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em·pire
ˈemˌpī(ə)r/
noun
an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

Which country has more foreign military bases than any country in world history?

Which country spends more on violence and domination than the rest of the world combined?

Which country has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of them democracies?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Relentless US Journalist who has Seen and Felt the Boot of Israeli Fascism is Returning to Palestine for More


Zebula Hebert
Journalist Zebula “Sha” Hebert has been “shot at, stabbed, pepper sprayed, maced, tear-gassed, tased, arrested, detained, beaten, and interrogated” while conducting his work.  He knows what repression feels like, which is why he is undertaking a highly ambitious project: in the wake of the recent US-backed Israeli assault, Hebert will return to Palestine and spend a year in Gaza.  He will conduct interviews with Gazans, publish reports, and ultimately write a book about his findings and experiences, all to help amplify the voices of a trapped refugee population being brutalized by the world’s most powerful aggressors.
Hebert conducted an interview with Robert Barsocchini forWashington’s Blog, to elucidate and spread the word about his upcoming journalistic endeavor:
RB: What personally motivates you to continue covering this topic?
ZH: The current global economic/military dynamic reduces entire nations, cultures, and peoples to prisoners and slaves in their own homes. Nowhere in the world is this more evident than in Palestine, though certainly it is happening and has happened many other places as well, including within the US. It takes only a small understanding of honest scholarship to see that the US was founded on the principals of ethnic cleansing, slavery, and genocide. The US is now supporting this same behavior in Israel (among other places). I believe that people who are conscious of the consequences of our own historical and contemporary atrocities ought to take a stand against their continuation. Having access to accurate information is a critical element.
RB: Why do you want to write this book now?  I imagine the latest assault on Gaza plays a role.
ZH: I have travelled to Palestine twice over the past ten years. While the latest assault on Gaza has been a highly visible abomination perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians, it is no greater a crime than the occupation itself, which has taken, broken, trapped, and ended countless lives and families since the Nakba [initial Israeli campaign of ethnic cleansing of Palestine, in 1948].
Gaza is an open air prison. The West Bank is not in much better shape. The timing does not have a correlation with the latest assault on Gaza. This is a standing issue.
Israel’s policy is now and always has been (despite their vigorous and effective PR campaigns and “peace talks”) not to ever make peace but to make life so miserable and traumatic that Palestinians will eventually just leave or die. I should state emphatically here that not all Israelis agree with their government’s policies; many of them actively fight to subvert Israeli policies. Nonetheless, they are annexing the West Bank with illegal settlements as we speak, killing and imprisoning at will. Despite their rhetoric we have to look at what they do, not what they say. And what they do and have always done suggests ethnic cleansing, not peace. When I look at it, I see the United States’ genocide against American Indians. Gaza and the West Bank are two big reservations and Palestinians who have Israeli “citizenship” within Israel are second class citizens.
RB: What will you encounter when you get to Gaza?
ZH: A people fighting for their very survival. A people pushed to absurd extremes economically, culturally, spiritually and physically, with the same unbreakable spirit so endemic to humanity.
RB: What are you going to do in Gaza?  Who are you going to talk to?  Where are you going to stay?  How long?
ZH: I will talk to anybody who wants to talk. Ordinary people, officials, mothers, fathers, the goldfish… whomever wants a voice. I will stay with friends and colleagues and anywhere I can. I will follow wherever the stories and interviews take me. Palestinians are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met; I will not have trouble finding places to stay while I work. I will respond to leads, seek and find newsworthy stories and publish them on PNN [Palestinian News Network]. I will also work on my book. I will stay for as long as I can. My goal is at least one year.
RB: What resistance have you experienced previously while covering this and other topics?
ZH: In the course of covering and/or protesting state violence, I have been shot at, stabbed, pepper sprayed, maced, tear-gassed, tased, arrested, detained, beaten, and interrogated.I hate what violence does to the victim and the aggressor. I hate violence towards anyone, in any form, may it be economic, psychological, or physical. Still I believe, in spite of my hatred for violence, that people subjected to state violence have a right to defend themselves, by whatever means they have available.
RB: What do you think of mainstream US coverage of this topic?
ZH: I am constantly reminded how media in the US (which enjoys a “free press”) is actually just an advertisement for this or that idea, this or that policy, this or that politician. It isn’t news, its cheerleading. One need only research US reports through any major news outlet concerning the conflict (or any other conflict for that matter) to find a mind boggling absence of actual journalism. There is a terrifying lack of critical analysis within our national media apparatus which enables the status quo to continue.
RB: What do you hope to accomplish with this project?  What do you see as the viable end goal?
ZH: The viable end goal is to contribute to honest information dissemination concerning the occupation. I simply want to be a small part of the effort to end the travesty that is occurring daily.
What is happening now in the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan, US support of Israel) is nothing new. It began with genocide against the indigenous of North America as well as economic and military domination throughout Latin America, then spread globally in many different forms. The result is always the same, millions upon millions suffer and die needlessly while Americans (well, some of us) thrive. If people can wake up to this and take responsibility for it, we can end the madness that we have birthed and start to build something better.
Critically, the people of Gaza must be heard in the one country that makes their subjugation possible and ensures its continuation: the United States.
To end the repression, US citizens need to learn about and care for Palestinians, and then pressure the US government to end its massive support for Israel until Israel decolonizes Palestine and ceases its human rights violations.   
To help achieve these very attainable goals, become part of Mr. Hebert’s effort to humanize Palestinians and bring more of their voices and stories to the United States and world.Mr. Hebert will carry out this mission on a shoestring budget of $8,000 dollars, and has created aKickstarter project so anyone can contribute towards raising these funds.  Let’s continue to show Gazans, all Palestinians, and the US government that we are against what is being done, and will continue to intensify our resistance until it stops.
Thank you, Mr. Hebert, for taking the time to talk to Washington’s Blog, and best of luck with your admirable undertaking.
Zebula Hebert studied Political Science at the University of Oregon and was a wild land firefighter for many years.  He has lived in Japan and Egypt, and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Also published in Washington's Blog and Counter Currents. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Endangering US Citizens, Gen. Dempsey Approves High Civilian Death Rate Military Tactics

