Archive for the On Foreign Affairs Category

Captain Oliver Law Takes Command!

Posted in A Rendezvous With History, Guest Commentators, On Foreign Affairs with tags , , , on June 18, 2018 by playthell

Anti-Fascist Hero of the Spanish Civil War

 Heroic African-American Communist Fights Fascism in Spain

 General Colin Powell was three months old when at 33 tall, broad-shouldered Texas African American Oliver Law, became the first Black Commander of an American Army. The date was June 12, 1937. Law was selected by a committee of three white officers to lead this integrated army.  Heard of Colin Powell but never heard of Oliver Law? Hardly surprising. Law’s not mentioned in school books or social studies classes and has yet to find a place in most college texts or history courses. But Law made his mark on world history in June 1937 and for very good reasons.

Oliver Law was among a brave band of 2800 American men and women (including 90 other African Americans) who rushed to help the Spanish Republic Spain during its Civil War (1936-1939). Their aim was to stop Hitler and Mussolini from seizing and using Spain to launch their march across Europe. This was a crucial Nazi warm-up for World War II. These brave Americans were joined by 40,000 other men and women fro52 countries who also volunteered to save Spain’s Republican government from Hitler and Mussolini and General Francisco Franco, their Spanish fascist ally.
For the only time in world history a global volunteer force left their homelands to defend democracy in a distant land. Though few volunteers had any military training they aimed to shame and prod their governments to stop fascist aggression “at the agates of Madrid.” But at this point England, France, the US and other democratic governments did nothing about fascist aggression – and England and France encouraged it. So, as one American Volunteer said, “someone had to do something!”

Among the US volunteers in the “Abraham Lincoln Brigade” military experience ran a low fourth to enthusiasm, commitment and sheer guts. Oliver Law was different. In Texas he had served six years in the Buffalo Soldiers, “US Colored Troops.” This was during the long night of US segregation and lynching lasting through World War II. US War Department policy prevented Law from becoming an officer or reaching higher than corporal.
But for African Americans in Spain life was different. “I can rise according to my worth, not my color,” Law said. This volunteer army included Black and white men and women who united during the Great Depression to fight for unemployment insurance, union rights and social security, and to end to segregation, discrimination and lynching.
After the Lincoln Brigade’s first battle at Jarama, Law’s courage was
rewarded with a promotion to lieutenant. Next he was placed in charge of a machine-gun company. Then Lincoln Brigade Commander Marty Hourihan recommended him for officers’ school.

When the position of Lincoln Brigade Commander became available on June12th, a committee of three white Brigade officers voted Law a Captain and Brigade Commander. One of the three, Steve Nelson, who had worked with him in Chicago, told why they picked Law: “He had the most experience and was best suited for the job.” Further, he was “the most acquainted with military procedures on the staff at the moment . . . he was well liked by his men . . . .” Nelson continued, “When soldiers were asked who might become an officer — ours was a very democratic army — his name always came up. Itwas spoken of him that he was calm under fire, dignified, respectful of his men
and always given to thoughtful consideration of initiatives and military missions.”
The rest of the story is sadder — for Law, the Lincoln Brigade, the International volunteers and the world. At 10:00 AM on July 9th at the battle of Brunete Commander Law insisted on leading his men against a fortified fascist position at Mosquito Ridge. Law, his runner New Yorker Harry Fisher recalled, was “running to the top of the hill,” waving his men on. Law did not “attempt to protect himself, and in a matter of seconds, machine-gun fire ripped into him.” Law’s other runner, Jerry Weinberg of Chicago, crawled across the battlefield to pull law to safety.  It was too late: “He died less than an hour later, Fisher recalled.

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Battle

Oliver Law’s comrades buried him under a sign that proudly declared
him the first Black commander of a US military unit.  Hitler, Mussolini and Franco defeated democracy in Spain and five months later, Nazi Germany’s marched into Poland and began World War II. Had the democracies heeded the warning of the 40,000 volunteers, the
story of World War II might have been different.
Though Oliver Law and a majority of the Americans died in Spain,
survivors returned home to again fight fascism after Pearl Harbor. After the war veterans of the Lincoln Brigade continued to battle racism in the United States and oppose imperialist wars abroad, some into the 21st century. Now this year the last one has died.

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By: William Katz

 

NOTE:  This article is based on THE LINCOLN BRIGADE: A PICTURE HISTORY and based on interviews with Brigade veterans Steve Nelson, Harry Fisher, Sam Walters, and others during two trips to Spain with the veterans and their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Mad King Donald’s Delusions of Grandeur

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, Playthell on politics with tags , on June 14, 2018 by playthell

Spouting Madness at the G-7

Donnie Dimwit Cuts the Fool in Canada

If the Bard of Avon was right, “all the world is a stage and we are but players upon it,” Donald Trump was born to the role of fool and perpetually panders to the poot-butts in the cheap seats.  Alas, his recent performance appears to have been based on a script written by ideologues and charlatans intoxicated by the opiate of American Exceptionalism, mesmerized by American military might, and Donnie Dimwit seemed to have arrived straight out of central casting to play the fool yet again.

After analyzing that incoherent drivel masquerading as a serious speech, delivered by clueless Don before his early departure from the G-7 Summit headed for Singapore, long time intelligence operative Malcolm Nance, whose bestselling book “The Hacking of America,” provided early warning of interference into the US presidential election by Russian Intelligence operatives, remarked that Trump came across as “Mad King Donald.”

