beyond the Green Line (Israel’s de facto border before the 1967 War, which saw it occupy East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa in Occupied East Jerusalem. On Wednesday, the Jerusalem municipality’s Planning and Building Committee recommended the development plan for deposit, meaning it will now head to the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, which will decide whether to deposit the plan for objections or public review. The project calls for the construction of 473 homes, schools and synagogues to be built on about nine acres of open land. During Wednesday’s committee hearing, Israel’s Custodian General, the authority within the Justice Ministry overseeing properties whose owners are unknown, was represented by its economic unit director, Hananel Gurfinkel.
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – Amid a bloody civil conflict and increasing great-power competition between the United States and China, there are a number of alarming signs that Ethiopia will become the next Libya – an African nation where the U.S. intervenes militarily under the pretext of stopping an impending genocide. A considerable military buildup is now underway. Last week, the U.S. military announced it was sending over 1,000 National Guard members to nearby Djibouti. This is on top of the special operations forces already sent in November. Perhaps most notably, a government official told CNN that the aircraft carrier USS Essex – along with two other large amphibious vehicles – was steaming towards the Horn of Africa and standing by for further orders. For weeks, the drums of war have been growing louder in our nation’s media. “Ethiopia’s civil war is a problem U.S. troops can help solve,” Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander of NATO. wrote in Bloomberg and The Washington Post. “Sending peacekeepers to the pivotal nation of East Africa wouldn’t be popular domestically, but may be the only way to stop the conflict,” he added. Meanwhile, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer
JERUSALEM – This past July I met with Israeli Knesset member Ofer Cassif at his office in the Knesset. The full interview with him can be viewed on my Patreon page. Cassif is arguably the most progressive Israeli politician in the Knesset and has a history of being on the front line of whatever progressive cause has needed him. Among the first Israelis to refuse to serve in the West Bank, he has also been a champion for Palestinian rights throughout his life. Attempts to disqualify When Cassif was elected, there was an outcry on the Israeli political right and a serious attempt to disqualify him from becoming a member of Knesset. Cassif is a member of the Hadash Party, which is the successor to the Israeli Communist Party. Today, Hadash is part of the Joint List. “It is almost a ritual,” Cassif says, noting that during every election, members of the Israeli right appeal to the Election Committee in the Knesset, which determines who qualifies and who does not, in order to disqualify political parties or individuals from running because they support justice for Palestinians. “The fact that I am a Jew myself drove them crazy,” Cassfi admits,
For whatever reason, some mistakenly perceive the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, as liberal, progressive and even ‘pro-Palestinian’. Of course, none of this is true. This misconstrued depiction of an essentially Zionist and anti-Palestinian newspaper tells of a much bigger story of how confusing Israeli politics is, and how equally confused many of us are in understanding the Israeli political discourse. On November 28, newly-elected Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, stormed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) with hundreds of soldiers and many illegal Jewish settlers, including the who’s who of Israel’s extremists. Israeli “Visitors” to Al-Aqsa Part of Plan for Third Jewish Temple The scene was reminiscent of a similar occurrence where late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, had stormed, along with thousands of soldiers and police officers, the Haram Sharif Compound in occupied East Jerusalem in September 2000. It was this particular event that unleashed the second Palestinian uprising, Intifada (2000-05), which led to the killing of thousands. Herzog’s gesture of solidarity with the Kiryat Arba settlers was identical to Sharon’s earlier gesture, also made to win the approval of Israel’s burgeoning and influential right-wing extremists. Only a few months ago, Haaretz had described Herzog as