Martin Dempsey, the highest ranking officer in the US, this week endangered the lives of US and other civilians by approving military tactics by foreign nations that result in a 75 to 80%civilian death rate.
Having reviewed Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza, Dempsey said Israel acted “responsibly” and went to “extraordinary lengths” to prevent civilian casualties.  He said he wanted to further study and learn from the tactics used in the operation, implicitly acknowledging that the US operations generally kill a higher percentage of civilians.
Even assuming Dempsey disapproves of Israel’s direct targeting of civilians, including very youngchildren, Dempsey’s statements are outrageous and dangerous.  They grant both allied and opposing powers a green light to carry out attacks in similar fashion, with, as Amnesty characterized Israel’s assault, “brazen” disregard for law and carnage.
Worse, since Israel initiated the armed attack, Dempsey’s reckless statements grant approval for the highest crime in international law, “war of aggression”.  (Dempsey himself has been an unlawful combatant in US wars of aggression.)
His pronouncements are also disturbing on a personal level, since Israel’s tactics include targeting officers in their family homes, including by hitting them with one ton bombs that kill dozens of their family members and neighbors.  Indeed, in its recent attack, Israel wiped out 89 entire family trees.
It is remarkable (and unfortunately typical) to witness a leading US militant like Dempsey, a family man with a wife, three children, and eight grandchildren, give his personal thumbs up to attacks that would kill not only US civilians, overwhelmingly so, but also his entire family.
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Also published in Washington's Blog, Counter Currents, and LewRockwell.com
Notes:

Monday, November 10, 2014

US Commitment to Terror, Expansionism, Maintains Israel’s Illegal Wall

(Washington Post)
As seen in the above graphic from the Washington Post, essentially every country recognizes the State of Palestine, except for Western Europe and some of the places it has conquered, such as North America, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as some US “partners” that “wouldn’t want to ruffle Washington’s feathers”, including “South Pacific island nations like Kiribati and Nauru” (WaPo).
The US has for decades used terrorism to singularly prevent Palestine from becoming a full UN member state.  Likewise, without the US providing the muscle and money, Israel would not be able to continue, in defiance of the world, to occupy, colonize, ethnically cleanse, and commit terrorism and massacres against Palestine.
Without US muscle backing its terror and expansionism, Israel, despite being the strongest force in the Mid East and in possession of the “world’s best” air force and a large, rogue nuclear arsenal, would have no choice but to decolonize Palestine and remain within its own universally recognized borders, which are those that existed before June, 1967, when Israel illegally invaded and began colonizing and ethnically cleansing areas beyond those lines.
For approximately 40 years, the US has vetoed, generally alone (aside from Israel), every UN resolution demanding that Israel comply with this worldwide legal, democratic consensus.  The vote is typically 165 countries against the US and Israel, and sometimes five or six other countries (European-conquered lands and some tiny islands such as Micronesia).
Obama has continued the reign of terror and expansion, specifically rejecting, at the UN, the demand for Israel to cease even future settlement activities, let alone abandon its current illegal settlements, all war crimes.  This particular resolution was brought at the 15 member Security Council, and received 100% approval aside from Obama’s isolated vote of rejection, which is enforceable only due to the US dedication to terrorism and democracy-prevention.
On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinians have tried to call attention to the wall that still exists, the illegal US-backed wall that Israel is building and using as one of its means of illegally annexing Palestinian territory.  Dr. Noam Chomsky, for one, has pointed out that if the wall were about security and not illegal expansionism, it could simply be made gigantic and utterly impenetrable, and be put on Israel’s legal border, which countries are allowed to do.
Palestinian youths use sledgehammers to break parts from a concrete segment of the controversial Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Bir Nabala -between Jerusalem and Ramallah- on November 8, 2014 as celebrations today mark 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. (AFP Photo)
Palestinians Break Through Illegal Israeli Annexation Wall. Photo from RT.
Dr. Norman Finkelstein has suggested that Palestinians physically break down the wall en masse, as a non-violent solution, since the highest court in the world ruled that the wall is illegal and must be deconstructed, but the USA is preventing UN member states from carrying out the legally required and universally supported task.
Since the recent US/Israeli massacre against Palestine, Israel has continued its ongoing cease-fire violations, and has also announced or built thousands of new illegal settlement units in Palestine, and has illegally stolen over 4,000 more acres of Palestine (see here and here).
Note that although the Washington Post published the above map, a chief reason that the US is able to continue to illegally back Israel, and even increase illegal support for Israel as Obama has done (indefiance of the US population), is that US media never provides the full context of the situation, as Professor Edward Said pointed out (as noted by Jews for Justice in the Middle East):
It is simply extraordinary and without precedent that Israel’s history, its record — from the fact that it..is a state built on conquest, that it has invaded surrounding countries, bombed and destroyed at will, to the fact that it currently occupies Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian territory against international law — is simply never cited, never subjected to scrutiny in the U.S. media or in official discourse
Edward Said in “The Progressive.” May 30, 1996
Given the full and accurate picture of how Israel has come into existence and what it does, already dwindling US public support for Israel (much of which, however, is based on religious fundamentalism) would certainly decrease, as public support for US atrocities generally decreases as information about them increases.
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Also published in Washington's Blog, Counter Currents, and Global Research.