In response to Trump’s comment that he didn’t need extensive preparation for his upcoming summit meeting with Kim Jung Un of North Korea, because he would be able to tell in the first few minutes if it was possible to do a deal or not, MSNBC host Joy Reed asked Nance how he thought Russian and North Korean intelligence services viewed Trump.

“I’m almost afraid to say what a professional intelligence officer would think about someone who is potentially recruitable, and asset, or a person who becomes a useful idiot,” says Nance. “He’s a fool!  And fools are easily manipulated.  If it’s about money you give them money.  If its about ideology you give them an ideology. And if you need to coerce them you coerce them by finding something you have compromised their integrity with.  Donald Trump has all of those!  He is a dream for a foreign a intelligence case officer.  He is being handled right now by a former KGB human intelligence officer who has him by the puppet strings.   And the North Koreans understand if you want to manipulate Donald Trump, you give him something for his ego.  The Chinese will give him licenses for his daughter and the Saudis will try to buy him outright!  No President has ever been like this!”  Nance went on to observe that’s why many of these leaders didn’t like President Obama: “His integrity level was so high there was no getting at the man.”

When Trump’s treatment of longstanding American allies at the G-7 Summit is calmly reviewed in retrospect, it is easy to see how one could conclude that Trump is working in collusion with the Russians to advance their interests as repayment for the role they played in his election – a charge US intelligence agencies unanimously agree on despite Trump’s vociferous denials. Yet even if there is a method to his madness…the way he goes about it is madness none-the-less.

One need only consider Trump’s child like temper tantrum when President Justin Trudeau, as calm and reasonable head of state as one will find among world leaders, in order to recognize that Donny Dimwit is a wakadoodle.  In response to Trump’s bogus claim that the US is running a trade deficit with Canada, and his decision to levy tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in retaliation, Trudeau announced that Canada would respond in kind.  His statement was as calm and reasoned a response as one could expect from a leader whose country has just been the target of a hostile act:

It would be with regret but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1st. Applying equivalent tariffs to the ones Americans have unjustly applied to us.” Said Trudeau.  I have made it very clear to the President that this is not something we relish doing but it is something we absolutely will do.  Because we are Canadians, we are polite and reasonable. But we also will not be pushed around.”

To this perfectly reasonable, almost milquetoast statement, Trump and his economic advisors unleashed a gaggle of vulgar tirades against the Canadian Prime Minister.  Trump, who arrived at the Group of Seven economic summit late and left early, was in the air when he saw Trudeau’s press conference on television, tweeted his outrage against Trudeau -calling him “very dishonest and weak” –  and decided to throw a monkey wrench into the machinery of economic cooperation among the US and her closest allies by ordering American representatives not to sign the joint declaration by the G-7 on their basic economic goals.

Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!”

Trump’s outrage and vile characterization of Prime Minister Trudeau was echoed in the statement of Peter Navarro, a White House trade advisor, fulminated: “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.” And Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, declared with great indignation on CNN’s State of the Nation on Sunday Morning: “POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around, He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea, nor should he.”

And John Bolton, the walrus mustachioed chicken hawk from the Project for a New American Century – the think tank that engineered the Iraq invasion – reincarnated as Trump’s National Security Advisor, tweeted a photo of a scowling Trump surrounded by G-7 members.  This was soon followed by the following statement to the press: “Just another #G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank, The President made it clear today. No more.” 

In his outrage against members of the G-7 Trump has even threatened to stop trading with countries that refuse to accept his economic nationalist agenda.  Trump’s belligerence has left America’s closest and oldest allies, Britain and France, angered and puzzled; all thoughtful Americans cannot are embarrassed and dismayed that our president has once more decided to play the fool on the world stage.

Statesman and Clown

Trump Should take Lessons from Trudeau in Diplomacy

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Playthell G .Benjamin

Harlem, New York

June 14, 2018

End of A Delusion?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, Playthell on politics with tags , , on May 17, 2018 by playthell

Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump

Did Kim Chump Trump?

North Korea’s dramatic termination of a scheduled meeting with the leaders of south Korea, and the rejection of Donald Trump’s proposal for complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, caught clueless Donnie and his acolytes off guard and left them stumbling around like dancers in the dark.  Just a fortnight ago, like Giddy high school girls with their knickers a twitter waiting their prom date, Republicans in Congress were projecting Donald Trump as the next Nobel Laureate for peacemaker.

Since the guiding ambition of Trump’s political career is to outdo former President Barack Obama, a political Super Nova, and undo his legacy, Trump became quickly enamored with the idea of wining the Nobel Prize because the much-coveted award was conferred upon President Obama.  Alas, being the brazen braggart and tireless self-promoter that he is, Trump could barely contain his delight at the prospect.  In fact, one got the impression that Trump believes this award could salvage what promises to be a tarnished legacy.  Alas, the North Koreans are paying close attention and understand that they are the key to realizing Trump’s grandiose ambition…and they are suddenly playing hard to get.

That he so easily swallowed the fiddle faddle about the North Koreans being willing to scrap their nuclear arsenal is further evidence that Trump is a rank amateur at the game of politics, and clueless about the complexities of international relations. On the face of it the proposition struck me as absurd, given the threat the US poses to North Korea’s national existence. The Trump administration’s position wandered into the realm of fantasy when they began to demand that the North Koreans disarm even while the US kept military forces station on it’s border; has yet to sign a peace treaty ending the war that resulted from a horrific American invasion over half a century ago; maintains injurious economic sanctions against them and is presently conducting a joint military exercise with South Korea just off their shores, which they rightly regard as a rehearsal for an invasion of their country.

Hence it should come as no surprise to anyone whose head is not buried in their ass and has a reasonable understanding of the political realities that shape the state of US-North Korean relations, that Kim and his posse are backing away from any idea of Nuclear disarmament.  And the fact that Trump’s newly appointed National Security Advisor John Bolton, a crazy old warmonger, has suggested in a public statement that the US should impose “the Libyan Model” on North Korea does not inspire confidence that American objectives coincide with theirs.

Trump’s fumbling attempt to fudge Bolton’s statement in his White House press conference with the Secretary General of NATO, a day after the release of the North Korean statement of their position on the matter, only revealed his confusion on the subject and almost certainly had the opposite effect of his intention to put Kim Jung Un’s mind at ease.  The point of referencing the Lybian Model for the Koreans was to remind Americans that after Mumar Khadaffi voluntarily gave up his nuclear weapons program he was later overthrown and assasinated with the help of the US and NATO.  Trump was arguing that if they gave up their nukes the US would insure the safety of Kim Jung Un’s regime, but should they fail to comply with US demands they would suffer the same fate as Lybia.  Neither position was acceptable to the North Koreans.

Alas, Donald Trump has been running about crowing like a barnyard rooster, telling the world that he has convinced Kim Jung Un to “completely denuclearize,” before the US will consider any concession to North Korean concerns.   But in light of the official government statement issued by Kim Kye Gwan, the first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, it looks as if The Donald has been “cuttin tha fool” before the world…again, as my grandfather would put it.  The North Korean’s were unambiguous in their position.

prior to the DPRK-U.S. summit, unbridled remarks provoking the other side of dialogue are recklessly made in the U.S. and I am totally disappointed as these constitute extremely unjust behavior. High-ranking officials of the White House and the Department of State including Bolton, White House national security adviser, are letting loose the assertions of so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment, “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” “total decommissioning of nuclear weapons, missiles and biochemical weapons” etc. while talking about formula of “abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterwards.”

Wherever the Trump administration got the idea that the North Koreans would go for the okey doke and concede to demands that the US would consider the acme of absurdities if demanded of them by a foreign power, the Korean statement leaves no doubt that it is not anchored in reality. The candid statement goes on to say:

This is not an expression of intention to address the issue through dialogue. It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.

I cannot suppress indignation at such moves of the U.S., and harbor doubt about the U.S. sincerity for improved DPRK-U.S. relations through sound dialogue and negotiations. World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate. It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial state of nuclear development.”

In his attempt to explain the deal he is offering to North Korea at the press conference to discuss NATO – i.e. give up their nukes in exchange for American private sector assistance with economic development – it was embarrassingly clear that Trump, a notorious non-reader, had not read the North Korean statement.  For they had unambiguously addressed and dismissed this offer:

The U.S. is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nuke. But we have never had any expectation of U.S. support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too.  It is a ridiculous comedy to see that the Trump administration, claiming to take a different road from the previous administrations, still clings to the outdated policy on the DPRK… If President Trump follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, he will be recorded as more tragic and unsuccessful president than his predecessors, far from his initial ambition to make unprecedented success… if the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit.

It is abundantly clear that Trump has embraced a dangerous delusion.  Fueled by the arrogance of power and blinded by the self-serving doctrine of “American Exceptionalism,” Donald Trump believes he can seduce or coerce Kim Jung Un into accepting a deal hatched in the fevered imagination of John Bolton, that insults the dignity of North Korea as a sovereign nation and threatens their security.  The Koreans recognized Bolton as the incubator of aggressive policies in the Trump Administration and called him out on it: “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him.”

Dredged up from the pits of foreign policy purgatory and provided unmediated access to the ear of Donald Trump – whose head is a tabula rasa on which anything can be written by an advisor – Bolton, a bellicose neo-con ideologue from the Project for a New American Century, the think tank whose misguided foreign policy views landed us in the Iraq War – which is still in progress 17 years later – will increasingly shape Trump’s view of the world.  Hence, as the bluesman Percy Mayfield warned: “The whole-world is in trouble…and the danger zone is everywhere!”

 

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

5/17/2018

 

 

Traitor, Narcissist or Fool?

Posted in Did Russia Interfere in the US Election?, On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs with tags , , on February 25, 2018 by playthell

Getting their Heads Together?

On Devious Deluded Donald and the Russians

Watching Donald Trump stroll across the White House grounds, after deplaning from the presidential helicopter, I was puzzled about his state of mind.  He seemed slightly giddy about the contents of a 37-page indictment against 13 Russians for having violated American laws; interfering in the 2016 Presidential election to insure the victory of the Trump campaign and the defeat of Hillary Clinton. The indictment, which had just been announced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and can be read online, spells out the criminal violations defendants are charged with:

U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General. And U.S. law requires certain foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States to obtain a visa by providing truthful and accurate information to the government.

Since these indictments prove that the Special Counsel is conducting a real investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – which Trump has repeatedly call a “witch hunt” and “Democratic ruse” to explain their lost of an election “they should have won” – it is hard to fathom the reason for his glee.  Now that the Russian intervention is an Established fact in the public domain, the world will be waiting to see how the American president responds to this cyber-attack on our democratic process from Russia.

Although there is no specific allegation of Russian government involvement, intelligence experts familiar with Russian covert intelligence methods like Malcolm Nance – author of the prescient book “The Plot to Hack America”–  overwhelmingly agree that an operation of this magnitude could not have happened without Putin’s approval. Mueller’s indictment richly details the extent of the Russian efforts and names Putin’s pal, Yezgeny Peigozin, as a central figure in the Russian disinformation campaign.

A shady character who went from a petty criminal and ex-con selling hot dogs on the street, to a super-rich Oligarch after the fall of the Russian communist system, the indictment fingers him as the money man that financed the activities of the INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC, the major organization that flooded the internet with disinformation that “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The indictment further alleges “Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants” operations included supporting the presidential campaign of the -candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”  Yezgeny is so close the Russian leader he is known as “Putin’s Chef.”  Hence the chance that he acted without Putin’s approval are about equal to a popsicle’s chances of survival in a pizza oven.

All this puts Trump on the spot, as he is pressured to enact the anti-Russian sanctions that has passed both houses of Congress by a wide margin. Or come up with a plausible explanation for his refusal.  It is a sign of the panic that has beset Trump’s advisors that they are running around parroting the President’s view that the indictments have exonerated him, his campaign staff, and them from the charge of “collusion.”  It is a measure of the accidental president’s depravity that the only thing about these indictments that appear to interest him is that he is not charged with anything, and he claims the Russian activities had “no effect on the outcome of the election.”

The fact that the Russians tried to subvert our elections has failed to provoke any serious response from Trump, let alone sanctions.  According to former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who was a member of the Watergate Committee that voted to impeach President Nixon, Trump’s inaction and apparent indifference to the Russian Cyber-attack on our democratic process is more than ample grounds for impeachment, whether his campaign “colluded” or not, because he has violated his oath “to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Alas, while Trump has yet to offer a single word of condemnation against his pal Putin, he has leveled plenty of criticism and invective at the loyal Americans in law enforcement who are investigating the Russian attack.   Devious Donald has even gone to the extraordinary length of conflating the Mueller investigation of his campaign with the school shootings in Florida. Astonishingly, Trump has the unmitigated gall to blame the failure of the FBI to stop the school shooting on the claim that they were expending all their assets investigating him!   However, this statement reveals both an ignorance of Florida law, and how the FBI works.  First, Cruz had a legally acquired weapon and therefore had violated no laws before the shootings.  Secondly, we do not have preventive detention laws in the US, so what could the FBI have done?

There were already numerous reports to local law enforcement agencies, but nothing was done; yet this is their responsibility.  Trump, a political ignoramus who does not exhibit any observable curiosity about the art and science of governing, fails to understand that the FBI is divided into two operational sections.  One section deals with criminal matters the other with national security.  Hence those agents tasked with Russian election tampering have nothing to do with the agents who would investigate the school shooter.

But then, the truth is a relative thing for this president, who believes in “alternative facts.” And seems to only care about covering his ass.  Alas, one does not need specialized training to recognize the symptoms of “Malignant Narcissism” and “Paranoia,” with which a host of distinguished Psychiatrist and psychologists have diagnosed Trump. Hence while it remains to be determined if Trump is a traitor, he is unquestionably a narcissist and a fool!  His tweets in response to the indictments reveal a disorganized and delusional mind at best.  I think it is past time that we give the opinions of professional shrinks their due.  Amid great criticism they have embraced their “duty to warn” the rest of us about the dangers posed by such a deluded instable leader, who holds the fate of the earth in his hands as commander of the US nuclear arsenal.  We should act on the Doctors’ advice and demand that Congress impeach Devious Donald before it’s too late.

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Playthell Benjamin
Harlem, New York,
February 16, 2016

 

Mr. Cameleon and the Arabs

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Trump and the Arabs with tags , on May 28, 2017 by playthell

Chillin with the King

Whatever Happened to Radical Islamic Terrorism?

Listening to the accolades heaped upon Donald Trump’s attempt at Middle-East diplomacy, I am reminded of the apocryphal tale of the talking dog.  It didn’t matter what the dog was saying; the fact that the dog was talking at all was cause for praises.  This story could serve as a metaphor or allegory for the low standard set for Trump’s performance as president.  So long as he does not utter some incoherent nonsense, make an outrageous claim, or tell a blatant lie, his public performances are declared a success and thoughtful Americas can comfortably exhale.

Yet even when the bar is set that low, a candid assessment of the President’s performance results reveals a mediocre performance at best and   a soulless, transparent charade at worse; with the President reading speeches prepared for him by others and trying to look deep.  What I saw on the podium was a clueless con-man trying to sell an impossible dream of peace and mutual friendship while choosing sides in the contentious disputes that have shaped the political realities of the contemporary Middle-East – a region rife with wars and rumors of war based on ancient disputes.

Trump’s speech was preceded by comments from King Salman, the Saudi Sovereign, which put forth their vision of the contemporary situation in the region, and appended a wish list for the US President to ponder.  The 50 heads of Muslim nations which supplied the raison d’etre for Trump’s visit, sat stiff as stuffed owls as the respectfully listened to the King while anxiously waiting to hear what Mighty Whitey – leader of the richest and most powerful military nation on earth – had to offer to their collective defense.  For the sad truth is that all of them have a Fatwa – a religious death warrant – issued by Caliph Ibrahim, the Supreme Ruler of the ISIS Caliphate.  Hence they were all dead men living on borrowed time, because their assassins will be seen as instruments of the will of Allah by the Jihadists who view them as apostates, for which the penalty is death!

Under Caliph Ibrahin….the Spawn of Saudi Whabbism

This is the Fate of Apostates!

King Salman, the absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia, presented a fawning speech that often sounded like panegyric to Trump and cast America in the role of Savior of the Saudi’s – indeed the entire Sunni Muslim world – from their enemies, whether Sunni Jihadists or the Persian Shiites of Iran.

Our meeting with His Excellency President of the United States of America, a country enjoying strong bonds of friendship and relationship with many of our countries, does reflect His Excellency’s keenness on enhancing cooperation and coordinating stances in various fields… our 55 Arab and Islamic countries attending the summit today with a population exceeding 1.5 billion, are an important partner in fighting the forces of extremism and terrorism and achieving world peace, security and stability. His Excellency holds many hopes and aspirations for cooperation with the Arab and Muslim worldAs we extend our thanks to and appreciation of His Excellency for his response to attend and participate in this summit, we reaffirm our happiness and gratitude for His Excellency’s choice of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and this summit as His Excellency’s first trip and external participation since assuming office.

As the Saudi King went on to address the issue of Islamic extremism and the scourge of terrorism, which was the central issue of the summit conference, his remarks took on a surreal quality that bore little resemblance to the facts. He declared: “We have to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism whatever their source, in compliance with the orders of our true Islamic religion. Islam was and will remain the religion of mercy, tolerance and coexistence..” 

To listen to the mutterings of the King, one would never suspect that Whabbism, the most extreme interpretation of Islam, was born in Saudi Arabia and spread throughout the Islamic world through the financing of Mosques and Islamic education by the Saudi government.  Hence it is no accident that Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda, and the majority of the terrorists who launched the devastating 9/11 attack on the US were Saudi Citizens.  Yet, according to the Saudi Monarch: “The Iranian regime spearheads the global terrorism since Khomeini revolution until today. Since 300 years ago, we, in this country, did not witness terrorism or extremism until Khomeini revolution emerged in 1979.”

The fact is that the use of terrorism and mass murder as a means of spreading Islam goes back to the time of the Prophet.  The Jihad, or “holy war,” was the dominant means by which Islam was spread in the middle ages.  And the modern Jihad was hatched in Egypt during the mid-20th century through the theology of the Muslim Brotherhood and was relocated in Saudi Arabia after the Egyptian nationalist leader and military strongman Abdel Gamal Nasser hung the principal theologian of the movement Sayeed Guthb in 1966, and his brother Muhammad Guthb fled to Saudi Arabia, where he was provided the means to establish an Islamic Studies department in King Faisal University.  One of his most enthusiastic students was Osama Bin Ladan!

Hence the Saudi King’s diatribe is a lie, what he accuses Iran of is true Saudi Arabia.  There have been no terrorist attacks sponsored by Iran against the US, or any other Western country.  The Islamist terror attacks on France, Belgium, Amsterdam, and Britain, which has just experience a devastating attack by a terrorist affiliated with ISIS, were all carried out by Sunnis whose radical theology grows out of the fanatical fundamentalism propagated by the Saudis.  King Salman’s speech was self-serving propaganda, disinformation, blatant lies designed to stroke the misguided and none too bright American President, who is clueless on these questions and does not appear eager to learn because it confirms his hostile view of Iran. It is a view of Iran that has gained wide currency among Americans despite the fact that all the terrorist groups that have launched attacks in western nations are Sunnis.

Trumps long and rambling speech that followed the Kings Tirade – a strange mixture of hyperbole, fantasy, historical amnesia, denial of present realities and outright lies – Trump extended the theme of Iran as the focus of evil and source of terrorism in the Middle-East.

Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.  But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room”.

This Condemnation of Iran, which has just held a democratic election to choose its leader, was preceded by abundant praise for the Kleptocratic Islamic Fascist Saudi Regime which is chosen by a medieval process of monarchal sucession:

“I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.

You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader — American President Franklin Roosevelt — King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy — and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.”

Nowhere in Trump’s speech does he mention the fact that all protest against the Saudi government is banned by law, and carries severe penalties ranging from mutilations to death!  The Saudi’s claim that this prohibition of dissent, which is a complete denial of democratic expression, is based on Sharia Law.  Hence the Saudi government cite chapter 4, verse 83 of the Koran to legitimize their police state tactics.  The text reads “And when it comes to them a concern for security or fear they divulge it, but if they had referred [their concern] to the Apostle and to those in a position of authority among them, those who are able to draw the right conclusion would have known [what to do]; and had it not been for the grace and mercy of God upon you, you would have followed Satan, except for a few” 

This passage was cited in a declaration of March 10, 2011 – three months after the commencement of the “Arab Spring” uprisings that swept several Arab tyrants from power – issued by the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, giving religious sanction to the Saudi government to suppress all “deviant and partisan connections and anything that leads to disunity and fragmentation of the nation.”  Which in effect means all protest against government policy.  Since unlike Catholicism or the Anglican Church there is no Pope or Arch Bishop, the “Senior Scholars” are the final arbiters of what Koranic text says. Just as the US Constitution means whatever the majority of the nine sitting Justices at the time says it means.

This is why the Saudi’s rejoiced at Trump’s statement:

I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith. In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust….And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect.”

In other words, you can do whatever you want to your citizens and not to worry about American interference. Before Trump could even return to American soil, the results of this new-found license from the “Insane Clown President,” as crack US journalist Matt Taibbi titled his recent book about Trump, the Sunni tyrant king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah of Bahrain, unleashed a violent attack on some Shiite demonstrators who were peacefully protesting the arrest of Imam Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the Shiite majority for performing religious duties.  Thus far there are reports that several protestors were injured in the attack and at least two have died!  The Iranian government has issue a statement blaming Trump for the murders.  That Trump envisions this as the path to peace in the Middle-East is another sign of his cluelessness; the Editor of Foreign Policy magazine calls Trump’s shameless embrace of these autocrats “un-American.”

Hence it is easy to see why these Arab tyrants prefer Trump to President Obama, who persistently criticized their record on human rights and insisted that the extension of democratic rights to their citizens was essential to peace and prosperity in the region.  Whereas Obama emphasized the Golden Rule, Trump stressed the rule of gold:

“Now, there is even more blessed news I am pleased to share with you. My meetings with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince, have been filled with great warmth, good will, and tremendous cooperation. Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.”

Upon hearing of the US-Saudi deal, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, sneeringly tweeted “Iran—fresh from real elections—attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation. Foreign Policy or simply milking KSA of $480B?”

Trump also stressed a willingness to supply Saudi Arabia, and by implication the other tyrants in the room, with state of the art American weaponry:

This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase — and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations. We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.  Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World. This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership.”

There was much frippery about the will of God in Trump’s speech, which I am certain the conferees took with a grain of salt from this ungodly man. “Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology? Will we let its venom spread through our societies? Will we let it destroy the most holy sites on earth?”  And judging from their blasé body language, Trump’s recounting of Islam’s glorious past in grand gluttonous phrases fared no better:

?The Middle East is rich with natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and massive amounts of historic treasures…Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths. Each year millions of Muslims come from around the world to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. In addition to ancient wonders, this country is also home to modern ones—including soaring achievements in architecture.  Egypt was a thriving center of learning and achievement thousands of years before other parts of the world. The wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria are proud monuments to that ancient heritage.  All over the world, people dream of walking through the ruins of Petra in Jordan. Iraq was the cradle of civilization and is a land of natural beauty. And the United Arab Emirates has reached incredible heights with glass and steel, and turned earth and water into spectacular works of art.”

In a room full of murderous Sunni tyrants with a death warrant on their heads, Trump could have quit after he promised American might would aid them in their fight against Shitte Iran; supply American arms; and join them in the fight against their fellow Sunni Jihadist. And most important is what Trump didn’t say.

No mention of the vicious oppression of women and gay people.  Not a hint that the Jihadist movement is fueled by a lack of democracy and the squandering of their countries wealth by avaricious rulers whose actions are unchecked by a free press. Independent secular courts, or popular dissent.  And not one reference to the phrase “Radical Islam,” for which Barack Obama was severely criticized by Trump and his Republican comrades!  It was the most dramatic about face I have yet witnessed in an American President on foreign soil.  Hence where many in the US press are waxing eloquent about the success of Trump’s parley with the Arabs, I am reminded of the old radio detective “Mr. Chameleon.”  If I had to characterize the gathering I’d sum it up as a meeting between the Joker and the thieves.

Dead Men Standing!
Trump Closing Ranks with the Sunni Tyrants

Anyone who wishes to take the time to read my essays on the Invasion of Iraq – see “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq,” The Arab Spring, “Sleeping in the Same Bed Dreaming Different Dreams, or the 12 essays on the Occupy Wall Street Movement, especially “Will Wall Street Rebels End up Like Jack the Bear” – will recognize that they now read like PROPHECY!  I point this out not to merely boast about my prescient powers, but to offer a good reason why you should take the prediction I am offering now seriously.

I am certain that when future historian examines the results of the policies Trump announced on this trip, they will conclude that its main affect was to help solidify and grow the Jihadist movement.  I say this because – as Professoe Luther P. Gerlach pointed out in his seminal study of mass movements “People,Power, Change” – the most powerful stimulus to a mass transformative movement for change is a real and clearly identifiable enemy who opposes their goals.  Hence I predict that the open embrace of Trump – whom many on the “Arab Street” view as the great Satan – by the tyrannical Arab regimes, will prove to be a colossal blunder that could exceed that of the Bush invasion of Iraq!

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Witness Trump’s Speech at the Saudi Summit
https://youtu.be/BoYDP2cWH-A
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 28, 2017
 

 

 

 

Arabian Knights

Posted in Barack's Second Inaugaration, On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East!, Trump and the Arabs with tags , on May 21, 2017 by playthell

Donnie Dancing with the Sheiks

 Building Mid-East Policy on Sinking Desert Sands

The Donald’s moves in the Saudi Sword dance were as awkward and out of step as his evolving Middle East policy. Which is a lot like building your castle on sinking sands.  If the paramount objective of US policy in the region is to promote peace, Trump could not have made a worse beginning.  Alas, the House of Saud, whose 3000 princes control everything and own most of the vast wealth created from oil revenues is one of the world’s most corrupt, anti-democratic regimes.  And unless you happen to believe that “Allah” bequeathed his “gift” of oil to the Royal Family the Saudi regime is also a kleptocracy.

It is a regime with a medieval conception of the relation of the people to the monarchy and the official religion, and it is enforced with the iron fist of the police state – all things that Englishmen in America overthrew in a war with their mother country Great Britain in the 18th century that created the United States!   And while Donald Trump genuflects before the Arabian King, his regime is widely despised by many of the King’s subjects, as well as militant young Muslims throughout the Middle East.  I believe that this Newfound relationship with the House of Saud will prove more costly to the US than it is worth.

For instance, Trump was practically giddy about signing a deal with the corrupt Saudi regime for 110 billion dollars and he says the Saudis have pledged to spend another 300 billion dollars in the US.  And while the US quietly sold even more weapons to the Saudi’s under the eight years of the Obama Administration – due to the long standing US-Saudi alliance – Trump’s slavish genflection before the King of a regime that is hated by both the secular progressive forces and the Islamic Jihadist among the Sunnis, while expressing hostile intent toward Iran, the giant Shiite nation who share a border with the Saudis, is a prescription for armed conflict throughout the mid-east region and we have yet to see what he will promise the Israelis.

Donnie Genuflecting Before the Tyranical Saudi King

Selling American Integrity for Petro dollars

After signing the arms deal Trump turned to the camera and announced that it would create “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!   However that is problematic since the Saudi’s want many of these Americans weapons to be manufactured in Arabia. Yet it is a good bet that showering arms on the reactionary Saudi’s with no restrictions on their use could ignite a wider war than we have yet seen in the Middle-East.  And it will surely involve direct engagement of US forces in a war that could pit the US against Iran and all the anti-Saudi forces in the Sunni world, including anti-royalists’ insurgents within Saudi Arabia!   In this scenario, the 400 billion dollars that the Saudi’s have pledged to spend in the US will prove to be chump change when we subject it to a cost/benefit analysis.

We need only consider the fact that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the war of choice in Iraq, is projected to cost a total of four trillion dollars by a Noble Prize winning economist at Columbia University.  To put this enormous sum in perspective, it is twice the amount of money that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated it would have cost to completely rebuild the entire infrastructure of the US: roads, bridges, power grid, create a high-speed train system, etc.  And it is four times the paltry trillion dollars that Trump has request for infrastructure development. Trump has asked for.  Alas, the war that could result from the US arming the backward House of Saud with advanced US weaponry will make the conflict spawned by the invasion of Iraq look like a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

On the eve of America’s invasion of Iraq I wrote a 3,000 word critical essay titled “The Iraq Attack: Bushes March of Folly,” warning against the aggressive action and pointing out that it was based on a bogus analysis of the role Iraq supposedly played in the 9/11 attack on US soil.  That essay now reads like prophecy and can be read on this cite under the title: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq” at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2009/08/07/the-prophetic-commentary-on-iraq/.

My careful analysis of the real reason for the Iraq invasion, How the Iraq War Was spawned in a Think Tank,” can also be read on this cite at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2011/05/06/the-iraq-war-was-spawned-in-a-think-tank/.  Furthermore, my essays on the Arab Spring, which were written in real time as events unfolded, are also posted on this site under different titles, are full of accurate predictions.  Hence, I have a solid and easily verifiable record of analysis and prediction of developing conflicts Middle East.

I have cited my record of successful prediction in the turbulent Mid-East not to brag, but to point out why you should pay attention to what I am saying on the present issue.  And my paramount point here is to say that the direction American foreign policy is taking under the puppet President Donald Trump should be question not applauded, and anxiety not jubilation is the proper response to it.  After all, despite the attempt at an instant makeover, Trump is a clueless buffoon with no independent understanding of the critical issues in the Middle-East.  In truth, he is an embarrassing ignoramus and pugnacious anti-muslim bigot who just a few weeks ago was advocating killing he families of terrorists – which would have included several prominent Saudi families such as the Bin Ladins, who are very close to the Royal Families.

So what is the reason why Trump is being embraced by the House of Saud?  Well, Trump is interested in making big arms deals with the Saudi’s without any moral restraints on how or where they are deployed, and he is foolishness enough to wade into an 1800 year old conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites based on an obscure theological dispute. President Barack Obama, a brilliant and highly moral man with an in-depth understanding of the complex problems of the Middle-East, who had promised those of us who voted for him to withdraw American forces from the region, did impose moral constraints on US dealings with the Saudi’s and pursued a more balanced policy in the region to the extent that vital American interests would allow.

The difference between President Obama’s knowledge of the critical contemporary issues and their historical evolution, and Trump’s ignorance of them, explains why Trump’s first trip to the Middle East was to Saudi Arabia and President Obama went to Egypt. For a better understanding of this see: “Of All the Places in the Muslim World, Why Egypt” at https://commentariesonthetimes.me/2009/09/17/of-all-the-places-in-the-muslim-world/. Just as Bush’s failure to understand the issues around the historical reasons why Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein could not possibly be allies, caused him to buy a rationale for the disastrous invasion of Iraq.  And Trump’s ignorance of the history and present conflicts in the Middle East threatens to lead us into an even wider war into the region.

A gaggle of TV talking heads are making much of how well Trump and the Saudi Royals are hitting it off.  But there is no mystery here, it can be summed up in the old addage: “Birds of a feather flock together.”  The House of Trump and the House of Saud have a lot in common.  Both revere unchecked power and a disdain for a free press, independnt courts, and protest from the people.

Both Trump and the Saudi Royals worship personal wealth, dwell in vulgar opulence without a care for the impoverished multitudes beyond self-serving lip service, and both view women as basically the property of men.  And both want to keep America on a petroleum based economy.  In view of these realities, it is wise to view “The Donald’s” diplomacy with a jaundiced eye: skepticism not jubliation should guide our conclusions.

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The Vulgar Opulence of The House of Saud

 

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How the King’s Subjects Live

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The House of Trump

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Trump’s Voters

She believes Donald Trump is her Savior

But other Poor Folks know better!

Detroit: The Decaying Post Industrial City

Urban Warriors: The Boggs Institute:

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Watch Donnie Do the Sword Dance with Saudi Shieks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f35TUFmCtYY
 Watch Trump Sing the 110 Billion Arms Deal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Vu6djvsPk
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 21, 2017

Was Sarin Gas Used in Syrian Attack?

Posted in Guest Commentators, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , on April 18, 2017 by playthell
  At the Scene of reported Sarin Gas Attack
 A Brief Clinical and Epidemiologic Comparison with the Japan Attacks

The June 27, 1994 sarin terrorist attacks in Matsumoto, Japan, and on March 20, 1995, in the Tokyo subway, provide the most through epidemiologic and pathologic case reports currently available for the evaluation of mass poisonings with this extremely toxic gas. The facts regarding the Japanese attacks are as follows.

  • In Matsumoto members of the Aum Shinrikyo group released sarin in a residential area. It was a) an attempt to murder magistrates deliberating a real estate dispute; and b) an assessment of the poison’s efficiency for mass murder. The logistics of the crime included a refurbished refrigerator truck containing a heater for vaporization of twelve liters of liquid sarin, and powerful fans to diffuse a thick cloud of gas near the residencies of the involved judges. The sarin was 70 percent pure.
  • Over six hundred residents and rescuers were poisoned, fifty-eight were hospitalized, and seven were killed. The calculated mortality-morbidity ratio was approximately 1.16 percent (7/600). (“Sarin Poisoning in Matsumoto, Japan, The Lancet 7/29/1995)
  • On March 20, 1995, during the peak of morning rush hour a second sarin attack disrupted several Tokyo subway lines. This attack was focused on the stations close to the Tokyo National Police Agency and other central government centers. Aum Shinrikyo members punctured plastic bags of liquid sarin in subway cars jammed with workers headed to government offices. The liquid sarin was 30 percent pure.
  • More than six thousand passengers and rescue workers were injured—eight hundred required hospital treatment or evaluation and twelve died. The mortality/morbidity ratio was 0.18 percent. (Yanagisawa, N. “Sarin Experiences in Japan,” Journal of Neurologic Science.
Sarin Victims in Tokyo Subway

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II – On April 4th, helicopters or airplanes of the Syrian Arab Army dropped airborne ordnance over the village of Khan Sheikhun, Idlib Provence, Syria. The village was under the supervision of several groups currently in armed opposition to the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Mr. Assad’s government has secured the support of the Russian armed forces, the Lebanese Hezbullah, and Iranian forces under the command of the Iranian revolutionary guard.

  • Casualty reports were extremely variable. Injury numbers ranged from three hundred to more than five hundred, and reported deaths ranged from early accounts of fifty-eight to eighty-seven. Later sources reported fatalities in excess of one hundred, with children’s deaths ranging from ten to twenty-seven. Many of the major world journals, such as the New York Times have reported mortalities in the ranges above.
  • Thus the reported mortality-morbidity would range from approx 72/500 to 100/300. This gives a range of 14.4 percent and 33 percent. Expressed in percentages, this represents an increase between 1,241 percent and 16,666 percent. The purity was not reported. However, earlier studies of weaponized sarin, in this region, particularly in the Iran-Iraqi War, had a purity in the 30-60 percent range.

Discussion:

The reported Iblid mortality-morbidity ratios are incompatible with sarin use as the etiological agent in the attacks of April 4, 2017 Khan Sheikhoun, Iblid Provence, Syria.

This could be due to several reasons:

  1. Another unidentified chemical agent was used.

2- Differing mortality-morbidity due to the differing mechanisms of gas dissemination. However, the two Japanese poisonings had, markedly, more intensive, prolonged exposures, which should have produced higher mortality-morbidity rates.

3-The differing availability of treatment and evacuation? While the Japanese civil defense was better equipped overall, the organizations involved in Syrian rescue operations had basic response preparations for the gas attacks and were able to evacuate injured patients to better-equipped Turkish medical facilities.

4- The casualty count was exaggerated.

5- The 1994-95 Japanese studies were unreliable.

 

Conclusion:

Currently no credible evidence exists confirming sarin as the etiologic agent responsible. Hence the claim that sarin was the etiologic agent is highly unlikely.

Sources:

“At Least 58 Killed in Alleged Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria.” April 4, 2017.www.independent.co.uk, accessed April 4, 2017

Khaddar, Kareem, Schams Elwazer, et al. “Suspected Gas Attack in Syria Reportedly Kills Dozens.” CNN. April 7, 2017.

“Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U. S. Blames Assad.” April 4, 2017. New York Times.

Seto, Yasuo. “The Sarin Gas Attack in Japan and the Related Forensic Investigation.”www.opcw.org, accessed April 11, 2017.

“Scores Reported Killed in Gas Attack on Syrian Rebel Area.” April 4, 2017. Reuters.

Yanagisawa, N. “Sarin Experiences in Japan: Acute Toxicity and Long-term Effects.” Journal of Neurologic Science. November 1, 2006.

——. “Sarin Poisoning in Matsumoto, Japan” The Lancet, July 29, 1995.

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By: Dr. Joseph Harris, MD
April, 2017
Harlem, New York
Note: Dr. Harris has worked as a physician in Rawanda and other war zones. he was participant at Doctor’s Without Borders when the were awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize.